AN: So here is the end of the story, I really hope you enjoy it. Please read it with an open mind; I am not able to please everybody, though, you should consider yourselves lucky that it got this far, as I originally planned to end it the minute Harry and Hermione got back together lol.
Thank you so much for all of you who have reviewed this story, I take all of your review to heart and the response has been amazing. The end had to come at some point, so without further ado, here is the final chapter. This chapter has not been beta'd, so if there are any mistakes, I apologise now.
Coming to Salem
It was only a few days till the wedding, everything had been organised and all that was left for the bride and groom to do was to ride out their nerves. Harry and Hermione were both nervous about their pending nuptials, Harry because he was getting married and Hermione because she was marrying a prince. But of course, nothing could beat the overwhelming feeling that had engulfed both of them, the feeling one got when you found the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with.
Harry was currently walking around the palace grounds with Ron. Hermione was with his mother, whom he expected to be still gushing about the wedding dress that had brought tears to Hermione's eyes when she first saw it. Harry didn't see this for himself; as it was strictly forbidden for him to see the dress until the big day. He still had no idea how angelic Hermione was going to look when she finally met him at the altar, but he was sure he wouldn't be disappointed. The subject of his thoughts had just arisen vocally as he strolled around the gardens with his friend.
"Luna said that she looks heavenly," Ron told Harry with a wink.
The prince just smirked and shook his head; he wasn't sure how to respond. Not only was he forbidden to see the dress, he was also told not to discuss it, no matter how innocent the remarks.
Queen Lily's rules.
"I'm not sure if you should be even telling me this," Harry voiced.
"Well I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, am I?" Ron pointed out.
"No," Harry agreed, a warm feeling passing through him as he thought of his fiancée. "No you're not."
"So on scales of one to ten, just how nervous are you about Saturday?" Ron asked his friend.
"Oh I don't know," Harry replied thoughtfully. "About a five."
"A five?" Ron repeated surprised at the answer.
"But you've been twitchy for the past week, which is very unlike you."
"But that's not just down to nerves Ron," Harry smiled. "A certain amount of butterflies in the stomach are playing their part."
"A mixture of nerves and excitement then?"
"And people say you're thick," Harry grinned.
Ron laughed then turned serious. "Wait, who says that?"
"Only everyone in the kingdom."
"Well what do they know?" Ron huffed.
"Hmm," Harry smirked.
"Anyway where's the honeymoon going to be?" Ron asked changing the subject. "You know you've been really secretive about it.
"Well, there's a reason for that Ronald."
"I don't want you to know where I'll be."
Ron stopped walking. "Why on earth not?"
Harry stopped and faced him, a small grin tugging at his lips. "Oh come now Ron, you and I both know that you show up during times that I wish you wouldn't. The last thing I need whilst trying to be intimate with my wife, is for you to pop up with a superficial problem that you view as a catastrophe, which we both know happens often."
"I resent that," Ron said trying to appear offended.
"So do I," Harry said simply, and then started walking again.
"I don't always come running to you, you know," Ron tried to argue as he too started walking again.
"No, if I can't fix it you go to my parents."
"Salem Ron," Harry cut him off. "Short memory kicking in?"
"That was completely different," Ron protested.
"You left me in a shit hole with no money," Ron said trying not laugh as he thought back to their Salem adventure. "And you took my wand!"
"I had no choice," Harry defended.
"You should be thanking me for what I did," Ron said semi serious.
Harry laughed. "How do you come to that conclusion?"
"Think about it," Ron said preparing to be logical. "If I hadn't of 'messed up' as you so fondly refer to it as, you could have made a big mistake and been locked into a scandal."
"This I have to hear," Harry said desperate to know what he friend was trying to say.
"If that night, when you had brought Hermione back to our...pit...shall we say, I hadn't have transformed our room, the two of you might have ended up...you know?"
Harry smiled as Ron turned a little red, and decided to prolong his friend's embarrassment. "No, I don't know. What would we have ended up doing?"
"Er...well," Ron stuttered. "You could have...that is to say... been placed in a, you know...compromising position."
"A compromising position?"
"Yeah," Ron gave a nod. "Wouldn't have done Hermione's reputation any good that's for sure."
"Ron you're missing one important factor out here," Harry said smugly.
"Nobody knew who we were!" Harry replied emphatically. "Not even Hermione at that point."
"But if that night had gone differently, as we're both well aware that it could have, a marriage between the two of you would have been impossible," Ron said confidently. "My idiocy saved your heart from utter devastation."
Harry had to chuckle. "Well, this is getting better and better, please do go on Ron and throw me with your acumen."
"If the two of you had succumbed to temptation that night, you would have rendered our dear Hermione, tainted."
Harry saw where this was going and he wasn't too happy about it. "I'll have you know that Hermione is everything but," he said flatly.
"Well, did your parents make her have that test?" Ron asked Harry as politely as he could.
Harry stopped in his tracks and levelled a steely gaze at Ron. "What test are you referring to?"
He didn't need an answer as he knew full well what Ron was talking about; he just wanted to see if Ron had the gall to actually come out with it. The redhead was always honest with Harry, which was the main reason Harry valued him as much as he did, but sometimes Ron did get close to a line that Harry marked as boundary and this was one of those moments.
Ron cleared his throat. "Well, to make sure that Hermione's..."
"To make sure that Hermione's what Ron?" Harry asked sharply.
Ron cleared his throat. "You know...pure."
"Pure," Harry repeated with an edge clearly present in his voice. He folded his arms and stared at his best friend. "Do you really think my parents and I are the sort of people that would put a woman through a humiliating experience such as that?"
"NO!" Ron said quickly. "No of course not, I just assumed that that's what the process was when selecting a princess for the future king."
"Don't worry your tiny little mind Ron," Harry said a little more calmly. "Besides, Hermione is as pure as they come."
Ron never was one to keep his mouth shut and dug himself deeper. "How do you know that?" He flinched as he saw the look on Harry's face and immediately regretted his words as soon as they left his mouth.
"Because she said so and I believe her," Harry replied strongly. "She made it perfectly clear to me that she wanted to wait until her wedding night." Ron appeared a little confused. He was about to say something but decided against it for a change. Harry noticed and blew out a breath. "What?"
"No tell me," Harry said tirelessly.
"I just don't understand something that's all."
"Well that's not something new is it?"
"Very funny Harry."
"What is that you don't understand Ron?"
"You said that she was adamant to wait until her wedding night," Ron mused. "Yet based on what you told me in Salem, she was ready to go to bed with you that night your parents showed up. In fact you said she was virtually pleading for you to-"
"What's your point Ron?" Harry asked knowing what was being implied.
Ron looked at him for a few seconds in silence. "Nothing. Nothing at all."
Harry continued to stare at Ron impatiently. He didn't know what was bothering him the most, Ron being completely insensitive towards his future wife, or actually allowing his friend to put the seed of doubt into his own mind.
It wasn't as if it hadn't crossed his mind before, it had, especially after their little fondling escapade in her bedroom back in Salem. She appeared much more relaxed than he had been at the time, but she had put that down to being completely comfortable and in love with him, a reason that he wholly accepted.
But one thing Ron had said was bothering him, and that was because he too was curious as to why Hermione had been willing to sleep with him the night his parents had showed up. It was clear what they had both wanted that night, and if his parents hadn't have found out he was slumming it in Salem, it would probably have happened. It made him feel both happy and disappointed. Happy because after their first declaration of love to each other Hermione wanted to feel closer to him, and sad because in effect Hermione had wanted it with who she thought was 'James' at the time.
His mind went into overdrive. Why was Hermione so willing to give it up when she thought he was James?
"Harry, are you alright?" Ron asked concerned, his friend had gone slightly pale.
"Yes, of course."
"Harry, I'm really sorry," Ron apologised sincerely. "I know I put my foot in it at times but I think Hermione's an amazing person and it's obvious that she's absolutely nuts about you. You have no reason to question her and I'm sorry that I even brought it up."
