Harry and Hermione are soul bound but Harry dies due to not being bound to his mate and so time is re-written. Even then the going is not smooth for them as they lose their magical core and are obliviated by the ministry. Good Dumbledore, but his hands are tied due to Ministry. Good but misguided Ron and Ginny. A never before attempted kind of soul bond (Hopefully). Rated 'R' for innuendo, scenes of sexual nature, and some language. Alternate title was 'Shared, Power He-Knows-Not'.
This is an updated version with corrections incorporated as were pointed out in a few reviews. I might have missed some and request you all to point out if and when you encounter one. Thank you one and all for the support for this story.
Declaration: I write for my own pleasure and not for profit. I do not own Harry Potter Universe.
"… It was because of me that we won. I was the one who helped Harry defeat 'You-Know-Who' and allowed him to become the 'Man-Who-Won'." As was almost a ritual from the time Lord Voldemort was defeated, Ron was back to his boasting as a gaggle of mostly witches and a few wizards who were keen to hear from the 'Golden Trio' about their role in the Great War, hung onto his every word. If anyone noticed that the one who was acclaimed as the best friend of Harry Potter did not dare to say the name of the Dark Lord who he supposedly helped defeat, no one was even in a position to point it out as they were enthralled by the rendition of the daring exploits.
With a mental sigh, Harry let it slide; he could not call Ron out on that, at least not in front of all these people and make him a liar; in one sense Ron did help out Harry. Harry always knew that Ron had a tendency to exaggerate things, maybe it was due to his craving for attention during his childhood or just his desire to be in the spotlight instead of his more famous friend, Harry Potter, Harry did not know but his silence gave fuel to the fire and Ron's tales became fancier. Besides, Hermione looked happy on Ron's arm; if she was happy, Harry was happy.
As Dumbledore once told him during his first year, '… it was a closely guarded secret and so naturally everyone in the castle knows about it…' Their activities during the entire year were a mystery and so everyone wanted to know what they did. Harry was never known to seek the attention and with Hermione seemingly supporting Ron, the redhead slowly became the star of their little group. More so that his words began to imply that Hermione was the brain of the operation and Harry's own role was only in the final battle to lock wands with Voldemort and then the killing curse backfired on the Dark Lord, again. It was only the prophecy that put Harry as the savior, and though Ron did not come out to say that he was the 'Saviour', his meaning was well evident to all the listeners. People clamouring for his words could see that it was the brilliant strategies of Ron Weasley that severely weakened Voldemort and his forces, enabling Harry Potter to play his part in fulfilling the prophecy.
At one such celebratory gathering when Hermione blatantly ignored the bare faced lies being spewed out by her boyfriend's mouth, Harry could not take it anymore. After the death of Voldemort, Harry felt a dull throb of pain near his heart that he imagined was the emotional pain whenever he saw Hermione wrapped around Ron, but recently that ache started to feel more like physical pain rather than emotional. Harry was at a loss as to what the pain was; he never heard about such a thing and after more than a year of searching for clues to defeat the Dark Lord Voldemort, he was now well versed in all kinds of pains that did not have a defined source of origin. He had his doubts as to the cause of the pain and if he was right, then there was nothing he could do to soothe his pain as he knew that he already lost the one thing, or more precisely, the one person that brought solace to his aching heart.
Harry's heart broke at the display of blind loyalty towards Ron bordering on infatuation, from Hermione. The girl with a strict moral code turned into someone who he did not recognize anymore and his heart cried with grief forcing him to turn away from the happily snapping photographers. With his head hung low, Harry walked out of the venue planning to apparate away to Grimmauld Place and drown away his sorrows and pain in a serious drinking binge, which he almost always put off but now that would be a welcome relief from the pain.
Hermione caught the flash of emotion on her best friend's face and instantly regretted her mistake; she was ashamed of herself. In her infatuation of the redhead, she ignored her other friend and the one who she considered as her best friend even through all the drama of their sixth year at school. More importantly, she was supporting the notion that made Ron into something that he clearly was not. Yes, Harry was averse to publicity but that did not mean that she, who Harry trusted the most over everyone else in the world, could watch with a smile as his name was being smeared in the mud. She knew who the real savior was, of not only the wizarding world, but primarily herself. Harry literally died for them; he gave up so much of himself so that the wizarding public could live a life free of oppression and she was allowing the same public to sneer at their true hero.
