Harry looked around the battlefield. The courtyard, now strewn with rubble and the signs of battle, had once been a serene oasis among the castle classrooms. How often had he sat in the various areas and discussed class or his classmates? He stood on one leg atop a small pile and at the bottom was a very dead Lord Voldemort, his cold and vacant eyes staring at nothing.
Harry was sure he should be happy or elated…or something. Instead he felt only tired and weary, bone weary. He stepped on his other leg that had suffered a bruise from a random hex during the battle and it caused him to fall to one knee. He looked over at Ron and Hermione twenty feet away jumping up and down.
Harry had done it. He had killed Voldemort before Voldemort could kill him!
Ron and Hermione kissing was the last thing he remembered before he passed out. Ron and Hermione looked at each other in shock and dismay after they broke the kiss. To his astonishment, it was not what Ron had thought it would be, it was not as passionate as he had imagined. Hermione looked over to Harry and screamed as she saw him lying on the ground. Hermione could not get to him fast enough.
Harry, sometime later, awoke in a meadow. He raised himself up on his elbows and felt the soft fern grass that was beneath him. Next to him was a large tree, its branches reached out in a multitude of directions to cover him from the sunlight that filtered lightly through.
If Harry were to guess, he would have thought it was the middle of summer as the light breeze rolled gently across him. It was making pleasant contact with his exposed skin and was perfect for an afternoon nap. He could sense nothing out of kilter until a faint giggle from behind him brought his defensive reflexes out. He jumped and reached for his wand but his hand came up empty.
He heard a soft voice “Harry you have no need to defend yourself here.” The soft female voice said. Harry turned his head as a mane of hair he was familiar with brought Hermione from behind the tree. “Feeling better?” she asked him.
“I’m not sure.” Harry replied. “I don’t hurt as much as I did.” Harry looked around carefully “Hermione, where are we?” he asked her next.
Hermione smiled “We are everywhere…we are nowhere…we are in between. It is a place to decide where to go and what to do.” She told him.
“What is the last thing you remember?” she asked him.
Harry replied while scratching his head “Voldemort had fallen, I had killed him with the elder wand and then the rest of the death eaters gave up. I looked over and saw you and Ron...kissing?” Harry physically grimaced when he said the last.
Hermione walked over and ran her hand over his shoulder “It hurt to see that, didn’t it?” she asked softly. It was not a question but a gentle statement that Harry didn’t answer but let his head drop.
“Hermione you and Ron are my best friends…why would that hurt me to see you two happy?” he asked in return.
Hermione stopped in front of him “Because you love me.” she said as a matter of fact. Harry’s mouth fell open as he began to speak “If you know that, then you don’t feel the same because you kissed Ron. It is him you love.” Harry stated.
Hermione smacked his head “Harry, don’t be dense. That kiss had to happen in order for the three of us to stay friends. Ron had built an imaginary Hermione up in his mind…one he thought he was in love with. I had to show him those feelings were not real.” Hermione paused and looked down. “Harry I have always been in love with you. I know you don’t feel the same and that you will end up with Ginny.” A small tear rolled from her eye.
“Harry I have accepted that I will never have you that way. You have already broken my heart twice, once with Cho and now with Ginny. I will always be your best friend. I accept that.” Hermione turned to have her back toward Harry. “You and I have always had a special connection?”
Harry looked dumbstruck “Hermione it means everything to me… I have loved you since the third year...but Ron told me last year that he had feelings for you. I couldn’t very well tell you how I felt if you loved him, now could I?”
Hermione said nothing for a moment Harry moved to the front to face Hermione. He carefully lifted her chin up to look at him. “Hermione I was so afraid to place anyone in danger because of Voldemort. I have lost so many and I just couldn’t bare to lose anyone else.”
Hermione looked into his eyes “Harry what about what I want? What about my feelings?” Hermione hesitated “What about Ginny?”
Harry gave her a very sad smile “Ginny is a part of my adopted family…Ginny is my adopted sister. I broke up with Ginny because my heart belongs to another…it always has.”
Harry looked at her “Hermione your feelings are what mattered. I did not want to put you in a position to choose between us. It would be unfair to do that to you and I refused to be unfair.”
Hermione leaned in towards Harry and placed a light kiss on his lips “That Harry is why I love you. You care enough about me that you would do nothing to harm me, even if it makes you miserable.” Hermione held him in a hug which he returned.
Harry’s emotions were going crazy. Hermione was doing exactly what he had hoped… she would do…Harry looked around and it finally dawned on him “You are not Hermione and I am dead again aren’t I?”
Harry sensed a presence behind him and elderly woman came from around the other side of the tree. Hermione’s image began to disappear like a wisp of smoke that had never been real to begin with.
“Hello Mr. Potter. I was told you are very clever and it appears they were right. I am Marie.” She said with a smile “I am much like a guide in this place but I can only do so much, the rest is completely up to you.”
Harry sat down “Hermione being here was my conscious, she is and was the voice in my head.”
Marie gave a long sigh “Harry she is the love of your life.” Harry looked at her, unsure of how to reply.
