Another Adventure Awaits
Harry Potter, savior of the wizarding world sat up on a bed within the Hogwarts infirmary, staring sleepily at the blue curtain that surrounded his bed, giving him some privacy. He'd been brought to the hospital wing by his girlfriend who had been whisked away under much protest so Harry could be examined an healed. He'd been beaten up quite a bit more than he had realized after his fight with Voldemort, but Madam Pomfrey had been able to heal most of his wounds quite easily. Currently the school matron was off fetching some healing potions for him, though there was nothing she could do for his magical exhaustion. Harry had used every last bit of power he had in order to vanquish the magical world's foe.
It was taking a great deal of effort for Harry to remain awake at the moment. He had never, in all his life, felt such weariness. If it hadn't been for Hermione, Harry likely would have remained just where she had found him, and slept there for days on end.
But Harry had no intention of going to sleep just yet. His need to know how badly the final battle had cost the side of light made the idea of sleep seem impossible. On the way back to the castle, Harry had seen the bodies. Far too many bodies, and many of the ones he'd seen looked to be students. Hermione hadn't been able to tell him if Sirius, Remus, or Neville had lived. Harry was so anxious to know what had happened, he would have sought out whomever was in charge to get his answers, except his body was not obeying his commands at the moment.
He now knew Neville and Lavender were alive. Harry and Hermione had run into them just outside of the forest, and the four friends had journeyed to the castle together. Nothing had been said between them. There hadn't really been a need for words. Harry had simply given Neville a nod, which his friend returned before coming to Harry's side and helping Hermione get him up to the hospital wing, with Lavender following behind, looking as tired as Harry felt, and just as relieved.
Upon reaching the hospital wing, the four friends Had been separated to have their injuries treated. Hermione eventually had to be given a calming draught as she was protesting being away from Harry, and was becoming quite impossible. Harry was sure the Healers were close to stunning her.
Harry had almost no memory of how he wound up in this particular bed, nor of Madam Pomfrey seeing to his injuries. He was sure he'd dozed through it all, and only sure any of it happened as he was hardly in any pain and all his cuts were healed, as well as his bruises.
Harry was beginning to feel the inviting tug of sleep pulling at him when a rapping of metal caught his attention, and to Harry's great relief, saw that his godfather was standing just inside the privacy curtain, looking rather worse for wear. His left eyes was bandaged and his arm hung in a sling close to his chest. Sirius winced slightly as he limped over, and sat down in the chair that was next to Harry's bed.
"Kid, I can't even begin to express how gads damned happy I am to see you sitting here." Sirius groaned after a moment's silence.
Harry merely nodded, but said nothing, just waiting for the inevitable questions. Sirius took several moments, adjusting on his seat to make himself comfortable. At last, Sirius fixed his godson with his good eye, and took a deep breath.
"Poppy says your core is all but depleted." Sirius remarked. "You're going to have a long couple of weeks ahead of you, but so long as you get plenty of food, and a whole lot of sleep, you should be back to normal in a couple of weeks. You came very close to killing yourself the way she tells it."
Harry said nothing, but Sirius had known the boy long enough to know that he didn't really care. Harry had simply done what needed to be done.
"Well, I suppose we should get to it then." Sirius said with a sigh. "I don't suppose you'll be able to sleep unless we go through a debriefing."
"Not likely, sir." Harry replied. "It's probably better if we do it now, while it's still fresh."
"Alright then." Sirius gave a slow nod. "So, what happened out there today?"
"I got caught up trying to get close to him." Harry began. "We expected him to be the first to show up, but I think his Death Eaters went early or something, and it panicked people. He managed to kill roughly ten people before I managed to get close enough to get a clear shot. I used a focused cutting hex and very nearly took his left arm. However, by the time I got to him to really begin the fight, he had healed it enough so it wouldn't fall off. As soon as he saw it was me, he got really angry, and retaliated."
Sirius listened intently as his godson recounted the back and forth battle he had engaged in with the most vile Dark Wizard in an age. Sirius had to admit it sounded fantastical, and if it had been anyone else the man never would have believed a word. Harry didn't tell the story as some adventure of flight of fancy. It was cold facts, exactly as he had experienced them without any sort of personal feelings on the battle.
