Magic and Misperceptions

Chapter 20: Truth Revealed

By: addisonj

Beta: DeeMichelle

Disclaimer: The following story is based on situations and characters owned by J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, and their publishers.

(A/N: This is it, the end, our Happy Ever After. You know P&P. You know what happens. And Viktor gets to be Lady Catherine. Without the dress.

It's been a great journey. Thank you all who are still reading this fic! Longer A/N at the end.)

Ronald Weasley proposed to Luna Lovegood on an overcast day with a sprinkling of rain. The couple were visiting Luna's father, and Ron pulled a box from his inside pocket, bent down on one knee, and asked her to marry him. Luna responded with a "Yes, Ronald" and the couple sealed the agreement with a kiss. Then, they all went to the Burrow to celebrate.

It had been several weeks since the elopement of Ginny and Draco, and the Weasleys were becoming accustomed to their new in-law. Lucius was still in Azkaban. Narcissa lived a life of self-imposed exile at Malfoy Manor. Draco was adjusting to a new, larger, boisterous family full of multiple generations and in-laws.

"Slytherins. There's a definite lack of Slytherins here," Draco drawled during one of his first visits to the Burrow as Angelina and Fleur's children drooled on him.

Harry knew the day Ron was to propose, so he made sure Hermione was at the Burrow when Ron and Luna returned with Xenophilius in tow.

Hugs and congratulations were exchanged as Molly started planning Luna's wedding. "If you want any say in this at all, you need to speak now or forever hold your peace," Angelina warned her.

After some Quidditch and the usual large Molly-prepared feast, Harry took Hermione's hand and led her to the frog pond.

"They're quite loud this time of day," Hermione noted, listening to the cacophony of ribbits.

"Maybe they want to be heard over all the other noise," Harry guessed, and they watched Draco yelling at one of the garden gnomes. "You know, I think this might work out."

"What, Mr Potter? The frogs? The new Mr and Mrs Malfoy? Us?" teased Hermione.

Harry's face grew serious as he said, "Hermione, you know I—""

"Auntie Mione! Uncle Harry! Uncle Ron and Auntie Luna want you right now!" Victoire ran down to the pond, grabbed their hands and brought them back to the house.

Hermione laughed at the girl's antics. "Harry, were you about to say something?"

"It can wait."

Once again, Hermione was the last one to leave her department. They were closer to a bill to prevent house elf abuse—it was decided to start with that proposed law before the werewolf laws—it was seen as a no-brainer to pass the Wizengamot, and Hermione was making sure every "'I" was dotted and every "T" crossed. It was with surprise then, that a certain Bulgarian Seeker arrived at her office door.

"Hermione," he said, as he rushed into her office. "Is it true? I heard it and I could not believe it. Say it's not true."

"Whatever do you mean?" asked Hermione, puzzled.

Agitated, Krum paced the floor, running his long hands in his black hair. He finally stopped in front of her, took both her hands in his and pulled her to his feet.

"You must tell me if it's true. Are you engaged to Harry Potter?"

Hermione almost laughed at the absurdity of it, but Viktor looked quite disturbed. "No, it's not true. I'm not sure who your source is, but they're wrong. Ron Weasley and Luna Lovegood are engaged, Draco Malfoy and Ginny Weasley are already married. Perhaps you have us confused?"

Viktor shook his head. "No, I am quite sure. My sources were quite clear, you and Harry were engaged. I left training camp as soon as I heard. I had to hear it from your own lips."

"Well, it's not true. You can go back to camp now, Viktor."

Relieved, Viktor let go of her hands and Hermione was about to sit back at her desk, when he turned and faced her again.

"So tell me it would never be true."

Any amusement in Hermione's eyes left. "I can't say that, Viktor."

He turned pale and gripped at her wrists. "You can't mean that."

She twisted out of his grip. "I mean what I say. I can't say I'd never marry him. I can say that we're not engaged."

"Then you are going to be?"

"I'm not engaged. We're dating. That's what I know. I cannot plan the rest without discussing it with Harry."

Viktor tried to pull her close, but she resisted. "But us, our agreement—"

Hermione gazed at his brilliant dark eyes, the strong nose, and the shiny black hair. She admired his mind, his athleticism, the kindness he always showed to her. She loved that he loved her, that he cared for her. Often she wished that she could return those affections. But, these past few months, she knew there was a reason she could not.

