AN: Wow it's been forever. Life has been busy for me, and I've had a few other projects I've been working on. I don't have any plans on abandoning this story; I just haven't had time to write. This hasn't been checked for Grammar or anything, so don't be surprised if I update it after people point out my numerous mistakes.
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
Chapter 13: Christmas and Family.
"Wake up Harry!" Hermione said loudly as she did bounced up and down in the bed giggling; doing everything in her power to jostle Harry awake.
"Hmnph," Harry mumbled, wondering what this five-foot even bundle of giggles was doing waking him up even earlier than their normal routine.
"Come on sleepyhead," the giggling witch persisted, "It's Christmas, so get up, get up, get up already!"
Harry stretched and groaned loudly. Hermione grinned and made to get off the bed before she suddenly found herself on her back with a grinning Harry on top of her. She rolled her eyes at him but didn't deny him his morning kiss, morning breath be damned.
"Go, brush, then get downstairs," Hermione half-griped, "if I know Mum and Dad they're already down there waiting, especially Dad, he's a bigger kid than me sometimes!"
Harry climbed up and made his way to the loo grinning like a fool. Hermione rolled her eyes again at his early morning antics but secretly smiled to herself as he stepped out of view. She enjoyed his often childish displays of affection as much as he did, but it did no good letting him in on that fact.
I already know!
Hermione just chuckled, choosing to ignore the fact that he'd been picking thoughts out of her head. She made her way downstairs where sure enough, her parents were cuddled on the couch cradling cups of coffee.
"Morning Pumpkin," Dan said accepting a quick hug and kiss from Hermione.
"Merry Christmas!" Abby said a little too excitedly as she accepted her own hug and kiss.
"Where's Harry?" Dan asked alternately eyeing the stairs and the presents.
"On his way," Hermione said kneeling next to the large piles by the tree looking them over deciding where to begin.
Harry made his way down smiling at the group who would, hopefully, soon be his real family. Dan had went to his Solicitor the day after the visit to Little Whinging, and had been promised a court date as soon as possible.
"Morning everyone," Harry said as he sat down on the carpet on the opposite side of the pile from Hermione.
"Merry Christmas Harry!" Abby said smiling brightly.
Hermione smiled as she sensed the acceptance flowing off the bond from Harry. She'd been concerned about his reaction to the Holiday, having seen how he'd been treated in the past, but she couldn't be more pleased as he seemed to be taking it all in stride.
"So Harry, normally our little present demon, AKA Hermione Gran…Potter, sits right there and tears through presents simply tossing any with our names in our general direction. Seeing as I have no desire to come between her and that tradition, I suggest you just follow her lead," Dan said, his eyes twinkling in the dim light awarded by the tree and fireplace.
Harry met Hermione's eyes and watched the fire flicker off them softly. "On three?" Harry asked smirking at her.
Hermione grinned and spoke the words all together, "Onetwothree!"
Hermione and Harry started grabbing boxes at random, instantly opening ones labeled to them while sliding any with Dan and Abby's names in the general direction of the couch. Most of the presents were simple but heartfelt gifts. Harry first opened a gift from Abby that contained a book titled 'Harry Potter and the Welsh Werewolf'. He laughed at the crudely drawn illustration of himself before sticking his tongue out, causing Abby to burst out laughing as well.
Hermione opened her first gift from Dan and instantly slid the watch on her wrist before winding it a few times. She flicked her wrist once letting it settle before reaching back into the pile.
The first real surprising reaction surprisingly came from Dan. "How!" he asked as he stared from the black box in his hands to his wife.
Abby beamed, obviously pleased with herself, "Ordered it from the states."
Dan stood and did a wiggle that somewhat resembled a dance before sitting the box down and grabbing Abby up, kissing her soundly. Harry took the opportunity to read the writing before cocking his head. 'Super Nintendo Entertainment System' was written on the side while 'Super NES Super Pack' was proudly emblazoned on the top next to a picture of the console.
Harry knew Dudley had often spent hours on end 'Playing the TV' on his NES as Aunt Petunia had often called it, but somehow seeing Dan react like this just didn't compute in Harry's head. Hermione just pat Harry on the hand in a gesture that clearly said 'presents now, explanations later'.
