Notes: I'm glad people are liking this story for all the unconventional-ness combined with the cliches. Oh, and if any of you prefer to read stories on ao3, I just recently added this to my account there as well. I'm also FlitterFlutterFly on ao3, so check me out there where I have a bunch of other stories I don't have on my account in other fandoms (like Stargate, Teen Wolf, etc). I write a lot more of this type of Dom/sub universe in those other fandoms.
Hermione looked around at all the members of her Arithmancy class. Professor Vector hadn't arrived yet, so it gave her ample time to covertly study everyone and see if any of them were studying her back.
Sirius had come up with the idea to keep the fact that she'd found out about the love potion secret and see if anyone gave her any overdone attention, expecting her to be in love with them. Arithmancy was her first class on Mondays, so other than lunch and dinner on Sunday—during which Hermione had focused only on talking with Harry and Neville—this was the first time she really had a chance to test that theory.
So far, no one was looking at her all that much, though Draco Malfoy caught her eyes briefly when she glanced over at him. He looked away a second later, appearing bored. Hermione considered him for a moment—but no, she doubted he was the one. As much as he'd been a pain in her and Harry's arses the past three years, she didn't think he was the kind to love potion anyone. He was way too proud to allow himself to think that someone wouldn't fall for him without a potion forcing it.
Professor Vector walked in then, Harry at her heels. Hermione grinned at him and he grinned back.
"I have a quick announcement before we get started," Vector said. "As you see here, Mr. Potter will be joining our class. He took the final you all had at the end of last year and exceeded expectations. Please make him welcome."
There was a scattering of applause as Harry waved and then went over to sit in the empty seat Hermione had made sure was open for him just in case he'd be able to join them. She was really glad he had. Arithmancy was a much better subject than Divination, and besides the only other Gryffindor in the class was Fay and Hermione wasn't close enough with her to feel comfortable studying together.
"What'd you get wrong?" Hermione asked as Harry sat down. "I was expecting you to get an O, you know."
Harry scowled at her mocking tone. "Probability," he admitted. "I've never really understood the compilations."
"We'll have to go over that. I hear that's important to know for open rituals and some warding."
Harry nodded and they both directed their attention to where Vector was writing a long equation on the board.
After class, as Hermione and Harry were gathering up their notes and books, Malfoy approached them. Hermione stiffened a bit and Harry shifted so that he was slightly in front of her.
Malfoy was sharp and by the glint in his eyes, he'd noticed, but he didn't say anything about the movement. Instead, he held out his hand. "I wanted to thank you for what you did for Theo, Potter."
Hermione exchanged a glance with Harry. "Is he okay?" she asked softly.
Malfoy looked at her briefly and shook his head. "Not entirely."
"Is there anything we can do?" Harry asked, reaching forward to clasp Malfoy's outstretched hand. In a move similar to Bill's at the World Cup, Malfoy brought Harry's hand up to his mouth and kissed the air over it.
Hermione watched as a light blush appeared on Harry's cheeks. She herself was a bit stunned. This was not normal Draco Malfoy behavior—at least not the heir Malfoy that they'd gone to school with the past three years. He was Lord now, and she wondered if that was affecting him.
Malfoy let Harry go as he pulled back his hand, though there was a bit of amusement on his face now. It dropped a second later as he returned his attention back to the Theodore Nott problem. "As much as I appreciate your hero saving thing, Potter, you are submissive. There's nothing you can directly do to help Theo."
Harry's shoulders dropped. "Yeah."
Hermione frowned. "I know it's impolite to ask, but… are you going to…?"
Malfoy shook his head. "Theo would never forgive me for putting us both in a loveless marriage," he said softly. "He's my friend and I care for him, but he'd never be able to love a male dominant as he would a female and I'd be unhappy that he was unhappy."
"You don't approve of the relationship your parents had," Harry murmured, always insightful.
Malfoy's eyes flashed. "In more ways than one." He pulled back. "I'm asking around. Theo is a beautiful submissive. I still believe there's at least one female dominant in this school who is interested enough in him to rectify this situation."
Hermione nodded. "We'll see if there's anyone in Gryffindor or Hufflepuff interested, if you want us to."
Malfoy nodded back. "I would be grateful."
"We're not going to do it for you," Hermione said, but she smiled to show Malfoy she didn't mean it meanly.
