August 17th Harry said good-bye to Sirius and grabbed the Portkey along with his wand and homework that he'd finally completed over the last few days.
"Harry?" A voice called out as he stopped spinning and stood upright in the men's room of King's Cross Station.
"Yes give me a moment," Harry said looking to insure he still had everything before leaving the old fashioned stall.
"Hi Harry, I'm Alan Granger, Hermione's father. I hear you're going to be with us until school starts," Hermione's father said holding out his hand.
"Yes sir," Harry replied taking the hand and shaking it before following him out.
Alan opened the boot on his dark green Jaguar letting Harry put his stuff in before getting behind the wheel. Harry followed and was soon buckled up in the passenger's seat. Seeing him looking around confused Alan said, "Jane and Hermione are waiting at home they thought it might be a little too conspicuous for them to be here also."
"Isn't someone from the order watching your home looking for me?"
"Funny thing about that it seems shortly after the two arrived back home from their vacation we had a visit from your headmaster. He was getting a little overbearing and I was about to ask him to leave when we had a second visitor. This red hair gentleman entered asking if we were being bothered. Before I got a chance to speak your Headmaster started to dismiss the man but Hermione spoke up saying, "Bill, Dumbledore is trying to intimidate us into telling where we went on vacation."
Next thing I know the redhead turns to the headmaster saying, "My employer has asked me to insure this family is not bothered anymore by you or your associates. They are under goblin protection now."
Your headmaster mumbled something then left. We haven't seen him since. The red head stops by every day or so to insure we are all right. So I guess the answer is no the order is not watching our home but we are protected somehow."
When the car slowed an hour later just past a small stone house, Mr. Granger took a right on to a gravel driveway passing under an old stone arch engraved with a name that Harry couldn't read no matter how hard he tried.
"It says Granger but it has been charmed by goblins so wizards can't read it," Alan said from the seat beside him. A few moments later they rounded a corner and Harry saw a large stone house before him surrounded by a great lawn and gardens, sitting back in the seat he turned and stared at Hermione in shock. "Yes that's our home. Now you know why Hermione's never invited Ron or anyone else over," Alan continued answering his unasked question.
Harry merely nodded in reply. If Ron was jealous of Harry for having his own vault this would have put him right over the edge. He was pretty sure this was what they meant when they used the term manor house.
"But Hermione..." Harry started to say only to stop when he wasn't sure how to say what he wanted without being offensive.
Alan nodded knowing what Harry was going to say, "My daughter doesn't appear to be... let us say high class. Is that what you were going to say?" He asked.
Harry nodded deciding the less he said the better. "She switches between the roles well. Let me tell you a little bit about my family. I am the middle child out of three boys. My older brother was the one due to inherit the family fortune as is customary in our circles. As the younger siblings my younger brother and I were provided with good educations and were being setup up in businesses before being cut free. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view just as I was about to be cut free my older brother died unexpectedly. He was unmarried and left no heirs. As next in line it fell to me to take over the family home and fortune. Mrs. Granger and I moved here and Hermione was born shortly afterwards. As I have no sons when I die the house and fortune will go to my younger brother or his oldest son if my brother has passed on. He has two boys about five years younger than Hermione."
"What would happen to Mrs. Granger?" Harry asked .
Alan was a little surprised he didn't ask about Hermione inheriting the fortune but replied, "If she is still alive my brother will take care of her needs until she marries again or passes away."
"Thank you for explaining that sir. I thought you might just be some really fancy dentists," Harry replied quickly thinking 'that was really stupid to say.'
Harry had sat quietly as all this was explained then he suddenly realized something, "Mr. Granger I don't have much clothing beyond the one change in my bag I put in the boot," Harry explained.
"Not a problem we are taking you shopping tomorrow anyway you just need to pick up a few more things. I'm sure the woman folk will love it."
"Oh good they get to play dress the doll and I get to be the doll," Harry muttered sarcasm laced through his tone.
Alan couldn't help himself he laughed at that statement. "I must say you got it right on the first try young man. If it's any consolation I'm still not allowed to buy anything for any sort of function without my wife's approval," Alan offered.
