HERMIONE'S CHRISTMAS VOUCHERS
Twenty-three-year-old Harry James Potter is now very determined to make the greatest commitment of his life. He is certain that he is ready to spend the rest of his life by his best friend's side. He is finally ready to ask Hermione Granger to be his wife.
He's already found the perfect ring. An elegant three-stone set on a white gold band. There was a large princess cut diamond in between a small ruby and a small sapphire, their birthstones. He even had the ring engraved, angelum meum, a Latin phrase which means 'my angel'. He decided on that statement since he cannot think of anything else to call Hermione. She had always been his angel. She is an angel without wings sent to him by the fates to guide him through all the trials in his life. She was his saving grace. She who had always supported him, cared for him, and who never left his side. Hermione Granger taught him how to love by loving him unconditionally when they first became friends.
All of his preparations are set. He was able to secure her parents' permission three months ago. As Lord of the House of Potter, it is customary to seek parental approval before making your intentions known to the lady of your choice. His father did that and so did his grandfather, so it was a family tradition that he gladly honored.
He winced at the memory of his heart-to-heart talk with Daniel Granger. He's always gotten along with Hermione's parents but he's seen a very scary side of Dan during that time. He even had nightmares of scary evil dentists after that encounter.
There is only one thing left to do. He needs to find the right timing so that he could finally pop the question.
Ever since he got together with Hermione after the war, he always knew that she is the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Just one week of having Hermione as his girlfriend, he already wanted to propose.
Now, after five years of being together, he knows that it's time to ask her to share the rest of her life with him. He is already settled into his daily routine of being a full-fledged auror after a gruesome three years at the Auror Academy. Meanwhile, Hermione's career at the ministry is already flourishing and she already completed her Charms mastery under the tutelage of Professor Flitwick.
The time has come for them to move their relationship forward. They started as the best of friends who fell in love along the way. Their relationship is easy going and relaxed, just what he needs in his life. They were a very loving yet private couple. They weren't loud and outrageous but their emotional connection is so strong because of the solid foundation of their friendship.
So, here he is pacing around his bedroom at 12 Grimmauld Place for he can't sleep. It's already the 7th of December 2003 and he still does not have a brilliant plan as to how, when, and where he will be popping the question. In times of confusion, he could only think of one person to ask. Sadly, he can't ask Hermione for any advice on how he will go about his proposal because that's just dumb. He tried seeking Ron and Neville's advice but they weren't able to give good suggestions. When he talked to Ginny, Hermione's closest female friend, her ideas were too wild and it just doesn't fit his and Hermione's style.
Maybe I should look at some pictures. Maybe I'll get an idea or even an inspiration, he mused. He flicked his wrist to summon his wand.
"Accio photo album containing pictures of me and Hermione," he said out loud. He chuckled after uttering the spell. Even the smallest things remind him of her. She was the one who taught him how to master the summoning charm back in their fourth year for the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
When five photo albums floated in front of him, he easily caught them. Arranging the albums in a pile, he carried them as he walked towards the bed. He placed the albums by his side as he randomly grabbed one. He opened the album and he smiled at the first picture.
It was a picture of him and Hermione dancing at the Annual Christmas Charity Ball at the Ministry of Magic. She had a bright smile on her face as he twirled her around while he pouted like a child which made her burst out in laughter. Since it's a magical photo, he could see himself removing a red envelope from his coat's inner pocket.
He chuckled as his eyes lingered on the photo. He remembers that night perfectly. It was the night when he gave her the Christmas voucher that says, 'I owe you one body massage'. She giggled when she read the note. After that, they discreetly left the party and apparated back into the master bedroom of the renovated Black Manor. True to his word, he did treat her to a long luxurious full-body massage that could rival any top of the line spa. She then returned the favor by indulging his naughty fantasies for treating her like a queen.
And then it hit him. Christmas Vouchers have long been a part of their relationship ever since their first year at Hogwarts. So, he summoned the box that contained all the vouchers he sent Hermione through the years.
He quickly caught the box and opened it. He sorted the vouchers in chronological order with the first one placed on top of the pile.
As he read the first voucher, the memories took him back to the history of this little tradition he shares with the love of his life…
January 15, 1992
Harry Potter is fidgeting as he hid behind a shelf in the Hogwarts library. He was nervous about approaching his best friend regarding this little surprise. Hermione had given him a box of Chocolate Frogs and Every Flavor Beans for Christmas which she sent before leaving for the holidays. He felt bad when he received Hermione's present since he did not get her anything at all. Frankly, he was surprised that someone would give him presents. No one ever bothered to give him gifts before. Coming to Hogwarts changed his life. First, he is finally away from the Dursleys for most of the year and more importantly, he found true friends in Ron and Hermione.
So, feeling terrible about not getting her anything, he remembered Aunt Petunia's shopping vouchers. Since he is sometimes tasked to do grocery shopping, he is very familiar with the concept of vouchers and how the holder is entitled to present it for redemption.
With that idea, he decided to create a personalized voucher for Hermione. He's not a creative person but he tried his best to make his penmanship and the designs on the gift note as fancy as possible. He spent an entire week secretly creating Hermione's Christmas voucher. He knew that Ron received a gift from Hermione as well but his best mate just doesn't have any intention of doing something in return for the female member of their group. He, on the other hand, has never had friends before, so he decided to acknowledge Hermione's present by doing something for her. While blokes are not the sentimental sort, he reckons that girls are different. So, he might as well do this for Hermione as a gesture of thanks for all the help she's been giving him.
"Hi, Hermione!" His voice betrayed the nervousness he felt. After all, what if she hated his present? The Dursleys hated everything that he gave them before so he just stopped trying.
"Hello, Harry!" Hermione greeted him with a big smile. Her two prominent front teeth on full display. Her bushy hair all over the place as she looked up from her book. She marked her page before closing the thick tome she was perusing.
"Er, well, I just, er, here Hermione," he placed the envelope containing the personalized voucher on top of the closed book. He was shuffling his feet in nervousness and he could feel his face flushed.
"Oh. Thanks, Harry! But what is this?" She gave him a curious look.
"To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter, I owe you one…" Hermione perused the voucher and flipped it on the back but it was blank.
"This is very sweet Harry, but what's it for?" She smiled at him.