Malfoy smirked and turned away as if to leave. He hesitated before actually stepping away, though, and turned back. "The House of Malfoy formally apologizes for all negative words and behavior toward the House of Potter and the wards of the House of Black." He smiled as Hermione and Harry exchanged a rather stunned look. "I know you're not allowed to accept that from me. I'll be writing a formal apology to Lord Black tonight."
"Malfoy," Harry began.
Malfoy shook his head. "I can make excuses about my father hurting me if I'd acted in a way he wouldn't have approved, Potter, but in reality I was his son through and through."
"What changed?" Hermione asked.
Malfoy looked away briefly. "My father grew less concerned with hiding just how he treated my mother when I turned fourteen."
Hermione gasped and Harry swallowed roughly.
"That's horrible," she whispered. Malfoy nodded abruptly.
Harry cleared his throat. "Thank you for telling us. And for… well for not being who you used to be."
Malfoy shrugged. "I didn't do it for you," he said.
Hermione laughed at the repetition of her words. "We'll see you around, Lord Malfoy."
Harry let Hermione tug him away, but she could tell his mind was still on the conversation. She wasn't surprised. So much had changed for more than just them over this past summer.
She really was hoping this year would be better. Wouldn't it be great, she thought, to have a normal school year. No Death Eaters, no Voldemort, not even a nasty school bully to tear them down.
Then she thought about the love potion she'd been dosed with and realized that no matter what, being Harry's friend made it impossible for her to have a normal year. She wouldn't tell him that though—he'd get all guilty and truthfully she didn't mind the excitement most of the time. Besides, she wouldn't trade being Harry's friend for anything.
"Have you figured out who might have dosed you?" Harry asked softly as they walked to breakfast on Wednesday.
Hermione shook her head. "It wasn't anyone in the Gryffindor common room. I mean, I didn't notice anyone in particular and a love potion that powerful would have made me fairly obsessed with them."
"That counts out Ron then."
Hermione frowned. "You think he would have?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't want to, but…"
"He has been rather horrible this year, hasn't he?" Hermione shook her head. "But Ron doesn't like me like that."
Harry didn't say anything, not too sure, but he let it slide. "So someone in another house, probably."
"Probably. It just doesn't make sense. I mean… who would want me that badly?"
Harry frowned. He hated it when Hermione made it clear how much she didn't understand her own self-worth. "Do you find intelligence attractive?"
"Well, yes, very much so."
"And so do a bunch of other people, right?"
"I mean, probably."
"You're the smartest witch at Hogwarts, Hermione."
Hermione flushed, now seeing where Harry was going with that. "I suppose."
Harry tugged at the end of her braided hair. "Hey, you'll find someone who loves you for all that you are. And not some bastard who'd rather potion you instead of courting you or winning your affections on their own."
Hermione smiled. "Right. I'm awesome." She lifted her chin and marched through the open doors of the Great Hall.
Harry snorted, following in her wake. He kept his eye out for anyone looking in their direction. Unfortunately, there was quite a number, if only because a lot of people always watched after him and his friends. He hated being the Boy-Who-Lived.
The owls came flying in during the usual morning mail phenomena. Harry noticed Hedwig in the crowd. He cleared a space for her to land on the table. She had two letters tied to her talons. Harry took them both and then fed her a strip of bacon. She hopped up on his shoulder after eating it and proceeded to doze off against his head.
Hermione smiled fondly at the both of them as a plain barn owl dropped off her copy of The Daily Prophet. She sighed upon reading the front headline.
Harry glanced at the paper, ignoring the letters for now. "What is it?"
"Hey Fred, George!" Hermione called at the twins a bit down the table. "What date did you say for the bet?"
"Sometime this week," Fred answered. "Is it?"
Hermione nodded and the twins whooped. They immediately set about writing letters to collect their money as Harry pulled the paper closer to him so that he and Hermione could read it together.
Boy-Who-Lived Never to be Lord Potter
Readers, I have come across some shocking news. Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived, the chosen one, and our youngest celebrity, is reportedly a submissive.
I first heard the rumors at the Quidditch World Cup (see page 4 for more on the Death Eater attack at the Cup, or page 6 for an interview with the beaters of the Ireland team). This reporter was sure the rumors were false. How could our savior be submissive, I asked?
