Christmas Wishes Part Three
Over the next two days Hermione learned exactly how difficult the road would be. Though magic could heal a lot of wounds, it seems that whatever Harry faced, not only did he face it alone, but it was a fight beyond what most have ever seen. He will have to re-teach himself how to walk, how to move, how to exist. Things Hermione took fore granted were now the most difficult tasks for Harry.
When he woke on Christmas morning Hermione was right there with him, refusing to leave him alone on this day of days. "Happy Christmas Harry," Hermione proclaimed once she realized he was awake.
"Happy Christmas Hermione," Harry weakly returned. Though he's no longer in danger of dieing, he is still very weak.
"I asked Madam Pomfrey if we could take you out of bed today and move you up to the Common Room," Hermione says as she adjusts the covers around him.
"I don't want to be a bother Hermione," Harry says as he watches her.
Hermione pauses in her task and looks up at him, "You're never a bother Harry, never," she says emphasizing her point as she leans over him and kisses him on the forehead. "Now what do you say we get Madam Pomfrey so we can get up to the Common room, everything is already set up. Remus double checked everything, Professor McGonagall has made sure it's warm enough and Professor Dumbledore has made the couch long enough for you to lie on," she explains as she looks down at him. "Where are your glasses," she finally asks.
Harry blushes slightly as she asks this, "well, um, I have contacts," he finally answers.
"Oh," Hermione says and then smiles, "but you still have them," she asks.
"Yes," Harry answers confused by her reaction.
"I'll just go get Madam Pomfrey," Hermione says as she tries to hide her embarrassment. She loves to see Harry in his glasses and she feared she would never see him in them again. He just wouldn't be Harry if he didn't have glasses.
Twenty minutes later the portrait closes behind the last adult, leaving behind the two teenagers. Harry lies on the modified couch taking in the atmosphere around him almost hungrily. "Thank you," he finally whispers as his eyes settle on Hermione who is standing at the end of the couch.
"I know how much you love this place and it just wouldn't be Christmas without you," Hermione says with a slight shrug. "So Harry, what would you like most for Christmas," she asks.
Harry looks away from her slightly and to the fire, "It's stupid really," he says softly.
Hermione makes her way in front of Harry and kneels before him, her eyes even with his. "It's not stupid," she tells him honestly. "Whatever you want, if it is in my power then you will have it. So Mr. Potter what is your Christmas wish," she asks again.
Harry looks at her for a moment, and then he closes his eyes as he thinks about what he wants the most. "What I want the most," he asks her softly.
"Yep," Hermione says with a smile, loving the fact she is with him once again. That she is with him on Christmas.
Harry slowly opens his eyes, "Can I," he pauses, "Can I have a hug," he asks softer than a whisper and in the tone of a lost child who has just been told there is no such thing as Santa Claus.
Tears spring to her eyes as she hears this, of all the things she thought he might ask for, this isn't it. "Of course Harry," she whispers as she gently gathers him to her in a hug. "Of course," she whispers as she continues to hold him.
In the days following Christmas, news came out of Voldemort's defeat. It also came out that Harry Potter was the one who defeated him once again. Celebrations were everywhere, Hermione and Harry, when he was awake, could hear the parties from Hogsmeade in the Common Room where Harry would spend his days. Unfortunately with this news, everyone was declaring the day as Harry Potter day, and when the world learned of his injuries it seemed as though everyone was crying for him.
Harry didn't like his new found popularity, but he just shrugged and continued on his with rehabilitation. When school was back in session, Hermione would visit him everyday before classes, at lunch and after classes. She helped him with his homework, helped with his rehab and at times just talked while he listened and sometimes they would talk, getting to know each other again. Ginny and Neville would also come at night, and together the four of them would talk hours on hours about many things. And every time they walked out of the hospital wing, each seemed to reflect on how much pain Harry is going through and how hard he is trying to be normal, to be himself rather than sink into the pain he's forced to endure.
It was sometime in February before Hermione was able to see him out of his bed by his own means. And it was a day she will never forget, for it was the day when her world started to right itself. She was no longer alone in the world and neither was the one person she really cared for.
Having been let out of class early, Hermione decides to go see Harry, so as she was walking she was looking down at her notes as she walks to the Hospital Wing, there's a test tomorrow in transfiguration and she wants to get as much studying in as she can. With a soft smile she looks up at the doors to the Hospital Wing, knowing that behind those doors is the one person who makes her feel complete. The smile slips from her face as she recalls just what that one person has been forced to endure the past couple of months.
Pausing just out side the door, Hermione silently prays that she won't cry again. Though Harry doesn't seem to mind, he just takes her into his arms and waits patiently for her to calm down. To think Harry is the one calming her down, when it should be her who is calming him down. She smiles at this thought and she quickly pushes the door open, only to drop everything in her hands as she sees the sight before her.
Harry looks up from the floor, his hands tightly hanging onto the crutches supporting his weight and he smiles softly, trying to hide his blush. "You weren't supposed to come so early," he whispers as he quickly looks back down to the floor.
Hermione leaves her stuff on the floor as she makes her way over to Harry, "You didn't want me to see you like this," she asks logically, understanding he might be embarrassed to be seen this way, hoping to hide her hurt at the thought, at the thought he would feel as though he had to hide this from her, that he would have to hide anything from her.