Hermione could not honestly say why she chose not to correct Ron the very first instance his tales started to verge on the fanciful; it was not like they were already married and so she was magically bound to her husband. Yes, she wanted to marry her redheaded friend but she never wanted it at the expense of her friendship with Harry. Looking at the dejection and the disappointment on Harry's face she knew that she was on the cusp of losing her best friend, a friend who she relied heavily on when she was a social pariah at Hogwarts. He was the cog that held the so called 'Golden Trio' together and not the spare wheel Ron was beginning to portray Harry as.
Ignoring Ron's attempts to hold her back, Hermione darted after Harry who was nearing the apparition point. Hurrying her pace, she called out to the raven haired wizard, "Harry! Wait up, please Harry."
Hermione was shocked to see the tears spilling out of those emerald green eyes. The feeling of betrayal so clearly etched on his features sucked the breath out of her and struck her dumb momentarily. Harry waited for her to talk but when nothing came out of her, he voiced his own thoughts, "I get it Hermione! You do not love me like you love Ron; I have always accepted that. I bore your temper tantrums during the sixth year even after the magical night we shared." Despite the situation, his allusion to that night brought a furious blush to her cheeks; it was a magical night indeed.
Harry continued not caring for Hermione's feelings anymore, "I even indulged in Ron's fancy; I allowed him to take the spotlight just because he always craved for the attention. But I cannot take it anymore, you, who were the stickler to rules and the one to keep us all grounded, now forgot all that you yourself preached. You were always ready to chastise me when it came to my mistakes but with Ron you were nearly egging him to lie to the world."
His emotion spent during his rant Harry simply sighed, "I never wanted this Hermione, all this glory, all this attention. If I knew that it would only bring me more grief, I would have happily stayed dead on that Halloween night, or on the night at the graveyard, or at the Ministry or even at the final battle. I always fought back because I had you. Now, I do not recognize the woman you are turning into, gone was the levelheaded and rational Hermione; I do not want this Hermione in my life. Good Bye…" turning on the spot he disapparated away with nary a sound.
Hermione was shocked speechless; she was not able to form a coherent reply to his tirade any way as the only thought going through her was that, 'Harry loved me, Harry Loved me, Harry loved me…' with a sigh she turned to go to the house that was previously occupied by her parents. The hectic schedule of press conferences and appearances for photographs meant that she had very little rest and she had to rest before her flight trip to restore her parents' memories. Even though Harry dropped a bombshell, she could not think about that now, she would have a lot of time on her way to Australia to sort out her thoughts on this matter; it was going to be a very long trip.
Shared, Power He-Knows-Not
A few days later in Australia…
"… and so Harry left in a huff?" Emma Granger asked her daughter, not that she blamed him.
"Yes, and I cannot really say that it was unjustified; I never realized that Harry was in love with me. It was always Ron that I considered as a husband."
The way that her daughter was fixated on Ron, she had a sudden doubt, "you are not sexually active with him are you? Are you pregnant?"
"No Mum! I am not pregnant and I am not sexually active" the thought of doing that with Ron inadvertently showed up as revulsion on her face. 'He has no sense of hygiene…' the thought sprang unbidden into her mind.
Emma quickly caught on that, "… and yet you are ready for marriage with him."
Hermione sighed, "I thought that it would get better with time; correct his behavior, you know, ease into it." She had to confide in her Mum though, "… but I am not a virgin."
Emma gave her a rueful smile, her doubts regarding that were finally confirmed, "Who was it?" she asked gently, "… was it that, what was his name, Crom?"
Hermione was confused for a moment, "Crom?... Oh! You mean Victor Krum; I did not even kiss him, no…, it was not him."
Emma Granger was a smart woman and her daughter's letters gave her plenty of clues, "It was Harry, wasn't it?"
Hermione gave her mother a sad smile, "It was one night after Sirius' death. He was hurting so bad but got no comfort from anyone. He needed that comfort and I gave him that." She paused before continuing reminiscing that night, "… that was the first time for either of us; though we did it more than once that night. As far as I know that was the only experience for either of us and it was my first kiss too…"
"… but you went ballistic on him in just a few weeks."
"He was cheating Mum! He was taking the easy route" Hermione huffed angrily.
"Hermione dear! The boy or man you just lost your virginity to is always special. He had to have a special place in your heart to even consider that act."
Hermione had a dreamy look on her face, "Oh! It was special Mum; well 'magical' describes it better." Her emotion had a sea change after that, "… But how could I let it go when Harry was taking the easy way? He won that potion purely on the instructions of that book. That was not learning, that was cheating" she replied indignantly.