After more investigation, though, I found the truth. As reported by fellow papers such as Ireland's Shamrock, France's Voyant, and Germany's Wissen, Lord Sirius Black (see page 2 for a full report on Lord Black's international trial and innocence) petitioned for and won guardianship of not only his godson, Harry Potter, but also one of Mr. Potter's dear friends, a muggleborn named Hermione Granger.
That's right, dear readers, Lord Black is indeed the lord guardian of these two Hogwarts' fourth years. I was lucky enough to get a quick word from Lord Black himself.
"I've known Harry was submissive since I first met him," Lord Black said. "Even when he was a baby, he had the same sort of calming aura his mother did."
"Did it surprise you to learn that a young submissive was able to defeat You-Know-Who?" I asked.
"Of course not. As some of you may remember, Harry's mother was a powerful submissive in her own right. Truthfully, Harry and I have talked about how it was likely her doing that allowed for the magical backlash that took out that monster. Lily was always extremely bright, not dissimilar to my ward, Hermione. I have no doubt that Lily created a ritual that, using her sacrifice, saved Harry's life" (More on Lily Evans Potter on Page 7).
"So you don't believe it was Harry that defeated You-Know-Who?"
"He's very magically powerful and that may have contributed, but he was just a baby when it all happened. Lauding him for something he doesn't remember is ridiculous. Better to look to him and see the man he'll become instead of the child he used to be."
"So you aren't disappointed in him being submissive?"
"Not at all. He is, of course, the kind of submissive that will never submit to anyone who doesn't deserve it and I don't want him to feel he needs to. Any requests for courtship for either him or Hermione should come directly to me, but while I expect a number of offers for the both of them, I won't be accepting anyone they don't approach me about on their own. Harry and Hermione deserve dominants who will treasure them and who also acknowledge that my wards aren't wallflowers. Neither Harry nor Hermione are weak and the dominants looking at them should take care to remember that."
Lord Sirius Black has given us much to think about, dear readers, both on the most celebrated night in British wizarding history and on the young submissives under his care. The question remains now, just who will win the heart of the boy-who-lived? Dominants will take care to note the protection Mr. Potter and Ms. Granger have under their lord guardian (more on courtship, the role of a lord guardian, and the difference between dominants and submissives on page 3).
Reporting the truth to you always,
"Wow," Harry said.
"No kidding," Hermione agreed. "I had no idea Sirius was going to do an interview for The Prophet."
"Oh hey, I think I have a letter from him." Harry looked at the two letters. One had both his and Hermione's names scrawled in familiar messy handwriting. He opened it and pulled out the letter, holding it up so Hermione could read it with him.
My two lovely wards,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. It'd better, at least. I'm not ready for another Hospital Wing scare so early into the year. (Speaking of which, floo call me soon Hermione and tell me what you've figured out.)
You've probably already read the article in The Daily Prophet. I made sure to get an Oath out of Rita Skeeter so she'd write only the truth so far as she knows it, at least when concerning the two of you. She's been known to blow things out of proportion before. She was the year below me in Hogwarts, you know, and I never trusted that nasty little Ravenclaw. If she approaches either of you for a quote, just make sure to remind her that I need to be there for any interviews with either of you.
You've probably noticed that I didn't mention that Voldemort was still alive. We can talk more about that in person, but I believe we're going to have to have a little more proof before the wizarding public believes Harry's story from first year. They too badly want Voldemort to be behind them. We'll just have to wait on that shock for a little while.
Write to me with the questions I'm sure you have about the article and let me know how others react.
"Mind if I borrow that?" Neville asked, pointing to the paper. Hermione shook her head.
Harry opened the other letter next. It was from Fleur, confirming that she'd be coming for her school at the beginning of next month and staying throughout the entire year as the Triwizard tournament went on. Harry and Hermione both exchanged excited smiles over that.
Harry sat back, looking over the Great Hall. Most of the older students especially didn't seem very surprised at the news, but some of the younger ones were engaged in heated discussions. Many of them glanced at him as they talked.
Either way, Harry was sure now that it was officially stated in the British wizaridng world, he'd end up getting a lot of offers from dominants that only wanted to be connected to his fame or wanted to be Lord Potter and obtain all the money and land that went with that. He wasn't very thrilled about having to deal with that, but he'd manage. It was only until he found someone who actually called to him and knew him as him, after all.