Harry looks up at her, hearing the hurt in her voice. "No it's not that, it's just," he pauses and then shrugs slightly. "I wanted to surprise you," he admits finally.
Hermione smiles at his words, the hurt instantly forgotten. "I am surprised Harry," she affirms for him.
"But you weren't to have seen this early," Harry explains sadly, his eyes fixed upon the floor.
"Early," Hermione asks in confusion.
"Valentines day isn't for another couple of days," Harry says looking up at her, his blush returning full force.
"You wanted to show me on Valentines," Hermione asks for clarification as she beams at him in happiness.
"Stupid, I know," Harry says looking away from her, embarrassed.
Hermione steps closer and wraps her arms around his chest gently, "It's the best Valentines gift I have ever received," she whispers in his ear.
"Even if it is early," Harry asks as he lets the crutches drop unnoticed to the floor so he can return her hug.
"Even if it's early," Hermione agrees, holding him just a little bit tighter.
It was late in March before he could walk with a cane alone, and he decided to show Hermione this in a different way than before. So he figured if there couldn't be a holiday by which to wait for, he'd make his own reason.
It was fairly late in the evening; Hermione was sitting by the fire studying for N.E.W.T.'s, which are to be taken next school year. Though she'd much rather be down with Harry, she had been told she couldn't stay late tonight. Leaving her to have to tell Harry she had to leave him earlier than normal, something that broke her heart to have to do. She hates how he is forced to remain alone within the confines of that small room.
In the back of her mind she hears the portrait open to allow someone entrance. So deep in thought she was she didn't even think about who had entered when she knew for a fact all the Gryffindor's where in for the night. She didn't think about it, that is, until someone stopped in front of her. Preparing to let the person who is disturbing her have it, she slowly starts to look away from her book and up the body of the last person she expected to see tonight. "Harry," she gasps out in question as she stands up to face him, book dropping forgotten to the floor.
"Surprise," Harry says softly as he raises his hands, the cane in his right hand.
Hermione takes in the picture before her and she finally realizes what it is he is trying to show her. A large smile breaks out on her face as she realizes he is standing on his own, no crutches, no help, alone. "When did this happen," she asks as she quickly gives him a hug and then stepping back and placing her hands on her hips, trying to sound mad, but the smile gives her away.
Harry shrugs, "Not too long ago," he admits as he places the cane closer to his body so it can lean against him. "There wasn't a holiday for a long while and I couldn't wait to show you until then," he explains.
"So you set this up," Hermione asks smiling almost goofily.
"Partly," Harry admits.
"What do you mean," Hermione asks as she points to the space beside where she had been sitting moments before. She knows that even though he's getting better with each passing day, he still weakens easily, far too easily for her liking.
"Madam Pomfrey has a convention she needs to be to, and she didn't want me to remain alone. I asked her if I could use this time to show off," Harry admits as he sits down only to have Hermione sit down beside him.
"I'm so very proud of you," Hermione says as she leans over and places her head on his shoulder. Harry wraps his right arm around her and holds her closer to him. "Thank you," she whispers honored he wants to show her, of all people, his progress.
"Thank you," Harry responds as he pulls her closer to him. "Now, about that studying…"
The two of them sat there quizzing each other on different subjects and just having fun. It was almost two in the morning before Madam Pomfrey came to collect him, but by that time, the two were fast asleep and holding tightly on to each other. A sight Madam Pomfrey still carries with her to this day. The fact she had a camera with her helps matters. She gave Minerva and Albus a copy and then decided to give a copy to both Hermione and Harry.
Hermione closes her eyes tightly as she recalls that last part. Harry wanted her to know of his progress and he wanted to surprise her. Her of all people, he wants her to know first. She smiles as the love she feels for this man surges forward and encompasses her whole being. From that day on, Harry would try and come to the Common Room after dinner, he would eat in the hospital wing and Hermione would try and talk the nurse into allowing her to eat with him too. Sometimes this worked, but most of the times it wouldn't. When he first came to the common room when everyone else was there, they were shocked to see him and everyone started asking him questions, they wouldn't leave him alone. Shortly after he arrived a party was in full swing, even if he just shook his head and turned to Hermione who was smiling proudly at him and asked her how she did on her exam. So while the rest of the people where partying themselves silly, Ginny, Neville, Hermione, and Harry were talking freely with each other and just enjoying the time.
And so the rest of the school year proceeded, Harry was finally able to join some classes by the end of March. Though he still had to return to the Hospital Wing, but he didn't seem to mind too much. Everyone kept trying to get stories from the war from him, but he just smiled softly, shook his head, and asked them what they did over the break.
When it came time for school to end, Hermione dreaded it more than she ever has. She wasn't going to be able to see Harry everyday as she has. Something she has become addicted to, more than she was willing to admit. One thing that helped her, was the fact he wasn't returning to the Dursley's, he was going to live with Remus, who was back from the field for those two months.
Even though they didn't see each other for nearly two months, they did write to each other almost constantly. Hermione would ask him how he's doing, if he was able to walk further with his cane, if he tired as easily. Harry would in turn ask her if she's going out of country and if so, to be careful. For even though the war has been won, many battles where still being fought, many Death Eaters were still out there, including Malfoy. Hermione still has every single letter he has ever sent her. One day her mother asked her about her feelings towards this boy they have only met a few times.
