The day of the hospital dance Jane returned home at noon to start getting ready. Harry was banished to the back yard until Alan returned home giving the two ladies the run of the upstairs.
Harry heard Alan drive up and went around to the garage to meet him. "Harry the women kick you out?" Alan asked seeing him approach.
"Yes, something about they needed some privacy," Harry grumbled good naturedly.
"It's getting close to the time we need to get ready. I think it might be a good idea for you to take your clothes to the den when we get inside and once I've made sure the coast is clear you can take a relaxing shower then dress down in the den. Just so you know I'll be in our home office being the husband and father doesn't carry much weight on these days," Alan said patting Harry on the back.
Once they were at the door Alan said, "Let me go first I'll come get you when the coast is clear," Before knocking and stepping into his own house calling out, "It's just Dad can Harry and I get to our rooms and take a shower?"
"Tell Harry to wait a few moments," Hermione's voice came down the stairs followed by the sounds of doors being shut and mother daughter conversations.
"Can the two of you dress downstairs?" Jane called out.
"All ready arranged."
"Good both of you come get your clothes downstairs then take a quick shower," Jane added just before a door slammed.
"Come on Harry it sounds like everything is normal," Alan said holding the door open so Harry could enter.
Just over an hour later Harry finished tying the tie on his tux when Alan knocked asking, "Need any help?"
"Come on in I think I've got everything but it's always good to have someone else check," Harry said slipping on his jacket.
"I never thought I'd see a fifteen year old who not only knew how to tie his own tie properly but wears a tuxedo well. You look quite sharp Harry. I'm sure Hermione will enjoy being with you tonight," Alan said wondering just how much his daughter would enjoy the evening.
The two males chatted quietly until Jane called out, "You ready down there?"
"Give us a moment," Alan said leading Harry out to the bottom of the stairs before he replied, "Ready."
Jane came down first her dress started low, all bare shoulders and neck highlighting the glittering necklace she wore, and reached to the floor. All together it did a great job of highlighting her thin figure.
"Wow," Harry said then quickly turned red when he realized he'd spoke aloud.
"Don't worry Harry I agree wow is a good description," Alan said pleased.
Hermione descended and it was both males that took a deep breath. It was only his wife's hand holding him back that stopped Alan from rushing over and carrying Hermione back up stairs until he was able to lock Harry out of the house. His daughter's dress consisted of multiple layers of lightly colored gauze with a small strip of material going over her right shoulder leaving her left shoulder and arm bare. The dress stopped just at her knees with each layer of gauze ending at a slightly different angle and length. All Alan could think of was this was a fairy's dress for an adult woman not his fifteen year old daughter.
"Hermione I... Wow just doesn't do it justice," Harry said shaking his head.
Five minutes spent taking pictures later they were in the Jaguar and headed to dinner and then to the hotel were the dance was being held.
Alan enjoyed the excitement that ran through him when they entered the hall and the noise level lowered as the first to see the four of them went quiet before the rest turned to see what was causing the sudden drop in the ambient noise level. The noise level quickly rose but not before Jane smiled at him. "Quite the entrance. Not sure rather which of us caused it though," He muttered before turning to his wife and seeing the look on her face he added, "You enjoyed it."
"Yes and so did you," Jane replied before turning to greet one of her friends, "Oh yes, that is Hermione's boyfriend from school. He's staying with us for a few days before the start of school," Jane replied smiling at her friend.
"Mother bring your claws back in," Alan teased once they were out of hearing range.
"She's always going on about how good a dancer her daughter is and how luckily she was to find a boyfriend that liked to dance."
"And tonight you get to show off your daughter and her dancing boyfriend."
"Who me? No tonight I get to watch my daughter and her boyfriend have a good time. Next week at the club I get my props," Jane said smiling.
After a few more minutes passed the administrator of the hospital welcomed everyone and the band started playing a waltz. Hermione kept her hold on Harry's arm saying, "This first dance is for the administrator and the heads of staff. Then the doctors can dance with their wives. Finally after that we can get on the floor."
Harry nodded and watched the various groups dance remembering what it was like when he had to open the Yule Ball with a dance. He was quite willing this time to allow someone else that 'privilege'.
Suddenly it was time and Hermione steered him to the dance floor with far more subtle movements than Parvati Patil had used to steer him around at the Yule Ball. Almost without thought he had his arms full of Hermione and they were waltzing around the hall.
