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Mid-morning light filled the room as she opened her eyes. The smell of salt air wafted in on the gently breeze through the open window facing the beach. It had been the deepest and most restful night's sleep she could remember. She looked at Harry still asleep under her arm. His face was peaceful and his hair in its normal state of disarray. She listened to his slow rhythmic breathing and felt his pulse under her fingertips. She was acutely aware of his life signs, they seemed as familiar as her own.

She thought about how they had slept in the same bed since the day of their engagement and the agreed boundary they had not crossed. They had used it to experience the subtle nuances of their courtship. Now, another beginning was being built on that firm foundation. There was new wonder, anticipation and excitement that she had not felt before. And now, an awareness of something much more. A realization that within the living prescience of his body, there resided a true sacred being, the Harry she knew. The source of his life, thoughts and love for her, was somehow infused in the flesh and blood she lie against. It was that being, beyond the limitations of humanness, she chose to be with and know a little better each day.

Harry stirred and then stretched. He sighed contentedly as he opened his eyes. He looked at her and said, "Good morning beautiful."

"Good morning my dearest. How did you sleep?"

"Deep and restful, best night's sleep ever. Have you been awake long?"

"Just a few minutes, I was thinking and watching you sleep."

"I was having a dream just now. It was about us as spirits, choosing to be with each other."

She raised her eyebrows and said, "I was just thinking that too. It's so nice when that happens. Seems that the ability to share our thoughts is working quite well. We'll need to learn a bit of thought control."

"You want to limit our connection?" asked Harry with a concerned look. "Insightful thoughts like that I want you to share with me."

"Yes, I promise I always will. I'm sorry. What I meant to say is not share the daily unimportant decisions or work related thoughts. Think of what it would be like if our every thought or mundane decision flooded into each other's head. Should I study arithmancy or charms? Will there be test questions about this or that? Paper or plastic? You'd never have peace for your own thoughts. Eventually, we'd start to close down the connection and I don't think either of us wants that. I want you in my head, at anytime, or for anything you think is important to us. The pros and cons of deciding which color socks to wear? You may keep that to yourself."

"Okay. That sounds better," said Harry somewhat relieved. Then he smiled and said, "Guess that means you won't be helping me answer my Hogwarts exam questions."

Shaking her head and smiling she said, "No, I'll have my own exam questions to answer."

"Okay. Shall we go and get something to eat?"


After an unusually long morning shower, Harry and Hermione were seated at a quite table enjoying brunch at the hotel breakfast buffet.

"What would you like to do today?" asked Harry.

"We should do some shopping and get thank you gifts." 

"That's a good idea," said Harry. "We had so much help, especially from Ron and Ginny."

They walked up to the front desk of the hotel. The concierge said, "Good day. How may I be of assistance?"

Harry said, "We would like to get information about places to shop in the surrounding area."

"Yes, one moment." The concierge collected some pamphlets. Placing one on the counter in front of them, he said, "If you exit the lobby to your left, a boardwalk will lead you to a village of small specialty shops." He placed a second pamphlet on the counter and said, "Out the north lobby entrance, about four blocks walk, is a large shopping mall in the main downtown area." Placing the last pamphlet on the counter he said, "Continuing down the hall past your room, your portkey will give you access to the thaumaturgic shop area."

Harry thought, "thaumaturgic?"

"Magical" was her thought reply.

The concierge said, "May I assist you with anything else?"

"No. This is good. Thank you." said Harry.

"Very good." said the concierge. "Have a pleasant day."

Harry and Hermione spent the next few hours leisurely visiting the shops along the boardwalk. There were shirt and hat shops, clothing shops, toyshops, a bookshop, a candle shop, a kite shop and a shop that sold wind chimes and music boxes. There were also people in the park area selling paintings, handmade crafts and jewelry. Harry and Hermione exchanged thoughts with each other as they looked at gifts for their friends. Gradually, it was becoming second nature for them to share thoughts of interest with each other. There were a few funny looks from people when Harry or Hermione laughed for no apparent reason.

They had just exited one of the last shops on the boardwalk when Harry stopped and listened. "Hermione, do you hear that music?"

