"PLEASE, Harry. You have to go mate. I can't stand her parents." Ron pleaded.
"Ron, there's nothing wrong with them. Their nice people. And it doesn't matter, because you have to go. Hermione's YOUR girlfriend, not mine. You have obligations." Retorted Harry.
"Yea, but she's YOUR best friend. Anyway, she won't mind. Just tell her I'm busy with work."
"Ron, you know that's not fair, she's counting on you to be there." Harry scolded. "You always do this. What about Hermione? She'll be shattered."
"Harry, I just can't, OK? Just, please do this for me. PLEASE." Ron begged again.
"Fine, I'll do it. But not for you, for Hermione." And with that, Harry stepped in the lift and hit the atrium button. He was at the Ministry and he had just been in the Auror office when Ron came in, asking Harry to cover for him at a family get together that Hermione was having. Harry honestly didn't understand Ron when it came to Hermione. The red-head was happy to sit there and snog her senseless, but when it comes to something Hermione wants, he just vanishes.
Hermione sat on the couch in her parents living room, talking with her two cousins. She had just been upstairs to send an owl to Ron about the get together tomorrow and was a little anxious to say the least. As much as she loves Ron, he's not exactly reliable when it comes to her family. I mean, she isn't stupid, she knows he doesn't like her family, but it would be nice if he was a little more involved with them, like she is with his.
"Hermione, your mum wants you." Said Kate, Hermione's cousin.
"Huh?" Hermione asked distractedly.
"Your. Mum. Wants. You." She said slowly.
"Oh. Yea. Sorry, just distracted." She got up and headed for the kitchen.
When she got there her mother brandished a letter. "This just got here." She said with a sympathetic smile. "It's Ron's reply."
"Thanks." She took it and read it. Hermione
I'm pretty swamped at work. I may, or may not be there tomorrow. I really want to come and I hope I can. We'll have to wait and see.
Jean Granger watched as her daughter opened the small letter she had received, just moments ago, from a barn owl. She watched her expression turn blank, as she gave a brief nod and set the letter down on the bench. When she headed back to the living room, Jean picked the letter up and read it. The letter was brief, as always, and full up with excuses. Jean knows her daughter's boyfriend well enough to realize that, I may, or may not be there tomorrow, generally means, I'm not coming because I don't like your parents. Evidently, Hermione knows that as well.
As everyone finished dinner that night, at the Granger house, Dan welcomed his family and friends to his home with a toast. "It's great to have everyone together again. One big family. I'm so glad you all could make it in time. Thank you for coming and welcome. Uh… Me casa, es su casa." There were cheers and everyone left to their respected sleeping quarters.
Hermione was woken the next morning by her cousin Max, who leapt onto her bed and started jumping. She quickly grabbed him and pulled him into a bear hug, dragging him downstairs to the kitchen as he laughed his head off.
"I caught our breakfast Mum." She said, as she plonked Max down on the bench in the kitchen. He screamed and jumped down, running into the living room.
"Looks like we go hungry then." Said Jean, watching his retreating figure with a fake frown.
Hermione chuckled. "I'm off to find a free shower." And she headed upstairs again.
Once everyone was ready, they all got in their cars and headed for the riverside park her father had told them about. They were going to have a picnic in the remote area and catch up. Once they got there the men headed straight for the barbeque, the kids headed for the play park and the women set up the table.
Harry woke early that morning and headed for the shower. When he was dressed and had finished his morning routine, skipping breakfast, he headed for his garage. Grabbing his jacket, he mounted Sirius' motorcycle and put on his helmet. He started the engine as he pressed the disillusionment button and vanished. As he left the Potter Estate, he brought the vehicle into the air and took off in the direction of the place Ron had told him about.
He had decided that he would take the bike yesterday, wanting to avoid awkward questions on how he managed to get there without a vehicle. When he thought about it now, he realized that it wouldn't have even crossed Ron's mind and he would have just Disapparated. His friend was quite thick like that, but he had a good heart. He hit the boost button as he looked at his watch and realized he was running late.