"Viktor—" she started, but her eyes said everything.

He dropped her hands, and backed away, avoiding her touch.


He held up his hand to stop any more words from her. "It is over then, for us."

"Viktor, we're friends."

Wincing as if receiving a physical blow, he held up his hand in defence. "Please, Hermione, no more. My heart cannot bear it. I will go. Tell Potter congratulations. The best man won. I will leave now."

He turned to go and Hermione followed. "Viktor! I don't want our friendship to end."

He turned quickly and glared at her. "I cannot do this anymore. This ends. Give me some time to heal, but leave me alone. If this thing with Potter does not work out, do not expect me to wait for you." With that, he left.

Melancholy filled her veins. Her limbs felt weak and she sank into the nearest chair. She spent the past two years dodging Viktor's advances, and now it was over. She had lost a friend. Hermione was a witch who valued her friendships, who always remembered birthdays and anniversaries, who always sent notes and kept in touch. Now, she just lost one of her dearest friends.

She sniffled, then, with a new resolve, wiped her eyes, smoothed her robes, and went back to work.

"Where are we going?"

"It's a surprise! I think you'll like it."

"You won't even give me a clue?"

"No, but you're so smart, you'll probably guess anyway."

Harry and Hermione were queued at the Apparition point near the Ministry. It was Friday afternoon and everyone seemed to be leaving for an early weekend. She faced him, and he held her tightly for the side-along. She was smiling and he looked happy, but his smile tense.

They arrived at a small village. It reminded Hermione a bit of Appley, there was the main street, only a couple blocks long but contained all the necessities one could want. There was a park with a war memorial. Upon closer look, it turned into a statue of a man, woman and child.

"Harry, it's—oh!" Hermione gasped as she realised she was standing next to the grown version of the baby; his murdered parents were immortalized in stone. "We're in Godric's Hollow, aren't we?"

Harry nodded, there was tightness in his smile and he squeezed her hand. "Oh, Harry!" Hermione only felt a rush of empathy and squeezed his hand hard, back.

Harry walked her through the refurbished house; he was very attentive to her reaction.

Hermione liked it. She noted it didn't seem like a bachelor pad at all but a family home, very cosy, a mix of old and new.

He then took her to a spare room that was covered in bookshelves-empty bookshelves. He remembered that he had the foundation reinforced because of the anticipated weight of all the books that will be on those shelves.

Hermione stared at him, knowing he never owned that number of books, only she did.

Harry, suddenly shy, rubbed the top of his head, then the back of his neck. He had difficulty looking her in the eye. And she stayed still, very still.

"Harry, is there something I should know?" she asked softly, her eyes fixed on his.

"Well, um, I'm not sure how to say this. It was much easier when I practiced in my head."

He moved a step away from her, and she moved a step forward to close the distance.

"So, actually, well, I kind of, well, I kind of had you in mind when I had the house refurbished. I thought you might like to move in with me."

Her eyes grew large and she stayed silent. Taking that as encouragement, Harry continued.

"I know I told you ages ago that I loved you, and you basically told me to piss off and I'd be the last man on earth, well, I thought about that then and you were right. I was being a prat. I didn't then realise or say how much you mean to me, or why I loved … I love … you.

"I love how compassionate you are, like when you stayed at the hospital when Luna took ill, and how you always look out for and defend your friends, regardless of what prats like me may think or say.

"I love how you are so helpful. You helped us save Octavious, you helped us find Ginny and Draco, you helped us find a cure for Luna, and you helped develop tools for us Aurors. Regardless that you're already making the wizarding world a better place by advocating for the rights of magical beings and changing laws, and taking on thousands of years of prejudice, you wilfully volunteer your time and energy and knowledge for everyone else.

"I love how bloody brilliant you are. Do you realise when I have to a problem now, I say to myself, what would Hermione think? What would Hermione do? Because you're the smartest person I know.

"I love how brave you are. Really. You assembled your own Dumbledore's army and Apparated into a battle! A battle that did not impact you in France but you did it anyway, at horrible cost.

"I love how you were always with us, with your Dumbledore puzzles, as you say. I would never have figured out what a basilisk was in the Chamber of Secrets second year without your help, and how you went to Durmstrang, realising they don't even admit Muggle-borns, but you did all that just to do research for us?