Laura Madley a Hufflepuff who would soon be starting her third year at Hogwarts had finally managed to accompany her parents to the big dance after years of trying. Sitting with her folks who had just sat down after one waltz she was watching all the couples enjoying themselves on the floor when her eyes went wide and she muttered a little too loud, "No it can't be not here."
"What can't be pumpkin?" her mother asked.
"Mother!" The teenager exclaimed through gritted teeth exasperated at the childhood nickname she was fourteen for Merlin's sake.
"All right Laura what has got you so excited?"
"Do you know who that young couple is dancing?" She said motioning towards the dance floor.
"I haven't seen them around but I think they came in with the Doctors Granger."
"Then it is them."
"Hermione Granger and Harry Potter."
"The Harry Potter?" Her mother asked perking up.
"I think so. If you are sure the girl is Hermione then I'm sure that's Harry," Laura said firmly.
"Honey, Laura and I are going to mingle," Mrs. Madley said taking her daughter's hand and heading off leaving her husband to amuse himself.
"Dr. Jane Granger I'd like you to meet my daughter Laura," Susan Madley said as she approached the table were the Grangers were seated.
"Hello Laura how are you liking the dance? Your mother told me you were excited about coming," Jane said smiling up at the young lady.
"Very much, would you mind... is that Harry Potter dancing with your daughter?" Laura asked unable to contain herself.
"And how would you know that?" Jane asked her voice suddenly devoid of all emotion.
"I'm sorry I didn't mention this earlier but I believe my daughter attends the same school as your daughter," Susan said just as Harry looked from the dance floor to the Grangers and caught Alan looking worried.
"Hermione I think it would be best for us return to your folks," Harry said dancing them over to the edge of the dancing area allowing them to gracefully exit the floor.
Hermione caught the tension in her parents posture and quickly made her way over. "Mum you simply can not sit here all evening," Hermione said as she approached intending to give her mother a quick out of the conversation she was in.
"We will in just a few moments dear. I was wondering if you might remember Laura Madley?"
Hermione looked at the young lady her mother had indicated for a moment running through her mental rolodex of people she'd met with her folks coming up blank. "Hufflepuff second year?" Harry asked from beside her.
"YOU know me?" Laura asked looking at Harry in total shock.
"I remember you being with Cedric a couple times last year," Harry replied not noticing Hermione trying to hide her astonishment.
Harry realized the silence at the table was starting to stretch when he heard a waltz start playing, "Laura if your mother doesn't mind would you give me the pleasure of this dance?"
"Laura is a little stunned. Honey, I believe he was asking you to dance with him."
"Yes sure anytime," Laura replied in shock her eyes watching Harry's hand as he reached down and took her own hand before leading her to the dance floor.
"I think that may just be the high point of this evening for her. Be sure to thank your boyfriend for me," Abigail Madley said watching her daughter looking up at Harry in total shock as he danced with her.
"I will," Hermione said shocked at Harry's actions.
"How is your evening going?" Abigail asked Hermione.
"If I could figure out a way to keep these nylons up I'd be set," Hermione mumbled to herself.
"I told you a garter belt would be needed," Her mother added.
"Last time I believe the advertising."
"Hermione are you a witch or not?" Abigail asked.
"What do you mean? I can't do magic out of school."
"Come with me and I'll tell you and your mother a story while showing you how to fix your problem," The other two followed Abigail to the ladies room where Abigail said, "First off the ministry can only detect high powered magic using your wand a simple sticking charm said while pressing your fingers against the two items will not be detected. Simply go in to a stall and once you have your nylons arraigned properly hold your finger against the top edge and say the charm."
A few minutes later Hermione emerged with a big smile on her face. "There is a lot you need to learn that isn't in books because the ministry doesn't want muggle born to learn it. I'll write you a few letters and have your mother send them. That should help you out."
"Why do you want to help me?" Hermione asked.
"Hermione!" Jane Granger said intending to remind her daughter about the manners she seemed to have forgotten.
"Jane don't, you haven't seen what your daughter has to deal from full blooded witches being muggle born and from what I've seen tonight the girlfriend of the savior of the wizarding world," Abigail said drawing a frown from Hermione.
"Mum she's right except about the last bit."
"Wait a few weeks. Boys are slow," Abigail said with a smile.
"Now before we leave let me tell you how my daughter owes her existence to Harry.
