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The Life He Always Wanted by MionePotter99

Format: Novel
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 10,454
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Fluff, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny
Pairings: Harry/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Lavender

First Published: 03/12/2008
Last Chapter: 04/29/2008
Last Updated: 04/29/2008

Summary:
Harry, Ron and Hermione have defeated Voldemort.  They are all living together and are in their respective careers.  What happens when your feelings for your best friend turn into more? How will it affect others?  What surprise does Ginny have that makes Harry realize exactly what he wants?  HBP Compliant. My first fanfic!! Please R/R!!!


Chapter 1: Coming Home
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Harry sighed and laid down on his bed. It had been a long day of training and he was exhausted. He took his glasses off and set them on his bedside table. Running his fingers through his hair he adjusted himself more comfortably and soon fell asleep. 


 


It wasn’t long after the front door opened and in came the brown bushy haired girl carrying an armful of bags. She grunted under the strain and heaved the bags onto the counter. Sighing she sat on the stool and exhaled – clearly exhausted. 



“Well, the boys won’t feed themselves now will they?” and she got up and started taking groceries out of the bags. 


 


As she started doing this, in walked one of her best friends, tall and lanky with red hair and a large amount of freckles, Ron took off his coat, threw it on the back of the chair and walked over to Hermione to see what she had bought.


 


“What’s for supper? Need any help?”


 


“No that’s ok Ron, I don’t want it burned” smirked Hermione.


 


“Good point! Call me when it’s ready!” said Ron as he left the kitchen and headed for his room.


 


Hermione finished getting the groceries out and started making her stew. She had just finished putting in all the ingredients and was going to let it simmer.


 


Turning away from the kitchen she went over and picked up Ron’s coat and went to hang it up muttering “boys” the whole way. Harry at least picks up after himself, she thought.


 


She looked around their flat. It was really nice, she thought. With a very large and sunny kitchen, huge family room, a decent sized library for Hermione’s book collection, three separate bedrooms for each of them and their own bathrooms she couldn’t complain. The boys had given her the master bedroom and bath which she absolutely loved. It was off the library and fairly far away from their rooms which gave her complete privacy. Not that she minded, she loved her best friends more than anything and loved living with them.


 


Ron’s room was typical Ron fashion – very messy. About once a week Hermione would get tired of walking past it to get to the family room where her and Harry watched television, (Ron still didn’t understand why though) and would stop and with a wave of her wand, his room complete transformed. He had posters of the Chudley Cannons gracing the walls and a vast assortment of new products for Fred and George’s shop cluttering the room. With a large bed and desk in the room and everything just thrown in, it looked like a war zone.


 


Harry’s on the other hand was very simple, with plain walls except for a few Gryfinndor items , pictures of his loved ones, and a very nice comfy bed and a small desk, there was little else to it. Everything was neat and orderly, but Hermione half thought Harry did it only to please her as she was always groaning about Ron’s. She did love to go into Harry’s room and look at the pictures he had on the walls. Most were ones of the three of them, occasionally ones with just Harry and Hermione, some with Ginny and the few precious ones he had of his parents and Sirius. She knew next to his firebolt they were his most prized possessions.



Hermione’s room was quite different from the boys. Her walls were a bright and sunny yellow with a white 4 poster bed, a large desk and bookshelf, which held her favorite books that she couldn’t bare not to have next to her, a comfy white overstuffed sofa that she loved to just lay back on and read her book, and a vanity which held all the makeup Ginny had always tried to get her to wear! She would wear a little makeup here and there, but mostly kept it for special occasions.


 


Hermione missed Ginny terribly sometimes. Ginny was currently in the United States for advanced Healer Training at CuratioHealers Academy in New York City. She knew it was a good opportunity for Ginny, but it was hard her not being here with everything going on. Since the fall of Voldemort, and the trio’s graduation from Hogwarts, Harry and Hermione were about to be inducted to the Ministry’s Magical Law Enforcement. They were taking endless classes (which Hermione loved), but they were also doing vigorous training that usually left them completely wiped out, and today was no different! They were almost finished, with only their final exams ahead.


 


Ron was working with Fred and George at the shop in Diagon Alley. Business was booming and the twins needed someone they could trust to stay at the Diagon Alley store while they went off and expanded their business opening up other stores. Ron loved the work, and he found he had quite the flare for sales! 


 


Hermione and Ron were still in that limbo stage. She knew he thought of them as ‘together’ but really all they did was bicker and she really felt that they would probably be better off as just friends. Ron would always have a special place in her heart, but he was like a brother to her. 


 


After the fall of Voldemort, Harry and Ginny went back to the way they were, snogging everywhere you looked! Ginny was smitten, and Hermione had never seen her so happy. Harry as well was just beside himself with happiness, but when Ginny announced that she wanted to go abroad to advance her career as a healer, Harry was supportive, but it was obvious he didn’t want her to go. But, Harry, being as noble as he always was, didn’t stop her, but after only being gone for 3 months, Ginny owled Harry and said that while she was there, she needed a break. She didn’t want to have a long-distance relationship, she wanted to be able to concentrate on her studies and have fun, without worrying about Harry.


 


That was hard for Harry. He knew she was right, and that it was probably the best thing, but he was terrified to lose her. In the end he wrote her back saying he understood, and that he would always be there for her no matter what. 



Since she left, he had been depressed for a while, but threw himself into his training for the Magical Law Enforcement. He was so happy that Hermione was going through it with him and that she agreed to live with him and Ron after graduation. The three of them got even closer, and he couldn’t imagine her not being there with them. 


 


Hermione finished hanging up Ron’s coat and went to check on dinner again. Figuring it would be done soon she set the table and went to go wake Harry and get Ron.


 


She knocked lightly on Harry’s door and opened it quietly. She walked in and smiled down at him. He was laying on the bed on his back, his right arm above his head, his left over his stomach, looking so peaceful. She bent down and pushed his fringe off his head and whispered to him.


 


“Harry, wake up, dinner’s ready.”


 


Her answer from him was a low snore. She chuckled and started pushing lightly on his arm. “Come on Harry, I know you must be hungry.” 


 


At that, he opened on eye, looked at her, smiled and with his quick reflexes reached out to tickle her belly. She started laughing and shouted, “OK OK! You’re up, dinner’s on the stove.”


