A/N: I'm terribly sorry for this horrendously tardy update. Finals have sucked every last ounce of energy out of me and I've been having family issues on top of that. But everything's wrapping up quite nicely here, so I finally have time to write! Yay! I missed you all so so much!

Also, I made the mistake of trying to forge on with this story when I had no design or purpose in mind, and for that I apologize. During this time, I have thought hard and discovered exactly where I wish to take this story, and I hope you all enjoy the result!

Chapter 12 - Paint it Black

Harry took Hermione's hand in his own and gave it a squeeze before opening the large door of the castle, then walked in with her. Nostalgia washed over him in waves as he took in the dull walls and moving paintings, and he stepped further into the castle as Hermione looked all around her in awe.

This was a slightly new experience to Harry, if only because he was now back as Hermione's boyfriend, and the fact that she was new to this whole thing, of course. She was taking in everything around them as Harry led her through the castle, explaining moving pictures and other magical items that filled the school. He told her about their antics and some of their harrowing adventures, though Hermione noticed that he tiptoed around death and whatever happened during his last school year. Class was in session, meaning that the two didn't encounter anybody in their journey through the school.

Harry was sad he couldn't show Hermione the common room the two had used for their stay in school, since he wasn't a Gryffindor and all, but told her about their favorite classes and whatnot instead. He bragged that he had actually received better marks than her in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and as he grinned at her Hermione couldn't help but feel pleased that she had made such an amazing friend, both in this universe and Harry's home universe.

When they passed the classroom for Defense Against the Dark Arts, the door was open and a pale-skinned man with a hooked nose was standing behind the desk, the students in complete silence as they gave him their undivided attention.

Harry didn't seemed to have noticed him, but the man interested Hermione, so she asked, "Hey Harry, who's that professor?"

Harry stopped, turned to look into the room, and then...his jaw dropped. "Snape?" he said, confused.

The teacher stopped what he was doing to look at Harry, then a big grin split his face. "Harry!" he said happily, sweeping around his students to give Harry a hug that wasn't returned.

When Hermione looked at her boyfriend, she saw that he was completely and utterly confused, looking at Snape like he had no idea why he was hugging him. It was quite comical, really.

"Sorry I couldn't make it to Christmas, Prongslet," Snape said, patting Harry on the shoulder. "Audrey and I were too tired after the baby kept us up all night."

And now there was a look of horror on Harry's face that Snape didn't seem to notice. Hermione could tell by Harry's reaction that Snape was a polar opposite in this universe compared to the other one.

Snape finally noticed Hermione at this point. "Ah! And who might this be?" he asked, holding out his hand to Hermione.

Hermione took it as Harry finally found his wits and said, "Uh...Professor Snape, this is Hermione Granger, my girlfriend. Hermione, S-Severus Snape, my Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor."

Snape winked at Hermione, and she couldn't help but instantly like this man. "His favorite uncle, too," he said conspiratorially.

And when Snape stood up, he nudged Harry with his elbow and said, "And quite a good catch, Prongslet. Well done."

Harry was still looking at Snape as if the man had grown a second head. "Thanks," he said dully, and Snape gave him an odd look before inviting him into the classroom to give Hermione an opportunity to see how classes inside the castle were conducted.

Harry said they'd come into the class in just a minute, and Snape allowed them their privacy to go back to teaching his class. As soon as he started speaking again, Hermione turned to Harry and said, "What's wrong, Harry?"

Harry was apparently still surprised, not taking his eyes off Snape as if the moment he looked away the man would turn into an alien and start devouring the students.

"Professor Snape..." Harry began, collecting his thoughts. "He was the meanest, cruelest teacher at the school. He hated me with a ferocity that was unrivaled even by the Dark Lord himself."

Hermione recoiled a bit as she looked over at the nice man she had just a met, a smile on his face as he taught his class with energy and humor. "That doesn't even seem possible."

Harry shrugged and grabbed her hand. "Believe me, I wouldn't have guessed that one in a thousand years. Let's just take it as it is and sit in, I guess."

Hermione nodded and joined Harry in entering the classroom, the students not noticing them as they took empty seats at the back. Snape was currently giving a lecture on dementors to a group of wide-eyed third years, giving him their undivided attention. It was a sight to behold, to be honest. Harry had never seen Snape display such emotion or energy. While his hair was still dark and greasy, it seemed that his personality had become the exact opposite. There was a smile on his face and House Points at the ready whenever a student managed to answer a question, and soft words for students that answered a question incorrectly, even going so far as to give some of them a chance to redeem themselves with a different question.