"I was a young witch out celebrating Harry's defeat of He who must not be named when I met a recent Uni graduate. He helped me celebrate rather well. When I woke up the next morning he asked for my phone number. Of course I didn't have one so we made arrangements to meet later. Once thing lead to another and a few months later we were married and Laura was born on the ninth anniversary of our meeting."
"So when did he find out about..."
"My being like you? I told him a few days after we'd met when I realized we were starting to get serious. Now let's go rescue your boyfriend from my daughter."
Back in the hall they met up with the two abandoned husbands, "You daughter is going to be a handful tonight," Abigail's husband said looking towards the dance floor.
"Let's go rescue him," Abigail said taking her husband's hand leading him to the dance floor where they made their way to Harry and Laura. Then switched partners allowing Abigail to guide Harry back to the Granger's table. "Here he is all safe and sound," Abigail said taking her leave of them.
"That was very sweet of you Harry," Jane said.
Suddenly the music tempo changed as the band took a break and the leader announced they were going to play some music for the younger crowd. "Come on Harry you are dancing to this with me," Hermione said leading Harry to the floor. Harry listened intending to catch the beat when he realized the song that was starting, "Ah crap," Sirius always insured this particular song played at least once a night while he was learning to dance. Harry could hear his voice in his mind right now. "Give it up pup the ladies are going to want to dance to this with you and you'd better be very good at it," Harry had turned out to be very very good at it.
Hermione felt Harry spin her around so she was facing him just as the singer started:
"Where have all the good men gone, and where are all the gods."
Harry's dancing was getting more and more flashy as the song built. The ones watching them realized that for the young lady she was dancing with her hero and for one of the rare times outside of a fight her companion did look the part.
When they took a break and sat down Jane Granger looked over saying, "Hermione after that show I believe you are going to have trouble. Every female here is going to want to dance with your beau."
She turned out to be right but no other female got the dance partner that Hermione got. The evening was winding down when the band announcer said, "We have a request for a tango contest. Would everyone wishing to participate check in with the lady holding up her hand."
Hermione looked at Harry who shrugged his shoulders before nodding. She made her way over holding Harry's hand and shortly they were on the dance floor. A nervous Hermione looked over the see Harry with his eyes closed in concentration. Then she felt it. Harry had pulled his magic outward and had done something she didn't recognize with it. "One of Sirius's tricks he used around muggles it helps with a dance like this," seeing the look on Hermione's face he added, "Yes I'll teach you later. Sirius said he could only keep it up for a few songs, the longest I've tried is a few hours and it wasn't a good idea. Sirius had to drag the girls off me when I left the dance."
Not being experienced contest dancers they were just standing and talking when the music began instead of taking starting positions like some of the other couples so the start of the dance was a little awkward. Once they got going however it was a different story. Harry released his magic and Hermione found her eyes locking on Harry despite knowing what was going on. Half of the couples in the contest were eliminated quickly receiving a tap on the shoulder they looked and seeing a shaking head they left the dance floor. Harry took note of the happenings but his focus was on Hermione and their dance. For her part Hermione was totally focused on Harry. Normally she focused on her dancing and while error free it was passionless. Taking her mother's parting suggestion this time she focused on Harry and just danced.
The judges willowed down the dancers over the next few tunes until there were only three couples dancing. They were stuck with what to do regarding the young couple. They were not dancing that standard British style of tango but a more modern style that one of the judges had noticed in the clubs over the last few years. The one thing they all agreed on was the more that couple danced the better they were getting. Finally the one judge that insisted on only the British style should judged was won over by a complicated move Harry and Hermione made look quite easy all the while displaying the passion the tango was noted for.
At a wave the music stopped and an announcer spoke up, "We have a winning couple, will Miss Hermione Granger and her partner Mr. Harry Potter come to the stage and receive their trophy."
Alan Granger was standing beside his wife applauding the couple when he noticed his wife smile and wave at another woman. "What was that all about?"
"Oh nothing special."
"Jane I know that look who just got slammed?"
"Well Mrs. 'my daughter is the best dancer ever born' might have just watched my daughter beat hers in a dance contest," Jane said with a sly smile.
"And you are enjoying this way too much."
"There is no way I could enjoy this too much," Jane said stepping forward and giving her beaming daughter a big hug. While her husband shook Harry's free hand the other was busy holding the trophy they'd just won.
There were a few more songs after that but Harry and Hermione danced only the "Last Dance" then the two tired teens piled into the back seat for the ride back to the Granger's home.