Pulling down to the ground as he got closer to his destination, he veered into an alley and made himself visible again. He exited onto the main street and continued to the park, checking his watch constantly and scolding himself for not getting up earlier. He rode the bike with ease, treating it like a broomstick and swerving between the 'chasers'. Slowing down, he pulled into a side street that took him to the riverside car park, his final destination.
Hermione perked up as she heard the distinct sound of Sirius' motorbike getting nearer. "Can you hear that?" She asked the group of women she was sitting with, while looking in the direction of the car park.
"Hear what?" Asked her aunt Jan, looking up from her conversation.
Hermione's eye grew wide as she watched the obvious figure of Harry Potter pull up on his God fathers motorcycle. "HARRY!" She squeaked out as she jumped up and ran to him.
He had just got off his bike and removed his helmet, when she leapt at him, wrapping her legs about his waist. Quickly catching her, he hugged her to him. "Hello." He smiled.
She pulled her head back from his shoulder and beamed at him. "I've missed you." She said, burying her head again.
"I've missed you to." He whispered, removing his glasses and burying his face in her neck.
They stayed that way for a while, before Harry swung his leg over his bike and sat down, Hermione straddling his lap. She pulled her head away again and gave him a small smile. "What are you doing here?" She asked.
He put his glasses back on and gave her a sheepish smile, knowing she knew the reason. "Ron couldn't make it." Was all he said.
She nodded, looking down.
Harry put two fingers under her chin and made her face him. "But I'm here." He smiled.
"Thank you, Harry." She gave a tiny smile before hugging him again, leaving her face buried in his chest for a while before looking up at him and at the bike. "You fixed it." It wasn't a question.
Harry nodded. "With a little help from Mr. Weasley and Hagrid."
"It's looking good." She observed. "And I see you have Snuffles' jacket."
Harry chuckled and spun around. "Yep. I had Mrs. Weasley sew some extras on as well."
Hermione ran her fingers over the words on his jacket and read aloud; "The Marauders; Padfoot; Moony; Prongs. That's great Harry, Sirius would have liked it." She said, snaking her hands around his waist and resting her chin on his back.
He was quiet for a moment before saying; "I've never told anyone this, but when I was alone with Sirius or Remus, they would call me 'Pronglet'. They said it was what my father called me as a baby."
Hermione smiled. "That's cute. You should put that on your jacket, Pronglet." She teased.
Jean watched as her daughter jumped up and ran to a figure dismounting a motorcycle.
"Who's Harry?" Asked her niece, Fiona, with a curious look on her face a she watched Hermione. "I thought her boyfriend's name was Ron."
"It is." Replied Jean, with a far away look. "That's not her boyfriend. That's her best friend, Harry Potter."
There was a collective "Oooooh…", as they all watched the pair.
"Wait, but what's he doing here? Where's her boyfriend?" Asked a confused Kate.
"My guess is, Ron asked Harry to cover for him so he didn't have to come." Answered Jean. "And Harry, being Harry, accepted because he didn't want to see Hermione hurt."
"This Ron guy sounds low." Said Jean's sister Jess, with a frown. "I don't approve."
They all nodded. "Jean, they seem a little intimate to be just friends." Observed Jan.
"They're not 'just friends'" Replied Jean. "They're 'best friends' and they're extremely close. It's like how you all have best friends that your really close with, except hers is male."
"Ohhh… I see… Is he gay?" Asked Fiona.
Jean let out a snort of laughter. "No my dear, far from it."
"Oh." Fiona looked offended. "Then why isn't she with him?"
"Because as smart as they both are, they're to naïve to realize how in love they are with each other. And Ron is Harry's other best friend." Jean answered.
"Wow." Offered Jess. "That's complicated.."
"Yes. It is. And I trust all of you not to intervene." Scolded Jean, looking them all in the eye as they nodded reluctantly.
"Here they come." Whispered Kate, giving a head gesture in their direction.
"Awww. He's cute." Squeaked Jess, as the pair got closer. "And he's holding her hand."
"Jess…" Warned Jean, before getting up to great Harry. "Hello, Harry!" She beamed. "We weren't expecting you."
Harry smiled and hugged the older version of Hermione. "Hello Mrs. Granger. Lets just say I was in the neighborhood." He said as he pulled away.
"Really?" Asked Jean, eyebrows raised. "Hermione was just telling me the other day, that you were in Scotland for work."