"Forget it," Harry smiled weakly. He knew Ron was protective of him but it seemed that in Ron's opinion the jury was still out on Hermione, and that hurt him more than he was willing to let on. He was also ashamed that he now questioned Hermione's sincerity in terms of what she told him about her sexual past or lack of it rather, and was disgusted with himself for it.
"For what it's worth I promise not to show up on your honeymoon," Ron said weakly.
After finishing his walk with Ron, Harry entered the palace intent on finding Hermione. He knew that he was probably going to upset her with the nature of conversation that he wanted, but he couldn't let it rest. He had to clear some things up. But one thing in his mind that was being repeated at a manic rate was that nothing, absolutely nothing, would change how he felt about Hermione.
Walking through the large downstairs corridor at a steady pace, he smiled when he saw his mother approaching. The queen looked very pleased about something.
"Hello mother," he stopped to speak with her.
"Hello darling," the queen said kissing his cheek. "Did you enjoy your walk with Ron?"
"Of course," he replied carefully.
Lily narrowed her eyes. "What has that boy been filling your head with now?"
"Nothing mother," Harry fibbed.
"Harry, I love Ron, really I do. But sometimes he can hinder a situation that calls for tranquillity."
Harry smiled. "How very diplomatic of you mother."
"Harry, your wedding is in three days and we need you to focus, something that Mr. Weasley knows nothing about Merlin bless him."
"I am trying to clear a little haze mother."
"Oh," Lily said surprised. "What might be causing that?"
Harry pointed upstairs where he knew Hermione was still situated.
"Hermione?" Lily asked.
"Well I suggest you go and sort out whatever this is right now."
"I was on my way now," Harry told her. "Presuming I'm now allowed."
Lily smiled. "Top secret dress rehearsals are completed for the day; you may go seek out your fiancée."
"Well thank you mother," Harry grinned. He kissed Lily's cheek and went to go find Hermione.
Harry took a deep breath and knocked gently on Hermione's bedroom door.
"Come in," a voice came from the other side of the door.
Harry entered the room and smiled immediately at sight of his soon- to- be princess. It didn't matter the seriousness o f the discussion he was about to have with her, she always raised his spirits whenever she was in front of him. "Hi," he said softly.
"Hi," she beamed back happily. Harry closed the door and soon felt arms loop around his neck. "I missed you this morning."
"I wasn't gone long enough for you to miss me," Harry said as he hugged her tightly to him.
Hermione nuzzled his neck. "I always miss you when you're not with me.
Harry slowly pulled his head back and pecked her lips. "Did you have a good morning darling?"
"Busy," she admitted with a giggle. "What about you?"
Harry wondered how to answer. "A little strange if I'm being honest."
"Really, why's that?" Hermione asked stepping back from him.
"Well, it's just..." Harry stumbled when he saw Hermione's innocent eyes looking right into his. "Hermione, you know I trust you don't you? And that I have total confidence in whatever you tell me."
Hermione raised her eyebrows. "Well if I didn't before then I certainly do now." Harry remained quiet and she could tell he was troubled by something. She reached out and stroked a side of his face tenderly, an action that made his eyes close briefly, her touch soothing him instantly as she let fingers linger against his cheek. "You look like you want to ask me something," she said softly.
His hand reached up to cover hers. "You know me well."
"Harry, you said to me that you always wanted us to be open and honest with each other, and that's something that I agree with strongly. So whatever it is you wish to ask me, you mustn't be afraid of how I'll react. I can hardly berate you for merely communicating with me."
"I'm ashamed of what I have going through my head right now," he said truthfully.
"Well let me try and help clear it," Hermione said gently. She took his hand and led him over to a nearby sofa. They both sat down and she immediately took his hands in hers and began stroking them softly.
Harry glanced at her hands and chuckled. "Isn't it I that should be comforting you seeing as how unique your situation is?"
"Are you trying to ask me if I can handle it?"
"No," Harry shook his head. "I know that you can handle it."
"Then what is it?"
Harry mustered up his courage. "You remember in Salem? The time I tried to take you back to my apartment?"
Hermione nodded happily as she remembered it was the first time they had said 'I love you'. "Of course I do."
"Do you remember what almost happened...after that?"
"Yes," Hermione blushed. Harry stayed quiet in an attempt to encourage her to continue. "I suppose I was rather bold that night."
"It's nothing bad," Harry assured. "I just...I'm frankly just a little confused. You've been so adamant on waiting, though, that night you seemed willing to blatantly ignore your long held belief."
"I am a virgin you know?" Hermione said quietly. "I mean I'd never lie to you about something like that."
"I know, I know," Harry acknowledged quickly, he suddenly felt stupid and was determined to get Ron back for the part he played in messing with his brain. "Merlin Hermione, I don't even know where I'm going with this."
Hermione decided to go with her instinct and answer the question she thought he was trying to ask. "I was afraid that I would never get another chance, to feel the way I felt when I was with you that night."
Harry looked at her in surprise. "Sorry?"
"That's the reason I was prepared to give myself to you that night."
"Oh," Harry said feeling better. "I see."
"Though on reflection, it probably would have been a mistake," Hermione added. "I mean that's easy for me to say now that everything's out in the open, but, I'm glad your parents arrived when they did. I'm glad we waited."
Harry smiled. "Me too."
Hermione again smoothed his cheek with her hand. "Is that all?"
"Yes," Harry replied, he felt much better after their talk. "Well, almost."
Harry said nothing; he simply grinned and then captured her lips in a soft kiss.
Harry and Hermione had barely begun to countdown the days to their wedding when it sneaked up on them. It had come around so fast that any quicker and they may have missed it. Not that it was a problem. The both of them had been eagerly waiting for this day to arrive, along with countless others, and they only had one more day to get through. Everything was set. Hermione's parents had arrived a few days ago and Samantha and Mitchell a day later.
The eve of the wedding saw Hermione and Samantha hidden away in the bride-to-be's bedroom for a discussion about the pending nuptials, or as Sam would say, girl talk. Harry had invited Mitchell to join him and Ron on the prince's last night of 'freedom', but not before making the girls a solemn promise that there would be no mischief.
The two girls were lounging on the bed involved in animated chat.
"So what do you think they're doing?" Hermione asked as she sipped her wine.
"Knowing Mitchell, he's probably managed to sneak in a couple of 'Play Wizards' which means that they're probably just looking at boobs," Samantha replied.
"My Harry wouldn't be involved with anything like that," Hermione said confidently.
Samantha raised an eyebrow. "Oh 'your Harry' wouldn't do that would he? Gosh Hermione you really are in love."
"He's still a man you know?"
Hermione's eyes sparkled and her lip curled. "Yeah he's definitely all man."
Samantha rolled her eyes as she heard a blissful sigh come from her friend's mouth. "Oh my god, am I gonna have to hose ya down?"
"No," Hermione giggled. "But you have to admit he's positively dreamy."
"I have to admit?" Sam repeated in mock shock. "May I remind you that my childhood crush is marrying my best friend in the whole world, the same best friend who grew up with nothing but distaste for the man in question?"
"Well," Hermione stated shyly. "That was before I got to know him."
"Before he sunk his teeth into you, you mean?"
The wine was going to Hermione's head and she couldn't help but smile at her friends questioning, it wasn't anything that she hadn't expected. Samantha had always been a little rude and Hermione wouldn't want that to change, it was what made Sam who she was. The difference in this situation was that the wine was making Hermione answer questions she usually would have just laughed off. Her life was going to change irrevocably tomorrow, so there was no reason why she shouldn't have a little fun on the eve of her wedding. She was sure that the guys were being just as bold.
"I don't know what you're implying?" Hermione replied coyly.
"Oh I think you do," Sam said wiggling her brows. "And if he hasn't already, then he certainly will tomorrow night."
Hermione went fuzzy at the thought of her wedding night. "Yeah."
"That reminds me," Sam said sitting up straight. "What have you got planned?"
"Yeah, you know for the 'big' night?"
"I was thinking about acting on impulse," Hermione answered shyly.
"Impulse is probably the best way to go," Sam said in true guru fashion. "I mean it is the first time for both of you right?"