Harry let a tear fall “At least her world will be better now. They both deserve some happiness after what we have been through.” Marie sat down in front of him.
“What about you Harry? What do you deserve?” Harry looked down at his feet.
“It was never about me. I never had a choice in what happened. I was just expected to get things done...to kill Voldemort.” Harry sighed as he looked out at the meadow with his arms over his legs. “I have served my purpose.” Harry said with no animosity. “I saved the world before I died and my friend’s lives will be better for it.”
Marie frowned “Harry, there is such a thing as justice in the universe and it is not so perverse as to allow a child to carry the world on his shoulders just to rob him of his happiness.”
Harry shook his head “I think it’s better if I move on. I would only feel like a third wheel around the two of them and caring about her like I do… it would be torture to watch them. It is better this way…for everyone involved.”
“Harry why are you so sure?” Marie asked
“Because Hermione loves him, she loves Ron not me and I love her enough that I want her to be happy…even if it is not with me.” Harry dug a stick into the dirt “I have had enough pain….and disappointment in my life.”
“Tsk, Tsk, Tsk, so willing to give it all up for the greater good, eh Harry.” Marie chided him. “What if your wrong, what if your death made their lives worse, not better? You assume one simple kiss means something it may not. Would you like to see what has happened in the month you have been gone?”
Harry’s head looked up “I have been gone for a month?” Marie nodded to him.
“Harry you are in a coma.” Maria told him. “You are in between and there is no physical reason you should not be awake, unless you have lost the will to live?”
Harry looked at her for many seconds and then sighed as he bowed his head “What is the point? I just wanted to be loved and have some peace.” Harry let another small tear roll down his face “I will only lose her if I go back, I was never meant to be…happy.”
Marie’s face had a sad look on it “Thus, why you are still here, I suspect.” Marie shifted herself on the grass. “Harry it is possible that you are wrong and that everything you want is within your grasp, all you have to do is embrace it.” Marie sighed as she got no reaction from him “Harry, you don’t seem like a person who would stop because things are a little tough, otherwise Voldemort would still be alive. Just close your eyes and let yourself feel.” She told him.
Harry sat there feeling numb and raised his head to look around “Here I can have peace.” He told her. “It's not fair to make me go back only to be tortured by wanting something I can’t have.”
Marie gave another sigh “Wanting something is what makes human’s special. Without a desire to have something, humans would still be throwing stones at each other. It is what makes you so beautiful and so ugly.”
“Harry at this point you have nothing to lose. Try this and you can go to your death with a clear conscious. But at least you will have tried.” Marie told him.
Harry shrugged and then closed his eyes. At first, he only heard the glen and the animals that were in it. He softly heard someone crying and then felt pressure and heat on his hand. Someone was squeezing it. He used his senses to get closer to the person crying.
“Please Harry, please come back to me. I need you. You defeated Voldemort and he is gone from our lives. Everything I have wanted in life will be gone if you don’t return.” He heard a soft whisper in his ear. He waited to hear more but heard only someone’s soft crying.
Through the crying he heard other fainter voices as a girl and a guy talked. “Ron, we can’t let her go on like this. We have to do something.” Harry heard someone say in the background.
“Luna, what can we do, she put a shield up that nobody can get through. Everyone has tried, even the Ministry. She won’t eat right. Even I am convinced that she doesn’t want to live…she wants to be with him. What was the point of going through all of this, if in the end they are not around, it’s bloody un-fair.” Ron said with disgust.
Harry heard the voice closet to him again “Harry, he is right. I don’t want to be without you. I need you...if you are gone, I wouldn’t care anymore.” The voice told him. Harry realized that this voice he had heard whispering in his ear was Hermione.
Harry felt bad and confused. He realized that he could not leave her like this. He felt himself go back into his body. He heard Marie’s voice “Tell her Harry, you have nothing to lose.” Her voice and presence faded to the background.
Harry felt his arms and sensed that he was back. He wiggled a finger and felt movement on his leg. He slowly moved his arms and wrapped them around Hermione as he moved his head to whisper in her ear “Hermione, I love you with all my heart.” He then kissed her cheek.
Hermione sat up in surprise and grabbed his face as he blinked. “What did you say…Harry, Harry….What did you just say?” she asked him.
Harry grinned and said “Water…I need water.” Hermione reached for the glass and lifted his head so he could drink from it.” Hermione sat the drink down and hugged him as she began to cry again, this time tears of happiness.
“Harry I thought you were gone.” she choked out between sobs. Harry lifted up his head and looked at Ron, who was smiling broadly at him.
“I would help you mate but the bloody girl has gone mental on us. She won’t let anyone near you.” Ron told him.
Harry nodded his understanding “Can you bring some food up here I am starving and I am sure that Hermione could use something too.”
Ron smiled “You sound just like me, I will be right back and Harry try to get her to release the shield will you?”
Harry lay back and looked at Hermione “I am sorry it took me so long to get back.” Hermione was able to calm down and was looking at him. Her expression was not readily apparent, at least to others, Harry understood it as he had seen it many times before. Hermione was intrigued, happy, and above all, curious.
