Disclaimer - Both Buffy and Harry Potter are the intellectual properties of other people, sadly. This is just for fun!
Harry stretched as he stepped from the back seat of the rented SUV and into the warm Southern California sunshine. Turning, he reached up and helped his best friend and girlfriend of one week, Hermione Granger, from the car. Looking around he saw Hermione's parents, Dan and Emma, as well as his Godfather Sirius Black, also working out the kinks in their bodies from the long drive that followed the especially long flight from London. Hand in hand, Harry and Hermione slowly walked to the sidewalk where the adults were gathering. As he waited for the adults to make their decisions, Harry thought back to the past few weeks and how much his life had changed so quickly.
-Flashback: Train Ride: End of Fourth Year-
In a daze Harry followed Hermione, Ron and Ginny as they found an empty compartment on the train back to London. Just days before he had witnessed the death of someone who he had started to feel close to calling a friend, a title that Harry had learnt long ago not to give away without serious contemplation. Since watching Cedric Diggory die and the rebirth of Voldemort, Harry has been feeling more and more that Hogwarts, and the magical world it is a part of, can just go to Hell. It is during this musing that a timid voice interrupts the silence Harry had formed around himself.
"Harry?" Ginny Weasley tentatively asked, reaching out a hand to get his attention. Harry turned to look at her, the sadness in his eyes causing her to gasp slightly, a questioning look in his eyes. "Can I talk to you about something?"
Harry nods slightly in response, causing Ginny to look around the compartment, as if to check it was still empty, what with Hermione leaving to argue with the Twins about testing their products on the younger kids on the train and Ron being dragged along since he was their brother. After taking a deep breath, Ginny began.
"I'm not sure how much you know about Pureblood customs, and I know that you don't care much for them" Ginny began, getting a confirming nod from him. "But there is one part of the customs that I need to discuss with you, since it deals with our life debt."
"What life-debt?" Harry interrupted in a quiet but rough voice
"When you killed the Basilisk, you saved my life with no regard to your own, it caused a life-debt to form between us. Basically, I owe you for saving my life" Ginny stated, raising her hand in a placating gesture upon seeing the unease in his eyes. "I know you are noble enough not to ever call me on it Harry, but I need you to right now."
"I don't understand." Harry began only to be interrupted.
"Harry, I need to tell you something, something vital, but I can't because it contradicts vows that I have made and been forced into making to keep them secret. The only way to tell you this information is to have you use your life-debt to force me to tell you." Ginny said. Seeing the disbelief in his expression, she continued. "The magic involved counteracts the vows and will allow me to tell you exactly what I need to without suffering for it and I need you do ask me before Ron gets back."
Seeing the determination on her face, and curious as to why Ron couldn't be there, Harry asked "How do I use the debt? If I ask this of you, we're even?"
"From my research into life-debts, and after talking to Hermione who looked into it after your first year, if you ask me to complete the debt owed to you by telling you exactly that which I want to tell you, it will let me tell you and complete the debt, as long as the information I am forced to give is life-altering and trust me, this is! I've written down what you need to ask." Ginny said nervously as she handed him the parchment.
"Wait, wait wait.. Why would Hermione be looking into life-debts in first year?" Harry asked causing Ginny to fidget slightly. "Did you or did you not rescue Hermione from a Troll?" stated Ginny after she regained her confidence.
Harry sighed as he thought morosely to himself while reading the parchment. This is turning out to be a much more complicated train journey than I expected.
"OK. Ginevra Molly Weasley, in accordance with the life-debt owed to me for saving your life in the Chamber of Secrets, tell me what you think I need to know that you cannot tell me due to magical vow. Due to this being a life-debt, I release you from the punishment normally brokered for breaking those vows, so mote it be!" Harry stated as a flash of light shined through the cabin and Ginny broke down in tears. Harry, slightly panicking now, as he was never good with crying girls, reached out to provide her a supporting pat on the shoulder. "Did I say it wrong?" Harry asked nervously.
Getting control of herself, Ginny sighed and calmed down. "No, it worked. Right, important stuff first. Harry, I don't know how to say this so I'm just going to blurt it out, my mum's been slipping you love potions."