Hermione looked at her mother and smiled softly, her mind going over just how much she loves Harry. Patting the bed beside her, Hermione slowly began to tell her mother the tale of the life of the man she has fallen head over heals with. Hermione left nothing out, not even what Ron told her on the train. She told her of him being in the war and how injured he had been on Christmas. She then told her of his progress since then. Her mother smiled knowingly back at her daughter and said, "Sounds like he's a keeper," and then reached over and pulled Hermione into a hug. "He is mum, he is," Hermione whispered into the embrace.
When she had received her letter telling her she had been named Head-Girl, she squealed impossibly loud and ran to write a letter to Harry, telling him all about it. She explained how excited she was to get it and how scared she was that she would fail at it.
When Harry replied to her frantic letter he told her one thing, "Hermione. All I can say, all I can suggest is have faith, love, compassion, and understanding Hermione. So, in short, just be yourself and you'll be better than perfect," his letter said nothing else but that. Then again she knew he couldn't write to her on that day, he had an appointment at St. Mungo's. An appointment she wanted to be there with him for.
Harry had explained to her that the doctors feared there was more wrong with him than they first thought. Things that would affect his present, but Harry feared more about what they had to say about his future, though he didn't explain and Hermione didn't press, she knows the future part is something very personal. Something that scares Harry is something very important indeed.
So the fact he had written at all, says a lot to the bushy-haired girl. It told Hermione he cares. Even when he is scared for his future, he still cares enough to help her. And help her he did. For if there is anyone who could say those words and actually mean what they say, it would be Harry. So Hermione did the only thing she could think of, she had the small note framed. Her and her mother went looking for just the right frame. Her mother never questioned it; she just smiled at the note and told Hermione she agrees with his words. Her mother also knew what today was, she knew as much as Hermione did, for Hermione told her everything. Only to realize she didn't ask Harry if she could. She had quickly written him a letter explaining what she did, omitting the part where she confessed to loving him, and told him how sorry she was and that she would understand if he was mad at her. His reply was simple enough, "Everyone needs someone to talk to, Hermione. I am honored you care enough to share my life with your family. I could never be mad at you, well, for too long that is," and then he drew a picture of a smiley face with its tongue sticking out.
When she didn't receive any news from him for two days she began to get worried. So worried in fact she found herself at St. Mungo's asking for directions to his room. Only to turn around and find a confused and concerned Harry Potter walking her way, "Hermione, are you okay," he asks instantly as soon as he got within hearing range, his cane on his right side and Remus on his left.
Hermione didn't think she just acted on all the worry within her heart. She ran the rest of the distance between them and wrapped her arms around him. "I'm fine now," she whispers into his chest as he wraps his arms around her.
"What are you doing here, Hermione," Remus asks with an amused voice.
"I didn't receive word on how the tests went," Hermione answers as she finally pulls back, reluctant to separate from Harry.
"Most of the results won't be back until nearly Christmas," Harry says with a hesitant smile. "But the one's they were able to tell me, all points to full recovery within the next five to ten years," he says causing Hermione to fling herself at him once again.
"Oh Harry, I was so worried," Hermione cries into his strong chest.
"I'm sorry," Harry quickly apologizes, "they wouldn't let me have Hedwig come in," he says as he pulls her closer to him, taking in her hug.
Hermione tried to quickly compose herself, but even given the circumstances she didn't feel odd or embarrassed for over reacting as she did. Though she knows her reaction is only based on what she knows of the tests; not what, Harry hasn't told her about them, "Are you two heading home now," she asks after a moment.
"We were just going to call the Knight Bus," Remus agrees with a nod of his head, the amusement in his eyes at the scene before him clear to everyone there.
"I can ask my mum if we take drop you off, she's just outside," Hermione offers.
"Talked her into it did you," Remus asks with amusement.
"She offered thank you very much," Hermione counters with a small smile.
"Oh no," Harry suddenly gasps in shock.
"What," Hermione asks worriedly.
"Taking me home to meet the parents already," Harry responds dramatically as he places his hand over his heart.
Hermione stares at him unbelievingly for a moment only to stick her tongue out at him a moment later. "Of course, Mr. Potter, they do after all want to meet my future husband," she teases back, trying to hide how much she wishes it was true.
"Be still my heart," Harry responds before the three of them start laughing at the stupid ness of it all.
"Come on, I'm sure I can talk her into it," Hermione says as she steps to Harry's right side. The three of them made their way out of the front window and to Hermione's mother's car without any problems. Hermione and Harry sat in the back while Mrs. Granger and Remus talked in the front. For the half hour ride, Hermione and Harry talked endlessly, laughing nearly constantly and just enjoyed being in the presence of the other person.
At the end of the ride, Hermione reluctantly watched as Harry waved goodbye before disappearing into the house of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. "I like him," her mother says into her thoughts.
"I love him," Hermione responds with a sigh, hating the fact the next time she will be able to see him is on the train to Hogwarts. Hermione was too busy watching the place where the house is, that she missed the knowing look and smile on her mothers face.