"Really?" Seeing Alan nod Harry mentally agreed saying, "I don't think Hermione will let me be dressed in anything too off the wall."
Alan bit off his quick answer of 'She wouldn't embarrass the boy she loves like that,' realizing that he knew more about the way things really were than Harry did. Settling instead for saying, "No I don't think she would," Alan replied parking the car.
Harry entered the Granger home only to be enveloped in a hug from Hermione worthy of Molly Weasley.
Harry wrapped his arms around her automatically pulling her into him. Everything else faded away there was only him and the woman in his arms until both of them heard a throat being cleared. They both reluctantly relaxed their grip allowing enough separation for them to look towards the source of the interruption.
"Hi James, I mean Harry," Jane Granger said looking over from where she stood with an arm around her husband.
"Hello Mrs. Granger."
"It is still Jane."
Alan watched the entire episode noting that neither his wife nor his daughter thought there was anything unusual about his daughter and her boyfriend wrapping each other up in a death grip hug. The more Alan thought about it the more he realized that while Hermione gave him a hug similar when she returned from school it lasted only about ten seconds. The only person he got hugs like that from was his wife when she missed him after a trip or something similar. He quickly realized there was a good chance he had given his future son-in-law a ride home. The two teens were still standing there with their arms around each other as all this ran through his mind.
"I realize you just finished dinner Harry but due to the time change it is rather late here. Alan and I are headed to bed and will see you tomorrow morning. Hermione will show you to your room. I suggest you try and get to sleep soon we'll get you up with us tomorrow morning and you should be all adjusted to our time within a few days," Jane said before taking Alan's hand and heading up to bed.
Harry followed Hermione up the stairs dropping his bag in the guest room. "My room is then next one down. We share the bathroom so knock before you open the door incase I forget to lock it," Hermione explained before ducking through the bathroom to her room.
Harry had a hard time getting to sleep his thoughts centered around how nice it felt to hold Hermione and the fact she was sleeping just on the other side of the bathroom.
"Rise and shine!" Jane called out as she knocked on the door causing Harry to jump out of bed and spin around ready to attack. As his heart calmed down he remembered were he was. 'Got to stop reacting like that,' Harry thought gathering up his stuff and heading into the bathroom.
He was emptying his bladder when he realized the shower was running. Glancing over he saw a well tanned female body in the shower. 'Oh !@#$$$, I forgot I share this with Hermione,' he managed to think before his mind locked up at the sight of a nude female body in the shower.
"Touch that handle and you're a dead man Harry," Hermione said snapping Harry out of his trance. Looking down he noticed he was automatically reaching to flush the toilet.
"Ah... I forgot we... you know... you look..." Harry stammered his eyes still on Hermione.
"Harry if you go back into your room I will let you know when I'm out of the shower and you can finish up in here okay?"
"Yes... Right... I'll just go... now," Harry said backing out the door his eyes never leaving Hermione.
'Well that went well, I should finish up and let him in. Wonder what he would have done had I asked him to join me?' Hermione thought rushing to complete her shower.
"Hermione I'm so sorry," Harry said the instant Hermione opened his door.
"You mean you didn't like the view? It sure looked like you did to me."
"I..." Harry stopped realizing she was teasing him. "You know tomorrow morning you should let me know when you get up. We could shower together and be ready that much faster," He countered intending to make her blush.
"Sounds like fun. I may take you up on that," Hermione replied watching Harry's jaw drop.
"Breakfast!" Jane's voice called up the stairs causing both to quickly call out, "Coming," and Hermione to quickly duck back in to her room to finish dressing.
Breakfast was in a little glass alcove adjacent to the kitchen that overlooked the grounds Jane described as their family dining area. Harry realized it was larger than the Dursley's dining room by a good bit. The meal itself was quiet if Harry compared it to one at the Burrow with all the Weasleys in attendance but when he compared it to breakfast at the Dursleys it was almost loud. Hermione talked about what went on in school, keeping to innocent happenings Harry noted. While her parents talked about what was going on with various friends and family members bringing her up to date. Harry ate quietly chipping in when the conversation came his way.