"Hermione was your anger on the fact that he upstaged you? Or was it genuinely due to the fact that he was not learning anything?" Emma asked gently. She knew that in some matters Hermione was stubborn and when it came to classes, it was even more so. Before Hermione could answer though she continued, "Dear, didn't you say that Harry was especially weak at potions and that too not due to any of his fault. Wasn't that Snape particularly hard on him, most of the time just because he could?"
Hermione had a thoughtful look on her face but had to acknowledge her mother's words. 'Why was it that when it came to Ron, she was able to let things slide even if it was blatantly obvious, that Ron would not even try, but with Harry, she was adamant on him achieving perfection?' Hermione could not help but wonder, 'Was it due to some subconscious urge to get Harry to be perfect because she was so in love with him?'
Emma continued gently, trying to get her daughter to understand the workings of a teenaged male's mind, "… to him it could have been a chance to do something good for once in a class that was notoriously difficult for him. Yes, it was a shortcut but for him it was a golden opportunity to impress you, show you that he could be better at something if he was given a chance."
Hermione was dumbstruck; she never thought it that way but her mother was drilling her point home, "didn't he offer to share not only the book but also the potion he won with you?"
"He did share the potion with us all…" Hermione interjected shamefully.
Emma gave her head an emphatic nod, "Did you even take a look at the extra instructions? How were you so sure that they were dangerous?"
Hermione began to deflate; "It was still the wrong thing to do" she defended weakly. "How would he learn otherwise? He had to learn it properly if he was to get into the auror program."
"Did you explain your reasons to him or did you just rant at him?" Hermione hung her head and the meaning was clear. "Your behavior towards him despite the 'magical' night might have told him that it was just a one night stand and you were interested in nothing more. God forbid, he thought that it was nothing more than a pity party!"
Hermione snorted, "It isn't like Harry ever showed me that he was interested in me."
"… and Ron was that obvious?" Emma challenged.
"Yes!" was the reply stressed out with equal force.
Emma was incensed, "Hermione Jane Granger! I don't believe you."
"Mum!" Hermione cried in protest.
"Just because a boy drools over you or makes cow eyes at you does not mean that he truly loves you and at the same time if a boy does not do that, it does not make him being any less in love with you."
Hermione wanted to protest that, the way Ron used to glance subtly at her used to send her pulse racing and then his charming smile! But then Hermione remembered the way boys used to drool at Fleur and how disgusting it looked to her at that time and Ron was a master at that. She also remembered Harry's words about how Ron was trying to follow the book '12 fail safe ways to charm witches' and now she realized that it could never have been Ron at all without that book. It felt so romantic at that time when Harry told her, but now she could see the irony in that; was she so shallow that only a book could let her see what she wanted to see? She could see that she was considering Ron in a favourable light when he was following a book that could be abused if needed, while Harry was the villain following a book that probably was only providing shortcuts, like a tutorial. Why could she not give Harry the same lee-way with the 'Half Blood Prince's' book?
By the change in her daughter's countenance, Emma thanked the heavens that Hermione was finally using that formidable brain of hers and so she pressed home her advantage, "If you had something exciting to share, who would be the first on your mind?"
Hermione replied without a pause or a thought, "Harry."
"If you wanted to talk about something academic, who would you turn to, Harry or Ron?"
Hermione sighed, she could finally see what her mother was trying to tell her, "Harry would listen to me, while Ron would either berate me that I was mental or stomp away in anger."
"Who would open doors for you? Wait till you were seated and then sit?"
Hermione knew that she was beaten; heck she did not want to win that argument as there was no comparison between the two in that department. Then she perked up, there was nothing specially directed at her in Harry's behavior, "Harry does that for everyone…" only to trail off as she had to chide herself, Harry was really courteous to everyone even Greengrass, who was in Slytherin house while Ron was extremely prejudiced. His overbearing opinions even carried over to most of the things that Hermione loved. Ron even called their good friend Luna, 'Loony'; she knew that names could be hurtful even if they were not said in malice. Hermione could not be sure that there indeed was no malice in Ron's choice of words for the spacey blonde though. Could she really live her life with someone who did not even have some common courtesy, not counting the one that was directed towards her; but then again that was probably an act directed by a book!
Hermione really wanted to get away from her mother to really think over things but Emma was oblivious to the tumult that she created in her daughter's thoughts. "Let's suppose that you called Ron away when he was doing something that he was really interested in, like…" and then she stopped stumped. She knew nothing about Ron even though she was Hermione's boyfriend, but knew that Harry loved flying, cooking, and gardening and that was all through Hermione's letters. Didn't her daughter realize that?
