The Present

Chapter One – From Zero to Bitch in 3.4 Seconds

1045 gdt 19 September, 2009 Maxine's - London

It really was a perfect late summer, early autumn day in London. The sun was shining; the weather was perfect for a Saturday brunch. Glancing down at her watch, Hermione Granger sighed and shook her head, wondering if the witch she was supposed to have met at ten would, in fact, ever arrive. Considering it was Ginny Weasley who had asked for this meeting, one could always hope.

As she looked up, she noticed a bit of a ruckus near the entrance. Taking a quick glance down at the simple jeans skirt she was wearing, she chuckled as Ginny Weasley approached in a very obvious designer outfit; right down to the three-inch heels she was perilously navigating the cobblestones of the open-air café in.

As Ginny approached, Hermione stood to greet the red-haired witch. "Ginny, it's good to see you again." Smiling warmly, Hermione took in the decidedly hard look around her old friend's eyes as she reached out to take her hand. Seeing the quick look of dismissal that crossed the younger witch's face before she dialed up a smile, Hermione covered a smirk with her hand.

"Honestly, it's insane out there. You couldn't know the problems I have getting around town these days." Brushing her hand across Hermione's, Ginny say her bags down and leaned forward to press her cheek against the older witch's. "It's been much too long since we've had a chance to talk."

"I do seem to remember a couple of times, a few years ago, it was a mob scene for any of us to try to go anywhere in wizarding London." Chuckling, she smiled at the look on Ginny's face. "I can still remember the time Harry and I had to have George set off some fireworks so we could escape from Flourish & Blott's with our purchases intact."

"Yes, well, fortunately Harry isn't stuck keeping you safe any longer." Seating herself, Ginny picked up the menu. "Honestly, the service here is dreadful. I've been waiting forever. Didn't they realize that my reservations were for ten sharp?"

"Candice has been very good at keeping my coffee coming, so far." Rolling her eyes a bit, Hermione looked over and nodded to the server who was standing off to the side. "Here she comes, I think she was just giving you a chance to get situated and have a look at the menu."

Shifting in her seat and glaring at the approaching server, Ginny shook her head. "Then they should have been ready. Honestly, how often does a place like this get someone like myself coming in here?" Hermione was just nodding to the young witch when she continued. "I'll make certain Harry and I never come back if the rest of the morning is this bad."

Suppressing the urge to glare at Ginny, Hermione smiled at the server. "Candice, I know I usually get something a bit more substantial, but today I'll settle for the scones and jam along with some more of this excellent coffee." Without giving the server a chance to reply, Ginny jumped in.

"Yes, yes. The chef salad will be fine for me. Along with some tea, if it's not too much trouble." Shaking her head as the young witch went to turn the orders in, Ginny sighed noisily. "Honestly, I'm really not certain what anyone sees in this place, anymore."

"Other than the fact the food is usually excellent, the service good, and it's off the beaten path far enough that it's not overrun with people all the time, I can't imagine." Hermione replied drolly. Seeing the exasperated look on Ginny's face, she shrugged.

"You did ask."

"This is totally the wrong kind of place to see and be seen anymore." Shaking her head, Ginny glanced around; apparently annoyed that no one was paying her the slightest bit of attention. "A few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to sit for two minutes without someone coming up for an autograph, or a reporter sneaking in trying to get a photograph of the table."

"Well, I suppose a bit of that might have been because you were usually here with Harry." Blinking at the distressed look on Ginny's face, Hermione smiled as a platter of scones appeared on the table. Ginny's salad arrived a few seconds later.

"Something I said?"

"Actually, that's what I wanted to talk to you about." Seeing the confused look on Hermione's face, Ginny frowned. "Harry? My currently sulking not quite boyfriend?" Shaking her head, Ginny sighed. "You do remember him, don't you?"

Arching an eyebrow, Hermione picked up a scone and began to apply some butter and preserves to the warm bread. "Well, if you're talking about Harry Potter, the wizard you tried to publicly humiliate and 'dump' in front of everyone at Chameleon's last February, I do." Seeing the scowl on Ginny's face deepen, she shrugged. "Care for a scone, they're gooseberry?"

"Please, I'll have enough of that once Harry and I get back together. Between those horrid gooseberries and the treacle tart, I'm surprised the boy isn't the size of his cousin." Chuckling, Ginny began toying with her salad, missing the look on Hermione's face.

