Author's Note: I found this one shot stuffed between a short story about the Fates and a bizarre fantasy piece I'll probably shove into the 'will never again see the light of day' drawer. Feel free to use it as inspiration for your own work.
When the train carrying the youngest of her three children passed out of sight, all Ginny Potter felt was relief. Relief her oldest son and his trunk filled with prank items, courtesy of her brothers, were now someone else's problem. No more exploding snap games that covered her parlor in psychedelic paint for three weeks. Relief her more sensitive son and daughter wouldn't witness what she had to do.
"It's time," she said softly to Harry.
The smile slipped off his face. "I thought you reconsidered."
She raised a hand to touch his face, but thought better of it. Her hand dropped. "This is for the best. You know it. I know it. We can't keep on like this. It isn't healthy."
"But I thought everything was better."
Ginny almost told him better isn't the same as good. After twenty years of okay, she needed more, deserved it even. But she knew Harry was incapable of understanding. He wanted to. Sometimes, during dinner parties or holidays, she'd catch him watching her parents with a wistful, almost jealous, expression. He understood something was missing, but not what. Trust. Absolute, unfettered trust that your partner will never abandon you, believe in you when everyone else thinks you're crazy, follow you to the ends of the earth, protect your children with their life, love you.
She remembered her parents begging her to wait a little longer. "Give it another year," Mum suggested a week before the wedding. "Make sure it's love, not lust." She ignored them just like she blew off Hermione, Ron, Neville, and Luna because she loved Harry. If Fleur could be beautiful enough for the both of them, she could do the same with love. Harry would learn how to love her back. He just needed time.
Time, a precious commodity she didn't miss until she woke up one morning with a child and a husband who knew more about his coworkers than his own family. When Harry mentioned having a second child, she jumped at the chance. Another baby would give Harry a reason to stay home more often, spend time with his family, rekindle their romance. Then less than eight months after Albus's birth, Harry became the youngest head of the auror office at age twenty-seven. By the time Lily was born, Harry worked eighty to one hundred hours a week and spent most nights on the couch in his office. She should have missed him. She didn't.
"What will we tell them?"
We, she thought bitterly, more like me. "The truth," she replied.
"We grew apart," Harry said.
She closed her eyes and counted backwards from ten. "It's difficult to grow apart when…" She cursed under breath. He doesn't understand, she reminded herself. He can't. Attachment disorder, Hermione called it, adding that Harry had always exhibited some sociopathic tendencies. He just channeled them in a more socially acceptable manner than most. She shoved those thoughts away.
She didn't want to think that Harry first killed without remorse at age eleven. She didn't want to remember all the people he killed in the line duty. True they all resisted arrest, but Ginny saw him afterwards. Eyes cold and uncaring. They broke the law. Therefore, they deserved to die. Simple. She'd lie to the kids that Dad was upset and send them to her mother's. Merlin forbid, they learn the truth. In Harry's eyes, those people weren't human. Therefore, they deserved to die.
"We grew apart," she agreed. "Part of me will always love you, but we can't keep pretending nothing's wrong. The kids are old enough to understand now." She brushed his fingertips with her own. "I don't want them to end up like us. I want them to find what my parents have, what I hoped we would have."
"I understand," he said, swallowing hard.
"Do you really?"
For a second, he looked lost like the little boy she first met looking for the train station. Then his mouth settled into a grim line. "I'm trying."
"If I could go back and change everything, I would. Kill him before he killed my parents. Stop Sirius, Dumbledore, Remus, Snape, and Fred from dying. Then maybe we'd have a chance."
She almost laughed. Everyone on Harry's list failed him horribly except Fred. His parents trusted Pettigrew blindly. How hard is it to ask for an unbreakable vow that you won't tell anyone the secret without their permission before you make someone your secret keeper? Sirius pulled him out of the wreckage and handed his possibly injured godson to a man who couldn't even apparate them to safety. Remus abandoned him after his parents died, after third year, and then tried to abandon his own family during the war. Some Gryffindor, she thought bitterly. Snape abused him for six years then set him up to die. Dumbledore…Just thinking about Albus Dumbledore made her want to resurrect the bastard and strangle him with his beard.
If she went back in time, she knew exactly when she'd go. Summer of 1899. She'd kill Dumbledore and frame Gellert Grindelwald for his murder. Two birds with one stone. Then maybe Hogwarts would send a responsible adult to introduce Tom Riddle to the magical world. Someone who recognized exactly how messed up his childhood left him and took the appropriate steps to correct the damage before it was too late. Without Dumbledore, the two most emotionally damaged children to attend Hogwarts in the past century had a chance at a normal life.
"I know you would," she said. "Come. Our solicitors are waiting."