Hermione had a rueful smile by now, "… quidditch, food, and chess; and not necessarily in that order" she supplied. She did not have anything in common with him in that and truth be told, she did not even consider them to be healthy pursuits; opposites attract, but this was ridiculous.
"Three things that you have nothing to do with…" Emma concurred. "Would he leave that and come with you just because you wanted to go for, say a walk?" she did not wait for a reply as she knew the answer, "… while Harry left his date with his girlfriend to go with you, trusting you, even though he did not know where to."
"He knew me longer than he knew Cho" Hermione tried but her spirit was not in the argument as her mother had browbeaten her about the worst mistake she had made in her life.
"Yes, true but she was his girlfriend!"
"Who dumped him immediately after that incident" Hermione reminded her mother.
Emma only took it as an encouraging sign for the love the remarkable young man had for her daughter, "Not everyone can show their love or what they think is love, in the same way dear" she paused while in her mind she added, 'take it from me I had the personal experience' but aloud she continued, "Some like Ron or even that boy Krum are too obvious while some like Harry are subtle but nevertheless sincere."
Hermione made one last ditch effort to explain why she never even considered the possibility that Harry was in love with her, "… but Harry always liked girls like Parvati, Cho, Luna, or Ginny who are gorgeous."
Emma agreed with that, "Maybe but who did he confide in the most." With a thoughtful look she asked, "What about the girl that Ron dated, Lavender brown?"
Hermione snorted, "She was the classical example of a buxom blonde."
Emma gave her a stern glare, "Yet you can give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Ron's choice of girls and you, but not Harry. It's very hypocritical of you; Ron actually dated that girl a lot longer than Harry, even all the girls he went out on a date with put together."
Hermione scrunched her eyebrows together and cast her mind back, "Come to think of it, Harry only went out with Ginny when it was obvious even to a blind bat that I was dead set on snagging Ron. He never got back together with her after the war like everyone thought he would."
Emma looked at her daughter for a very long time, "As a mother, I want the best for my daughter and my heart tells me that Harry is the best out there and that too from anecdotal evidence but you know him."
"Harry did actually tell me that he was in love with me" Hermione reminded her mother, "… but what I don't understand is why he never told me before" she cried in frustration.
Emma was pensive but finally turned to alarm, "Do you think that he never hoped to survive the war?"
Hermione was horrified as the truth of that question struck her hard, "Oh! My god" she cried and buried her face in her hands trying to stem the flow of tears. 'The Prophecy!' she screamed in her mind; the choice of a winner between a wizard who had a streak of ruthlessness and over fifty years of combat experience and someone who just attained his majority, was a no-brainer.
Emma rubbed her daughter's back in an effort to calm her down and replied in a sympathetic tone, "If he wanted you to be happy, the last thing he would have wanted was a relationship with you. Even though he would have desperately wanted to be with you, he would have held himself back knowing that he may not survive the war and added to that your abominable behavior towards him during your sixth year at school would have convinced him that not having a relationship with you would be the best thing."
Hermione gave her mother a tearful look, "I have messed up badly, didn't I?'
"Yes, you did dear" her mother spelled it out for her.
Hermione was silent, probably analyzing all they discussed in multiple angles, trying to find any other possible explanations for her to defend her decision to go after Ron. However hard she tired, she could not find fault either with Harry or with herself, maybe except for the choice of a boyfriend she made. Ron was a good guy, one of her best friends but if she had to compare him with Harry, Ron would fall miserably short of expectations for a good boyfriend and the best husband. She was confident that she could mold Ron the way she wanted and that was why she pursued him despite the many fights they had; but then would she want to be overbearing and dominate her husband like Molly Weasley did? Would it lead to a blissful married life or would it lead her husband to find solace in a shed filled with meaningless muggle junk? That was not what she wanted in a married life; she wanted harmony but was beginning to fear that she would never get it with Ron.
To cut Hermione's analysis short, Emma began to share her own experience, one which she vowed never to talk to her daughter about. It was too humiliating to her even after these years, but if her disgrace would lend her daughter the will to reach out for the best, then she would bear it. "Before I married Dan, I was engaged to another guy." Hermione's eyes widened in surprise, she never expected that.
Emma gave her a wry grin, "My fiancé was a very popular guy, a proper jock, all the girls were after him. I did not know him really well, at least not as well as I knew Dan; Dan he was my best friend. He was shy, quiet and really introvert but when the chips were down, he always came through. I never thought Dan was interested in me; he was my best friend after all."
