Charlie Weasley was the first wizard she slept with after her husband's death. Landren Drogomars was the first man she loved since her husband. They spent three years together on Isle Mars before parting. As much love as there was, they were not mates but they would always be family.
With the law deadline looming again Hermione took her daughter and returned to London and the Wizarding world she'd only been a marginal part of since going to Isle Mars to find Landren. Her return was met with a great reception among her family and adoptive family. Iliyra and she had perfected what the ministry and werewolves had deemed, 'the cure' even though both girls insisted it wasn't a cure for lycanthropy. They still became wolves on the full moon, the transformation was still a little painful but nothing compared to the agony of before, they retained their human minds and while if there was game around they felt the drive to hunt it down, the blood lust was gone. The monthly potion wasn't overly expensive and once the tattoos were done, life became much easier for the werewolves. Great strides had been made in werewolf rights laws and many laws against them repealed. Remus, still working at Hogwarts had been offered a job at the ministry in the new werewolf rights division but he recommended a couple others in his stead preferring to teach. Harry was an auror and Ginny a trainer for a local Quidditch team though the couple already had two children. Ron and Amalie had lost their first child to a miscarriage but had a healthy boy a few months old. Draco had adapted to the muggle world and now ran a very successful company in muggle London where he met his animal rights activist wife of three months. Blaise and Molly had adopted four other children together and she was pregnant with their first biological child. Astoria and Dane had a son and still lived happily in Sweden, they were the both Master Herbologists providing the best potions ingredients in Europe. Daphne and Ernie had two kids and Pansy was dating Parvati. Luna and Damyan had reconciled with her father and lived with him next to the Burrow with their triplets. Theo and Juliette had divorced and he was dating a muggle he'd met through Draco's wife and raising his son while she'd moved to America with a half-blood she'd had an affair with.
Life had gone on while Hermione had been with Landren and though she'd kept up with her friends and even seen them, things were still very different and new when she returned to London. They had all grown up, healed the scars of the past and were happily coming together again.
The ministry offered Hermione several jobs but she was in no rush to decide. Landren had taught her to relax and let things come as they would. For now she was going to get herself and Lirik settle into their own little house.
Six months seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. The last four years had passed in a flash for Hermione, and it amazed her as she watched her four-year-old daughter waving a banner in the air as she sat atop Charlie's shoulders cheering for the team playing the world cup.
Lirik was the image of her Aunt Ra. Iliyra had told them Ra was what Kiril had called her since they were children, now it was what Lirik and Hermione called her. Lirik, had the exact eyes of her father, the same hair and high cheekbones as well as his patience and calm but she had her mothers cute little nose and brains and when she did get mad, well both her parents were scary when they got mad and she got that trait from both of them.
"You ok Hermione?" Bill asked her setting his son on the ground from his shoulders so he could share his older sister's Berty Botts Every Flavour Beans.
Hermione nodded, "Nostalgic today is all."
"Well imagine that." Bill smiled at her, "Because a little piece of the past was just asking about you."
"Bill?" Hermione frowned at him.
Bill nodded to the seats below them, "Passed Viktor Krum on the way up."
"Viktor?" Hermione breathed. "How is he?"
Bill shrugged, "Good I guess. I'm sure you'll get to talk with him after the match tonight. I told him where our tent was."
"Good." Hermione grinned at him, "It will be good to see him."
Bill nodded and then let out a shout at the match making Hermione chuckle and turn her attention back to the field.
Viktor had gotten divorced as well and his ex-wife was remarried though he said they remained friends. He was now a coach for the Bulgarian team and encouraged Ginny to move up from coaching a local team to the big leagues but the young mother was happy where she was.
After catching up with Viktor for a bit he invited all of them to the main tent to celebrate with the teams the following night. Molly, Arthur, Remus and Andromeda happily offered to babysit so all the young parents could go out.
It was here that Hermione met up with Oliver Wood again.
She had just gotten a glass of Champaign and turned to move away when she knocked in to him.
"Oh, I'm so… Oliver?"
"Hermione." Oliver grinned at her. "How are you?"
"Well. I'm so sorry." She waved her wand at the spill as Oliver shook his head.
"Don't worry about it."
"How have you been?"
"Very well." He beamed at her.