"Nothing's changed since the last time we spoke Sam," Hermione told her. Seeing as how they were best friends Hermione told Sam everything, as well as the most personal of details of her life.
"Tempted?" Sam asked cheekily.
"Every second of my day," Hermione giggled.
Hermione looked thoughtful for a moment. "Do you think I should like…wear something for him?"
"You mean like a negligee?"
"No a quidditch uniform," Hermione said sarcastically.
"You never know, he might be into that," Sam joked.
"Ok, fine. Do you think that's a good idea though?"
"What, you don't?"
"No it's not that," Sam said quickly. "Just thinking with it being your first time an all, it may be a bit too much for him."
"I may regret asking this," Hermione said slowly. "But why do you think that?"
"Well it's just that he probably won't have much control as it is," Sam tried to explain. "If he sees you in a flimsy number leaving little to the imagination, then he might come in his pants before he gets the chance to-"
Hermione held up a hand to cut her friend off. "Ok, ok, I get it. Thank you."
Samantha laughed. "Hermione he's not gonna be fussed either way."
"You really think so?"
"I know so," Sam told her. "And so do you."
"Yeah, you're right," Hermione said brightly. "Besides, I don't really see the point in wearing something that he's only gonna take off anyway."
"Exactly," Sam said raising her glass. "Negligee's are to inspire some excitement and to turn people on. Neither of you are going to need that, trust me."
"Wait a minute. You said to me once that they make you feel sexy too."
"They do," Sam said. "But you're not gonna need that either. Hermione, I've seen the way you two look at each other, you have enough fire and passion within the both of you for one night. Stop putting pressure on yourself."
"I just want it to be perfect."
"It will be," Sam assured her. "You're in love. That's the key."
Harry, Ron and Mitchell were in Harry's private study drinking brandy and talking about the girls.
"So what do you think they're talking about?" Ron asked.
"I'll go double or nothing, that they're talking about you," Mitchell said pointing at Harry.
"You think so?" Harry asked innocently.
"Oh of course they are," Ron said drunkenly. "Don't act so shocked."
"Am I really that exciting?" Harry asked earnestly.
"To Hermione you are," Mitchell replied with a grin. "And Sam now that I come to think of it."
"I can't believe that the best friend of the woman you're marrying, use to sleep with a poster of you over her bed," Ron chuckled.
Harry narrowed his eyes at Ron and nodded his head towards Mitchell. Harry didn't think it was appropriate for his friend to be discussing Sam's crush on him in front of her boyfriend. When Ron tried to apologise, Mitchell simply laughed it off.
"Don't worry about it," Mitchell smiled. "Samantha would never do anything to jeopardise her friendship with Hermione, besides, it was just a silly schoolgirl crush anyway. Her words not mine."
"Arrr, that's a shame," Ron commented funnily. "How does it feel to know that you've lost your number one fan, Harry?"
"I wouldn't know," Harry replied smugly. "I'm marrying her tomorrow."
"Oh someone pass the puke bucket," Ron said rolling his eyes.
"Leave him alone," Mitchell said playfully. "He's in love."
"As are you," Harry aimed at Mitchell.
Mitchell sucked in a breath. "I didn't say anything."
"It's obvious," Harry said.
"How's that?" Mitchell asked intrigued.
Ron patted his shoulder. "Because you sound just as pathetic as me and my boy
Harry smiled. "Where is Luna anyway? Still in Malaysia is she?"
Ron nodded. "Yep, she's still there. But she said not to worry she wouldn't miss your wedding for the world. I can't believe she still hasn't met Hermione."
"Luna's your, other half?" Mitchell asked.
Harry beat Ron to the reply. "His 'better' half."
Ron pulled a face. "Ha, ha."
"So what is she doing in Malaysia?" Mitchell asked interested.
"Collecting shells," Ron replied simply, before bursting into laughter.
"Collecting shells?" Mitch repeated utterly confused.
"I'd love to talk about it more," Ron said with a smile. "But then we'd have to talk about Luna."
"Luna is a lovely lady," Harry told Mitchell. "She's rather…interesting."
"Interesting?" Mitch raised a brow.
"He means weird," Ron said to be clear.
"That's not a very nice thing to say," Harry told Ron.
"Why not it's true?" Ron added. "But I'm cool with it."
"Just like she's cool with you being insensitive," Harry added.
"Right," Ron confirmed.
"So are you nervous about tomorrow, Harry?" Mitch asked.
"You know it's funny. A couple of weeks ago I was as nervous as hell, but now, I can't wait. It's a good kind of nerves."
"It's come around really fast," Ron said.
"Yes," Harry agreed. "Yes it has."
Harry's parents were getting ready for bed. It was clear that both the king and queen were overjoyed that their young prince was going to become a man tomorrow.
"Time passes so fast," Lily said as she crawled under the covers. "I can't believe that my baby is finally getting married."
"Finally?" James chuckled. "Lily you make it sound as though he's in his forties and has only just found the love of his life."
"Well I don't expect you to understand," Lily said as she patted the duvet.
"Dear, please don't go into the whole mother and son thing again."
"Well I'm sorry, but I just happen to be a little emotional right now, and it wouldn't hurt for you to be either."
"Lily, I'm not as much emotional as I am fiercely proud of our son."
Lily smiled. "He's handled the whole situation admirably as he not."
James nodded. "Indeed he has. I only wish I'd had more faith in him before."
"You were over protective of him love, as was I."
James climbed into bed beside her. "She'll look after him Lily, I'm sure of it."
"Me too," Lily smiled as she thought of Hermione. She was overjoyed that her son had found such an endearing young lady.
"We should get some rest," James said as he reached for the lamp beside him. "We have a big day ahead of us."
"Yes we do."
Hermione's parents were still in awe of their guestroom. Mrs. Granger had finally gotten into bed whilst Mr. Granger was still looking around the room for anything that might be of interest.
"John, are you planning to come to bed sometime soon?"
John Granger had his head behind a curtain. "Susan, our Hermione sure did hit the jackpot," he said ignoring his wife's question.
"Would you please try to show a little decorum?"
"Oh relax, no one can hear us."
"How do you know?" Susan asked with a smirk. "The room might be bugged."
John's head shot in to view. "Don't be ridiculous. They wouldn't do that," he said not sounding convinced. "Would they?"
Susan pulled back the duvet covers. "John, come to bed."
Mr. Granger finally did as he was told and got into bed. "I'm just saying that I'm glad Hermione will be taken care of."
"I know dear," Susan said as she made herself comfortable. "You've been saying it ever since you found out her fiancé was the prince."
"And by the sound of your voice, you think there is something wrong with that."
"No," Susan said firmly. "I just wish that you would give Hermione more credit for what she's achieved in her life at such a young age."
"Look, I know that Hermione's bright-"
"Much brighter than you and I were at her age," Susan added.
"But she doesn't need to be now so it's irrelevant."
"It certainly is not!" Susan said sharply. "Hermione wants to be so it certainly is relevant. And I am fully behind her decision to become a teacher, a career that her future husband also supports. You'd do well to remember that."
Susan glared at him then turned on her side leaving her husband with his thoughts.
The big day had finally arrived and to say that Hermione had butterflies would be an understatement. She had just put on the beautiful white wedding gown that she was to become a princess in and was now looking into the full length mirror in front of her. Her mother and the queen were at either side of her, tears starting to form.
"I do believe you will render him speechless my dear," Lily said, referring to her son's probable reaction. "You truly are a princess, Hermione."
"She surely is," Susan Granger agreed happily.
"What do you think mother?" Hermione asked.
Susan put both hands on her daughter's shoulders. "I think you look stunning darling."
Samantha entered the room and stopped in her tracks when she saw her friend. She put a hand to her chest and shook her head in wonder. "Oh Hermione, it's just…perfect."
"Really?" Hermione smiled widely.
"You're going to knock him off his feet," Sam said as she approached her.
"Have you seen him?" Hermione asked shyly.
"Yep," Sam nodded.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "And?"
