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    He stood on the banks of the lake letting its darkness close in around him as he thought about the times of his past. His long black robes swaying in the gentle breeze coming off the water.
    “Harry!” Hermione said as she burst through the great double doors and raced down off the steps and across the lawn, Harry never tearing his eyes away from the solid piece of water in front of him. Hermione ran toward Harry, her gold Valedictorian robes billowing out behind her. “What are you waiting for? We’re about to start.” said Hermione as she reached his shoulder.
    Harry finally turned his head to look at Hermione and said, “I’m ready, I was collecting my thoughts.” They both turned on their heels and jogged back to the steps.

    Inside the entry hall all the graduating students were talking to one another excitedly. Harry and Hermione found Ron sitting on the bottom step of the staircase. Ron stood and greeted them as they made their way through the last two chatty seventh years. “There you are” Ron was suddenly interrupted by Professor McGonagle who’d just pushed open the big doors in which led to the Great Hall.
    “Now, students you remember how we practiced entering? Well now is the time.” The students merged into the two lines they had practiced earlier with Hermione and Professor McGonagle leading the way. They marched down the main isle with all their family and friends surrounding them in nicely lined rows of chairs. In the ceiling all the house colors were being represented by colored candles floating just feet above their heads. Once at the stage Hermione followed behind Professor McGonagle to the podium while the two lines divided and went their separate ways as practiced. Once everyone was settled again Professor McGonagle introduced Hermione. “And now our Valedictorian.” Mcgonagle stepped back and gently put her hand on the middle of Hermione’s back and gave her a little push to the podium.
    Hermione stopped just inches from the podium and turned to give McGonagle a hug and in her ear she whispered, “thank you”. McGonagle just smiled and stepped behind Hermione and off the stage to sit with the other teachers. Hermione finally, fully stepped up to the podium, smiled sweetly to the audience, and began her speech. “When we are born our life is like a corridor, long, and full of doors. We enter different doors all along this corridor, some good, and some bad. You have to choose the doors you go through there is no one there to choose them for you. So I would hope that you will choose all the right doors.” Hermione turned slightly to her classmates and finished, “you all deserve the right doors; the opportunities are there you just have to seize them while you can.” She turned to Mcgonagle and gave her a smile and a nod and retreated to her seat beside Ron.
    Mcgonagle stepped up to the podium and thanked Hermione before beginning. Ron gently squeezed Hermione’s hand and whispered, “Good job” Hermione wouldn’t let go of his hand she just turned her head and pecked him on the cheek. Ron’s face went scarlet as Mcgonagle began to introduce the students.
    “The following students are the graduating class of 2007.” She pulled the top scroll off the stack in front of her. Each scroll was made of slightly yellowed parchment with a black ribbon tied around it; on the ribbon was a tag with each student’s name. “Our Valedictorian, Hermione Granger” Hermione’s parents and Mr. and Mrs. Weasly stood and they cheered and clapped from the third row. Once everyone was seated Mcgonagle continued. “Cho Chang” as Cho received her scroll her family cheered her on. “Vincent Crabbe, Seamus Finnegan, Gregory Goyle” she let the three people and their families resettle before continuing. “Angelina Johnson, Neville Longbottom” she took a breath before starting again. “Draco Malfoy, Padma Patil, Parvati Patil.” She paused and took a deep breath before saying the name on the next tag. “Now the following student has been an exceptional student, not that everyone else has, but he goes far beyond all expectations, this student is nun other than, Harry Potter!” Harry went pink as he accepted his diploma. Mr. and Mrs. Weasly gave him a standing ovation as he reunited with Hermione on the other side of the stage. “And now Dean Thomas and Ronald Weasly.” She finished handing them their diplomas and waited patiently for their families to settle before speaking. “Now, this is the graduating class of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry class of 2007.” She retreated from the podium to let everyone celebrate.
    “Harry!” Ginny, Ron’s little sister came running through the crowd toward Harry. She jumped into Harry’s arms kissing him long and hard. She broke off and whispered in his ear, “Congratulations, I love you so much.” Harry replied with another passionate kiss. Ginny wanted to let go, to fall into Harry’s warm body, but she couldn’t she’d promised Harry she’d wait. No matter how long, she’d wait; she’d wait always and forever for Harry. She wanted him to be her one and only.
    “Congratulations!” the mothers said as they pushed through the crowd. Ginny quickly fell off Harry, she new they wouldn’t approve of her behavior. She just looked at Harry smiling and lacing her fingers through his.
    “Thanks” said Hermione taking a bouquet of yellow roses from her mother.
    “Now you are all invited to dinner at the Burrow. And I won’t take no for an answer.” Mrs. Weasly said with a giggle in her voice.
    “Hello, kids I just wanted to personally congratulate you and express how truly proud I am of you. And you know Professor Dumbledore would be too.” Everyone was silent for a moment as they remembered their late headmaster.
    “Well, I hope to see you soon and don’t think even for a second that I won’t be keeping my eye on you…” she finished with a wink and a smile as she stepped back into the crowd.