He even had swayed Harry's opinion of him to the point that his previously most hated professor got him to go up to the front of the class to give the students a demonstration as to how to cast a proper Patronus. Harry ended up teaching the class for the last twenty minutes, with Snape taking notes of his own and nodding approvingly and appreciatively the entire time. The good part about that for Harry was that Hermione was watching him raptly the entire time, smiling. He had impressed her, which was no small feat in his eyes, with as smart as she was.

When the class ended and all of the students had left, Snape told Harry, "You know, Prongslet, you wouldn't make a half-bad teacher here." He looked at Harry pointedly. "Consider it."

Harry nodded and bade Snape goodbye, pulling Hermione with him as he left the classroom. They were due for their appointment with Dumbledore in a few minutes, so they began walking down the halls in the direction of his office, hand in hand.

Harry loved holding hands with Hermione, and had no problems admitting it. Her hand was so soft and warm, and fit so comfortably in his. It was incredibly comfortable and just seemed so natural that he couldn't consider walking next to her without doing it. He loved every second he spent with her and was glad he had ditched school, no matter how important it was, to find her and realize his feelings and get her to realize her own. He had loved every moment that they had been a couple, and, to be honest, it was just a tiny bit frightening just how much he loved her. He couldn't believe he had never known his feelings beforehand, and thought that all of it might have just been a little more bearable had he known previously.

Then again, her death in the other dimension might have very well broken him if he had realized his feelings beforehand. He had almost broken without those feelings known, and was incredibly happy he had a second chance with her.

As he thought about their relationship, most of which blossomed and occurred while at work in the cafe, Harry realized a grievous error that needed to be rectified immediately.

"Hermione..." he said slowly, looking at her oddly. She smiled at him, and his heart fluttered before he said, "I just realized something."

"And what would that be?" she asked as he led her through a shortcut. Classes were switching, and Harry would rather not be stopped and questioned five hundred times before they reached Dumbledore's office.

"I just realized that we've been going out for three and half months now and we haven't been on a date," he said.

Hermione remained quiet for a moment, Harry thinking she just needed a moment to think through their relationship to confirm his statement. When she remained silent for longer than Harry thought she would, however, a horrible suspicion bloomed in his mind.

"Oh my gosh, you've been waiting all this time for me to notice, haven't you?" he asked, mentally berating himself. He was such an idiot sometimes.

Hermione hesitated before answering. "Well, I will admit that I've already thought about this a couple times already," she said, her cheeks turning red. She hastily tried to appease Harry as she saw the look of horror and self-loathing on his face. "But I mean, we spend a lot of time together, you know? We don't really need to go on dates as it is."

Harry was having none of it. He still couldn't believe that he had forgotten something important as actually dating. "No, Hermione," he said. "That's unacceptable on my part. We're going out this week, okay?"

And Hermione smiled an amazingly beautiful yet equally shy smile, one that made Harry's heart flutter again. Now that was one hell of a smile. "I'm looking forward to it," she said, giving his hand a light squeeze.

"I am too," he confessed as they exited through a narrow gap behind a suit of armor. They walked down a hallway and came face to face with a stone gargoyle, and Harry realized at that moment that he didn't know the password to Dumbledore's study.

To their good luck, though, the gargoyle moved aside and Hagrid stepped out, a smile on his face. "Hey, it's Harry!" he said, nudging Harry on the shoulder (and almost knocking both Harry and Hermione down in the process). "I take it this is the beautiful young lady you left school for?" he asked, holding his hand out to Hermione, who smiled back and shook it.

Harry felt his stomach drop to his feet. Though Hermione was smiling, she was shooting daggers at Harry with her eyes. He had hoped she wouldn't catch that last bit from Hagrid, but, sharp as ever, she hadn't missed it at all. He had been irresponsible and told her that he had left school because Dumbledore had sent on him to learn all he could out in the real world. He just knew Hermione wouldn't be happy if he left school because of her.

Perhaps Hagrid could sense Harry's mood or he had just realized that he had made a mistake, but he laughed nervously and said, "Well, I have to go back and prepare a class now. Best of luck to both of you."

And he went down the hall after an apologetic look to Harry. It turned out that although Hagrid seemed to be able to speak English better and shaved his beard, he was still the same old Hagrid where it counted.