Sam giggled. "He's just as wound up to see you as you are to see him. Happy now?"
"Yes," Hermione grinned.
"I must say he's looking mighty fine," Sam winked.
"Samantha!" Hermione scolded.
Sam forgot that the queen was in the room and turned serious. "Apologies your Majesty."
"Trifles," Lily chuckled. "I was your age once you know?" Hermione blushed whilst Sam just smirked in approval. "Now, I think I'll go see what my husband is up to."
Lily slowly started to leave the room, but not before sending a wink towards Hermione. "Ladies."
After she left Sam nudged Hermione. "She's gonna be like the best mother-in-law…ever."
"Will you stop stressing out?"
Harry was struggling with his dress robes in front of the mirror. No matter what he did he just couldn't get them to lie straight on his body. His red headed friend, however, was sure that it was all in his head.
"They're straight Harry," Ron said firmly. "Will you just relax."
"I want to look my best," Harry said defensively.
"Problems?" a voice was heard from the doorway.
Harry looked at his father and pushed Ron aside. "Father, you're always honest with me. Do my robes look straight?"
James chuckled and approached his son. "Ron, may I have a moment alone with Harry here?"
"He's all yours," Ron said happy to escape.
The king watched Ron leave then returned his attentions to his son. "Feeling a little nervous?"
Harry shrugged. "I want to look my best for her."
"You will," James assured him. "You know, you remind me of myself on my wedding day."
"You do," James said straitening his son's robes. "Everything that you are feeling is perfectly normal. But in regards to how you look, I'm afraid that wedding attire is the one pissing contest that women win hands down."
Harry chuckled; his father rarely used such language. "Don't let mother hear you talk like that."
"You think I'm afraid of your mother?" James asked.
"I know you are."
James laughed. "She's my wife Harry, what do you expect?"
On the other side of the palace, Hermione's father had just seen his daughter in her wedding dress.
"You look incredible," Mr. Granger said sincerely.
Hermione rarely heard her father compliment people. "Thank you daddy."
Mrs. Granger saw that this was a potential moment between father and daughter, and asked Sam if she'd like some air. Samantha took the hint and both of them left leaving Hermione alone with her dad.
"So," John said.
"So," Hermione repeated.
There was silence for a while as both thought of something to say.
"I've given you little credit over the years," John stated softly. "Have I not?"
"You've never given me any," Hermione said quietly. "Except for when I told you who I was marrying."
"Is it too late for an apology?"
"I like to think it's never too late for anything," Hermione replied.
John smiled. "You know when I first held you in my arms, minutes after you were born, I was sure you were going to break."
Hermione looked at him surprised. "Really?"
John took a step closer to his daughter. "You were so small and…delicate, that I was scared the slightest thing in this world would hurt you. So from the second you wrapped your tiny hand around my finger for the very first time, I wrapped you in cotton wool, figuratively speaking, and made a promise to myself that you would never want for anything for as long as I drew breath."
"You wanted my life to be easy," Hermione commented.
"And what did you think was going to happen when I got out into the cruel, unforgiving world?"
John grinned. "I thought that you were going to marry a prince, naturally."
Hermione giggled at the irony of his reply. Today was a not a day to berate her father for his shortcomings as a father, she was just happy to be finally sharing a joke with him. Her father loved her that much she knew; he just had a way about him that maybe she would never be able to understand. Every parent was different, and maybe if her father had had a privileged life growing up he would have expected more from her, like Samantha's parents expected from their daughter.
John kissed his daughter's forehead. "I'm very, very, proud of you. I'm sorry that I've never let you know just how much."
They were words that she could only dream would one day come out of her father's mouth, and now that they had, Hermione felt like she could finally get over all the years of her father seemingly putting her down. She had never 'needed' her father's approval, but boy did she want it, and now she had it.
"So any last words of wisdom?" Harry asked his father.
James grinned. "Yes. Women are always right," he said, causing Harry to laugh.
"Yes they are," spoke a third voice.
James and Harry saw Lily enter the room.
James cleared his throat. "I was only joking, my dear."
"No you weren't," Lily retorted as she approached her son. "Are you ready darling?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," Harry answered confidently. "Have you seen her?"
Lily smiled. "Yes."
"And?" James prompted.
"She's still insisting on meeting you at the altar," Lily replied smugly.
Harry closed his eyes. "Mother?"
"You'd better not be late," she told him before kissing his cheek. She took a deep breath and put a hand on her heart. "To think that the next time we speak, you'll be a married man. My, my."
James looked at his son with pride in his eyes. "Your mother and I are very proud of you son."
"Thank you father," Harry said shyly. "Well, do I look ready?"
James and Lily glanced at each other and smiled.
"Indeed you do," the king replied.
Harry stood at the altar which had been magically conjured at the top of the palace hall with Ron by his side. He was waiting patiently for Hermione in front of 1000 guests which he was glad he had his back to. There were a few familiar faces but most of the crowd was made up with Wizarding royals from around the world and other high standing peers. The rest were members of the public, whom James and Lily said had just as much right to witness the marriage of the prince and their future princess as anyone else. The king and queen had not long sat in their thrones, which were behind the altar on a slightly higher level in order to be in view. They were smiling happily and giving the occasional wave to the guests before them, clearly excited.
"Why is she late?"
"Relax Harry, there's still ten minutes to go," Ron told him. "Which means I have time to give you your wedding present."
Harry looked at him strangely. "Maybe later would be a better time."
"Chill Harry, it's nothing big," Ron said rummaging through his pockets.
"Why am I not surprised?" Harry smirked.
"Funny," Ron said not amused. He finally pulled out two miniature glass vials, containing one blue potion and one pink. He handed them to Harry, who was clearly intrigued with his friend's gift. "Blue one's for you, pink one is for Hermione."
Harry looked down at the vials in his hand and read the label on the bottle containing the blue potion. It read: Wizagra. "What in Merlin's name is this?"
Ron looked around to make sure no one was ear wigging. "It enhances performance," he winked.
Harry chuckled. "Ron, I hardly think I'm going to play quidditch on my honeymoon."
"No, no, no," Ron shook his head. "Not that kind of performance."
"Well what then?"
Ron tutted. "You know…performance."
"Ron I-" Harry stopped when it finally dawned on him what his friend was trying to tell him. Wizagra was a sexual arousal enhancement, the Wizarding version of the muggle medication Viagra. He glanced at his parents and was happy to see that his mother was busy chatting to someone, but his father was looking over to him and Ron with narrowed eyes. He glared at his best man. "Have you completely lost your mind?"
"What?" Ron tried to ask innocently.
"Giving me this as a wedding gift," Harry whispered fiercely. "Dare I ask what Hermione's does?"
"Oh pipe down," Ron smiled; he thought the whole thing was funny. "Hermione's is a simple anti-pregnancy potion. That's assuming that you're not ready for little prince and princesses to be running around just yet."
"You didn't think Hermione and I could deal with that by ourselves?"
"Of course you can," Ron replied. "You're missing the point."
"This way you get to be more spontaneous," Ron said logically. "Having to pull your wand out, you know the one made of real wood, at that precise moment could kill the mood. Don't you think?"
Before the groom could throttle his best man the king approached, leaving Harry no other option but to stuff the two vials into his robes.
"Everything alright here," James asked with a grin.
"Yes Sir," Harry and Ron replied simultaneously.
"Say Harry," James said still grinning. "What was that you just put in you robes?
"Nothing," Harry fibbed.
James reached inside Harry's robe pocket and pulled out two glass vials, he read the labels and shook his head. "Who wants to go first?"
"They were a gift sir," Harry told his father.
James looked at Ron accusingly. "Did you get this from my stash?" he asked referring to the Wizagra.
Ron's eyes widened. "No Sir," he replied quickly.
"I do enjoy winding the two of you up," James admitted.
Harry watched in shock as James slowly began to laugh, he was even more perplexed when his father returned the vials to the pocket inside his robes, and then walked away to rejoin his wife.
Both Harry and Ron were left with their mouths hanging open.
"So he takes it too," Ron said in wonder.
