The Lake House
A/N: This is a Harry Potter / Hermione Granger story based on the film "The Lake House" with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. It involves time displacement (not a time travel story as such) the dates have been altered a bit to fit this story. Harry at Hogsmeade in 2005 (age 24 by Monday Feb.14) is an auror, Hermione 2 years ahead (2007 age 27 by Wednesday Feb.14) has just transferred from Beauxbatons as Pomfrey's assistant nurse.
A/N 2 Harry's 7th year was 1997, defeated Voldemort May 2 1998.
At the far end of the Black Lake, stood a large glass house. Well, mostly glass, with magnificent views of the lake, surrounding mountains and Hogwarts Castle at the far end of the lake. Scotland at that time of year was just emerging from a very cold winter and the lake was still frozen. It was Valentines Day, February 14, 2005 and the weather had turned mild, with a warm sun that promised to melt the by now thin ice on the lake. The surrounding mountains kept their snowy peaks, making the setting ideal for the vacant house.
Strangely, no one had occupied the house for years and the road connecting it to Hogsmeade and the castle was rarely used. The house itself, was modern by Scottish standards, as if in defiant contrast to the ancient castle, easily seen from the large front porch.
Foxes, Badgers and other small animals abounded in the deep woods surrounding the partially hidden house. The occasional magnificent stag wandered by and the sky was filled with Ravens, Red Grouse, St Kilda Wren, Quail and the occasional Golden Eagles. Other birds such as the Barn & Tawny Owls as well as the rare Snowy Owl made their homes nearby.
On this warm day, a young man trudged slowly up the road, stopping at the post box to retrieve a letter that would start a series of events that would change his life forever. A quirk of his brow at the letter in the post box had him wondering about the letter. It was addressed: Dear New Tenant. Odd. There hadn't been anyone living here for years. And the date… now that just didn't make sense. He had opened it immediately and read the note from a Ms. Hermione Granger.
Dear New Tenant,
Could you please forward my mail to Number 17 Hogsmeade Lane in Hogsmeade. I notified the magical post, but am unsure if they understood even though they assured me they did. I rarely got mail delivered properly and the Owl Post didn't seem to want to deliver to The Lake House. By the way, the paw prints leading to the entrance were there when I took up residence as was a box in the attic.
The date of the note was two years in the future, and the mention of paw prints on the walkway leading to the house puzzled him, and there was no box in the attic. Scratching his head, he entered the house and started cleaning up the detritus and dust from years of neglect.
The halls and corridors of Hogwarts were mostly empty; the students already in classes.
Walking the corridors of her new job, the young woman looked lost. "Now, which way did the Headmistress say to the Infirmary? Was it even on this floor?" she thought aloud. Stopping a moment, she took time to remember. 'Ah yes, third floor'. Investigating the various doors, she arrived at the end of a long corridor and pushed through the double doors. A smell, typical of a hospital assaulted her nose and she knew she was in the right place. The walls were an off white and although clean, the room looked like it had seen a lot of use. The beds were the standard hospital bed, although, on closer inspection, most looked very old. An office at the front, to one side of the doors looked cramped and was crowded with books and shelves. Presumably the shelves contained the hospital records, as many folders were neatly arrayed and tagged along three walls. The fourth wall looked out on the ward. The books held their own place in a small credenza near the centre of the room, conveniently close to a large desk.
Hermione wondered where all the rest of the books were, since the credenza couldn't hold more than a few large reference books. The occupant of the room, Madam Pomfrey, was busily putting books away, and Hermione suddenly understood: the credenza was magical and held as many books as the matron needed.
Noticing the young woman approaching her office, Madam Pomfrey moved to greet her. "Welcome, you must be Ms. Granger. I've been expecting you."
"Good morning, you must be Madam Pomfrey," Hermione replied, smiling.
"Call me Poppy, I can really use the help. Today is a quiet day, but after a Hogsmeade weekend, it can get quite frantic in here."
Hermione glanced around the infirmary and noticed two students occupying beds. "Only two students? I would have thought there would be many more."
"Oh, those two. Well, they'll be here for awhile. Broken bones and concussion after a nasty fall. I think someone hexed them with a tripping jinx, but no one is owning up, and the two are still unconscious.
"I'll show you around. I understand you attended Beauxbatons. Where did you intern?"
"Oh, St. Mungos. I'm English actually. My parents sent me to France to stay with an aunt when I was very young and she helped me, since my parents were afraid of magic. I would see them a couple of times a year and lately we've re-united. They're still wary of magic, but I'm very careful not to show them any. At first I thought they hated me, but then my Aunt Madeleine explained to me that they had a very bad experience before Voldemort was defeated the first time."