Harry looked up at the staff table, curious to see what the teacher reactions to the article were. Again, no one looked shocked, though Dumbledore looked a bit like he'd swallowed a lemon drop. Harry smirked at that. The manipulative man was probably realizing how much harder it would be to get Harry out of Sirius' grasp now that Britain was aware of what Sirius was to him.
Harry looked to the left of Dumbledore and saw that Snape was looking back at him. He dropped his gaze quickly, but soon realized that Snape wasn't glaring at him.
He frowned, thinking of Potions yesterday. It had been strange. Snape had swept into the room and scowled at him as usual, only to visibly double take. He'd probably realized Harry was submissive, but Harry wouldn't have pegged the man as the kind to treat any student differently just because of that.
Except… except he had. He'd basically ignored Harry and Hermione the entire time and even left Neville alone. He'd still taken almost fifty points from Gryffindor, of course, but that was due to Ron and Dean, and a little from when Seamus almost exploded his cauldron again. Harry swore Seamus did it on purpose. The boy did have a strange fascination with explosions after all.
"You okay?" Hermione asked softly.
"I'm good, actually," Harry said, bringing his attention back to his best friend.
Hermione smiled. "Good."
Hermione's birthday dawned on a particularly warm and cheerful September seventeenth. It was a Sunday that year. She woke to Lavender and Parvati throwing confetti on her bed. Laughing, Hermione let them help her get ready. She supposed she didn't mind using her birthday as an excuse to dress up a little bit.
"Okay, what are our options?" Parvati asked as Hermione opened up the wardrobe section of her trunk. It was a walk-in, though fairly cramped for all three of them.
"Oh my. Morgana's tits, Hermione, you've been holding out on us!" Lavender squealed as she took in the number of fancier robes and dresses Fleur had made sure Hermione bought in France that summer.
Hermione blushed and shrugged. "I haven't really had a reason to wear any of them yet," she murmured as the other girls went over each dress.
"I think this one," Parvati said, pulling out the baby blue dress Fleur had bought Hermione.
"It's gorgeous," Lavender agreed. "With this over-robe." She grabbed a pale-gold robe and laid it over the dress.
Hermione nodded, content to let the other girls dress her up. They double-French braided her hair and applied just a tiny bit of magical makeup to her face.
When they were done, Hermione checked herself out in the floor-length mirror. The result was actually stunning. The dress was body tight across her torso and flared out just slightly down her legs. The sleeves were tight up to her elbow and similarly loosed up, resulting in a flowing edge over her wrists. The pale-gold robe was short sleeved, almost like a long vest, and neatly sat against the dress like it was meant to be one piece. Hermione added a pair of gold earrings and smiled.
"You're so beautiful," Lavender whispered. She and Parvati had changed into their own dresses—Parvati's a dark blue and Lavender's a soft pink.
"You guys too," Hermione said, because the girls were always pretty.
Parvati shook her head. "You definitely outshine us today."
"Which is the point, birthday girl," Lavender said with a laugh. "Now come on, I'm hungry for breakfast."
"It's more like brunch now," Hermione said good-naturedly as they walked out of their dorm and down the stairs to the common room.
Harry and Neville were waiting for them. They'd both forgone over-robes, instead showing off their submissive-tailored shirts and trousers. Harry wore dark green and Neville wore faded red. Both of them complimented Hermione and wished her a happy birthday.
"Oh, wow," Fay said from the corner of the common room. "Five beautiful submissives all dolled up and ready to party. You're making my heart race."
They laughed, varying degrees of blushes on their cheeks as the other dominants in the common room took that invitation to state their own admiration for the five.
They left for brunch in the Great Hall soon after. "Fifteen already," Harry said as he laced his arm around Hermione's.
Hermione grinned, her cheeks still a little warm from all the compliments. "Crazy, isn't it?"
There was a number of people in the Great Hall, so Hermione was rather shocked when all conversation seemed to stop as they walked in through the double doors. Lavender waved cheekily at the other three tables as they sat at the end of the Gryffindor table.
"Sure know how to make an entrance, don't you?" Angelina said from a few seats down. "Oh, and happy birthday, Hermione."