    * * *

    Later, at the burrow Mrs. Weasly and Mrs. Granger were working busily in the kitchen. They were making food enough to feed an army.
    Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny were out in the yard. Harry and Ron were playing their own version of Quidditch above the girls sitting on a blanket in the grass watching the boys and laughing at them. “I can’t wait until I graduate!” said Ginny to Hermione, for she was one year behind them.
    “Well, you only have one more year, but don’t look forward to it because as soon as you graduate you’ve got to start thinking about a job.” Hermione said pulling her thick hair off her warm neck. Just then the boys landed with a thud on the green grass in front of them.
    “Well, do you think we should head in?” Harry said gesturing to the house.
    “No, not yet…” Ginny said grabbing Harry’s wrist and pulling him down onto the blanket beside her, laughing as she leaned in to kiss him. Ron just cleared his throat uncomfortably and shuffled his feet. Hermione twisted a blade of grass between her fingers nervously watching Ron out of the corner of her eye.
    “Do…uh…do you want to sit down?” Hermione asked smoothing out the corner of blanket beside her.
    “Sure.” He sat down on the grass instead of the blanket. Hermione sort of deflated. She was looking forward to being that near him. “Do you want to go check on dinner with me?” Ron said standing and offering her his hand.
    “Yeah let’s go…” Ginny answered for Hermione. Ginny grabbed Harry’s hand and pulled Hermione up and led them both back to house leaving Ron to walk behind them. Hermione looked back as she was led away from Ron with a ‘sorry’ look on her face.
    “Yum, it smells good in here, Mum” Ginny said as the four of them made their way into the bustling kitchen.
    “Well thank you, Dear, nearly done if you all want to start making your plates.” Mrs. Weasly replied. “Oh, Ron will you and Hermione go out to the shed and get the spare chairs out there?” Mrs. Weasly asked with her back to them.
    “Yeah, but can’t you just…” Ron’s sentence trailed off as his mom just shooed him out of the house with Hermione walking stiffly behind him.
    “Couldn’t she have gotten them herself?” Hermione tried to make small talk because the silence was unnerving. Ron just shrugged and kept trudging along on the uneven grass not looking at her. “Ron, is there something wrong? Did I do something or say something?” And again Ron just shrugged. “Ron! Why won’t you look at me or even talk to me?” Hermione ran ahead of him and grabbed his shoulders, staring into his eyes. Ron stopped short; his eyes grew big like a deer in headlights. Then the next thing Ron knew Hermione was pressing her lips into his and slowly moving her hands around his shoulders. At first Ron stood stalk-still, but then he started to loosen up and lifted his hands to gingerly touch the small of her back. They parted and looked down at their hands lacing themselves together. When their eyes met again they were smiling.
    “No, nothing’s wrong…” Ron replied as they walked the rest of the way to the shed. When they reached the door to the shed they opened it and found that the chairs were gone.
    “Do you think your mum had something to do with this?” Hermione said smiling at Ron.
    “That would be my best bet….” They closed the door and went back to house.