Harry stared at Ginny, his face stoney in it's lack of emotional response. "Explain."
"I found out just before the 3rd task. I saw my mum talking to Ron in a classroom near the Great Hall and overheard what they were planning. They caught me listening and assumed I was on their side since they thought I was still crushing on you. They forced me to swear a family oath before I could leave. They were talking about the plan and how you weren't responding to the potions that they'd been slipping you all year... and neither was Hermione."
Harry stood up, his eyes flashing and his body radiating power. "They were giving Hermione love potions!" Harry thundered, his anger palpable.
Ginny stood also and blocked the door "Harry, calm down and let me finish. I need to tell you this before Ron and Hermione get back."
Harry sat back down on the edge of the seat, his body tense.
"I overheard them talking about how you and Hermione were not responding and how mum was worried about how close you were to Hermione and how it would ruin the plan Dumbledore had set out for you. Harry, he's been playing you since your parents died! And Mum has been involved, Ron too! He knows about how you get treated by your *grr* relatives and, Harry I think he's been stealing from your vaults."
Harry had been getting madder and madder as he sat there, listening to his former best friend's little sister break down all remaining resistance he felt towards getting the hell out of the wizarding world when he got caught on something. "Vaults? Ginny, I only have one vault."
Ginny glanced at the door, making sure no one was trying to get in. "Harry, the Potter's were one of the most respected and richest families in our world. Most likely the vault you are accessing is your Trust Vault that your parents set up for your schooling. I know for a fact that you have at least one other vault as the Weasleys are just one of many families that are supported by the Potter School Trust. It's been active for generations and helps some families, of all backgrounds, with school costs. I saw an acceptance of support letter that was addressed to Dad when the Twins left for school."
A knock on the door caused both Harry and Ginny to jump. Looking up they saw Hermione looking in, a questioning look on her face. Harry noticed a slightly sad expression in her eyes. Ginny turned back to Harry. "Harry, you need to go to Gringotts as soon as possible in order to claim your family holdings. When you get there, ask for an inheritance test, as they will also test for potions and compulsions, Bill told me all about it when I asked." Ginny stood up and walked towards the door. Before opening it, she turned back to Harry. "And take Hermione with you, she needs to get the potions in her system flushed out. I'm going to let her in and you need to explain what happened while I distract Ron with the Twins. They're on your side too, by the way."
Ginny opened the door, letting a frustrated Hermione in and before she could get started with the complaint of having to wait outside, Harry called out, waiting for her to turn around. "Ginny? Thanks."
With a nod, Ginny left and shut the door, grabbing Ron and walking away, his complaints drowned out by the Chocolate Frog she shoved in his hands, which was then shoved down his throat.
A locking and silencing charm later and Harry turned to a very confused Hermione.
"We have a lot to talk about."
- California -
Harry glanced over to his Girlfriend, a thought that still caused him to break out in goosebumps at times, appreciatively taking in her attire while she leant against both the car and him. After the emotionally tiring conversation on the train, Harry and Hermione both took stock of their life and what was important to them.
-Back on the train, a week previous -
Leaning against each other on the seat, hands intertwined, Harry couldn't stop looking at their joined hands. Glancing slightly over at Hermione, he noticed that she was looking at the same place. Sensing his movement, Hermione looked up at Harry, realizing that their faces were inches apart. As per usual, their eyes and expressions were telling a story all their own, as they worked out what was going on between them without words. After a few minutes of this Harry, figuring out that she was waiting for his move, leaned in slowly and purposefully, giving Hermione all the chances in the world to react negatively. Her eyes widenied at his approach, Hermione then closed hers and leant in herself. Then, the faintest of pressure on her lips was felt and inside Hermione soared with emotions she couldn't even begin to process. Opening her eyes again Hermione reached up and caressed Harry's face, causing him to open his eyes too. Seeing nothing but happiness and love in those eyes made Hermione's heart skip as they leaned in again.