"So you speak French fluently, I would guess. Oh dear…!"
At that moment, the doors banged open and a teacher rushed in, levitating a student that was bleeding badly.
"Time to get to work," Poppy said, rushing to clear an inspection gurney. "You may observe and perhaps can take notes for me."
Harry Potter busied himself cleaning and painting the house. He'd written a reply to Ms. Granger and placed it in the post box to be picked up the next day.
Dear Ms. Granger,
I'd be happy to forward your letter, but I'm confused. There hasn't been anyone living here at the Lake House for many years. I should know, I own it and my father built it. Oh, and I notice you got the date wrong. It's 2005, not 2007 and I don't believe time turners would work that far back. But I am curious about the reference to paw prints. There aren't any that I can see.
Harry J. Potter.
After he had posted the letter in his post box and set the flag, he returned to the house and gathered his painting materials to start painting the walkway leading to the house. The walkway was actually a short pier over water, as the house sat on stilts about twenty meters from shore on the lake. He had painted less than halfway from the shore when a big orange cat approached and walked through his fresh paint, tracking it the rest of the way to the house.
"Hey! Damn!" he swore. Then he scratched his head in bewilderment as he saw paw prints exactly as the letter from the mysterious Ms. Granger described. The cat, meanwhile, had settled down in front of the fireplace and was dozing as if it belonged there. Approaching the cat, he noticed that it had a very squashed looking face and was not in anyway cute. The cat was purring contentedly as he pet it and leaned into his hand.
"Oh well," he sighed, "I guess I'll keep you then. I'll have to get some food though."
Harry left the house and continued to finish painting the walkway. Later, he thought he'd better retrieve the letter he'd just mailed a short time ago and re-write it, explaining about the cat. As he reached the post box, he noticed that the flag was up, indicating he had mail. "Odd," he thought. "I didn't hear the mail delivery." Opening the box, he found a new letter inside from the same Ms. Granger.
Dear Mr. Potter,
I can assure you that it is indeed 2007, has been all year, and yes, I'm sure I lived in The Lake House. It's the only house at the end of the Black Lake, so I couldn't be mistaken. I rented it in the summer of 2006 and now have my own place in Hogsmeade.
It was a warm day for Valentines Day and on her way home that afternoon, she stopped to grab a bite to eat at a local pub. As she sat enjoying the food and a glass of bitters, she heard a commotion outside and rushed out to see a young man sprawled out in the street, bleeding profusely from what appeared to be major wounds.
"It was an accident!" someone shouted. "I - I didn't mean to…"
It was obvious what had happened. A large section of a newly constructed building had collapsed and a long section of steel scaffolding had pierced the young man in several places.
Hermione's medical training swiftly took over as she frantically tried to stop the bleeding and stabilise the man. Working swiftly, she had finally stopped the bleeding, only to realise that he was no longer breathing. Casting various spells, she was unable to revive him and finally, with a sob, admitted defeat. He was dead. Shaking severely, she transported him to Hogwarts hospital wing, where they would know what to do with the body.
"Hermione, there was nothing you could have done," Poppy told her. I've told this to many students, and I'm telling you now. We'll lose some and we'll win some, but the ones we lose will affect us the hardest. Why don't you go to a place you have fond memories of and relax and let the peace calm you."
So it was that Hermione found herself, once more, at The Lake House. It was peaceful here and as she sat on the grass by the shore, she started to calm down. An hour later, she stood to walk to the edge of the property to apparate back home when she noticed the post box flag suddenly pop up. She looked around puzzled, There was no one there to activate the box, but there seemed to be a faint trace of magic surrounding the box. She carefully inspected the box and finally, hesitantly, opened the box and retrieved the letter inside addressed to her.
Opening the letter, the mystery deepened when she read the letter.
Dear Ms. Granger,
Now this is really strange. Just after I received your letter, which, by the way didn't seem to come by ordinary post, an orange cat stepped on my freshly painted walkway and left paw prints up to my door. He promptly entered and lay down by the fireplace as if he belonged there. Very strange looking cat too. Kind of a squashed-in face and bushy bottle-brush tail with sort of bandy legs. Very affectionate though; started purring right away.
You say you live in 2007? Tell me a bit about it. It seems somehow we are communicating through time. Is this possible?