" Well, you gave me presents for Christmas and I didn't. And I reckon that it's best to give you a voucher so that you could ask whatever you want and I'll do it or give it to you. I know it's silly. You hate it – "
"Harry, stop! I do appreciate the effort. And really, you don't have to get me anything. But thank you. I love this." She grinned.
"So?" He prodded.
"So, what?" She chuckled.
"What do you want? You should write it down and I'll do it," he gestured to the voucher before taking the seat across from her.
"Hmmm…let's see," she tapped a finger on her chin. "I got it!" She exclaimed before she hurriedly wrote something on the space. After that, she handed him the edited voucher.
"To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter. I owe you one Christmas voucher for every year that marks our friendship," he read out loud. He looked at her with disbelief. She's just asking him to give her vouchers every year. He was gobsmacked. His confused face made her chuckle.
"You are so nice, Harry Potter. I'm so glad we're friends!" Hermione said happily.
"Are you sure you don't want anything else?" He asked.
"Well, why don't you just spend time in the library with me today? How's that sound?" She tilted her head to the side as she suggested that.
"Sounds brilliant! Just you wait, next year, I'm getting you an even better voucher," he promised.
"Thanks for the voucher, Harry," she grinned at him before refocusing on her book. They spent the rest of the afternoon studying together. Oddly enough, without Ron, he enjoyed reading and engaging in light academic conversation with Hermione.
Since vouchers are returned to the sender once claimed, he tucked the voucher in his trouser pocket. He is determined to keep his promise of providing her something better for next year.
December 20, 1992
Since he plans to surprise Hermione earlier this time around, he is determined to give this voucher early. He only hopes that she would like his gift to her for this year. Given that she asked him to stay at the library during the first time he gave her a Christmas voucher, he reckons something related to academics would do.
He woke up early in the morning just so he could give this voucher to Hermione. It's weird but he doesn't want Ron to know about this little tradition they started last year. He shared a lot of special memories with Ron, so the vouchers are his and Hermione's. Besides, he doesn't want Ron to think he is a sappy bloke.
He had a huge grin on his face as he walked down the stairs that led to the Gryffindor common room. Indeed, his gut feeling was right. Hermione was already sitting on the couch and doing some 'light reading'.
"Hi, Hermione! Advanced Happy Christmas," he grinned as he extended a green envelope for her to take.
"Oh, my! You kept your promise!" She gasped as her eyes glazed with recognition.
"You know, I'm rather offended that you thought I forgot," he pouted as he shook the envelope in front of her.
"Harry…thank you," she was teary-eyed.
"Hey! No tears! Open it! It's a much better one, I promise," he cajoled. It felt good to pleasantly surprise Hermione. Seeing her happy made him feel light. It feels good to make your friends happy. Hermione and Ron were like family to him, so he always wants to please them because he was very grateful for their presence in his life.
"To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter, I owe you a reassurance that I'll submit ten homework essays on time which I'll do without your help," she read before bursting in chuckles. Since she laughed, he considers this year's voucher a huge success.
"Brilliant isn't it?"
"Harry, this is a good idea!" She agreed. She stood up from her position on the couch and opened her arms. He rolled his eyes as he walked towards her. Hermione loved hugging so he relented. He still feels a little uncomfortable with affectionate touching, but with Hermione, it feels alright.
"Happy Christmas, Hermione. I really will do ten essays on time, I promise," he said as they hugged.
"You better! Because if not, I won't consider this voucher fully redeemed," she playfully glared at him before they shared a laugh.
"Just so you know, I may or may not have gotten you something else. But you can never tell," he said as he sat beside her on the couch while they waited for Ron to wake up.
Harry looked at the voucher from their second year with sadness. Sure, he was able to keep his promise, in fact, he even exceeded the quota of ten essays. However, he was very saddened because his main motivation for finishing homework was the fact that Hermione got petrified that year. First, she turned part-cat because of the Polyjuice potion. And then, in her desperate attempt to find evidence that he was not the Heir of Salazar Slytherin, she ventured into the library and got petrified. If not for the mirror, he could have lost her forever.
He turned to the next voucher, the one from their third year…
January 3, 1993
He was a little mad at Hermione. If only she came to him first about the Firebolt, then he wouldn't be so upset. He would have understood and he would even be grateful. If only she talked to him first, then he wouldn't feel so betrayed. That's what hurts the most. She didn't trust him enough to tell him about her worries beforehand.
What if Ron's right? That Hermione's just jealous of him?
No! That doesn't make sense. This is Hermione. She doesn't even like Quidditch. Despite that, he still felt hurt. Why didn't she talk to him about this? Did she think that he was too dumb to understand her reasons? Did she think he was so immature, that he would not think rationally about this?
While he still feels the pain of her betrayal, he still sees Hermione as a dear friend. So, he was still determined to fulfill his promise during their first year. The only problem now is how will he give the voucher to Hermione when he doesn't want to talk to her yet.
Sensing his need, Dobby popped in front of him.
"Mister Harry Potter sir, could you be needing Dobby?" The excitable house-elf said with a bow.
"Dobby! Your timing is brilliant!" He grinned.
"Dobby is happy to be of service to the Great Harry Potter Sir!"
"Er, right. Dobby, could you please do me a favor?"
"Harry Potter Sir be great wizard indeed for saying please to Dobby," the house-elf started to get teary-eyed.
"It's alright, Dobby. We're friends now remember?"
"Yes. Yes. Thank you, sir!" Dobby wiped a tear away.
"Could you please give this to Hermione for me? Please do it when she's not busy though, or doing something awkward, if you know what I mean," he carefully handed a golden envelope to Dobby's skinny and wrinkly hand.
"What else could I do for Mister Harry Potter Sir and his Miss 'Mione?" Harry blushed at the implication of Hermione being his.
"Could you, er, come back and tell me if she already read the voucher? Like, you know, how she reacts and all that," he said with a shrug.
"Of course, sir! Right away, sir!" With that parting statement, Dobby popped away.
He waited for around ten minutes before Dobby returned. He immediately sat up as he eagerly waited for whatever news Dobby had for him.
"I popped when Miss 'Mione on her bed. She reading big book. I said from Harry Potter Sir, miss. She opened envelope and be crying saying, oh Harry, that's all Dobby remembers sir. Did I upset Harry Potter sir's Miss?"