"Right, of course." Hermione chuckled "Congratulations. It was an amazing game."
"Thank you." Oliver reached past her and plucked two fresh glasses of Champaign from the counter handing her one.
Oliver nodded, "How have you been? You have a daughter right?"
"I do." Hermione blushed, "Lirik, she's four, this was actually her birthday present."
"A Quidditch lover." Oliver chuckled.
Hermione rolled her eyes chuckling as well, "I blame her uncles."
"I didn't know you had brothers or are they your husbands?"
"Kiril only had a sister and I was an only child. I meant the Weasley's and Harry."
"Of course." Oliver nodded. "How are they?"
"Everyone is very well. They're all here, well Molly and Arthur are watching the little ones for us."
Oliver led her away from the bar area and to a quiet corner to talk. Hermione sank into a bench seat as they caught up. Hours passed with neither of them the wiser. Hermione thought she might have laughed so hard she was going to pee at one point and her lungs and stomach hurt from it by the time Harry came to find her to head home.
"Oh, yes, we should go. It was lovely catching up Oliver."
"I'm back in London for a bit before heading home to Scotland. Maybe we can get lunch?"
"Love to." Hermione kissed his cheek and let Harry help her up.
The next morning there were photos of them in the paper.
ROMANCE AT THE QUIDDITCH CUP CELEBRATION
Under the caption was a photo of her and Oliver sat in the alcove talking and laughing. Hermione had to admit that they were sitting much closer together than she'd realized and read the little blurb after the photo.
War-Hero and Co-Founder of the Werewolf Cure Hermione Granger Valko was seen tucked away in a private nook with Star Keeper and Captain of the Quidditch World Cup winning Scottish National Team Oliver Wood. The pair ignored the festivities around them for their own private celebration, is there a future for the famous pair?
"Mummy pretty." Lirik told her tracing the photo, "Happy."
"Thank you baby." Hermione kissed her daughter on the head, "He's the captain of the team that won."
"Wood Mummy." Lirik told her with an eye roll, "He's Oli Wood, bestest Scottish player and bestest Keeper, England wanted him too, cause he's half you know but Scotland won the right cause he lives in Scotland. I'm going to be good like him too one day."
"You want to be a keeper?"
Lirik nodded, "A keeper or a seeker. Uncle Harry says I make a good seeker since I'm a good flyer and I can see real good when he takes me up on his broom I can follow the snitch pretty good."
"Well when you're older you can fly on your own and see where you like to play the best."
"When am I old enough to fly a broom by myself?"
"Not before you're seven, we'll see then."
"Lan says I can fly on Nyla by myself when I'm seven."
"We'll see." Hermione nodded kissing her daughter again, "Go and wash up for dinner now."
"How come you never said you knew Oli Wood though?"
"I don't really. We both went to Hogwarts, he's a few years older though and we were just catching up at the party."
"Can you bring him home to play?"
"Maybe but only if you are a very good girl."
"Ok mum!" Lirik jumped up and ran to wash up for dinner. Hermione chuckled at her daughter, between the Weasley's and Elves her daughter had been flying before she could walk. She was obsessed with Quidditch and dragons, knew everything about lycanthropy and could do three wandless spells already.
A few days later Hermione took her daughter to preschool in the muggle world, something she'd started after returning to London, then she met Oliver for lunch.
"My daughter might have a Quidditch crush on you." Hermione told him with a chuckle.
Oliver grinned and shook his head, "Hermione Granger's daughter a fan girl."
Hermione laughed and corrected him, "No, she wants to be you not fawn over you, its different."
"I'd be happy to sign a jersey for her, or maybe my helmet from the World Cup."
"She'd love that. You wouldn't mind?"
"No." Oliver shook his head, "I'd be happy to encourage a young keeper, there aren't to many girls in the spot."
"She's between keeper and seeker." Hermione laughed, "She gets the seeker thing from Harry and the Keeper part from Ginny."
"She made a fair Keeper." Oliver nodded, "I saw her play once. It's a shame she didn't stay on past the one year."
"She got pregnant."
Oliver nodded, "Coaches now right?"
Hermione was surprised when her wand reminded her it was time to pick up Lirik a couple hours later.
"I'm so sorry Oliver. I hate to run off."