"So it would seem," Harry said quietly. "Eww."
Remus Lupin, who was ordained for this marriage especially, took his place at the altar. Trumpets sounded pulling Harry out of his thoughts, and everyone behind him got to their feet. He turned around and saw Samantha slowly walking down the isle, blocking his view of the person he was so eager to get his eyes on.
It only took a few seconds, thank god, before he finally got a glimpse of his fiancée. She was still a fair distance away from him, an almost transparent veil covering her face, but he could already feel the happiness inside him begin to double. She graciously got closer and closer to him as she held onto her fathers arm, and it wasn't long before she finally reached him. Harry smiled as he watched Mr. Granger remove his daughters arm and place it onto his own.
Hermione looked breathtaking. His heart had momentarily stopped for a second he was sure, when he got his first glimpse of her in that dress up close.
The trumpets finally stopped as Hermione reached the top of the hall, and the guests sat back down.
Harry could see Hermione's beautiful face beyond her veil, and leaned in close to her. "You look beautiful," he whispered tenderly.
"Thank you," she almost squeaked. "You look very handsome."
"I grew the stubble just for you," he joked softly, waggling his chin.
Hermione giggled a little, she knew he was trying to make her feel less nervous. He covered her arm with his hand and led her the last few feet to the altar.
Remus smiled. "Are you ready for this?"
Harry and Hermione simply glanced at one another then nodded.
With that Remus began. "Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all; and therefore, is not by any, to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. Therefore, I ask if there be any person that can show just cause why they may not be joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace."
Ron comically looked around behind him and then when he was sure the case was clear, gave Remus the thumbs up to continue.
"Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind. It is intended for their mutual joy and for the help and comfort given on another in prosperity and adversity. But more importantly, it is a means through which a stable and loving environment may be attained." Remus smiled and then looked at John Granger. "Who here gives this woman in marriage to this man?"
"Her mother and I do," Mr. Granger replied. He then went to sit down beside his wife.
Remus then focused on the couple in front of him. "By gathering together all the wishes of happiness and our fondest hopes for Prince Harry and Hermione from all present here, we assure them that our hearts are in tune with theirs. Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between two people. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between them. It is the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of magical life. It is a moral commitment that requires and deserves daily attention, and it should be a life long consecration of the ideal of loving kindness, backed with the will to make it last."
Remus's eyes fell upon Harry. "Harry will you repeat after me?" Harry gave a nod. "I, Prince Harry James Potter, take you Hermione Jane Granger, to be my lawfully wedded wife."
The prince looked at his fiancée, his eyes boring into hers as much as the veil would allow. "I, Prince Harry James Potter, take you Hermione Jane Granger, to be my lawfully wedded wife," he repeated.
Remus continued. "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."
Harry smiled. "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."
Remus smiled and then looked at Hermione. "Hermione will you repeat after me?" Hermione gave a nod but her eyes didn't leave Harry's. "I, Hermione Jane Granger, take you Prince Harry James Potter, to be my lawfully wedded husband."
"I, Hermione Jane Granger, take you Prince Harry James Potter, to be my lawfully wedded husband," Hermione repeated.
"To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."
As Hermione repeated the vow, James leaned in towards Lily without turning to face her. "I thought the vow was to love, cherish and obey?" he whispered.
"Hermione suggested removing that particular vow," Lily whispered back. "She said she didn't want her wedding vow to be a lie.
"Smart girl," James grinned. "Reminds me a lot of the girl I married."
Lily simply smiled at her husband, before looking back at the couple in front of them.
Remus looked at Harry. "Do you Prince Harry James Potter, take Hermione Jane Granger to be your wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?"
Harry smiled at Hermione lovingly. "I do."
Remus looked at Hermione. "Do you Hermione Jane Granger, take Prince Harry James Potter, to be your husband? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?"
"I do," she said softly.
"What token of your love do you offer?" Remus asked.
Ron stepped forward with two rings in his hand, and then placed the two gold bands into Remus's hands. Samantha then stepped forward and placed a golden ribbon over Remus's arm.
"May these rings be blessed as the symbol of this unity," Remus said. "These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go, may they always return to one another." Harry reached for the smaller ring and gently eased it onto Hermione's third finger. Hermione then took the bigger band and eased it onto Harry's.
Remus joined their hands together and then tied them in the yellow ribbon. He placed one hand on top of theirs, and pointed his wand towards the silk. "What has been joined together here let no one divide." A bright light shot from the wand and caused stars to arise at a rapid pace. The ribbon started to swish and eventually floated upwards like a balloon.
Some 'oohs' and 'arrs' could be heard as Remus looked between Harry and Hermione. "With the power invested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride Harry."
Harry smiled widely and lifted the veil to reveal Hermione's face. He cupped her cheek and leaned in slowly, before he finally captured her lips. The kiss was slow and sweet, and the rapturous applause heard around the hall was evidence enough that it was satisfactory. Harry pulled back, he was slightly embarrassed having to do that in front of all those people, but the minute his lips touched his wife's, he'd forgotten where he was. His wife. That sure sounded good.
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you," she said back, happy tears visible in her eyes.
Harry held out his arm. "Shall we?"
As Harry and Hermione slowly walked back down the isle, Ron Weasley had only one thing on his mind.
It was party time.
The reception was in full swing and Harry and Hermione did their best to speak with as many guests as possible, though, it was turning out to be quite tiring. Well, that wasn't entirely true. Harry didn't think it was tiring per se, he just had better ideas of how to spend the time he and Hermione were using conversing with guests. Ideas some may say a prince shouldn't be thinking about.
Harry felt immensely proud of Hermione as he watched her handle the barrage of questions she received like a true pro, the main question being, how on earth are you dealing with all of this dear? Hermione simply replied that she could get through anything as long as Harry was by her side. His wife's words echoed those spoke by him many times previously, he too agreeing that there was nothing that they couldn't get through as long as they were together.
His wife. Every time he said the word in his head he felt tingly, and Harry felt a sudden urge to try and convince Hermione to disappear with him that very minute.
After exchanging pleasantries with yet another guest, Harry squeezed the soft hand that was securely wrapped inside his. "I've had about as much as I can take of this," he whispered into her ear.
Hermione shook her head slightly and smiled. "You shouldn't say such things."
"Why not?" he grinned.
"Because we have a duty to our guests," she replied trying to be serious. She failed.
Harry raised his eyebrows. "Already sounding like a true princess."
"Well isn't that what you hired me for?" she joked.
Harry gave her hand another gentle squeeze, and then started to lead her towards the top of the palace hall where both James and Lily were seated.
Lily's eyes brightened as her son and daughter-in-law approached them. "How are things going my dears?"
Harry pouted comically earning a gentle nudge from Hermione. "It's not that bad Harry."
"I can't bear to hear anymore compliments," Harry said tiredly.
"Oh that's just crazy," James said clearly thinking his son was mad. "What's not to like?"
Lily rolled her eyes. "You'll have to excuse your father Harry; he rarely gets any these days."
"Compliments that is," James winked before swigging back some Ogden's firewhiskey.
"James!" Lily scolded; her husband was on his way to getting drunk.
Hermione stifled a laugh whilst Harry looked at his father in slight disgust. Before his father could make any more rude innuendos, Harry looked relieved to see a servant come over to them.
"Excuse my interruption your Majesties," the middle aged man said.
"What can we do for you Phillip?" Lily smiled.
The servant looked at Hermione and bowed happily. "Your highness, I'm afraid I was unable to find Miss Driscoll and her guest as you requested. Would you care for me to search the gardens?"
Hermione looked at Harry waiting for him to reply only he didn't, he simply gazed into her eyes silently. She then glanced at James and Lily who also said nothing but were looking at her. Hermione was feeling a tad confused, why wasn't anybody answering the poor man? Finally, she looked back at Phillip who was still waiting patiently, but he too was regarding her expectantly. It was becoming abundantly clear that they were all expecting her to answer.
"Darling," Harry said gently. "Phillip asked if you wanted him to go and look for Samantha."