"No, Dobby. You were brilliant. Thank you," he gave the house-elf a kind smile.
"You're welcome, sir", Dobby bowed before disappearing.
Harry sighed at the memory. He was a prat during their third year but he did make good of his promise when Hermione claimed her voucher. Three days before the school year ended, he asked Dobby to prepare some hot cocoa and cookies for them in a small unused classroom. There, they talked about what happened. She shared with him her reasons and he told her how he felt about the Firebolt fiasco. After that, they hugged each other before heading back to the hospital wing to check on Ron.
"To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter, I owe you one long conversation and a hug," he shook his head in amusement at the silliness of his younger self.
Upon seeing the voucher from their fourth year, he winced.
"To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter, I owe you one Tri-Wizard Cup if I win, if I don't, being alive should be enough, don't you think? Sorry, Hermione, I can't think of something better because I'm too nervous. I promise to make next year's better if I survive this tournament that is. Anyway, I just want to thank you for all your help," he read out loud before bursting into laughter.
Merlin! I have no game at all!
He remembers Hermione's face when he gave it to her the morning of the Yule Ball. He blushed just like his fourteen-year-old self when he recalls her clutching her belly in laughter after reading the voucher. When Hermione calmed down, she wrapped him in a warm embrace before saying, "You better keep your promise in this voucher, Harry Potter. Don't you dare give up and get yourself killed in this stupid tournament." That statement from her motivated him in every single task. It's one of the things he heard in his head when he was tied on Tom Riddle Sr.'s tombstone while Voldemort used his blood for the resurrection ritual.
The Christmas voucher he gave her during their fifth year is cringeworthy. It's so uncreative that he wonders why Hermione still accepted it. His fifth year at Hogwarts is one of the worst school years of his life with Umbridge in-charge, the badmouthing he gets from the ministry, his crazy awkward relationship with Cho, and Sirius' death. Looking back, maybe Hermione just acknowledged the voucher because of tradition.
"To Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, I owe you for organizing the DA. I promise to give my best in all the training sessions," he shook his head in exasperation at his clueless fifteen-year-old self. I'm so sweet that it's such an awe-inspiring voucher, he thought sarcastically.
His sixth-year voucher is very straight forward. It was anchored on his guilt for the severe injury Hermione got at the Battle in the Department of Mysteries. So, he only wrote, "To Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, I owe you an apology for dragging you into all of my problems." He remembered the time he gave it to her; it was a very turbulent period in their young lives.
He was obsessed with proving Draco Malfoy's nefarious plot. Meanwhile, Hermione goes nuts at the sight of the Half-blood Prince's Potions book. On the other hand, Ron was busy snogging Lavender Brown all over Hogwarts. Their hormones were at an all-time high and the war is upon them. He thought his friendship with Hermione is falling apart but when he handed the voucher to her, on the morning of December 24th of the year 1996, she only hugged him tight and said that there is no apology needed because that's what best friends are for.
Finally, he saw the voucher that is the hardest to write. It's the one he wrote while staying in the tent during the Horcrux hunt. Looking back, because of all the problems they faced and the loss of hope, he had almost forgotten their tradition. He wrote the ugly voucher on some crumpled parchment and his handwriting is so messy. To this day, it is the most sincere, heartfelt, and poignant Christmas voucher he had ever made for her…
December 23, 1997
Ron had long abandoned their mission since he cannot bear the lack of progress and poor living conditions. It's Christmas in two days and he did not feel like celebrating at all. What is there to celebrate anyway? The fact that Voldemort and his Death Eaters are getting stronger every single day? The fact that all hope seems lost?
And then, his eyes were drawn to his best friend. The headstrong, brilliant, and amazingly brave witch who has never left his side. Hermione Granger, his female best friend, who he often neglected to cater to the whims of his supposed best mate, Ronald Weasley. Hermione is the bossy know-it-all little girl who grew up in front of his eyes to be an astoundingly beautiful woman, a fact that had escaped his notice through the years.
Three days ago, he felt thunderstruck. As he watched Hermione sleeping with her face plonked on a book, he was slack-jawed at the sheer physical beauty of Hermione Granger that he's never noticed before. After that shocking revelation, another problem arose. He realized that he is in love with her. Maybe he had always been, and he just did not know it. Now it's too late. He'll most likely die in this war even if he silently promised to her that he would do whatever it takes to win. Should he fulfill his promise of surviving the war, Hermione would still be with Ron because he already missed his chance. While he was so busy thinking about his Voldemort problems and mooning over stunning beauties like Cho and Ginny, it was Ron who noticed the subtle beauty of the female member of their group. So, Hermione's heart belongs to Ron because he was a stupid blind fool. Sure, Ron may have left them, but the days and nights Hermione spent crying, is a clear sign that he had already lost her to his ginger best friend.
It's so ironic that Ron is so bloody jealous of him when he had everything. Ron has siblings who care for him, his parents are alive, and lastly, Ron had Hermione Granger's heart. Oh, what he would give to be Ronald bloody Weasley instead of being Harry 'Boy Who Lived' Potter!
"Harry? Do you think we should try Godric's Hollow?" Hermione's question broke his reverie.
"I said maybe we should try Godric's Hollow," she repeated.
"Okay," he said with a small smile. The thought of visiting his parents' resting place gives him some sort of comfort. It's something to look forward to amidst all this darkness and war.
"We'll practice apparating under the cloak and we could go in two days. How's that sound?"
"I'm just gonna read over there. You should sleep," Hermione gestured to a book before she left him inside the tent.
Instead of sleeping, he remembered their tradition so he must keep it despite the odds. He must make this the sincerest Christmas voucher since there is a high chance that it would be his last.
He quietly moved around the tent to look for some blank parchment and quill. Finally, he found some by Hermione's cot. He hurriedly grabbed them and sat on a chair by the dinner table.
This time, he did not care if this voucher has no fancy designs. He did not care if there is no colored envelope. He did not care if the only décor on this one is his tears. He can't help it. It felt like he was saying goodbye to her.
With a slightly shaking hand, he started to write. His messy scrawl was even more unkempt because of the outpouring of his emotions.
'To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter.