Hermione opened Harry's gift next, smiling down at the perfume that she somehow knew her mother had recommended. She spritzed her wrist once rubbing it in with the other wrist before adding another single spritz to her neckline. Hermione reached over and rested her hand on Harry's check, caressing his face with a thumb, lingering just long enough for him to pick up the soft citrusy smell.
"Thank you Harry, it's my favorite you know?" she said softly ignoring Dan's antics as he nervous twitched on the couch clearly impatient to setup his new game system.
Harry smiled and nodded, too embarrassed by the tenderness in Hermione's voice to formulate a response. Reaching back into the pile he moved a few smaller boxes around before he found the gift he was looking for and pulled it out. Hermione watched with interest as Harry ripped the red and green wrapping off the box that contained the gift she had made him.
Harry slowly reached down into the box and withdrew the leather encased book it held. Where there should have been a title was instead a clearly custom engraving into the leather that read 'The true History of Harry J. Potter.' Treating the handmade book carefully Harry opened to the first page and began to read it silently.
The silence in the room became deafening to everyone else as Harry slowly began to read. The first page was a summary that explained exactly what the book was, written in a tight script that Harry recognized as Hermione's.
This book was created by Hermione Jean Potter, wife to Harry James Potter, as a gift for him to cherish. Inside you will find the Histories and Ancestry of House Potter, dating back to the first known Potter family member by the name of Aldrich Humphrey Potter in the year 911. It was in this year that Aldrich Potter brokered peace between the Viking leader Rollo, and the then King of West Franks Charles the Simple. It was this act that singularly stopped the Viking raids of that age and earned the Noble status that House Potter has held ever since.
It is my sincere hope that this book brings some peace to my dear husband, who has the unfortunate place of being often misrepresented in the Wizarding world.
Harry glanced through the book spending just a moment on each page. The book was well-made and broken down into sections based off each new member that Harry quickly realized were direct descendants of his. Most of the book was made of clearly copied pages from other books, but in some places Harry could see handwriting that was clearly Hermione's or Abby's, as they noted things that weren't on the copied pages.
The final completed page held a picture of Harry and Hermione, unknowingly taken by Abby the night after they had visited the Dursleys. Harry was asleep on the couch with a smiling Hermione looking at the camera from his lap. Hermione silently crawled along the floor and wrapped Harry in a warm embrace as he let the unfinished book slide from his grasp. Harry wrapped his arms around her and held her to him as a few silent tears let trails down his face. No one dared to break the silence now, and Abby took the time to slip away unnoticed from the room.
"When?" Harry finally asked as he managed to get his emotions under control.
"Mostly it was Mum," Hermione answered, "but it was my Idea. She'd written in a letter how much History she'd uncovered on the Potter family, and I instantly knew what I wanted to do."
Harry nodded as Hermione sat back on her knees and picked the book up from the floor. Flipping to the unfinished portion of the book she explained, "I'll be adding to this, if you want me to, over the years. I hope to make it into a family heirloom of sorts. We can put pictures and notes in here, and eventually we can fill it with our children's pictures and hopefully their children as well."
Harry chuckled, finding a bit of humor in the idea of having children. He knew it was definitely a possibility someday, but it wasn't something he'd thought about. Leave it to you Hermione, to be talking about children already.
Hermione blushed but didn't dignify the comment with a response as Abby walked back into the room clutching a familiar looking bag in her hands. "Harry, your aunt gave me these the other day, and I assume she meant for me to pass them on to you. She wrote a note and said they belonged to your parents," Abby explained as she slid two wands out of the bag and handed them over to Harry.
Harry looked at them wide-eyed and he delicately ran a finger over the Mahogany wand first, "My Father…"
Hermione cocked her head to the side before asking, "How did you…"
"Ollivander. He said my father had a Mahogany wand, and my mother's was Willow," Harry explained, now running his fingers across Lily's wand. "To think, all these years Petunia had them…"
Hermione smiled and leaned into Harry as he looked over the wands as if he was trying to memorize every detail.
"Merry Christmas Harry," Hermione said softly, idly rubbing Harry's back.
"Merry Christmas Hermione."
Dinner that night was a joyous affair for Harry, as for the first time he got to be a part of it. Hermione cursed to herself as she picked that little bit of information from his wool gathering, but in the end she knew the less said about them the better. After all, by the time they had to return to school the Dursleys wouldn't be a problem anymore hopefully.
