Somewhere, deeply embedded within every child is that amazing ability to wake up early on Christmas morning. Hermione was no exception and at the crack of dawn, her eyes fluttered open. She threw off her duvet and jumped out of bed to find a stocking full of presents, just like there had always been, at the end of her bed. Leaving the stocking where it lay, Hermione went over to the window and opened her curtains to reveal falling snowflakes and a new layer of snow. As Hermione gazed out at the winterised garden she chewed her bottom lip nervously then turned and looked at her closed bedroom door. 'Should I?' She questioned herself. She knew she really wanted to and she also knew that she was never going to get back to sleep. 'And hey,' she rationalised 'it is Christmas.'
The internal debate settled, Hermione rushed out of her bedroom and straight into Harry's, throwing herself on his bed to lie right beside him.
“Merry Christmas Harry” She said, reaching over to give him a huge hug.
Harry had just awoken and was staring at the photograph of the sun rise when his first Christmas present of the day came bounding into his room and flung herself onto his bed. He tried his hardest but he couldn't suppress a smile that formed at the sight of Hermione.
“Merry Christmas to you too” Harry said, returning her hug. “What's the time?”
“Meh” Hermione replied, shrugging her shoulders. “It's Christmas, so early. There's a stocking overflowing with presents at the end of your bed,” Hermione pointed out to Harry, who looked at Hermione slightly shocked. He had never had a Christmas stocking before.
“Really” Harry inquired, sitting up and crawling to the end of the bed to take a look. Sure enough Hermione was telling the truth and a large red stocking with white trim, sat at the end of his bed, jam packed with presents. Unable to resist the urge, Harry reached over and grabbed his stocking, emptying its contents onto his bed. 'To Harry, From Santa', Harry read aloud, puzzled. Harry looked at Hermione who was grinning at his bewilderment. Jumping up, she dashed out the door and returned seconds later carrying her own laden stocking and promptly upended it, spilling presents in all directions. Hermione immediately picked one up and started feeling it.
“This is a toothbrush” Hermione proclaimed. Harry just looked at her in confusion. “Go on Harry, get opening.”
“But...” Harry stammered, “Who did this, is this your mum and dad?”
“No, of course not Harry, it's Santa” Hermione replied smiling sweetly at him. “Well, go on, its tradition in this house that you can open anything in your stocking as early as you want. But you always have to have a guess at what it is first.”
Harry needed no second bidding and for the next half hour or so Hermione and Harry, felt, guessed and opened a wide range of little nicknack's that 'Santa' had given them. Hermione had received an assortment of toiletries, hair accessories, pajama's, books and chocolate. Harry had a similar array of items including toothbrushes, puzzles, hair gel, socks, and sweets.
“Wow,” Harry said, looking at his pile in amazement, “remind me to thank Santa”.
Hermione smiled back at him. “I always like opening my stocking. My collection of toiletries get stocked up for another year, although 'Santa' doesn't quite know about the amazing products we have in the wizarding world. But then again, I do like the taste of minty gel toothpaste.”
Harry chuckled thinking about his own fondness for minty gel toothpaste and sat up and looked over the end of his bed. But much to his disappointment, there was nothing there from Ron, Ginny or Hagrid which was highly unusual. Sensing Harry's disappointment, Hermione quickly put his mind at ease.
“They'll be under the tree Harry, that's where they always are.”
“Well that makes sense,” Harry said, knowing that there was no possible way that his friends would have forgotten him. With the stockings empty, silence fell upon the room. Hermione began to clean up the wrapping paper that was strewn around the room and Harry helped. It felt so strange for him to be cleaning up wrapping paper from presents that had been for him. The Dursley's idea of a Christmas present was usually old socks, and they would most probably be wrapped in newspaper, but more than likely, they wouldn't be wrapped at all. And while Dudley would get to play with his new toys, Harry would be left to clean up the mess.
“Is everything all right Harry” Hermione asked, noticing his sad expression.
“Yeah” Harry replied smiling, “I was just thinking back to all the terrible Christmas's that I have had to endure with the Dursleys. I believe that I probably just opened more presents than the Dursley's have given me in a lifetime.”
“It must have been dreadful living there. I don't think I could ever really comprehend how they treated you.” Hermione said sympathetically.
“Considering the other things I've had to deal with, living with the Dursley's seems like paradise.” Harry replied dryly.
“Oh Harry,” Hermione said, feeling tears start to form as she saw the painfully memories behind Harry's eyes. She put the wrapping paper she was holding down and put a hand on Harry's shoulder. “We'll just have to make up for all those terrible Christmas's today and make this one the best ever.”
Harry looked into Hermione's sweet face then took her into his arms. “Thanks Hermione” Harry said, “but I think it already is.”