"I'm sorry, were you talking to me?" Hermione asked Phillip in soft surprise.
"Yes, your highness," Phillip smiled.
Then it clicked.
Hermione didn't think anything of it to begin with, but as soon as she heard the words 'your highness' she automatically assumed Phillip was talking to Harry, only that wasn't the case. Hermione put a hand to her chest as it finally sunk in that she was indeed a princess, which meant that she had a royal title to go along with it. "I'm so sorry, please forgive me," she said softly, the last thing Hermione wanted was for Phillip to think she was ignoring him.
Phillip wasn't stupid and neither were the other three royals, it was obvious what had just happened was a simple misunderstanding. "Think nothing of it, your highness," he said kindly.
James chuckled and took another gulp of whiskey. "That was rather amusing."
Lily nodded and looked at Hermione. "It does take some getting use to my dear."
Harry put a comforting arm around his wife; she seemed a little embarrassed with her slip. "So, do you want Phillip to go track down Samantha?"
"No, that won't be necessary," Hermione told Phillip nicely. "You must be extremely busy. I'll find her eventually."
Phillip smiled widely in appreciation at her thoughtful comment, and then bowed before leaving the royals alone. When he was gone Harry hugged Hermione to him gently. "The staff are already so taken with you, do you realise that?"
Hermione blushed at his words.
"With good reason," Lily raised her glass of champagne. "First day on the job and she's doing wonderful."
"Here, here," James raised his glass.
Harry laughed at his parents really happy they were having a good time. He glanced down and saw Hermione looking thoughtful. "What is it?"
Hermione tried her best scan the hall. "Samantha has been gone for a while."
"She'll be around here somewhere," Harry said reassuringly. "Big place you know?"
"Hmm," Hermione hummed, she had a feeling Samantha was up to no good. It had been almost three hours since the wedding finished and her best friend had disappeared along with Mitch almost an hour ago.
"Do you want to go look for them?" Harry asked her. "I'll come with you?"
Before Hermione could answer James intervened. "No need." Harry and Hermione watched as the king removed what looked to be a map from his robes.
"Oh not that bloody thing," Lily commented disapprovingly. "I've asked you time and time again to get rid of it."
"Not a chance," James grinned.
"Father, what it is that?" Harry asked intrigued.
James opened up the parchment. "Harry, do you remember that map in Hogwarts? The one Remus and I use to use in school?"
"The Marauders map?" Harry asked remembering only too well.
"Well this is more a less the same thing," James said. "Remus and I came up with it some years ago."
"Ignoring all laws of privacy," Lily almost huffed.
James smiled at his wife. "It's my castle and I'll have a map of it if I want to." Lily turned away and carried on drinking her champagne.
"What's it supposed to do?" Hermione asked curiously.
"It's a drawing of the entire Gryffindor palace and grounds," James replied excitedly. "It shows the location of people that you wish to find."
"Which is just what we need," Hermione said as she peered over the parchment, but her face soon scrunched up in confusion. She was baffled to see that it was completely blank. "I don't understand. How can this help us?"
Harry and James grinned whilst Lily watched reluctantly. "Watch this," Harry whispered to her.
James took out his wand and swished it over the parchment. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
Hermione watched in amazement as the blank parchment began turning into a drawing of the palace. Her eyes scanned the map and they finally came to settle on two tiny pink dots which each bared a name, Samantha Driscoll and Mitchell Thomas.
Harry looked at his father quizzically. "I thought the dots were supposed be blue?"
"They are, only Remus and I decided to make this one a little more interesting," James told his son. "Not only does this map pick up the names, it picks up their body heat as well. It can also tell us whether someone is under the effects of polyjuice potion too."
"Nice one," Harry said in admiration for both his father and Remus.
Lily looked closer at the drawing. "Why are those dots getting redder?"
James, Harry and Hermione all took a closer look, and funnily enough the pink dots were getting redder just like the queen had said. Moments later and they were practically glowing.
James caught on pretty quick as did Harry, smirks etching onto their faces within seconds.
Lily was the next to catch on causing her to gasp quietly. "Oh my," she grinned.
Hermione, still the brightest witch of her age, would forever put down the pressures of the day as the reason for her to be the last to catch on. Her eyes eventually widened as she looked at Harry and her in-laws, all of whom were biting their lips in an attempt not to burst out laughing.
"I'll kill her," she said flatly.
After sneaking off to her room not long after the ceremony, and having a quickie up against the door, Samantha and Mitchell were sitting with their backs against the wall feeling completely spent.
"That's something for you to cross off of your 'do before I die' list," Mitchell said still breathing heavily.
"That was a pretty good shag," she commented, her own breathing still trying to regulate.
Mitchell let his head fall against the back of the wall. "You're telling me."
"We should really think about getting back," Sam said thoughtfully. "Hermione will wonder where we are."
Mitchell chuckled and turned his head to face her. "What, with all those people downstairs?" he asked moving closer to her. "I don't think so."
Sam giggled as his lips fused against hers. They were about to go for round two when a thunderous knock made them jump apart quickly.
Sam got to her feet and started straightening her clothes. "What the-"
"Samantha, I know you're in there!" Hermione's voice came from the other side of the door, her voice didn't sound happy at all.
"Shit," Mitchell cursed as he stood to pull up his trousers.
"Open the door!" Hermione said from the other side.
"Just a second," Sam countered as Mitch tucked himself in. When they both looked presentable, Sam opened the door and was nearly knocked over as Hermione barged past her.
"How could you?" Hermione asked in shock.
Sam tried her best to keep a straight face, something that was proving very hard to do when she saw Harry standing behind his new wife, desperately trying to do the same. "What?" she asked innocently.
"What?" Hermione repeated annoyed. "Are you going to deny it?"
Sam rolled her eyes. "Hermione, we came up for shag, it's no big deal."
Hermione looked like she was about to strangle her. "No big deal? This is the Gryffindor palace for fucks sake. You can't just go around shagging wherever you want!" Harry could hold it in no longer and had to laugh, causing Hermione to glare at him. "This is not funny."
"I'm sorry darling," Harry said walking over to her. "But, it really is. Come on Hermione, even my parents found it amusing."
"See, even Harry's parent- wait what?" Sam looked horrified.
"Harry's parents," Hermione said firmly, glad that Sam finally showed some shame. "They knew what you were doing."
Mitchell went rigid. "They knew that we were…"
"Up here shagging?" Hermione finished for him. "Yes, yes they did."
Sam narrowed her eyes and glared at Mitchell. "Well this is all your fault."
"What?" Mitchell asked in astonishment. "My fault? You're the one who couldn't keep your hands off me."
"Yeah right!" Sam said pointing her finger at him. "You're the one who kept putting your -"
"I don't care whose fault it was!" Hermione cut them off sharply. "All I know it that I want the two of you downstairs this instant!"
Sam and Mitchell suddenly looked like a couple of naughty school children that had just been given detention by their teacher. They did as they were told and started to leave the room, but not before Samantha stopped and sent Harry a cheeky grin. "She's going to be a wonderful mother someday."
Hermione had overhead her friend. "Samantha, out now!"
The blonde just laughed and left Harry alone with his wife. He saw Hermione start taking some calming breaths and then went over to put his arm around her.
"She's right you know?" he smiled.
"What?" she asked calming down.
"You're going to be a wonderful mother someday."
Hermione sighed. "Be serious."
"I am being serious," he said still smiling.
"I can't believe they did this," Hermione said referring to her friends.
"Hermione relax, they were just having a bit of fun."
"But there is a time and a place, Harry," Hermione argued. "To do that in your parents house is completely disrespectful."
Harry stroked her face. "You know, I really hope you didn't mean it."
"When you said 'you can't go around shagging wherever you want'," Harry replied wiggling his eyebrows. "Because I'm sure there are going to be times in the future when I'm so desperate to have you that I won't be able to wait."
"They're in love Hermione," Harry cut her off gently. "Take it on easy on them. They'd never do anything intentionally to make you think badly of them."
