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November - 1998

Hermione Granger sat in the middle of the floor of Harry Potter's new flat with the contents of several boxes piled in heaps around her. She shuffled various items, muttering darkly to herself at times, and would occasionally toss a textbook into a large cardboard box. Another box beside her appeared to be reserved for bits of trash, as she would quite frequently find old bits of parchment or, even more likely, sweet wrappers, embedded in the pages of text. Harry himself sat on the couch with a large photo album open across his knees; he was perusing it with a far away look in his eyes and would occasionally burst into laughter and coax Hermione into looking at whatever had so amused him.

He looked up as a book was thrown into the box particularly viciously, eyebrows shooting upward in surprise. "Wow, Hermoine, what did that book ever do to you?"

"Nothing," she snapped. "However, it would be nice if you helped me go through your things."

He groaned. "You know I'm no good at organizing. Plus I told you that you could just chuck all that anyway. It's just the old things I got from Privet Drive."

"I will not chuck it! Some of these you can still use, especially these books on Defense. The others you can sell; they bring in quite a profit you know."

He nodded and once again returned to the photo album. Hermione shook her head and continued sorting, less viciously now than before. She finally finished with the books, the old box now heaping, a much smaller and neater stack lying on the floor beside her, and had moved to inspecting quills. She peered closely at the nib and sometimes nodded and placed it gently atop the worthy books, other times she looked distinctly annoyed and chucked it straight away into the rubbish box.

After the sixth ruined quill in a row she suddenly exclaimed, "Harry, how does one person ruin so many quills? And why on earth did you keep them all?"

The young man shrugged, "I thought they might come in handy later."

"For what? Some sort of exotic headdress?"

Harry grinned a bit at that, "Yea, I thought I might make it and wear it to work one day."

Hermoine smiled and shook her head at the image of Harry in his Auror's robes wearing a hat made of quill feathers. "I'm glad we can do this."

"What? You go through my things while I sit here and watch?"

"No! Talk, hang out, just…enjoy the day," the witch said, smiling. "I'm glad we got to have this, sometimes…sometimes I wasn't so sure we'd all make it through the war."

"Sometimes I wasn't so sure either. Looking at this…I love it, but it kind of makes me sad," Harry said.

Hermione stood up, brushing small bits of debris from her robes, and sat on the couch beside her best friend, pulling the album so she could see. Her warm brown eyes met bright green ones, as she looked down at the image of a very young, very pretty woman, who was perched on the lap of a man who, except for the eyes, could have been the very same man she was now sitting beside.

"Sometimes I think…" he trailed off.

"Yes?" Hermione prompted gently.

"If they couldn't survive the war, then what right do I have to have done so? I feel so bad that I accomplished something that they didn't."

"Harry!" the woman chided. "You know they would be happy to know you survived. They died so you could live."

"I know." The two teens continued to flip through the picture album together, pausing to study some more than others. "I wish I had asked Lupin or Sirius more about them. There is so much I want to know, and now I'll never get answers because the only people who knew are dead."

Hermione gazed at him sadly and stood, levitating the large stack of books toward the wooden shelves on the far wall.

"The only memories I have of them are the one's I received from Snape. I suppose the thing I most want to know is how they got together. She hated him! What made her finally see him differently? What made her finally date him?"

Hermione was now busy alphabetizing the books and answered absentmindedly. "Oh she didn't hate him, not really. She just thought he was rather egotistical. However, at the beginning of their seventh year a girl came along that showed him how to open up and be himself around Lily, and that was what brought them together. Though Lily was quite jealous of the girl, with good reason, so there was some strife there."

"What? How do you know this?" Harry exclaimed.

Hermione gasped and turned toward him, face going scarlet. "I…um…oh my…" she continued to stutter unintelligibly.

"Hermione, how?" Harry asked, almost frantic now for her extra knowledge of his parents.

"Do you remember the time turner that I had during our third year?"

"How could I forget it?" Harry replied, looking vaguely puzzled.

"Well…at the end of the year McGonagall asked for it back. I thought it might come in handy later so I took an old necklace I had and transfigured a copy."

"You kept a time turner? Where is it? Can I have a go? Wait…did you have a go?" the youth asked all in a rush, hand running through his hair in agitation.

"It's gone now. I lost it last year, the night that…that Ron left. But see…over the summer, before I came to the Burrow, I got to thinking about your parents. It was just after I sent mine away and I was feeling pretty down, but I remembered you didn't really know anything about your parents. So I got the idea to go back and sort of observe them and tell you what I saw when I came back."

He gaped at her like a fish out of water. "You went…you saw…why…not tell!"

She quirked at eyebrow at this display of eloquence and said, "Take a breath Harry, and say that again in non-broken English."

"You went and saw them! Why didn't you tell me?" he paused a moment. "And what do you mean Lily was jealous of you with good reason?"

Her face became so red at that moment that Harry fully expected it to catch fire at any second. "I didn't tell you because…well there was a lot less observing that I'd planned on. And your father took…quite a liking to me…"

"Did you…did you date my father?"

"Not exactly. We never left the castle or anything."

He gagged, "Hermione did you snog my dad?"

She blushed and he made a rather intelligible noise and went pale.

"I didn't mean to! It just sort of…happened. But I got them together in the end. I'm not really sure how they managed it the first time. Though I've been thinking…perhaps it happened that way and that's why I went back, because I'd already done it and so I had to do it again."

"You snogged my dad!"

"See why I didn't tell you! I knew you'd take it all wrong," she said shrilly.

"Take it wrong? You snogged my dad! The least you could've done was have to told me about you going back."

"I was embarrassed by the whole affair. Though if you want I suppose I could share with you certain bits of my trip."

"As long as there are no details about you snogging my dad I would love to hear it," he said in a rather testy tone.

"All right, I'm not telling you the whole story but I'll give you a few highlights."

"I want you to at least explain your relationship with him. God…that sounds so wrong."

She nodded and began to wonder if her face would ever cool off.

"Well I arrived at the beginning of their seventh year and sort of blended in with the crowd. I did some nice wand work so the teachers thought I was a transfer…"