"I love how you accept me as I am. You don't treat me like a hero or a fool. You just accept me, and want me to be a better person because you deserve all that's best.

"I love you how fit in with my friends so well, and you're friends with all, regardless of bloodline or House.

"I love how you're the person I think of when I go to sleep at night and when I awake in the morning. I love how regardless of how much time we spend together, there's not enough. I love how we can just sit in silence or talk for hours. I love how I can tell you anything at all about me, no matter how foolish or stupid or embarrassing and you just accept me as I am.

"I love how when you touch me, I feel unconditional love.

"This is all the stuff I should have said months ago, but am saying it now. Hermione Granger, I love you, and I'm guessing since you haven't told me to stuff it yet, you might feel the same way about me."

Harry finally stopped talking at looked at his love. Her eyes were bright; she was biting her lower lip and taking deep breaths. When he planned all this, he was quite sure that she loved him too, even though she never actually said the words. However, regardless of how sure he was of that, the immediate fact that it was taking her so long to respond was quite disconcerting.

"Harry," she finally started to reply, "I've loved you for weeks now. I'm absolutely totally, 100% madly in love with you. Oh!"

She launched herself into his arms and they hugged tight, he buried his face in her generous curls. Then, they shared a long, passionate kiss.

"Did I tell you that Viktor came by to see me?" Harry asked when there was a pause in the kissing.

"No," Hermione answered cautiously. "Why did he come by?"

"He asked if we were engaged, and then he told me that he asked you the same thing, you had responded same as me, that we weren't, but you also refused to say that we'd never be engaged. That gave me hope."

"Oh," Hermione said knowingly. "Well, my!"

He kissed her again. "Then I started daydreaming that we shared a home together. This home. This is where I was born, and nearly died, but I wanted to fill it with better memories, with memories of a new start, a new life with a new family." He looked Hermione directly in the eye so she knew exactly what he meant. And her look back did not waver.

Hermione looked around the room again. "I'd like that. It's a fine home. Seems like a lovely town."

"There's a lot of history here. You'd love it."

"And it seems fitting that a Potter comes back to live here," Hermione added.

"Yes." Harry kissed her, glad she once again thought the same as he did. "And we're only a mile from the sea. I would have preferred a house right on the sea, like Shell Cottage, but we're in the same part of the country as Shell Cottage, and Ottery-St-Tadpole and Appley-on-the-Green. And we can Apparate or Floo to the Ministry each day if you'd like, or stay at Grimmauld Place."

Hermione's huge smile was her response.

"I have to ask you," Harry continued, asking a question that had been on his mind for months. "How did you know it was me? How did you know Hank Pilsner was me, at Appley? No one else has ever seen through my glamour before."

Hermione paused before answering. Harry could tell she was seriously considering the question.

"I don't know, I just knew. Maybe it's like that quote from the Little Prince:
'on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.'
It is only with the heart that one can see right. What is essential is invisible to the eyes."

Joy filled Harry's heart and he pulled her into another tight embrace.

Hermione laughed.

"I'm so glad I can finally say it! I love you Harry Potter! I love you so very much!"

The kiss was passionate. They each filled the kiss with all the love they had for each other. The love, the passion, the hope of a bright future. Together.

"Do you remember the coin you gave me? To remember you? To summon you?" Hermione asked when there was a pause in the kisses.

Harry, half-lidded and drunk with desire answered, "Mmmm? Yes?"

"I've kept it." Tucked in her pocket, she reached in and pulled it out, smiling as she held it up for him to see.

He smoothed it between his fingers and smiled as well. "You didn't throw it out? I was quite sure you wouldn't read the letter and just toss this, but I had to try."

She reached on tip toe and kissed the tip of his nose. "Oh, I was tempted! But, well, I read your letter and it was so wonderful, it made me think and realise I'd been a fool. It made me question everything I've thought about. It made me grow up a bit and be less prideful. And this coin, I never needed to use it, I think because lately we've always been together. But I shall hold onto it, Mr Potter." She took the coin out of his hands and put it back into her pocket. He feinted at wanting it back, reached across to her pocket and gave her a kiss.

"Miss Granger." Another kiss.