"Thanks," Hermione murmured. She noticed all of her favorite breakfast foods were on the table and shook her head, wondering if Dobby and Winky had talked to the Hogwarts kitchen elves.
They were interrupted several times as they ate by random dominants from other houses coming up to compliment them. At one point, Justin Finch-Fletchley from the Hufflepuff table came up. Hermione braced herself for another heavy-handed compliment, but instead the fellow fourth-year asked if he could sit down briefly.
Harry nodded for them, which told Hermione that his highly developed intuition knew something she couldn't tell.
"See, my parents are muggles," Justin began. "Quite well-to-do and all. You know how it is in the muggle world, Harry, Hermione."
"They don't know about you being submissive?" Harry asked.
Hermione wanted to nod. Of course Harry had been able to tell immediately. She sometimes wondered if he even realized how observant he was.
"Right." Justin winced. Neville, Lavender, and Parvati looked a bit confused.
"I know that's a problem in the muggle world, I just don't know why," Lavender said.
"It would be easier if I was female," Justin muttered.
Hermione grimaced. "See, the muggle world doesn't have distinctions on dominant and submissive, but especially in high class society, there's a similar sort of system that the wizarding world has along the lines of almost-but-not-quite arranged marriages. But for the muggle world, all females are seen as the submissive side of the relationship when it comes to that and all males are expected to be dominant."
"But that doesn't make any sense!" Parvati protested.
"We know," Harry said. "That's just the way of things."
"It's getting better," Hermione told them. "There's been a big push for equality in the past couple decades, but that's not about dominant or submissive, that's just saying that both males and females are supposed to be equal in relationships and marriage."
"That makes even less sense," Neville said.
"Who courts who then?" Lavender added. "Who's in charge of the properties and all that?"
"It's split," Justin said. "Most of the time. But the equality isn't there yet and it still tends to fall on the males. The thing is, my parents wouldn't have a problem with the dominant-submissive thing here if I was dominant."
"But you're not," Hermione said. "I see your problem."
Justin nodded, looking morose.
"Well, you don't have tell them, do you?" Harry said. "I mean, it might come up more if you find a male dominant, but you're a wizard, Justin. Unless your planning on returning to the muggle world after you graduate, you should do what you want to do."
Justin looked a little happier at that, but he was still obviously worried. "But I don't have a lord guardian. I mean, any dominant courting me would expect to have to go through my parents, but they won't understand."
"And Dumbledore is your magical guardian," Hermione said. Harry scowled and she shared the look. "You don't want him to make any decisions for you."
"The headmaster is a good man," Justin said, missing the look on Harry and Hermione's faces, though it seemed that Neville hadn't judging by his own confused look. "But yeah, that'd be weird."
"Have you thought about asking your Head of House?" Parvati asked. "Professor Sprout is dominant. She married Nancy Dolle, well now Sprout, just a few years ago."
"I didn't know." Justin smiled. "Yeah, I'll ask her. If she could do it, that'd be awesome."
"Good luck," Harry said.
Justin stood, but hesitated before leaving. "The thing is," he said, looking especially at Harry. Hermione wasn't surprised. Harry always had that effect on people. He was submissive, but he was still a leader and anyone who spent any time with him could see that. "I would have been fine with muggle dating. I wouldn't even really have known about this other stuff if it wasn't all over the news because of you two. I mean, my 'older brother' in the House told me about courting, but I kind of dismissed it as this old magical tradition." He flushed at the admission.
"A lot of muggleborns do that," Parvati said.
"Right," Justin said. "Except, not anymore. Cause Harry and even you too Hermione, you were both raised muggle but now you've got a lord guardian and you're saying you want to do traditional courtship and it's really opened a lot of eyes. I was talking about it with some of the muggleborns in Ravenclaw. We don't want to see ignorant, you know. A muggle wedding just doesn't give you the same rights in this world as a full bonding ceremony does—but you can't have one of those unless you go through a real courtship."
"Plus, it's really romantic, isn't it?" Lavender added.
Justin laughed. "Yeah, it is. So I just wanted to say thanks, I guess."
"You're the one that decided to embrace it," Harry said. "You don't need to thank us. I'm glad, though, even if your situation is a little complicated."
"I think it'll be fine now," Justin reassured him. "I'm going to talk to Professor Sprout tomorrow."