Hermione was overly excited when September first finally arrived. She would be seeing Harry shortly. Knowing that she was to be in the Head Compartment nearly broke her heart, for she would have to be there for the whole trip and Harry would have to sit with everyone else. If she knew who the Head-Boy was she might be able to talk him into letting Harry come and stay with them for the trip. But given that she doesn't know she has to count on it being someone like Malfoy. With this thought she nearly growls out in frustration as she opens the car door to get out. "Don't worry dear," her mother soothes her as she gives her one last hug. "Things will turn out as they should," she says before kissing Hermione goodbye.
A few minutes later Hermione found herself heading towards the compartment she is being forced to remain in, for the first time since she learned she was going to be Head-Girl, she wants nothing to do with it. That is, at least, until she opened the door, only to find someone else already within. Someone who was currently sound asleep with his head leaning on the arm of the bench and his feet out in front of his body. Hermione pauses at the sight, only long enough to get over her shock. She then quickly closed the compartment door to avoid other people from seeing the sight before her.
Once she was sure the compartment door was sealed, and that she is the only person who can see the cuteness of the sight before her. She doesn't want anyone else to see the heavenly sight she is about to see once again. She slowly turns around to look at the handsome specimen of a male before her. Never before had Hermione felt so overtaken by complete desire, want, and absolute love as she is at this moment. She stands there for a while longer just watching Harry sleep, a softness in her loving eyes that would have given her feelings away instantly had he been awake at the moment.
Forcing herself to control her actions, and emotions, she decides it's time for the reunion she has been waiting for, for what seems forever. "Harry," she says softly as she makes her way from the doorway to the bench. Instantly Harry jumps to wakefulness, sitting up quickly, his wand drawn and pointing at her. Hermione pauses, cursing herself for scaring him. "It's just me," she says just as softly as before.
She sees the recognition in his eyes a moment before he quickly puts away his wand, "Sorry Hermione," he apologizes as he looks away from her in embarrassment.
"Hey," Hermione says sitting down beside him. "There's nothing to be sorry for, I surprised you is all," she says as she bumps her shoulder into his.
"I wanted to be awake to see you when you came in," Harry says after he flashes her, a smile.
"Why didn't you tell me," Hermione finally asks.
"I honestly didn't think about. My mind was on the tests and then they were on the results," Harry admits. "I really didn't think about it until I stepped into the compartment and began wondering when you'd get here. I realized then, I hadn't told you," he pauses, "sorry," he says softly.
"I'm not upset or anything, just pleasantly surprised. I had feared I'd have to stay in here with some nitwit, while you were somewhere else," Hermione admits.
Harry smiles brightly as he hears her words, "I have something I want to show you," he says as he stands up and slowly walks to the center of the compartment and then turns around and looks at her.
Hermione watches his movements wondering what he's trying to show her, and then it hits her. He isn't using his cane. "When did this happen," she almost shouts out excitedly as she stands up.
"Remus and I have been working on it all summer," Harry admits softly and yet he somehow sounds disappointed.
Hermione hears his voice and she can't help but wonder why he is disappointed, then she realizes he isn't the only one who is disappointed. Normally after every new achievement she gives him a hug. And now when he shows her he can walk, she just stands up and stays there, rather than get one of her precious hugs from him. "Well, what are you waiting for," she says hoping he won't think her stupid for what she is about to say. She raises her arms, invitingly, "Come and get your hug," she says trying not to blush as she says this. Harry's eyes brighten considerably, causing Hermione to wonder if he was just as sad as she was when they didn't hug.
Hermione watches with her heart in her throat as Harry slowly walks to her, making his way to her for a celebratory hug. Finally she feels the heat from his body start to encompass her once again and she closes her arms firmly around his body, pulling him to her. Loving the feel of him, feeling as though she has finally returned home, "I am so proud of you," she whispers into his chest as she continues to hold him to her long after she knows she should have released him.
"I've missed you," Harry responds just as quietly, holding her just as tightly.
Harry uses his cane when he's in the presence of anyone but those he holds dear to him, Hermione is one of these people. Though when he walks without the cane he walks slowly and he often stumbles and falls. Hermione hates when she can't catch him in time, she hates having to watch him fall. She also knows he's highly embarrassed when he falls. She is honored he trusts her as much as he does.
The two of them do their nightly walk of the castle together, talking, teasing and studying all the while. Even though they are supposed to switch nights, it was agreed to be this way after Hermione refused to let him have to deal with the moving stairs alone. Though what won the argument was the fact she didn't want to be left alone, and she didn't want to walk the halls alone. So one night Harry would quiz her from her note cards and she would be searching for errand students. The next night it would be Hermione quizzing him and him looking for people to take points from.
They even go to the same classes and sit next to each other, minus potions; Snape wouldn't allow them to be near each other. Snape does seem very hesitant to upset Harry, though considering he had just gotten rid of Voldemort single handedly, no one was in the mood to upset Harry.
The two of them are separated for only a few minutes of the day. The few unavoidable moments of the day, trips to the restroom, getting dressed, going to bed and the likes, this is a fact Ginny and Neville find amusing beyond belief and they started teasing the two of them insistently about it. That is, until Harry started teasing the two of them for nearly the same thing. Since then, they haven't made one comment on their arrangement, and in return Harry and Hermione make sure that Ginny and Neville get the same times for their prefect duties.