"You know why I love this coin? Not just because it came with a letter that smacked some sense into me and showed me that I had been wrong about a certain young wizard. It's because the coin is so you, and it's me as well. Look at this." She held it up again so they both could see it well. "The words: Truth, Equality and Love. Those are the most important things, aren't they? And that's how I feel as well. That's why I'm doing the work that I'm doing, and not going into research or a professorship like so many have suggested for me. But I know there's more to life than books and cleverness. And this coin represents that. And, that this coin would summon you? I had been cruel to you, but you still gave me this, you said that you'll always be available to me and you would always aid me. That is huge, Harry. It's so self-sacrificial, so kind, so…" At a loss for words, Hermione decided that even better than telling would be showing, so she planted her lips against his, an action he appeared to favour.

"You know my parents adore you." She attempted another conversation. "When you Portkeyed to France with me that time, my mother took me aside and said you were a very honourable and decent young man. I tend to agree. And my father loves how you help out with his home repair work."

"I like your parents. They're—they treat you like an adult. You can tell they love you, but give you your independence," Harry stammered a bit.

"That's good because I quite love them, too. And it helps that my boyfriend loves them," she smiled.

Harry raised an eyebrow. "Boyfriend?" he asked. "I think we're beyond that, don't you?"

"What are you suggesting, Mr Potter?" she asked with a happy smirk.

He kissed the tip of her nose. "I would think that the brightest witch of her generation would be able to figure this out."

The kiss was slow and languid, as if they had all the time in the world.

When there was a pause in the kiss, and their foreheads touched, each panting, Hermione, with a twinkle in her eye, responded, "You're my housemate then?"

After the laughter, Harry set about proving he was more than just a future housemate.

"Marriage?" Parvati and Lavender cried together. "You're getting married?"

"How wonderful," Luna added, her voice warm with affection. "We could have a double wedding. Or, maybe not," she quickly added when she saw Hermione's reaction.

"It's just that we want something small, and a long time from now. We plan to have a long engagement. We want to live together first and just enjoy being—" Hermione suddenly coughed out the word "—housemates."

Luna looked bemused while Parvati and Lavender wrinkled their noses.

"Housemates?" asked Lavender. "We're housemates. You plan to argue about who drank the last of the milk and forgot to replace it?"

"With a bloke, you'll argue about him leaving the toilet seat up," Parvati giggled. Then, she looked at Lavender. "But I doubt you'll be doing much arguing." The two began making exaggerated kissy noises at each other as Hermione considered what hex to throw at them.

"Be that as it may, I won't officially leave the house until you find another housemate. I mean, with Luna leaving as well, I feel poorly that you two will be left in a lurch—" Hermione began, but was interrupted by the other two.

"Oh, it's all settled, actually. We kind of anticipated this, so we made inquiries," began Lavender.

"And Katie Bell and Alicia Spinnet plan to move it," added Parvati.

"They travel so much, that they were looking for someplace inexpensive but fun to stay when they're in London," Lavender continued.

"And they will introduce us to more Quidditch players," concluded Parvati. Then the two of them looked at each other and said in unison, "Yum!"

"Since when did you two begin sounding like Fred and George?" asked Luna.


"Yes, married. I proposed and she accepted."

"Bloody hell, Harry, that's excellent! We're both taking the plunge!" Ron exclaimed. "This calls for Firewhisky, not butterbeers!"

The two friends were at the Leaky Cauldron relaxing after another day of work. Harry had planned to tell Ron at home, but Ron was never home. Work was too busy, so Harry suggested they have a few beers before going to see their respective girlfriends/ fiancées.

"To marriage!" Ron toasted them both.

"To us, the luckiest wizards here to have such fine witches agree to marry us," Harry responded with his own toast. In their celebration, the two Aurors failed to notice the camera that flashed until it was too late and the reporter raced out of the pub.

"Bloody hell! Why does everything in my life end up on the front page?" Harry asked in anger.

"Front page? Aren't you assuming too much? Not page three?" joked Ron.

Harry rolled his eyes and pulled out his cell phone. "I need to let Hermione know right away so she can tell everyone she needs to tell before it ends up in tomorrow's edition."

"Yes, Harry. I understand. No, it's not your fault. No, really. I've just been postponing the inevitable but now I'm forced to do it, aren't I? Luckily my parents don't get the Daily Prophet or we'd have to Portkey to France right away so you can ask them before anything gets published. Yes, I still expect you to ask my father for my hand in marriage. Yes, I'm old fashioned sometimes, we modern witches have that prerogative. See you soon, take your time with Ron; I've got to write some letters now. Love you."