Harry watched her emotions play across her face as he looked at her. She took a small breath to steel her nerves “What did you say when you woke up?” she asked again.
Harry grinned “Do you love Ron?”
Hermione looked down at him with her eyes opening slightly. Of all the replies from Harry this is one she never would have guessed he would ask. Harry was too guarded and closed to talk about his emotions or how he felt. Hermione was not sure where this had come from…or why, so she answered with a statement to avoid the question “Harry that is not an easy question to answer, its complicated.”
“Hermione, do you love Ron like a girlfriend…or a wife would? That is not a hard question to answer.” Harry watched her with amusement. He knew she was not used to this from him but he had to know where she stood in regards to Ron. Harry grabbed her hand “Is Ron ever going to be more than your best friend?” Harry added “We have always danced around what we feel for each other and I think its time to see where we stand.” He told her
Hermione wiped her eyes “Where we stand?” she asked.
“Yes, Hermione, Where do the three of us stand? I saw you two kissing before I passed out.” Harry told her point blank.
Hermione hesitated just the briefest of time “I don’t love Ron like a girlfriend or a wife would or should.” She looked at him with wonder “I feel like he is a brother to me. She added.
Harry smiled “Then what I said before is that I love you with all of my heart. If you feel the same way about me, now would be the time to say so.” Hermione looked at him with shock and much curiosity and a smile grew on her face.
“Harry, this is not like you to be this direct with your emotions…what happened to you?” she asked him.
Harry responded directly to her “Let’s see I have been in a coma missing a girl who is one of my closest friends, I am finally free for the first time in my life and I have a future. Hermione, for the first time I can think about something other than dying.” Harry had watched her eyes the entire time “Hermione, it’s a future that would be something much less without you in it.” Harry told her.
Hermione leaned back “You were thinking of me in your coma?” she grinned at him.
Ron had come through the door with a food tray as Harry, exasperated, yelled “Hermione do you love me…yes or no?”
Ron chuckled at him as he answered for her “Harry that would be a definite yes! No one goes that mental if they don’t love someone.”
Harry looked at Ron “You are ok with this mate? I saw you two kissing after the battle. I thought you…”
Ron smiled “I did too for all of two seconds after that kiss. It was like kissing my aunt, no offense Hermione.” Ron told her.
“No offense taken, Ron.” She replied. Hermione did not start to explain until Harry looked at her. “I have had deep feelings for you for a long time.” Hermione picked at his blanket “Harry, for the last seven years what you needed was your friend Hermione the bookworm. What you did not need was the hormonal teenager who fell for you. I promised you I would help you defeat Voldemort, everything else came second.”
Hermione looked him in the eyes “I think the sweetest thing you could have said to me was what you said coming out of your coma.” She looked at him with her tired, red rimmed eyes.
Harry sat up with his arms holding him up “You did hear that didn’t you?” Hermione smiled at him and nodded to him. “Well I heard you, Mrs. Bookworm, say hormonal teenager and she fell for me. Hormonal that has a very nice image with it.” Harry said with his lopsided grin. Hermione’s face blushed and she almost laughed at him.
She grabbed his shirt collar “If you don’t say it again while I know you are conscious, I may finish what Voldemort started.” She said with a wink. “It’s the hormones.” she said to him with a smile
Harry placed his arms around Hermione as he moved his nose one inch from hers. He stated so everyone in the room could hear “I love you Hermione Granger with all my heart and I have since our third year. If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with me, then I will go back into my coma because I don’t want to spend one moment of my life without you.”
Hermione was crying now as big pools of water formed. Harry tentatively wiped her eyes. “Hermione, I want more than anything to be with you and I am sure of it. You are the main reason it took so long for my return. I thought I had lost you to another and your pain from my absence is why I came back, if that is not love, then I don’t know what love is.” Harry told her
Hermione wiped her eyes and smiled at him “Potter, can’t you do anything normal. I had all but given up hope that I could ever be more than your best friend.” She paused to wrap her arms around him. “Is this what a girl is to expect every day from you?”
Harry grinned “I am Harry bleedin’ Potter, the boy who conquered. If you want normal then you will have to find another bloke.”
Hermione laughed “Harry, I don’t want another bloke, I want you but before we run off into the sunset, I want at least one proper date.”
Harry gave her his lopsided grin “Liar, We have been around each other far too long, everyday we were together was like a wonderful date. We know each other better than anyone else and yet we still love each other.” Harry told her which caused Hermione to widen her eyes in disbelief.
Hermione gave a crooked grin in response “Who said anything about love? I never said I loved you.” Hermione could not help but giggle at Harry’s surprised look. She continued “Its’ the qudditch pants…they have an effect on me. I really love…to see you in those quidditch pants.” Hermione said with mirth in her eyes.
Luna piped in “I agree with Hermione 100% about quidditch pants.” She turned to Harry as he had arched an eyebrow at her comment. “I mean not about seeing Harry in quidditch pants… but there are other players on his team that really… I think I will shut up now before I embarrass myself further.” She said with a full blush while looking at Ron.