I owe you my life. Everything that I have survived in this whole ordeal with Voldemort is all because of you. You have kept me alive because of your research, your support, and your faith in me. I could never repay you for all that you have done for me, Hermione. So, for this voucher, I have nothing to offer you except this promise that I will be forever grateful in this life and the next one, for all that you have done for me. For all the darkness in my life, you are like light. You are like an angel sent by the Fates to save my sorry arse. If I survive this war, maybe I can promise to always make you smile? I don't know. Does that count? Well, whatever.
Thank you, Hermione.
You must loathe the day you met me since I brought you so much trouble. But to me, meeting you is one of the best things that ever happened in my life.'
He read the contents of the voucher and he winced at the way he hinted on the real depth of his feelings for her. He was about to crumple the paper when he heard a sound.
"Harry! You should sleep! What are you doing?" Hermione said as she entered the tent.
He inwardly cursed. He could never lie to her so he might as well hand over the voucher.
"Er, I made this for you. So, er, well, Happy Christmas, Hermione," he said with an awkward stammer as he handed the voucher that is slightly drenched with his tears.
"Oh, Harry! You shouldn't have!" Hermione smiled as she wrapped her arms around him.
"It's nothing fancy like the ones I used to give you," he whispered. When they pulled apart, she chuckled.
"Only you, Harry Potter, would ever keep your promises like this," she grinned. Her eyes glistening with tears.
"Go on, read it," he encouraged.
Hermione's eyes focused on the parchment before she broke into sobs.
"I won't return this to you unlike the other vouchers until you finally defeat Voldemort, you prat!" She smacked his chest.
"I'll try my best, Hermione. But, I – I can't promise," his voice broke.
"Let's stop these morbid thoughts. If you're not sleepy, you can help me plan for our trip to Godric's Hollow," she changed the topic as she wiped away her tears.
"Alright. Sit with me and let's hear your brilliant plan," he sighed. Their eyes connected and they gave each other sad smiles.
"Advanced Happy Christmas!" Hermione leaned in to kiss him on the cheek. He stopped himself from feeling the skin her lips touched. He can't let her see the real depth of his feelings for her. Not now. Maybe if he survives this war. Maybe…
"Come on, Harry! We have planning to do!" Hermione said as she sat on a chair.
"Coming, Ms. Granger," he said playfully.
Maybe this won't be his last Christmas voucher for Hermione. Hopefully, he gets to send one hundred vouchers for her because that would mean that he gets to spend more years of his life by her side…
Harry wiped a stray tear as his mind brought him back to the present. Hermione's seven Christmas vouchers held so much history in them. It's like a chronicle of all the darkness they survived together.
After that, the themes of the vouchers changed post-war. Some of them are even on the naughtier side especially after they got together.
He saw the voucher dated on December 25, 1998. He was already busy with auror training that time and Ron decided to pursue Quidditch professionally. Only Hermione returned to Hogwarts. It was her NEWT year and she was so stressed about the pressures of balancing her school work, Head Girl duties, and the expectations of the press on her test results. After the war, the Golden Trio which comprised of himself, Hermione, and Ron, all became so famous. He and Hermione even got new monikers. He as the Man Who Conquered and Hermione as the Brightest Witch of The Age. When Ginny and Luna wrote to him about their worries for Hermione's obsession with getting perfect NEWT scores, he visited her at Hogwarts on Christmas morning…
He knocked on the door of the Head Girl's quarters. Ginny and Luna already informed him of the password to the main door of the heads' private dormitories. Since Neville was Head Boy, he reckons that his friend wouldn't mind his gate-crashing.
It was six in the morning. He wanted to visit Hermione early so that he could convince her to spend Christmas dinner with him, Teddy, and the rest of their extended family. Ginny, Luna, and Neville all went home for the Christmas holidays but Hermione decided to stay at Hogwarts claiming the need to study even more for the upcoming NEWTs.
He was determined to convince Hermione to take a break even just for a day so he came to surprise her. He brought along some breakfast that he cooked by himself.
In as much as he enjoys spending time with the rest of their extended family and friends, he volunteered to be the one to bring Hermione to the Burrow just so he could spend some alone time with her. He got knowing looks from Ginny, Luna, Ron, Neville, and George as he informed Mrs. Weasley that he would bring Hermione over for Christmas dinner. Their friends know about his secret feelings for Hermione but despite their encouragement, he still believes it's not the right time for him to ask her out.
Hermione is still busy with her NEWTs and he respects that. So, he'll wait after she graduates. Maybe, he could start wooing her in Australia when he accompanies her to restore her parents' memories. With a firm grip on the food basket, he knocked once again.
"Coming! Wait a second!" Hermione called out. He waited patiently and then the door opened. He gulped.
Hermione Granger is standing in front of him in nothing but a short towel covering her body. He could see droplets of water falling down her wet curly hair and teasing on her skin. The water droplets tracing parts of her body makes her look even more beguiling.
"Harry? What are you doing here? Come in! Come in!" She kissed his cheek as she opened the door wider, beckoning him to enter.
"Just sit on the bed and I'll join you soon. Let me just go change," Hermione moved to open her cabinets and drawers to get some clothes. After that, she headed towards her ensuite bathroom.
"Merlin!" He whispered as the door closed. He must have been a very nice person this year to be blessed with such a beautiful view. It seems another layer of his feelings for Hermione has been opened. He already knew that he was in love with her, but this morning, the sight that greeted him awakened his desire for her.
A few minutes later, she exited her bathroom now fully dressed in thick clothes given the cold weather. Hogwarts is now covered in thick layers of snow.
"Sorry about that, Harry. I thought you were Neville or Headmistress McGonagall or a younger student," she said as she sat beside him on the bed.
"You open the door for Neville while only dressed in a towel?" He frowned.
"Come now, Harry! It's Neville. Our friend Neville who is alternately dating both Ginny and Luna or whatever their mood is like. Besides, you dated Ginny and you see Luna. How could Neville pick a nerdy brunette over a leggy blonde and a redhead bombshell?" She snorted.
"Still! He's a bloke," he insisted.
"And you aren't?" She challenged.
"Well, that's different!"
"We're best friends," he argued weakly and she rolled her eyes.
"Honestly! This protective brother thing is so annoying!" She huffed.
" It's a bloke thing," he shrugged.
"Let's agree to disagree then."