As Abby brought the final dish, roasted potatoes, into the room she smiled around at the eager hungry faces sitting around the table.
"You'd think that you hadn't eaten anything for lunch," she joked as she sat the dish down and took her seat.
"That was like three hours ago," Hermione false-whined, "besides; you know how much I love your cooking!"
"Flatterer," Abby grinned.
"It looks wonderful Mrs. Granger," Harry said as he eyed the turkey hungrily.
Abby rolled her eyes at his propriety before reaching over and giving him a soft rap on his head, "You trying to make me feel old with all this Mrs. Granger stuff?"
"Sorry," Harry answered, "habit."
"I know Harry, I'm just teasing, but seriously; you're married to my daughter. Lord willing you'll be my legally adopted son soon, and even if you weren't either of those, you've more than earned the right to call me Abby just because you make Hermione so happy," Abby explained and she handed the carving utensils over to Dan.
Dan stood and began slicing thin slices of turkey as everyone held their plate out to him. It seemed to be the unofficial call to begin, as the moment the turkey touched the plates, hands were moving and bowls were being passed. After everyone chose their dishes conversation resumed,
"I am a bit curious as to one thing in Dumbledore's letter," Dan began. "He mentioned wards, which I can assume means defensive spells if the name is any indication. In our little chats with him he kept saying that the Dursleys was the safest place for you Harry."
Harry shrugged before he answered, "I honestly don't know, but if that's his idea of safe then I have to wonder about his sanity."
Hermione smiled at Harry's comment before adding in her own thoughts, "Of course you're right Harry, but in the letter it seemed to me he was just worried about people coming by to gawk at the-boy-who-lived. Lord knows how bad the situation could have gotten if half the wizards in England decided to drop by unannounced each day."
Harry nodded his agreement as he chewed. Dan nodded as well; shrugging off the concern the letter had left him with, "So, more shopping tomorrow then?"
Harry paled a bit at the thought but Hermione quickly agreed, "Yup, but at least it's not going to be like last time. Even I'm still tired from that."
"Good!" Harry said a little too quickly earning him a soft glare from Hermione.
"You got off light Kiddo," Dan said with a twinkle in his eye, "I've seen these two make my checkbook cry before."
The comment earned him a playful slap from Abby who winked conspiratorially at Hermione, "Well it's a good thing Hermione has Harry now."
Dan's eyes lit up, "Yeah, that means half the shopping now!"
Abby grinned, "Nope, I meant it's good for me. Now I get to spend twice as much!"
Dan sputtered a few incomprehensible words as Harry and Hermione broke into laughter.
"Speaking of money," Dan said as he finished eating, "The Goblins seem to be doing a good job cleaning up your account Harry. I wish I could find an accountant half as effective as they appear to be."
Harry nodded as he spoke, "I noticed, although I'm thinking of asking them to invest into the Muggle world more. A lot of the floundering stocks I held were from the Wizarding world, and I can't quite put my finger on it but it looks like overall the Muggle world is a lot better off economically."
Dan frowned before answering, "Inadvertently some of that is actually you're fault Harry…"
Harry furrowed is brow in confusion as Dan continued, "Well fault is too strong a word, there is absolutely nothing you could have done change it. See in some of the companies you were the principal shareholder. That's a bit more than saying you own most of it, in some cases you owned nearly all of it. Without your votes and opinions the companies probably had a hard time adjusting and changing things that needed to be changed."
Harry cocked his head, still not entirely grasping the concept. Dan thought a moment before explaining again, "Look at my clinic. If something would have happened to Abby and I, and we left everything to Hermione, then who would decide how the clinic is supposed to be run? I'm sort of the CEO of the clinic, and I decide what changes we make. Now of course our will stipulates a trustee to handle anything until Hermione comes of age, however as we know your parents will was never found. Top that with the lack of probationary laws in the wizarding world. Long story short, no one with any real experience was around to make the right decisions and the businesses suffered. Legally speaking your guardians should have been taking care of everything for you, but being who they were, and the differences in the Magical and Muggle worlds, I think we all can see why that didn't occur."
Harry nodded finally seeing the situation clearly. A part of him was saddened to know that some many businesses had suffered, but at the same time he know he couldn't have changed anything even if he knew it from the beginning.