Harry chuckled and nodded. "I'm a fast traveler."
She gave him a look that said 'Thank you', before turning to the other women present. "Ladies, this is Hermione's best friend Harry Potter." She said turning back to Harry. "Harry these are my two sisters, Jess and Jan and their daughters, Fiona and Kate."
Harry greeted each woman by shaking their hands.
"Come on Pronglet." Piped up Hermione, grabbing his hand. "Lets go see dad."
Harry smiled and followed, waving to the women as he went. "It was nice meeting you all."
There was a universal "You too." as they walked away.
"Pronglet?" Asked Fiona.
Jean shook her head. "No idea. You'll have to ask Hermione."
"He's sweet." Said Jess, with a smile.
"Mmhmm." Agreed Jean. "And smooth too. I was in the neighborhood. Yea right. I bet he dropped everything to come here for Hermione."
"Yea, what was that about Scotland?" Queried Jan.
"Harry travels a lot for his work. Hermione was telling me the other day that he probably couldn't come because he was in Scotland on some mission." Answered Jean.
"You mean to say he came all the way from Scotland just to be here for Hermione?" Asked Kate, astonished.
"Yes. It's not the first time he's done something like this either." Replied Jean, with a small frown. "Harry's EXREMELY loyal, it comes down to how he grew up."
"He's adorable.." Observed Jess, watching him closely. "Please let me intervene!" She pleaded.
"No." Said Jean sternly. "Let them be, they'll figure it out eventually."
Jess pouted, but didn't agree…
Harry let Hermione lead him to a group of men by a barbeque, chatting and drinking beer. "Dad." She said as they approached. "Look who's here."
"Harry!" Exclaimed Dan Granger, shaking the man's hand. "Good to see you son. Ron couldn't make it I suppose?" He asked with a small scowl.
"No sir." Was Harry's only reply.
"Ahh, well at least you're here then." He smiled then gestured to the other men. "These are my brothers in law, Jack and Ryan. My baby brother Rupert. And my nieces' boyfriends, Mike and John." He then gestured to Harry. "Guys this is Hermione's friend Harry."
Harry shook the men's hands.
"Beer Harry?" Asked Rupert.
"Ahh… Best not, I've quite a long ride home." Harry refused.
"Nonsense Harry, you'll stay at our house tonight." Said Dan, waving it off. "Take a beer or you'll offend dear Rupert." He finished, handing Harry a bottle.
Harry thanked him and pocketed it as Hermione pulled him away again. "Come meet my other cousins." She said excitedly.
He followed as she lead him over to the play park where three kids were hanging. "Hey guys!" She called out. "Come meet my friend."
Two boys and a girl pondered over with curious looks on their faces. Hermione put her hand on the eldest boys head. "This is Jake, he's 15." She moved her hand to the girl. "This is Ellie, she's 11." Then she moved her hand to the smallest boy. "And this is Max, he's 7." Moving over to Harry, she reached up and patted his head. "Guys, this is my best friend Harry."
Jake said 'Hey' and waved. Ellie smiled and waved. And Max leapt at him, causing Harry to catch him in mid air. "Whoa! Easy there big fella." Harry grinned and put him down, ruffling his hair.
"We'll see you later guys." Hermione called over her shoulder as she took Harry's hand and headed back to the table.
Harry smiled and waved back at them. "I never realized you had so many cousins." He told Hermione.
"Well now you know." She smiled up at him with those big brown eyes of hers.
For a while green stared into brown, only breaking eye contact when they reached the table. Harry sat down next to Hermione and cracked open his Lager. Straight away, the women engaged the two in conversation.
"So Hermione, what's all this 'Pronglet' business?" Asked jean
She chuckled. "It's Harry's new nickname."
"Really?" Her mother look surprised. "And where did that originate from?"
Hermione spun Harry around so they could all see his jacket, pointing to the names as she explained. "The Marauders was what Harry's father's group of friends called themselves. James, Harry's dad, was nicknamed Prongs. Sirius, Harry's godfather, was nicknamed Padfoot. And Remus, the father of Harry's godson, was nicknamed Moony." She paused to see if they understood and they nodded. "Harry told me just before that when no one else was around, Remus and Sirius would call him 'Pronglet', because that's what James called him when he was a baby. Prongs and Pronglet." She smiled as she concluded.
