The People We Were
"Are you sure you don't want to come with me?" Harry asked for the tenth time that day. His heart wasn't in it, and he was pretty sure Ginny could tell, but he still made the effort.
"I'm positive," she said, smiling at him. "You know I get bored at your Auror parties. Go on…. Sirius and I will hold down the fort."
"If you're sure," he said, kissing her on the forehead. He strode out of the room, pausing only to peek in on their son. With one last glance toward his bedroom, he walked down stairs and Disapparated.
Boring was too weak of a word to describe Auror functions most of the time. This time, the senior rule making types had taken pity on them, and scheduled box seats to a Quidditch match Appleby Arrows versus the Hollyhead Harpies. Normally, Harry steered clear of Hollyhead games. That was Ginny's old team, and he knew how to carry a grudge. But he hadn't seen Ron in ages, and the Ministry was footing the bill, so he came.
"You know we can't just leave afterwards, right?" Ron said, smirking at him. "They'll expect us to make nice with the players. Drink some wine, take some pictures…."
"Well, I'll take all the Appleby players if you talk to the Harpies."
Ron chuckled as the players zoomed onto the field.
Harry took another swig of mead. "How's Hermione?"
"That…number nine for you, right? Do you even remember their names?"
"Yep. Every last name, age and birthday. Speaking of which, Rhys wants Sirius to come to his birthday party."
"We'll be there."
"What about Ginny? How's my sister doing?"
They lapsed into silence. Finally, Ron spoke again.
"I wouldn't be mad, you know."
"If you and Ginny…you know…called it quits."
"Ron, let's not talk about this tonight."
The redhead shrugged and went back to watching the game. It was one of the more boring games they'd been to. The announcer was obviously an Arrows fan, and thus lost a lot of his spark when the Harpies started trouncing them. Still, he livened up once the Snitch had been spotted.
"And it's Gates and Parkinson neck and neck toward the Harpies' goal! Parkinson's pulling ahead…yes! It's over! Harpies win 365 to 100."
"Pansy?" Harry asked, turning to Ron. "That's who they replaced Ginny with?"
"Life sucks," Ron said, shrugging.
As Ron predicted, both teams turned up in the box for photos and interviews. Harry stayed in the room as long as he could. He even managed to put on a pretty good show face. However, after about two hours of small talk and cocktails, his head was pounding. He promised to owl Ron the next day, and made his way out to the hotel that was connected to the stadium. He needed to eat. He could already feel the hangover that would come if he didn't.
The hotel's restaurant was, thankfully, empty. He slid into a chair at the bar and ordered a cheeseburger with chips.
"Not very healthy."
"Parkinson!" he said, jumping. "Didn't see you there."
"I'm easy to ignore. I've been gone for the entire after-party, and none of the managers have noticed yet," she told him, smirking. "I'm sure I'll get fussed at tomorrow for failing to entertain the noble Auror department, but I'm not bothered."
They sat in silence. Harry's food came and he nibbled quietly. Finally, when the silence became oppressive, he spoke up. "Can I ask you something?"
"I suppose," she said, sipping her drink.
"Would you really have given me to Voldemort? All those years ago?"
"Yep. Without a second thought."
Harry snorted. "At least you're honest."
"I am. Which is more than I can say for a lot of people. Because it wasn't just me, Potter. And it wasn't just Slytherins, either. We were scared. We were stupid. We weren't heroes. I just voiced what others were thinking. A lot of those people who stood up in front of you would have just as soon grabbed you, if more people had agreed with me."
"Thanks," Harry said, frowning into his cup.
"That's exactly your problem Potter."
"You're so consumed with the people we were…."
Harry looked up at her, glaring. "And I should be taking advice from you?"
"Well you shouldn't be taking it from yourself or any of your yes men. That's for damn sure."
"I think you know the answer to that, Potter. Stuck in a loveless marriage, raising a son you don't even believe is yours."
"Sirius is mine."
"If you say so. I'm just saying… you're trying to be the Harry 17 year old you thought you'd be. Not the Harry you want to be."
"What would you even know about it?" he snapped. "I haven't seen you since the battle."
She took out a key chain from her pocket, and tossed one of the keys at Harry. "I know you'd take an opportunity if you thought you wouldn't get caught. And you wouldn't."
Harry stared at her as she called the bartender from the back room. He looked back at his food and stuffed the key into his pocket as she paid her bill and left without another word.
Harry woke up the next day to the sound of trains. That was always how he knew he was in London again. He took his arm from around the woman next to him. Hurriedly, blinking away tears, he threw on his clothes and Disapparated.
3 Years Later
Smoke billowed from the Hogwarts Express as it pulled away from the station. Harry grinned and waved at Sirius until the train was out of sight. He took Ginny's hand, and they Apparated back to their house. Still smiling, he turned to her. "He isn't mine, is he?"
"I'm surprised you didn't ask earlier."
They sat down on the couch to listen to the Wireless together.
Miles away, a witch was helping her three year old son stack blocks. He tipped the tower over and stood there giggling. And she smiled at him, taking in his pug nose, messy black hair, and perfect green eyes.