"Okay, no more business talk over Christmas dinner," Abby said as Hermione began collecting the plates and taking them to the kitchen.
"Technically," Dan started, "I was done eating before we got to talking business."
Abby shot Dan a very forced evil glare as she started collecting the food on the table, "You boys go play now, let us ladies have a bit of peace."
Dan winked at Harry before they raced off to the den for another round of racing on F-Zero.
The following day flew by. The biggest surprise however came from Dan, who announced the guest bedroom across from Hermione's room was also getting a renovation into a small den for Harry to use as long as they chose to live there. Harry argued heavily but finally conceded on three conditions. The first being that he would buy all the furnishings, the second being that no permanent changes would be made such as paint, and the third being that he would pay for a storage building to hold all the old furniture until they needed the guest room again. Dan reluctantly agreed to the terms only amending that if he chose to paint the room then it would be painted.
The morning was spent moving the furniture around, made easier by judicious use of lightening and levitation spells, and dropping some of it off at various locations. Hermione's old bed and dresser were destined to be replaced with new larger ones, and the old ones were being donated to a local thrift shop. All the furniture from the guest bedroom was being placed in long-term storage.
Dan singlehandedly took on the job of repainting Hermione's room, leaving Harry to the fate of being dragged around furniture stores all afternoon. Dan had willingly handed over his check book, knowing Harry was short on Muggle money, and knowing that Harry could easily pay him back when they made it into Diagon Alley during the summer.
It was late in the evening when four very tired people collapsed into the soft chairs of the living room to relax for a while before making their way to bed.
"Magic is wonderful," Dan exclaimed as he stretched a back that should have been very sore after all the furniture they moved.
Hermione nodded her agreement, "Of course now I'm going to have to look into spells for this sort of thing. I have a real hard time imagining Wizards painting by hand. I'm sure there's a spell for that somewhere…"
Harry chuckled recognizing the twinkle in Hermione's eyes that told him she was on a mission, "Yeah I can just imagine Malfoy covered in paint."
Hermione laughed at the insanity that image would produce as the phone rang down the hall.
The sudden reminder of the fact she'd being doing magic in a muggle home all day with no adverse effects was playing through Hermione's mind as Dan took the call in the hallway. Harry could hear Dan's excited tone as he talked, but couldn't glean what the one sided conversation was about. Moments later Dan returned with a satisfied and happy smile on his face.
"That was Abner," Dan said causing Hermione and Abby to instantly perk up, "we go to court on the 30th."
Hermione let out an involuntary squeak and gave Harry one of her bone-crushing hugs. Abby settled back into her chair with a relaxed smile on her face as Dan continued, "He's really hopeful, unless something comes up this is more or less open and shut he says."
Hermione straddled Harry's legs and settled into a longer, warmer embrace. Dan rolled his eyes before grinning and plopping down in Abby's lap causing her to grunt in surprise. "Get off me you great lug," She said shoving Dan as he wrapped his arms around her firmly locking himself in place. Hermione hearing the commotion turned and burst into giggles at her parents' antics.
"Dad!" she complained, "We don't wanna see that!"
Dan gave Abby a warm kiss before removing himself from her lap, "Like we really wanna see you in Harry's lap?"
Hermione blushed and buried her face in Harry's neck. Harry simply looked at Dan and shrugged with a look that clearly said 'What can I do?'
Dan chuckled and shook his head sitting next to Abby, picking her up and placing in his lap causing yet another surprised squeal, "Damn you, Dan Granger, I'm not a toy!"
Harry laughed at Abby's exclamation as Hermione mumbled into his neck, "I love you Harry."
"I love you too Hermione," Harry whispered back, "You and your crazy parents."
Hermione smiled and stood up pulling Harry with her, "Goodnight guys, I don't know about you, but I'll probably sleep until Monday gets here."
Dan chuckled holding onto a squirming Abby, "Your mum and I have to head into the office tomorrow for a few hours. We have temps for the whole Christmas break, but we still have to peek in every once in a while, make sure their all doing their paperwork and such. Seeing as Lisa hasn't called to complain I'm guessing they are doing alright. Then again she was making eyes at that Dr. Lewis fellow."