 


Harry, still laughing, got up, put on his glasses, stretched and wandered out to the kitchen. A few minutes later Ron and Hermione joined him.



All three sat down at the table and dug in.


 


“This is great Hermione,” Ron said through a mouth-full of food.


 


“Can’t you wait until you swallow Ron?” Hermione said, slightly angry. “We go through this every night, don’t talk with your mouth full. It’s disgusting!”


 


“Sorry Hermione,” Ron grumbled.


 


Harry smiled, he was used to this. His best friends bickered constantly, and although sometimes it was annoying to be around it all the time, he wouldn’t change it for the world. 


 


They each talked about their respective days and although Harry stayed rather quiet, they had a nice time just chatting and being together. Hermione noticed Harry’s quiet behavior, but figured she’d ask him about it tomorrow on their way to work. It was getting late, and she figured Harry and herself would go to bed early to get a good rest before their exams.


 


After they cleaned up, she went over to each of the boys, hugged them and said her good nights, and retreated to her room. Harry followed suit, and shortly after, so did Ron.


Chapter 2: Chapter 2 - Exam Day
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Harry walked in his room following dinner and smiled. He loved his friends. He was so glad to have them in his life. It meant the world to him that they stuck by him through everything, especially the fall of Voldemort. He knew he could never thank them enough; he wasn’t sure where he would be without them.



He also knew he had been watched by Hermione all through dinner. He knew he was quiet, but truth be told, he just had a lot on his mind. The exams were tomorrow, and he was completely nervous about them, not that he wouldn’t do great, Hermione set him and her up study schedules and were quizzing each other every chance they got, it was just the act of taking a test that got him nervous. 




Plus, he was thinking about Ginny. He hadn’t heard from her since she told him she needed a break while at school, and he knew she still kept in touch with Mrs. Weasley, but it never mentioned anything about her personally. Just that school was going well. He wanted to know if she missed him, or if she met someone else. He didn’t like being out in ‘limbo’ without any word at all.




He had thought, not too long ago, that he would spend the rest of his life with Ginny. Now, he wasn’t sure. He knew when she left, things weren’t perfect between them, but they both had a deep connection to the other one, and one he thought for sure they would be able to continue. Hermione told him that he was a great catch and should maybe think about figuring out exactly what he wanted. But he wasn’t sure. He wanted a family of his own, with a woman he loved more than life itself. He wasn’t sure if Ginny loved him enough. 




Before she left they would fight over ridiculous things. She would be out with her friends for all hours of the night and not letting him know where she was. He wasn’t possessive, he just worried! After everything they’d been through in their lives, he just wanted to make sure the woman he was with was safe. He trusted her, he just wanted to protect her. 




The stupid fights increased especially when Harry found out she was leaving. He was so upset. How could they figure things out if she was leaving? Apparently, Ginny saw things differently - this was her chance to shine, and her chance to do what she wanted to. 




Harry sighed and went into his bathroom to wash his face. He looked into the mirror at his features. His hair was as black and unruly as ever, his fringe covering his scar, his eyes a dazzling green and a beautiful smile. His body was in great shape thanks to the years of quidditch and now the training he was undergoing for the Magical Law Enforcement. He finished washing his face, turned off the light and walked back into his bedroom, covering himself up and turning off the light. 




He laid there wondering what would happen with his life. Now that Voldemort was defeated, and there was no prophecy about what he had to do, his life was up to him. Growing sleepy, his final thought was – I bet Hermione is up still studying.




~*~




Hermione awoke with a start. She was on her sofa, her study guide on her chest. She had fallen asleep studying late into the night. She jumped up and looked at her watch – she had half an hour to get to her exam! She flew around her bedroom, into the bathroom, took the fastest shower, threw on her robes, ran into Harry’s bedroom, screaming the entire way “WAKE UP HARRY! WE’LL BE LATE!!” banging on his door and then running into the kitchen to grab herself a piece of toast. Harry came out of his bedroom, laughing openly at Hermione running around. He had woken up not long ago, and was already ready to go. She glared at him and was about to apparate to the exam when Harry caught her by the wrist and told her to calm down.




“Hermione, we have a few minutes, take a deep breath and relax.”




“Harry I know, but if we get there early I can go over the study guide again!”



 “Mione, don’t you start with that, I know you probably spent all night studying and you know this stuff better than anyone, you will be fine!” Harry started chuckling, “Trust me ok, eat your toast, have your coffee and then we’ll go.”



Harry grabbed a piece of toast for himself still shaking his head and laughing at her. She glared at him and then sighed and her expression softened.



“Thanks Harry. You always know how to calm me down.”



“I know.”



After they finished eating, they apparated to the Ministry and walked to where their exam was being held. Before they entered, Hermione stopped and pulled Harry into a hug. “Good luck Harry,” she whispered into his ear.



“You too, Mione.” He shot her a grin and took off for his seat.



After taking their exam they decided to go and have lunch. Hermione was trying to go over all the answers with Harry while he shaking his head. “I didn’t do this in school with you Hermione, and I’m not doing it now. They will have our scores posted in 2 hours, so we are going to take a long lunch and just relax. You will find out soon enough how you did, ok?”



She looked disappointed but nodded.




After they went to the cafeteria, they made their way to a table for 2 and started chit-chatting. 




“Harry, you were so quiet at dinner last night. What was on your mind?”



Harry sighed, “I knew you were going to ask me that. It had a lot to do with the exam, but also about Ginny. I thought I loved her, I thought she was going to be my wife one day, but after her owl, and the way we left things I don’t know. I want someone that will want me to protect them, even if they can protect themselves. I want to be able to love a person and not be worried that everything I say is going to be taken the wrong way.”



“Oh Harry, I know. I think you and Ginny are great, but I never was sure how it would work out in the long run. She’s very strong willed, which I love about her, but I always pictured you with someone a bit softer. Someone very independent, but also someone that liked to be treated like a lady.” 



She shook her head, wondering if she should go on. “I guess with the way things are with Ron and myself right now, I have no reason to judge anyone else’s relationship.”



“What do you mean Mione? I know you guys argue, but you always have.”