As she spun Harry back around, he looked at her lovingly and hugged her to his side.
"Well I like it." Said Jean, grinning. They all agreed.
"So Pronglet. Where around here do you reside?" Asked Jess with a glint in her eye. "You'd have to live near here to have been in the neighborhood I assume."
"Actually, the closest house I have to here is in London and I confess to not being in the neighborhood. But truthfully, I haven't seen Hermione in a while, so I wanted to come." He told the truth.
"I believe that." She said with a wink, that earned her a warning look from Jean.
"What do you mean by 'the closest house I have'?" Asked Kate. "You have more than one?"
Harry nodded. "I have many. Not all in the UK, and not all fit for living in, but yes, I have more than one."
They all looked at him in surprise, tilting their heads questioningly.
He answered their unspoken questions. "I'm not going to name them all, because that would take to long." He chuckled. "But to answer your other question, I inherited most of them from my parents and godfather. The one I live in most of the time is in Scotland. It was my mother and fathers private estate, the Potter Estate."
"Whoa." Offered Fiona. "You must be rich then?" She asked, earning a slap on the arm from her mother.
Harry chuckled again and nodded. "Yea. But don't hold it against me, I promise I use my money for the good of mankind and I would much rather have my family back."
"Trust me, we aren't going to hold it against you." Said Jan, giving him a sincere smile.
"So Harry. How's Teddy?" Asked Hermione.
"Who's Teddy?" Asked Jess.
Harry perked up at this subject. "He's my godson. I saw him a few months ago when I had some time off." He explained. "He's grown heaps since we last saw him Hermione."
"How are Mr. and Mrs. Tonks coping?" She asked with a small smile.
"I think they're the best they've been since Moony and Tonks died. Having Teddy around helps, I think." He concluded.
"Do you have a girlfriend Harry?" Asked Kate, casually.
He shook his head. "No. I would, but I haven't got much free time to go out and find one."
"But surely if your rich, you don't need to work?" Fiona queried.
"I suppose that makes sense I one way, except I don't work for the money." He explained. "I work because the job needs doing and I'm told that I'm the best there is when it comes to my line of work."
"Really?" Asked Jan. "What is it that you do exactly?"
Hermione answered before Harry could. "Err… Harry catches bad guys. The worst there is. Murderers, rapists, bombers and anything in between. Most of it's all hush-hush though, like almost everything else to do with the Military."
"I'm not really authorized to speak about." Harry concluded.
"Sounds serious." Said Jess, eyes wide.
Harry nodded. "My life, and the lives of my colleagues, are under constant threat to say the least. But it's been that way for me ever since I was born, so I'm used to it now." He let out a yawn as he finished and leant his head on Hermione's shoulder.
"Tired Pronglet?" Asked Hermione with a giggle.
"Mmmm. I had to get up early to ride here." He shut his eyes.
The rest of the afternoon ran smoothly. The men managed to cook a nice meal of sausage and onions and empty a carton of beer, while the women exchanged stories and gossiped. After everyone had eaten, Harry and Hermione went and sat on the waters edge, enjoying each others company. The two younger couples disappeared for suspected snogging sessions, while Rupert played football with the kids and the three older couples sat drinking a freshly opened carton. Harry was a little tipsy by the time everyone was leaving, but Hermione was completely sober along with her mother and aunts, who were the designated drivers. Harry stripped his motorcycle of his belongings and got a lift back in Hermione's car.
As they pulled into the driveway, the bump of the car wheels going over the gutter was what woke Harry. He unbuckled his seatbelt and picked up his backpack from the floor, exiting the car and following everyone to the front door.
Harry watched as Hermione fumbled with the keys to the front door and opened it, letting everyone in. He immediately made his way to the living room and placed his bag next to the couch, sitting down. While Hermione's family members stumbled to their rooms, he removed his shoes, socks, jacket and belt. Unbuttoning his shirt, he lay down on the couch and disposed of his glasses.