"I am exhausted I will see you two tomorrow morning, late tomorrow morning," Jane said taking Alan's arm as he lead her to bed.
Harry and Hermione followed them up the stairs.
Late the next morning Jane quietly opened her daughter's bedroom door intending to have her help with brunch only to spot Crookshanks her familiar laying in the center of a still made bed. She then checked the bathroom to make sure her daughter was all right, again coming up empty. When she cracked opened the bathroom's opposing door she found her daughter in bed with Harry and their clothes draped over a chair. Jane pulled the door shut and went to start brunch alone. Once she had things going she when up and woke her husband then knocked on Harry's door calling out, "Brunch will be ready in a few minutes Mr. and Mrs. Potter," before dashing downstairs.
Hermione came up to the hazy level of sleep when she hear her mothers voice announce brunch shooting wide awake and sitting up at the Mrs. Potter comment. Looking around she realized she wasn't in her room and the boy in bed next to her mumbling, "Hermione come back to sleep," had her checking her clothing.
'Panties - check, Bra - nope, top - none, nylons- yes, what the heck am I doing in bed with Harry wearing panties and nylons? Of all the things nylons!' Hermione thought then remembered the dance last night. That evolved to memories of her and Harry undressing and climbing into bed. She'd been so tired she had just joined him in the guest bed. Now her mother's comment about Mr. and Mrs. Potter at least made sense. Evidently she'd been spotted in bed with Harry. Ah well when all else fails bluff your way. "Harry we need to get up."
"Her...Hermione?" Harry asked coming awake. His eyes going wide as he looked up at her still topless beside him.
"You ... you're..."
"Don't you like the view? You seemed to enjoy it last night," Hermione said looking over at Harry trying her hardest not to blush and admit embarrassment.
"Yes I like the view but what about your folks?"
"Seeing as how my mother just called through your door for Mr. and Mrs. Potter to come down for brunch, I suspect they are aware of where I spent the night."
"Your father is going to kill me," Harry said following Hermione out of bed and pulling on a robe that she passed him after donning her own.
"I doubt it. He might try and scare you but just remember compared to Snape he's an amateur."
"That may be but unlike Snape he has a very good reason to kill me."
"Don't worry about dad Mum is the one that will kill without remorse."
"Gee... Thanks... Now I have to worry about both of them," Harry said guilt setting in at what they thought he'd done.
Hermione decided to let Harry off the hook. "If my mother had intended for you to be punished in anyway she'd come in here and had it out with you right then. I suspect we'll be in for some teasing but that's about it," Hermione said leading the way downstairs.
"Nice of you two to finally join us. Did you have a good night's sleep?" Jane asked her eyes twinkling.
"Yes mother I did. I haven't slept that well in years."
"And how did you sleep Harry?" Alan asked looking at him with a neutral face.
'I'd rather be killed for being honest.' Harry thought before replying, "I've got to agree with Hermione it was the best night's sleep I've had in quite a while."
"Do you need anything from the chemist dear?" Jane asked.
Hermione looked at her mother in shock that she'd asked such a question at the table. "No mother there is no need. Everything is in the same condition it was this time yesterday. As we've both said, we slept nothing else," Hermione said firmly.
"Can we expect the same thing to happen tonight?"
"Ask me tonight. Harry and I have to talk about things."
"Not until I've had a talk with the both of you, Mr. Potter."
"Harry please," He said interrupting.
"Not for this conversation. Mr. Potter I do not expect my daughter's first time to occur in whatever passes for a passion hideaway up at your school."
"I agree Mrs. Granger. As Hermione said we were quite exhausted last night and just fell asleep," Harry said turning bright red.
"Am I to understand my daughter was so tired she couldn't walk ten feet to her own bed?"
"No Mrs. Granger, I mean... I don't know what I mean. Mrs. Granger I feel quite strongly about Hermione and I wouldn't do anything with her that she did not want to do."
"Good if you are still seeing each other at Christmas I expect to see both of you here for the holidays. As for the next few days you have left I trust the two of you to make your own sleeping arrangements..., as long as they stay sleeping arrangements. Is there anything either of you don't understand."
"No Mrs. Granger."
They were back up in Harry's room before Harry relaxed enough to look at Hermione asking, "Were we just given permission by your parents to sleep together?"
Hermione stopped and thought for a moment before replying, "Yes provided all we do is sleep together."
A little smile graced her face as she said, "Well I guess a little snogging wouldn't be too far out of line."