“But that’s just the point isn’t it, Harry? I don’t want someone I can argue with. I want someone I can grow old with. Ron and I just aren’t compatible. He’s more like a brother to me anyway. I just have to muster up the courage to tell him. I’m sure he feels it too, he just hasn’t said anything first.”



Harry wondered if Ron was that emotionally in tune with Hermione to know that she was feeling this way. Harry knew he himself knew Hermione better than anyone. They had had more in-depth talks in the middle of the night when they stayed up to watch late-night TV than he knew her and Ron ever had. When she was upset or worried, she would cling to him and he would run his fingers through her hair while she lay on his shoulder and he would tell her everything would be ok and he was always there for her. He knew that Ron wasn’t the type of guy to do that for her, but he also knew it wasn’t his place to tell her that.




“Just try talking to him,” was all he said. Now was neither the time nor the place for the in-depth talks like they had at home.



She nodded, lost in her own thought now. Harry sensed this and went about eating his lunch, watching the other Ministry personnel on their lunch breaks, talking with friends or colleagues, hurrying back to their office, or going out for a walk. He couldn’t wait until he started active duty. With Kingsley as the new Minister of Magic, he felt a lot more comfortable being there and the direction he was taking the Ministry. Harry, Hermione and Ron were offered any job in the Ministry they wanted, but Ron didn’t want to work for them, and Harry and Hermione wanted to be treated like any other wizard or witch and went though the training classes for the position.



“Harry, do you think he’s attracted to me at all?” came Hermione’s voice pulling Harry out of his own thoughts.



“Mione, what the hell made you think that?”



“Well, I mean, he doesn’t even try to kiss me. Is it because he’s not attracted to me?”



Harry had never known Hermione to act vulnerable or worried about her appearance. But to be honest, Harry also had never really looked at Hermione as anyone other than his best friend. He sat back for a minute and looked at her, really looked at her. From her bushy caramel brown hair, to her warm chocolate eyes and long lashes, down to her cute button nose and nice full lips. She had a really cute figure from what he could tell, but right now it was covered by her robes. She blushed when she noticed him looking at her. He had to admit, she was gorgeous. When she blushed and bit her lower lip it made her even more attractive.



“Mione, you are gorgeous, and if he can’t see that, then he’s more of a git than I thought he could be, even if he is my best mate.”



Hermione blushed even deeper and muttered, “Thank you, Harry.”



“Anytime,” he smiled at her. “I guess we can start going back down to the exam room, the scores should be posted outside by now.”



They threw away the remains of their lunch and went back down to their classroom. As they approached, they saw a gathering of students there already looking at the wall. Hermione raced up and pushed people out of their way, searching for her score. Finally she found it:



Hermione Granger – 112% - Pass



She squealed with delight and kept looking lower for Harry’s score.



Harry Potter – 95% - Pass



She squealed again and raced to find Harry. He didn’t even bother pushing forward, he knew she would get there first. He saw her running towards him, her arms flung out and a huge smile on her face screaming, “WE DID IT! WE DID IT HARRY!!!” He put his arms around her and picked her up and swung her in a circle. He hadn’t seen her that happy in a long time. He set her back down, gave her a kiss on the cheek and said “Congrats Mione, I’m so proud of you!”



“Proud of us, Harry! Proud of us! We both did it!!! Oh Harry, you did so great, you got a 95%!!! I’m so proud! Oh I can’t wait to start!!”



“Ok, I have to ask this, if I got a 95%, what did you get Mione?” Harry was chuckling knowing it was going to be such a high unheard of percentage.



“112%,” Hermione said beaming. 



“That’s my girl!!!” Harry said, engulfing Hermione in another hug. Hermione laughed and couldn’t help but feel giddy and excited at starting a new part of her life with Harry.


Chapter 3: Celebrating
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A/N: Thank you for reading my story and reviewing!  Please continue to read and review!  I have already written through Chapter 5, but I'm just waiting on validation to post more!  Thanks so much!!
Harry and Hermione were still excited and happy as they arrived home. Ron was still at the shop, so they came in and plopped down on the sofa. Hermione threw her feet up and laid against Harry’s shoulder.



“What a day huh, Harry? I woke up so stressed out about the test, and at the end of the day we did it. We are soon-to-be members of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad! Oh, I have to write to mum and dad! I’ll be back in a bit Harry!”



Harry laughed, his own face reflecting a silly grin. He loved seeing how excited Hermione was. Her smile always managed to make him that much happier. “Ok, I’ll get started on dinner.”



Harry walked into the kitchen and looked in the refrigerator. He didn’t see anything that really appealed to him. He was hoping for a celebratory dinner. An idea came to him and he closed the refrigerator door and went over to Hermione’s room. When he got there he peaked in the room and saw Hermione furiously scribbling on the parchment a broad smile on her face. He didn’t want to startle her so he waited for her to finish writing and then spoke.



“Hey Mione, what do you say we go and surprise Ron and tell him the good news? Then we can all go out to dinner together and celebrate.”



Hermione looked up at Harry with the same smile. “That sounds great, just give me 15 minutes to get ready ok?”



“Sure, I’m going to jump in the shower and then I’ll meet you in the living room.” Harry then turned and headed to his room.



 Hermione folded the parchment and tied it to Hedwig’s leg. She turned towards her closet and began looking for something to wear. She was in a fantastic mood. One of her best friends and herself were going to be working together. She was so proud of the both of them. They had both worked so hard together. Celebrating it with Ron sounded like a fantastic way to spend the evening.



She picked out a nice black sleeveless dress and a pair of black heels and put them on her bed. It was a little dressier than she normally liked, but she wanted to celebrate! She hurried up and took a fast shower, then used a drying charm on her hair. She pulled it up in a low bun and added dangling silver earrings. She added just a bit of makeup and slipped into her dress. Adding a few silver bracelets, she was ready to go and walked out into the living room.



Harry was already there waiting, facing the windows looking out. She snuck up behind him and gave him a hug. “Thank you for everything Harry. I couldn’t have gone through this without you.”



“Of course you could have Hermione. You don’t give yourself enough credit sometimes.” Then he turned around to give her a proper hug and his breath caught in his throat. He couldn’t believe how amazing she looked. He knew she was gorgeous, but rarely does she dress up. The dress hugged her curves and her hair was pulled back with a few tendrils framing her face. She looked like an angel. “You look…great Hermione!”