When it started to snow, the two of them would continue to take their walks around the lake, like they used to during fourth year. They even had a few snowball fights, even though Harry would always end up falling because he couldn't move correctly, his feet wouldn't work the way his mind was trying to work them. He'd blush profusely and refuse to look her in the eyes as he kept apologizing for not being able to keep up with her, for ruining her fun, for not being as he once was.
When he did this, it would break Hermione's heart. She didn't need him to stay up with her, she just needed him happy. She was happy with what they were doing, spending time together. When he'd get this way she flop down beside him and tell him, "Don't be sorry Harry, I'm still having fun being with you. I don't care about the game, all I care about is being with you," and then she'd start making snow angels, always remembering his words from when he first woke in the hospital.
The two of them would then make snow angels and snowmen, and then Harry always seems to insist the snowmen were lonely and needed someone special in their lives. They proceeded to make snowwomen for the snowmen. Hermione found this to be highly amusing, especially when they finished with it. She had to admit they had done a very good job of it. Only to find themselves being taken pictures of by the Creevey brothers, though neither minded for they each had a secret deal with the brothers. Every picture of the other, they wanted a copy. In return for the copies, they would either pay them or if caught lessen their punishment. So far it has been a very good trade off.
Then last night, the two of them were down in the Great Hall eating dinner when an official owl, soared through the air and headed directly to Harry. Harry looked at it with horror in his eyes and Hermione instantly knew the first thought in his mind is that of Remus. When the bird landed and Harry slowly removed the letter from its outstretched leg, he looked at the envelope and released an audible sigh, only to quickly place the letter in his robes. He then paid the bird for its troubles and as the bird took off he continued to eat, though much quieter than before.
It took Hermione until they were in the Head-Girl/Boy Common Room to get out of him what it was all about. Harry just shrugged and said it was his test results. Hermione had totally forgotten about the tests, the tests of Harry's future. Within those few words Hermione's whole life nearly came crashing to a halt. What tests did Harry have done? What are those results going to tell him?
Harry watched her eyes change colors before his eyes, and Hermione could see the fear within his own eyes. "Do you want to open them now," Hermione asks, offering to be there when he read them.
Harry shook his head softly, "Nah, I want one more day of ignorance, I'll open them in the morning," he informs her.
So the two of them curled up on the couch in front of the fire and just enjoyed each other's company. Each lost in their own thoughts on what the test results might mean. Hermione was mentally reciting every prayer she knows, praying Harry won't be taken from her again. She doesn't know if she could take that. Not now, not ever, she loves him way too much to lose him.
Hermione finally allows herself to open her eyes, some Christmas this is turning out to be. She's too worried to even be happy. Turning over on her bed so she can look at the door to her room, she jumps at the sight she sees. Harry is standing in the doorway, his shoulder leaning against the frame, a soft smile playing upon his lips, and an open letter in his hand. "Morning," Harry says softly; then he takes in the red of her eyes. He sees this and instantly starts to walk towards Hermione. "What's wrong," he asks just before he stumbles and falls to the floor. Hermione hears him cursing violently, and depreciatively.
Hermione instantly jumps out of bed and rushes to him, "You okay," she asks as she helps him sit up.
"No," Harry answers as he looks down to the floor as he tries to steady himself, looking everywhere but at her, "I was trying to help you and you end up having to always help me," he whispers in embarrassment.
Hermione pulls him into a hug and slowly begins to rock back and forth, "Don't be so hard on yourself Harry" she whispers into his hair.
"I need to be able to help you, you help me all the time and I never help you," Harry whispers as he pulls her closer as his arms wrap around her, the despair evident in his soft voice. "How can you stand to be with me when I don't help you," he asks as he buries his head into her hair.
"You do help me Harry, you help me all the time," Hermione tells him as she pulls back so she can look him in the eyes.
"I do not," Harry says looking her in the eyes. "I don't even know what's bothering you. I thought I heard you crying and when I opened the door it looked like you were asleep. Only to learn you were crying and then I go and fall, what kind of help is that," he says looking away from her once again.
"More than you can realize Harry," Hermione says as she forces him to look at her.
"Why were you crying," Harry asks letting the subject slide away and moving on to more important subjects.
"I was just remembering," Hermione says honestly.
"I'm sorry your life hasn't been the best," Harry apologizes instantly as he once again looks down to the floor.
"Oh Harry, but it has," Hermione rushes to assure him.
"Then why," Harry asks looking back to her, as he reaches up and wipes her tears away.
"Because for someone to know exactly what they have, they also have to have a time where everything seems to fall apart, where they didn't have anything. I was just remembering the time when I felt as though I had nothing," Hermione tries to explain to him.
"Here at Hogwarts," Harry asks softly, knowing in his heart it is the truth.
"My time here when you weren't," Hermione confesses.
Harry looks at her with confusion written clearly on his face, "Even if I can't walk without my cane for more than five minutes without falling, even if I can't be as I used to be," he asks wondering how she could possibly like how he is now compared to how he used to be.
"None, of that matters Harry, you're you and that is all that matters to me, that's all I want, that's all I'll ever need. I don't care about how far you can walk with or without a cane, I don't care if you can't throw snowballs without falling in the snow, I don't care if you will be forced to walk with a cane for the rest of your life," Hermione says as she holds his shoulders in her hands, steadying him and herself on the floor.
