In the summer of 1996, Voldemort launches eleven attacks against the Muggle-born of Hogwarts while he leads an attack against Privet Drive. In the aftermath of the attack on Privet Drive, Harry i...
Harry sat up in Hermione's bed and put his glasses on. He noticed that the room was still brightly lit, so it was still mid-to-late afternoon. A glance at Hermione's alarm clock confirmed that they had hours before they had to get dressed.
Harry turned and looked at Hermione's prone, napping figure. He drank in the sight of her bare skin.
Harry had led a very sheltered life in many way. Still, Dean had shared some art books with his dorm mates, and Fred and George had loaned Ron some Muggle men's magazines. Therefore he had had a general of what girls looked like. It had not prepared him for the sight of Hermione, nude on her bed, in the bright sunshine streaming in from the back window, let alone the view of her when he had entered her room several hours before.
Except for a few hugs from Hermione and his horrible date with Cho, Harry had had no tenderness in his life until he had come here to the Grangers'. Not even his recent snogging adventures with Hermione had prepared him for what they had done for each other that afternoon.
Harry therefore did not know what to think, or what to feel, as he sat there looking as his best friend, his girlfriend, and now in many ways his lover. He did know that if any dementors had shown up at that moment, his Patronus would stomp them into the ground. He felt like he could rip Voldemort apart with his bare hands, should he even threaten Hermione with so much as a glance.
Harry let his eyes wander, from the incredibly messy head of hair, down the perfect skin of her back, to the taut lushness of her tush, the thin but well-formed legs, to the perfect feet and cute little toes and back again. Hermione rolled over, and Harry couldn't resist any long. He leaned over and kissed Hermione's nose.
She opened her eyes. "Hi," she said softly. Harry had never heard her use that tone of voice before.
Harry smiled. "Hi."
"Any regrets?" she asked.
"Not a one," Harry answered. He kissed her gently. "I love you, Hermione. Thank you."
"For always loving me; for always caring about me. For believing in me."
"What?" she asked, seeing the serious look on his face.
"Nothing. . . ."
"Come on, Harry."
"I was just thinking about how of all my friends, only you and Luna have always tried to stick by me."
"I've tried," Hermione answered. "Is that one reason why you thought you might date Luna before you turned your attention to me?"
Harry flushed. "It wasn't like that."
"I know. I shouldn't tease. Neither of us is very good at it, and I'm even worse at it than you."
Harry smiled and shrugged. "Then yes, since I thought you were unavailable, that's one reason why I thought about dating Luna. I'm sure you would both deny it, but you two are more similar than either of you would admit."
"Well, we approach things very differently, but we both have a passion for truth and knowledge, even if we consider what they are somewhat differently." Hermione shrugged, which made her small breasts move in ways that delighted Harry to no end. "We made friends in June. Well, actually, I made friends with her. She was always trying to be nice to me, and I wasn't always nice to her."
Harry then told Hermione about how Luna's Housemates treated her. Hermione was appalled. "We'll have to think of something to help her," she finally said. By now, she and Harry were intertwined on the bed.
"As long as we don't make things worse," Harry said, going back nibbling her neck and cupping her breasts.
Hermione decided not to worry about Luna for a while.
Crookshanks lifted his heavy head ten minutes later, as he heard his mistress laughing and shouting in pleasure. He put his head down and went back to sleep. Humans, he had always thought, were very odd creatures, but apparently these two had finally learned what was important.
Saturday, July 27, 1996
The Grangers stared at the huge pile of buildings before them. "You own that?" Dan finally gasped.
"Apparently," Harry said, embarrassed.
"Harry, that's twice as large, and a lot better looking, than Malfoy Manor," Tonks said.
"Thanks, I think," Harry replied. He turned to Remus. "You've been here before, right?"
"Oh, yes. Many times." He shook his head. "Both sets of your grandparents, and most of your extended family were staying here during the last war, because the wards are very strong. They only came out for James and Lily's wedding. The wedding and the reception went off well, but James' parents hosted a supper that evening, hoping to get to know Lily's family better. James and Lily had already left on their honeymoon, of course. Sirius, Peter, and I came back here, to set up pranks on James and Lily's suite. Petunia and Vernon refused to attend the dinner, of course. The Death Eaters attacked and killed everyone. Twenty-seven wizards and witches, fifteen Muggles. I can only say that they took out an even dozen of the Death Eaters. James and Lily hated coming here after that, and that was the last time I was here." Tonks stood behind Remus and wrapped her arms around him. She hugged him tightly.