Harry looked confused as Dan explained, "Lisa is out secretary slash office assistant. She's got a quick temper though, and nine times out of ten when we take time off she calls complaining about the office's inability to function when we aren't around."
Harry just nodded as Hermione led him up the stairs. As they stepped into their room Harry took a moment to admire all the work they had accomplished that day. The walls were now a pale red, and Hermione's clusters of books were now neatly arranged on a new larger bookshelf Harry had provided her. The smaller bookshelf she had previous used was now residing in Harry's den across the hall. The single dresser she had before had been replaced with a double dresser that, while wider, was much lower and had a large mirror attached to it.
Harry smiled and silently congratulated himself, proud of all they had done. Harry watched as Hermione slid her pants off, admiring her lithe figure before he slipped his shirt over his head. After two months of living together and sleeping in just their necessities modesty had become a forgotten thing between them. While neither had seen the other in any further state of undress than the usual, Harry knew that someday things would progress to that.
Hermione smiled as she felt Harry's attraction to her come across in his thoughts. That was one of her favorite parts of the bond really, no matter how shallow it may seem to an outsider. Deep down Hermione knew that Harry found her beautiful. She'd always considered herself plain really, and up until Harry the only male she'd ever kissed was her father. There was something reassuring about the feeling she got whenever Harry was thinking about how beautiful she was.
Hermione crawled into bed flipping on a lamp as Harry shutoff the overhead light and climbed in behind her. As Harry got settled in Hermione shut the lamp back off and sighed happily as she felt Harry slide against her and felt his arm wrap around her protectively. As she started to drift off to sleep, Hermione thought once again about how perfectly right the world was whenever she was in his arms.
Monday came quickly and the group sat around impatiently waiting for their court case to begin. Dan talked lightly with Abner, the Granger's solicitor, going over the little details as they waited for the Judge to enter. Hemione held Harry's hand lightly, both of them eagerly excited and optimistic but truthfully scare beyond all measure. So far they'd had to reason to suspect that anyone in the Wizarding World had any idea of the hearing, but they wouldn't honestly know until it was over.
"All rise for the honorable Judge Brown."
Harry's heart beat madly as the Judge finally entered the room and took her seat. All eyes were glued to her as she looked over the file laying on the desk in front of her for several long moments before raising her eyes and looking at the small group.
"Be seated," the judges said as her eyes narrowed on Dan.
Dan stood, clasping his hands in front of himself as he answered, "Yes ma'am."
The woman nodded before glancing down at the file again. She looked over the group again, frowning before speaking again, "Are the Dursley's not present?"
Abner stood and smiled warmly at the Judge, "They declined the invitation to be here your honor."
The Judge nodded before laying the sheet of paper she'd been holding down and looking pointedly at Dan, "So Mr. Granger, why exactly are you seeking custody of young Mr. Potter?"
Dan smiled as he spoke, "Well your Honor to be honest we first met Harry several months ago and he has wormed his way into the hearts of our entire family. When we learned of the conditions he was living in it broke our hearts. That along with his growing friendship with our daughter Hermione led us to this act. As Dentists my wife and I have seen many forms of neglect and abuse and it was clear that Harry was much in need of a safe, loving environment to grow up in."
The Judge frowned again, looking for a long moment at Harry before speaking again, "Are you suggesting that he was abused in his home Mr. Granger?"
Dan nodded sadly, "Yes ma'am. He showed all the signs of at least emotional abuse when we first met him."
The Judge gave a curt nod before speaking again, glancing down at the paper before looking back at Harry, "Mr. Potter."
Harry stood, clearly nervous as he met the judge's eyes, "Yes ma'am."
"Is there anything you would like to add to this?"
Harry frowned slightly, knowing she was asking for confirmation. Harry stood silently for several long moments before Hermione reached out and touched his back lightly, sending all her support to him. "I don't honestly know if I was abused or not ma'am," Harry lied, "It was simply the way things were for me. My parents were involved in an accident when I was very young and I was sent to the Dursley's to live. I was constantly reminded of the fact that I was forced into their lives, and I suspect they never really wanted to be stuck with me."
The judge clasped her hands together softly, leveling a Dumbledore worthy gaze at Harry before speaking again, "Mr. Potter, I'm going to ask you a simple question and I want you to answer honestly do you understand me?"