"Fine," he snorted. When their eyes connected, they laughed at their silliness.
"Now that we have that sorted out, what can I do for you, Mr. Man Who Conquered?" She said playfully.
"Happy Christmas, Ms. Brightest Witch of The Age!" He said happily as he wrapped an arm around her shoulder. He handed out a red envelope in front of her face.
"Oh! I love these! Thanks." Hermione eagerly accepted the envelope and opened it.
"To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter. I owe you one trip to Australia after you graduate with the highest NEWT scores ever. I know you can do it Hermione, but please don't overwork yourself. Just think of your parents when you are stressing yourself and focus on how we'll find them in the summer after your graduation. And before you make any protests, I'm paying for everything. I'm the one who's been working so I have the money. Besides, you've helped me through the years so let me help you now."
"Oomph!" He muttered as Hermione tackled him with a big hug. He ended up with his back pressed on the mattress.
"Thank you! Thank you!"
"You're welcome, Hermione." He patted her curly hair.
"Right... Sorry for tackling you. I'm just so happy. Anyway, my turn to give you my present," she rose from her position on top of him as she flicked her wrist to summon her wand. An elegantly wrapped box came floating towards him.
"Open it," Hermione grinned.
He tore at the wrapping paper and gasped. It was the resurrection stone and his Christmas voucher, the one he gave her in the tent.
"Hermione – "
"You kept your promise, Harry. You survived… Just because of that, everything you believe you owe me is already paid. Also, I reckon you should have the stone," she explained.
He opened his arms and she went to him with a bright smile. As his arms wrapped around her in a warm embrace, he whispered, "Thank you, Hermione."
"You're welcome. So, tell me, aside from giving me my voucher, why are you here?" She said after he released her.
"Well, I brought you some breakfast which I cooked by myself. Also, I am here to convince you to join us at the Burrow for dinner. If you don't, all your presents will be forfeited," he threatened with a mock glare.
"Fine," she pouted. He opened the basket and set plates for both of them. She accepted hers with a grateful smile.
"So… tell me, how's Hogwarts without the threat of Voldemort?"
"Well it's rather ordinary, I guess. Something I need. Ironically, people are so horny which makes Head Girl duties more complex. Imagine catching your friends in the act," she said with disgust making him laugh.
"Now I feel bad for skipping final year," he joked as he wiggled his eyebrows playfully.
"You are such a bloke!" She scoffed.
"What? Just saying," he chuckled.
"Merlin! If you and Ron went back to Hogwarts, I'd most likely barf every time I catch you snogging some fangirl," she shivered.
"So sad… I surely have given up a lot… Auror training is all work and no play… No hot birds either," he sighed.
"Seriously Harry, you can have any woman you want. You should start dating again," she encouraged.
"I'm waiting for someone… When she's ready, I'll chase her all over the world if I have to," he chuckled.
"The most beautiful person I have ever seen," his eyes sparkling with mischief.
"Huh? Must have some veela blood in her then," she mused which made him laugh.
"Well, maybe… Let's just say her beauty shines from within," he winked.
"I wish you luck then… I'm happy that you're passed the horny teenage bloke years. At least you've matured in that department… Ronald, on the other hand, is still chasing all the bloody skirts he could find. And for that, I'm proud of you, Harry!"
"It doesn't mean I'm not chasing all skirts, that I'm passed the horny bloke stage, my dear sweet innocent Hermione… Unlike Ron though, it's only one skirt I intend to chase forever," he smirked. She hit him with a pillow but he easily caught it.
"Why did I ever end up having blokes for best friends again?" She whined.
"You're too special, so girls can't handle you. Hence, you ended up with me and Ron, a pair of losers who constantly need your awesomeness," he laughed.
"Harry – "
Her rant was halted when he fed her a strawberry. She glared at him but he only wiggled his eyebrows at her.
"Eat, Granger! I put too much effort into cooking this," he pouted.
Hermione obeyed his command and happily sampled all the food he prepared.
"Lucky woman you're going to chase all over the world, Harry. Your cooking is brilliant!" She praised.
And then, his eyes focused on the most unique voucher he had ever given Hermione. It was the voucher that brought them together. After Hermione scored straight Os in all her NEWT exams, he accompanied her to Australia so they could look for her parents. Because of their hero status, the Australian Wizarding Community helped them out. After two weeks in Brisbane, they were able to remove the obliviation charm on Hermione's parents. Despite the happy reunion, the Grangers decided to stay in Australia since they already built a life there. So, during Hermione's first Christmas after reuniting with her parents, he spent the Yule holiday with the Grangers.
A year after he talked to Hermione about the mystery woman he is determined to chase all over the world, true to tradition, he asked Hermione to be his girlfriend using a Christmas voucher...
December 27, 1999
It was nearing sunset. The sky is filled with colorful hues and the sea breeze is blowing steadily. It was such a relaxing view that is perfectly complemented by the sound of the waves serenading them on their quiet walk after a long day of exploring the pristine waters and the hidden treasures of the reef.
He was walking along a private beach with Hermione at his side. Being the only young adults in their group, they were the only ones who were eager to try the more adventurous amenities that the resort provides. So, after all the fun they had together, they decided to take a quiet walk before rejoining the rest of their party.
They were at the Lizard Island Resort so that the Grangers could spend some quality time together as a newly reunited family. Since he was lucky that Hermione's parents seem to like him, he was able to secure an invitation for the Yule holiday.
Without Hermione's knowledge, he called Emma, her mother, and asked if they would accept a gift from him. He says that as a thank you gift for all the sacrifices Hermione had made for him, he is planning to treat the entire Granger family to an all-expense paid vacation. Hermione's parents grudgingly agreed and so, along with Andromeda Tonks and little Teddy Lupin, he booked two villas for a five-day vacation at the most famous luxury island resort located near the Great Barrier Reef.
The envelope he spelled to be resistant to water and all possible damages weighed heavily inside his trouser pocket. He is just waiting for the right timing to finally ask Hermione to be his girlfriend but the fear of rejection lingers on his mind. What if she only likes him as a best friend? Well, if she does, he could always try asking for a chance to woo her. But still, if she rejects him, it would undoubtedly hurt.