Hermione gave a gasp of surprise. He had just described Crookshanks! Quickly writing a reply, she wrote:
Dear Mr. Potter,
This is exceptionally strange: you have just described my cat, although strictly speaking, he's part Kneazle. I found him in a pet store in Diagon Alley before I moved to Birmingham. He came with me when I rented The Lake House. He's sitting in my house as I write this letter. So, my time displaced man, you'll want to bundle up tonight. A sudden cold front moved in and it snowed. Drink plenty of fluids as there was a nasty cold going around that day, doctors orders. By the way, Happy Easter.
She placed the letter in the post box and was about to turn away when the flag popped up again. Carefully, she opened the box and was astonished to see another letter.
Dear Ms. Granger,
Perhaps we can call each other by our first names? I'm Harry and I'm an Auror for the Ministry of Magic. I'm sure you must be mistaken about the weather, It's a sunny, warm day today. Happy Easter to you too. It's odd though, the cat does answer to Crookshanks. We seem to share the same cat… err Kneazle. He seems to be exceptionally smart and guards the house against intruders, even opens doors by himself, including my refrigerator.
Ok, she thought, this is too strange, it's like instant reply messaging. He must be sitting by the post box. I'd better end this for today.
Yes, that sounds exactly like Crookshanks. I'm a medi-witch at Hogwarts and help Madam Pomfrey. Today was a hard day as I watched someone die. He was hit by a falling construction scaffold and died in my arms. Madam Pomfrey told me there was nothing I could have done to save him, but it was just too much to take, so I came here. I'd like to continue writing, but I'm very tired at the moment and haven't had supper, so we'll continue this conversation another time.
After mailing the letter in the box, she walked to the edge of the wards and disapparated back home.
The following days were busy ones for Hermione and she didn't have a chance to continue her conversations with Harry.
Harry scratched his head in wonderment. A medi-witch; Madam Pomfrey had never needed an assistant before. She must be slowing down. "Crookshanks," he tested the name, and immediately the cat looked up and answered with a soft purr-merrow, as if to question 'You called?'
The settled it, it was the same cat and an intelligent one at that.
Later that evening, as he was eating, he noticed the weather had suddenly changed from the warm day and unbelievably, it started to snow. He suddenly sneezed and thought, "She was right! The weather did change."
Harry had likewise been busy, writing reports and investigating crimes around Diagon Alley and environs. There were a series of unsolved crimes that he and his partner Ron Weasley had been working on that had an irritating familiarity. Petty crimes to be sure, but the perpetrators were somehow able to escape detection.
"Ron, why does this look like we've dealt with this sort of thing before?"
"Dunno Harry, petty crimes tend to look all the same to me after awhile."
"There's just something familiar… I've got it! That time when we were at school and Mundungus Fletcher pilfered stuff from Grimmauld Place. This has all the marks of Dung."
"Aww, Harry, didn't we send him to Azkaban for that?"
"Let's check the records. Maybe he was released," Harry replied.
After going through the Ministry archives, they found that indeed Fletcher had been released a couple of months ago.
"Then how has he been able to escape detection?" Ron wondered.
"Maybe he stole an invisibility cloak," Harry replied. "Dung is very resourceful."
"Do we have an address on him?"
"Let's see… last known address… hmm… looks like Knockturn Alley. Ron, let's roust him and see what we find."
Knockturn Alley was just as seedy after the war as before, and Harry and Ron carefully made their way through the warren of side streets and dead ends that comprised the dark side of the wizarding world. People tended to keep to themselves and avoided the two aurors as they made their way along the broken cobblestones and decaying garbage. It was almost dark when they chanced upon a shop that they hadn't seen before. "Arts Moste Dark," Harry read on the sign, before it quickly changed to Mostly Fantastic Enterprises. "Son of a bitch! Ron, did you see that sign? A moment ago it said Arts Moste Dark."
"No I missed that. Mostly Fantastic Enterprises. MF Enterprises… I wonder… Mundungus Fletcher Enterprises? Maybe we've found something. But the shop is closed, Harry, no lights on even."
"Let's look around the back," Harry suggested.
There didn't seem to be a way to the back. After searching the area, Harry spotted a small opening between two buildings that looked promising. Squeezing sideways, they could just barely make their way through to the back of the buildings. It was fully dark now and they had to feel their way. A brick wall prevented them from going any farther.
"Now what, Harry?"
"Well, it's too dark to investigate this tonight. We'll have to come back tomorrow. I'd bet money that 'Dung has something to do with this."