"I just pressed my advantage and kept hammering at him with anything I could think of." Harry said as he was coming to the end. "He was still managing to shield himself, but he was getting tired too, so I just kept at it. I don't know how we wound up in the forest, But I think when we got there, Voldemort had had enough. I think he realized that the fight had gone on far too long, and he was getting just as tired as I was, and that he was going to lose. I'm certain that he put everything he had into that killing curse. At the same time, I tried to hit him with a severing hex. I wanted to take his head off. And then our wands… they sort of locked."
"What do you mean locked?" Sirius asked. Harry gave him an uncertain look, but tried to answer.
"The spells collided, and when they did… the wands… they locked." Harry said unhelpfully. "the spells connected, and our wands were tied to each other by the energy, and it became this sort of struggle to see which of use could overpower the other. That's the best way I can describe it."
"Go on." Sirius urged, now leaning forward with interest.
Harry took a breath, his brows knitted as he tried to find words to fit what he'd experienced.
"It was excruciatingly tough. We both wanted to dominate this battle. I saw this golden light surround us, and I swear Sirius, I heard church bells. Then this sort of shell formed around us made of that golden light, and it startled him, and that's when I pushed everything I had, and my spell connected with his wand. I was going to use a Legillimency attack again. It had worked earlier, but I hadn't been able to try again throughout most of our fight as his mental shields were up, but I thought this would be the best time to try again, but I never even got the chance." Harry said, pausing for a breath.
"What do you mean? What happened?"
Harry opened his mouth to continue, but only a small strangled sound came out. He shook his head, and this intrigued Sirius. He could see raw emotion in the kid's eyes, which only fueled his inquisitiveness. He'd never once seen Harry get choked up. Sirius was now on the very edge of his seat as he waited for Harry to collect his thoughts.
"They came." Harry said, looking a bit confused. "One by one they came out of his wand. Ghosts. Shades of people he'd murdered. So many of them. One by one they crawled out of his wand and took form, and then… she was there. Looking at me with this… expression. Sirius I can't even begin to describe it. I nearly lost control of the connection looking at her. And then she spoke. She told me to hold on. That my father was coming."
Sirius suddenly felt the sting of tears, and had to cover his own mouth to keep from sobbing. He bit the inside of his cheek very hard now to try and remain calm.
"I knew exactly who it was because I remembered her from the picture you gave me. And then he was right beside her looking at me with the same expression she had been giving me. I was so confused. So scared. I didn't want them to leave. I couldn't believe they were standing in front of me. I mean, I knew that it wasn't really them, but…" Harry simply gaped, turning to stare at the privacy curtain.
Sirius just waited, having nothing intelligent to add, and focusing mostly on trying not to break down. His heart was a huge lump in his throat. He wanted to grasp the boy's shoulder and show him the affection that he'd denied Harry for so many years, but it would have seemed unnatural to the both of them, and that made Sirius loathe himself.
"He told me how incredibly proud they both were of me, and that the end was coming. He said that they would give me just a moment, but it would be all I needed and he told me not to hesitate. Then she looked at me and smiled, and told me to be good to her. She said that we were good for each other, and that she wanted me to have lots of babies. She said that she loved me and missed me. Then he said that it was time, and to let go." Harry shuddered.
"They all turned and cried out as I pulled my wand up and severed the connection. They rushed Voldemort, and he seemed truly afraid. But I didn't stop to try and figure out why. I just did what they told me to. I used every last bit of energy I had, and struck. The severing hex hit him in the neck and he sort of paused, looking at me with this sort of disbelieving look in his eyes. He stumbled forward a step, fell to his knees, his head lolled, and then there was this blast of energy and I was thrown back by the shockwave. That was it. It was over. His body crumbled to the ground, and he just began to rot right before my eyes."
A long silence followed as Sirius sat back in his seat and looked at Harry who was staring back. It seemed to take a few minutes for Sirius to process the story, and somehow he knew that even if he examined Harry's memories himself, he'd never understand it. He doubt even Dumbledore would.
"You did good kid." Sirius said, sitting back and gazing proudly at his godson. "You did really, really good."