"Thank you for bringing me and my parents here. I know it is you who organized and spent for all this," she moved closer to him so she could hold his hand. He intertwined their fingers together.
"What gave it away?" He said with amusement.
"Well for starters, this resort is way beyond my parents' spending limit," she said teasingly which made him blush. After claiming his lordships upon his maturity, he was stunned to discover that not only was he the Head of the Ancient and Noble Houses of Potter and Black, his vault number 687 is just his trust fund intended for school. When he entered the Potter family vault, along with the Black family vault, he was astounded. Only Hermione knows about how rich he is since he asked her to accompany him to Gringotts after the war.
"Sorry Hermione, I just – "
"Hey! No need to say sorry, Lord Potter-Black. I'm glad you brought us here… It's so nice to just see and bond with my parents, so thank you… Besides, being here with Teddy is such a delight. He is adorable!" She squeezed his hand.
"You're welcome…Although, I feel slightly offended that you now favor Teddy over me," he pouted.
"You jealous, Potter?" She played along.
"Nah! Teddy's cute and all, but I'm sure that I'm still your favorite," he said pompously and she snorted.
"So cocky!" She huffed.
"Teddy's just got the cuteness factor going for him. We're friends since we were eleven and then there's the troll – "
"Oh? So that's how you want to play it?"
"The troll, the basilisk – "
"I helped you retrieve the Philosopher's stone, I – "
"Fine! You win Granger! You're the heroine in this whole epic adventure of ours," he said with a defeated sigh which made her chuckle.
"And don't you dare forget it!" She smirked.
"You know Hermione, it seems rather unfair that it's always me who gives you Christmas vouchers, don't you agree?" He could feel his heart pumping wildly in his chest as he said that.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Harry! If only you said something about it earlier, I would have – "
He bit his bottom lip to stop himself from chuckling at how adorable she looked while apologizing for something that she does not need to.
"Tsk! Tsk! Better luck next year, Granger. Good thing I made one for you. Some best friend you are," he pulled out the golden envelope from his trouser pocket.
"Here you go," he said in a sing-song voice.
"Now you're just making me feel guilty," her brows furrowed.
"Just take it," he wiggled his eyebrows playfully and she rolled her eyes.
As she gently opened the envelope to pull out the voucher, he could feel his palms sweat with nervousness.
"To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter… I owe you a lot but I just want to say that you're all I want for Christmas. I love you, Hermione Granger. Be my girlfriend?" She read out loud.
Her chocolate brown eyes connected with his emerald green ones. She was staring at him as if gauging his sincerity.
"Are you serious?" He nodded shyly.
"Well?" He was twiddling his thumbs.
She made a come-hither gesture so he moved closer towards her. He gasped when she stood on her tiptoes, pulled his face closer to her own, and kissed him soundly on the mouth. His eyes widened in shock as their lips met. When his brain is finally able to process everything that's happening, his eyes closed so he could savor the very first kiss they shared.
"That must mean yes right, because if – "
"Don't be an idiot! Of course, it's a yes!"
"Oh. Brilliant!" This time, it was he who pulled her closer so they could lock their lips once again.
After they pulled apart, he whispered, "Finally."
"I heard that, Potter. You better start talking about how your feelings changed," she muttered.
"Do I have to? Can't we just snog and talk later?" He pouted.
"You're lucky I love you," she muttered.
"Hah! I heard that too, Granger," he smirked.
"Just shut up you idiot," she rolled her eyes before pulling him in so they could kiss. She could call him whatever she likes just as long as she keeps kissing him.
Harry grinned like an idiot as his mind returned to the present. For a bloke who has no game, he sure got lucky that Hermione, the Brightest Witch of The Age, consented to be his girlfriend.
He read the newer vouchers and shook his head in amusement. For the year 2000, he wrote her a voucher for 12 book shopping sprees. In 2001, he gave her the voucher at the ministry ball that says he owed her a full-body massage.
And then there was the most recent one, the voucher from last year. After four years of being together, he was out of ideas on what to write so he decided on something generic.
"To Hermione Granger, from Harry Potter. I owe you 12 romantic nights or days of your choice. I'm sorry, darling, I'm out of ideas. So, should you decide to redeem one, you have to specifically tell me what to do." He laughed after reading the voucher. He is such a clueless and silly boyfriend. He's just damn lucky that Hermione loves him so much so she tolerates his quirks.
December 25, 2002
"Happy Christmas, love," Hermione said as she stretched on the bed.
"Happy Christmas, Hermione," he whispered as he kissed the top of her head. She sighed contentedly.
It was their first Christmas alone. Hermione's parents are invited to be part of a Christmas medical mission in Asia, Andromeda and Teddy are spending the holidays with Narcissa and Draco Malfoy, and the Weasleys decided to go to a family vacation in Latin America. So, they decided to just stay at 12 Grimmauld Place and simply bask in each other's company. Both of them have been rather busy at work so they needed quality time together.
"Here you go, darling! Your Christmas voucher for this year," he placed an envelope on her right hand after giving her a morning kiss. She opened the envelope with excitement as her eyes immediately read the content of the voucher.
"I know what I want! Prepare some bowls of fruit and two glasses of milk and follow me to the ensuite bathroom," she stretched before getting out of bed.
Since he promised, he just shrugged before walking to the kitchen to obey her wishes. He entered the bathroom levitating a tray that contained a bowl of fruit and two glasses of milk. He smiled at the sight that greeted him.
Hermione is lounging inside the bathtub waiting for him. She even conjured some scented candles that she scattered around the bathroom floor. The sweet scent of jasmine and vanilla wafting in the air.
"I already cast a spell on the book. Now come and join me, love. I want you to read to me," her eyes gazing intently into his own. He hurriedly shrugged off his robe and she scooted over to give him some space on the tub. When he got settled, Hermione leaned her back against his chest.
"Read to me, Harry," her request was said in a sultry beguiling voice.
"Er, what book?" He found it hard to focus since her fingers were lazily gliding up and down his thighs.
"The book by the chair. Just use wandless magic to keep it levitated."
"Okay…but what about the fruits and the milk?"
"Keep them levitated as well so we could easily reach them."
"Now read to me, Harry."
"She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron…
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eye:
Thus, mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies ." He whispered the first stanza of the poem against her ear.
"I love you, Harry Potter. Happy Christmas!" Her voice filled with so much love for him.