"How about an early dinner then? I can bring you and Lirik to my hotel and get her that jersey and helmet."
"You want to meet her?"
"If its alright?" He shrugged.
"Are you kidding? She'll love it."
Lirik blushed prettily when she saw Oliver next to her mother, "I'm Lirik Valko."
"Oliver Wood." He smiled down at her.
"I know." She informed him. "I saw you play. You only let two goals in the entire finals, it beat the records but when I play for England I wont let in any."
Oliver laughed and nodded, "I look forward to you breaking that record then."
Lirik blushed again, "Can I see your broom?"
"If your mom says its ok, I can take you up on it."
"Really?" Lirik gasped. "Please mummy!"
"If you're good, maybe after supper. Oliver is going to take us out."
"I get to eat with you!" Lirik grabbed his hand, "My brothers are going to be so jealous!"
Oliver laughed, "We can invite them next time too."
"Teddy's living in Scotland and Uncle Remus took him to three games this year to see you play, mummy let me go with them to one, it was the one you saved the goal even though a bludger had hit you and you only had your broom by one hand. When you kicked the quaffle away and swung up on your broom Teddy and I cheered so hard we couldn't talk at supper time and Uncle Remus gave us chocolate ice creams."
"You know I think I heard those cheers, they were the best I ever got." He winked at her, letting her lead him towards the leaky cauldron.
"I have a brother named Kiron in Isla Mars, the Kir is for my daddy, he doesn't follow Quidditch cause the elves don't have it and he's only almost three but he came with us to the Quidditch cup and he loved it and Aunt Ra says he'd play well as a beater."
"How many brothers do you have?"
"Teddy is my first brother, he's the one takes care of me and plays Quidditch with me. Kiron is my elf brother, then there is James Sirius who's Uncle Harry's son and Hugo Uncle Ron's son. I have loads of cousins to, from my Weasley Uncles and my Elf Uncles and from what Uncle Ron calls my Snake Uncles, some of my cousins are even girls but I don't have any sisters, I want mummy to give me a sister but Auntie Ra might be giving me one first. Do you have brothers and cousins?"
"I have an older brother, Robert, and four cousins."
"Are they from blood? Mummy doesn't have any from her parents but we still have a big family and Uncle Draco says blood doesn't mean nothing, family is family and magic is magic and I'm special because I have such a big unique family.
"They are from blood but your uncle Draco is right, that doesn't matter."
The trio went to the hotel and then for a short flight, on which Lirik wore the signed jersey and too big keeper helmet, spelled not to cover her eyes. At dinner they had their photo taken again. Upstairs in his room, Lirik passed out on the bed, still wearing the jersey and clutching the helmet while Hermione and Oliver talked.
"You see the picture after the celebration?"
Hermione nodded and blushed, "I hope no girlfriend got upset."
Oliver shook his head, "I was always better at sport than girls."
Hermione laughed and shook her head, "I find that hard to believe."
Oliver snorted, "You were my first date in years back when the law was first issued. I've been on seven since then."
"They didn't go well?"
Oliver shrugged, "I'm twenty eight now and more, I don't know, grown up I guess, five years ago I was in no place to be getting married, I'm not sure any of us were but I wasn't close to being ready to be someones partner."
"I'm a widowed mother at twenty four." Hermione sighed, "It's not exactly where I had thought to be five years ago."
"No I imagine it isn't but you've done amazing things Hermione, we always knew you would."
"The wizarding world. I knew that day you spelled Harry's glasses you were a brilliant little thing. I know it was small to you and just about Quidditch but that memory was why I agreed when Ginny sent me an owl about coming to meet with you."
"It was?" Hermione blushed, "I always wondered."
Oliver shrugged, "Wasn't to terrible to spend the day with me was it? I was so nervous I thought my heart was going to give out at any minute."
"You were not."
"Seriously." Oliver nodded. "I was terrified. It had been an age since I went on a date and you are, well you. You intimidated me with your brilliance as a third year with that spell but add to that you were a war hero, any sane bloke would be nervous."
Hermione laughed and shook her head, "I can't believe it, you didn't seem nervous at all."
"It was a good day." Hermione thought back.
"So was today."
Hermione smiled at him and nodded, "Thank you for being so good with her."