Harry nodded, "Yes ma'am."
"Did they ever hit you?" The judge asked eyeing him carefully.
Harry's shoulders slumped, confirming the truth even as he tried to dance around the subject, "No more than necessary your honor. They were strict but not in excess I don't think."
The judge noted the quick flash of anger on the young girls face next to Harry before nodding simply and looking back at her paperwork, "I see."
The judge read through the papers carefully, making sure all was in order before speaking again, "Well it seems everything is in order, and at the time I see no reason not to grant your request for guardianship. I do however strongly recommend that if Mr. Potter shows any signs of emotional anguish as he adjusts to his new home that you seek the guidance of a Psychologist to assist him. Be advised that a Children's social worker will be following up in some six-month's time to assess the situation at that time."
Abner nodded before speaking again, "Can we delay that to seven-months' time your honor? As both children attend a boarding school and will be aware at that time."
"Noted. Amending the visitation to occur sometime in early July, would that be sufficient?"
"Yes your honor," Dan said smiling broadly as Abby reached for his hand, her eyes teary in relief, "That should be home at that time."
The Judge nodded, banging her gavel as the group came together both Abby and Hermione holding Harry tightly as Dan and Abner spoke quietly. After a quick handshake Abner left and an officer of the court approached the still hugging group, "Her honor has requested a quick word with you all."
Dan frowned but nodded as the officer lead the group to the Judge's private quarters. The Judge smiled warmly at them as they entered, waving the officer away. As the door closed the Judge nodded at them all, "Forgive me, but I feel I have to ask. What is the name of the school the children attend?"
Dan frowned, "It's a very private school off the coast of Scotland your honor…"
The Judge nodded, having confirmed her suspicions as she lay a wand down on the desk in front of her earning many curious glances, "Do you all recognize this then?"
Harry grinned as he and Hermione pulled their own wands and lay them on the desk as well, "Yes ma'am."
The Judge nodded, her eyes softening visibly, "So you are indeed that Harry Potter?"
Harry nodded with a small blush, "Yes ma'am."
"Please, call me Amanda. Now will you tell me the truth about the Dursleys?" she asked looking at Harry seriously.
"Ma'am, I really don't want to speak about it. I don't have to go back there now and I'd rather just forget about it. The Granger's are my family now, and I'm more than willingly to simply forget the last ten years of my life." Harry said meeting Amanda's eyes.
Amanda nodded, "If you insist then. You'll forgive me for pressing; you hold a very special place in the heart of the Wizarding World, especially with the Muggleborn's like myself."
Harry smiled grabbing Hermione's hand, "Thank you."
Amanda nodded looking up at the Grangers, "Don't worry about the visit over the summer. I'll charm the paperwork so they think it isn't necessary. Although I may drop by personally to ensure his safety if that is okay."
Dan and Abby nodded happily, "Of course. Harry is very special to us as well."
Amanda smiled and looked at Hermione, "Take care of him dearie, and ignore my Lavender. I've heard little else than the drama that has happened between you three even since she got off the train."
Hermione grinned and nodded, "I will."
Albus lay back in his chair content and happy with everything he had accomplished over the break so far. Truthfully it hadn't taken much to lay a few runes and charms to ensure that Harry would indeed have a meeting with the mirror when he came back from break, it was simply a matter of doing it without raising the suspicion of the other staff. Reaching for his candy dish his hand froze as a high-pitched whistle broke the silence of his room and one of his silver devices emitted a fountain of sparks on the shelf.
Albus jumped up with the speed of a much younger man, tossing a handful of powder into his floo before reappearing in a small home that smelled heavily of moth balls.
"Arabella!" Albus yelled out just as the older woman stepped into the room.
"Headmaster, what bring you here so suddenly? No need to shout you know!" Ms. Figg said with a frown.
"Forgive me my dear, but the wards have fallen, I must check on thing immediately," Albus said quickly, already on his way out her door. Albus disappeared with a crack, reappearing just in front of the Dursley's drawing his wand as soon as he appeared, his eyes scanning the area quickly for the threat. As it became clear that none was in the area he walked around the house quietly, waving his wand and muttering long Latin phrases as he assessed the wards.