"This is going to be a happy place," Harry stated determinedly. The others looked at him. "Life should be happy. I'm tired of running. All my life I've been looking for a home. This is going to be it." The wards around the island flared pure white.
"It seems like the Manor agrees," Remus said, a bit in awe.
"Come on," Harry stated. "Let me show you my home."
The tour lasted all morning. To Harry and Hermione's surprise, there were three family ghosts, none of whom had showed themselves on their previous visit. They now introduced themselves, and added their own insights to the tour. One was his paternal grandfather, killed at the dinner he had hosted for James and Lily's wedding. While the other two ghosts had feared death to the point of not leaving the Earthly plane, Henry Potter had not left because of his anger.
He controlled his anger well, however, and over lunch Remus, with some help from Harry and Hermione, filled the ghost in on some recent history. Afterwards, Harry met with his grandfather, and told him about the Prophecy, and some more personal observations of his battles and life. Hermione took her parents to one of the libraries, while Remus took Tonks on a more personal tour.
"You probably know little about me as a person," Grandfather Henry said, after Harry was done and he had thought about things for a bit.
"True, sir," Harry said. "About the only things I knew were seeing you in a magical mirror once, and that you and Grandmother took in Sirius when he left home."
The ghost nodded. "You probably don't believe that 'blood will out', do you?"
"Not as such," Harry answered. "Still heredity and environment together determine a lot, don't they?"
"They do. Sirius could have gone either way, and whether that was nature or nurture, or knowing his parents a lack of nurture, I couldn't say. Your father was a noble, if some what arrogant, pup, and if Sirius had been Sorted into Slytherin instead of making friends with your father and then being Sorted into Gryffindor, he might have turned bad. I wasn't going to let him slip away, though, so we let him in. Still, that wasn't what I meant. I opposed your parents' marriage."
"What? Why? Because she was Muggle-born?"
The ghost nodded. "I was wrong, of course. Still, the habits of the past are difficult to overcome. I was a very powerful wizard, Harry. So was your father. When I got to know your mother after I was killed, I learned that in some very interesting ways, she was powerful, too. But you, you are two steps above us all. There probably aren't a half-dozen witches on Earth who could add to your blood. This Muggle-born girl you're with, she isn't one of them but she seems like a fine witch, powerful and brilliant."
"She is," Harry stated.
"Well, you're both young yet. She may or may not be the one you end up with, but if she is, I won't complain. I just wanted you to know that."
"Thank you, sir." Seeing his grandfather hesitate, Harry asked, "What is it?"
"I liked Sirius, do not misunderstand me. I did rather wish that James was closer to Remus. I was quite shocked to learn . . . well, you do know, right?"
"That Remus is a werewolf? Yes." Harry's face contorted. "It came as a big shock to us, too."
"My maternal grandfather was a werewolf," Henry said.
"Really?" Harry was surprised.
"My other grandfather and father gave him shelter here. The room is still available, should Remus need it."
"There's a potion now that helps a bit," Harry said. "Did my father know about this?" Henry nodded, and Harry understood why his grandfather and his father had been more tolerant of werewolves than most others in the magical world. "What did you think about Pettigrew?"
Henry shrugged. "A useless little tag-a-long. Is he the one that betrayed James and Lily?"
"He was. Voldemort just killed him the other day for not being subservient enough."
Henry snorted. "It is difficult to believe that he couldn't be subservient enough. It says more about the Dark Lord's sadism than it does Pettigrew's nature." Henry forced a smile. "So, tell me son, do you feel like learning some of the secrets of Potter Place?"
Harry smiled. "Yes, Grandfather."
"What is it you have there?" Dan asked. Emma was a bit overwhelmed by the grand dining hall and the gold dining service to pay much attention. Hermione and Tonks were keeping an eye on Remus. The day of the full moon was approaching. While it would take place during the daylight hours, and therefore did not involve a full transformation, it would be a painful time for him.
"Plans to partially modernize some of the rest of the Manor," Harry said.
"Well, electricity won't work, especially on a large scale," Harry pointed out. "We wouldn't need gas, either. What we do need is some decent plumbing outside this building. It turns out everything was laid in, except the actual fixtures. Toby and Dobby assured me that since the plumbing and drains were taken care of, they could do the fixtures in about two weeks' time, if I asked them to."