Just as he began to dose off, he noticed a figure standing by the couch, looking down at him. He immediately reached for his glasses and looked up to see Hermione, eye brows raised and arms crossed, looking very McGonagall like.
"I forgot to say goodnight." Harry looked up at her, stating the reason for her presence.
He sat up slightly, leaning against the arm rest. Grabbing her by the waist, he pulled her down to his lap and hugged her gently. "Night Hermione." He whispered into her ear.
After giving a satisfied smile, she slid down next to him and shifted so they lay side by side, facing each other on the couch. She buried her face in his chest and slid her hand inside his collar, wrapping it around his neck. "Night Harry."
He responded in kind, snaking his arm around her waist and pulling her close. Burying his face in her hair, they both began to dose off.
As the sun rose above the Granger residence the next morning, 50% of it's occupants awoke with ear splitting headaches and feeling sick to the stomach with a hangover. The first to emerge from their rooms of course were Jean Granger and her sisters Jan and Jess, who immediately headed to the kitchen to boil a pot of coffee.
The three sat around the bench in silence until the rest of the house's occupants started to surface and pour themselves coffee. They watched as the men donned sunglasses and headed onto the back patio, while Fiona and Kate joined them at the bench.
"Kids still asleep?" Asked Jean.
Kate nodded then stopped immediately, letting out a groan of pain.
"Serves you right for drinking so much." Said her mother.
"Hush, it's your fault for letting me." Was her reply, earning her a smack. "Ouch! Where are Hermione and What's-his-face?" She asked, trying to change the subject.
"Maybe still asleep." Answered Jean. "Go check the living room, I think that's where Harry slept."
The five women entered the living room, coffee mugs in hand and gasped at what they saw. Harry and Hermione lay on the couch together, fast asleep, Hermione in not but a dressing gown and Harry in jeans and an unbuttoned shirt. Hermione's hand was wrapped around Harry's neck, her face buried in his chest and her thigh brought up to his waist, wrapping her leg around him. Harry had his face buried in her hair, hugging her close and most shockingly, his hand slid under her dressing gown and wrapped about her waist, very intimately.
The women just stared for some time, mouths agape and not saying a word. Finally Fiona squeaked out a tiny "Wow" and brought them back to reality.
They slowly sat down on the free couches, still watching the sleeping pair. Harry stirred, gently moving his hand along Hermione's bare back. She responded and snuggled closer, moving her lips to his neck. They didn't move again and their eyes remained closed.
Kate reached into her pocket and pulled out her mobile phone. Thank god for camera phones, She thought. This is the cutest thing I've even seen. She stood and moved over to the pair on the couch, snapping some silent photos.
The older women looked at her questioningly while Fiona smiled in understanding. "What are you doing?" Whispered Jan.
"This moment is to adorable not to capture on camera." She answered matter-of-factly.
"Isn't that a slight invasion of privacy?" Asked Jean.
"Not if their in the living room." Replied Fiona this time, as Kate sat back down.
Just then the men entered the room, wondering where they had got to. They were quickly hushed as the women pointed out the sleeping pair. All except Rupert, who went to get more coffee, entered the room and sat down, Dan's eyes not leaving his daughter.
"Is there a reason we're all just watching them?" Asked Ryan, a little sarcastically.
"Good question." Said Jack, getting up to leave. Mike, John and Ryan followed.
Dan still hadn't taken his eyes away from the couple, his face expressionless.
"Dan?" Said Jean tentatively.
He spoke slowly and quietly. "Normally, I'd have killed any guy that touched my daughter that way. But I know for a fact that Harry's a good bloke and he would never do anything to intentionally hurt or offend anyone. I also know for a fact that Hermione has an extremely powerful love for the man. A rare kind, I can just tell by the way they seem to glow when they're near one another. I've always liked Harry better than Ron, though I've never said it and believe it or not, I actually approve of this." And with that he got up and casually walked off.
Jean watched him leave, tears pricking her eyes as Harry and Hermione stirred again.