Harry and Hermione were laughing as Ron and Luna looked at each other. Harry leaned in to Hermione “Quidditch pants huh? Is that all I am to you just a good looking pair of quidditch pants?” Hermione smiled at him as she rubbed his face.
Hermione decided to relent and let Harry off the hook “I seem to have the rest of my life available to explain to you all of the things…I love about you…I would be honored to spend the rest of it doing just that.” Hermione leaned in and kissed his nose.
Harry winked at her and then leaned in to whisper to her. “I think you would be very disappointed in me if I didn’t propose to you, I’m carrying the engagement ring so I can give it to you at the end of our date.”
Hermione in a shocked voice asked “You already have an engagement ring?”
Harry smiled “No, but I will ten minutes after I am released from here.”
Harry sat up and placed his feet on the floor. He looked over at Hermione “When is the last time you ate or slept properly?” Hermione dropped her head and mumbled something. “Hermione Jane Granger did you say it has been about four weeks?” Hermione looked at him and nodded.
Harry held her hand “You and I are going to have a long talk about that later but for now would you care to join me for some…What time is it? Harry asked.
“It happens to be 9:00am, Harry.” Luna told him.
“Would you care to join me for a late breakfast?” Harry asked her.
Luna grabbed Ron’s hand “Come on Ronald, we have some people to inform. Let’s leave them to it.” she said as they left.
Hermione smiled “I’d love to Mr. Potter.”
Harry got a serious look on his face “That is good because you aren’t moving until we finish everything on that tray and then you are going to take a nap.”
Hermione got a scared look “No, I am already scared that this is all some delusion I am having.”
Harry sat the tray in front of her “Hermione, I will sit with you for a month if that is what you need. I will be here when you wake up. I promise.” Hermione looked unsure and then she smiled. Harry plucked an apple wedge from the tray and fed it to her.
In ten minutes, the tray of food had been demolished as Harry and Hermione laid back. Harry sat up and retrieved a pillow and placed it behind Hermione’s head. She only looked at him with many questions running through her mind as her eyes grew heavier.
CHAPTER 2 Connections
Harry awoke on the ground under the tree again. He felt something laying on his right side, pinning his arm beneath it. He turned his head to find a mass of brown hair and very light brown eyes looking at him.
He gave her a gentle smile “We have to stop meeting like this or others will begin to talk. They will say we are a couple.”
Hermione did not stop smiling “Do you love me?”
Harry responded to her with a kiss “Yes.”
Hermione wrapped her arms around him “Then let them talk…we are a couple.” She said. “Of course if you are worried about your reputation…”
“We all have to make sacrifices; I supposed I will have to too.” He said with a big smile.
Hermione leaned back to give him a good tongue lashing when she was stopped in mid breath by a very warm kiss.” She lay back and laughed as did Harry.
“Where are we now?” he asked her.
Hermione smiled at him “I am not sure and it is so peaceful, I don’t think I care.” She paused “Besides any place with you is just what I need because you told me you loved me.”
Harry rolled on his side and placed his head in his hand “I am glad your happy about it otherwise I would be very sad.” Hermione laughed. Harry watched her for a second “I hate to ruin our little party here but one of us is in a dream I think.”
“What makes you think that?” she asked him.
“Well it is really lovely but purple grass is not normal.” Harry said as he pointed to some at her feet.
Hermione looked down “Yeah that would be a dead give away wouldn’t it.” Hermione said with a grin “The question then is whose dream is this, yours or mine?”
“I think maybe yours.” Harry looked around “Mine are never this colorful.”
Hermione looked around chewing her lip. “I know how to figure it out.” She said to him.
“Who ever can remember something they shouldn’t know then that person is a dream person from the other’s mind.” Harry looked perplexed.
“Harry its very simple. You were in a coma for a month and if I am the real Hermione then I would have to know something you didn’t know about. Probably something that happened away from the infirmary.” Hermione thought for a moment. “If you know what I know then you are an extension of me.” She looked at her feet “I got it, where did Ron and I talk about our kiss?” she asked him.
Harry shrugged his shoulders “I don’t know.” Hermione looked puzzled.
“Harry, if this is my dream you should know that. I know we did it in the room of requirement.” She said.
Harry sat up “Hermione, do you know who that lady is by the tree?” Hermione turned to look.
“No, do you know?” she asked.
Harry replied “Yes, that is Marie I met her while in my coma. What does it mean when we both don’t know things the other should.”
“That we are both dreaming the same dream.” Hermione said with concern. She sat for many minutes and then began to laugh. Harry just watched her as did Marie.
She looked at both of them and settled down some as they were totally confused. “It’s simple really if you think about it. We have both gone off the deep end. We are bonkers and I have lost all sense of reality.” She sighed and began to cry
“It means that in reality you never said you loved me and I imagined all of this.” Harry held her close.
“Hermione, I did say I love you. I agree we are dreaming but not because we are insane. We live in a magical world and somehow we have connected.” Harry thought for a moment “Hermione it was you that got through to me and brought me out of the coma. You touched my mind.”
