A/N: OK then, well, I've decided to put up another chapter for this fic. I felt it needed perhaps one more, just to round it off nicely.

Disclaimer: I own nothing… well, Harry Potter wise anyway.

Please excuse any spelling errors; I'm a writer after all, not a God!

88888888

I'll Be There

Chapter 3

Hermione sat in one of the two white wicker chairs that sat in the shade of the veranda. Her hair was steel grey and wrinkles ran over her face; laugh lines were prominent.

All the people in the small village down the road had commented and wondered at the Potter's who lived on the hill. They had done so from the moment they arrived, so many, many years ago, seemingly out of thin air. One day the cottage was derelict and abandoned, the next, there was running water, electricity and quite a lovely rose garden. Everyone agreed that the Potter's were a wonderful couple, their children were always welcome and all the villagers could tell that, in their youth, Mr Potter had been exceedingly handsome and Mrs Potter, very lovely.

The Potter's had moved into the cottage fifty years ago, or more. They were loved by all, despite the gossip. Their three children had run into the village everyday, to buy sweets or visit shops and friends. The villagers had been very sad to hear that they were going to boarding school, one by one. All three had been home-schooled by their mother up until they turned ten. After that, they went off somewhere and returned every summer.

Hermione's eyes, still containing their sparkle, turned away from the villager and its occupants and out towards the fields and the sun, riding low in the sky. She was thinking, as she so often did these days, about the life she had led. She regretted nothing in her life. She had everything she'd ever wanted; peace in her world, the love of a fine man and her children and, in turn, their own children.

Her thoughts turned to the children she'd raised. James had come first, two years after she'd married Harry, of whom he was the split image. Following him two years later was Sirius and three years after his birth, was Little Lily, as they called her. Everyone loved her and her giggles were incredibly infectious. No one had ever been able to resist her tiny dimples, shining green eyes and bouncy, black curls. Her brothers were very protective of her and Hermione loved that about them. With the boys, Lily had always come first. She'd cried so much when they'd both gone off to Hogwarts.

Hermione smiled as, in her mind, she watched her children chase each other around the yard and heard their groans when she called them inside because of rain.

She remembered having to let them all go, after Hogwarts, when they came home, saying they were leaving. Lily left to live with a few friends in London and James went to France to research his first best seller. Sirius had hung around for a couple of months but, Hermione knew then that he'd never stay.

It had come as quite a shock to everyone when Lily brought a man to Christmas lunch one year. Her brothers had dated but never got serious with anyone and so it was even more shocking to hear that Lily was getting married.

Hermione's eyes filled with tears as she remembered with pride her baby's wedding day. Lily glowed all day and Harry had grinned and cried all the way down the aisle. Lily now had two boys of her own, who meant as much to Hermione as her own children. Hearing their voices was like hearing angels sing.

In time, James and Sirius got married and it seemed to Hermione that her life would be filled with endless baby sitting jobs. At first, it had worked this way, gradually though, the parents became more confidant and the children grew older, until Hermione and Harry saw them only a couple of times a month. They lived for those visits. They had accomplished what they said they would and more, even Ron, but with her children gone, there was nothing left to do.

Knowing this, Harry had arranged to take her all over Europe, which they'd always dreamed of doing anyway. That trip always stood out in her memory. It had been like a second honeymoon, re-learning each other. After returning, they'd settled into life and got on with life.

It was only as Hermione got older though, that she began to really look back. Not just a year or two, but way back to her childhood. Her parents' faces at her fifth birthday party, seeing the pride in their eyes as she read aloud her letter to Hogwarts, their tears as they waved as the Hogwarts Express pulled away from London taking her into a new world; a new life. She laughed as she recalled her first meeting with Harry and Ron and smiled as the thought that they were just 'silly boys' echoed through her head. How could she know then that they would make up her whole world and that she would find her soul mate in one?

Closing her eyes, Hermione could see clear as day the Gryffindor common room and Harry sitting, dejected, on the couch late at night. She could feel his head resting on her shoulder and his arms around her waist. She could remember exactly the way he felt and smelt when he first kissed her and had realised that she was in love with him.

In a flash, her mind took her to her wedding day. Tears trickled down her cheeks as she heard his voice vow to love her always and be faithful to her until death parted them. She smiled as, in her head, Harry raised her veil and gently kissed her. The pressure was still there and finally, Hermione realised, very real.

Opening her eyes, Hermione looked into her husbands eyes. They hadn't changed in all their years together, for which Hermione was extremely grateful. She loved the colour, thinking it the most wonderful in the world.

Harry smiled gently and brushed a stray tear off her cheek with one roughened thumb. After their return from Europe, Harry had taken up gardening and was actually quite good at it. One of Hermione's favourite pastimes was to stand at the kitchen window and just watch him out there with his seeds and clippers, prunings littering the ground around his feet.

"Hello my love," Harry said, as he sat next to her in the chair the replica of her own. "What were you thinking about, that had you in tears?"

"Just everything. Our children, their children, our childhood, our wedding. Our lives in general. I've found that I do quite a bit of thinking these days."

Harry nodded slowly. "I know what you mean. I often find myself staring into space when I'm supposed to be doing something important. I always thought old age would make me forget a lot, instead, I've found that I remember more."

"You're not old, Harry dear," Hermione said loyally.

Harry smiled and the lines at the corners of his eyes crinkled endearingly. "That's nice of you to say lovely, but you and I both know that I am."

"I don't see you as old. In my eyes, you're still the same seventeen year old boy I first kissed on the common room couch, that letter forgotten between us."

He smiled gently and took up both her hands, kissed them as he had that very night. "You kept your promise to me 'Mione. For that, I am always grateful. And, just for the record, I still see you as the bushy haired, know-it-all."

She looked insulted for a moment then laughed. "Yes, I suppose you would."

Drawing her closer, Harry enclosed her in his arms and whispered in her ear, "Oh my 'Mione, what would I have done without you? You have been my soul mate in so many different ways. I don't know what I would have done if I'd arrived at Hogwarts and you weren't there."

Hermione shivered at the sound of her pet name. Even at that age, the passion was still there, it had never died. Curling her arms around his neck, she replied, just as soft, "Oh Harry, you would have gotten through. You didn't need me, you never did."

Harry shook his head stubbornly and rubbed a hand up and down her spine. "That's not true and you know it."

Hermione pulled away slightly so she could look him fully in the eyes. "Harry? Do you really think so?"

"I know so. I would have died without you 'Mione, literally and figuratively."

Hermione smiled, pleased at his words. "Figuratively? That's a pretty big word for you, isn't it?"

"You've done this to me, you know."

Hermione giggled. "Ron would be most displeased."

He nodded and laughed with her, the two sounds mingling and making a beautiful song, as they'd done so many times before.

As he hugged her tight, Hermione pillowed her head on his shoulder. Together they watched as the sun sank into the ground, bathing everything in a bright light momentarily before giving way to darkness.

"Harry?"

"Yes love?"

"I love you."

"I love you to, sweet," Harry said and, tilting her head towards him, kissed her.

88888888

A/N: Well, there you have it, all nice and finished. It's REALLY short, only four pages, but, sometimes, less is more. I'm pleased with this chapter. I hope you all like it!

Thanks for reading guys. This ficlet has come to mean a great deal to me. While I wrote it, I cried and smiled and laughed. I hope you did too. This is a favourite of mine and will always hold a special place in my heart, maybe cuz it gives me hope.

Anyway, if you could all just leave me a few reviews for the road, I'd appreciate it and I'll reply to them all. Well, the signed ones anyway.

Be safe,

Lady Knight 1512.