Dumbledore frowned as he came to a startling conclusion; all of the wards were intact except the most important of them. Only the Blood Wards had failed, but all of the intent based wards still held strong. With a sad shake of his head Albus disappeared with only a small woosh, taking his time to be silent as he appeared in front of the Granger's home. Pocketing his wand he strolled up the stone path and knocked at the door.
"Headmaster! What a surprise," Abby said as she opened the door, hiding a grin.
"I'm sorry to intrude, but I was wondering if I might speak with you all on a matter of the utmost importance."
Abby nodded, opening the door and pointing the Headmaster to the sitting room. The Christmas tree still sat by the wall glowing brightly as Abby gathered up the family from Dan's study, where they were engrossed in the video games. Albus allowed himself to smile as he heard Dan accusing harry of cheating at some game or other before they made their way into the room.
"Headmaster," Dan said with a warm smile, "what can we do for you?"
Albus stood and started to pace silently for a moment as they group settled into chairs, Hermione sitting next to Harry, giving his hand a warm squeeze.
Finally Albus stopped pacing and looked at them all, "I fear I bring grave news Harry. For reason's unknown the wards protecting your home at the Dursley's failed a short while ago. I must ask you to come with me so I can try to recreate them immediately."
Harry's eyes narrowed as he looked to Dan. Dan gave me a nod and Harry looked back at the Headmaster, "I'm sorry sir, but I have to decline. I have no intention of returning there. Ever. Not only do I have the choice of where to live as I am emancipated, but today the Grangers legally adopted me into their family."
"WHAT?!" Dumbledore yelled, taking a step back as the words struck him. "Why was I not told of this! I'm the Chief Warlock, no decision like that could have been made without my knowing about it!"
"We didn't go to the Wizengamot," Hermione said, he voice stern, "for that very reason. We went through the Queen's court, and I think you'll find it was all done perfectly legally."
Dumbledore sat in a chair heavily, his arms falling to the sides, "Do you have any idea what you have done?"
Harry shook his head, "It was either this or we were going to announce the bond to the world and I was going to publicly claim my emancipation. I told you before I had no intention of going back to the Dursley's and this seemed clearly the best of our options."
"But the blood wards Harry. Now that both you and the Dursley's have agreed you will no longer live there they cannot be recreated…"
Dan shook his head, "What are you talking about?"
"When Harry's mother sacrificed herself she created a form of protection. As long as Harry was living with a blood relative I was able to create an impenetrable wardset that prevented any who wished to harm him from entering the property," Dumbledore explained.
"Who would want to harm him?" Abby asked curiously.
"Mrs. Granger, please try to understand. Even with the defeat of Voldemort there are those who would seek to avenge him. In the last ten years the wards have prevented no less than three attempts for his life," Dumbledore said, looking pale.
"WHAT!?" Harry screamed rising to his feet, "Why didn't you tell us!"
"I didn't want to concern you…"
Harry paced now, his mind racing at the idea of putting his new family in danger, "You stupid old man, how could you not tell us something like that? You've put them in danger because you refused to explain something as simple as that. So caught up in your desire to control everything you've risked my family!"
Dan shook his head, "It doesn't matter Harry…"
Abby nodded her agreement as Harry offered them a grim smile, "As much as I appreciate that, it doesn't change things. You're in danger because of me now…"
Dan shot and angry look at Dumbledore before speaking again, "Listen Harry, even if we had known it wouldn't have changed anything. I see you as a son now, and I would not have allowed you to go back there and face their abuse regardless of any risk we may or may not face."
Harry shook his head sadly before looking at Dumbledore darkly, "You will fix this. You will do everything in your power to protect them. This is your mess and you will fix it."
Hermione frowned for a moment as she tried to take everything in, "Wait. Wards only protect an area right? What protected Harry when he was out of the house?"
Dumbledore looked confused for a moment, "What?"
"When he was home he was protected by the wards. You said three times they were tested, but what if they caught him outside of the affected area of the wards?"
"Err…" Dumbledore faltered.
"These almighty wards you so mad about offered him no protection what so ever while he was in school did they? Great Merlin what is it with you Wizards?! He was no more protected there than if he was standing in the middle if Diagon Alley was he? I doubt they were ever really tested at all! Probably just some people wanting to see The-Boy-Who-Lived in person. If he was ever actually in any danger they would have been watching the property and got him the moment he stepped foot off it. Even wizards aren't that ignorant, especially if they are really interested in doing him harm!" Hermione said now pacing the floor as well.