Hermione looked up at him as he spoke again “Is it really so hard to believe that we connected again when we fell asleep?” Hermione wiped her eyes “Hermione you are the most rationale person I know.”
Marie looked at her as she raised her finger and touched Hermione’s forehead “Child, you were exhausted and had not eaten properly in weeks. You and Harry are here together and you will return together whenever you like…call it a gift from the fates for all that you have done for your Harry.”
Harry took a stone and rubbed it with his fingers. It took many minutes but he held his hand open to reveal a beautiful diamond ring for Hermione. He took her hand and placed the ring on her finger. “We will be married soon.” He told her. Hermione smiled looking at him and they kissed.
Hermione whispered to him “Yes Harry, always yes when it comes to you.”
Harry stood up as he grabbed her hand and helped her up. “That ring will be on your finger when you awaken in the real world. It will be a sign for you to understand we were here together and that you are not insane.”
Marie chuckled “Harry you learn fast. How did you know you could do that?”
Harry looked at Hermione “I didn’t know. It is what I wanted to happen – it was one part desperation and three parts love.” he turned to Marie “I did not want her to doubt us or me.” Hermione just leaned against his chest and smiled.
Marie grinned “One part love would have been enough.” She walked them to the edge of the clearing. “It is time for you to return. It has been three hours in your world and many others are worried about you two.”
Hogwarts present _______________________________________________________
Ron, Luna, and Headmistress McGonagel had been waiting to talk to Harry and Hermione. It had been hours since Ron had told her they were awake. Minerva had been pacing while she waited.
Five minutes ago, Hermione had begun to cry in her sleep and then a few minutes later a beautiful diamond engagement ring had appeared on her hand. Hermione had quieted and began to smile in her sleep. Nothing else had happened for the last ten minutes.
Harry’s eyes fluttered open and he turned his head to smile at Hermione. She awakened and turned her head and looked at him with a smile. They kissed briefly. “Is that how everyday with you will be? You know I am really am into watching boring movies and eating popcorn on the couch every now and again.” She said slyly to him.
Harry laughed at her. Hermione looked down at her hand and a tear fell from her eye. She then held her hand up.
“Where did that ring come from?” Ron asked her.
“Ron, we live in a magical world and our friend, Mr. Potter there, is one of the best at doing it. He conjured it in a dream and gave it to me and now I can wear it in the real world.” Hermione turned to him “I believe Harry, I believe and I will never take this off.”
Minerva stood at the end of the bed with her hands on her hips “Well, I am very glad to see you are alive and well. Mr. Potter., Mrs. Granger was a right mess for many days and I am glad to see her in such good health now.” Minerva smiled at the both of them.
Harry stood on shaky legs “Minerva, good afternoon. How have you been? I had an exciting day. Harry walked towards her and counted off on his fingers. 1) Voldemort is gone, 2) I am no longer in a coma and 3) I am madly in love with Hermione and she is in love with me…”
Hermione interrupted “I am madly in love with you too.” Harry smiled at her.
“And Hermione is madly in love with me.” He said with a laugh. “I think that this calls for a celebration of some sort.” He gave Minerva a lopsided grin “What are the most points you have ever taken away?” he asked her.
“For what Mr. Potter?” Minerva asked. Harry winked at Hermione who was smiling.
“For this.” Harry said as he picked her up and twirled her around. Minerva was so shocked she reached up to his shoulders to catch herself from falling. Harry brought her back upright and stood back with a big grin.
Minerva looked gob smacked and stood with her mouth open. Harry began to laugh as did everyone in the room at Minerva’s expression. He grabbed Hermione’s hand. “I think we should shower and change clothes, don’t you?”
Hermione frowned “I desperately need a shower.” Hermione started walking and then stopped. “Where are we taking a shower?” she asked him and then began to explain her question. “Harry I really don’t want to be alone…without you for the next few days.”
“I suppose I can go with you and keep my eyes closed or something.” Hermione laughed as she walked past him.
“Why, don’t you want to see me in my birthday suit?” she asked coyly. “If we take one together, I won’t have to be alone….4th floor prefects bathroom?”
Harry just smiled “Mrs. Granger I believe it is a date.”
Harry was stopped at the doorway by two Aurors “Mr. Potter, I am Auror Kent and this is my partner Auror Crintle. We really need to sit down and write your statement. It is important to get this while it’s still fresh.”
Harry looked at them “I know you are trying to do your job, but I just woke up and I need to clean up a bit first. I will be glad to talk to you at dinner.”
Kent stood straighter “I am afraid I must insist Mr. Potter. We need to do this now.”
Harry lost his smile “All right then. Are you ready to copy?” Kent nodded. “You already wrote the accounts of the people here?” Crintle nodded yes this time. “Great, then on top of their account I add the following statement ‘Voldemort is dead. I killed him with a wand. That is the end of my statement.”
Kent did not move “I am afraid that will not do. I have many questions for you.”
Harry got a stern look on his face “They will definitely wait for another time.” He stated as he inched closer to Kent.
Crintle grabbed Kent’s arm “Perhaps this is not the best time for this.” He said to his partner. Kent shrugged his arm off.