"Let us know," Hermione said, too curious just to let it go.
"Will do." Justin left then.
Hermione looked at Harry and smiled. He smiled back, both of them probably thinking the same thing. Harry probably never would like his fame, but if it caused ripples in the water like that, then all the better for it.
They finished brunch and headed back to the common room. Harry tugged Hermione to the back of the group. He stopped her outside the Fat Lady, letting Lavender, Parvati, and Neville go ahead.
"What is it?" Hermione asked.
"Give them a second," Harry said. He waited and then nodded. "Okay, let's go."
Hermione huffed as they stepped through the portrait hole and were immediately hit with confetti and streamers.
"Happy birthday!" all the Gryffindor fourth years, a number of the younger years, and most of the fifth and sixth years yelled.
Hermione laughed as she took in the decorations and the huge cake sitting on one of the tables. It had been a Hogsmeade day yesterday, so she wasn't surprised to see that there was a lot of Honeydukes' candy laid out on a side table.
"Dobby and Winky made the cake," Harry said as their house elves waved from the corner. Hermione thanked them both, which caused Winky especially to burst into tears.
The party lasted the entire afternoon. Hermione let herself have two slices of cake, because it was just that good, and she even got talked into playing Exploding Snap. By the time they all headed to dinner, Hermione was pleasantly exhausted.
Like at brunch, the five submissives got a lot of compliments on their appearances, but this time Ron, Fay, Seamus, Dean and several other Gryffindor dominants were sitting with them. Hermione noticed Ron scowl deeper with each passing compliment. She refused to acknowledge it, not wanting him to ruin her birthday.
On the way out of the Great Hall after dinner, they passed by Draco Malfoy, Theodore Nott, and Blaise Zabini walking to the Slytherin table.
"Happy birthday, Granger," Malfoy said cordially. His grey eyes passed over her to Harry and then briefly to the other three submissives. "You all look lovely today."
"Thank you, Lord Malfoy," Hermione said. She bowed her head briefly to Zabini and smiled at Nott. Nott smiled back softly.
"Stay away from Hermione, Malfoy!" Ron spat, his face an ugly red. "She doesn't want anything to do with you."
Hermione blinked, watching as Malfoy's face hardened into a disdainful look.
"I hardly care for your opinion, Weasley," he stated. "If Granger doesn't want me to wish her a happy birthday, she can say so herself and I won't bother her anymore."
"Don't put words into my mouth, Ron," Hermione said hotly. "Draco was just being nice."
Malfoy's eyes flickered at the use of his first name, but he seemed to realize Hermione was making a point. "I endeavor to be nothing but nice to you in the future, Hermione," he said. "After all, you're the best person to go to when everyone is confused about what Babbling is explaining in Ancient Runes. I would hate to ruin my chances at getting you as the much coveted partner for this year's final project."
Hermione grinned. "You have a bit of work left to be guaranteed on that, Draco," she said. "Anthony Goldstein asked me the first day of class and you know I like that kind of initiative."
"Challenge accepted," Draco stated, amusement clear in his voice.
"Hey now," Zabini said. "What if I want Hermione as my Runes' partner?"
"Oh no," Nott stated. "I see what you just did, Hermione. Causing a rift in the Slytherins so that Gryffindor is guaranteed the House Cup. Tsk tsk."
Hermione laughed, joined in by Harry and most of the other Gryffindors with them. Ron was still fuming, but Fay had pulled him back.
"You caught me, Theo," she stated. "Though truly, it was Harry that came up with it."
Harry nodded easily. "We don't have Quidditch this year, so if I don't get a chance to trounce you Slytherins on the pitch, I have to think of more creative methods."
"How devious, Harry," Draco said, practically purring out Harry's name. "I didn't know you had it in you."
Harry took Hermione's hand and started to pull her away. "You may know me better than some, Draco, but you've still barely scratched the surface," he said over his shoulder.
Hermione snorted. That was the truth. She can't say she was surprised to have learned he'd almost been sorted into Slytherin. Of course, when he'd told her over the summer she'd been shocked, but then she'd thought about it and it really made a lot of sense for a number of reasons.
Back at the common room, Harry drew Hermione away in a corner and cast privacy charm. He handed her a couple presents.