"Are you going to?"
"Of course," Harry said. "Hermione?"
"Yes?" Hermione and Emma looked at him.
"If you and Mrs. Granger would be interested, after dinner Braillu could show you where all the toilets and bathrooms are going to be." He held up some Muggle brochures. "You could double check what's going in."
"You don't want to?" Emma asked.
"I don't think it matters, as long as it works, but if you'd like to check on eighty-four toilets, ninety sinks, thirty-three bathtubs and . . . ." Harry frowned. "Twelve bidets? What are bidets?"
"I'll tell you later," Remus said, as Emma and Tonks snorted in laughter.
"Will you stop pacing?" Emma told her husband.
"Then will you tell me why you are pacing?"
Dan scowled. "Emma, I know Hermione is a solid, intelligent young woman, but look at all this! I mean, a gold dinner service!"
"It made the food grow cold fast, didn't it?" Emma mused. "I believe we used it since Remus is allergic to silver."
"That's not the point! Whose head wouldn't be turned by this place?"
"Harry's and Hermione's," she said firmly. "Hermione did say that in many ways, as amazing as this place is, it is somewhat pedestrian compared to Hogwarts."
"That must be some place."
"I take it that it is. And as for Harry, he is incredibly pleased about all this, of course, since he was treated so poorly by his relatives, but when he gets used to this, I would imagine he'll think of this place as a trust to pass on."
"Exactly. To pass on to his children, which he and Hermione might be working on!"
"Nonsense," Emma stated, although she had some doubts. "Trust our daughter, Dan."
He sighed. "I don't have much choice, do I?"
"No, you don't."
"How was the great toilet expedition?" Remus asked Tonks.
"Interesting," Tonks admitted. "Emma has excellent taste, and so did Lily and her mother-in-law." She looked around the small bedroom they were in. "Not the luxurious suite I expected."
"This was my room when I stayed here," Remus said. He pointed at three photos on the wall.
Tonks went and looked. "You, Sirius, and James look happy."
"Doesn't Peter?" Remus asked, curious.
Tonks looked carefully. "It looks like he's hiding behind the frame in this one."
Remus came over. "Come out, Peter," he called. "You did something horrible, but you've paid the price. In this room, at least, you are welcome." The stout, short, blond peeked out, and when he saw Remus smiling he looked at his friends in the photo. All three waved him over, and in all three photos, they took up their positions of friendship for the first time in years.
"Are you nervous, Harry?" Hermione called from the other side of the open bathroom door.
"Actually, I am," Harry admitted.
"Harry, whatever we might do, we're not doing THAT tonight. I'm not quite ready for it."
"Alright. . . ."
"Harry . . . we know we love each other. Why are we nervous?"
"I don't know. Maybe because as much as we've always cared for each other, we were never very physical." He paused, and then said, "You do know, don't you, that you were the first person who ever kissed me that I remember?"
"Really. Except for a rather bone-crushing hug from Hagrid and a few motherly hugs from Mrs. Weasley, and of course those few wet emery-board kisses of Cho's, you're the only person who's ever been physically affectionate with me."
Hermione poked her head through the door. "Not even Luna or Ginny?"
"Not Luna, and I don't remember Ginny ever hugging me or anything. Hermione?"
"Were lonely before you came to Hogwarts?"
"Yes and no. I was lonely at first, because I never had anyone to play with. I imagine they didn't like me for the same reasons you and Ron disliked me."
"I never disliked you, I swear," Harry said.
"If you say so. I didn't go to regular schools, though. I went to a private academy. I didn't have any real friends there, but we got along better than I did with the children who live around us in Norwich, or than I did at Hogwarts at first. But none of the children lived near us, so I didn't get to interact or play with them outside of school." She paused, and then said, "Tell me honestly. Whose idea was it to come after me that first Halloween?"
"Mine," Harry admitted.
"Who kept up the fight with me third year?"
"Ron," Harry admitted.
"Would you have honestly not talked to me because of the Firebolt?"
"Honestly? I probably wouldn't have for a few days, and then we would have drifted back together."
"Ron and I rub each other the wrong way," Hermione said, now coming into the bedroom wearing a light dressing gown. Harry was seated on the bed in his boxers. "I always hoped our fights would become witty banter and scintillating repartee, but they never did."