Hermione eyes lit up and she smiled at him. “You don’t look so bad yourself! Nice shirt, it matches your eyes. Ok, are you ready to go? I can’t wait to tell Ron!”



They apparated right outside of the shop and walked in. Ron seemed to be finishing up with the last customer in the store. 



“Hey Harry, Hermione! Give me one second ok?”



Harry and Hermione walked around the shop looking at all the new inventions. Harry stopped to look at the new Skiving Snackboxes while Hermione went to look at the Pygmy Puffs.



Moments later Ron closed the door behind the last customer and locked the door. “What a day! What are you guys doing here? Hermione you look so beautiful!” He walked toward her and placed an awkward kiss on her cheek.



“Thanks Ron! We have some great news! Do you want to tell him Harry or should I?”



“You can have the honors Mione,” Harry said smiling happily.



“WE PASSED RON! We’re in. We get inducted a week from tomorrow. Will you be there?”



Ron gave Harry a smile and Hermione a quick hug. “I’m so happy for you guys! That’s great news! Of course I’ll be there, I wouldn’t miss it for anything!”



“Glad you can make it, mate. It wouldn’t be the same without you there. Come on, let’s go to dinner, we’re ready to celebrate!” 



“Ok, hang on. Let me run today’s paperwork into the office and I’ll be right back.” Ron took off for the counter, grabbed the paperwork and ran into the back. He was back a few minutes later and the trio headed out the door.



They went over to the new restaurant Bistecca House, grabbed a table and ordered 3 butterbeers. They talked and waited for their dinners. Ron was so excited for them. He knew they both wanted this for a long time. He couldn’t help but be slightly jealous though. He was working in a shop without them, and Harry and Hermione were going to be spending all their time together. He has understood that Hermione had been distant while preparing for the exams, and their fighting hasn’t helped matters any, but now would things change? Would she be back to herself, and work on their relationship? He knew she was having trouble deciding what she wanted, but he knew he wanted her. He’s loved her since their third year.



It troubled him how close Harry and Hermione were. He knew she told Harry more than she would ever tell him. They just shared more together, especially since both of them were brought up in the Muggle world. He couldn’t understand how they would watch television for hours, laughing and carrying on. He found it boring to have to stare at something for that long. He also had no interest in working for the Ministry. He was much happier being away from all of that. He was glad Kingsley was appointed Minister, but his views on the Ministry itself still haven’t changed.



Ron realized he had nothing to worry about. Harry was in love with his sister, and as soon as she was back, they would work things out. He knew Ginny needed her space right now, but she’d always loved Harry. It was her dream to be Mrs. Potter. Surely she wouldn’t give that up. He knew how much Harry missed her, it was only a matter of time. 



He tried to focus on the conversation going on around him, pushing his thoughts from his mind for the moment. 



Ron placed an arm around Hermione’s shoulders. Everything would work itself out, he told himself. Once she wasn’t under so much stress, Hermione would realize how much he loved her.  



“Excuse me guys, I’ll be back in a second,” said Harry, rising from his seat.



“Ok Harry!” Hermione waited until Harry was out of ear shot. “Ron, why are you being so quiet?” trying to get out from underneath his arm without being obvious.



“Just thinking about how happy I am for you guys. Hopefully, we’ll get some time together now Hermione.”



“Of course we will Ron. Harry and I will be home much more, except now, we won’t be as tired! You’ll see more of us.”



“I meant just you and me Hermione. Alone time. I’m sure Harry will understand.”



“We’ll talk about this later Ron. Now is not the time.”



“It’s the perfect time!” he said, dropping his arm from around her. “Hermione, I’m happy for you beyond words, but why can’t we be alone together? Why don’t you want to be around me anymore? What did I do wrong?”



Hermione sighed. She really did not want to get into this right now. “Ron, please. Let me get through the ceremony and then I swear, we’ll sit down together, alone, and have a long talk about everything ok?” She reached over and patted his knee. “I want to make sure my head is in the right place when we talk. Please, just wait a week and we’ll talk.”



“Ok, if that’s what you want. You do know that I love you, right Hermione?”



“I do Ronald, I know you do.” Hermione wished she could say it back to him, but she just couldn’t bring herself to.



~*~



Harry washed his hands and went to the bathroom door. He stuck his head out and peaked around. He was glad Ron’s arm was off of Hermione. He wasn’t sure why, but it really bothered him to see that. Maybe because he knew how Hermione was feeling, he thought. He knew that it would hurt Ron to know that Hermione only thought of him as a brother, but for some reason, it bothered Harry to see Ron giving Hermione any displays of affection. Maybe, Harry thought, I’m just lonely. I must miss Ginny. He didn’t want his mind to wander to his ex, so he started heading back towards the table to finish their meal.



“Did I miss anything?” he asked as he sat down.



He noticed Ron was keeping his eyes on his plate when he said, “Nah, not much, mate.”



Hermione gave Harry a pleading look. She knew Harry would be able to make light of the situation.



“Hey Ron, I hear the Canons are moving up! You are going with Bill to the upcoming game aren’t you?” Harry knew that Ron couldn’t pass up talking about his beloved Chudley Cannons.



“Yeah, mate. I can’t wait, maybe we’ll make it to the World Cup this year!” They proceeded to talk quidditch for a while and Hermione happily joined in, although she really didn’t have a clue as to what they were saying. She never had much interest in it, but she was glad Ron wasn’t sulking now.



The trio had a few more butterbeers and apparated home. Ron went to bed, saying he had a long day.



“Do you feel like watching some TV, Harry?” Hermione asked.



“Sure, let me go change first. I’ll go grab some wine and meet you in there.”



Harry and Hermione went to their rooms to change. Hermione came out and started flicking the channels to find something on. A few minutes later, Harry came out with 2 wine glasses and a bottle of wine. He poured them a glass and sat down next to her on the couch and kicked his feet up on the coffee table.



“What a day huh? I’m so glad it’s over with.  I’m sleeping in tomorrow, it will be the first day we don’t have to get up early and train or take a class in months!” Harry took a sip of his wine and smiled over at Hermione. “You’ve got to be looking forward to that too!”