"I was wondering why you didn't give me anything earlier," Hermione said. She'd already gotten her presents from the other fourth year submissives and Ron.
Ron had mumbled something about his present being the Honeydukes' chocolate that everyone had eaten at the party, but the other submissives' presents had really surprised her—mostly because she hadn't expected any from them. Parvati and Lavender had pooled together to buy her an awesome cashmere blanket charmed with moving feathers and flipping pages. It was really soft and comfortable and she was excited to sleep under it that night. Neville had asked his Gran for permission to give her one of the old books from the Longbottom library. It was on spell creation and Hermione had wanted to read it since she first learned about it, but there were only about a hundred copies in existence and she'd given up hope on getting her hands on it. She'd actually cried when she'd opened that present.
Now, Harry handed her first Sirius' present. Hermione opened it to see a card. She laughed at the little lion wearing glasses and reading a book. Inside, Sirius explained that his present to her was a year's subscription to a number of notable weekly and monthly magical theory and research magazines from all over Europe. Hermione couldn't wait until the first issues arrived.
Harry also had a package from Fleur and Gabrielle. Fleur got her tickets to a magical orchestra she'd introduced Hermione to over the summer. According to the card, the orchestra was playing in Britain at the end of November and since Fleur would be at Hogwarts with them, she'd gotten permission from her mother and from Sirius for them to go together the weekend of the show. Sirius would be escorting both of them, of course. Hermione was very excited.
Gabrielle's present was a cute moving drawing of her, Hermione, and Fleur all braiding each other's hair. Hermione cooed over it and resolved to hang it up in her dorm room.
The last present was from Harry. Hermione opened the bag to find a hand-sized mirror. "As promised," she said, smiling.
"I actually did some modifications on it," Harry said. "Most enchanted mirrors can only connect to one other mirror, as you know. I spent some time going over the theory of it with Sirius and figured out a way to enhance that connection. This mirror can actually connect with an infinite number of other mirrors, so long as they all have the same charms. It's kind of like a phone."
"Wow, Harry," Hermione said. "That's really impressive!"
Harry blushed. "I wanted to. And to be honest, it's not entirely for you. I mean, I have one too. So does Sirius and Fleur."
"So we can all call each other? It doesn't have to go through mine?"
"That's really awesome," Hermione said. "Really really. How does it work?"
"Just tap the mirror with your wand and say the name of the person you want to call." Harry pulled out his own mirror. "Give it a try."
Hermione tapped her mirror. "Harry."
Harry's mirror began to vibrate and flash lightly, just like a phone would. Hermione grinned as Harry tapped it with his own wand. Both their mirrors flickered and then showed each other's faces.
"Wicked," Hermione said. "Can you make more?"
There was a weird double-echo from the mirrors, so Harry ended the call with another tap of his wand before answering. "I have another three already charmed to connect with our mirrors. It's your choice who you want to give them to. And I can make more past that too. And yes, Hermione, I promise to show you how."
Harry knew her too well. She reached forward and hugged him tightly.
"I think we should give one to Neville," Hermione said as she pulled back.
"Not Ron?" Harry asked.
Hermione frowned. She felt guilty about it, but…
"It's okay," Harry said before she could say anything. "I get it. I'll make sure Neville gets one." He hesitated. "Sirius thinks we should market the idea."
"It would make communication a lot easier in the Wizarding world," Hermione agreed. "Are you hesitating because it's supposed to be my birthday present?"
Hermione huffed. "Harry Potter, I just expected you to buy me a market brand mirror. This is already above and beyond, so don't worry." She tapped her chin. "Though you know, it would be cool if we could have all the proceeds go to a charity or something."
"That's a good idea!"
"We should talk about it more, and with Sirius, but I've been thinking about this for a while and I think there should be a foundation in place to help muggleborns. It could fund scholarships to the school and for extra reading books and Wizarding clothes. And we could have programs to help muggleborns learn all about the world they're entering. Like a summer camp or something before Hogwarts where they can learn all about the Wizarding world."
"Wow, Hermione," Harry murmured. "That really would be awesome."
Hermione bit her bottom lip. "I want to call it the Lily Fund, if you agree."
Harry turned his head away, but Hermione could tell in his voice it was because he was on a verge of tears. "I would really like that."
Hermione drew him in for another hug and they stayed like that for a long time.