As they left the table and brought their plates to the kitchen placing them in the modern dishwasher Harry said, "I don't think I've had better food, even at Hogwarts".
"Are their cooks that good?" Alan asked.
Harry started to reply but Hermione beat him to it saying, "Their slave house elves are very good cooks but they only do the normal English fare. I don't think they can match Anna when she does her French and Italian cooking."
"What do you think Harry?" Jane Granger asked quietly letting her daughter know she cut off the person her father had asked.
"Hermione's right about what the house elves cook," Harry said trying to avoid any arguments with his friend.
With breakfast finished and the dishes in the washer they piled into the car headed for the train station and a train ride into London for a day of shopping. As they approached the train station Harry started mumbling about how he didn't need anything and he could just skip the ball coming up.
"Harry, Sirius has all ready made arrangements with us to pay for everything you need. He's had the goblins set up an account at our bank for you, not really sure how he accomplished it but I think we won't even make a dent in the funds we have available to use. I have your bank card with me all you will need to do is sign for what we pick out," Jane said from the front seat without turning around she knew her daughter was sitting next to Harry and she didn't want to spoil whatever her daughter had planned.
The first stop was Armani to have Harry fitted for a tux. They were used to rush orders and told him to return after lunch for a fitting. Alan took Harry shopping for shoes and other essentials while Jane and Hermione made the rounds of the various designer shops shopping for shoes and other items a young lady needed They met for lunch eating in a little restaurant Mr. and Mrs. Granger knew about before continuing their shopping while Harry returned to Armani's for a final check before the tux was completed.
The Jaguar was slightly crowded in the back as the trunk was full of boxes and two garment bags had to be placed in the back with the teens forcing them together even more. "Tell me again why we are doing this?" Harry said sitting in the back with an arm around Hermione.
"Because you didn't dance with me at the Yule ball and you owe me," Hermione replied nudging him lightly.
"I guess I do but..."
"No buts Harry, you and I are going out with my folks and having a good time," Hermione said getting a little annoyed thinking Harry was trying to get out of this.
"Of course Hermione," Harry said pulling her close and planting a kiss on her lips when she turned to look at him.
'Good save, Of course it is my daughter he's hugging and kissing. Too bad I didn't get the Austin Martin it might have come with a boyfriend ejection seat.' Alan thought as he caught the action in his rear view mirror.
Back at the house the teens put their outfits into their closets before changing into comfortable clothes heading out to lay around the pool.
"Harry can you dance?" Hermione asked suddenly concerned.
"Yes, Sirius felt it would help my balance. After you left the training was much more intense. I ended up dancing at the hotel most nights."
"Bet Mary Beth and Joni enjoyed that," Hermione said an odd look on her face.
Harry looked confused for a moment before replying, "Not really after the first dance or two I ended up dancing with their mothers all the time."
"They saw me on the floor and from what Sirius said their daughter's were not good enough dancers for me. Go ahead laugh it up Sirius did on several occasions. Just because I spent four hours or better every night dancing with women old enough to be my mother does not mean I liked it," Harry said obviously affected by Hermione's slight chuckles at his statement.
"I wasn't laughing at you... Well not totally. I was thinking about how Mary Beth and Joni had schemed all summer to get close to you. Then you end up spending your evenings dancing with their mothers. I bet those girls learn how to dance now," Hermione said breaking out into gales of laughter.
Harry took it for a few minutes then decided turnabout was fair play. Just has her mother came out to find out what had set her daughter off he asked, "So we know I can dance. Can you dance?"
"I've been going to things like this since I can remember of course I can dance," Hermione replied as Jane Granger approached.
"What was so funny?" Jane asked sitting down at the pool side table.
"Harry spent the rest of his nights on vacation dancing at the hotel... with Mary Beth and Joni's mothers!" Hermione said launching in to laughter again.
Seeing Harry's downcast expression Jane tried to comfort him, "It couldn't have been that bad."
"Oh it was I just hope I learned enough to not embarrass Hermione when we go to the dance," Harry said honestly.
"Why don't we go into the house and I'll put on some music. You two can then see how you work dancing together."