Harry moved his hand along the soft surface of skin and cuddled closer to the source of warmth beside him. He felt the source stir and strain to get closer to him, soft fingers moving over his chest and neck. His neck… where he could feel the slight wet, lushness of a pair of lips rested. He buried his nose deeper in the flower scented, bushy hair he had missed so much. He ran his hand lower down her back, passing over her behind to cup her thigh. He gently pulled her leg further up his body, shifting his waist flush against her as she emitted a soft moan. WAIT! Back up a second Harry… He stopped dead. Flower scented, bushy hair... He thought. Flower scented, bushy, brown hair… His eyes flew open. HERMIONE'S FLOWER SCENTED, BUSHY, BROWN HAIR! He quickly removed his hand and untangled himself from her, jumping up. It seemed that at the exact same time he did, she realized it was him that was next to her and jumped up as well.
Fixing their clothes, they looked everywhere around the room but at each other and noticed they weren't alone. They both jumped when they saw Hermione's female relatives all watching them. "HI!" Squeaked Hermione, sparing a glance at Harry who was quickly covering himself.
"Good morning." Said Jess, with a smug grin etched into her expression. "Sleep well, did you?" She asked evilly.
"Yes." Was all Hermione managed to squeak out.
All 5 women raised their eyebrows, looking extremely cheeky.
"NO!" Hermione backtracked. "I mean… well, yes… But not because we… Well not because of what your thinking." She finished, extremely embarrassed.
"Oh?" Queried Kate with a devilish glint in her eye. "And what exactly are we thinking then?"
"You know very well what your thinking." Hermione snapped back and began exiting the room.
"Where are you going?" Asked Jean.
"For a shower. Or am I not aloud?" She retorted, glaring at the women.
None of them said anything so she turned on her heal and left, muttering something about privacy.
The 5 women turned their heads to Harry, who was currently struggling with his belt. He looked up and froze, looking in all their eyes. "Did it really look that bad?" He asked, with a frown.
"I don't know about bad…" Began Jess with a huge grin, but Jean cut in glaring at her.
"Harry it could have happened to anyone, you were tired and not to mention you have a hangover." She said with a small smile. "Anyway, it's like she said, nothing serious happened so there's nothing to worry about. I'm sure Ron would understand.
Harry just nodded and continued dressing, still not completely convinced. Ron's a jealous type.
Jean and the other women left the living room so Harry could finish dressing in privacy. Jess immediately dragged them all out onto the patio and sat on one of the couches, the others following suit. "I'm intervening." She said as they sat down.
"No Jess, stay out of it." Warned Jean.
"Jean, did you not just see that? They can't keep their hands off one another." She retorted, determined. "Only people seriously in love are that comfortable together. They fit perfectly."
"I know all this Jess, but it should be their choice." She pleaded.
"And it will be, I just want to give them a little push in the right direction is all." Said Jess, practically begging.
"What about her boyfriend? Ronald?" Piped up Jan, with a stern look.
"What about him?" Replied Fiona. "You heard uncle Dan, even he prefers Harry."
"Harry, Ron and Hermione are best friends. Something like this would definitely ruin that. Ron get jealous very easily of Harry." Jean said, seriously.
They all sat in silence, thinking for a while. Then Jess answered. "Well, this Ron fellow can't stand in the way of true love and if Hermione doesn't love him, then surely he won't want to be with her. It's Hermione's choice whether she wants to live a lie or not. Do we even know if Ron loves her? Do you think he loves her, Jean?" She asked.
Jean thought for a moment, remembering all the times she's seen the two together. No. It's clear now. Ron doesn't love my daughter, she just fills a hole. She's the one thing in their life that Ron has and Harry doesn't. He doesn't look at her the same way Harry does, like he might melt if he stares to long. He doesn't touch and treasure her the way Harry does, soft and gentle, like if he isn't to careful, she might break. No. Ron looks at her with nothing but physical attraction in his eyes, like any sane man would. He snogs her with lust, for his own pleasure, not for hers. Jean came to a conclusion. "No." She shook her head.
"Do you think Harry loves her?" Queried Kate.
Jean nodded, looking down. "Yes."
"So what's stopping us then, Jean?" Asked Jess.
"Alright. Fine." Sighed Jean. "Do it, but be careful."
"Of course we'll be careful, this is my niece we're talking about." Jess reassured her.
"Where do we start?" Questioned Kate.
"We don't have to, they did it for us." Stated Fiona, matter-of-factly.