Kent did not move “Now is the best time while the memories are still fresh, it is the proper procedure.”
Hermione spoke up after she just witnessed Auror Kent’s facial expression change as he said that to Harry “What is your problem with Harry?”
“It is nothing personal miss just doing my job.” Kent replied.
Ron stepped up to Kent and spoke “It is personal and I can see it in your eyes. You have something against Harry. You would be wise to back off.” Kent’s eyes flashed as Ron said this.
“What are a bunch of kids going to do to two fully trained Aurors?” Kent asked.
Harry raised his hands and both Aurors began to rise from the floor. Hermione waved her hands and both of their primary and secondary wands flew to her hands. Harry kept lifting them up until their heads hit the ceiling.
“What you were doing was rude and uncalled for. I am no threat to anyone and would gladly have answered questions at the appropriate time. Now, I am pissed and I will not give an official statement until your boss comes and apologizes to me.” Harry lowered them and moved them to the side. “Good day gentlemen.” Harry said curtly.
Harry continued toward the fourth floor and Hermione was in step with him. “Harry, you didn’t use your wand?”
“No, you have it in your back pocket.” He glanced at her “That is the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand ever created. If it is near, I can still channel my magic through it.
You never noticed you didn’t use yours.” Harry stated.
Hermione said nothing at first “Is that because you are the wielder of the Elder Wand and we have a connection?”
Harry nodded to her “Remember we have always communicated well together. I think we have always been in tune with each other and it is through that connection that you can do magic as well.”
They walked together into the prefect bathroom and stood unsure of what to do. Hermione conjured them clean clothes. Both seemed a little nervous.
Harry finally broke the silence “Hermione we don’t have to do anything you don’t want. I….” Harry hesitated.
Hermione saw his uncertainty “What is it?”
Harry looked into her eyes “I have never been with anyone. I really don’t know what to do. Why are you scared?” he asked her.
Hermione looked down “I am nothing special Harry…what if you don’t like what you see?”
“Hermione, girls have been trying to get my attention for years. I never wanted them and I was too blind to see that what I wanted was you all along. I don’t want them.” Harry smiled “Besides, what could possible be worse than your hair, which I find the most attractive thing about you.”
Harry held both of her hands in his “Hermione I know you don’t believe this but I do, you are very beautiful. I was in the coma for so long because I thought I was going to lose you and I didn’t want to come back to be in this world without you. I can’t imagine anything about you that I would find…unattractive.” Harry’s face turned serious “Unless of course you’re a man disguised as a woman.”
Hermione laughed but smiled deeply at the way he handled it “Thanks Harry. Let’s just shower and see what happens. It is all new to both of us.” Hermione hesitated “I have read a ton of stuff but never done any of it.”
Harry smiled “What have you done with Hermione? My Hermione would have read two tons of books and had the answer at the snap of her finger.” Hermione giggled at him.
“Oh, so now I am your Hermione? I have to admit I like the sound of that.” Hermione said to him.
Harry smiled at her “It only works for me if I am your Harry.” Hermione did not answer but responded by kissing him with passion.
“Does that answer your question?” Harry smiled and nodded his head yes.
Chapter 3 – Dinner
Harry and Hermione stood at the main entrance to the great hall. They had stopped because the entire room had been enlarged and there were many tables added. They were stunned by the number of people present and the way the new hall looked. The room began to quiet down as word was passed that Harry and Hermione had arrived.
The head table was now two separate tables set up in a wedged shape. Four people stood up and walked to the front dais looking and waiting for them. Ron stood up and walked towards them.
“Hey you two, it’s about time. I was asked twice to come and get you but I refused.” Ron said to them with a smile.
“Ron what is going on?” Hermione asked as she moved closer to Harry.
“Uh, that would be my fault. I told Dad what happened with Aurors Kent and Crintle and the Minister decided to bring the whole ministry here to apologize and to hold a dinner in our honor.” Ron looked back at the front of the room. “The hall was just finished two days ago and this is the first meal served in here after the battle. No one has celebrated the victory. Everyone was waiting on you to come back Harry.” Ron explained.
Harry bowed his head “You two know how much I hate all the attention. They are going to want a speech or something.”
Hermione placed her hand over his heart “Harry, they want to say thank you for all that you have done. For what you went through to make their lives better.”
“Hermione, I did not do it alone. Without you, Ron, and many others we would not be here. I can’t take credit for all that happened.” Hermione was about ready to answer when Ron placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Harry, you did not do this by yourself. We did not do this alone. But you above all others, suffered the most. You are a symbol for all of those who are not here tonight. Give them tonight and the rest of your life is yours.” Ron said.
Harry stood and looked at Ron for a few seconds “Ok, where is Ron and who are you? My friend Ron would not have just said that without a mouthful of food.” Harry smiled at him.
Ron smiled “You know if I was you I would not be so cheeky. I hate to have to kick your arse.” Ron grinned as he poked Harry’s chest “Besides they have shepard pie at the head table. Just wait until I dig into that.” Harry and Hermione laughed.
Hermione quipped “That’s our Ron.”