"Yes, it seems to be coming from further up the boardwalk."

"I know what it is! C'mon, let's go and see. It will be fun!"

They started walking toward the sound and the music grew louder. As they turned a corner, a large carousel came into view.

Harry excitedly said, "Let's go for a ride! Maybe you'll get a brass ring!"

"Brass ring?"

"Yeah! Come over here and watch," said Harry as the carousel began to turn. "See the riders on the outside horses? The attendant will extend a ring dispenser. See ... there! You reach out and try to pull a ring from it as you go by. Most of the rings are iron. If you get one of those, throw it there." Harry pointed as a rider tossed a ring. "But if you get a brass ring, keep it and give it to the attendant after the ride ends. You can get a prize or another free ride."

"Okay," said Hermione. "I think I fancy a ride on that pink horse."

Harry smiled and went to get admission tickets. The carousel stopped and they got on. Harry mounted the black horse behind Hermione.

As the carousel began to turn, Hermione looked back and thought, "Is the black stallion going to try and catch me to win a prize?"

"Trying to distract me from getting a ring are you? You are enough of a distraction already just being in front of me."

The ring dispenser was extended. Both of them missed on the first pass. On the next pass, Hermione missed and Harry pulled an iron ring. On the next turn, Hermione got an iron ring and Harry missed. On the next pass, they each pulled a ring and Hermione held it close. Harry felt a wave of happiness wash over him. The dispenser was retracted and Hermione spent the remainder of the ride teasing Harry as the horses moved up and down.

When the ride ended, Hermione thought, "Join me in that heart shaped love seat."

The love seat had a large red heart shape on each end. The pink seating area between was just wide enough for two. When seated, the occupants were mostly hidden from view. They sat down as the attendant came by. Smiling, Hermione handed him the brass ring. Harry reached into his pocket for another ticket but the attendant held up his hand, smiled and left. As the carousel turned, they held each other close and exchanged a prize or two.

The carousel began to slow and Harry said, "I have two more tickets. Shall we have another go at the rings?"

With a smile, Hermione said, "Let me think …" She squinted her eyes and with a mock thoughtful expression on her face, tapping her chin with her finger. "Should I sit here and snog you or have one last go at the rings. Tough decision." A second later, she grinned and gave him a quick peck saying, "Well, since I can snog you anytime I want, let's do the rings again."

Harry laughed. They got up and mounted the horses again. During this ride, they each pulled a few rings but neither of them got a brass ring. As they were walking away from the carousel, they decided that a consolation prize was in order. And it just so happened that an ice cream shop was close by. They sat on a bench in the shade of a tree with ice cream cones in hand; Hermione's with 'Vanilla Cherry Delight' and Harry with 'Chocolate Banana Surprise'. Happily licking their ice cream, they snickered and laughed at thoughts of ice cream flavors that passed between them, and watched young and old alike enjoy a ride on the carousel.

Later in the afternoon, now in bathing suits, they shared a doublewide lounge on their private beach facing the ocean. The sun was getting low in the sky. A small table on each side of the lounge held a tropical drink with a miniature umbrella in it. A large piece of pineapple was on the rim of each glass. Holding a book, purchased earlier that day in one hand, Hermione was reading while her other hand lightly caressed Harry's back. Harry sat next to her and held a kite string in each hand. Enjoying the pleasant tingling sensations of her touch, he caused the kite to twist and turn over the waves as its colorful streamer traced a path in the sky.

Hermione laid the book on her chest and reached for her drink. After taking a sip she said, "You're very good at flying that kite. Have you flown one before?"

"A few times, when I was very young. Uncle Vernon said it was an inexpensive way to have me out of the house for a while."

She frowned and said, "Honestly Harry, I don't know how you became such a caring person being raised in a family like that."

"You and Ron. Our friendship was the best thing that ever happened to me, short of marrying you that is."

She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "Well, I think your Mum and Dad had a lot to do with your personality too."

"Would you like to fly the kite?"

"Yes, it looks like fun," said Hermione putting her book down. "What do I do?"

"Come over here and sit between my legs in front of me."