"What is it lass?"
Hermione smiled weakly at him, "She loves the family and London, it's just, not been the easiest adjustment for her. Landren was like a father, I know she misses him, I do to but…" She sighed.
"Can I ask what happened?"
Hermione shook off her melancholy and smiled at him, "Nothing. I love him, very much but we aren't mates, I guess, I mean, we just aren't meant to be, you know."
Oliver nodded, "I was in love once. Great witch. I was sorry when it ended but better that way than waiting until things got bad between us."
"Like for Theo."
"I heard he was divorced."
"Yeah." Hermione nodded. "He and his son are doing well though, he's actually going to start teaching at Hogwarts next year."
"Good for him." Oliver nodded, "What about you, what do you plan to do next?"
Hermione shook her head with a chuckle, "I honestly haven't a clue. I've been offered a couple different positions but I don't know what I really want now."
"I know what you mean."
"Wont you keep playing Quidditch?"
"At my age?" Oliver laughed, "No," He shook his head, "I know there are players who stay on in their thirties but I'd like to go out on top."
"Will you coach like Viktor does?"
Oliver shrugged, "It's been offered as a second option though the teams first is to sign me again."
"Do you think you might leave Quidditch?"
"I'll never entirely leave Quidditch but I think it is time for me to do something new. My brother's talking about opening a Quidditch shop and the ministry offered me a place in the Department of Magical Games and Sports."
"Whatever you decide I hope you love it as much as this."
"Well I hope you find something you are as passionate about to work on as you were with the werewolves."
"Thanks. You know, Kingsley offered me a position with the Department of International Magical Cooperation and I really did love what Kiril did, what his family does, making a difference, but…"
"Sometimes, people, I just don't understand, I don't have his patience or his ability to try to understand, he never accepted peoples intolerances but he was always trying to understand it, I don't think I ever could. Why was he killed? Why? They were there to help and Iliyra was attacked and they killed him and I don't think I can ever understand and I know he'd want me to, to try, he'd want me to forgive and I tried, I did but I can't forget what their hate took from me and my daughter, or blood purity and hate took from all of us, even what the ministry has allowed, this law, the old laws against the wolves and other innocent creatures. How can they fight so hard to understand other cultures and people but those not fully human are still below? That's not tolerance, its just refocusing hate."
"Maybe instead of International Cooperation you should work for the Department and Care of Magical Creatures, you did a lot of good work for them the last couple years."
"I don't know. I feel like I should, do something, more, make the world better for Lirik. I never want her faced with what we were."
"I know the ministry was very corrupt but Kingsley has done a lot of good with his programs, maybe if you got into the ministry you could work on some the changes you want to see in the world. Start with one department and find the one you're best suited for." Oliver grinned at her, "I could see you as Minister one day."
Hermione laughed and shook her head at him, "Maybe."
"Since that is far off into the unknown future, let's discuss the much more pressing issue of when you are going to bring Lirik to visit me in Edinburgh."
Hermione laughed again and shook her head at him, "I think we'd both like that. Maybe on her next school holidays."
Hermione saw Oliver everyday that week, Lirik was at Preschool again, so the pair just walked around London talking. Oliver led her to the ice cream shop and they sat watching the people go by as she teased him and he told her stories about his peers at Hogwarts teasing him about liking Quidditch more than girls.
Not far from the pair several of her friends spied them together.
"Have you ever seen her laugh like that?" Harry whispered to his wife.
Ginny just shook her head in answer, "She's so happy."
"Looks like maybe you were right in school about them." Daphne agreed.
"No." Draco shook his head, "Hermione was right at Hogwarts, Kiril was perfect for her but she's not the same witch really and this could be right now." He nodded to the pair. "We just need to make sure those two see what we do."
"Good luck." Angelina snorted, "I dated him in school a few months, all he saw was Quidditch."
"Things change." Ginny argued.
"Clearly." Blaise agreed looking between the group of close friends.
"You dated him?" George demanded of his wife.
"Relax Georgie, I married you, or did our wedding and the twins taking up residence in my stomach miss your notice?"
George grinned at her and sent her a lascivious wink, "I remember putting them in there." Angelina shoved him lightly in response rolling her eyes.
"So the plan?" Daphne refocused them.