"The 'boy' just turned 29, not to mention he's been Chief Auror for almost two years now. I think we could give him a bit of credit for that." Sitting back in her chair, Hermione watched Ginny closely as she kept playing with the salad in front of her. "And what's this twaddle about getting back together with Harry. You sounded very definite that you were done with him that night."

"Please, I was just tired of waiting for Harry to get off his arse and propose. I decided that I needed to do something to get him moving." Seeing the shocked look on Hermione's face, Ginny started giggling. "I can't believe you'd think I'd let Harry go. I just had to teach him a lesson so he'd know he can't take me for granted."

"Screeching at him like a fishwife during Dean's birthday party is hardly what I would consider a proper motivational speech." Trying to keep her temper under control, Hermione smiled thinly. "And Harry wasn't even there with you that night, actually he hadn't been anywhere with you since over a month before Christmas, which made the entire incident particularly galling." Shaking her head, Hermione sighed.

"Which is exactly why he deserved it. Imagine it, ignoring me after that lame 'we've moved in different directions' speech he tried back in November. The first time I see him in public, he was there with someone else. Probably some wallflower auror groupie hoping that Harry would frisk her or something." Thinking back to that night, Ginny nodded.

"You were there that night. Did you notice which little slag he was there with?" Looking inordinately pleased with herself, Ginny took a sip of her tea and sighed.

"It's been long enough, I'm going to take pity on him and rescue him from his exile from wizarding society and graciously take him back." Seeing the disbelieving look on Hermione's face, she nodded. "Of course, after he's been properly remorseful."

Sitting quietly for almost a minute, Hermione looked up at Ginny and shook her head. "Ginny, what makes you think Harry wants to be 'taken back'?"

"Please? Who else is there? It's not as if he's going to spend the rest of his life moping around Grimmauld Place, waiting for you to come by and help him raise Teddy, do you?"

Laughing, Ginny picked up the napkin and wiped her eyes. "He hasn't been seen at any of our old haunts since I dropped him for Blaise, so he should be just about ready to accept the fact that we're destined to be together."

A small smile played across Hermione's lips as she picked up a scone and began daintily putting butter on it. "And how is the ever popular Mr. Zabini? I seem to remember something about him being in the American tabloids last month? Arching her eyebrow, Hermione watched as Ginny blushed faintly.

"I told Daddy that it was all some sort of silly misunderstanding." Shaking her head, she rolled her eyes. "You know how those Americans are, totally clueless about proper behavior and hopelessly provincial."

"From those pictures, Blaise and Gregory Goyle certainly seemed to be having a wonderful time out there in San Francisco." Smirking, Hermione shrugged. "Who knew Blaise was a closet Village People fan?"

Seeing the blank look on Ginny's face, Hermione chuckled. "Still, I would think carrying on with the notorious Mr. Zabini wouldn't be the best way to get Harry's attention back."

"Honestly, it's wonderful." Smirking, Ginny preened for a second, as if posing for an imaginary camera. "We've been in Witch Weekly every week since I left that night with him, and we're in the Prophet almost as often. It couldn't be more perfect." Looking around, Ginny saw that no one seemed to be paying them too much attention, so she leaned across the table, and whispered.

"And the great thing is Blaise is such a perfect gentleman, I've only had to slap him down a couple of times. Honestly, I'm not certain what Daphne was always carping about in school." Shaking her head, she smiled and sat back in her chair.

"Some people change as they get older." Hermione replied enigmatically. "But, still, since Harry doesn't read the Prophet any longer and you'd have to put him in a full body bind to get him to look at a copy of that other rag, I can't see how your plan has a very good chance of succeeding."

"Since when? We always had both delivered to the house when I was there. Even when you were living at Grimmauld Place, it was like that." Shaking her head, Ginny glared at her. "And since when have you called Witch Weekly a rag? It's a highly respected publication."

Laughing, Hermione sat back and stared at Ginny in disbelief. "You're actually serious? It's nothing but salacious gossip, dodgy advice, and hideously overdone fashion layouts. One of the interns in the office reads it religiously, and I wouldn't trust the girl with a coffee order, much less legal research." Shaking her head, Hermione smiled as Ginny began turning a classic shade of Weasley Red.

"Dodgy advice? I'll have you know that they have some very well-respected witches writing columns for them."