 



“Oh I am, trust me Harry.” Hermione looked thoughtful for a moment and turned on the couch to face Harry, her head resting on her arm. “Thank you for what you did tonight at dinner. I don’t have the energy to face him yet. I asked him if we could wait until after the induction ceremony before we had our talk. Oh Harry, I don’t want to hurt him. I just know he’s not the one for me!”



Harry turned to face her as well. “Mione, you don’t have to thank me. I’ll always be here for you. But, you do need to tell him. It’s not fair to him to go on thinking that you guys will eventually work things out.”



Hermione turned and leaned up against Harry and he started stroking her hair. They sat like this a lot while alone watching TV. “I know Harry, I know.” She wrapped an arm around him and just sat there, starting to relax.



Harry felt happy holding Hermione. She was so dear to his heart, he would do anything for her. He loved holding her. He could sit there for hours just breathing in her scent and stroking her hair. Harry suddenly realized that he had never held a girl the way he held Hermione. Ginny never let him, always wanting her own space. 



The more Harry thought about it, the more he and Ginny were completely different people who wanted completely different things. Harry wanted a family, and Ginny wanted to be independent, have her career and then later in life maybe have a family. Harry wanted to get married and have a family sooner than later. It was what he always wanted.



He sighed, placed a kiss on top of Hermione’s head and noticed she was sleeping. He leaned as far back as he could to get comfy, turned off the TV, took off his glasses, put his arm around Hermione, and closed his eyes. He could feel her snuggle closer in her sleep. He smiled and kissed her on her head one last time before he fell asleep.



 


Chapter 4: Chapter 4 - Induction Ceremony
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A/N: Hey! Thanks for reading my story. Sorry that it took me so long to update, life has been crazy. Thank you for the positive reviews/emails I’ve received. Please leave more though! Leave me feedback!!! There is a little more of H/Hr flirtation in this chapter. I didn’t mean to put it on so early in the story, but it fits…so here goes!!!



Chapter 4 – Induction Ceremony



What the hell? Why is at least twice a week I come out here to find them sleeping together on the couch? She barely lets me even hold her, let alone sleep next to her! 


 


Ron was fuming to say the least. The site before him was really starting to piss him off. He woke up wanting to apologize to Hermione for putting her on the spot last night, to find her not in her room, but in the family room lying on Harry, fast asleep. Harry’s arm was around her waist, and she was lying on his chest, her hair covering half her face. She looked so peaceful and content.


 


Ron knew that Harry and Hermione were only friends, but it still bothered him to see them laying like that together. Not wanting to say things he might regret, Ron took one last look at the sleeping pair, stalked to the front door, walked outside and apparated to the store.



 ~*~


 


Not long after, Harry began to stir. He tried to move, but felt something heavy weighing him down. Opening one eye, he looked down and saw Hermione snuggled up on him. He pulled her a little closer and placed a kiss on top of her head.


 


“Mmm, morning Harry. Sorry I fell asleep on you, again.”



 “Are you kidding? I love this. I always get the best sleep when I’m with you. Good morning to you too.”



Hermione sat up and stretched, raising her arms above her head. “What time is it?”



 Harry put on his glasses and looked at his watch. “10:30. Guess we did sleep in after all huh?” Harry chuckled and stood up. “Hungry?”


 


“Starving.”


 


“Ok, relax for a bit and I’ll make breakfast and bring it in. Did you have any plans today?”



Yawning, Hermione said, “Well, I’m supposed to go shopping with Luna later to look for a dress for the ball. What about you?”


 


Harry, already on his way to the kitchen said over his shoulder, “Nope! And that’s the way I like it!”


 


Hermione laughed and stood to follow him into the kitchen to help.


 


“I thought I told you to relax?”


 


“I know, but I want to help. Is that ok Mr. Potter?”



Harry laughed. “Fine, do you want to fry the bacon?”



They cooked breakfast together and ate, talking about the upcoming ceremony and ball. Hermione had already told Ron she would go with him to the ball, and Harry was going stag. He had planned on taking Ginny, but now that wasn’t going to happen, and he didn’t think to ask anyone else. 


 


“You should ask Luna, she’d love to go with you! You know how much she loves to be invited to go anywhere.”



“Maybe I will, Mione. I’ll mention it to her when she comes to meet you. I wasn’t going to ask anyone, but Luna is a great friend. I know she’ll have a blast.”



With that decided Hermione smiled at Harry, cleaned off the plates and went to go get dressed. Harry sat back down on the couch in the family room and turned on the television.



Hermione came out to join him refreshed and waiting for Luna. They watched the muggle news for a while, when Hermione heard the doorbell.



“Hi Luna! Come on in, Harry wants to see you.” Hermione gave Luna a warm hug and ushered her in the flat.



“Hey Luna! I haven’t seen you in a while! How are you?” Harry stood up and hugged Luna as well. He really had grown fond of her over the years.



“I’m doing great! I’m excited about going dress shopping, I love going shopping with friends. Not very many people ask me to do things with them.” Luna always had a thing for the uncomfortable truth.



 “Well Luna, actually I wanted to talk to you about that – would you do me the honor and go to the ball with me?”



Luna squealed with delight. “Really? Harry I’d love to be your date! As friends of course! Oh I’m so excited! Hermione, how do you think magenta would look on me?”



Hermione laughed at her friends excitement. She always had a flair for her attire too. “I think it would be lovely, lets get going!”



“Bye Harry!” Luna gave Harry another hug. “Thank you so much, I really can’t wait!”



Harry smiled warmly. “Neither can I Luna, thank you for going with me.”



Luna and Hermione walked out of the flat and apparated to Diagon Alley.



Harry sat back down and chuckled. He really wished Luna was around more to spend time with them. She was always going on expeditions with her father, looking for some unknown creature or artifact. It would be nice to spend an evening with her. 



 ~*~



 The week flew by for Harry and Hermione. Preparations for the ceremony and the ball, not to mention trying to find out why Ron had been sulking, took up much of their week. Ron seemed to be avoiding them, and neither had any idea why. He would come home from work, eat and go directly to his room. He barely said anything to them all week. 