"What did he mean?" Hermione asked coldly, her hand no longer in his. "What did he mean when he said that you left school because of me?"

"Ah...w-well..." Harry began, bringing his hand up to scratch the back of his neck nervously. This was not going to be good. "Can we talk about this later?" he mumbled, not meeting her eyes. He didn't have a good enough argument to sway her opinion on this one.

"You and I both know you still have six minutes until our meeting with your Headmaster. Now tell me what he meant," Hermione demanded, touching his face so he was forced to meet her eyes.

He couldn't lie to those and she knew it. "I, uh...well...I may have...er...left school so I could find you," he said. She tried to talk, but Harry cut her off. "Listen, Hermione. After everything I went through, I knew more than I could have possibly learned during another year here. It would have been a year wasted. Dumbledore sent me off himself, telling me just that."

"I don't like this," she said, a sad look in her eyes. "Why would you miss your education for...well...me?"

"Because I love you," Harry said with determination. Now that he could answer and be proud of it. "I love you and there was no way school was keeping me from getting to you as soon as possible."

There were tears in Hermione's eyes, though Harry didn't know if they were due to happiness or something else. "On top of throwing away your last year of magical education, you lied to me," she whispered, betrayed, and now Harry's heart really plummeted.

He had grown so accustomed to her acting like the old Hermione that he had tricked himself into believing that she was exactly the same. The old Hermione wouldn't have cared about a little white lie like this, and would have known it was because Harry would have wanted to avoid a confrontation such as the one he and the new Hermione were having. The conversation would have been over there, with Hermione remarking on Harry being irresponsible. Sure, he would have felt a little guilty, but it was nothing compared to this.

Harry now knew what those tears were. They were tears of hurt. He had lied to her over something stupid when she hated nothing more than liars. He had projected the old Hermione onto her like an idiot and had fallen into bad habits. He needed to remind himself that this was the Hermione who resided in this dimension and who he still loved just as much as the old Hermione. He was a fool for forgetting, and it was more than a little disconcerting that he had done so.

He hugged Hermione, pulling her close to him, burying her head in his shoulder. She resisted at first, but when Harry began apologizing in her ear and telling her how much of an idiot he was and how much he loved her, she returned the hug with desperation, clutching his shirt with no intention of letting go anytime soon.

"I'm so sorry, Hermione," he repeated, despising himself and his stupid brain. "I love you so much and I didn't mean to hurt you. I promise I won't do it again."

This time, thankfully, she talked back. "Your promises are becoming more and more extravagant," she mumbled into his shoulder. "You just made a promise not to hurt me again. Don't make promises you can't keep."

Harry tightened his hold on her. "I intend to keep this one no matter what I have to do," he replied, then pulled back to look into her eyes, which were slightly red

She pouted slightly. "I think it's irresponsible to promise something that may not fall under your control in the future," she said quietly, turning her eyes away.

"I'll make sure I'm in control, Hermione," he said. "I'll make sure I'm never in a situation that will end up in you getting hurt."

Hermione really looked troubled, which was worrying Harry. Why did she look so...doubtful of him? Honestly, it hurt a little. Didn't she know the extent to which he would go to keep this promise?

She collected her thoughts for a moment, then, right when she opened her mouth to speak...

"Ah, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore's voice said from his right, and his head whipped around to look at his headmaster with a smile on his face. He bowed slightly at Hermione. "And you must be the lovely Miss Granger that Mr. Potter spoke so highly of."

Hermione smiled at the old man in return, but Harry could tell in the tightness of her smile that she was still upset with him. Honestly, it made Harry feel like crap. He was an idiot and he knew it. He should have never lied.

"Nice to meet you, sir," Hermione said, accepting his outstretched hand. "Harry's told me a lot about you and your wonderful school. Thank you for giving me a chance to see it."

"The pleasure is mine," Dumbledore said humbly. "Now, if you two could join me up in my office, I'd like to have a little chat with you."

Harry, his interest as to why Dumbledore called him in again piqued especially since Hermione was being included in the discussion, followed his headmaster onto the top stair and beckoned Hermione, who looked a tad reluctant, to join him. When she got to the step, she looked up at where Dumbledore's door was, which was a good fifteen feet above them, and her eyebrows creased in confusion. She jumped slightly when the stairs began moving, and she grabbed on to Harry's arm reflexively before snatching her hand back, sending confusion and hurt swirling through his brain.