"Plan?" Ron questioned.
"To get Mione and Oliver together." Harry helped him catch up again.
"Slytherins." Ginny snorted, "There is no plan, just let them sort it out, she didn't need our help with Landren."
"Or Charlie." Draco agreed.
"CHARLIE!" Four identical yelps of surprise burst out.
"You didn't know they did the deed?" Daphne asked the four Gryffindors surprised. "I mean, he's your brother.
"It was just sex." Blaise provided. "Just the twice."
Draco frowned, "Yeah, they did it before she moved to Isle Mars for Landren and then the summer they spent together when she and Landren broke up for a few months."
"I didn't know about the first time." Daphne pouted.
"I don't think she wanted it to get around. You know how private she is. Besides this lot didn't know their older brother had a fling with her at all."
"Does Charlotte know?" Ginny breathed.
"Sure." Draco shrugged, "She introduced them."
"Yeah, they clicked and Hermione backed off Charlie so they could date." Daphne informed them. "Right before Landren showed up to bring her back to Isle Mars."
"I can't believe neither of them said." Ginny huffed.
"Right, but its in the past, he's newly married with a brat on the way and she needs to get married in the next year." Blaise tried to redirect the conversation.
"Stupid law." Ron rolled his eyes.
"Law or not, look at her with him. Seriously, I can't remember her ever laughing so much."
"Lirik likes him too."
"Maybe but they wont be doing much with her around so lets all do the uncle, aunt thing and have her around more."
"Yeah, except he's going back to Edinburgh in two days."
"Alright." Ginny sighed, "Slytherins, I bow to your will on this, let's plot."
Unknown to them, Hermione herself was thinking how happy she was around Oliver and as they got up to leave she stopped him.
"Yeah?" He frowned at her suddenly serious tone.
"What if Lirik and I just came back with you?"
"What about her muggle school?"
"Its preschool." Hermione shrugged, "She's already way more advanced than those other kids."
Oliver laughed and then spun her around, "She'll love it. You both will."
Hermione laughed and hugged him. Oliver's arms wrapped easily around her as he smiled at her.
"You make me feel young." Hermione told him, "I've never felt that before."
"Carefree you mean?" Oliver asked tucking her hair behind her ear, "Its because you haven't really ever been, but now you can, at least between projects to change the world. We can be carefree and have fun and let Lirik have the long, happy childhood we all should have had."
"It isn't enough to just make her safe is it?"
"No, but you've always done more than that. Seriously, my mum would never have let me ride a dragon, no matter if it was with an elf Dragon Rider."
The couple continued to discuss Lirik and all the things Hermione wanted for her daughter and the upcoming trip to Edinburgh with Oliver as they went to pick the little girl up.
They weren't in Edinburgh a week before Oliver kissed her for the first time and they went to bed together the same night. The kiss had broken some sort of damn or barrier in them both and the desire consumed them. Hermione took every opportunity to brush against him, Oliver took every chance to touch her or to kiss her. His toned Quidditch body and broad keepers shoulders make Hermione tremble with desire and lick her lips whenever she saw him shirtless and for the first time she could remember, Hermione counted minutes before Lirik fell asleep at night.
Six months later, as they said their vows and all their friends patted themselves on the back for helping get the couple together but Lirik set them straight.
"I saw my mummy laughing in the photo after the world cup and decided he'd be my new daddy then, you all might have helped a little bit, maybe, but don't kid yourselves, that" she pointed at the couple, "Was all me. I knew it way before you." She rolled her eyes at them and tugged Toby's hand, "Will you teach me to dance like mummy and daddy are?"
"Sure." Toby looked to his father and Blaise nodded to them, laughing at the little spit fire. She might look just like her father and have his patience but she was very much her mothers daughter, intelligent, head strong and open hearted, if just a little bossy. Of course no one at the wedding that day expected the two children would be dancing at their own wedding twenty years later but that is another story.
Oliver and Hermione married, he ran a successful Quidditch shop with his brother and Hermione went from Magical Law to Minister and when she finished her third term and all her children were grown, she and Oliver both became teachers at Hogwarts, him of Flying and the Head of House for Gyffindor her of Transfiguration and International Relations between schools. Late in life she also became the Headmistress. The strides she made in changing Wizarding Society couldn't be matched. The marriage law had been one of her first works and seven years after it was voted in, the law was repealed. They found other ways to combat blood purity and to unite different cultures. Including the long ago proposed International School Cooperations, from Kiril's eighth year project, with a yearly Quidditch tournament and Yule Balls as well as a joint graduation celebration.