Harry sighed, sitting down and pulling Hermione into his lap to calm her, "Regardless, I want every possible protection here Dumbledore. Every ward you can imagine I want it erected."
"Wards aren't cheap Harry," Dumbledore said cautiously.
Harry laughed, shaking his head sadly, "I don't care."
Dumbledore nodded, standing, "I will do what I can Harry, but I advise you not to inform anyone of your change of residence."
Harry nodded, agreeing to the wisdom of that, "We hadn't planned on it anyway. How long until it can be done?"
Dumbledore sighed again, looking a little more aged, "I'll put up a few before I leave. They won't offer any real protection, but they will inform me if anyone approaches and I can be here in a moment's notice. With your permission Mr. Granger I'll re-attach you to my personal floo for the time being,."
Dan nodded absently, looking at his wife and giving her a warm smile, "That's fine."
"It seems I have much to do then. Harry if you please sent a letter to Gringotts so they know to expect me in regards to your account I will visit them in the morning," Dumbledore said as he rose to leave, pausing to watch Harry soothing Hermione.
"That's fine," Harry said absently running his hands through Hermione's hair.
Dumbledore nodded, leaving the room quietly, none of the others bothering to see him out.
"I'm sorry," Harry whispered sadly as the front door opened and closed down the hall.
"Don't you dare," Hermione said wrapping herself around him, "Don't you dare apologize to me. I'm not mad because of the wards, I'm mad because you went for so long without any real protection Harry. If you had been attacked then I would have faced a long miserable life without you, and you know it!"
Abby smiled, reaching for Dan's hand absently as she spoke, "She's right Harry. None of us mad at you. The only thing that would have changed if we had known about this ahead of time is we would have arranged to have this place warded ahead of time. I'm sure the Goblins would have assisted you, and I'm sure they will now."
Harry nodded sadly, "I know, but still, it doesn't change the fact that you could all be in danger."
Dan shook his head, "I doubt it. I personally agree with Hermione. If there had been any real danger before then you would know it. It's not uncommon for a celebrity to have people trying to sneak onto their property."
"Maybe," harry admitted, giving Hermione a soft kiss.
Dan nodded, "It's late. Why don't we all get some rest? Don't forget to send that letter."
Harry nodded as Hermione stood and helped him up, "I won't."
Hermione woke slowly, her body grasping for something that wasn't there. It only took a moment before for realization to settle in and she snapped upright in the bed, her eyes quickly adjusting to the dim light of the room. Her panic quickly turned to relief as she saw Harry standing by the small window, his eyes cautiously roaming the empty street.
"Harry, come back to bed," Hermione said, earning a small smile as he turned to look at her.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you," Harry said as he crawled back into the warm bed.
"You didn't love, not really. I just missed you being next to me," Hermione smiled, laying her head back on his chest.
Harry ran his fingers through her hair, his mind racing as he thought about the ward problem. Hermione rolled her eyes before throwing her leg over him, straddling him and resting her head on his shoulder.
"Relax Harry. The whole school knows you were coming with me for the Holidays, if anything was going to happen it would have by now."
Harry nodded, burying his head in her soft hair breathing deeply, "I know. I'm just restless I guess."
Hermione smiled, relaxing as Harry wrapped his arms around her, "Nothing has changed Harry. I love you every bit as much as I always have, maybe even more with each new day. I'll never not love you, no matter what happens. Forget it being weird, forget it being crazy, I'm yours, now and forever and nothing is ever going to change that."
"I know love. It's just going to take me a little while to get used to your family accepting me I guess."
"They love you too Harry, and I don't think they would change anything either."
Harry nodded, relaxing as Hermione shifted back to his side, "I love you."
Hermione smiled, giving Harry a soft kiss on the neck, "Love you too."
AN: I don't know when the next update will be, but it shouldn't be as long as this one took. I have the next few years plotted out, so it's just a matter of having the necessary time to actually get the writing done. Next chapter will take us back to Hogwarts, and the pace should pick up a bit. Also I'll note that the bit about the Vikings is based loosely off real-life events, although I am sure the Potter name wasn't mentioned back then. Typically if I bring up something historic it's based off some semblance of truth.