After a full day of relaxing ending with them saying good night to her folks Harry watched Hermione walk upstairs in front of him wondering what tonight held in store for him. They hadn't been cautioned at all about sleeping arrangements and to be honest He really wanted her in his bed tonight. The shocking thing it wasn't for any fooling around although he hoped that might happen. He had told the truth that morning when he'd said last night was the best night's sleep he'd had in years and to be quite frank he was looking forward to having another great nights sleep of course if it came after a bit of snogging who was he to complain.
Hermione's mind was arguing with herself. On the good girls side it was saying that what happened last night couldn't happen again or Harry wouldn't respect her. Hermione heard Harry sigh softly after she'd kissed him at his door and continued on down to her own room. It wasn't until she'd donned the one baby doll nightgown she owned that she realized where she actually planned on spending the night.
"Budge over," Harry heard as he was starting to drift off to sleep.
Not trusting himself to speak he shoved over towards the wall and felt the bed move as a body laid down. Rolling over he looked Hermione in the eyes, "My parents don't mind and we both got a great night's sleep," She explained.
Harry didn't say anything he just put his arm around her and pulled her close for a kiss.
The next morning Hermione awoke to a new feelings running through her body. As the haze of sleep cleared she realized what was causing those problems. She was now Harry's teddy bear and his arm was wrapped around her his hand cradling one of 'the girls' as she thought of them. Examining her feelings she decided this was something there would definitely be more of in their lives.
Two days later Harry and Hermione woke up in each other's arms the same way they'd done every morning since the dance. "Hi, Harry are you looking forward to visiting Diagon Alley?"
"No," Hermione looked at him with a raised eyebrow causing him to add, "Going there means I'm going back to Hogwarts. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed this summer. No real chores, spent two months swimming and having a blast, found a lost beauty on the beach and now she's my girlfriend. Why would I want to return to the realm of Malfoy and Snape?"
"Because we need to go to school?" Harry shook his head, "Because I'm going there?"
"That works for me," Harry said watching her get up and don her robe before passing him his. "Need someone to scrub your back?" Harry asked as she headed into their joint bathroom.
"Not just yet," Hermione said with a smile.
Three hours later they were entering the Leaky Cauldron for a day of shopping. "First stop after Gringotts is Madam Malkin's for new school robes," Hermione said leading the way. Harry looked over and saw Tom about to say Hi, but Harry held his finger to his lips in the universal quiet symbol then waved as rushed after his girlfriend.
"Then Flourish & Blotts for books, don't forget you've got to top off your potion supplies and we both need owl treats," Hermione rattled on as they walked down the alley to the goblin's bank.
Hermione refused to go down to Harry's vault with him. More he suspected due to his and Ron's tales of the cart ride then her announced reason of not wanting to intrude on his personal business. Back in the Lobby with a full bag of galleons Harry noticed Hermione had a companion with her, "Professor Dumbledore, I wasn't expecting to see you until tomorrow."
"Harry you must go back to your Aunt's house tonight," Dumbledore said firmly his eyes twinkling as he looked at Harry.
'Avoid his eyes,' Harry remembered his godfather saying so he looked to Hermione then inclined his head towards Dumbledore. She shook her head very slightly no.
Harry fixed his eyes on the colorful robe the Headmaster was wearing noting the stars were moving slightly. "Headmaster I've all ready made arrangements for tonight and my school trunk is no longer at my aunts. I doubt I will ever be going back there."
"But Harry they miss you."
"Like a bad tooth ache," Harry said drawing a snort of laughter from Hermione.
"Seeing as how you are here with Miss Granger may I assume you are staying with her?"
"Headmaster I can not control what you assume but you know what happens when you assume," Harry replied looking over at Hermione.
"Then why is she here with you?"
"My girlfriend is helping me shop now if you don't mind there are a number of things we need to accomplish today," Harry said moving over to take Hermione's hand before walking out with Dumbledore following along.
"Headmaster I am positive the two of us are quite capable of making sure my robes fit me," Harry said as Dumbledore walked beside him towards Madam Malkin's.
"Harry you need to understand the danger you are in."
"Professor if I am in danger it is being aggravated by your presence. Everyone is wondering why you are walking with two students."
"But should Voldemort attack you do not have the protection your mother gave you."