"All I care about is the fact you spend time with me now. I love how we make snow angels. I love that you feel comfortable enough around me to try and walk without your cane, even if you know eventually you will fall. I love the snowball fights we do have, because I know you are having fun, because I love spending time with you. I only care about the fact you are you in your heart and soul, the rest is just a bonus," she tells him as she looks directly in his eyes, hoping he will understand what she is trying to tell him, that he will believe that what she is saying is the truth.
"What if I were to tell you the doctors say this is how I will always be," Harry asks her softly, his eyes straying from hers, fearful of her reaction.
"Then I say," Hermione starts as she turns his chin toward her forcing him to look at her, "So be it," she finishes.
"How can you want to spend time with someone as damaged as me," Harry asks as he searches her eyes for some hidden truth she isn't telling him.
Hermione closes her eyes as she hears his question, only to open them just as quickly, "You are not damaged Harry," she growls in correction. "You are the kindest most caring person I have ever had the privilege to know, I don't ever want to hear you say that again," she tells him as she stares directly at him. "Spending time with you is the highlight of not only my day, but my life as well," Hermione informs him as she pulls him in for another hug.
Harry returns her hug and the two of them just sit there for a moment enjoying the feeling of being with each other. Finally they pull apart and Harry smiles softly, "I'm sorry to have darkened this day, so," he pauses slightly, "Happy Christmas Hermione," he says smiling at her.
"Happy Christmas Harry," Hermione returns as she smiles at him.
"Will you help me up," Harry asks softly and Hermione knows he hates having to depend on other people for things he once was able to do himself.
"My pleasure," Hermione says as she stands up and reaches down to help him up as well. Once he is steady she lets go of him only for something to catch her eyes. She looks down and notices it was the paper he had in his hand earlier. Bending over she quickly picks it up, as she stands up she fights the urge to read the results, once erect she hands the paper back to Harry, who is looking at her questioningly.
"Thanks," Harry whispers after a moment. "You look great by the way," he says as he blushes brightly.
"How did things turn out with the results," Hermione asks hesitantly, as she still looks at the paper in his hands.
Harry pauses in his steps as he was heading out of the room, he turns slightly to look at her, "Some good, some not so good," he admits with a soft shrug.
"Are you going to tell me about them," Hermione asks hopefully, but understanding there may be things he might want to keep to himself.
"After you get your presents opened we'll talk about this," Harry answers as he lifts the paper up. "Though in truth I don't know why I was worried about the one thing I was," he admits with a shrug. "Not like it will matter," he whispers softly as his eyes drop to the paper.
"It matters Harry," Hermione says just as softly.
Harry shrugs in response and then smiles, "Hurry up already, the presents aren't going to open themselves you know," he says effectively changing the subject.
"Get going you clown," Hermione says with a soft laugh as she shakes her head. She watches as he slowly makes his way out of her room, though she is still smiling all she wants to do is cry again. Her heart goes out to him and she hates that he seems to feel no one would want anything to do with him if he's like he is. If only he knew the truth.
A few short minutes later Hermione comes bounding down the stairs as she rushes to be with Harry, she pauses at the foot of the stairs as she sees Harry standing before the fireplace looking at the numerous pictures on the mantel. When they first arrived in the room, Hermione insisted they each place pictures of their families there. She was ecstatic when he placed a picture of his parents wedding there. It had been nearly two weeks into the semester; her pictures had been there long before. He had placed it there sometime after she had gone to bed. When she woke the next morning she couldn't help the large beaming smile that formed on her face when she seen he had contributed to the collection.
Hermione watches a moment more as she sees him holding the picture of his parents in his right hand, his left hand firmly holding onto the mantel to avoid falling. She closes her eyes once again as she realizes he never had one Christmas he could remember with them. "They're here you know, if you try really hard you can feel them," Harry whispers causing her to jump in surprise. "All of them," he continues as he places the picture back on the mantel.
Hermione continues to enter into the room, "I know," she agrees and for the first time in her life she doesn't comment how stupid an idea that is. For now she truly understands how right he is.
"Do you think they would be disappointed in me," Harry asks still looking at the pictures, his back to her.
"Never," Hermione says instantly. "They would be so very proud of you," she says as she places her hand on his left shoulder as she steps up beside him.
"I often wonder about things," Harry says, his eyes still fixed upon the pictures before them.
"What things Harry," Hermione prods softly, hoping he will open up to her.
"About how they'd react to all the troubles I've caused or been through, the adventures we partook of. When Ron got that Howler from Mrs. Weasley in second year, stupid I know, but I was jealous. I used to dream about what my mum would've done had she been alive, how she would've reacted. Would she have sent me a Howler as well, or would she have stormed the castle to yell at me herself," Harry says softly his eyes seeing the picture but looking beyond it to something he will never know. "Then I'd wonder what my dad would have said, what he would have done. Would he have been just as upset as mum, or would he play the father in her presence and the joker when we were alone," he shrugs slightly. "I used to dream about how I would react if my own children ever did half the stuff we have," he whispers and then sighs softly. "Seems kind of stupid to dream about that stuff anymore," he declares softly at length.
"It's not stupid Harry. You can still dream about that," Hermione says softly, reassuringly. "You'll be a great father one day, Harry," Hermione whispers with a soft blush rising on her cheeks.