"Such as?" Trying not to smirk, Hermione rolled her eyes. "From what I've been told, most of their 'writers' use a nom de plume to keep anyone from connecting them with the twaddle printed there."

"For your information, Pansy and I have been sharing a column for the past year and a half." Smirking at the look on Hermione's face, Ginny nodded for emphasis. "We're the two behind the Potter Prowl column that's been so popular."

"Ginny, that's incredible." Shaking her head at the beatific smile on the younger witch's face, Hermione feigned being shocked, though she had learned about the authorship of that wretched gossip column last fall when Harry told her.

"I can't actually believe you would have anything to do with something like that." Shaking her head in disbelief, Hermione thought back to how irate Harry would get anytime anyone even mentioned that ridiculous column. "Did Harry know you had anything to do with that?"

"Oh please. Harry is totally clueless to those dreadful fangirls throwing themselves all over him. He really wouldn't have cared one way or the other about that." Smirking, she nodded suggestively. "I drop in just enough tidbits of reality to keep him on the forefront of everyone's list, and Pansy's terribly overactive imagination regarding things that Harry got up to in school keeps the readership very high."

"Ginny, I'm not certain how you missed it, but that column was and is terribly offensive to him. Harry would be extremely angry with anyone that he had considered a friend connected with that dreadful piece of journalistic voyeurism." Thinking back to how hurt Harry had been when he had discovered that the witch he had been dating, off and on, for the better part of eight years was responsible for something so invasive, so cruel, Hermione had to restrain herself from hexing the oblivious witch out of hand. Remembering her plan, she shrugged.

"I really wouldn't want to be in your shoes if he ever finds out."

Glaring at Hermione, Ginny picked up her drink and took a long sip. "Honestly, if Harry does ever find out, I'll show him that it's a good thing. That's the one good thing about my relationship with Harry, it's pretty much on my terms, he may pout for a bit, but he always sees the light, eventually." Smiling at Hermione, Ginny nodded earnestly.

"You should really take a subscription and start paying attention to the columns. Unless you're planning on just working at the Ministry for the rest of your life, you could do with some makeover and dating tips." Giving Hermione's outfit a dismissive wave of her hand, she returned to her food.

The temperature at the table dropped several degrees as Hermione arched an eyebrow and shook her head slightly. Making a peculiar gesture with her hand, she smiled grimly. "While I agree that not all of us can be quidditch stars and 'respected journalists', there's certainly nothing wrong with being an advocate at DMLE."

Shaking her head, Hermione smirked slightly as she reached over to refill her coffee cup, turning her hand to catch the light. "Especially being Ministerial Advocate and the prosecutor for the Chief Auror before age thirty. It does have its perks."

"Oh please. You're just Harry's pet research swot and you know it." Shaking her head, Ginny caught a glimpse of something blue that had suddenly flashed on Hermione's left hand. "Let me see that."

Reaching over, Ginny took hold of Hermione's left wrist. Smirking, she nodded at the tasteful platinum ring set with a sapphire. "Nice decoy there. Keeps the really desperate wizards at work from hitting on you, the ones who don't realize it couldn't be an engagement ring."

Taking her hand back, Hermione sighed. "Gin, not every engagement ring has a diamond, you know. This one's an old family heirloom; it's been in the family for a very long time." Smiling fondly, she looked down at the ring and nodded.

"Some things are just better that way."

"Harry kept nattering on about some ring of his mum's that he had. Honestly, the boy's mental about stuff like that." Shaking her head, Ginny rolled her eyes. "I made certain that he knew we will be using something very modern and very impressive when we marry."

"Ginevra, I really think that you might want to consider the fact you're barely speaking to him at the moment before you start picking out a colour scheme for the wedding." Hermione stared at Ginny for a second, before seeming to come to a conclusion. "Gin, when you asked me to lunch, you said that there was something you wanted me to help you with?"

Smiling, Ginny waved her hand at the server. "Oh, the wedding's all planned. I've had the basics planned since before you three ran off for the war, but I've been updating and refining the plans for everything since I graduated." Scowling a bit at how long their server was taking, she nodded to Hermione. "Yes, I was wondering if you could help me with something. You're still the one who has Harry's ear, right?"

Hermione's response was delayed by the arrival of their server. "Is everything satisfactory?"

Without looking up, Ginny nodded. "You've still got that really decadent cheesecake on the menu?" Without waiting for a response, she continued. "I'll have some of that, as long as the strawberries are fresh."