"This is going to be fun," said Hermione as she ducked under the string in his right hand and sat in front of him.

"Okay, take the strings from each of my hands, use the little handles."

"Oh! ... It has quite a pull. It feels like it's alive."

He put his hands on hers and said, "Now, just move one hand toward you and the other away to make it turn and dance, like this." He guided her hands and the kite turned left and right.

"This is great!" she exclaimed. "And without magic!"

Harry felt happiness wash over him like had happened on the carousel. He watched as she cautiously made the kite turn in the wind. In a short time, the kite was zooming across the sky, climbing high and swooping low over the water. He wrapped his hands around her waist and put his chin on her shoulder.

He felt contented sharing in her delight. He looked down and saw his hands wrapped around her. He was holding the embodied sacred spirit that he so dearly loved, it was miraculous. It seemed like an incredible dream. Yet here they were together, feeling like two souls that had been separated by an eternity of time, touching each other again. He marveled at the intimate and extraordinary relationship that would be with them for the rest of their lives.

"That felt good. Such a wonderful thought Harry."

She felt him tighten his grip and turn his face into her neck. After a moment, the scent of her suntan lotion recalled the memory of their previous night in the hot tub. He began to gently kiss her on the neck and behind her ears.

Hermione smiled and said, "Is this how you flew kites when you were young?"

Switching to her other ear, he continued to kiss her and said, "No. ... I didn't have my lovely wife in a skimpy swimsuit with me then."

Hermione squirmed and giggled, "That tickles. So how am I doing?"

Without stopping he said, "Perfect." 

Hermione laughed. "No, I meant flying the kite!"

Harry started to run his fingers through her hair and massage her head. He said, "You have 'Exceeds Expectations' now. You'll get 'Outstanding' if the kite is still flying after this."

The kite soared high into the sky and floated on the wind. She tilted her head back, closed her eyes and let out a long sigh saying "mmm ... I think all my NEWT's should be like this." She leaned back against his chest with a dreamlike expression on her face. Harry felt happiness and contentment.  

After a short while Harry said, "How about a date tonight? Would you like to go out for some dinner and dancing at that dinner club we saw just off the boardwalk?"

She looked at him and said "Why Mr. Potter, I'd love to!"

"Well, fair warning Mrs. Potter. You might want to put protective charms on your feet."

She smiled and said, "You did very well when we danced at our reception."

"That was the easy slow dancing. We just held each other and turned to the music. I'm not very good at the fancy stuff. Maybe you should put a dancing charm on my feet."

"You'll do fine. Besides, I like hold and turn dancing with you." Then she smiled and said, "Well, since we're going out on a date, we should go in and wash the sand and suntan lotion off."

Harry grinned, "Another shower today? I'm such a lucky guy."

Hermione laughed. "We'll both be so squeaky clean."

After dinner, they danced and talked with other couples. People from many different parts of the world were there on holiday with interesting stories to tell. Some were celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. Others were there for business travel. Later in the evening, as Harry and Hermione were enjoying a slow dance, another couple danced up beside them.

The woman smiled and the man said, "Please pardon our intrusion on your evening. We both just wanted to say a quick thank you. The awards you received are very much deserved. Have a wonderful evening."

"Yes," said the woman. "And congratulations, you are a beautiful couple. We wish you all the best and a happy life together."

"Thanks." said Harry and Hermione as the couple danced away from them.

Harry thought, "I didn't think anyone would recognize us so far away from England."

Hermione grinned and thought, "I suppose I'll have to expect that now. I married the famous Harry Potter. He's the chosen one you know. It's a burden I'll just have to learn to bear."

Harry rolled his eyes and smiled, "Yeah, and I married the bright and witty Hermione Granger. She's the brightest witch of her age and totally awesome. You're my chosen one."

Hermione pulled him close and thought, "Oh Harry, I love you so much. This has been such a wonderful day. Just one more thing I want to do with you."

"And what might that be?" thought Harry with a smile.

"A dance on the beach," she thought with a coy smile.

"I like that idea," thought Harry. Looking into her eyes, he gave her a tender kiss as the music ended. Then, they walked off the dance floor hand in hand.

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