"No I won't," Harry says with a sigh as he turns away from the pictures to look at her.
"What do you mean," Hermione asks, her heart breaking with the pain she sees in his eyes. She doesn't know what brought all this up, but she knows it is important to him and therefore it is important to her.
"Who would want to date," Harry pauses slightly as he shakes his head slightly. "Who would want to marry someone who's been told the chances of him having children are less than fifty percent, thirty at best," Harry asks as he looks back to the pictures, looks away from her, not wanting to see the pity in her eyes. Not wanting to see his dreams crumble before him.
Hermione gasps as she hears this, she closes her eyes as she realizes this is what part of the results have told him. He feels hollow because having children might not be possible. Suddenly she feels empty, almost barren, as though it is she who is unable to have children. Then again, for her Harry is the only person she wants to have that kind of life with, so in affect it is her too. "If she truly loves you, then she will," Hermione answers, opening her eyes, as she slides her hand from his shoulder to around his back, giving him a half hug, wishing she could be that person.
"Would you marry someone who might not be able to father your children," Harry asks softly, the pain clear in his voice and the slight shakiness of his body.
"Yes," Hermione answers instantly as she tightens her arm around him, needing him to know she's there for him.
"Would you marry someone who had to use a cane to walk, who would always be falling and unable to help you, who might not be able to have kids, and if you did have kids wouldn't be able to help with them," Harry asks in a voice softer than a whisper.
Hermione forces Harry to turn, his left hand flying to her left shoulder, his right settling on her right shoulder so he doesn't fall. When he refuses to raise his head to look at her, she places her right hand under his chin and forces him to look up at her. "In a heartbeat Harry," she says honestly and emotionally, the tears she had thought to have cried out, now roll down her cheeks freely. "In a heartbeat," she whispers fiercely. "You would be the best husband a woman could ask for, and the best father any child would be lucky to have," she says as she looks him in the eyes, needing him to believe her.
"Would you marry me," Harry asks softly, his eyes searching hers.
"If you asked me to," Hermione says knowing she is telling him more than she more than likely should.
"Why," Harry asks in a ghost of a whisper.
"Because I love you Harry," Hermione cries out as she buries her head in his chest, knowing this will be the last time she will be able to do this. She has just lost the most important piece of her heart. "I'm in love with you Harry Potter," she cries into his chest, loving the feel of his arms wrapping around her, knowing it will be the last, she has just messed everything up.
"To think, before I read the results, I was going to just ask if you'd be my girlfriend," Harry whispers into her hair.
Hermione gasps as she hears this; she reluctantly pulls back from his embrace to look at his face, "Wha…," she stutters and then swallows in disbelief. "What did… what, did you just say," she asks with a soft squeak.
"Ms. Hermione Jane Granger, would you do me the honor of allowing me to become your husband, even if it means we might not be able to ever have children and I more than likely will be forced to have a cane for the rest of my life. Will you marry me Hermione," Harry finishes in a whisper, his eyes watching her closely.
"Are you serious," Hermione asks in a whisper.
"Yes," Harry reassures her.
"Why me," Hermione finally gasps out in question, cursing herself for not just accepting her dream.
Harry reaches up and gently brushes her tears away, "Because I love you," he whispers softly, "And I don't want to live without you in my life. So will you marry me," he asks again still looking into her eyes, but the fear of rejection is slowly creeping into his eyes.
Hermione sees him starting to doubt himself, she knows what he's said is true and she also knows this is the best day of her life. "YES," she shouts out as she throws herself onto him, causing him to lose his balance and the two of them to end up on the floor.
"Yes," Harry squeaks out in question, unable to believe his own ears, his arms wrapped around her waste.
"Yes," Hermione repeats as she looks down at him, being as she landed on top of him.
"Can I have two more Christmas wishes," Harry asks softly, a smile playing on his lips.
Hermione smiles happily as she remembers her words from a year ago, "I'll get them if it is in my power," she answers as she nods slightly.
"Can I have another of your hugs," Harry asks softly and then smiles widely as she wraps her arms around his neck. He quickly returns the gesture, but around her waste.
"And the second," Hermione asks as she places her head on his chest, loving the fact she can hear his heartbeat, loving this dream.
"Can I kiss you," Harry asks with a childlike tone to his voice.
Hermione lifts her head and looks at him for a moment, before slowly and gently lowering her face to his. "Always Mr. Potter," she says just before Harry raises his head to close the gap between them. The kiss was chaste and gentle, but more powerful than most erratic kisses. It is a kiss of completion of their souls, of being welcomed home, of belonging, and of affirming their love for one another.
Once they part Harry smiles up at her, "Thanks Mrs. Potter," he teases softly, loving the way that sounds.
Hermione nearly squeals in delight as she hears this, her smile spreading so wide it actually hurts, "I like the sound of that," she whispers before giving him a quick kiss. "This is the best Christmas ever," she proclaims just before she reclaims his lips for another kiss, knowing she will never get enough of them.
"Speaking of Christmas," Harry laughs out, "Those presents aren't going to open themselves," he points out once again.
Hermione can't help but laugh as she shakes her head at him, "One track mind," she states as she reluctantly moves off of him. She watches as Harry maneuvers himself into a sitting position with trained ease, something she knows a year ago was impossible for him.
