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For much of the week, Harry and Hermione were very busy and saw each other only briefly in the early mornings and late evenings.

With Hermione's help, Dan and Emma completed the many Ministry forms to request connection of their fireplace to the floo network. With forms submitted, Dan and Emma began attending the Ministry required floo network training program. The course covered the history of floo powder, floo network etiquette and motion sickness abatement techniques. Hermione spent each day with her parents helping them navigate the Ministry's unconventional and bewildering organization.

This morning, Hermione had the day to herself and planned to visit Ginny at the Burrow. Harry had gotten up early and was eating a quick breakfast. His day would be filled by trips to Hogwarts, the Ministry and Diagon Alley. Hermione had just gotten out of bed and entered the kitchen wearing her pajamas and a bathrobe.

"Good morning," said Harry. "Are we still on for our evening out tonight?"

"Good morning. Yes. Am I still to dress formally?"

"Absolutely. I'm sure you've already seen what I will be wearing hanging in my room."

"And what do you have planned?"

He smiled and said, "It's still a surprise."

"Okay then," she said with a smile. "I'll be ready at five."

"Great. Okay, I gotta go. Have a nice time with Ginny and say hi to her for me. See you later." He walked to the fireplace, took a pinch of floo powder and tossed it into the opening.

Bye Harry," said Hermione. He waved and stepped into the green flames.



In the late afternoon, Harry returned to the flat and went into his room. He had just enough time to shower and get ready. He passed by Hermione's room but the door was closed.

"You okay Hermione?"

"Yes I'm fine, just getting ready." was her reply from behind the closed door.

"Okay." He then hurried into the bathroom.

A short while later in his room, he examined his reflection in the mirror. He was dressed and ready to go, tickets in his pocket. He had no memory of ever wearing a muggle suit and tie. His normally unruly hair was mostly in place and neatly combed. Just then, the phone began to ring.

"Harry, will you get that," called Hermione from her room.

"Got it," he replied. He hurried to the kitchen and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"

There was a pause. Then a women's voice from the phone said, "Oh I'm sorry, I've dialed the wrong number."

"That's okay." Harry hung up the phone.

He stepped back into the living room and was adjusting his tie when he heard the door of Hermione's room open. A few seconds later, she entered the room and stood before him. His gaze became transfixed and his eyes lingered on her taking in all the wondrous details.

Hermione was wearing a midnight blue evening dress that fit her perfectly in all the right places. It flared slightly and flowed gracefully to her ankles with an iridescent glow highlighting the folds. A loose knit shawl was wrapped around her shoulders. Her hair, elegant and silky looking, was done up in a flattering style. Her eyes sparkled and softly returned his gaze.

She smiled warmly, enjoying the effect she was having on him. After a long moment of silence she said, "You must like what you see."

"Oh yes, very tidy. You are beautiful!"

Hermione beamed, "Thanks. You look very handsome too."

Harry placed his hand over the wand in his coat pocket. A corsage containing a pink rose appeared in his other hand. He moved close and enjoyed the delicate scent of her perfume as he carefully slipped the corsage onto her wrist. Raising her wrist, she delighted in the fragrance of the rose.

Hermione reached into her small handbag and withdrew a light red carnation. She slowly placed it into the top buttonhole of his coat. As she stepped back, their eyes briefly met.

Harry held out his hand and said, "Ready to go Miss Granger?"

Smiling and placing her hand in his she replied, "Why yes I am, Mister Potter."

He led her out onto the porch, the door swinging open by itself to let them pass. It then closed and locked behind them. Harry extended his arm and she wrapped her hand around it. He looked at her, and after she nodded back to him, they disapparated.



Hand in hand, they walked up to the maitre d' who said, "Name sir?"

"James Evans," replied Harry.

"Ah yes, table for two. If you would please follow me."

The maitre d' led them to a quiet corner with a view of the city below and seated them. "Your waiter will be with you shortly." He then turned and walked away.

Hermione removed the shawl from her bare shoulders and folded it carefully on the seat next to her. When she looked up, Harry's gaze was fixed on her with the same dream-like expression she had seen earlier.

She smiled sweetly and said, "Am I distracting you, Mister Potter?"

"Oh yes, Miss Granger, you certainly are," he said with a smile. "I wouldn't want it any other way."

With a giggle she said, "Oh Harry, this is wonderful. I feel like a fairy tale princess."

Harry felt very happy at these words.

They enjoyed dinner and the company of each other. They talked about their day and laughed at the funny things that had occurred. There was a feeling of comfort between them and they hardly noticed or heard the people who were dining at the nearby tables.

The waiter had just taken their dessert order (crème brulèe and two spoons) when a middle-aged woman with a camera approached their table.

"You both look lovely. Picture to remember your evening?" 

After a brief glance at each other, they nodded. Moving close to sit side-by-side, Harry put his arm around Hermione. The photographer raised the camera, looked through the viewfinder and then lowered it again.

"Just a moment, I need to use a different camera."  She pulled a small camera-like object out of the bag hanging from her shoulder.

"Okay, turn slightly to face each other ... Yes, that's better. On the count of three, I'd like you to turn your heads and look at each other for a moment and then turn them back and look at my camera. Ready? ... One ... two ... three."

Harry and Hermione looked at each other and a soft smile and sparkling expression appeared on each of their faces.

"Look back at the camera now," she said softly. After another moment she said, "Got it. That will be great. Give me a few minutes. I'll be right back."