"Sounds good," Harry said while Hermione looked doubtfully at her mother. She really didn't want to embarrass Harry and this had the potential for doing that rather well.
Jane Granger wanted to assure herself that the young man would not embarrass her daughter. Figuring a little embarrassment in front of her and Hermione was far better than the same fate at the hospital dance. She was looking over the CD's trying to figure out which style to start with when she remembered her daughter telling her that Harry had to waltz at the start of their Yule Ball. Her starting place decided she put on some waltz music. Just as the song started Harry appeared at the door to their living room and took Hermione in his arms without missing a beat waltzed her around the room avoiding the furniture.
"My you have improved," Hermione said when the song ended.
His reply was cut off when Jane spoke up, "You did that very well let's try something a little faster," switching to some big band music. This was about the extent of the music they'd be expected to dance to that night. Again Harry surprised Hermione gradually getting more and more into the dance. First just doing simple moves with her then as they gained confidence in each other's abilities he began more of the acrobatic moves that swing allowed.
Hermione was glad she'd chosen to wear shorts today. These moves would be uncomfortable in jeans unless they were well broken in. which none of hers were. When the song they were dancing to ended she looked at Harry then at her mother asking, "Does he pass?"
"I think so. From your description of him at your ball I had my doubts but he's proven to me he is quite a good dancer."
"I just wish I had a few weeks to teach him to tango," Hermione sighed.
"Got some music?" Harry asked smiling at his best friend.
Hermione looked at her mother who was digging through the stack looking for the CD she kept for her and Alan to practice to. They didn't dance it often but their ability to tango had brought them together when their respective dates refused.
Hermione knew the story and had practiced the tango over the years but once she'd become a teenager her father would only dance it with her in the house. With typical British restraint he'd said on more than one occasion. "That is a dance for two lovers not father and daughter," He only dance it with her in private to insure she would know how if the time came. Suddenly she looked down then said, "Mom wait if I'm going to tango I've got to get out of these shorts. I can't move right in them," before bolting up the stairs to her room.
"I think I'll go change too," Harry said making his way over to the stairs.
Jane smiled watching him go. If what she suspected was happening this tango should be interesting. Harry was back first and had donned slacks and a nice shirt the he had unbuttoned the top two buttons, leather shoes completed the dancer look. Jane nodded saying, "Excellent choice," Watching his shoulders relax as the nervous tension left them.
Hermione came downstairs wearing a frilly blouse, full skirt and heels. "You look great Hermione," Harry said as she walked up to him.
"You two ready?" Jane asked and at their answering nod she started the CD playing. Their first moves were tentative as each felt the other out not wanting to overstep the abilities of their partner. As they progressed Jane could see the sparks starting to fly. The two of them were better than Alan and her had been when they first met. When the song finished and the two teens were looking at each other smiling. Jane spoke up interrupting them. "I think I'll rent a hall for a few hours later this week," At Hermione raised eyebrow she added, "Get the two of you onto a real dance floor and let you work out a little more. This could be quite enjoyable."
"For whom?" Hermione asked.
"Oh your father definitely. And their might be one or two other mothers that have been telling me how good a dancer their daughters are and all about the boyfriend they are bringing."
"Mother we are not going to put on a show," Hermione said worried about Harry getting upset.
"I didn't mean that. You two just be yourselves. No telling your father Hermione I want this to be a surprise to him also," Jane cautioned.
"We won't but you've got to let us practice if we are going to tango right," Hermione said intending to use those times to her advantage.
"Of course. Now Harry who taught you to tango like that?" Jane asked.
"Joni's mom mostly. Mary Beth's worked on my swing dancing and the girls taught me the latest muggle dances."
"You learned all that in the last few weeks?"
"Exercises first thing in the morning then dance lessons on the beach with Mary Beth and Joni. After lunch Tango lessons with Joni's mother at the Hotel then Dinner and Swing lessons with Mary Beth's mother inter-dispersed with different dances depending on what music was being played at the hotel. So I've spent the last few weeks dancing constantly."
"That would explain the improvement," Hermione said with a smile.
They kept practicing and when Jane saw them at the hall she was pleased knowing the Hospital dance would be a coming out in more ways than one.