Emma paused trying to collect her thoughts but also gave Hermione the chance to hammer out the similarities between their lives. Ron was not definitely a jock but he was slowly turning into one; she could see the fame going to his head and he was already beginning to enjoy the attention of all the girls clamouring for him even with Hermione on his arm. On the other hand, Harry was popular but he was the opposite of a jock, he never took advantage of the girls throwing themselves at him; if at all he tried to avoid them as much as he could. He definitely was like his father right down to his moral fiber. Hermione could see that any relationship with Harry would be rock solid, not just a flight of fancy despite his fame.
Her thoughts were interrupted by her mother, "One month before I was to get married, Dan came to my parent's house and gave me a big shock. He told me that he loved me but now he could not recognize the woman I was turning into…" she was interrupted by a gasp but continued after Hermione's gesture, "… his exact words were 'the Emma Robinson I knew was not this giggling fan girl; she was a level headed mature woman. I do not recognize this new woman who replaced her' with that said he bid me goodbye and left." A few tears were beginning to shine in her eyes.
Hermione looked at her mother with tears threatening to flow out, "Those were almost exactly the words Harry told me."
Emma looked at her sharply, "Really? Did he say recognize, or just understand?"
Hermione really did not catch her mother's intent but still replied, "Understand, well except the giggling fan girl part."
Emma nodded her head in understanding, "Dan understood the new Emma alright, he understood what I was turning into but he was unable to recognize the new me as the Emma he loved and he did not like the new Emma one bit."
The tears in Hermione's eyes began to overflow, "Harry also did not want this petty, self-centered, and infatuated Hermione Granger in his life."
Emma wiped a few stray tears from her eyes, "I was shocked; but I was also angry at Dan. At that time I was not sure why I was angry, that Dan told me that he loved me or that he said that just as I was going to get married. I ranted and raved for two days but when I calmed down, I realized that Dan never lied to me; he might have tried to keep his love for me to subtle gestures that I chose to interpret otherwise, but he always looked out for me." She blew out a pained breath, "I went to my fiancé's friends and demanded to know what upset Dan and they finally told me that Dan fought with him. My fiancé was apparently quite drunk and was boasting that 'prim and proper Emma Robinson was finally his' and after he fucked me all the ways he could, he would move to the next in line."
"No!" Hermione cried out covering her mouth in horror. Her reaction was very mild compared to the state her mother was in; even after many years that memory was still painful to Emma. Hermione embraced her mother trying to soothe her pain.
Emma regained her composure and looked pleading at Hermione, "I am not saying that Ron would do that honey." She pleaded with her daughter, "His feelings and behavior towards you might very well be genuine; but I have to ask you to think carefully. Would Ron who blatantly lied to discredit his best friend, the one who not only saved Ron's life but also that of his father and sister at very great danger to himself. Would he not find ways to make himself look good against you even if he was in the wrong? Would he support your achievements when his obvious jealousy caused him to desert Harry and You in the tent? Would he be truly happy for you or would he try and proclaim it as his achievement, would he even support a career that might bring you better recognition than him?"
"I am always a little insecure with the amount of beautiful girls that try to catch Ron's attention now that he is famous" Hermione confessed softly. "Surprisingly; it was never the case with Harry. With him I always feel secure … and safe."
They sat in silence for a few moments before Emma decided to finish her tale, "I was devastated and naturally called off the wedding, but I have had already slept with him. I was in a right state for a week and found that it was made worse due to the absence of one Dan Granger. I looked every place that Dan frequented but could not find him." Emma blew out a harsh breath, "Your grandmother asked me if I loved Dan Granger."
Hermione got a brilliant smile from her mother at those words which she could not help but return. "What I knew deep down in my heart came out of my lips at that time unbidden; I loved Dan Granger. I was utterly and completely in love with Dan Granger."
Emma broke into Hermione's thoughts, "Whatever you do Honey, talk to Harry; analyze your feelings but first and foremost apologize to him about your behavior in condoning Ron's blatant lies. Give a press conference if needed. If your feelings still tell you to get together with Ron then explain that to Harry but if you realize otherwise then beg him, beg him as I did with Dan to give you another chance." She laughed beautifully and then quirked an eyebrow at Hermione.
During the time she spent looking for her parents, Hermione did nothing but go through all the years and her interactions with Harry and Ron. If she excluded the sixth year, the bottom line was that Harry always made her smile and Ron made her cry. With the new light shone by her mother at Harry's probable feelings towards her and his reasons for keeping her at arm's length, Hermione rehashed her observations. She always had a special place in her heart for Harry and it certainly was clear that she was very important to him. Even with the fight in their sixth year, Harry tried to make things right with her but Ron and Lavender only tried to rub it in her face. Even when she was at odds with Harry, he still gave her a shoulder to cry on and he even left Luna to help her out during Slughorn's party. Ron on the other hand began being nice with her only after he broke up with Lavender, was it all due to that book? By now she was convinced that it was.
