Disclaimer: Canon doesn't belong to me, and I'm rather glad about that.

The story here does belong to me; no money is made with it.

A/N: Highest praise and thanks to beta and brit-picker, Melusin, who agreed to beta-read this on short notice. The following is firmly AU and meant as a Prequel to my WIP, "A Most Important Element in Water." It will let me integrate some of the new magic into my story without having to change the plot.

Reality Check

"The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well."

Hermione closed the book with a bang and laughed, long and hard.

"Brilliant! Merlin's balls, that was excellent. Bloody Hell, she really piled it on thick, didn't she?"

The arms of her husband of nine years sneaked around her, soft lips were nibbling at her neck.

Hermione leaned back into him and whispered, "Rita did excellent work. She deserves a raise in salary. This was so close just imagine if the truth had come out. . ."

"Hm," her husband mumbled, his hands moving towards her breasts, finding already erect nipples welcoming his searching fingers. "I hardly recognized myself in there. . ."

"I didn't quite recognize myself, either. Leave it to Rita to have her revenge, even if it was done subtly. But it's a good thing." Hermione sighed happily. "It's enough that every single witch between seventeen and seventy wants to shag you, thank you very much. If I had to chase all those Muggle women away from you, too. . ."

"So far, you've been perfectly capable of keeping my attention," her husband murmured, undressing her with a flick of his wand. Come. Let me show you just how different I am from that git in the Muggle version."

He dismissively waved a hand at the book, which had fallen to the floor.

Hermione had never been able to resist him when he had his hands all over her body and was whispering in her ears. And why should she? Other people might find it amazing that she was still electrified by his touch, and he by hers, after so many years as a married couple, but for them, anything less was unimaginable. She undressed him quickly with a wave of her own wand and pulled his head down to her, kissing him deeply and passionately until her own vision blurred, and her knees turned to jelly. She found herself lying on the floor with him hovering over her, moving his attention from her face, to her breasts, to her belly, to that spot between her legs. Her own hands and lips roamed his body until there was no other thought left in either of them than the need to come together, to join their bodies and bring each other to ecstasy, again and again.

When they calmed down, sweaty, flushed, but sated for the moment, she whispered, "You know, I want to re-read the real thing ‚ – the last part of the Chronicles of the Boy-Who-Lived. Lola described you so well; I get all weak-kneed again just from reading. – And to imagine that it was almost lost to this Muggle woman. All that hard work, and Arthur just gave it away in his confused fury. It is a good thing that we managed to stop him before the last volumes were stolen, too. The Muggles have enough of the original books. Some already believe that our world is real: they run around using fake wands; they dress in robes, and more and more are trying to find Hogwarts. It's disgusting, really."

"And that from you, a Muggle-born," the wizard chuckled and Summoned a book from the many bookshelves in the room. "Let's read it together. That way, I have you right where I need you to, err, recreate certain scenes."

And so they started reading:

The Chronicles of the Boy-Who-Lived, Volume Seven.

A Most Important Element in Water.

Part I – Separation

Prologue