Dessert arrived. Continuing to sit next to each other, they began to share it. The photographer returned and handed Harry an envelope saying, "Here you are. You two are a lovely couple. Have a wonderful evening." She smiled and walked away.

As Hermione watched with her head next to his, Harry opened the envelope and withdrew the photograph. A magical picture of them looking at each other and then out of the photograph, greeted their eyes. 

Hermione let out a little gasp and said, "I thought it would be just a muggle photo. How did she know?"

"My brain's a bit fuzzy. Maybe she saw wrackspurts around my ears."

She rolled her eyes and giggled. "May...be."

Hermione took the photo and examined it. Harry looked at the envelope. On it was written, 'The Magic Camera, photography for all occasions.  Juliette Anderson.'  Hermione handed the photo to Harry and he placed it back into the envelope and put it into his coat pocket.

It was after nightfall when they left the restaurant and headed to their destination a few blocks away. They walked arm in arm quietly chatting about the people they saw and the things they noticed. Harry bought a white daisy for her hair as they passed a street vendor. The lights of the surrounding city danced brightly around them.

Nearly a year had passed since the last time they were in this area. They had narrowly escaped death eaters at Bill and Fleur's wedding. It had marked the beginning of the darkest of times for them, living on the run in doubt and apprehension. The belief, trust and commitment in each other had been stressed to the absolute limit. It had held and grown stronger. Their focused energy and efforts beyond themselves had made a difference in the world. But no thought of the fear and anxiety of that time entered their minds. Each was focused only on the present.

As they rounded a corner, a theater marquee came into view. It read, "My Fair Lady." Hermione gave Harry's hand a squeeze and she smiled at him, it was one of her favorite shows. Harry looked at her and felt a warm satisfaction at the excitement on her face. Entering the theater, his thoughtful care for her as they moved down the steep steps to their seats warmed her heart. She felt special being with him.



After the show, they slowly walked back to the secluded place where they could apparate back to their flat. They were quietly talking about the show, its actors and the parts they liked best. They laughed as they quoted lines from the show to each other, Hermione's "enry iggings" done in a very good Cockney accent. It was cooler now and Harry had his arm around her shoulder holding her close as they walked. They noticed a few other couples ahead who were making their way in the same general direction. The other couples stopped occasionally to admire things in the various shop windows. Harry and Hermione felt certain that these were other magical couples out for the evening and trying not to call attention to themselves as they made their way to the apparation point.



Harry chose to return about a block away from their flat. They leisurely walked hand in hand. The moon was bright and the neighborhood was quiet. He wanted to make their date last as long as possible. But all too soon, the walkway leading to the porch of the flat was under their feet.

Harry stopped at the door and turned to face her. She was somehow more lovely and beautiful than he'd noticed earlier. Her face was radiant, her eyes soft and inviting. He felt his heart began to beat faster. Taking her hands he said, "I had a very nice time with you tonight. I hardly noticed the time passing."

"I felt like I was floating on air and had a wonderful time too." Looking at him, she saw on his face the strength and honesty she'd seen many times before. His lovely green eyes; so familiar and trusting. But ... her heart skipped a beat ... something new.

Their gaze locked on each other's eyes and revealed the desire each had for the other in their heart. Time slowed down. Placing his hands on her waist, he slowly moved close and gave her a delicate kiss on her lips lasting just a few seconds. It felt sweet and warm.

Separating, he opened his eyes to see Hermione with her eyes still closed enjoying the lingering sensation and tenderness. She opened her eyes and slowly placed her arms around his neck. Harry's arms encircled her waist and drew her close. Heads tilting and eyes closing, their lips met again.

They each felt a tingling sensation and a flutter of the heart. Warmth enveloped them as each happily gave of them self to the other. A few unnoticed wisps of silvery vapor floated around their heads.

After a short while, their lips parted. Hermione rested her chin on Harry's shoulder. Harry leaned his head against hers and they held each other breathing deeply.

"I'm very happy right now Harry."

"It feels so peaceful holding you Hermione."

After a short while, she said, "Harry, I want our romance to move slowly. I want to enjoy every single step of our journey together."

"I do too Hermione. It feels wonderful and I don't want to miss any of it."

After another moment, they reluctantly pulled back and looked into each other's eyes. Hermione moved close again and returned the short delicate kiss he had given her. Then, the lock clicked, and the door of the flat swung open. She turned and entered followed closely by Harry.

Crossing the living room toward the hall, she paused. Turning her head to look at him, she said, "Good night Harry. See you in the morning."

"Good night Hermione, sleep well."

"I will Harry," she said with a smile.

Harry watched as she walked slowly into the hallway and disappeared from view. He heard the door of her bedroom door click shut.

In her room, Hermione spun around in delight and fell back on her bed savoring the feelings of her evening with Harry. It couldn't have been more perfect. She hastily took out her diary and began to write. The words flowed rapidly onto the page while her other hand held the daisy from her hair.

Harry remained in the living room for a moment, still looking at the place where he had last seen her. It was a wonderful beginning. Their friendship and trust was still there as strong as ever. But now, there was a new dimension. A door to her heart was open and she was welcoming him in. He was doing the same for her. He withdrew the photo from his coat pocket and looked at it for a moment lost in thought and wonder of what the future might bring.

The lock of the front door clicked behind him. Harry went to his room and slept very well.

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