"I love you, Hermione. Happy Christmas!" He replied before he continued reading the book which contained her favorite love poems…
After looking at all the Christmas vouchers Hermione has redeemed through the years, he now has the perfect idea for his marriage proposal…
Eighteen Days Later…
To Hermione's surprise, this is the first Christmas that gathered every person who survived the war that she holds dear to her heart in one big celebration. It is the only time that everyone she values in her life is gathered together in one location. This makes her so happy since she loves Christmas very much and she believes that it should always be spent with loved ones.
Her parents, the Weasleys, the surviving members of the Order of the Phoenix, the Hogwarts Professors and staff, members of the DA, and all the friends they made while in school all came together at the Burrow tonight.
Most importantly, the one man she endured so much for, the best friend she could ever have, the same person who's made her so happy after the war, her boyfriend, Harry is here. Harry Potter, the man who endured so much pain just so they could all live peacefully, is sitting in a corner with little Teddy Lupin happily plonked on his lap. He is going to be such an excellent father someday, she thought dreamily.
She smiled at her wistful imaginings. She could already see bushy-haired children with Harry's gorgeous green eyes running all around the huge library they will build together. She sighed. If only he would already ask her to marry him, she would give gladly her resounding yes. Oh well, we're still young. There is plenty of time for marriage and settling down... Besides, she is confident and secure about their relationship. Harry loves her very much and she feels the same way about him.
Whoever organized this big get-together, they must have pulled some major strings. It's like a happy reunion of sorts tonight. A happy celebration of their victory from the darkness that was Voldemort and his Death Eaters a few years ago. The dinner prepared by Molly Weasley and Andromeda Tonks got a lot of praise. Now, everyone is just lounged about and exchanging stories. Some were sipping on butterbeer and firewhiskey. The rest just savored the utter bliss of being alive while basking in the happiness of being together with their loved ones this Christmas season.
Suddenly, all the lights went out and she yelped. She was scared that it was another attack. The last time a large crowd gathered under a tent in the Burrow was during Fleur and Bill's wedding and that didn't end well since the Death Eaters ambushed the reception.
She was shocked when there was some sort of spotlight surrounding her. She glanced around and she cannot see where everyone else went since everything was dark.
"I would like to thank everyone present here tonight for gracing this very important occasion. A special thanks to Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick for their brilliant spell work. Thank you to Molly, Arthur, and the rest of the Weasleys for hosting us at the Burrow. Thank you to Luna and Fleur for the song. Thank you to Ginny, Neville, and Ron for helping me set all of this up. Lastly, thank you to Emma and Daniel Granger, the two people who brought my angel into this world." A deep baritone voice she knew so well could be heard all over the tent.
"Harry? What's going on?" Her voice laced with confusion, excitement, and nerves.
She gasped when she saw another spotlight. This time it was cast on some sort of conjured glass that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick's combined spell work indeed, she thought.
And then there was beautiful music that reminded her of something heavenly. The sound of the piano, drums, and what sounded like an unknown wind instrument reverberated all around. She could hear Luna's familiar humming in the background.
Her tears started to fall as the conjured glass started to play a scene. She sniffed as she saw a memory of their first train ride to Hogwarts. It depicted how she first met Harry and Ron when she helped Neville look for his lost toad. She chuckled despite her tears as she saw her younger self cast Oculus Reparo on Harry's glasses. Snippets of the start of their first year followed after that, the little memories of times when Ron and Harry were unofficial friends of hers. She laughed as she saw her younger self utter her famous line, 'We could have been killed... Or worse, expelled.'
Remember those walls I built
Well, baby, they're tumbling down
And they didn't even put up a fight
They didn't even make a sound
The next scene made her heart melt. It was a memory showing Harry asking about her at the Great Hall before Quirrell announced there was a mountain troll on the loose. She could now see Harry's worried face as he remembered her and all but dragged Ron to rush to her aid. She had a fond smile on her face at the young Harry and Ron trying their best to save her. Even to this day, she still could not believe that an eleven-year-old Harry Potter jumped on the back of a mountain troll just for her.
I found a way to let you win
But I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo
I got my angel now
The next scenes focused on their trio's blossoming friendship as young, innocent, and very curious first years. She laughed as she saw Professor Snape getting caught on fire because of her desperate attempt to save Harry. And then, he spit the Golden Snitch out of his mouth in his first Quidditch match.
It's like I've been awakened
Every rule I had you break it
It's the risk that I'm taking
I ain't never gonna shut you out
She saw the young Harry's confused, delighted, and yet guilty face when he opened her present of chocolate frogs and Every Flavor Beans. She also saw the effort he put into her first-ever Christmas voucher.
Everywhere I'm looking now
I'm surrounded by your embrace
Baby, I can see your halo
You know you're my saving grace
Memories of how they decided to save the Philosopher's stone flashed on the screen. She wiped her tears as she watched their younger selves try their hardest to pass through each challenge.
You're everything I need and more
It's written all over your face
Baby, I can feel your halo
Pray it won't fade away
She sighed when the memory of their first hug before Harry went alone to face Voldemort is displayed. She even mouthed the words she said to him, 'Me? Books and cleverness. There are more important things...'
I can feel your halo
I can see your halo
I can feel your halo
I can see your halo
The memories skipped to their second year. She could see tidbits of her brewing Polyjuice and turning into a half-cat half-human creature. She also saw how aggrieved Harry was when she got petrified and how he visited her very often. She saw his determination to write notes for her so that he could hand them over when she awakens. She smiled as she watched her younger self run towards Harry just so she could hug him in the middle of the Great Hall.
Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through my darkest night
You're the only one that I want
Think I'm addicted to your light
Memories from third year focused on their trio attempting to save Buckbeak which lead to their confrontation with Sirius and running away from the werewolf form of Remus. Highlights of their time travel were also showcased which ended with the scene of her and Harry riding Buckbeak.
As memories of their years at Hogwarts continue to flash on the screen, she shed bittersweet tears at the strength of their trio's friendship. The blossoming love between Harry and herself is also very evident.
She was focused on the screen but she cannot process all that she has seen. She was so touched and humbled at Harry's surprise for her this year. She was crying happy tears because she felt so loved, not only by Harry but also all the people who helped him set everything up.