Harry released Hermione, much to her disappointment and they continued to clean up the paper. The house was still and quiet and behind the curtains, the world was still dark. Once everything was tidied away, Harry turned to Hermione and asked “So what do we do now? The sun isn't even up.”
“Take a look outside” Hermione instructed.
Harry stood and opened the curtains to find the snow glowing with the first touch of the sun that was starting to sneak up on the horizon. The clouds that had brought the new snow over night were drifting away but a few stray snowflakes fluttered down to the worlds icy blanket.
Harry couldn't suppress the happiness that filled him and he turned to Hermione “Lets go make an snowman” he said, his eyes alight with excitement. He had never had a white Christmas before and having his first one with Hermione was something special. Harry's enthusiasm was contagious and Hermione jumped off the bed saying “I'll just get into something warm” as she run into her room.
Once back in her room, Hermione took a minute to calm herself before pulling out her warm clothes. She couldn't believe how amazing the day was already, from the snow, to the presents, to the hugs she had receive from Harry, all before the sun had fully risen. She had never spent so much time with Harry, and with every moment, she learnt something more about him and realised how deep he was. Life had never been easy for Harry but he continued to smile. His strength was amazing and his love for life unquestionable, and one never grew too old to make a snow man on a Christmas morning.
A few minutes later, Harry and Hermione were in the snow, rugged up in their winter coats, scarves, hats and gloves. As the sun rose, the two teenagers rolled and piled up the snow to create a snow man as tall as they were. Carefully, they molded the snow into two large spheres that made up the body and head. Once the shape was perfected they collected sticks and stones from the garden and stuck them into their snow man to give him a face and some arms.
Hot from all the effort, Harry took off his scarf and hat and clothed the new watcher of the front yard. Beside him, Hermione started to laugh.
“What?” Harry asked, confused as to what was so funny.
“You should see your hair” Hermione managed to say between giggles, “Its a right shambles. It totally wins a gold medal for hat hair.”
Harry was not sure how to respond to this, so while Hermione stood and admired their masterpiece and added the finishing touches, Harry knelt down and scooped himself up a handful of snow and created a well compacted snowball.
Hermione carefully placed the last small stone onto the snowman to form the bottom button. She was so happy right now with the soft rays of the sun on her face and Harry beside her. Every time he smiled, every time he laughed, Hermione knew that her feelings for him had evolved to a point where there was no turning back. Suddenly a snow ball pelted into her shoulder, bringing Hermione quickly back to the present. Stunned, Hermione stared at Harry, her mouth open in shock at Harry's deliberate act of war. Quickly regaining her composure, Hermione bent down and formed her own snow ball.
“Two can play at that game Potter!” she cried, taking aim and sending her snow ball careening towards Harry, who skillfully dodged it. Unfortunately, in a snow ball war against the best seeker that Hogwarts had seen, it was unlikely that she would win.
“Better luck next time” Harry said, launching his next snow ball and then taking off for cover.
Hermione scooped up another handful of snow and took off after him. Laughter filled the air as Harry and Hermione engaged in a snow ball fight of epic proportions. The trees and fences of the Granger's garden proved useful barricades against the barrage of snowballs that were being thrown as the battle waged on unrelenting for tens of minutes. Eventually, tiredness took its toll, and breathing heavily, Hermione slumped down on to the snow behind the tree that she was using for protection.
“Truce” she yelled.
“Truce” Harry yelled back, tentatively steeping out from behind the garden shed and dropping his ammunition, hoping that Hermione wasn't about to make a final onslaught.
But true to her word, Hermione rolled out from behind the tree and got to her feet.
“I'm exhausted” she said, in between gasps. Needing to rest her tired limbs, Hermione sunk down to the ground and lay on her back, gazing up at the pale blue sky above, all clouds had dissipated and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. 'But then again' Hermione thought to herself 'even if it was a blizzard outside, with Harry here, it will always be a beautiful day'. Stretching out her arms and legs, Hermione began to make a snow angel and she was soon joined by Harry who lay down beside her.
Her angel completed, Hermione turned to look at Harry who smiled back at her.
“I have a feeling” she said, losing herself once again in his green eyes, “that this is going to be the best Christmas ever.”
“Yeah, I agree,” he said, looking at Hermione's sweet smile.
And there they lay, just gazing at each other as the day began, and children everywhere awoke to find their presents. But Harry and Hermione were oblivious to the world around them, both lost in each others eyes and in their own thoughts.
Unbeknown to both of them, from the bedroom window above Mr and Mrs Granger looked at the scene below them and smiled at each other. They had known, as parents always do, that their was more than friendship in the looks and the smiles that passed between their daughter and Harry. The only question that remained was when would Harry and Hermione realise what their parents had sensed all along.
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