"He's has my blood in him after the tournament thus rendering your fabled blood protection moot. Professor give it up I'll be under your thumb tomorrow and in all honesty that is too soon for me. The reason I'm shopping today is my girlfriend talked me into returning to school. I would rather find a quiet place where I can relax and not worry about dark lords and overbearing headmasters. I've done some figuring this summer and the gold my parents left me would last quite a while if I didn't over do. Even longer should I find a job and I've been told several times I am a passable cook and gardener. Thanks to the training I received while acting as a house elf for the Dursleys."
Dumbledore stopped allowing Harry and Hermione to enter Madam Malkin's alone. He couldn't believe Harry just said it was only Hermione's wanting to attend school that had prevented him from just up and leaving the wizarding world after all he'd done for him. Dumbledore decided that his aims would best be served by having someone else in the order watching over them and disapparated to find a replacement.
Hermione was sitting at Florean Fortescue's across from Madam Malkin's splitting a ice cream Sunday with Harry after spending the last few hours trying to convince him that he needed to look better than he did last year. She'd finally gotten her way and this Sunday was her treat as a peace offering. "Congratulations," A young blond girl said walking up to them.
Moon eyes sexy blond sprang in to Hermione's mind at the sight of the girl 'oh yes', Hermione thought before asking, "Luna Lovegood are you school shopping also?" smiling at what Harry would say if he knew just how she remembered this girls name.
"Oh no I'm on an errand for my father, and I saw you two were... no you're not fully yet are you?"
"Are we what...Luna?" Harry asked pleased he'd remembered the girl's name.
"Bonded, I can see things like that. You know if you two continue you might be fully bonded before Christmas," Luna said turning and walking away.
Harry looked at Hermione confused but all she said was, "Hurry up and finish Harry I've got to visit Flourish & Blotts," Hermione said ignoring her part in devouring the concoction in front of them.
"All right but I'm paying for any books you find on bonds and I get to read whatever ones you are not reading."
An hour and a half later they'd picked up his completed robes and the bus they were riding was just pulling into the train station when Hermione exclaimed, "Married!"
"Hermione we need to get off," Harry said taking the bags full of their shopping all conveniently shrunk by the various clerks. Well except for the book she was currently reading. "All about Bonds" she had insisted be kept out so she could read it during the journey. Harry had thought it was a bad idea at the time and he was now being proven right.
"Harry do you realize what is going on if Luna is right!" she said a little too loudly.
"Hermione we are with Mu... people please put the book away and calm down we can discuss this at your house."
"Yes love we can discuss this later, why don't we get on the platform and wait for the train back home," Harry said taking the book out of her hands and placing it in one of their bags, earning a sympathetic smile from one of the gents watching them.
Hermione realized Harry's actions were for the best but if Luna was right and they were bonding they could be declared married without any other action. No wedding, no eloping, no nothing just bam you're married have a good life. True it was Harry she was supposedly bonding with and that was a good thing. She could just see her mother's face when she walked up saying, 'Harry and I bonded over the summer so I'm going off to spend my life with him.' At 16, which she would be next summer, her father wouldn't get a chance to react her mother would kill Harry at first sight. Savior of the wizarding world or not that would not stop her mother.
Once they were in the Granger's home Harry looked at Hermione asking, "So what's had you stewing ever since we got on the train?"
"Didn't you hear Luna she thinks we're bonding! You need to read this book!" Hermione replied waiving the book she'd read in his face.
"Hermione it's Luna she might be right but it's more likely she's wrong. That is unless you are planning on calling Sirius Stubby," Harry said referring to how Luna's father's paper 'The Quibbler' kept insisting Stubby Boardman was actually Sirius Black.
"Yes Hermione I'll read the book tonight but until tomorrow when we are on the Hogwarts Express and free to perform the spell to check if we are bonding you need to relax," Harry said wondering just what had Hermione so upset? They were dating so naturally there would be a bond forming between them. There probably was one already based on their three years of being best friends.
Harry laid awake that night his arm around Hermione who was cuddled up against him. His mind was mulling over the various implications from his forced reading and subsequent discussion with Hermione. 'Married, that was what had set Hermione off when she'd glanced through the book. Her reaction to his question of 'Just what is so bad about being married to me?' had totally change the feeling in what he now thought of as their room. Hermione had gone silent for several long moments before kissing him. She then looked him in the eyes almost like she was looking into his soul as she replied, 'Nothing Harry, absolutely nothing,' before agreeing with him that their bonding wasn't a big issue unless they made it so agreeing to wait until they were at Hogwarts to perform the confirming spell.