"We've never been all that witty or scintillating," Harry pointed out.
"No," Hermione admitted, "we haven't. I think we've always been so close that we haven't had to be. I feel comfortable with you, Harry. I feel safe. I feel . . . more myself when I'm with you than at any other time in my life. It's as if you complete me. I would never have gotten on Buckbeak with Ron. I would never have ridden a thestral except to follow you or to save you. I would never have led a crazed teacher into the Forbidden Forest, or faced a three-headed dog, flying keys, or a squad a Death Eaters for anyone except you." She dropped her robe. "I love you, Harry."
Harry dropped to his knees and hugged Hermione close. He kissed her belly. "I love you, Hermione."
Sunday, July 28, 1996
Six people quietly ate in the breakfast room of the newest section of Potter Place. Each wondered if the reason the other two couples were as silent-but-happy as their own couple was the same.
All three couples had spent a very satisfying evening in very comfortable beds, doing very pleasant things with and to each other. None wanted to break the happy silence, although Dan Granger was sorely tempted.
As three of the four adults sipped their second cup of coffee, and Remus and the teens sipped their second cup of hot chocolate, Harry finally broke the silence. "Mister Granger?"
"Do you still want me to go to America with you?"
Dan held his coffee cup with both hands and thought about that question without looking at his wife or his daughter. "Why?" he finally asked, shifting the burden, "do you think you could stay here?"
"It may not be fully safe until Harry reaches seventeen," Remus pointed out.
"My grandfather disagrees," Harry said to Remus. He turned to Dan Granger. "But to answer your question, I would like to go with you. I've never really traveled. I'm just not sure you're as comfortable with the idea as you might have been when you first offered."
"True," Dan admitted. He finally glanced at his wife and daughter. "Somehow, I think I'm the only one with any concerns, and I know I can trust the two of you."
"Thank you, sir," Harry said.
"Thank you, Daddy," Hermione agreed.
Dan sighed. He had been out-maneuvered. "When are we leaving this morning?"
"I need to talk with Coke and Dobby about the plumbing and the drains," Harry said. "An hour?"
They all nodded.
"Just one thing, Harry," Remus warned. "Dumbledore is likely to meet with you this afternoon, remember." Harry nodded. The possibility had been mentioned. "I think he might suggest you stay in Britain for those two weeks, and receive some extra training in dueling."
"That's the only reason why I would consider staying," Harry said, getting up.
Harry went off to talk with the elves. Emma, Hermione, and Tonks went off to look at some tapestries.
"Do you have any concerns beyond what any father of a teenage girl might have?" Remus asked.
"There is still this madman running about loose," Dan pointed out.
"True, but you're likely in more danger than Hermione."
Dan made a face. "I suppose all parents worry about their children. I was especially worried about how Hermione might find her way in your world. If she does settle down with Harry, well. . . ." He waved his hand around the room.
"Tell me, what do you think about Harry?" Remus asked.
Dan sighed. "I like him. He's not quite on Hermione's intellectual level, but hell, neither am I. Neither is Emma for that matter. However, Harry isn't an intellectual, either, like the three of us."
"No," Remus agreed. "Harry is very bright, but he's never going to be reading poetry, plays, or philosophy for fun. I don't know what he would do in the Muggle world these days, but a hundred years ago, he would have been on of those blokes from the upper-middle class or from the lower rungs of the gentry who went out and explored the Empire. I can easily see him popping up, one year in Kenya and three years later in Afghanistan or Tibet. He would have made friends with most of the locals, rescued a few missionaries from the others, mapped hidden valleys and the sources of rivers, and had fun doing it."
"I think you read to many Tarzan and Allen Quartermain books," Dan said.
"And Kipling, and Sir Richard Burton, and so much more, fiction and non-fiction," Remus agreed. "Now James, and Sirius for that matter, they would have done the same, but they would have had a wilder time and fathered children on every continent."
"Really, unless James had met someone like Lily then, too. She really settled him down." Remus smiled. "If Harry does maintain a relationship with Hermione, he will worship the ground she walks on. He will love, honor, and cherish her. He will help her in every way a lover and partner can."
"But he will never be controlled by her, or anyone. As long as she knows that, and can live with it, they will be a terrifically happy couple."
"I suppose you're right." Dan sighed. It was tough being the father of a brilliant teenage witch.