I swore I'd never fall again
But this don't even feel like falling
Gravity can't forget
To pull me back to the ground again
Feels like I've been awakened
Every rule I had you break it
The risk that I'm taking
I'm never gonna shut you out
Everywhere I'm looking now
I'm surrounded by your embrace
Baby, I can see your halo
You know you're my saving grace
You're everything I need and more
It's written all over your face
Baby, I can feel your halo
Pray it won't fade away
I can feel your halo
I can see your halo
I can feel your halo
I can see your halo
Luna stopped singing but the screen replayed all of the memories. The tent is filled with light once again. She slowly turned around to see all her family and friends beaming at her, some of them crying happy tears just like Professor McGonagall, Molly, and her mother.
Finally, she saw Harry walking towards her. He was carrying this round box that's slightly smaller than a shoebox.
To her surprise, when he was less than two feet away, he knelt on one knee.
"Oh my! Harry!"
"Open the box, darling. I still owe you a Christmas voucher this year," he winked. With slightly shaking hands, she removed the lid of the box. She gasped when she saw all the Christmas vouchers she redeemed from Harry through the years.
On top of the old vouchers lay a glossy red envelope...
She took the envelope and gently opened it...
"To Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, I owe you my life. So, will you spend the rest of yours by my side?" She read out loud.
"Hermione Granger, will you do me the great honor of consenting to be my wife? Will you marry me?" Harry removed a small velvet box from his robe's inner pocket, his sparkling eyes never leaving her face. When he opened the box, she raised a hand to her mouth.
The most beautiful ring she had ever seen is set at the center.
Harry's emerald green eyes were shining with love for her. She noticed that he was teary-eyed as well. She cannot believe all the efforts he made for his proposal.
She sniffed before nodding frantically.
"Yeah?" He asked and she nodded some more.
"Yes, Harry… I'll marry you," she finally managed to verbalize her reply. Harry lovingly inserted the ring on her finger before pressing his lips on her knuckles.
As he stood up, she tackled him in a big hug.
"I love you, Harry Potter," she whispered before capturing his lips in a passionate kiss. Most of the crowd cheered while some were drying their happy tears. Wolf-whistles and claps could be heard all over the tent.
"I love you, soon-to-be Mrs. Potter," he laced their foreheads together as they pulled apart.
"Why did you return all the vouchers to me?"
"They're all unlimited redemptions now so there's no need to give them back," he winked.
"I see... Very clever, Mr. Potter."
"I learned from this very clever witch you see," he said mischievously.
"When should we get married? Do you think – "
"I think the planning could wait later, darling... Incoming," Harry gestured to their family and friends who are all eager to congratulate them.
The rest of the night was spent on accepting congratulations from their loved ones. Harry is right. Planning the wedding could wait for later. If this crazy lot all helped him pull off the sweetest proposal ever, then she is certain that their wedding will be even more spectacular.
A year later…
Harry and Hermione pledged their commitment to one another as husband and wife on the 25th of December 2004. The wedding was held at the Forest of Dean with the snow providing a white canvass to the flowers and other decors their wedding planners, Luna, Molly, Ginny, and Andromeda carefully conceptualized.
As they predicted, their wedding is even more beautiful than Harry's proposal since all their loved ones joined forces in making the most important day of their lives a very special one.
They chose to wed at the Forest of Dean because it's a very special place for both of them. It's where Hermione initially suggested that they should just stay there and grow old together.
To honor their tradition, their wedding giveaways were random gift vouchers that guests can claim in the specified stores named on the piece of paper. Once claimed, the store owners would seal the chosen items with a special box and a note from Harry and Hermione saying thanks for being part of their wedding ceremony.
Every year, Harry never fails to give his wife Christmas vouchers in honor of the promise he made to a bushy-haired little girl who only wanted an assurance that he is willing to be her friend forever. Since he married that same girl, he considers it an even bigger responsibility to always make her happy even in the littlest things. So, if she enjoys the silly little vouchers he makes just for her in his signature messy scrawl, then so be it.
He is willing to do absolutely anything just to make his angel happy because she was magically sent by the fates to be his saving grace. Angelum meum. That phrase engraved on her rings is physical proof of his promise to always make his angel, Hermione Potter, happy every single day of his life.
This one-shot is written for Harmony & Co's 2019 Advent Collection.
All characters belong to J.K. Rowling because she is so awesome for creating the Harry Potter universe. If only she made Harry and Hermione end game, the Harry Potter series would have been perfect. But well, we will always have fanfiction.
Since H & Co has this Lyric Llama challenge which inspired me to write Always Constant and His Greatest Heartache, I wrote this Christmas piece as a prequel to both stories. So, this story is the first part of my mini-series, The Potter Family Chronicles.
Special thanks to my beta reader, StruggleMuggle, for giving this a final run-through.
I would like to thank the random word generator website that I used to look for prompts. With the word "redeem", I was able to conceptualize this whole thing.
Also, I came across this Harry / Hermione tribute video on YouTube which used the song Halo by Beyonce as a background theme. I absolutely fell in love with it. So, I used it as an inspiration for the proposal scene.
Here is a link to the video:
**** https: ****/ **** www. **** youtube. **** com/ **** watch?v **** =aXyGnXAKc-g **** **** feature= & **** amp;fbclid **** =IwAR29FQ18tPAp3NVuV2d2A **** -pN7mbGFp- **** vY2OjPcESSNPjOoyHmDZNytRDFJE (just remove the **** and spaces to get the link)
Note that the song Halo by Beyonce is released in 2008. For this story to work, just think that either Luna is a seer who predicted this song to be popularized later on or, Luna and Fleur composed the song for Harry and his angel, Hermione.
The great Lord Byron is the sole owner of the lyric poem, She Walks In Beauty. The first stanza is featured in this story during the time Hermione asked Harry to read to her. All rights for the poem belongs to him and him alone. I'm just a fan so I featured a snippet of his work in this short story.
The people I met at H & Co are really nice, both the writers and readers alike, so I dedicate this fluffy Christmas piece for everyone in the group. I would like to thank everyone who has read any story of mine. 2019 has been very kind to my muse and your reviews motivate me to write some more.
With that said, I would just like to say, "Happy Christmas and may 2020 bring you good tidings!"