Everyone stood around platform 9 3/4 greeting old friends and watching to see who was coming through the barrier with whom. Molly Weasley was the first to notice the arrival of the Granger's with a boy tagging along. 'Merlin that can't be he's looking far to fit.' She thought her eyes never leaving him as he made his way pushing a cart with two trunks, a cat carrier, and the item that clinched it for her a cage with a snowy owl perched majestically inside. "Harry!" She screamed leaving her assembled family running over to give the boy a hug.
"Hello Mrs. Weasley," Harry finally said quietly when Molly released her suffocating hug placing her hands on his shoulders and holding him at arms length as she looked him over carefully.
"You don't look any worse for the summer," She said finally.
"Worse, he looks bloody fantastic," Ginny Weasley muttered under her breath having followed her mother over. When she realized she'd said it out loud she looked around to see if anyone had heard her. To her confusion Hermione Granger was looking back at her and nodded slightly before winking.
"Dumbledore's going to be in a right state when he sees you, leaving your aunt's home for all summer like that."
"Now Molly that's between the headmaster and Harry," Mr. Weasley said coming over and placing an arm around his wife.
"Still he shouldn't have disappeared without the Headmaster's approval," Molly said getting in the last word. Looking around she asked, "Hermione where are you folks I don't see them anywhere."
"Oh they dropped me off out front and Harry found this luggage cart and helped me with my things," Hermione said leaving the impression she'd met Harry here at the station.
"Hey Hermione," Ron Weasley called out walking over from where he'd been talking with his dorm mates.
"Hi Ron," Hermione replied feeling Harry's arm wrap around her waist and anchor her to him.
"Hey Ron," Harry said holding out his free hand to shake Ron's
"Blimey mate you've grown," Ron replied not noticing Harry staking a claim on Hermione.
"I had a good summer. But look at you what are you another foot taller?" Harry teased.
"Nah I only grew a few inches," Ron replied smiling.
Ginny was watching the interaction between the three friends wondering just how dense her brother was. Harry just visually staked his claim on Granger and Ron never even caught what that hug implied. Her musings were interrupted when her classmate Luna Lovegood walked over and said, "It is rare to see it in a witch and wizard so young."
Ginny knew Luna looked at the world slightly different than most everyone else and to be honest it was a trait that caused more than a few problems for the young blond haired girl. Ginny generally enjoyed puzzling out what Luna meant but this was not one of those times. "Luna what are you talking about?"
"Don't you see it?"
"Those two. I don't think they realize it yet but it is obvious she trusts him with the one thing we girls never trust a boy with," Luna replied.
Ginny looked at Harry and Hermione trying to figure out what the girl was talking about. Her mind was busy planning the long talk on boyfriend poaching she intended to have with Hermione. Then she realized what Luna meant. Harry put his arm around Hermione and she didn't drop her hand down to cover his. A move most girls learn early on to insure the boy's hands do not wander excessively. Hermione obviously trusted him to keep to safe areas and that meant his hands had been there enough times to insure she was comfortable. Not wanting to let on she turned to Luna asking, "Okay you've got me confused now what don't we trust boys with?"
"Our reputations, we are always aware where their hands are and who's around unless we know for certain it's just the two of us and all the doors to the room are locked. But Hermione isn't paying any attention to who's around or where Harry's putting his hands. She trusts him completely with her reputation. There are even some married couples that don't achieve the degree of trust she's showing, just look at the Malfoys."
She instinctively looked over where Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy were saying their final goodbyes to the blond pounce that was their only child. Narcissa was a step away from Lucius her pose so rigid she could have passed for a statue if you didn't know her.
On board the train Ginny watched Harry and Hermione for most of the trip to Hogwarts. Only missing the time spent for occasional trips to the facilities and the time spent in the Perfects meeting but Hermione was in that with her and Ron. Paying close attention when they disembarked at Hogsmeade station she watched as the couple went over and greeted Hagrid who was rounding up the first year students. Sitting back in the carriage to take her the final short distance to Hogwarts she muttered to herself, "Bloody hell Luna was right. Those two act closer than any couple I've seen outside of my parents," Realizing the discussion she'd planned was useless now. The boy was all hogtied and branded to use a term from the novel she'd borrowed from Heather to read over the summer. The one she'd promised to keep hidden from her mother. It was time for her to find another wizard and this time she was not going to let him out of her sight until she hogtied and branded him herself.