"Candice, even though I'm going to be passing on dessert, could I have my usual take away dessert when I leave?" Seeing the understanding nod from their server, Hermione smiled. "I think I'll just make do with another scone or two. They're really quite good today. Let Antigone know that I like the new recipe."

"I'll tell her. She told me to let you know that she was going to use that scone recipe that you brought in last week, starting at the end of the month." Smiling warmly, Candice nodded to both witches before she left to turn in their orders.

Turning back to Ginny, Hermione thought for a second before she nodded slowly. "Ginny, Harry still listens to me, on occasion. I wouldn't say that I've 'got his ear', but we do talk."

"Good, because I need you to start convincing him that this nonsense about him trying to live his life without me has gone on long enough." Seeing the blank look on Hermione's face, Ginny scowled. "You can't be serious; you know that he's nothing but an empty shell without me."

"Ginevra, I hardly think that Harry's anything remotely close to an 'empty shell'. He's Chief Auror, his work with The Potter Foundation is making a very big difference in wizarding England, we're raising our son…" Hermione blinked when Ginny cut her off.

"Godson. Teddy is Harry's godson." Shaking her head, Ginny fumed. "I can't believe he didn't listen to me about that back when this whole mess started."

"This mess?" Hermione's voice dropped in tone and became ominously controlled. "I didn't realize there was ever a discussion regarding Harry or myself being involved in Teddy's upbringing."

"Oh please. It's perfectly fine for you, you're the godmother and I imagine that it helps fill in the empty spaces, since you've really not got anything else going. Harry didn't need to make any sort of commitment other than keeping in touch and dropping off the occasional present. Taking the orphaned child of war heroes to the zoo or on vacation makes a wonderful photo op, he could even bring him to some of my games, but this day to day raising of a child is just a bit much."

Sitting back in her chair and fuming, Ginny missed the look of shock, then dismay, then disgust on Hermione's face. By the time she finally looked up, Hermione had carefully schooled her features and was smiling, albeit thinly.

"Ginny, I'm not certain I know what to say." Seeing the confused look on the younger witch's face, Hermione nodded. "I never realized that you felt that way about Harry and me taking on this responsibility."

"Yes, well I tried to put on a good front for everyone, but I told Harry that he really should have considered me when he decided to do something like that." Smiling at Hermione, Ginny spread her hands in a 'what's a poor witch to do' fashion.

"This is why I'm enlisting your help. Now that the child is off to school, I've got until the summer hols to get things worked out with Harry."

"His name is 'Teddy', and don't you mean the Christmas hols?" Seeing that the replacement scones had arrived, along with Ginny's dessert, Hermione took one of the warm breads and smothered it with butter. "He'll be home to Number Twelve for Christmas in a few months."

"That's where you come in. If he doesn't want to stay at the castle for the hols, then can I count on you to let him come visit you in Kensington? I know he dotes on that whole muggle thing, so you can palm him off on your folks if you ever have plans. You can bring him over sometime late on Christmas day, but if you can keep him for the holidays that will give me time to do the Christmas thing with Harry and we should have an engagement to announce for New Years."

Suppressing the urge to correct Ginny regarding her address, Hermione shook her head. "I don't think that would be at all workable. I know Teddy is looking forward to spending the hols with his father, and Harry has made mention of having some plans in the works for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day."

Smiling enigmatically, Hermione shrugged. "And I know all three of us are busy the week before Christmas."

"His godfather." Ginny corrected as she absentmindedly toyed with her cheesecake. "Harry's his godfather."

"Actually, Harry and I both adopted Teddy last spring." Seeing the sharp look on Ginny's face as the younger witch looked up in shock, Hermione nodded.

"We discussed it with Teddy, Andromeda and my folks, and we all decided that there was no reason to not go ahead and make it official." Seeing the scowl on Ginny's face, Hermione shrugged. "We asked Arthur and Molly what they thought, and they were very supportive."

"This is just bloody marvelous. Why the hell would Harry do something like this without consulting me?" Turning red, Ginny glanced around the café, looking for someone or something to vent her anger on. "How could you let him do something this ridiculous?"

"I didn't 'let' him do anything. But we both decided that since we considered Teddy our son, there wasn't any reason not to make it official." Holding up her hand to cut off Ginny's reply, Hermione added flatly, "And as to why you weren't consulted, you had made it very clear back in February that you were through with Harry and he was no longer a part of your life, or you his."

