Beta Love: Glitterally. I say this with no fear of exaggeration: I simply could not have done this without her. She has been a life preserver getting me through the roughest parts. I encourage everyone to read anything she writes because it's simply - perfect. As usual, all mistakes are mine and mine alone.
Disclaimer: HP & the HPverse are the property of JKR and her assigns. I make no money from the publishing of this flight of fancy. Any profit is spiritual and derived from positve feedback.
New Year's Eve
Even though her reflection had changed over two months ago, Hermione still found herself doing double-takes in the mirror when she glimpsed herself unexpectedly. But tonight, she knew what to expect, and the gray eyes and dark hair felt almost normal.
Ginny appeared over her shoulder. The redhead looked stunning in a one-shouldered dark green dress that, with its cinched waist and full skirt, was modest enough to suit even the highest sticklers attending the Longbottom's annual New Year's Eve celebration. This year, though, the party was special; Augusta Longbottom had cancelled the one for last year and so, for tonight's party, she'd invited everyone who was anyone and tasked Neville with inviting all of his Hogwarts classmates. Also invited were a select few seventh-year students who had distinguished themselves in the "Late Unpleasantness," as Mrs. Longbottom euphemistically called the Second Wizarding War. Thus, Ginny and Luna would be among the attendees.
"Are you ready?" At Hermione's nod, Ginny continued, "You look beautiful, Hermione. Harry's going to drool."
"He's seen this dress already; I wore it to Sirius and Kate's wedding, but these" - she pointed to her silver, strappy high-heel sandals - "are new."
"Trust me, he'll love it. I bet he liked it before, but those shoes kick it up a notch."
Just then, a familiar voice intruded. "Blimey, 'Mione. You look hot."
"Ron!" Hermione spun on her heel and opened her arms for a hug. "It's been so long! I can't believe you finally made it back."
"Yeah, well, the coaches decided to send us home. We were playing like rubbish in practice, and I think they wanted to be home for New Year's after they made us miss Christmas." He squeezed her again before releasing her to get another look. "But enough about me. How are you? With – " he gestured to her eyes and hair, "all of this?"
"I'm getting used to it."
"Hey, what am I? Chopped liver?" Ginny put in.
"Gin." Ron gave his sister a brief hug before frowning. "What's this I hear about you actually dating that tosser Blaise Zabini? I thought it was just for fun."
Hermione objected. "Ronald! Blaise has been very nice this year."
"Huh. You tell me if he does anything, Ginny." Ron offered his arms to both witches. "I'll send a Bludger his way."
"I hate to break it to you, brother mine, but you're a Keeper, not a Beater."
"Doesn't matter. I know some really good Beaters."
They went downstairs to meet Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Harry to leave for the party. Since Ginny and Hermione had never been to the Longbottom estate, Ron and Harry took them by Side-along, and the rest of the Weasley clan met them there.
When they arrived at the Apparition point, there was a large thestral-drawn carriage waiting to take their party to the house.
The Longbottom estate, known as the Place, was a beautiful old Georgian manor and sat on a pond. The gracious old home rang with laughter and the tinkle of champagne glasses while the guests streamed out of the ground floor into the expansive gardens, kept comfortable in the cool night air by Warming Charms and tents. There were two bands playing, the one inside adhering to the foxtrots, waltzes, and cotillions. But Harry and Hermione, along with most of their friends, headed outside to hear the band playing wizarding wireless hits on the patio. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and their peers walked through occasionally, admiring the glittering throng of young people enjoying themselves before returning inside to gossip and admire Augusta's latest antique acquisitions.
Sirius arrived shortly after the Weasleys' party. Kate was gorgeous in a deep red dress with a wrap top, long sleeves, and an empire waist, and he showed her off to everyone he knew and a few he didn't. When he caught sight of Hermione and Harry outside, they made their greetings.
"Hermione, you look lovely, as usual." He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, then turned to Harry, giving him a back-slapping hug. "You clean up pretty good too, Pronglet."
"Thanks." Harry returned the back pounds. "You don't look so bad either." He turned his attention to Kate and hugged her quickly. "You, of course, are gorgeous."
"Hermione, I have something for you." Sirius turned his attention back to his daughter. "It's your birthday tomorrow, and I want to give you your gift." He reached into an interior robe pocket and pulled out a leather jeweler's box. She took it and slowly opened it. Inside it was a gold charm bracelet. "It was your mother's; her parents charted her life with it. I had it stored in my vault at Gringotts, so it wasn't touched for all these years, and I know she'd want you to have it."
Hermione gasped and blinked back tears as she gently pulled the bracelet out and inspected the beautiful piece. There were over twenty charms including a piano, a tiny witch's hat, a wand, an engagement ring and wedding band set adoring the simple gold loops. There was even a small pram that had the initials CPB engraved on it.