He glanced over at her to find her avoiding his eyes and looking sad, and a bit of fear wormed its way into his system. He knew lying was bad, but could tell that wasn't the whole story. What had her so torn up like this?

He was dying to ask her, but figured doing so in front of Dumbledore wasn't the best way to resolve the issue. So he followed Dumbledore into his office, and sat with Hermione in front of his desk as Dumbledore took his own seat.

"Now, Harry," Dumbledore began, looking at Harry intently, almost as if this was a one-on-one conversation. "The reason I called you in today is to discuss your future."

"My...future?" Harry said, slightly confused. Not only was Dumbledore taking personal interest in his life post-Hogwarts, but he realized he actually had a future in this universe. He had been so preoccupied in finding and bonding with Hermione that he had completely forgotten he had a future that was attainable. Before the change in universes, he had never really entertained the notion of a future. Such a luxury would be unavailable to him considering his

Dumbledore nodded and steepled his fingers together. "And that is why I wanted Miss Granger to be included in the discussion," he said. "I wanted her to see the school, yes, but I think she could do well in giving you direction and could really contribute quite a bit to the topic."

Harry nodded, resisting the urge to glance at her because he was afraid of what he would see on her face. He hated it when she was disappointed.

Dumbledore studied Harry's reaction for a moment before his eyes flickered over to Hermione. Harry didn't have to look at her to know she was giving his headmaster her full attention.

"So I'll ask it bluntly," Dumbledore continued. Harry didn't know if Dumbledore had sensed the slight tension between them, and if he had he made nothing of it. "What do you want to do after Hogwarts, Harry?"

And for the second time in a row that he had been asked this question, he was stumped. "I...I'm not sure, sir," he admitted.

Dumbledore studied him for a moment, then said, "I received a patronus from Professor Snape that let me know you were helping him teach his class." Harry listened closely, interested in what his headmaster had to say. "I went down and watched you for a few minutes, disillusioned of course so I wouldn't startle you, and I have to say I was fairly impressed at how well you were able to teach an especially rowdy group of teenagers."

"Thank you sir," Harry said quickly, the praise warming his heart. He didn't know why, but whenever he impressed Dumbledore or made him proud he felt good inside. "I'm honored."

Dumbledore waved his hand. "You're a natural," he said. "So, given that, I thought I'd recommend to you a special teacher training program offered in London, taught by myself during the summers. Assuming you do well on your N.E.W.T.s, I could very easily envision you teaching here in the future."

Harry was surprised by that one. Him, a teacher? Then again, now that he thought about it that was the first thing that had popped to mind when it came to the D.A. back in his fourth year. He finally glanced over at Hermione to find her looking at him intently, so intently, in fact, that it took her several seconds to realized he had looked over at her, and when she did she looked away with disinterest.

Harry sighed, but was pulled out of his thoughts by Dumbledore reaching into his desk drawer and pulling out a small piece of paper. As he handed the paper to Harry, which turned out to be a letter in an envelope, he asked Hermione, "Would you agree with my assessment, Miss Granger?"

Hermione nodded quickly, a small smile on her face. "I think Harry makes an excellent teacher. He had my full attention and I can't even perform magic." Then she blushed. "Though I think some of that might be a girlfriend's and scholar's bias."

Harry was glad Hermione didn't seem to be too angry with him to say nice things about him at the moment, and even stuck with saying she was his girlfriend, and the slight knot in his stomach loosened a bit. Whatever this was, they could work through it.

Harry opened the envelope and looked at the letter, which contained an address and a date and time. "June 20th," Harry read aloud. He looked up at Dumbledore. "What is this?"

"An invitation," Dumbledore replied. "If you go to the address at the date and time described while holding the envelope, you will be able to pass through the magical barrier and begin attending my teaching lessons," he explained. "That is, if you want to of course," he added.

Harry digested what Dumbledore told him before saying, "And what if I decide I'm not ready this year, but am interested later down the line?"

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "If you miss this date, the letter will correct itself once I determine the date for next year. Professor Lupin held onto his letter for almost five years before he finally came for instruction."

"I see," Harry said slowly.

"You've been studying, I hope?" Dumbledore asked, and Harry could sense the sternness of the question.

"I have been," Harry affirmed before smiling wryly. "Though I can't say the same for Catherine or Teddy."