This time the kiss was solid and passionate, Hermione's hands moving up to caress Harry's face and his getting tangled up in her wild hair. The room filled with a faint glow, the beginnings of a bond forming between the two friends. As they broke apart, both knew their lives had changed, for the better this time. Ever the voice of reason, Hermione spoke up. "Harry? What.."
Harry interrupted Hermione's questioning with another kiss, this one equalling the last in passion at least, if not more. "Hermione, will you be my girlfriend?"
A smile to end all smiles broke out on Hermione's face. "Yes!" Hermione whispered before leaning in again. This time Harry felt the faintest stroke of her tongue asking for admittance to his mouth, which he happily allowed in. A sudden series of knocks at the door caused them to jump in surprise and blush heavily as they glanced up and saw Ginny in the window, a smile on her face. Ginny showed her hand, flashing five fingers, three times, letting them know they had 15 minutes before they would be having company.
Straightening themselves out Hermione stood up to open the door for their friend, one of the only ones either of them thought they still had after the revelations about Ron. Before she could open the door, Harry stopped her.
"Hermione, we need to plan a trip to Gringotts as soon as possible. Do you think we could get your parents to take both of us straight from Kings Cross? Hopefully avoiding my relatives?" Harry asked, a pleading quality to his questions.
Hermione smiled. "Of course Harry, we need to get these potions out of our systems. If I feel this strongly about you when I am supposedly dosed up to love Ron, I can't wait to see how I feel about you without them in my system!"
A bright smile broke Harry's face, the most honest and open smile Hermione had ever seen on him, as he stood up and grasped both her hands. "Hermione, the last hour with you has taken what has been the worst week of my life and given me hope for the future, for our future. With you by my side, we can do anything." Harry stated, passion evident in his voice.
It's moments like this that make me realize that my Harry will be the best wizard of our generation. Hermione thought.
"Let's get Ginny in here so she knows we don't hate her. I don't know what I'm going to do to Ron when I see him though, it's going to be tough not to turn him into a weasel!" Hermione stated passionately. "We will need to keep us between the three of us, at least until after we visit the bank, what do you think?"
"I agree. Even though I want to shout it from the rooftops and run around the train letting everyone know just how I feel about you, I don't want to deal with Ron's jealousy, especially when I want to kill him for trying to potion you!" Harry stated, venom evident in his voice.
Squeezing his hands, Hermione turned and opened the door, allowing Ginny to come in.
"I see you've talked then?" Ginny asks with a smirk evident in her voice and smile, causing them both to blush again. "You're going to sort yourselves out at the bank, yes?"
Giving affirmative nods, all three sat back comfortably, satisfied that they had figured out what needed to be done. Of course, all good things come to an end.
Barging into the compartment, Ron sat down in a huff, completely oblivious to all three glares that were heading his way. "Chess anyone?"
- California -
And that leads us to here, Harry thought as he followed his Godfather and girlfriend's parents down the sidewalk to the house they were going to, still hand in hand, a small goofy smile playing on his lips as he squeezed their joint hands, receiving a squeeze back, causing his smile to broaden. After narrowly avoiding his relatives, and that was a loose association that they both barely allowed, and convincing Hermione's parents to take them both to Gringotts bank, stressing the importance of the visit, Harry was shocked at what they found. Love potions, compulsion charms, loyalty charms, blocked magic, stealing money, a rather vague prophecy and, most shockingly, a part of Voldemort in his head! For Hermione it was love potions and loyalty charms, not that it wasn't enough to have just those! However, most shockingly, was what happened after they had gotten all those issues resolved.
- Gringotts Bank, UK -
Harry sat in shock, his body numb as the director of the bank looked upon the small group sitting in his office, the biggest bombshell of the day having just been dropped. Hermione was gripping his hand so hard he felt it might fall off, the pain welcome as it allowed him to keep in mind that he wasn't dreaming.
Laughter suddenly filled the room and they both turned in shock to see Dan Granger almost falling off his seat. Once he realized that not only was everyone staring at him but both his wife and daughter were glaring at him, he sobered up quickly. "I'm sorry, Director Ragnok, this has been a day full of shocks. I find it hard to believe what you say, especially after what we just went through with the potions and charms set on my daughter and her friend. How can we know what you say is true?"