It was the morning of the ceremony. Ron had taken the day off of work, as did Mr. Weasley, Bill, Fred, George, Lupin, Tonks, Mad-Eye, Mr. and Mrs. Granger, Hagrid, Luna and Fleur. Also, Mrs. Weasley came over early to help Hermione and Harry get ready and look their best.



Harry heart swelled with happiness as he put on his dark navy blue Magical Law Enforcement Robes. He looked at the picture of his parents and smiled, wondering if they would be proud of him. 



“Harry, I know what you are thinking, and I know they would be proud of you.” Harry looked up to find a tearful Mrs. Weasley standing in his bedroom door. “I’ve always thought of you as a son, and I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of the man you have become.” Engulfing Harry in one of her bone-crushing hugs, he hugged her back, the emotion evident on his face. He too thought of Mrs. Weasley as a mother, and to make her proud of him meant more than he could ever tell her. 



Mrs. Weasley seemed to gather as much as Harry bent down to give her a kiss on her cheek and mutter a ‘thank you’.



She smiled at him, cupped his cheek in her hand, and turned to walk out of the room, giving him time.



He looked around the pictures in his room. The one he loved the most was of himself and Hermione. She was laughing and smiling, waving at the camera. Then every so often she would turn to look at Harry on her left, who was also smiling and waving, with an arm laced through hers. Hermione looked so happy and when she would turn to look up at him her smile would widen even more. He remembered the day that picture was taken, and remembered the happiness he felt looking down at her face and seeing her smile up at him. 



Harry felt a familiar feeling down in the pit of his stomach that has been there for a few days now, but he quickly pushed it away. There was no way he would ever ruin his friendship with Hermione for anything, nor would he hurt Ron. He knew that underneath he held feelings for Hermione as more than just a friend, and on days like today, when something great was going to happen to the both of them, he sometimes wondered what it would be like to hold her and know she was his. He didn’t want to think of that now though. They had both chosen other people, even if it was proving not to have been the best choice. He vowed never to tell Hermione how he felt, for fear of it causing a great upheaval between them and their friends.



~*~



Hermione was already dressed and putting a smoothing charm on her hair, hoping to contain the frizzies for a few hours. She smiled at herself in the mirror one last time, and walked into the family room where Ron and Mrs. Weasley were waiting for her. 



“You look great Hermione!” Ron went to her and wrapped her in another one of his awkward hugs.



“Oh Hermione, you look beautiful. I’m so proud of you!” Mrs. Weasley came and placed a kiss on her cheek. 



“Thank you Ron, Mrs. Weasley. It means the world to me that you are both here.”



At that moment Harry came out, smiling at Hermione. “You look lovely Mione. Ready to head out?” 



The four of them walked outside and apparated to the Ministry, where the ceremony was being held. Harry and Hermione quickly went to join the others in their class, while Ron and his mother went to find seats with Mr. Weasley and the rest of the gang.



A few moments later, the conductor told everyone to form a line as they were about to be called in.



Hermione flashed a smile up at Harry and got in line with him behind her. He reached his arms around her for one last hug and whispered in her ear, “I’m so proud of you Mione.”



Hermione felt herself start to lean back into his embrace, but managed to catch herself as she felt a tingle racing down her spine. What in the world is going on with me, she thought.


 



“Thank you Harry. I’m…I’m so proud of you too.” At that, they began to walk into the hall to a thunderous applause from the families and friends of loved ones of the current graduating class.


 



They both waved and smiled at their friends and family, before sitting down to listen to Kingley’s speech.



“Thank you all for coming. It is with great honor that I am here to present to you the graduating class for the Magical Law Enforcement. These witches and wizards are the best at what they do. They have been put through strenuous trainings and teachings, and all of them took the challenges and succeeded greatly. We have seen with past experiences, that we can all come together as a group, as a team, as one, and goodness reigns. These fine individuals have also done that again for us. It is with great pleasure that I ask them to come forward now, receive their badges, and take their oath as Ministry Personnel.”



 Hermione and Harry stood up to move forward with the class, as Kingsley took turns pinning their badges on each of them and shaking their hands. When Kingsley made his way towards them, he smile broadened and you could see in his eyes how proud he was of them. He shook their hands vigorously and patted their shoulders before moving on. 



“Now class – if you will repeat after me…,” came Kingley’s booming voice.



 


“I DO SOLEMNLY DECLARE UPON MY HONOUR AND CONSCIENCE THAT I WILL ACT AT ALL TIMES TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY AND KNOWLEDGE IN A MANNER BEFITTING A MAGICAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
I WILL PRESERVE THE DIGNITY AND WILL RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF ALL INDIVIDUALS
I WILL DISCHARGE MY DUTIES WITH INTEGRITY AND WILL PROMOTE UNDERSTANDING AND CONCILIATION
I WILL EXERCISE MY AUTHORITY AS A MAGICAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN THE MANNER INTENDED BY THE LAW
I WILL FAITHFULLY OBEY THE ORDERS OF MY SUPERIORS AND WILL BE READY TO CONFRONT DANGER IN THE LINE OF DUTY
I WILL CONSTANTLY STRIVE TO HONOUR THIS OATH IN MY SERVICE AS A MAGICAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER”



“I now present to you, the graduating Magical Law Enforcement class! Class – take a bow. You’ve earned it.”



The class took a uniform bow and threw their hats in the air. Harry hugged Hermione fiercely to him and she looked up at him, their eyes locked and their smiles radiating. She brushed her lips against his for the quickest second. “Congratulations again Harry” Hermione whispered.    She backed away from him, still staring in his eyes and grabbed his hand to pull him towards their family and friends. 



Harry’s legs felt wooden and heavy all of a sudden. He knew that kiss was innocent right? Someone needed to tell his heart that.



 


Chapter 5: Chapter 5 - The Ball
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A/N: Hey! Thanks again for continuing to read my story. Thanks again for the positive reviews/emails I’ve received. Please leave more though! I love hearing what you guys think! Leave me feedback!!! Also, thank you for the favorite author and alerts for this story. This is my first fanfic, and while it’s taking me a bit to write, I am completely enjoying this. To me, this is how it should have been…with Harry and Hermione. Oh, and don’t worry, no Ron bashing will be in this story!! I love Ron, just not with our Hermione! Here is the 5th chapter – hope you enjoy it!!! Also, a bit of a cliffhanger at the end!!




