A quarter of a century later, Hermione stood on her front porch on an early Valentine's Day morning, holding a bouquet of flowers that had never wilted. Each was as fresh as it had been when Harry had given it to her so many years before, a reminder of her most treasured friendship.
The first was in the center, the oak-leafed geranium that had started them all. Out of all the flowers, it meant the most to her, because it was the first Valentine she'd received because someone had wanted to give her one, not by someone following a teacher's rule of equality.
The second flower had been covertly slipped to her in the midst of all the chaos Lockhart had whipped up, a bright orange Alstroemeria that he'd told her in a whisper also meant friendship but added devotion to the mix. She'd spent most of the day fingering it and remembering her words to him before he'd gone to face Voldemort last year.
Third was a purple Hyacinth she'd found attached to Crookshanks collar with a note that said I'm sorry; please forgive me and had made her smile. He'd met up with her secretly when Ron wasn't around for most of the rest of that year.
The fourth was a bright yellow ball called an Acacia, which he'd admitted (with a blush on his face), meant chaste love and friendship. He'd blushed more when she'd kissed him on the cheek and then dragged him off to look for more ways to breathe underwater. Krum had given her a whole bunch of roses that evening when she'd ran into him in the stacks, but like their relationship, those had faded quickly.
Fifth year, Harry had given her a sunflower even before his date with Cho, telling her "It means loyalty and you've always stuck by me, even now that everyone thinks I'm a crackpot and also it means you're splendid and you are 'Mione." She'd hugged him then, crushing them together before neatening his robes and sending him off to go meet with Cho. She'd ignored the lingering blush on his face and the heat in her cheeks at his compliment.
Her sixth flower was a deep purple iris, presented to her with a flourish at their table in the library when she'd escaped Lavender and Won Won. Harry had smiled and asked if she wanted to take a walk around the lake. She'd accepted and smiled when the odd shaped blossom didn't wilt or shiver in the cold as she carried it around. He'd told her as they walked that the bloom meant wisdom and valor, faith and hope and you're friendship means so much to me. It had given her what she needed to get through the rest of the day watching everyone run around in love.
She wasn't sure how he had found the seventh in her set. It had been on her watch while Ron was sleeping when Harry had sat beside her and whispered "Happy Valentine's Day" into her ear. It was a simple sprig of heather, a line of white blossoms clumped together. "Protection and good luck" he'd told her and she'd smiled at him, the gift brightening her day.
After the war, when she was married to Ron he'd given her something only on the first Valentine's Day. It had been a pot of Daffodils left on her table with a note From Harry to Hermione. She had never had the courage to look up what the flowers meant but they were still growing. She'd had to plant some in her backyard when they began to outgrow the pot, but she still had a few sitting on her kitchen window.
Hermione sighed as the sun rose higher into the sky. "Happy Valentine's Day, Harry." She whispered, before turning back into the house, returning her bouquet to its place in her study where it would be safe.