The pair left and resumed their way back to DMLE headquarters to finish their reports.
The next day, they didn't have time to investigate the shop, as an urgent call had come in about a disturbance in Diagon Alley that had turned into a full riot. Somebody had started a fight over the ownership of a sack of Galleons that had been lying in the street. Naturally, several people claimed the'd dropped it and by the time the aurors arrived, the riot was in full progress.
Stunning the crowd as a last resort, the aurors finally sorted the problem out, but it had consumed most of the day when all the reports were filed. The true owner was not identified, so the Ministry took possession until the owner could be determined.
Hermione finally had a free day and headed back to The Lake House. There was no letter waiting, so she decided to resume the friendly contact with Harry.
I've just finished a very long week at work and thought we could resume our conversations. Tell me about your favourite things. Mine are springtime, when the air is so fresh you can see for miles. A picnic that ends just before it starts to rain. Crookshanks, when he curls up beside me and starts to purr. And I miss France. Paris in particular when the light is a soft pink in the evening, giving the city a glow unlike any other place I've been.
Sorry I haven't written either. Work has kept me busy and I've hardly had any sleep for the past week.
That sounds wonderful, I love picnics, but haven't had one in years. My favourite things… let's see. Long walks in the forest when the new growth starts in the spring and the birds return. The Hogwarts Express when it arrives at the start of term and all the new students stare in wonderment at the castle. The Black Lake of course and how the changing seasons affect the way it looks and reflects. Winter, when the lake freezes and I go skating.
I have to ask, are you married or have a boyfriend?
"Married?" she thought. "Where did that come from?"
No, I'm not married, I left my boyfriend in France and haven't seen him in months. In truth, he wanted to get too close too fast. I needed a bit of space so I moved back to Jolly Old. My parents were glad to see me, although they hate and fear magic. I was born on England but was sent to live with my Aunt Madeline in Paris. I attended Beauxbatons instead of Hogwarts and interned at St. Mungos.
Are you married? What about a girlfriend?
She waited by the post box and the flag popped up. She hesitantly retrieved his newest letter. Not wanting to read it, or suddenly afraid what he might say, she left with the letter unopened, deciding to read it later.
Harry had read the letter with delight. She was single, well, at the moment two years in the future anyway. He wondered if they could somehow meet, but knew it would be a problem with the time differential. He'd have to wait two years. A lot could happen in two years, he realised. He hesitantly picked up quill and parchment and carefully composed a reply.
Yes, I'm single as well, and I do have a girlfriend at the moment, but nothing serious. She's a good companion and seems to want to take our relationship further but I don't think it'll work out.
I had a very bad childhood. My parents died in the first wizard war and I was sent to my relatives' place to live. They treated me badly and hated magic. I didn't even know I was a wizard until my Hogwarts letter came when I turned eleven. School was a lonely place for me at times, although my best friend Ron helped. We graduated near the top of the school and went into auror training almost immediately. I won't go into the adventures we had, because most of them were pretty frightening at the time. I wondered why I had never seen you at Hogwarts. We had a delegation of senior students from Beauxbatons visit Hogwarts in my fourth year, but I guess you were too young to attend then. Fleur Delacour was their champion for the Tri-Wizard Tournament. I was selected to compete even though I didn't enter my name. It was a disaster. One of my friends was killed.
But enough of the depressing part of my life. I've enclosed a map of the forest around this end of the lake. Let me take you on a tour of the magical sights.
Alone, that evening, Hermione cautiously opened the letter, almost dreading what Harry might say about whether he was married or not. To her surprise, she had to sit down and compose a reply immediately.
It was you! I saw you, met you at the Tri-Wizard Tournament. I didn't realise. You were magnificent. I did come, but only because my best friend Fleur and her sister Gabrielle pulled strings to allow me to attend. We danced at the ball. You kissed me! And then I didn't see you again. My boyfriend was very jealous. We broke up after that. Why didn't you say anything? We could have arranged to meet.
Maybe we should meet again…
I took the tour from the map you sent and was enthralled. The giant squid waved at me and the birds and animals in the forest were marvelous and so tame. There was a Snowy Owl that settled on my shoulder and has become quite friendly.
A Snowy Owl? I had a Snowy Owl. Her name was Hedwig. She was killed in the war and I never found her remains. Even now, I cry over the loss of my first real friend.
