Recently, Harry Potter was in the news because JK Rowling mentioned in an interview that Hermione should’ve ended up with Harry, not Ron. Some were surprised, but not me… as JK must be a loyal fan of my FanFic series “All Is Not Well.” The following is an excerpt from my ongoing exploration of our heroes after they were heroes.
Chapter 37: Accio Happiness
Hermione tapped her foot lightly, waving her wand over the kettle. The water was taking a while to boil, and she was losing patience.
Ron still hadn’t made it home from work.
Hermione sighed, wondering what Harry was up to. He was just in the Daily Prophet for crushing a group of resurgent Death Eaters. Her mind wandered to Harry and Ginny’s relationship, them flying broomsticks late at night, probably landing in the woods somewhere… his strong build and her small athletic body. The kettle whistled. Hermione shook herself out of it.
She poured herself a cup of tea, watching the leaves slowly dye the water with their calming flavor. Suddenly, the door flew open. Ron stumbled in. Hermione watched him get his bearings and notice her. “Hermy,” he sheepishly smiled, “you’re still up!”
Hermione coolly watched him and took a sip from her tea. “How was the Cauldron tonight?”
“Oh you know, the same.” Ron waved his wand slightly and a glass slid off the counter, shattering. “Oops,” he smiled again, apologetic. Hermione whipped out her wand and cleaned up the pieces.
“You didn’t hafta..”
“Too many firewhiskeys?”
Ron nodded and poured himself a glass of water. He looked like a muggle: over-worn coat, too drunk for magic. Things weren’t always like this. They were happy for a while. He used to make her laugh.
“How’s the case going?” Ron’s obvious attempt to change the conversation needled Hermione. He was never subtle.
“It’s going.” Hermione placed her cup carefully on the counter and took another deep breath. Ron reached out to touch her waist. She stiffened, and he recoiled.
“Listen, it’s the anniversary of Fred's…”
“We all lost someone that day.”
“You didn’t lose a brother! A fucking twin brother!”
“You can’t keep going out with George like this. You can’t be his twin. He needs to know that.”
“You’re just…such a muggle-born! I can’t stand it sometimes!” Ron let it out, his lack of inhibitions releasing the few words that could hurt the love of his life. Hermione’s eyes slowly filled up with tears, and she ran upstairs.
Ron stood stubbornly in the kitchen, knowing full well he could go after her. But he didn’t. He fumbled in the cupboard for a Butterbeer.
They would go days without talking. It seemed like they were just waiting for the summers when their kids would be back from Hogwarts. The summers were good.
Ron had been spending more and more time going to Hogsmeade in the guise that he was working at the Wheezes shop. The truth was, he loved when the kids visited him. He lived vicariously through them. He gave their friends deals from the joke shop. He told Hugo and Rose stories about pranks at Hogwarts. Then, at night, he would drink. He feared the best years of his life were gone, and examined his pudgy middle-aged frame in the mirror. Magic couldn’t bring his youth back.
Last week, Harry visited him while lecturing at their alma mater. He called it a night after two drinks – needing to get home to Ginny and continue to rid the world of evil. Harry Potter: what a fucking saint. Ron tried not to resent Harry, but it was getting harder with every headline. For Merlin’s sake, his kids looked up to Harry more than Ron.
Ron lumbered upstairs. He noticed the light on in Hermione’s study, and gently knocked on the door. No response. He opened it. There she was, another Crookshanks variation in her lap (he lost count of the cats), pouring over case notes. At least Magic Law was there when he wasn’t.
“Sorry,” he said.
She peered at him, watching his eyes, pleading and exhausted from their constant bickering. Finally, she asked The Question: “What are we doing?”
These words sunk in. His mind was too inebriated to make connections. “What do you mean?” He was helpless.
“I think you should spend some time at your Hogsmeade flat, figuring out what you want to do.” It was obvious she had been considering this for a while. Ron stared at her stupidly. She continued, “Ginny’s worried about you too. She said that all you want to do is reminisce with Harry – it’s like you want another war to give your life meaning.”
“Is that what Harry said?” Ron spat, feeling a rush of anger. Hermione’s face was pure pity. He couldn’t take it. “Harry can stick his wand up his perfect little asshole.”
“At least he’s doing things with his life – he might become prime minister!”
“STOP TALKING ABOUT HARRY!” Ron pushed over a stack of books but Hermione’s wand was already out to correct his tantrum. The books were perfectly restacked before he could make his point.
“Just go to bed.”
“You know what? I will go to Hogsmeade! If you don’t want me around, I’m gone.” He slammed her door. Hermione immediately regretted bringing this up when he was in such a state.
She emerged from her study to apologize, but Ron had already apparated. An invisible horcrux had come between them. And this time, there wasn’t a Voldemort to vanquish.
Alice Roth is one of those post grad millennial assholes who has the word "coordinator" in her job title. She works for a digital production company and writes when she's not lazy.