Hermione did start to feel a bit guilty at his words. It could be that she turned out to be a bit of a hypocrite in the end after scolding her friends the way she had. Harry had made her see that it could just as easily be them sneaking off for a shag anywhere they could in the future, because of how more intense their feelings were going to become once they began their physical relationship. Her whole body warmed at the thought. They were now married meaning that their relationship was ready for the next step.
"I can't wait for tonight," she said shyly.
"Mmm," Harry closed his eyes briefly and grinned. "Neither can I." He leant his forehead against hers. "We should get back too, otherwise people are going to be wondering what we're up to."
Hermione knew then why Sam and Mitch needed to get away, because right now all she wanted to do was be alone with her husband.
Harry and Hermione returned to the palace hall before anyone could notice their absence. Hermione had agreed not to make Sam and Mitch suffer any further, and was happily engaged in conversation with them along with Ron and Luna.
"Well I must say the ceremony was lovely," Luna commented. "Hermione, you look an angel."
Hermione smiled at the compliment, she didn't Luna all that well after only meeting her today, but was starting to like her already. "Thank you, it's very nice of you to say."
"Well, not long now and you'll be off on your honeymoon," Ron said making Harry's eyes narrow. "Going anywhere nice?"
Hermione shook her head and gave Harry a playful nudge. "Don't bother Ron, he wont even tell me."
Harry just grinned at his friend. "Nice try."
"Git," Ron snorted.
"What's with all the secrecy?" Mitch asked.
Harry shrugged. "I guess I'm just desperate to make sure that there isn't any unnecessary interruption that's all."
Luna glanced at Ron knowing full well it was aimed at him. "Don't worry Harry I'll keep him on a leash."
"Phew," Harry wiped his forehead.
Ron was about to retort when a loud voice interrupted their conversation.
"Ladies and Gentleman." Everybody looked to the front of the hall and saw Remus trying to get everyone's attention. "I now kindly ask that the floor be cleared, as we invite his Royal Highness Prince Harry, and her Royal Highness Princess Hermione, to share their first dance together as husband and wife."
The floor cleared quickly and Harry held out his arm to Hermione. "Milady."
His wife smiled and took his arm as he led her to the centre of the palace hall in front of all their guests. She put a hand on his shoulder as he put one her back, and slowly leaned into him. Harry gently took her other hand in his, kissed it softly, and then rested it against his chest. When the music started they slowly began to move.
"We've never done this before," Harry whispered into her ear.
"No we haven't," she said closing her eyes. "I like it."
"You're a very good dancer Miss Gra-" Harry stopped suddenly and saw Hermione gazing at him. "Mrs. Potter," he corrected.
Hermione pecked his lips and leant her head against his chest, the feelings of love she had for her husband in that moment slowly beginning to overwhelm her.
Hermione's parents watched closely as she continued to dance with her prince.
"She's happy isn't she, Susan?" Mr. Granger said as more of a statement than a question.
"She sure is, John" his wife confirmed blissfully. She watched her daughter exchange little comments with Harry and smiled even wider when her son-in-law kissed her daughter gently.
"He's good for her," John said.
"And she's good for him," Susan added.
No matter how different their backgrounds, everyone in the palace could see that Harry and Hermione were made for each other.
Harry didn't care how many eyes were on him, he felt like he and Hermione were the only two people in the world at that moment. "So now that we're dancing, well, you know what that means."
"No," Hermione said coyly.
"Well, it means that afterwards we can…disappear."
"Where are we disappearing to?"
"Somewhere hot by the sea," he replied not giving anything away. "Somewhere with palm trees, a white sandy beach and not a soul to bother us."
"Planning on staying in a lot then?" she asked playfully.
"We'll see," he replied with a grin.
"So why take me somewhere with amazing surroundings if I'm not going to see any of them, hmm?
"I'm not saying anything else," Harry told her. "I want at least some of it to be a surprise. The one thing I can tell you is that there will be plenty of opportunities for nakedness."
"That sounds good," Hermione sighed blissfully. "I can't wait to disappear with you."
Harry swallowed hard as he asked her something that he'd been thinking about for a while. "Are you nervous?"
Hermione was quiet for a moment as they continued to dance; she knew exactly what he was referring to. "A little."
"So am I," he told her truthfully. "But I can't wait."
His wife grinned. "Neither can I."
They danced around in silence for a while before Harry spoke again. "You make me very happy Hermione," he said lightly kissing her forehead. "I love you so much."
"I love you too," she said with happy tears in her eyes.
They leaned into one another even closer, and neither of them said anything for the remainder of their dance.
After saying goodbye to their guests, friends and families, Harry and Hermione finally disappeared. Harry had managed to keep the destination secret from Hermione until they had arrived, and when they finally did his surprise didn't disappoint, Hermione would swear that she had never seen anything as beautiful as the scene she was currently looking at.
It was paradise.
She was standing on a white sandy beach with palm trees behind her, the sound of waves gently crashing against the shore, as she looked out at the huge cabin on wooden stilts which was about twenty metres out at sea. The place was completely remote and there wasn't another soul in sight.
"Come on." Harry took her hand and encouraged her to follow him down the wooden path that was also held up by stilts rooted in the seabed, and which led all the way to the cabin.
Upon getting closer, Hermione immediately noticed that the cabin was more like a tent than anything else. It had no door or windows, just high pillars in each corner holding up the cabin, a view of the sea from every angle. There were also white hangings all the way around the room up above; presumably released should it get chilly. There was an oversized sofa for lounging, a table and chairs for two, and there in the middle of it all was the biggest bed Hermione had ever seen.
"Wow," was all Hermione could say.
"I did good?" Harry asked looking very pleased with himself.
Hermione nodded in sheer wonder. "Yes. Yes you did very good."
"There's more," he said, leading her to other side of the cabin. He led her out onto the balcony and pointed to a small cubicle that was in the corner. Together they went over and stepped inside, and Hermione came face to face with a huge, white marble bathroom. Inside the room was a toilet and a two sinks, but no shower or bath. "Isn't magic grand?" he asked playfully.
"I concur," Hermione giggled. "But Harry, and gosh I must sound so ungrateful but, where are we supposed to wash? I mean there's no tub or shower. Are we supposed to just conjure one."
Harry shook his head as if the idea was nuts. "We won't be conjuring anything dear." He pointed to a large lone tap in the middle of the marble wall.
Hermione looked closer to see what was written on it. "Shower tap," she read aloud.
"Uh-huh," Harry nodded smiling.
Hermione looked at him. "Surprise me."
"Hold on," he said wrapping an arm around her. He turned the tap and both he and Hermione disappeared with a pop.
The next thing she knew, Hermione was surrounded by high rocks and more palm trees. "Where are we now?"
"The other side of the island," Harry replied gently.
"I thought you wanted to show me where the shower was?"
"Well turn around and you'll see it," Harry replied smugly.
Hermione eventually noticed the sound of flowing water, and turned around where she was confronted with another beautiful sight, a 10 ft waterfall cascading off of rocks into what looked like a small pool just below them. "Now you're just showing off."
Later that night after they'd had dinner, Harry and Hermione were sitting on the beach just basking in each others company. A small fire next to them was their only source of light apart from the moon. Hermione was sat in-between his legs as Harry leaned up on his hands.
"Harry, this place really is beautiful. I know I keep saying it, but, it's just perfect," she told him for what seemed like the one hundredth time, as she leaned her back against his chest.
"I thought you'd like it," he said gently, putting all his weight onto one hand so that he could stroke her forearm.
"How does someone come across a place like this?" Hermione wondered clearly intrigued.
"Luck I guess," Harry answered. "It's belonged to my family for years."
"How do you keep it private?"
"Much the same way Hogwarts is protected really," Harry told her. "Only instead of a board saying keep out, anyone that should pass the island only sees a small stretch of sand. The water appears far too shallow for anyone to even consider docking. They'd never get close enough."
Hermione leaned even further into him. "So, we really are the only ones here then?"
"What does that mean?"
"There is another couple on the island," Harry said as he kissed the top of her head. "But don't worry, they won't bother us."
Hermione turned around. "Who?"