    “Mum, the chairs weren’t out there.” Ron said as he and Hermione found Mrs. Weasly in the kitchen.
    “Oh, yeah I forgot that I had sent your father out there earlier…sorry” Mrs. Weasly grinned and handed them their plates.
    “Yeah sure…” Ron replied taking him and Hermione’s plates from his mother’s hands. After stepping out of the kitchen they held hands again, just long enough to get to the back door where Ginny and Harry were sitting on the blanket from earlier in the yard.
    “There you are; we were getting worried” said Ginny jokingly. Hermione and Ron sat down side-by-side on the blanket and looked to Ginny and Harry with a smile. Ron and Hermione slowly moved their hands together and Ginny’s jaw dropped, “No... Really?” a smile spreading quickly over her cheeks.
    Ron and Hermione looked at each other smiling then back to Harry and Ginny. All four fell down on each other laughing. “Well it’s about time!” Harry said after their laughing fit.
    “I know…Ron” Hermione said to Ron with an accusatory voice, but she couldn’t stay that way for long, so she began to laugh again and the rest joined in.

    The party was beginning to die down as the sun fell behind the mountains. “Maybe you could stay… I know Harry is… It’s only a suggestion, if you don’t…” Hermione put her finger on his lips to get him to stop talking
    “I would love to stay, but do you know what I would love more?” They both smiled and wrapped their arms around each other and kissed. They were still kissing when Harry and Ginny approached them through the hedge they had climbed through for privacy.
    “Yeah know Harry we never thought about hiding behind the hedge before.” Ginny said looking around, “this would be nice make-out spot, don’t you think Hermione and Ron?” Hermione and Ron were now slightly embarrassed.
    “Sorry…” Hermione and Ron replied.
    “Well are you staying?” Ginny asked Hermione stepping closer to Harry because a breeze had kicked up and it was getting chilly. Harry and Ron wrapped their arms tightly around their girls to keep them warm.
    “Yeah, if it’s okay with my parents. Can we go in now? Not that I don’t enjoy snuggling up to you its just cold.” Hermione said snuggling closer to Ron’s warm body.

    “Mum, could I stay here with them?” Hermione asked her parents who were gathering their coats and scarves.
    “Um… I guess, if it’s alright with Molly and Arthur.” They said looking to one another as if to receive their answer there.
    “Yeah!” Hermione turned to Ron and gave him a big squeeze and ran into the kitchen to ask Mrs. Weasly. “Mrs. Weasly…Molly, could I stay the night? My parents have already okayed it.” Hermione said once she had reached Mrs. Weasly.
    “Yes, of course Dear you are always welcome in my home.” Hermione jumped up with a smile stretched across her cheeks and ran to say goodbye to her mum and dad.
    “So what did she say?” Mr. Granger asked as soon as Hermione got close enough to hear.
    “She said ‘yes’… goodbye…goodbye” she said nudging her parents out the door.
    “Hey, hey, hey slow down little missy I know your excited, but I want a hug and a kiss before we go.” Mrs. Granger said with her arms wide to collect her daughter in a warm embrace. Hermione obliged as she wrapped her arms around her mother and gave her a kiss on the cheek, her mother did the same.
    “Okay, now are you leaving?” Hermione said with a sigh.
    “Yeah know it seams like she’s trying to be rid of us, don’t you think?” Mr. Granger asked as if Hermione was no longer present.
    “Hey, I’m right here…” Hermione said to her parents in reply to her father’s statement.
    “Alright well sleep tight” Mr. Granger leaned down and kissed Hermione on the forehead.
    “Goodnight honey” Mrs. Granger said as she and her husband walked out into the cold and brittle night.

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