Hermione ended the call with Harry and sighed. Luna, who was sitting beside her on the couch, raised an eyebrow, waiting for explanation.

"I know it's not about the false Rumtuck Boodle sighting in Wales," she said.

Hermione shook her head. "I wish that it were. No, Ron and Harry were toasting our engagements at a bar and a reporter overheard. It'll likely be in the paper tomorrow, so I need to tell everyone tonight."

"Everyone meaning Viktor. The Weasleys already know and you told everyone at work, and I'm sure Seamus spread the news among the Old Hogwartians."

Hermione sighed again. "Yes. Viktor. I feel dreadful."

Luna stood up and headed for the kitchen. "There's nothing like a good cup of tea to help settle one's mind."

Hermione frowned. "I'm not sure what to write. I mean, I know what to say, but not sure how to say it. Usually my letters are so long, I'm not sure if I should explain myself away and tell him every detail of how Harry and I just happened, or go over the good times Viktor and I have shared, but that doesn't seem right. Or should I just say it and leave it, but that seems a bit cruel. I don't know how to do this without hurting Viktor, but that isn't possible, is it?"

"Hermione, if you were Viktor, which letter would you prefer to receive? Knowing that your love is marrying someone else? What would cause you the least pain?"

Hermione thought for a moment, her body still and her head cocked to one side. And then she picked up her parchment and quill and wrote.

Dear Viktor,

I am so sorry to have to send you this letter and so quickly, but I understand the Daily Prophet will have an article about Harry and me in tomorrow's paper, and I need to tell you this soon. I would prefer to tell you in person, but unfortunately, it cannot happen that way.

Harry and I are getting married. We're in love and want to spend the rest of our lives together. I think you may have guessed this would happen when I saw you last. I do love you and consider you one of my closest, dearest friends. However, my feelings for Harry are beyond mere words. I've never felt this way before and know I never shall again.

But know this: know that I will always hold you in my heart as a warm, kind, generous man whose strength, compassion and love has few equals. And I do love you.

With love,


Hermione showed Harry the letter later that night when they were snuggled up in her room. "No secrets," she said as she handed him the parchment.

His brow wrinkled as he read the short letter. Frowning, he handed it back to her. "I don't like how often you use the word 'love'," he said.

"I love him like a brother. I love you much differently," Hermione responded and promptly demonstrated with lips and hands on skin.

"Oh gods, how you distract me! I have to post this now before it's too late." She summoned her owl and tied the parchment to its leg. "To Viktor Krum," she told the bird. "And don't wait for a response unless he needs to."

Once the bird flew away, she and Harry settled down to more snogging. Then she sat up suddenly. Again.

"Merlin, how you distract me! What were we saying? Oh! Does everyone know? We'll visit my parents this weekend, but does everyone else know?"

"Yes, we already told Teddy and Andromeda, all the Weasleys—and don't forget Molly insists on hosting a celebration dinner for us—work, classmates, you've told your friends in France?" Seeing Hermione's nod, he continued, "I'd like to tell McGonagall in person since she practically set us up that day."

"What a wonderful day that was! Could be my best day ever," she said.

"Yes, the first time we had sex. Best day with more to come."

"More than sex happened that day, Harry Potter. Oh! How did Reilly take it?"

"Very 'I told you so'. Padma and Neville?"

"The same. Oh, did you speak to Ginny and Draco?" Hermione asked tentatively.

"Yes, actually. She was visiting Ron, so I told her. She's actually quite happy for us. She's madly in love with Malfoy, and he's happy for us, too."

"I'm still getting used to them as a couple," admitted Hermione.

Harry laughed. "Yes, their parents feel the same way as well. I can't believe the Weasleys and the Malfoys are now in-laws!"

The headline read: "The Chosen One has Chosen: Wizarding World's Hottest Bachelor Chooses Former Beauxbatons Student, Hermione Granger, as His Future Wife."

"Could be much worse," Luna said as the housemates read the paper over breakfast.

"I notice they actually printed nice photos of me this time. I guess Harry gave them a talking to."