Opening her mouth to talk, Ginny found herself speechless. Closing it, she sat back in her chair. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes and started thinking. Watching her, Hermione took several deep breaths of her own to get her own emotions under control, counting to twelve in Mermish and then to twenty in Gobbledygook to help her center.

Finally, Ginny opened her eyes. Hermione flinched a bit at the venomous look that Ginny gave her, but smiled as Ginny obviously brought her emotions under control and smiled at her.

"Well, I suppose we'll just have to work on things. I can make this work. It's always good to show that we're taking in an orphan from the war. "I can get The Sunday Prophet to do a supplement feature on it; I can use the publicity for my contract negotiations starting after the first of the year. He'll be spending the majority of his time at school until he's seventeen, and I'm certain I can jolly Daddy into letting him spend summers at the Burrow so he won't be in the way during the season."

"Ginny, what in the name of Merlin's worn-out wellies are you going on about?" Staring at the other witch in surprise, Hermione would have continued but she saw a familiar face for just a second near the entrance before it disappeared.

"After Harry and I get married, we'll work this out. Actually, it's a good thing you adopted him as well, this gives him someplace to go if we have children of our own." Smiling, Ginny settled back, obviously pleased at the resolution to her problems. "Now how are you going to get Harry back together with me?"

Laughing, Hermione shook her head. "Ginny, I honestly think I'm going to have to consider that very carefully. Right at this moment I can't think of anything I could honestly say or do that would accomplish that, short of using an Unforgivable of course."

Shrugging, Ginny smiled thinly. "If nothing else, I've got more of the potion I used my fifth year made up, so you can help me slip him some to get things started." Looking around for the server, she missed the shocked expression on Hermione's face or her involuntary reach for her wand. When she looked back, she saw Hermione staring at her in disbelief.

"What? You remember my mum telling that story about when she was in school, don't you? Since it was good enough for Mum, why not me? Harry had been ignoring me, spending too much time working up his nerve that summer to ask me out, so I decided that a gentle 'nudge' would be just what the healer ordered."

Shaking her head, Ginny chuckled. "I can't believe it took all year. By the time he got around to noticing me, I was giving him almost a triple dose every other day."

Choosing her words very carefully, Hermione folded her hands in her lap to keep from reaching for her wand. "Ginny, do you realize that, depending upon the potion you used, dosages that high could have some very serious side effects?" Seeing the blank look on her face, Hermione snarled. "You could have killed him, you idiot."

"Please, I know what I'm doing with those things. Harry wasn't the first, and he certainly wasn't the last." Ignoring the shocked look on Hermione's face, Ginny smiled wickedly. "If nothing else, it makes for some interesting evenings when you're on the road playing Quidditch."

Before she could answer, Hermione saw that familiar face for just another second. Deciding that she needed to leave before the trauma ward at St. Mungo's acquired a customer, she nodded.

"Ginny, tell you what. I'm planning a dinner party sometime after next week. Let me see what I can work out, and I'll send you an invitation by owl." Smiling mysteriously as she stood, she nodded thoughtfully. "I can honestly say that, by then, I'm certain Harry will be very eager to talk with you. You can make your pitch then."

Standing, Ginny nodded. "I knew I could count on you. You always had Harry's best interests at heart, even though you kept getting in the way over the years." Looking around for the server, Ginny sighed noisily as a small container appeared on the table. "Where is that dratted girl, you never can find a server when you need one?"

"Don't worry Ginevra; I'll take care of the tab on my way out." Picking up the take away dessert container, she opened her bag and placed it inside. Hermione then drew out a cream coloured envelope with Ginny's name on it. "I'll just consider it a birthday present."

Hermione then smiled a very broad smile as she handed Ginny the envelope. "Sorry I've got to run, but I need to meet someone, we've got plans for this evening." Seeing the questioning look in Ginny's eye, she shook her head. "Trust me; it's no one you know."

"Well then, it's been good to see you." Shaking her head, Ginny looked down at the envelope that Hermione handed her. "Thanks, but it's just a tad belated, my birthday was back in August."

Stepping away, Hermione chuckled. "Oh, I know. Today was more of a present for me, but a belated 'Happy Birthday' to you, also." Seeing the blank look on Ginny's face, she smiled. "Think about it, it'll come to you eventually."