Harry looked up at the room “Ron, you are on the other side of Hermione. If I have to go through with this then you two are going to suffer it with me.” he said with a smile.
The three began to walk down the main aisle and the room began to cheer, clap and holler. They reached the main dais and the Minister gave everyone another minute to settle down.
“Welcome everyone to a celebration dinner to honor the golden trio and our victory in the battle of Hogwarts.” The minister stated. Another round of applause and cheers went around.
The Minister turned to Harry “It is my understanding that you had a little trouble with the Ministry this afternoon and on behalf of the Ministry and all of its personnel, I wish to apologize for the callous manner in which you were treated.” The Minister stepped back and Amelia Bones stepped forward.
“Harry, on behalf of the DMLE and all Aurors, I wish to give my sincere apology for the way you were treated.” Amelia reached to a tray behind her and picked up three wallets.
“I also wish to inform all Ministry officials” Amelia looked at the wings and scowled at Aurors Kent and Crintle as she said this “that you three now hold the rank of lieutenants in the Auror division. This is a special dispensation from the Wizenmont for duty above and beyond. It has mine and the Minister’s full endorsement.”
The three took the wallets and held them. Ron just stared at his and held it with reverence. Amelia walked back and stood in line with the other four officials.
An elderly man moved forward in Wizenmont robes and stood before the three. He held his hand up to quiet the crowd. “Mr. Potter, Mrs. Granger, and Mr. Weasley, on behalf of the Wizenmont and the entire Wizarding community we are awarding you the order of Merlin first class.” He turned and picked up three metal disks and placed one on each of the three. The elder wizard moved back to his spot.
Minister Fudge moved back toward them. He held his hand up until the room quieted. “Harry, I owe you a big apology. I failed you in every way imaginable. In point of fact, I attacked you when I should have been helping you. I know that personally this must have cost you dearly…I am truly sorry for all the pain, sorrow, and hurt I caused.”
Minister Fudge looked at Harry “I cannot change what I have done but I can change what I will do. I am resigning as the Minister of Magic effective immediately.” Harry shocked, took the Minister’s hand and shook it.
The Minister guided Harry to the Podium “Harry a few words if you please.” He asked.
Harry stood looking at the lectern as the room began to quiet. He then turned to look at Ron holding his thumbs up and Hermione smiling at him. He smiled back at them. He took a deep breath and bowed his head and looked down at the medal that now hung there. He thought of what it represented and what it meant to him. He suddenly thought of what he needed to talk about. He took it off and held it aloft and turned it so that everyone in the hall could see it.
“The first thing that comes to mind when I look at this medal is not that I won it, it is not that I deserve it.” Harry scanned the room “I think about how it was won and all the wonderful people who are not here, who died before a group of hateful, spiteful people and their leader Voldemort could be stopped.”
“I am glad I could do my part to stop Voldemort. But I can’t help but be mad and angry at a society that let it happen; to a society that allows a child to grow up without love, and without any sense of family.” Harry paused for that to sink in before he added “That society needs to change.”
Harry paused as a tear rolled down his eye “I survived and I am not bitter, I am not bitter because I know love and I have a family.” He told the audience “What if I had not felt love? What if I had never known what family means? Would my name have been Voldemort?” Again Harry paused and looked around the room.
“Voldemort was an orphan just like me. Voldemort had no family, just like me. Voldemort did not know love, unlike me.” Harry gestured to Hermione to come to him.
“You should thank this woman beside me everyday of your life. This muggle born witch, the one many spitefully called ‘mud blood’, her kindness, her ability to care about me, and her love gave me the strength to survive and stop Voldemort.”
Harry looked at Ron and motioned him over. “You should thank Ron and his family everyday for the rest of yours. For it is their acceptance of me into their family that taught me what family means. Without family to give me strength I would not have wanted to survive.”
“Would all of the members of Dumbledore’s Army please stand?” Harry asked. Around seventy children stood up. “You should thank every one of these people for without their help, I would not have been able to get to Voldemort to stop him.”
“Do not forget this day. Do not forget when you see someone use a hateful word or a hateful gesture towards you or your neighbor that each one is a seed that could one day blossom to create another Voldemort. By ignoring the problem and by ignoring your neighbor’s plight, you nurture that hateful seed, you allow that hateful seed to grow. Ask yourself what can you do everyday to change that kind of society?”
All of us are children, your children, who had to be the tip of the spear to stop hate. The hate that you and your parents allowed to be planted and allowed to grow until your children had to die to stop it.”
“I do not tell you these things seeking your pity, I hate…excuse me, I dislike pity with… a vengeance.” The room erupted in small laughter and Harry smiled too. “I say these things because it is important to know that what we do now effects our tomorrow, and more importantly, it will affect our children’s. I would hate….I mean to say, I would dislike, with a vengeance, to see our children have to fight a war because we planted a seed today.”
Harry let everyone quiet down “You cannot be afraid to make those changes, to stand for what is right…to work for what is right. It starts with each of you.” The whole hall erupted in an immense applause at hearing Harry’s words.