The Tri-Wizard Ball; I remember now. You were so beautiful in your gown. I couldn't take my eyes off you. Unfortunately, events conspired against us and I suffered terribly in the final task. It took me weeks to recover and by then you were gone. I spent the next year training and preparing for the eventual defeat of Voldemort. Apparently a prophesy stated that I was the only one that could defeat him. It wasn't pretty in my seventh year. Many good friends died in the final battle. I try to forget that time in my life, even though it took up most of my teenage years.
We should meet. Name a place and time and I'll be there. Maybe someplace in muggle London.
All my love,
Hermione thought about where they should meet. In truth, she was excited… Harry wanted to meet her again. The memory of their kiss still excited her. As she pondered a place to meet, the Snowy Owl settled on her shoulder and rubbed her head against Hermione's chin. 'I wonder…' she thought. "Is your name Hedwig?"
A soft nibble on her ear gave her the answer. "Were you Harry's Owl?" she enquired.
Hedwig gave a soft mournful hoot.
"But why aren't you with him now?"
Hedwig looked even more mournful and tucked her head under a wing, seeming to tell Hermione that she had lost Harry.
Hermione reflected on that. 'If Hedwig can't find Harry, that would mean… what? That he isn't here anymore? That he doesn't have a connection to her? Why would that be?'
I'd love to meet you again. There's a lovely restaurant near Kings Cross called The Acorn House that has good food. I could meet you tomorrow at 7PM. That would be two years tomorrow for you. You'll have to make the arrangements, since the place is always busy.
Harry, I have Hedwig, but she can't find you. Why would that be? Did you move after you lost her? She's still alive here in my time. She just hangs her head sadly, as if something happened between you two.
All my love,
The next day Harry made the reservations to a startled girl at the restaurant.
"You want to make reservations two years from today? Two years?"
"Yes," Harry replied. I'm to meet… um, actually it's sort of complicated, but yes, two years from today."
The reservations made, Harry returned to the Ministry of Magic and walked into the Auror Office to meet with Ron.
"Hi Harry," Ron greeted. "Shall we see what 'Dung is up to? Harry?"
Harry was still in a bit of a fog, trying to remember the taste of Hermione's lips on his. He had gone to the Tri-Wizard Ball with Ginny and danced with her before noticing the lovely girl from Beauxbatons. Asking her to dance, they had talked and she had told him about her life in France. He remembered now, she had an English accent and he'd wondered about that at the time. She introduced herself as Hermione Granger, and of course she knew who he was. Then they had danced to a slow number with her head coming to rest on his shoulder, her light flowery perfume invaded his senses, and as the song ended, they had kissed.
"Harry!" Ron had shaken him, snapping his memory back to the present.
"Huh? Oh, sorry Ron, I was just remembering something."
"Remembering? It must have been some girl. You had a goofy grin on your face and you were totally spaced out."
"Yeah, well she was a long time ago, but it's crazy, she's sort of back into my life again."
"Sort of? What does that mean? She either is or she isn't. It isn't Ginny, is it?" Ron asked, annoyed. Ginny and Harry had broken up after she had caught Harry kissing a girl from Beauxbatons. Ginny was heartbroken and wanted to get back together with Harry, but Harry told her it wouldn't work. It had taken awhile for Ron to forgive Harry for hurting his sister. "Wait, it's not that girl you met at the ball years ago, is it?"
"It's complicated, Ron. We're writing letters, but time is a problem."
"Time? What's time got to do with it?"
"Oh, you're going to think I'm crazy," Harry replied, and proceeded to tell Ron how he had started corresponding with Hermione from the future.
"Harry, what you need is a real woman! One who lives in the present."
"Ron, we're planning to meet two years from today. I love her Ron."
"Focus Harry, we really have to solve this case. I think 'Dung has started moving more questionable articles into Knockturn Alley.
Following the alley back to MF Enterprises, they caught a glimpse of Mundungus slipping into the narrow space between the buildings they had spotted the other day. Harry and Ron quickly disillusioned themselves and followed. The brick wall that prevented them from investigating before, now appeared as an archway, similar to the Leaky Caldron. Ducking under the arch that had begun to close, they accosted a very surprised Mundungus Fletcher.
"Wha…? Potter! Weasley!" Reaching for his wand, he was quickly stunned by both Harry and Ron.
A thorough search of the 'enterprise' yielded a treasure trove of illegal items. Several unregistered wands were the biggest find, along with a very dark object, that Harry warded against anyone accidentally touching. "Better call the curse breakers for this one Ron."
All in all, they found enough to send 'Dung to Azkaban for several years.