Turning on her heel, Hermione walked across the café towards the exit. Settling up with the hostess, she added an extra gratuity and apologized in advance for Ginny's treatment of the server in the next few minutes. As she stepped outside the entrance, she smiled as she felt a familiar presence beside her.

"Take that blasted thing off and give me a proper kiss, you git." Shaking her head, she cast a wandless notice-me-not charm as Harry removed his invisibility cloak. "I thought I was going to strangle her."

"Did you break it to her?" Kissing her on the cheek, Harry Potter smiled as Hermione rolled her eyes.

"I was going to, but she infuriated me so, asking for my help to get you back and then being the quintessential fangirl that I decided I'd do it in absentia."

Fishing in her bag, she pulled out the dessert container. "One treacle tart and Antigone's going to be having the pumpkin scones you like so much starting at the end of the month." Seeing the look in Harry's eyes, she smiled wickedly. "Step over here, it shouldn't take too much longer."

Stepping over to the low railing that separated Maxine's dining area from the sidewalk, the pair watched as Ginny finally finished berating the server about something. Once the unfortunate young witch had stepped away from the table, Ginny picked up the envelope from the table and tapped it against her carefully manicured nails a couple of times.

"Wait for it, she's almost ready." Hermione whispered in Harry's ear as she wrapped her arm around him.

Ginny set the envelope back on the table, but then picked it up after a few seconds and opened the envelope with a flourish. Pulling the card from inside, she looked at it, as her face registered shock and disbelief. As the card dropped from her fingers, she let out a scream of frustration and denial.

As the servers rushed over to attend their suddenly hysterical patron, Candice glanced down at the piece of embossed parchment lying on the table. Shaking her head, she suddenly understood the reason for the outburst as she read the tastefully engraved invitation:

In the spirit of peace and joy

this holiday season

Helen and Alexander Granger

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter

Hermione Jane


Harry James Potter

on Friday, the eighteenth of December

at seven o'clock in the evening

two thousand and nine

The Great Hall

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry


As an emergency healer from St. Mungo's appeared and stunned the obviously distraught and increasingly hysterical red-head, Hermione nodded in satisfaction. "Harry, if you want to stay in tonight, that's perfectly fine with me. I've just had the best birthday that I can remember."

Shaking his head, Harry smiled. "While I don't think I can top this little production, we do have reservations at Greengrass' for dinner and tickets for The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso in the West End. I know you missed them the last time they were in London because of me, so I thought I'd make it up to you."

Smiling, Hermione wrapped her arms around him and kissed him tenderly on the lips. "Harry, we do need to have a talk about Ginevra sometime, but for now I think I just want to have a quiet birthday evening. Dinner and the theatre will do just fine."

Nodding towards the table where the healer was attaching a medical portkey to the unconscious witch, Hermione smiled. "Though we can definitely skip shopping this afternoon."

"What happened to your tradition of buying yourself a birthday present? I've gotten fond of actually getting you to shop for something for yourself at least once a year." Looking puzzled, Harry shook his head as the healer applied restraints to the unconscious witch.

Sighing at the brief pulse of blue light that signified Ginny's departure for St. Mungo's, she nodded. "Next year I'll buy myself something extravagant. This year," she chuckled as she slipped her arm through Harry's and started walking towards the nearest apparition point, "it seems I was able to have one handed to me, with Ginny's help of course."

"Well, Happy Birthday dear. Off to your parents before we head home?"

"Anywhere without a floo. Though we do need to warn Ron and let him know that someone from the family should stop by St. Mungo's and check on her." Smirking at the look on Harry's face at the prospect of telling the third member of the 'Golden Trio' how his sister took the news of their engagement, Hermione nodded.

"And send Kreacher a patronus to have him start screening the owlpost again. Something makes me think I'm due for a howler or two once she wakes up."

Laughing, the pair walked down the sidewalk, arm in arm. Heading towards their future, together.

A/N – Anything recognizable in the story is the property of JKR and various corporate entities. No infringement of any rights was intended, and certainly no gain was received from this exercise in speculation. No actual wait staff were harmed in the writing of this one-shot.

The chapter title comes from a keychain an old girlfriend of mine had in college. I later decided it was a warning label.

The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso was playing in the West End of London in the fall of 2009. A friend of mine saw it previously, and was still raving about it.

Happy Birthday, Hermione.