Even with the stress of the horcrux hunt, it was Harry and Hermione that grew closer and did most of the work even with Ron's constant nagging. After the events of the Malfoy Manor, it was in Harry's arms that she found comfort for the night; though they just held each other and nothing else, she felt safe, something which she had to search hard when Ron tried to comfort her. When she was with Harry, it was always her own feelings that took first priority but with Ron it was always his. Then during the hunt she struck with Harry and not Ron just because of the promise she made or was it her love for Harry that made her stick with him? She was not sure but one thing was sure, she always chose Harry over the others be it Krum, Ron, or even her parents. If that was not love she was not sure what was!
How was it that she forgot all of this and yearned for Ron, when it was almost always Harry that she looked for security and assurance? She could not explain why she never sought to reiterate their night of passion ever again when it was the best experience of her life. Hermione wondered that if she had repeated that experience before the damn potions book drove a wedge between Harry and her, would they have been even married by now? She did not know, but one thing was clear, throughout all of this Harry was her world, Harry was her rock, Harry was her…, she realized with an involuntary gasp … her love and her soul mate.
Hermione shook her head and with a smile that nearly split her face she replied to her mother's unasked question, "Mum, I am utterly and completely in love with Harry Potter." Emma beamed at her daughter and hugged her tight, all her worries melting away.
Hermione though gave her a weak smile, "… but I tried to look for him just before my flight hereMum, I could not even enter Grimmauld Place. I may not have the happy ending you've had."
Emma giggled like a little girl, "I will give you the advice my mother gave me. 'Yes, you've looked for him but now hunt him'."
Shared, Power He-Knows-Not
Hermione felt overwhelmed, the revelations that the talk with her mother brought about and her own high strung emotions forced her to retire early. She entered her room but was so distracted with her thoughts to realize that someone was waiting for her and so was startled when the man spoke in a surprisingly gentle voice, "Realized it a little late, haven't you?"
Hermione nearly jumped out of her skin and searched frantically for her wand but could not remember where she put it. She berated herself, 'where was constant vigilance' when she needed it? "Who are you?" she managed to settle her nerves enough to ask the man. Now that she had the chance to see him properly, Hermione was awed at the aura that the man was projecting. He was dressed all in white and had a beard longer than Dumbledore and if she had to give him a name, he would have been 'Gandalf the White' from the book 'The Lord of the Rings'.
"I am the creator" the man replied without any airs.
Hermione's mouth opened in shock, "You are joking!" she exclaimed finally.
"I am known to joke occasionally" the man smirked at her, "but now, no I am not joking".
Words failed Hermione, she was just rendered speechless and continued to stare at the man incredulously; the thought of questioning the identity of the man never occurred to her. Still, she could not temper the utter fear that began in the pit of her stomach; she instinctively knew that something was wrong. "What are you hiding from me? What are you not telling me?" she inquired without no less amount of panic.
The man who introduced himself as the creator ignored her and continued where he left off, "I created the two of you, Hermione Granger and your soul mate Harry Potter, for one reason only and that was to ward off the darkness that was threatening to take over the world. Harry Potter and you were the only two capable of doing it and then gone on to live happy lives together; you were the perfect soul mates."
Hermione's surprise slowly turned to curiosity during the recital and now her eyes lit up, "Oh! Not the mystical flash of light with your first kiss needed to be with your soul mate…"
Her enthusiasm was not even given a notice as the creator rambled on, "… you were meant to complement each other perfectly, without the other half you were less than perfect. You would have curbed Harry Potter's impetuousness; if he had someone, you know…, to sort of come home to, he would have been more careful. Oh! He would still leap at danger, that's who he is after all, but he would have looked before. You would have made him a better man by overriding his ingrained habit of underachieving."
Hermione gasped in shock, she always felt that Harry was intelligent but did not put in the effort because of his laziness but now she knew otherwise. The creator gave her a knowing look, "… yes, his relatives taught him the hard way that proving to be smarter than his cousin was a quick way to starvation and you know that old habits die hard. It was not meant to be that way; they were only to be hard disciplinarians but…" he shrugged it off.
Tears sprung into her eyes again, she thought that she expended all that she could during her talk with her mother but she apparently had an endless supply today. 'Oh! Harry. I am so sorry; I should have done something. I should have spotted the signs' she could only commiserate with herself.
