Harry awoke with a start, his breathing heavy and sweat beading on his forehead. It took him several moments to realize where he was. When he did, he breathed a sigh of relief.
The dream had been so real. Every detail had been exquisitely pointed out. Still, it felt so…wrong. It wasn't a nightmare; he had enough experience with nightmares to be certain of what those were like. All the same, the dream had been so unsettling that he needed to see for himself. He had this uncontrollable urge to see that everything was alright.
First he glanced over towards his side, feeling an empty place in his heart before he did so. He almost expected to see a mess of red curls sprawled out on the pillow next to him. But of course, he didn't. He smiled and let out another breath when he saw his wife…his Hermione, laying there as peaceful as she could possibly be. Her breathing was even in her slumber, apparently unaware of the distressed status of her husband. Her brown hair, bushy but tamed by time and age, was framed by an angelic face that glowed in the full moonlight streaming through the window frame. Harry almost choked on a sob of relief, and tentatively extended a shaking hand towards her, gently stroking her cheek but careful not to wake her.
In his dream he had been married to Ginny. He was celebrating Christmas with his wife and children as he would be in just a few short hours, but it had been different. Hermione had been there as well, married to Ron. He let the memories of the strange dream wash away from his conscious mind, and as he did so, he once again felt the urge to make sure that everything was as it should have been. Making extra carefully not to disturb his wife, he slowly got out of bed and through on a pair of slippers and his glasses, padding his way out of their bedroom and down the hall towards his children's rooms.
He stopped at the door immediately across from his and Hermione's and opened it as gently as he could. He peeked in and saw his godson, Teddy, sleeping away the night, his covers thrown about in an unsightly mess. Teddy had just turned nine that year. Harry shook his head, asking himself how the time had gotten away from him. After his parent's death, Teddy had gone to live with Andromeda Tonks for a short time, but shortly after Harry & Hermione were married, had gone to live with them as Andromeda was simply too old to keep up with a young child like that. Thankfully he had not inherited any of Remus' furry little problem, but was a metamorphamagus like his mother had been. Harry resituated the covers over Teddy and kissed him on the forehead, raising an eyebrow when he saw Teddy's hair change to a light red at the gesture. He smiled, and exited the room.
He stopped at the first door on the left and glanced inside, carefully opening the door just open a crack. There was James Albus Potter…his firstborn son and eldest child of his own. He smiled when he saw his little man's arms clutching tightly to a stuffed dragon. Though he was seven and claimed that he was beyond such things, it brought comfort to Harry's mind that James was not growing up too fast. He was a splitting image of Harry himself, from the mess of black hair to the knobby knees to the emerald green eyes that were a Potter family trademark. Personality wise he was more like Hermione though, with a love of books and a desire to know everything that he possibly could. Harry quietly walked over and placed a kiss on James' temple. Smiling as James readjusted himself in his sleep and clutched the dragon tighter, Harry silently closed the door.
He wandered across the hall and opened the next door. In it was his precious angel, Emily Potter. They hadn't been able to decide between naming her Lily or Emma when she was born, so they had decided on a reasonable combination of the two names. Emmy as she liked to be called was more of her mother's daughter both in personality and looks. She had her mother's bushy hair, though it was a tad darker than Hermione's had been at that age, as well as a dusting of freckles across the bridge of her nose. She had just turned six a week ago, Harry mused, wondering where the time had gone. He looked over at a music box that lay on the nightstand table next to her bed that she always played before she went to sleep. As quietly as he could, he walked over and turned the key three times before setting it down, the ballerina twirling to the melodic song. Harry could have sworn he saw a small smile creep over Emmy's lips as he leaned over and kissed her softly on the cheek. Lingering for a moment longer, he snuck out of the room and quietly shut the door.
He went to the final room in the hall and opened it quietly. There were his youngest two, a pair of fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. Samantha Rose Potter was a closer mix of Harry& Hermione's features, with bushy black hair and bright green eyes mixed with Harry's facial features. Sammie had a love of all things Quidditch, much to her mother's chagrin. Harry laughed to himself at the row he and Hermione had over buying her a training broom for Christmas that year. Even though she was only four, Harry had insisted. Of course, he couldn't say no to any of his children, a flaw of his that they were all quick to exploit whenever the opportunity arose. Harry followed his ritual and walked over, planting a small kiss on Samantha's forehead and turning to the other bed in the room.
Daniel Sirius Potter was only the youngest by a matter of five minutes, but to Harry he was still the baby of the family…for now. He had his mother's independent streak mixed with his father's penchant for getting into trouble, and was a favorite child of his Uncle Fred and George. Danny had shorter brown hair and paler hazel eyes that were three or four shades below the Potter standard, more like Harry's father than anything else. Harry kissed Daniel on the forehead, lingered in the room a bit longer, and walked out, heading downstairs.
He stopped in the great room, staring at all the gifts that had been assembled under the brightly lit tree. He took a moment to remember all those who had died in the war. All those who would never live to see another Christmas. He thanked them silently for their sacrifice. In the end they had won, and he had finally gotten what he always wanted in his life…a real family. He thought back to the times at the Dursley's when he was a child, when he would sneak out of his cupboard at night and sit on the hardwood floor, staring at the Christmas tree, daring to hope and wish for one night a year that he could have what other people had: a real family to spend Christmas with. It had taken years and many sacrifices to get there, but he finally had found it; he had gotten his Christmas wish.
"Harry?" He turned at the sound of Hermione's voice, his breath taken away from him at the sight. The lights of tree shone off her silver nightgown, causing her to appear luminous. Harry smiled and walked over to her. "Is everything alright?" she asked, a tinge of worry in her voice. "I woke up and you weren't in bed."
"Everything's fine dear," Harry whispered, breathing a sigh of contentment as he carefully gripped Hermione in a loving embrace. Taking care of her abdomen area, where the new baby of the family had been residing for the last three months or so. Hermione returned the sigh and the embrace. She glanced up at the grandfather clock on the wall, and saw that it read close to two in the morning.
"It's morning," she said quietly to Harry, smiling up at him.
"I know it is," he returned. Tentatively, the two of them leaned forward and kissed each other passionately. The need for air caused them to break away a few moments later, and Hermione leaned into Harry's chest.
"Happy Christmas Harry," she said with a smile on her face, her eyes closed as she absorbed the moment.
"Happy Christmas Hermione," Harry replied back, leaning his own head next to Hermione's and smiling at how lucky he had turned out to be after all. "Happy Christmas."
A/N: This is the result of dancing plot bunnies and listening to damn Christmas music all day long. Blasted Amy Grant! I hope it wasn't too horrible.