Both Emma and Hermione nodded approvingly to Dan's well thought out response and turned back to Ragnok, waiting his response. "No apologies necessary Mr. Granger, I am not sure how I would have reacted if I was in your place. We have a couple of ways to prove what I claim, although if you could see what we Goblins see you would not need to ask."
"My apologies Director, but what do you mean?" Emma asked, not sure what he was trying to say.
Director Ragnok looked at the four humans sitting in his office, happy to see that these humans were a reasonable sort. His dealings in both the wizarding and mundane worlds, Goblins refused to use the word Muggle, have shown that the Mundane born had a much higher tolerance for those different to themselves. He saw honor in this room, strength of character, and Ragnok wanted the Goblins in on the ground floor, so to speak.
"When a couple bond, for whatever reason, they emit, for lack of a better word, a glow about themselves and their partner. This is especially true when they have skin contact." Ragnok stated, indicating the two young people in the room and their joint hands. "Mr. Potter and Ms. Granger are practically blinding." Ragnok stated with a Goblin smile on his face, causing the young teens to blush. "No need to worry about it, it is a joyous occasion when a soul bond is formed and I, for one, am blessed to witness it forming before my eyes. In the Ministry there is a book that records all bondings that we can access. Gringotts is usually the only ones who uses the book but treaty keeps it in the Ministry."
Harry and Hermione turned to each other and a small, shy smile appeared on each of their faces as their eyes locked. Hermione's parents both saw this and smiled at each other, happy to see that being a Witch didn't change hormones or feelings beyond what they could deal with. And a teenager falling for their best friend was something they could deal with from experience.
"Director Ragnok?" Hermione began respectfully, "What do you mean by Soul Bond?"
"Straight to the point Ms. Granger, I see Filius wasn't overstating how smart you are." Ragnok said, causing Hermione to smile. "A Soul Bond is one of the rarest and most complete of bonds in the magical world. I believe the mundane term Soul Mates would be applicable here. The bond is so rare that I cannot say exactly what you will experience in your bond with Mr. Potter but there have been records of being able to communicate with your bonded in your minds or be able to travel wherever your bondmate is similar to apparation. The last recorded bondmates even had similar Animagus forms. This is rarely charted territory you are traveling on here Ms. Granger and I for one cannot wait to see what research you come up with."
Harry smiled at Hermione at this. "If there is something that needs to be found Director Ragnok, my Hermione will find it." He stated proudly, causing Dan and Emma to both smile at them and nod in agreement. Hermione's blush was at epic proportions, but that was dimmed by the brilliance of her smile directed at Harry. Turning back to the director, Hermione asked "What does this mean for us?"
"In the mundane world, nothing, although it would now be extremely easy for the Grangers to petition for guardianship of Mr. Potter, something the bank can fast track. In the Wizarding world, however, it means you are both legally adults and will have the benefits of that status. Once the bond is completed, you will be married." Ragnok said, enjoying the shocked looks again on their faces.
Harry and Hermione both looked at each other again, their looks speaking volumes, not a word being said. Dan and Emma could barely process what was just said, their daughter married so young. However, they could both see the love and closeness that they teens shared as they nodded and turned back to Ragnok.
"How do you complete the bond, Director?" Harry asked, with Hermione nodding in agreement with the question.
Director Ragnok smiled again, a smile that was calculating. "Find the third member of your bond, Mr. Potter, and it will complete."
A shocked silence filled the room. "I'm sorry Director, third member?" Dan asked, being the only person in the room who could formulate a sentence, let alone a question.
"Yes Dr. Granger, third member. As I said before, we Goblins can see bonds, it's like a form of mage sight. The bond displayed by your daughter and her intended is bright, one of the brightest of any bond I have seen, but it is incomplete. There is a third aspect of the bond that has not been established yet. Once you find that person, the bond will finalize. It is rare for a bond to have more than two components, especially a Soul Bond, but magic does things for a reason."
"Director Ragnok, I don't want to find another person, I am happy, more than I could ever expect with the way my life has gone already, with Hermione." Harry stated proudly, gaining a squeeze from Hermione and smiles from her parents as well as a nod from the director.