The creator was not done yet, "Harry in turn would have taught you that the only one you really have to prove to was yourself, not your teachers and certainly not your peers. He would have made you more sociable and that would have taught you that authority figures are not totally infallible. They have their own opinions which need not always be right, they are human after all."
For once the creator looked remorseful, "I admit that I did not make it easy for either of you. Both of you did not have any siblings and so the selfless love you had for each other was classed as the love for a sibling by both of you. It was the furthest from the truth; the desire to protect the other at all costs, even sacrificing oneself, that is the love of a soul mate not of a brother or a sister."
Hermione was thankful that it was not all her or Harry's fault; they were mostly misled by the highest power himself. The creator heaved a tired sigh, "I usually do not take an active interest in the lives I created once they are sent to earth, but you both were special cases. I should have taken a more hands on approach with you both. Everything was going on fine until your sixth year; I would have thought that your soul mate doing well would have pleased you but it was not to be. That only shows that even I do not know for sure what goes on in a woman's mind." He heaved a dramatic sigh and Hermione giggled in spite of the situation, "I am afraid, I did not take into account your stubbornness and your fierce adherence to rules which was not tempered due to your failure to form a bond with Harry Potter." He then muttered to himself barely audible for Hermione to hear, "I would have to tweak it a bit but then again, getting together with Harry Potter would be enough."
The creator turned to Hermione with a stern gaze that frightened her, "All of this would have made the task you were born to accomplish much easier, instead, Harry Potter was killed by Voldemort and I had to use my special privilege to send him back."
That was enough to jolt Hermione out of her shock, "Wait a minute; send him back? I was told that Voldemort's soul piece in him protected him."
The creator gave her an indulgent smile, "A killing curse removes the soul, and it's never selective or would only stop with one."
Hermione was horrified at the implications of that; did Dumbledore not know about that? Even through her shock she wanted to know, "… but Harry and I kissed and even more; shouldn't we already have had formed the soul bond?"
"Not if he was already bonded."
Hermione was perplexed; as far as she knew there could not be any others that Harry could have bonded to, certainly not to Cho. But then realization struck her, "Harry had a soul bond with Voldemort?" she asked incredulously. The dreadful feeling she had at seeing the creator in her room suddenly intensified many times over.
"He had a piece of that man's soul sticking in him, what do you think?" the creator shot back.
Silence met his statement but it sounded like the death knell to Hermione. "You do know what happens when a bonded mate was to die and the soul bond is broken, don't you?"
All her fears were now confirmed, "Yes" she replied with tears in her eyes leaking into her voice, "the other mate's magic loses control and destroys the body in a short time."
"If his magic found its intended mate soon after the bond was broken, he could have been saved. Yes, it would have been painful but he would not have lost his life."
The penny finally dropped and Hermione was inconsolable; thankfully the room was totally sound proof and so her cries of intolerable pain were not heard by any other living soul. "No, I will not accept that. You are the creator, bring him back" she demanded.
The creator shrugged his shoulders as if he was not concerned with that; truthfully he already talked to Harry and the young man was not happy. When he was told about the plan that the creator wanted to implement, Harry sent him to talk to Hermione; he trusted her to take the final decision which was beneficial to all and not just to him. Now when the creator was in the mortal realm, and heard the discussion between mother and the daughter he was confident that his plan would be put in motion; but he wanted to clarify some things with Hermione, not that she would remember the discussion when the time came but he was willing to provide them the information when needed.
"I have had a wild card to use in such instances, but for Harry Potter I've already used it to bring him back to life once he was killed by Voldemort, as the blight had to be removed. With the fog of a corrupted soul lifted, Harry's thoughts and feelings were clear for the first time in his life; but it was a little too late. His magic was already out of control, he knew for sure who his soul mate was but at the same time was also sure that she did not know about it. Even if you knew, you looked unwilling to accept it as was evident by your display of throwing yourself at his best mate, who actually turned out to be a loud mouthed wind bag."
Hermione was aware of the saying that the importance of a person cannot be truly known until that person was no longer with you. The shock of Harry's death hit her with the force of a stick of dynamite exploding in her face. She could not stem the tide of tears even if she wanted to; the loss of her best friend could not be filled even by the thought of a smiling Ron; for every thought of the laughing redhead was inevitably followed by countless experiences of rebuffs, putdowns and downright insults.
It was finally clear to Hermione that Harry made the insults bearable; his mere presence, his gentle smile and even his unspoken support meant a lot to her. She realized that she was a victim to the old adage of 'bickering like an old married couple'. In the heart of her heart Hermione knew that what she did with Ron was not bicker, no she argued with him and some might even say that they fought. She wondered why she never accepted that fact. The answer involuntarily made itself known, she took the easy way out rather than fighting against an accepted view that was clearly wrong in every sense; she bowed to the pressure of expectations.