"So, I hate to combine work and pleasure, but is the Quibbler going to post anything? And you know that whatever you need, we'll give you the exclusive," Hermione said.

Luna smiled. "I had a feeling you'd say that. I'm scheduling an interview with you both at 11am today and he Quibbler wants your engagement photos."

Hermione gave her friend a quick kiss on the cheek. "Anything for you. Have you told Harry?"

"Sent him an owl this morning. He already responded. What a morning person you're marrying!"

"He's only a morning person if he has to be. Oh dear, here they start!"

Owls began arriving at their window. Hermione had never received so many owls in her life, more than when she dated Viktor and that dreadful photo of her looking a stone heavier and hair bushier than usual appeared in the local paper.

"I'll get out some water and treats for them," Luna called as she went to fetch said items.

"If I'm getting this many, Harry must be getting more," Hermione thought out loud. She went to the fireplace.

"Harry! Are you there? Did you see the paper? Are you getting owls?"

"Yes to both. Mind if I pop over?" her fiancé responded.

"Yes, please do," Hermione answered, and she soon found herself with a soot-covered handsome wizard.

"I don't know why I can't ever seem to make a graceful entrance via Floo," he muttered, dusting himself. Hermione performed a quick spell to remove all the soot. "Oh, hullo, thanks for that." She gave him a kiss. "And that, too."

They held hands as she led him to the growing pile of parchment and owls.

"Should I be worried about anything other than howlers?" Hermione asked cautiously. "I was thinking of doing a spell to detect dark magic, but thought I might be a bit paranoid."

"No, you're not paranoid, you're quite clever. Here's a spell Ron and I use ourselves at home." Harry held out his wand and did an incantation Hermione was only vaguely familiar with.

"Oh, that's a good one! I'll have to remember that. How are you? I'm sure you have more posts than me."

"Yes, and I'm ignoring them all. Somebody eventually will decide I should at least read the ones from friends, but everyone I'm close to already knows, so I feel fine just ignoring them," Harry replied.

"Clever boy. But you know I'll be sorting through mine and yours eventually."

He kissed her cheek. "Yes, I expected that. Did Luna tell you about the interview?"

"Yes, are you free?"

"For Luna, yes. Have you decided what to say?"

"The truth, but only as much as I'll share with total strangers. You?"

"The same."

Parvati and Lavender arrived in the living room at the same time, rubbing sleep from their eyes, which widened considerably upon seeing Harry Potter before them.

"Harry Potter! It's a bit early, isn't it? Sleep over, did you?" asked Parvati.

"Wonderful, those silencing charms," added Lavender.

"They're like Fred and George," muttered Harry aloud.

"Oh! Look at all the owls! For you, Hermione? Oh! The paper! They announced your engagement, didn't they?"

"May I?" Lavender started scanning the posts. "You don't know a Mrs Eleanor Gobstop of New Ferry, or Mr Horace Henfield of Devonshire?"

"Or Miss Wilma Ruggles of Hull?"

"No to them all. I'll look at them later," answered Hermione. "I have to finish getting ready."

"You're not wearing that, are you?" asked Lavender as she eyed Hermione's simple skirt and blouse.

"Well, these are clothes on my body, so the answer is affirmative," Hermione replied smartly.

"Well." The posts ignored, Lavender and Parvati began circling Hermione. "Since this is your first day out in public since the announcement," Parvati began.

"And you know the reporters and photographers will be out," continued Lavender.

"You really ought to look your best. And this is not your best," finished Parvati.

Hermione shot Harry a look and he held up his hands in surrender as a response. "I'm not getting involved in this at all."

"Come along, Hermione. We'll fix you up! Periwinkle blue suits you better. And the grey skirt, the slinky one. Shows off your legs," Lavender said as the two lead Hermione towards her closet.

"And let's tame your hair a bit, shall we?" Parvati added.

Hermione mouthed Help me, to Harry who only laughed and went to make himself a cup of tea.

Half an hour later, Hermione emerged looking like herself, but in more amendable colours and styles.

"We've decided that you need a stylist," Lavender said.

"And a publicist. You two are pretty thick when it comes to the press," continued Parvati.

"And we can help you. We've read enough gossip magazines to know what to do—"

"And not to do," finished Parvati.

Hermione looked at Harry. He looked amused by it all. Not angry, not sullen, just like a laugh was about to explode and he was trying to hold it in. How he had changed from that sullen brooding man at the Puddlemere gala! She could only smile in response.