She was one of the great witches in History and lived to the ripe age of one hundred and ninty eight. Oliver followed two years later, the pair were very happily married with four children, Lirik and the three boys she gave birth to, including your grandfather, Samuel Michael Wood.
"So it was a happy ending? Even after all that pain?"
"Yes Hermione, your great grandmother had a very happy life, though her journey to finding that happiness was bumpy and often painful, Oliver taught her how to laugh and be free and young all the days of their lives."
"Did she always miss Kiril?"
"Yes. She loved him all her life. She never forgot him or let my mother and I know you wont ever stop loving Ben either but you two weren't meant to be, not forever."
"Great Grandfather Kiril died, Ben just left me. He chose it."
"He did." I nodded and tucked her hair behind her ear, "Like your great grandmother chose to leave Charlie and then Landren. Landren especially she loved but they weren't meant for forever, she didn't find love where she expected it or where others did. She found it in my grandfather and then in Oliver. You wouldn't believe the surprise of the Wizarding world that those two were together. People said lots of things about the pair and how mismatched they seemed from the outside but their friends saw and understood, Oliver made her laugh, he made her happy and she loved him as unexpected as that was to others and to her in the beginning."
"I wish I were as brave as she was."
"You are Hermione, you have her heart and that is her greatest legacy to this family, some even say it was her greatest legacy to the Wizarding world, her capacity to love all and to forgive sins of the past. Including Farnot, who struck the killing blow to my grandfather."
"She forgave him?"
"Perhaps not fully, but she held no hate for him after the years passed and she forgave his people completely, she helped them gain several rights which enabled peace talks between the tribes again, ones that went much smoother."
"So she married Oliver."
"She did." I hugged my niece, "The rest is a story for another day. It's late and your father is very angry with you for sneaking out."
"You really think I'll love another wizard as much as I love Ben?"
"I know you will."
"As much as you love Remy James Potter?"
"Yes and as much as my mother loved Toby and her mother loved Oliver and Kiril all the days of her life. Now got to bed. It's off to Hogwarts in the morning and sixth year is very exciting."
"Goodnight then and thank you Auntie."
"Always." I watched my niece go back in to the house and sighed remembering the my grandmothers house and how full it always was with laughter and love. I'd heard all about my grandfather and how much they'd loved each other and I wished I'd known him, I knew my mother did even more but she loved Oliver and he never treated her as anything but his own, as the only girl she was even a little more spoiled than the boys they had a few years later, something that carried over to their first granddaughter when I was born.
I couldn't help but think that maybe fate knew what she was doing because I couldn't imagine a better couple than my grandmother and grandfather. I couldn't imagine her having been happier and that was what I want one day for my niece. What I had always wanted for myself, to love and be loved the way my parents and grandparents did.
I wondered if I'd have been brave enough or strong enough to keep going if I ever lost the love of my life, or if I'd had to live through any of what she had, I wasn't sure anyone really was. My grandmother was just, special. My great uncle, Harry Potter had saved the world, it was a story the world knew well and one taught to all children. My grandmother, she had changed the world and it had all started with a stupid law and choosing a match, the right match, for forever.
Well that's all. I hope you enjoyed the story. Thank you all so much for your reviews. Even the ones where you have been cursing me. Trust me, Kiril's death was hard for me to, I cried writing it but the story wouldn't let me go any other way. I hope you're all surprised by the ending choice and no one is disappointed. I know lots of you wanted her with Draco and I leaned that way for a bit but it didn't write that way. Landren came in because I didn't want it to be unrealiastic in that every boy you are with and love is the guy, the same went for Charlie, they had more than a sibling relationship but just weren't it for each other. I wanted her to be with someone where it showed how much she'd changed over the years and I wanted it to be about more than passion. Laughter is so important and she's had so little of it in her life and sometimes the strangest couples are the happiest. Ok well, please review and thank you so much for sticking with the story whether you loved it, hated it or something in between. Until next story!