Hermione wiped her tears away, if only to make way for fresh ones. All these thoughts, these realizations were of no use to her now; Harry was gone forever, "Take me to Harry" Hermione begged the creator, "I cannot live without him. I don't know how I did not realize it before but there's no life here for me without Harry anymore."
The creator looked with sympathy at her but inside he was dancing for joy, 'Finally!' he thought. This would make way for his plan for a much brighter future to the wizarding world than what it was destined to without the influence of Harry and Hermione Potter. He still had to incorporate a few nuggets of information into Hermione's sub-consciousness, the way he already did for Harry.
"There were two instances in your life when the horcrux in Harry Potter came close to be removed with a little push."
Hermione was confused but more importantly she no longer had an interest to listen as she was hoping with all her heart that she would be able to jump into her soul mate's arms soon. The creator's voice however was forcing her to pay attention, "The first was when Harry Potter destroyed the body that was hosting the spirit of Voldemort in your first year and he was rendered into a wraith once again. The other was when he destroyed one of Voldemort's horcruxes the next year."
"The damn diary!" Hermione cursed vehemently interrupting the creator's tirade.
"… The soul piece within Harry Potter felt the destruction and was fidgeting to get out fearing for itself. Yes, if that was removed at that time, it would have been destroyed but the soul piece did not know that. In either instance, if you both formed your own soul bond as it was meant to be, then the soul piece within Harry Potter would have been destroyed and it would not have been too painful, at least to you. Your magic was more compatible than Voldemort's and so it would have easily displaced the perverted soul bond and latched onto Harry Potter's magic leading to the destruction of the soul piece. There was no need for you to form the bond immediately after the incidents, a couple of weeks were allowed."
Hermione was unable to say anything; she only regretted that she did not have had this information when it was needed. Then again, this was the creator; it was not like he would have written any books on this topic. She was roused out of her musings by the creator, "Even though yours was the best, I even threw in a couple of others that could have taken your place in the worst case scenario. The next closest was Luna Lovegood and then Ginerva Weasley but both of them had a very slim chance to form a bond powerful enough to drive away the soul piece out and none once the bond was broken."
"But we did have sex" Hermione protested.
"Yes" the creator agreed, "… but it was after Voldemort was reborn and the bond between their souls was strengthened. If you gave yourself to Harry Potter after Voldemort was dead, it would have breached the fissure in Harry Potter's soul, not only restoring it but also strengthening it and you would have been Hermione Potter."
Hermione worried her lip in contemplation, "So anytime in the first or second year we could have kissed and then completed the soul bond?"
The creator laughed a little nervously, Hermione Granger's temper was legendary even in the heavenly realms rivaling Lily Potter's. "A kiss would not have completed a soul bond, that's just a myth. It needs an act of pure love…"
Hermione nearly screeched in indignation, "You wanted us to have sex in our first year."
The creator cringed, "I admit that eleven and twelve was a little too early but any time before Voldemort gained a body would have been perfect."
Hermione calmed down a bit after that, she would have been fifteen and Harry would have been fourteen in their fourth year. The Yule Ball would have been perfect; she could imagine the romantic setting leading to kissing and then to much more. That image brought a fond smile to her face but it all came crashing down when she remembered, "… but all off this is of no use isn't it" Hermione sighed.
The creator looked at her shrewdly, "Are you prepared to lose your identity? Are you prepared to be 'one' with Harry Potter?"
Hermione paused, would she like to be a mindless drone without having any say in matters, 'no'. "Would I lose my individuality?" she asked.
For the first time, the creator had a genuine smile and beamed at her, "No! You will be your own person but you will be known as a partner to Harry Potter."
She could live with that, "Yes, I am ready to die and join Harry" she replied with conviction.
The creator laughed heartily at her, "Oh! You are not going to die; you are going to live with your soul mate."
Hermione did not understand how that could be possible, unless; her eyes widened at the implication, "No!" she exclaimed, "you cannot do that, you cannot turn back time."
The creator looked affronted, "I am the creator; of course I can do that. Besides, I am not going to turn time back; I am going to rewrite time." The creator began to grow fuzzy as if in preparation to return to wherever he had to be and do whatever he had to do.
"Wait! Will I remember any of this?"
The creator gave her a sly smile, "No, but you will remember one thing."
"… And that is?" Hermione asked with impatience.
"Talk to Harry Potter."