Dumbledore nodded somberly. "I'll be having this talk with them too, though I am sad that I need to impress upon them the importance of their N.E.W.T.s when they've been hearing about them for the past seven years of their lives." He turned to Hermione. "And what do you think about all of this, Miss Granger?" he asked.

With the information Dumbledore had been feeding him, Harry had almost forgotten Hermione was in the room with them. She said, "I could see Harry teaching. I think, though, that above everything, he should think about this long and hard and determine what he would like to do rather than doing something that he doesn't particularly like but is good at."

Dumbledore nodded emphatically. "Couldn't have said it better myself," he said merrily. Then he met Harry's eyes seriously. "Take what Miss Granger says to heart, Mr. Potter," he said. "Far too many people sacrifice what has the power to make them happy so they can do something that might get them more money or less work to do. How can that be called living?"

Harry nodded in awe, unsurprised that his girlfriend and Dumbledore were on the same wavelength, and that wavelength involved spouting words of wisdom. They were truly two-of-a-kind.

"Thank you, sir," Harry said, standing up.

Dumbledore stood up as well, and took Harry's hand. "It's my pleasure, Harry," he said, sounding a bit tired. "Far too many students neglect what is important and, as a result, end up leading lives that aren't nearly as fulfilling as they had hoped. Have a pleasant day."

"You too, sir," Harry said as he took Hermione's hand and began leading her back toward the staircase. "It was nice seeing you!" he called as the staircase took them back down.

Harry looked over at Hermione, who met his eyes with mixed emotions. Harry felt his spirits drop, but only so much. She wasn't pulling her hand out of his, which meant that this was definitely something that could be worked through. He just needed to get her to tell him exactly what was wrong.

Harry was still looking at Hermione when he got off of the stairs, so didn't notice that people were waiting for him when he stepped into the hallway. Hermione did, though, and immediately stopped, which prevented Harry from walking into one of them.

"Look what we have here," a familiar voice said. Harry looked at the two blocking their path to find none other than Malfoy and Ron. "A Ravenclaw and his muggle pet."

Harry internally sighed. Why did Malfoy think he was so tough? How long would it take for him to realize he was fighting a losing battle? "What do you want, Malfoy?" Harry said boredly, though his hand was wrapped tightly around the handle of his wand. Though Malfoy was an idiot, he was known to do absolutely evil things. He met Malfoy's eyes, a challenge in his own. "You still angry about losing to me in Quidditch?"

Malfoy's face scrunched in anger. "At least I didn't cry like you did last year," he said triumphantly.

Honestly, if that had actually happened to Harry, he would be mortified right now. But that had happened to the other Harry, thus didn't really bother him at all. Instead, Harry's smirk reached his mouth this time. "Don't lie, Malfoy," he said. "You and I both know there were tears in your eyes last time I was here."

Malfoy faltered, and Ron's head snapped to look over at him in shock. Then Malfoy laughed a wavering laugh that sounded pretty pitiful. "You may be able to beat me in Quidditch," Malfoy said, "But with no second there's no way you can beat me in a duel."

Harry froze, pushing Hermione behind him a bit. He could take these two on by himself with no problem at all, but knew that would be putting Hermione in harm's way. She couldn't do magic and would have no way to protect herself.

And so Harry swallowed his pride. He didn't care what Ron or Malfoy thought of him if it meant Hermione would be safe. He shrugged. "Probably," he admitted, lying. "And I'm alright with that."

Hermione's hand gripped his harder. She knew what he was doing.

"Haha, what a loser!" Ron said, slapping Malfoy's back. "No pride at all."

My pride is Hermione, Harry thought to himself, and said, "Well, if that's all..."

He began to back up, keeping himself in between the guys and Hermione. He knew they would try to curse him as soon as he turned his back. They were weak like that.

"Not so fast," Malfoy said, a grin on his face. "It's time for you to face humiliation after what you did to me in front of half the school." He raised his wand. "Petrificus Totalus!"

There was absolutely nothing Harry could do to protect Hermione if he was incapacitated. He had no idea what the two of them would do with her, and, to be honest, had no intention of finding out. He whipped his wand out of his pocket and casted a shielding charm nonverbally. Malfoy's curse rebounded off and slammed into the ceiling. As the two idiots stared at where the spell hit, Harry shouted "Stupefy!" and Malfoy flew back a few feet onto his back, unconscious.

