I Take All the Blame

Epilogue

I'd lost my faith in love,
Tonight I believe again
My Heart was a broken place,
Now I feel whole again
You bring my honesty,
And that's worth believing in
And I believe,
I believe again


~lyrics from "Believe Again" by Delta Goodrem

Just over a year later, I sat in the hospital, holding a darling baby boy with eyes as green as Harry's. Ginny was lying in the bed, smiling.

"Albus Severus Potter," I cooed, rocking him back and forth. "Hi! I'm your Aunt Hermione!"

His wide eyes scanned the room until he found his mother. She beamed at him.

"Is that your mum?" I asked, now bouncing him up and down. "She's a beautiful lady, isn't she?"

I carefully handed him over to his mother as his father came into the room, holding another little boy on his hip.

"Guess who came to see his baby brother!" Harry said smiling uncontrollably. He sat on the edge of the bed, placing James on his knee.

"Hello, James," Ginny said, her eyes bright with happiness.

"Mommy!" he responded, reaching forward. His eyes saw the baby in his mother's arms and he grinned. "Al!"

Harry laughed at the surprise written on both mine and Ginny's face. "He couldn't say 'Albus'."

Ginny was elated. I watched in silence as Harry and Ginny played with their two adorable sons. After a few minutes, I quietly stood and left the room.

Waiting outside the door was my own husband, who beamed when he saw me. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me tenderly. I felt my heart flutter like it had so many times in the past year, and knew that I would always be perfectly content in his arms.

"I thought you were supposed to be at Rachel's birthday party," I accused.

"I was," he responded defensively. "I just couldn't stay away from my beautiful wife any longer."

"You did give her our present, Ron, didn't you?"

"Of course!"

"And what did she think?"

"She loved it!"

"Did Rachel name her?"

Ron smirked. "She's just as stumped as we are."

I ignored his comment. "Well, she is a snowy owl. The only name I can ever think of is Hedwig…"

Ron snorted. "Why are you avoiding the topic?"

"What topic?"

"Hermione, we have to come up with a name."

"Not until she's born."

"For all we know, that could be next week!"

"I doubt it, Ron."

"Why don't you like Rebecca?"

"It's too common."

"What about Rhonda, then?"

"That's an old woman's name, Ronald, please!"

"Rhiannon? It means 'Goddess'."

"Please, Ron!"

"Renee."

"Why are you so obsessed with 'R's?"

"Rachel!"

I laughed. "As if we need to give that child another reason to adore us."

Ron frowned. "You're right. She's at our house every other week! But Rachel's not a child anymore; she's eighteen, a legal muggle adult!"

I rolled my eyes. "When you were a legal wizarding adult, you through a temper tantrum over a chocolate frog card."

"But I collect those!"

"My point is, she's not quite an adult yet."

"Lupin and Tonks seem to think she is."

I rolled my eyes. "The two of them were supposed to take care of her like she was their own daughter. Instead, they let her meet some stranger on vacation and get engaged!"

"I thought the story was romantic."

"They met at a farmer's market!"

"Not much worse than meeting in a grocery."

I blushed slightly and brushed my hair out of my face.

Ron sighed. "I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings."

I shook my head. "Don't worry about it, Ron. You're right."

We were silent for another little while, his right thumb caressing my left hand, frequently crossing over my two diamond rings. I heard him sigh slightly.

"Is it wrong for me to be this happy?" he asked, leaning towards me.

I raised my eyebrows. "Why should it be?"

"Because, had Nick not have died, I wouldn't have you, or our little Ruby."

"Keep trying."

Ron's eyes sparkled before his manner became somber. "I'm serious though, Hermione. The only reason I have you is because the Death Eaters killed your family."

I leaned forward and kissed his lips. "How many times do I have to tell you that I love you?"

"How many times did you tell Nick that you loved him?"

I smirked. "Not as many."

Ron rolled his eyes. I sighed and took both of his hands in mine.

"We were meant to be together, Ron."

He smirked once again. "And if I die? Will you say the same thing to the next guy?"

"There wouldn't be a 'next guy'," I said, slightly annoyed. "You're all I could ever want or need."

He rubbed his forehead against mine. "Are you so sure?"

"Yes," I replied firmly before kissing him once more. I then leaned into his chest and smiled in contentment.

"Besides, Ron, you don't have to worry about being killed by Death Eaters."

He snorted. "We may have defeated the Death Eaters, Herm, but there are other sources of evil out there."

"If you're talking about Malfoy—"

"I'm not," he quickly replied. "Although I do still wonder why exactly you let him go. If anything happened to you or our little Rose, I wouldn't stop until the killer was dead."

I sat up slightly. "I liked that one."

"Really?" he said in surprise.

"Yes," I replied, pondering the name in my mind. "Rose Weasley…"

"Rosie," Ron mused.

I smiled. "Rosie sounds wonderful."

His arms tightened around me and I closed my eyes, remembering the events that finally brought us together. I remembered the horror of family and friends dying, the pain of watching a sixteen-year-old girl struggle, the confusion over my emotions. I remembered searching for the Hallows, the tasks that separated me from my goal. The Mirror of Erised, the vision I had seen.

I sighed in content. Soon, I would see that vision again, but this time it wouldn't be in a mirror.

It would be real.

***

A/N: Again, thanks for reading! I love you all!

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