The next day, Hermione had been on pins and needles all day. Today was the day she'd meet Harry. Nervous, she'd changed outfits twice before she settled on a nice dark blue dress that showed off her assets to best advantage. Her hair had tamed over the years and was no longer bushy and unmanageable. A light touch of colour to her lips and a dab of her favourite perfume that she hoped Harry would remember and she was ready.
Arriving at the restaurant that evening, she was shown to a table and served a glass of wine. The girl was a bit startled when she'd shown up claiming the reservation made two years previously. As she patiently waited, she wondered what would have happened if they had been together years ago. Would they have married? She knew that a lot of people went through relationships and didn't necessarily marry their first love. She herself had dated several boys at Beauxbatons and a young professor at Hogwarts was now paying close attention to her. He was nice, but Neville was not the one she longed to be with.
The waiter brought her another glass of wine and the time dragged and still Harry didn't show up. After the restaurant had finally emptied, she sighed and a tear rolled down her cheek. He didn't show.
Firmly determined to put this behind her, she wrote him the next day telling him that he hadn't been there and asking him not to write again. Too much time had passed, it wouldn't work.
Harry was devastated and wrote back.
His letter went unanswered and in fact still sat in the post box. He continued to write for over a year, but the letters continued to pile up in the box, undelivered. Finally, he decided to pack up and move away from the lonely house. Crookshanks had left one day and never returned and so with regret he moved to Hogsmeade.
Meanwhile, Hermione had moved on and finally started dating Neville Longbottom. The spark that she felt with Harry wasn't there, but she decided Neville might make a decent husband and they started to look for a place to live.
Madam Pomfrey had asked her to sort through some old records that day. It was Valentines Day 2009 and as she went over the old records, her heart skipped a beat. The record she was casually looking at, stopped her cold. It was the death certificate of Harry James Potter. He'd died that afternoon two years ago! It was Harry that she'd tried to save at Hogsmeade when part of a building collapsed on him!
"Oh my God. No wonder he didn't show up for our date. She suddenly jumped up and telling Madam Pomfrey she had to go and would be back later, rushed to the Lake House and shaking, scribbled the following note and shoved it in the post box, praying that she wasn't too late.
Don't go to Hogsmeade today. Wait. Wait two years and meet me here at the Lake House. I will be waiting. I love you! I think I've always loved you.
And then she waited, softly crying, afraid she was too late.
Valentines Day 2007, It was a warm day for Valentines Day and on her way home that afternoon, she stopped to grab a bite to eat at a local pub. As she sat enjoying the food and a glass of bitters, she heard a commotion outside and was in time to see a large section of a newly constructed building had collapsed. Fortunately no one was hurt.
Harry had just finished cleaning the house and was going to walk to Hogsmeade to grab a pint of bitters. He'd moved all his belongings earlier in the week and was walking out the door, sealing it for the last time. He noticed the flag on the post box was up and decided to check one last time. There was a letter.
Hermione turned at the small sound, hoping against hope and suddenly he was there. He'd waited the two years. She flew into his arms, kissing him madly, wrapping herself in his warm embrace.
"You waited!" she sobbed. "Oh Harry, now I know why we never met that evening for dinner. The man I saw killed in Hogsmeade was you and now you're alive! It was today, two years ago that you were killed and I've saved you."
Harry was startled by this revelation as he clung to the only woman he had ever loved. "Hermione," he said softly, "you're even more beautiful than I remember. I had given up hope of ever seeing you again and then the letter two years ago changed everything. Are you…" he gulped, tried again. "Are you married? Two years is a long time."
"No silly, I came close, with Neville Longbottom, but I just couldn't commit myself to someone I really didn't love with all my heart. You're the one, Harry! You're the one I want to spend the rest of my life with."
They kissed again and suddenly Hedwig landed on his shoulder. "Hedwig!" he cried. "How I missed you. I thought you were killed years ago."
Hedwig was obviously joyous at finding her old master and rubbed her head against his cheek affectionately.
That was a mystery that would remain unsolved, as would the time travelling letters. Crookshanks had apparently found Hermione just after Harry had lost him, and the part Kneazle fondly settled into his lap once they had moved back into the Lake House. Hermione's parents finally accepted the magical world and greeted Harry warmly when Hermione introduce him as her fiancé.
Harry and Hermione were married later that year with Ron as Best Man. Ron had finally married Luna Lovegood and Neville had married Susan Bones. Ginny never married and became a successful Quidditch player.
Hermione eventually bore Harry three children, two girls and a boy; Lily, Jane and James. Hogwarts had a new generation of Potters.