"Dobby and Winky."
"Who?" Hermione asked again.
"Dobby and Winky. They're house elves, well, Island elves."
"Island elves?" Hermione repeated not sounding at all happy.
Harry frowned. "What's wrong?"
"You mean you've marooned them on this island to cater for us?"
Harry shook his head, she clearly misunderstood. "Hermione, they love it here. They've lived here for over ten years, by choice I hasten to add, and they get paid for it too."
"They get paid?" Hermione asked in a softer tone.
"Very well," Harry assured her.
"Oh," she said settling back against his chest and closing her eyes. "That's alright then."
Harry was relieved that he hadn't upset her; it was there wedding night after all. "I'm sure they'd love to meet you whilst we're here."
"I'd love to meet them too," Hermione said with her eyes still closed.
After a few moments of silence, Harry glanced at his watch. It was 9.37pm, two hours and twenty three minutes till the end of their wedding day. They both felt physically drained after the day that they'd had, but the second they portkey'd away from Gryffindor early in the evening, a new energy consumed them both. It was a mixture of pure love and need, and it was the best feeling in the world.
"I want you to know just how happy you made me today," he said softly, before nuzzling her neck.
Hermione moaned inaudibly as she felt his lips start to place light kisses on her bare shoulder. "I think I've got a fair idea."
"Will you let me show you?" he whispered against her skin.
Hermione turned in his arms and placed a hand on one side of his face. She gently kissed his lips letting them linger for a few moments and then gazed into his eyes. "I was hoping you would."
Harry smiled and slowly got to his feet, and then helped Hermione do the same. He took her hand in his and they slowly headed up the path towards their cabin.
When they got inside Harry took out his wand and made it so that the whole room was surrounded by candles. The soft illumination that was coming from the naked flames lit up Hermione's face, and Harry wondered if she could ever look more beautiful. He placed his wand to one side and finally took her into his arms.
"Are you ready for this?" he asked her caringly.
Hermione stroked his one side of his face. "Only since the second I saw you," she replied cheekily.
Harry smiled at her admission but they soon went very serious, as his lips slowly descended onto hers. Hermione closed her eyes and her arms wrapped around his shoulders, as she felt his tongue begging to be let into her mouth. She opened up to him and a moan escaped from both of them as they tried to get even closer.
Harry's lips were soon travelling into the crook of her neck, as they slowly began to pull at each others clothes. It wasn't long before they were both naked and climbing under the white silk sheets. Hermione lay on her back and sighed in delight as Harry began trailing featherlike kisses down her body, her skin tingling under his yielding lips.
She had waited for what seemed like forever for this moment, and now it was finally here. She was so glad that she had waited for her wedding night. She was so glad that she had waited for Harry. What she liked even more about this whole night was that it was only about him and her. She didn't really know how to explain it; she was now a princess only it hadn't seemed to have settled in for her yet. Right now here in paradise, they were just Harry and Hermione, not the prince and princess of Gryffindor.
And that was exactly how Hermione wanted it.
Excitement along with a few nerves overtook her body, as she felt something hard press up against her. Harry nudged her legs open with his thigh, before he positioned himself above her. He lay on top of her propped up on his forearms and cradled her face in his hands. He kissed her softly, trying to convey every emotion that was going through him at that moment.
"I love you," he whispered against her lips, and then slowly pushed himself inside.
Hermione's eyes widened instantly at the intrusion as she gripped onto his shoulders forcefully, an involuntary gasp escaping her throat.
Harry buried his face in the crook of her neck and kept pushing until he could go no further, and Hermione couldn't help but whimper in slight pain. "Oww!"
"If it hurts too much I can take it out," Harry said against her neck.
"No!" Hermione objected flatly, hugging him tighter to her body. "Just give me a second."
Harry stilled as he waited patiently for Hermione to get use to the new feeling. He was glad it didn't take too long, as it was taking all the willpower he had not to move instinctively. He was thankful when he felt Hermione begin to relax.
"Okay," she breathed. "You can move now."
Harry's lips met hers as he began to thrust into her at a tortuously slow pace causing Hermione to moan softly. She could literally felt every inch of him slide in and then out of her, the feeling now wonderfully indescribable.
There was no more pain, only pleasure.
Harry stopped his movements for a moment, raised his head and gazed deeply into her eyes. "Are you okay?" he managed to get out.
The concern in his voice and the look in his emerald eyes made Hermione forget the pain she had been feeling before, and rocked her hips up against his in reply. "Better than okay."
Harry smiled in relief. He kissed her and then started moving again. Feeling him this close was amazing to Hermione; he was being so gentle with her, though, she didn't expect anything less from him. He was a prince, therefore, ever the gentleman.
Harry knew that he wouldn't be able to keep going for much longer. This was a whole new experience for them both and even though Ron had given him a potion that could have prolonged it, he had decided against using it. Harry didn't think that it would feel as real as it felt right now, not that he'd expect anyone to understand that. There was always the rest of the honeymoon to try it out.
Hermione sucked in a deep gulp of air as Harry's thrusts began to pick of speed, and she felt a wave of pleasure hit the lower regions of her body. Harry's body started to shake above her, as he too felt heavenly sensations start to shoot through his body. It wasn't long before he reached his peak, and released deep within her. Harry finally collapsed on top of her breathing heavily.
Hermione smiled and wrapped her arms around his back, hugging him tightly. She didn't reach the Promised Land but she didn't expect to. It was their first time, and Hermione went with the simple logic of the more you practise, the better it got. It may not have seemed perfect to anyone else, but laying there with him on top of her, his skin against her skin, made her feel closer to him than ever before.
She kissed the side of his head tenderly, a move that made Harry raise his head and look at her. "Was that ok?" he said quietly.
Hermione's heart melted at his question, he looked so cute. "It was fine."
Harry didn't look convinced. He really had tried to last longer but the sensations in his lower regions were too much to handle. "You sure?"
His wife simply kissed him in reply. Harry returned the kiss then finally found the strength to move. He pulled out then fell onto his back, bringing Hermione with him. She cuddled into him and settled her head onto his chest. They lay that way for what could have been an eternity, hearing the lulling sound of the sea waves as the candlelight still illuminated their bodies, which were now tangled in the silk sheets.
Harry broke the silence. "I know you didn't…you know?"
Hermione looked up from his chest and smiled at him. "I'm sure you'll make it happen before we leave."
"Is that a challenge?"
"Call it what you will," she grinned. "Harry, it was perfect."
"Lying to me already," Harry tried to joke. "I know I didn't last-"
Hermione put a finger to his lips. "It was you and I together, therefore, perfect. Ok?"
Harry nodded. "Ok."
Hermione settled back down against him. "To be honest, I've been looking forward to this too."
"This," Hermione replied stroking his chest. "The afterglow."
Harry's fingers began trailing up and down her arm. "Afterglow?"
"Yeah. Just lying here in your arms with no one to disturb us."
Harry finally understood. "I know what you mean."
Hermione glanced at Harry and saw that his eyes were starting to close. Her prince was worn out and she wasn't surprised. Having a day as busy as they'd had and then losing your virginity that night was bound to take it out of you. "I love you," she said softly.
Harry's eyes flickered. "Mmm, I love you too princess."
As Harry fell asleep, Hermione was left to wonder what her life was actually going to be like. She wasn't naïve. She was well aware that there was going to be trying times, every marriage went through them, but as long as her and Harry were together, she knew they could get through anything. Hermione was now a princess with responsibilities to a kingdom, a challenge that she welcomed with open arms, and she was determined to make it so that Harry never had to doubt his choice of wife. She kissed his chest lightly before her own eyes began to flutter close.
In spite of everything that was in front of them, Hermione knew one thing to be true as she fell asleep in her husband's arms; she had just started living her happily ever after.
Hope it wasn't too crap lol. I don't know if this is the end completely, I may do a one shot in the future if there is enough interest, but, that really depends on how many readers would like one. For now, I will turn my attention to my other stories, in a hope to get them completed too. Thanks again, and please do me a favour and review just one more time. Toodles.