Ron took the opportunity to cast a stunning spell of his own, and Harry slashed his wand through the air, vaporizing the redhead's magic. Ron looked surprised for a second. Harry didn't have it in himself to curse Ron directly, so resorted to disarming him, catching his wand when it flew to him.

Ron looked stunned, while Malfoy, was...well...literally stunned, unconscious on the floor. Harry sneered at his former friend, adrenaline coursing through his veins. He was seeing red. He was angry beyond reason, beyond frustration at the fact that they had tried to take him on when there was a muggle present. That was dangerous.

"Hey, idiot," Harry said. While he wouldn't curse Ron, he had no problem calling him various names. He held up Ron's wand. "I'm hiding this on my way out. Good luck finding it."

Ron gulped, and Harry pulled Hermione along with him as he left the corridor, anger still surging through his veins. That wasn't supposed to happen. He was just supposed to admit to them that they were better and they were supposed to leave him alone. Why were they so stupid? Was it some sort of contagious disease in this universe?

Most of all, though, he was angry at himself for allowing Hermione to be in a situation that she was put in danger.

"Harry!" Hermione said, wrenching her hand out of his.

Harry stopped and whirled on her. "What?" he snapped, still agitated.

She was nursing the hand that had been in his with her other hand. Had he been squeezing her hand that hard? "You need to calm down," she said soothingly, reaching up and smoothing back his hair. "Take a deep breath."

Harry did just that, trying his best to calm down, though he was now angry at himself for practically crushing her hand. He just couldn't do anything right.

All of his anger immediately evaporated when Hermione hugged him, pressing his head over her shoulder. He hugged her back tightly, taking in her amazing scent as he took in another deep breath. He didn't know anything could smell so peaceful and soothing.

"It's okay, Harry," she assured him in his ear. "You did everything you could. You can't help it if they're looking to pick a fight."

Harry swallowed, choking down words of self-doubt that rose in his throat. He didn't think Hermione would appreciate them. "I know," he admitted. "I just thought that if I laid down my pride, you would be out of harm's way. I'm sorry for being so angry."

He felt her smile, warming his entire body as she did so. "I know," she said. "And I'm honored you would lay down your pride for me. That must have been hard to do."

"Just a bit," Harry said quietly, coaxing them to share a chuckle.

Hermione pulled back to look at his face, a smile still on hers. "And I have to admit that you looked really cool when you were doing magic." She blushed a bit. "You looked like you were in your element."

Harry sighed slightly, a more sad smile on his own face. "As cool as it must be, I kind of wish something so dangerous didn't put me in my element." Then a thought hit him. "Hey, what was bothering you so much when we were in Dumbledore's office?"

Hermione hesitated, her smile faltering. Finally she shook her head. "It's no big deal," she said. "Plus, the way you fought them and protected me at the same time resolved my concerns." An even bigger smile bloomed on her face. "I know you won't do anything to hurt me."

Harry knew she was adding the word 'intentionally' in her own mind, and he accepted that as a fact. In retrospect, maybe it was a little immature to promise that he would never hurt her. Pain was unavoidable in a relationship. After all, pain is caused by mistakes and no human is so perfect that they make none.

So he asked, "Can I amend my promise?"

She nodded, her eyes locked on his. Harry's breath caught in his throat. Her eyes, such a warm shade of brown and filled with so much intelligence, were truly breathtaking.

"I promise to love you for the rest of my life and promise to do everything in my power to avoid hurting you," he said.

Hermione's eyes filled with tears, which had Harry concerned for a moment until she smiled shakily and wiped at her eyes. She chuckled and her voice trembled as she said, "You just broke it up into two promises."

"And is that a bad thing?" Harry asked cheekily, glad that they were in a hallway that was still somehow unoccupied other than themselves.

"No," Hermione said, unshed tears still making her eyes glisten. "I think that's an amazing thing."

And she leaned forward, pressing her lips against Harry's, her arms wrapping around his neck. Harry wrapped his own arms around her, lightly moving his mouth against hers. He was so happy he had left school to find her.

And he was even happier that he had asked her out on a date later in the week.

He couldn't wait.

A/N: So we have a date, Harry's future, Cat and Teddy, Hermione's father, and Hermione's future all slated to be brought to the forefront as we steadily build towards the climax! I'm just as excited about writing this now as Harry is about his date with Hermione!

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you review if you have a moment, even if I don't deserve it because of the insanely long wait!