"She would have been so proud of you," her father continued, his eyes rapidly blinking. "You're so strong, and I feel like I should have known, all these years. You're so much like her." Sirius's eyes shimmered with unshed tears and his hand lifted to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear before dropping it to his side. "Can you forgive me for not recognizing you?"
"I already have."
She handed the bracelet to Harry and held out her arm, signaling him to affix the clasp.
Sirius watched the silent communication with a faint smile around his mouth. "Will you come to New Year's dinner tomorrow?"
Hermione looked into her father's gray eyes, so like hers, and nodded. "Yes, I'll come to dinner."
"Harry, you'll be there?"
Across the floor, Ron sipped his butterbeer and fended off the unwanted interest of an old schoolmate. Just a few meters away, he spotted someone he'd much rather talk to. "Uh, Romilda, great to catch up. I see my - err - cousin over there. Been ages. Maybe we can get together again later?"
"But - "
He slipped away quickly and snagged a glass of champagne in his open hand from a passing waiter. His quarry saw him coming, shooed away Terry Boot, and when he arrived at her side, she took a deep breath and accepted the proffered glass of bubbly with a smile. "I wondered if you'd turn up tonight, Ron."
"There's nowhere else I'd rather be, Hannah."
As midnight drew close, Harry pulled Hermione and her aching feet onto the floor for another dance. The band played a slow ballad as they swayed quietly.
"I love you."
"I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
"Can we start right now?"
"Of course - wait - what do you…" Hermione's voice trailed off.
Harry took a quick knee as the bandleader started the countdown to midnight.
"Hermione Jean Granger…"
"Hermione Pleiades Black…"
"You will always be in my heart."
Hermione gasped when Harry pulled the small ring box from his pocket, opening it to showcase a gorgeous ruby ring, the central stone surrounded by diamonds, obviously a Potter family heirloom.
She tuned out the voices around her, the world narrowing to focus on the man in front of her. The man who'd been her best friend for years, whom she'd loved and been loved by since they were children.
"Will you please do me the honor of marrying me?"
The murmurs, which had begun about four seconds previously, were growing as more people saw what was happening.
Harry stood, wrapped his arms around her, and spun her around. When he put her feet on the ground, he didn't ask permission before he swooped down and captured her lips with his. The rest of the world faded and all she could feel was his mouth on hers. Her hands came up and rested on his waist inside his dress robes as he deepened the kiss. The cheers from his family and friends penetrated their bubble, and he slowly disengaged. They stood, breathing heavily, foreheads pressed together. He pulled the ring from the forgotten ring box and slipped it on her finger.
Hermione threw her arms around his neck and pulled him close to whisper in his ear, "Can we go home?"
They Disapparated with a soft pop.
In the corner, the noise of the crowd and the distinctive sound of disapparation finally drew Ron's attention from his kiss with Hannah. "What just happened?"
Ginny smacked him on the arm. "Oh my Godric, you dolt - he just proposed! And she said yes!"
"Huh. About time."
The Daily Prophet
New Year's Day
From the looks of things with an apparent New Year's Eve proposal, Hermione Black (Order of Merlin, First Class), famous as the Brightest Witch of Her Age, and one third of the Golden Trio, and most recently for being the long-believed deceased daughter of Sirius Black, is now engaged to the Chosen One himself, Harry Potter (Order of Merlin, First Class). Over the course of the fall, she was linked to Draco Malfoy (scion of the Malfoy family) before appearing to settle on Mr. Potter. Mr. Malfoy has since married Luna Malfoy nee Lovegood (Order of Merlin, Second Class).
Also of note was Ronald Weasley (Order of Merlin, First Class), Reserve Seeker for England, who seemed to be very enamored with Miss Hannah Abbott. Despite not arriving together, they appeared to Disapparate with one another at the end of the evening. However, our reporter on the scene was not able to confirm as representatives for the families denied all comment. Neville Longbottom (Order of Merlin, First Class) and Daphne Greengrass also officially announced their engagement at the end of the evening. Rest assured dear readers, the Prophet will bring you all the latest news on the upcoming nuptials.
Neville Longbottom (Order of Merlin, First Class) and Daphne Greengrass also officially announced their engagement at the end of the evening. Rest assured dear readers, the Prophet will bring you all the latest news on the upcoming nuptials.
The Daily Prophet
Mr. Sirius Black of #13 Grimmauld Place is pleased to announce the marriage of his daughter, Hermione Pleiades Black, to Mr. Harry Potter of Potter Hall (Wiltshire). They were joined in a unitatas sponsus at Mr. Potter's ancestral home on 14th February in a private ceremony attended by close friends and family. After graduation from Hogwarts Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they will reside at Potter Hall. Mr. Potter and Mrs. Black-Potter will both be employed by the Ministry of Magic as an Auror and a legal advisor for Magical Creatures, respectively.
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