"I guess we could accept some consultation on an as-needed basis," she replied warily.

"If you keep us true to ourselves," added Harry.

The two newly-appointed publicist/ stylists clapped their hands in glee. "Oh! Excellent! We heard Luna is doing an interview today. We'll be there. Luna! A word!" called out Lavender as she and Parvati headed for the kitchen where their fourth roommate was last seen.

Alone again, Harry gave his fiancée a hug. "Whatever have we gotten ourselves into?"

"I wouldn't think you'd appreciate aiding the engine known as the press," mocked Hermione in lofty tones.

"Nor you. But, I figure it won't be for long. I'm sure some scandal will come along to chase us off the front pages."

"And relegate us to the back pages?"

"Or none at all, hopefully."

"Once we're in Godric's Hollow, it'll be much quieter."

"And I'd rather be in the press for stopping bad guys," said Harry.

"Or passing laws for the rights of magical beings," added Hermione.

Harry paused, and looked at his love deeply in the eyes. He suddenly saw a life with her. A life filled with love, with hope, with children, with warm companionship, lust and love, with shared dreams and ambitions, with common friends and interests. Together. Forever.

"Birth announcements," Harry said quietly.

Hermione's eyebrows raised in surprise, but she smiled. "Yes. Our wedding and our children's children."

"An announcement that magical creatures are given full rights thanks mostly to Hermione Granger-Potter."

"And how Harry Potter found and imprisoned the last of the Death Eaters."

"And their children headed off to Hogwarts."

"To be Sorted into Ravenclaw"

"And Gryffindor."

"And Hufflepuff."

"And they played Quidditch and received top marks and were very well loved by their parents."

"Who continued to stay out of the public eye as much as possible, spending time with friends and family in an undisclosed location—"

"—by the sea."

"By the sea."

"And they grew old together, happy in their quiet lives. Walking along the beach holding hands as the winds blew in the salty fresh air."

"And she would still kiss him every moment she could. Even forty years into their marriage."

"Or fifty years. Or sixty."

"—Until one day when they are quite old and after they had seen their children and children's children and their children grow up, that they would one day not wake up but slip from this world, and fade into the next."

He silenced her. "Together. Their love is what matters."

She smiled. Her heart, her home, her love was all in him. "Together."

The End.

Please read and leave your final review!

That's it. This is the story I envisioned and wrote winter/spring/summer of 2010. Before DH Part 1 movie was released.

Background/Muggle Historical references:

I envisioned the role of Muggle-born in wizarding France like African Americans in France during segregation; that France would be a place without the restrictions and prejudices of their native country

The Beauxbatons students who joined to fight Voldemort, I was influenced by the French resistance during World War ll, in particular La Croix de Lorraine, the symbol of the Free French Forces, the group led by Charles de Gaulle. The cross is named after Joan of Arc's and was used as their answer to the Nazi swastika.

Hermione's friend, Marguerite, was named after a saint who spoke to Joan of Arc, Saint Margaret. Marguerite's surname is Saint Denis, after another patron saint of France who was martyred.

HUGE thank you to DeeMichelle for beta'ing me. She doesn't do HHr so I'm especially grateful that she agreed to spend so much time and energy on this fic, especially when we both have big RL commitments as well.

And thank you for all the readers and especially the reviewers. I have never received this many hits before for anything I had written! I'm thrilled and honoured, and glad that others found this story appealing as well. I just write for myself, then wonder if others would like it, too.

So, I'm not planning any more fanfiction at all at the moment. I participated in National Novel

Writing Month last November and really loved creating my own original characters and stories, so I'll be focusing on that in the near future. If anything comes of it, I will certainly post a note in my Bio. But bear in mind I only became a HHr fanfic reader fall of 2009, and when I registered into Portkey as an ickle firstie, I said I wouldn't be writing any HHr fanfiction. Another case of never say never.

Regardless, huge thanks everyone! I've really enjoyed writing this fic and especially reading the reviews. I've written for two fandoms now and I feel best about this fic in particular (probably since it combines my loves of Harry Potter and Jane Austen). I'm glad to see others enjoy the blend as well. And it's a welcome break from my angsty one-shots.

See you on and HarryHermione Livejournal sites.