Harry let the applause continue for a few moments and then Harry got a wicked grin on his face and winked at Hermione. “Ron wanted to say a few words to you about his experience.” Harry started to chuckle as Ron went pale. Harry pushed him behind the lectern as Ron began to stutter. He turned beat red from embarrassment and turned and looked over his shoulder at Harry.
“Harry Potter, I promise you tomorrow I am going kick your arse across the burrow.”
Ron turned back to the crowd “Being Harry’s friend was never easy but it was always….”
Harry and Hermione sat down at the table while Ron continued. Hermione turned in her chair to face Harry “What you said was wonderful Harry. It was spot on and it was from your heart.” Hermione sat chewing her lip and Harry knew she was thinking about something. He kept watching her until she asked “Would you be mad if I said that I wanted to marry you tonight, right now in fact?”
Harry laughed “Don’t you want your dream wedding, the one you have thought about since you were a little girl?”
Hermione smiled “Harry, all I want is you and to be as close to you as possible. You’re the one Harry, you are the one I am supposed to be with.” Hermione said to him.
“What about your parents Hermione, they would want to be at our wedding?” Hermione turned and pointed at the first table to their right.
“The Headmistress brought them here herself.” Hermione turned back to Harry. “If I didn’t know any better Mr. Potter I might think you are trying to weasel out of getting married to me.”
Harry had a slight grin on his face “Well Hermione I just woke up from a coma this morning and we got engaged two hours later…”
Hermione raised her voice just as the crowd quieted and Ron had paused “Harry James Potter are we getting married or not?” Hermione said with her hands on her hips.
Ron turned with a smile on his face “Uh, Hermione…that would be a yes as the pour boy will go spare if he didn’t marry you. Although, why you want to marry a man whose butt I am going to kick to tomorrow is beyond me?” The whole hall erupted in gales of laughter.
Hermione turned beat red and sat down with her face in her hands. Harry was laughing but he picked her up and held her to him.
He spoke to the audience “I apologize for interrupting Ron’s I’m going to kick Harry’s butt speech.” The crowd laughed. Harry continued “Hermione had a brilliant idea and I was teasing her, which means she will want to kick my butt too.” The crowd laughed again.
Harry lifted her redden face to his “What I was trying to say luv is that I was in a coma this morning, I woke up, confessed that I was madly in love with you, then we got engaged two hours later. I was expecting the wedding to take place two hours ago by the way our day has been going.” Harry sighed “I was kind of disappointed and of course I want to marry you tonight...what I mean to say is I dislike, with a vengeance, not being married to you.”
Hermione, laughing with the crowd, cuffed his head “Prat! I don’t know why I love you...but I do.”
Harry laughed “It’s because I look good in quidditch pants.”
Hermione held his hand “Yes you do….but I am still going to help Ron kick your butt tomorrow.” She said to him.
CHAPTER 4 – An unplanned Wedding
Harry turned to Minister Fudge “Do you have just one more official Ministry duty left in you?” he asked him.
Minister Fudge looked shocked and then understanding shone on his face “I would love to Harry but I am surprised you would ask me to do it.”
Hermione leaned toward him “Please don’t take offense but you are the only one we can be sure that does not have a political motive for doing it.” she said candidly.
Minister Fudge stood a moment and let out a chuckle “That is quite astute you two. I take no offense to it at all and I think it is my lucky day that you have asked me to preside over your wedding.”
In five minutes, the participants were ready and the ceremony began. Everyone was quiet as Hermione came down the aisle in a pretty white dress to include a veil. She and Minerva had transfigured some cloth to make the dress.
Everyone had pitched in and Harry was dressed in a nice tux. The elves had made the cake they had intended to serve into a huge wedding cake. It was remarkable how well everything came together on such short notice.
Hermione stepped up on the dais as Hermione’s father smiled and then handed his daughter to Harry. Harry looked at her and smiled at her and whispered “Ok, Granger this is your last chance to back out.” Harry said with a chuckle.
“Are you crazy? It would be extremely embarrassing to have to walk out of here with out being married to you.” Hermione grinned “Don’t worry Harry I will suffer terribly from being forced to endure you but I will trooper on.” She almost said with a laugh.
“You are such a liar, you are bursting at the seams in happiness.” Hermione giggled
“It’s the dress, its really tight…I swear.” Harry chuckled at her answer.
Harry stopped and looked at her with a serious face “Hermione, I really, really do love you. I hope my teasing won’t make you doubt that.”
Hermione turned to him “Harry, I know that. I really love you as well, please don’t doubt that.” Harry was leaning to kiss her as they had forgotten they were at their wedding ceremony. Ron came up and cuffed both of them on the head just as their lips were to meet.
“Would you two mind participating in your wedding?” Ron wagged his finger at them.
Harry and Hermione chastised both stated “Sorry.”
Ron muttered “Bloody wankers! I am hungry and you are holding up the food. Now turn around and say I do Harry.”
Harry turned to Minister Fudge and said “I Do.” Minister Fudge laughing nodded and turned to Hermione. When he finished she promptly said “I Do.”
“By powers vested in me I pronounce you Man and Wife…..You may kiss the bride.” Minister Fudge stated.
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