"Magic is everywhere Mr. Potter. It is in the air we breathe and the ground we walk upon and within us all; Magical, Mundane, Goblin, Elf, the list goes on. You and Ms. Granger can, and hopefully will, live a full and happy life together and your bond will still most likely be the stuff of legends. You asked how the bond can be completed and I provided that answer. That is not to say you have to complete it, just how it works. That being said, without the third member, the bond will not be as strong as it could be." Ragnok said. "You may live your entire life and not meet this person. I told you of the possibility so you knew all the facts and also, so if it does happen, you will both be aware of what it means. A Soul Bond is established with a touch and finalized with a kiss. You both will be able to know instinctively who the third is if one of you makes skin contact, like shaking hands. It will be up to you then to decide what to do with that information."
Harry and Hermione both glanced back at her parents and saw confusion but also acceptance from the Doctor's Granger. With a nod and a smile Harry suddenly felt the acceptance and love he always had wanted from the Dursleys, even if he subconsciously hadn't expected it since he was 5. An hour later and all the necessary forms had been completed to give Harry and Hermione all the necessary rights and privileges of an adult, including access to his many vaults. Internally thanking Ginny for the information that she gave him, starting this whole process, as well as diverting the money Dumbledore had stolen and given to Ron to Ginny instead, considering Harry was rich enough to afford it, Harry asked for a private room, so the Grangers plus Harry could discuss their future. A future Harry was thinking was much more positive than when he was at Hogwarts.
- California -
Standing outside the non-descript detached house on the non-descript street in the small town in Southern California they had, for lack of a better word, fled to, Hermione was still in a perpetual state of shock. Bonded! Potentially a third person could join that bond! Betrayed by their best friend! By the so-called Leader of the Light too! They'd been stealing from her Harry. Her Harry, Hermione sighed, I can't believe I can say that and it be true.
Her parents had sold the home she grew up in and the business they had built from the ground up in order to save her and her boyfriend? bondmate? husband? Hermione couldn't think of the right word to use, since they all gave her a warm feeling inside, although she would reveal under pressure that Husband sounded just lovely. Dobby and Winky, after bonding with them under a contract where they would get paid a salary and have time off, had packed up the house so quickly it lead her father to having more than one scotch that night, something that after the day they all had even she had been interested in something to settle the nerves!
Sirius had met them off the plane at Los Angeles International airport, looking surprisingly clean and well fed from his travels and drove them out to this small town, to her cousin's house. Well, her mother's cousin's house. Hermione thought as she looked at Harry again, seeing that stupid grin that had been on his face most of the last couple of days, especially after a sold kissing session! A squeeze to the hand got his attention, which made the smile brighten and widen, followed by a cheeky wink, which left Hermione slightly shocked. Without all those potions, charms and that damn piece of Voldemort in his scar, Harry is much happier. Hermione thought, even though she knew it was mainly due to the fact their hands had been joined for the majority of time since they left Gringotts, even if she wouldn't admit it publicly.. yet!
Her mother's knock on the door in front of them brought her back to reality. A few moments later the door opened showing a tall, smiling man with his arm around a young girl about Hermione and Harry's age. "Ems!" he shouted as he threw his arms around her mother, the teenager smiling fondly at her father's happiness. The man pulled back and was introduced to everyone as John Madison and his daughter Amy.
Smiling at everyone, his arm back around his happy daughter's shoulders. "Welcome to Sunnydale, California!"
- End Chapter One -
I chose the end of Fourth year for this story as that should co-inside with the end of what is Freshman year of high school in America, and therefore being the summer between 4th and 5th years, puts their arrival in Sunnydale at just before the start of the first season of Buffy (as long as you imagine that they are running at the same time, which they are in this story and damn reality!)
This will be a Harry/Hermione/Buffy story, will follow season 1 of Buffy and year 5 in Hogwarts at the same time, even if Harry and Hermione aren't there, we will still have the fallout of their not arriving, the results of their stopping Dumbledore's plans and how Ginny, Luna and Neville will lead Hogwarts with Umbridge showing up (no reason why that would change)