Chapter 5 – The Ball



Oh Merlin, what did I just do? Hermione’s mind was going in hyper speed as she was hugged by her friends and family. She didn’t know what came over her, but at first she meant to kiss his cheek, but at the last minute she moved and kissed him full on the lips. Even though it was quick, something went through her body that she never felt before.



“…right Hermione?”



 Hermione turned to Ron, realizing she was staring into space, and tried to pay attention to the conversation.



“I’m sorry Ron, I…I didn’t hear what you said.” Her eyes darted quickly to Harry who was being hugged by Luna, looking at Hermione over her shoulder.



“I said, we should head to lunch so we can get back home to get ready for the ball. Hermione, I’m so proud of you!” He put his arm around Hermione and kissed her cheek, giving her shoulders a squeeze.



Hermione looked up into Ron’s eyes. She loved his eyes. Bright blue, warm and friendly. She knew how much Ron cared for her, but right now her mind was on someone else….and that someone was the person who was making her lips still tingle from their all-too-brief kiss.



 “Absolutely! Let’s get going, I’m starving.” Hermione was hoping that a nice lunch at the Burrow with all the Weasleys and friends would keep her mind from wandering where it shouldn’t go. Hermione said good-bye to her parents as they had to head back to work, and apparated to the Burrow.



~*~



 He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Something changed from that brief kiss, and although Harry had no idea what it was, he could feel it. He watched her as Ron kissed her cheek, her eyes on him, then as she stared at Ron, as though trying to figure out why he was next to her and not Harry – at least that’s what he hoped she was thinking. 



He watched her say good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Granger, watched as she gave him one last look and watched as she spun on the spot and apparated to the Burrow. Harry in turn, apparated there, and immediately was pulled by Hermione.



“Harry, can I…talk to you for a minute?”



“Er, yes, sure Mione.” 



“Are you coming inside Hermione?” Ron called from the backdoor.



 “We’ll be in in just a moment Ron. I have to talk to Harry real quick.” Her words sounded rushed, but Ron just nodded and walked back inside.



 Hermione’s hands were shaking and she kept pushing her hair behind her ear. “Um, Harry, I just wanted to, um, apologize for what happened right after the ceremony. I hope I didn’t do anything to make you uncomfortable around me.” She was staring at Harry’s shoes the whole time she spoke, not wanting to look him in the eyes in case he was completely upset for what she did. She never thought that it would have meant as much to him as it did to her.



Harry stared at the top of her head and cleared his throat. He had no idea what to say. He didn’t think the wisest thing would be “can we try that again” so he just sighed and said, “I’ll never be uncomfortable around you Mione, I promise. Everything is fine.”



 Hermione raised her head and looked into his eyes. She knew there was more he wanted to say, but he didn’t. He was probably just going to tell her that he hoped it never happened again. She just nodded and turned to walk back into the Burrow.



 Harry followed her in and sat down at the table. Mrs. Weasley sure outdid herself. Every inch of the table was covered with some delicious treat, and before long, everyone’s plates were filled to the brim. Before anyone could take a bite, Mr. Weasley cleared his throat and stood up.


 



“I just wanted to say how proud I am of you Hermione and Harry. I know you two will be the best the department has ever seen! I’m so glad you are part of our family. To Harry and Hermione!”



“To Harry and Hermione” chorused everyone around the table as they all took a sip from their drinks.



“Ok, everyone, dig in!” said Mrs. Weasley.



“About time!” Ron had already shoved a sausage in his mouth when everyone started laughing at him.



 Hermione felt herself relaxing as she stared around the table. The twins here having an in-depth conversation with Luna about a recent expedition she went on with her father. Hermione thought they might be having a quick joke with her, but were actually interested in what she found. Probably something to help with one of their inventions, she mused. Lupin, Tonks, Mad-Eye, Bill and Mr. Weasley were talking about the latest news at the Ministry. Mrs. Weasley and Fleur were talking about babies, Ron was eating as fast as he could, and Harry was….looking straight at her with a funny look in his eyes.



 Hermione felt herself blush and turned to listen to what Tonks was saying about several of the new Aurors. She could still feel Harry looking at her, so she turned to him and said, “All right, Harry?”



 “Oh, yeah I’m fine. I’m actually looking forward to the dance.”

“Me too! Hey Hermione, what kind of dinner will be served?” Ron said through a mouth-full of food.



 “Honestly Ronald! That really must be all you think about!”



 “Wha….” Ron stopped when he heard Harry and Hermione burst out laughing. Hermione turned to Harry with a smile still on her face and he smiled back. Things were going to be ok between them, she just knew it.



 ~*~



 “Luna, can you zip me up please?” Hermione had just stepped into her dress and had finished applying her makeup with her wand. Luna came over and zipped the dress up slowly and Hermione turned around and faced her. 



“Wow, you look lovely Hermione!” exclaimed Luna. Hermione blushed and turned to look in her full length mirror. I guess I don’t look bad, she thought.



“Luna, you look amazing,” gushed Hermione. Her friend did a cute little spin and started giggling. Luna did look great – even if it was a bit bold. She was wearing a magenta colored floor-length dress, strapless, that had an overlay of a shimmery material that made the dress look like it was sparkling. Her hair was long with gems along her hairline. She had on very simple makeup and very simple jewelry, and it complimented her very well. “Well, let’s go into the family room to meet the boys.” Hermione picked up the hem of her dress and started walking out the door, quickly followed by Luna who was spinning in the mirror again.



Hermione was nervous. She rarely got dressed like this, and she was worried about how she looked, which is something that didn’t plague her often. This was such a great moment in her life though, being inducted, having a ball in her classes honor, and being able to start her dream job. She just wanted everything to be perfect. Plus, she was really looking forward to dancing tonight. 



As she made her way out into the family room, she could hear Harry and Ron talking.



“…she’ll like it? I know it’s a bit of a muggle tradition, but I thought she might appreciate it. I’m hoping her and I will get to have our talk tonight. Harry, do you think Hermione will want to be with me?”



“Er…I’m not sure, Ron. I guess you guys will just have to talk. Either way though, don’t let anything come between your friendship.”