"You bet Mrs. Potter, there's a gift in there with your name on it," Harry says as he slowly scoots over to just in front of the couch, he sits down and leans back against the front of the couch. "Would you like to sit with me," he asks, his cheeks burning with embarrassment.
"I thought you would never ask," Hermione says and both know she means more than just sitting between his legs. Hermione makes her way over to him and gently leans back against his chest, instantly her mind tells her this is now her new favorite spot.
Harry slowly wraps his arms around her waste and pulling her closer to him, "I don't think I said this before, but," he pauses slightly, "I love you, Love," he says as he tightens his hold on her for a quick second.
"I love you too Harry," Hermione all but purrs in response, still unable to believe she is able to say that out loud now.
Harry removes one hand from the embrace, ignoring Hermione's protest, and raises it to the stairwell, "Accio," he says softly, his eyes fixed on the stairs, his mind centered on the object he wishes to come to him.
"You forgot to say what, dear," Hermione points out before she realizes that not only didn't he use a wand, but something was floating towards them. "What the," she says in her stunned stupor.
The small bag lands softly in Harry's hand and he wraps the hand back around her waste, "I," he pauses and then shrugs once again. "While out in the field, there were times we could visit the local villages," he starts to explain. Hermione fights against shouting in glee as she realizes Harry is finally going to tell her something about his time in the Military.
"One time as I was walking through this village in lower England, this one store caught my sight. I asked Remus about it and we had a really long and embarrassing conversation about what I wanted to do with the rest my life. He wasn't too surprised when I told him how much I loved you, even then. He was surprised that I did know of you and Ron dating, he hadn't known," Harry explains and as he says the last part he hugs her a little tighter.
As Hermione listens she places her hands on top of his, letting him know it's okay to continue, it's okay and it's in the past. "When we finished our conversation he returned with me to where I had seen the little shop where I eventually got this," he says as he looks down at his hands on her stomach, indicating the small bag in his right hand. "Together we talked about whether or not this or that was your style, if you'd like it, how you'd take to receiving it from someone, who at the time, I thought you hated," he continues.
"I could never hate you," Hermione instantly corrects, "I love you way too much," she proclaims as she hugs his hands to her.
Harry smiles softly and kisses the side of her temple, "I didn't know that then Love," he admits and then shrugs. "It was actually kind of funny; here were two guys in Battle Dress Uniforms, looking at all these different cuts. The lady was very accommodating and patient with us. We asked each other many questions, does this one work with her studying, would her wand get in the way, would this affect her performance, but most importantly would she like it? We spent nearly three hours searching for the right piece, half the battalion were standing outside the window laughing at us, not that I blamed them," Harry says as Hermione laughs softly at the image he is generating in her mind.
"The lady never complained, she kept saying she could tell that I deeply loved the person I was getting it for. Finally she brought out the very last piece; one she said had gone out many years ago. Her father's father couldn't even sale it. Remus and I took one look at it and I swear to Merlin we almost jumped out the roof in our excitement. It just screamed your name," Harry continues as he rearranges his hands so Hermione's is in them. He places the bag into her right palm. "I don't know much about how engagements go," he admits with another blush, "but I do know an engagement ring is common amongst Muggles, I'll have to ask you later about that," he teases causing her to giggle.
"For our wedding, I was," Harry says after a moment but pauses.
"You what Harry," Hermione asks as she looks up at him, love clear in her brown eyes.
"I was wondering if we could use my parent's rings," Harry asks hesitantly.
Hermione smiles softly and reaches up with her empty hand to pull his head down till her lips touch his, "I would be honored," she answers as her lips leave his.
Harry smiles brightly at this, "I wasn't sure you would like that," Harry admits.
"I've been hoping for it," Hermione admits as she blushes bright red.
"Really," Harry asks stunned.
"For a long time," Hermione agrees with a nod of her head, "From your story and the fact you seem to have thought this through I can tell you've thought about it too," she states more than asks.
"A while," Harry agrees as he kisses her temple quickly. "Are you going to open that," he asks as he looks down at the bag enclosed tightly in her right hand.
"A little impatient aren't we," Hermione teases him but she quickly turns to the task of opening the bag. Her mind supplying her with many things it could be. She gasps as a small, elegant, beautiful diamond ring slides into her open palm. The diamond is encased within the band, the band is a swirl of alternating gold and silver and smooth to the touch. With tears in her eyes she looks up at Harry. "Harry, it's beautiful," she proclaims as she starts to cry once again.
"Not as beautiful as you," Harry informs her honestly. "The lady told me it would adjust to your size and that it has a charm on it so the only person who can take it off is the one who put it on," Harry says trying to hide his embarrassment and pleasure at finally being able to give it to her.
"Will you put it on," Hermione asks in a choked voice. Harry smiles as he takes the ring out of her hand and starts to place it on her middle finger. "Not there Harry," Hermione corrects and then directs him to place it on her ring finger, "put it here". Harry slides it on slowly, his heart pounding faster than a race horse. "Now it is official," Hermione declares as she turns around on her knees and proceeds to partake of her role as fiancé to the man she loves. She rightfully and completely snogs him senseless, which she didn't mind in the least, for he too had snogged her senseless as well.