 “Nah, I wouldn’t do that.”



 Hermione figured that now was as good of a time as any to walk in, so she acted like she hadn’t heard the entire conversation. “You wouldn’t do what, Ron?”



 “Oh, um nothing Hermi--” just then Ron turned to look at her and his mouth dropped open. Hermione blushed and looked at Harry, and noticed his mouth was slightly agape as well. Hermione smiled and walked into the room further so Luna could follow. “Hermione, you look stunning.”



 “Thank you Ron, you look very nice too.”



 Harry just stared at her; he couldn’t take his eyes off of her. She looked like a goddess. Her hair was soft and curly, cascading down her back. She had on dark makeup around her eyes and soft shining pink lips. Her dress was royal blue, floor-length, with spaghetti straps and detailed embroidery around her bust. It had a side invert up to her waist where underneath was flowing white satin, a stark contrast to the deep shade of the royal blue. She had on matching royal blue heels, simple silver jewelry, and a white satin clutch. The entire effect was breathtaking.



Harry felt his mouth go dry…the ability of speech escaping him. Finally when her eyes met his again and she said, “You look very nice too Harry,” he realized it was his turn to say something. “You, er, look beautiful Mione.” It was then that Luna did another spin and Harry noticed she was there. “Wow, Luna, you look great! I’m a very lucky man to have you with me.”


 



“Thanks Harry! I’m so excited! I feel like a princess!” Luna did one more spin for effect.



“Hah, you look like one Luna. Hermione, I got something for you.” Ron opened a medium sized black box and held it towards Hermione.



“Oh Ron! How did you know? It’s beautiful!” Hermione took out the wrist corsage and smelled the fresh enchanted white flowers. “Will you put it on me?”



Ron came over to her and slipped it on her wrist, holding her hand.



“Watch out for the Nargles Hermione! They hide everywhere!”



 “I will,” Hermione said laughing.



 “Shall we?” Harry held out his arm for Luna.



 “Of course!” Luna said happily.



 Hermione moved to take Ron’s arm, but kept her gaze on Harry. He did look dashing in his tuxedo, his hair looking wild as always, and his bright green eyes sparkling. This, she realized, was going to be a long night.



~*~



“Can we please sit down now? My feet hurt Mione! You know I don’t like to dance!” Ron kept pulling on Hermione’s arm, trying to get her off the dance floor. He was walking with his legs slightly bent and wincing as if he was in great pain.



“Oh fine! If you are going to act like a baby!” Hermione pulled her arm from his grasp and walked in front of him to a table. She sat down and took a drink from her glass. Ron was really getting on her nerves and all she wanted was to have a good time tonight. They all earned it. She rolled her eyes as Ron sat down next to her and sighed heavily, rubbing on his feet through his shoes. Her eyes scanned the crowd on the dance floor and she saw Luna being twirled by a laughing Harry. Luna’s eyes were twinkling and she had a huge smile on her face. Hermione was glad Luna was having so much fun, and it looked like Harry was enjoying himself too. 



Harry looked over at their table and saw Hermione sitting back down again with Ron. Merlin, she looked beautiful. He looked back down at Luna when she said, “Can we sit for a second Harry, I’m parched!” He nodded and walked with her to their table.



“Oh my! I’m having such a great time! Thank you so much again Harry! Having fun Mione?”



 “I’m having a great time Luna…if someone would just want to dance with me instead of complaining the whole time!”



“What? I hate these shoes Mione, and you know I don’t like to dance,” whined Ron.



Before Hermione could answer, Harry saw his chance. “Mione, may I have this dance?”



 Hermione looked up at him and felt herself blush a little. He was holding out his hand to her with his other arm behind his back, bending down. She thought how cute he looked and couldn’t help herself. “Of course Mr. Potter, how could I refuse?” She giggled a little and took his hand allowing him to lead her onto the dance floor.



 He spun her around once and then brought his other hand up to her back. They started swaying in time to the music. Harry loved having her close to him. It was like home. He looked down at her to find her staring at him, a look of complete contentment on her features. 



 “Thank you for asking me to dance. I was wondering when the best looking guy here was going to ask me!”



 Blushing Harry said, “I don’t know, want me to go ask him to find out when?”



 Hermione laughed and lightly slapped his chest. “Haha funny. Looks like you and Luna are having a great time.”



 “We are, I’m glad you mentioned for me to ask her. I forgot how much I love spending time with her.”



 “Yeah, I wish she was home more,” said Hermione. “At least she’s getting a laugh out of Ron, look at her.”



 Harry looked over and saw Luna talking animatedly to Ron, making sweeping hand movements and Ron’s face red from laughter. Harry started laughing. He looked back at Hermione and saw her smiling too. “Yes, but he’s losing out on spending time with you!”



 “Oh Harry, he keeps trying to bring up ‘the talk’ we’re supposed to have, and I don’t want to ruin tonight. Maybe Luna will get his mind off of it!”



 I doubt that, Harry thought. He knew from his earlier conversation with Ron that he was hoping to talk to Hermione tonight. “Mione, sweetie, he’s going to have it tonight, I have no doubt about that. Are you ready to talk to him?”



 Hermione sighed. “Yeah I guess so. I mean I know I don’t want to be his girlfriend, but I’d hate to hurt him. He’s just not the one for me,” she said, biting her lip.



 Harry knew he had to keep his feelings in check. Right now he wanted nothing more than to tell Hermione he’d like that chance, and he’d love to kiss her again, but he knew it wasn’t the right time and place. He had to think about things, weigh out the consequences before he even brought anything up to Hermione. Just a few hours ago, everything changed. That one simple kiss. Maybe everything didn’t change, maybe he had just always hid his feelings because he knew how Ron felt about her. Whatever the reason was, he knew now was not the time to act on impulse. She looked up at him with her big brown warm eyes, still biting her lip. Harry licked his lips and just stared at her, unsure of what to say.



 “Can I ask you something Harry?” Hermione asked, interrupting his thoughts.



 “O…Of course Mione, anything.”



 “Well, I’m not sure how to say this, so I just will. I’ve been doing something thinking lately, and I know this is horrible timing, but Harry, since our kiss, I’ve been…”



 Harry felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around. “GINNY???”


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