Harry didn't say anything as he reflected on that one moment when he got to see his parents, or at least a shadow of them. He only looked up again when Sirius made to rise.
"How bad was it?" He asked his godfather. Sirius grimaced and started to shake his head. "Don't tell me it can wait, Sirius. How many did we lose?"
Sirius sighed and sank back into his chair.
First off, we wiped them all out. Or rather you did. The Dark Mark was tied to his magic, and when he died, it poisoned them all. As for us… well, it wasn't good. Three professors, thirty Aurors, and roughly seventy students died. Remus didn't make it either." Sirius said regretfully.
Harry took this in and nodded, his face blank, though his eyes betrayed his feelings then. Sirius wanted to laugh. The boy was learning to be normal at last.
Sirius rose from his seat and started to leave when Harry once again stopped him.
"Sirius," Harry began, looking up at his godfather with a very troubled expression. "What happens to me now?"
Sirius turned and smiled warmly at Harry as he took a step closer.
"That's up to you now. Your life is in your own hands." Sirius said. Harry just looked at him strangely for several seconds before replying.
"I don't even know where to begin. I … being a soldier is all I've ever known Sirius. I don't know the first thing about being a civilian, or any of that. I mean, do I continue school? Do I get a job, and what kind of job should I get? Where do I live? Gods… I'm… Sirius, I think I'm afraid." Harry said, looking truly lost.
"Harry… I've told you this before, and I still truly mean it. What we did… hiding you from the world, isolating you, teaching you to shut off your emotions… making you into a weapon to fight a war that should never have been yours… it was wrong. I regret not standing against Dumbledore when he suggested it. I regret never showing you the love you should have known. I regret so much, and I will never be able to take it back. But the way I see it, you have a chance to find the happiness you should have had, and between you and me, I think you've done a fantastic job already. She really cares for you, and I can tell you love her as well. So now you can focus on her. Make it your new mission to make each other happy." Sirius smiled, and Harry gave another nod.
"What about you?" Harry asked. "What are you going to do now?"
"I made a promise to myself that when this was all over, I was going to go on a long vacation, get drunk, and bed as many women as I could. But now, I think I'm just going to bed one woman… if she'll have me." Sirius winked, and Harry gave a faint smirk. "Maybe you should get away as well. School is over for the year. You and Hermione should go away together. Be young and enjoy each other's company. I'll be around when you get back."
Harry nodded again and Sirius urged him to rest.
A moment after his godfather left, Madam Pomfrey came in with a smile on her face, apologizing for taking so long, and Harry downed four potions before he settled into his bed and fell into a deep coma like sleep.
Harry awoke the next morning still feeling groggy and weak, though somehow loads better than when he'd arrived in the infirmary after the battle. As he began to break through the fog of sleep and began to take in his surroundings, he noted that there was an extra weight on his bed, and something warm on his left side. Harry began to smile as he opened his eyes and took in the sight of Hermione laying with her head on his shoulder, and her arm lying over his chest rather protectively. Her mouth was ever so slightly open, and her face was relaxed.
Harry very gently adjusted himself, and placed a soft lingering kiss upon Hermione's forehead. He then began running fingers through her hair, drawing it away from her face as he began to speak softly to her.
"Hermione." He began. "Angel, you need to wake up now."
Hermione gave a soft moan of protest, and rubbed the back of her hand on her nose before replacing her arm around his chest. Harry simply smiled, and continued to kiss her forehead, which was all he could reach at the moment and continued to gently coax her awake.
Eventually Hermione stirred and she slowly opened her cinnamon brown eyes and gave a sleepy frown.
"When did you decide to join me?" Harry asked.
"Half past midnight." Hermione replied in a whisper. "Madam Pomfrey wouldn't let me see you, so I waited until she went to bed, and I snuck over here. I knew you were alright, but I didn't want to be away from you anymore."
"She's likely going to have a fit when she finds you're not in your own bed." Harry pointed out.
"I don't care." Hermione sighed. "After everything that happened yesterday… I couldn't sleep on my own, and I didn't want to be away from you anymore."
Harry gave a nod, and Hermione raised herself up a bit so she was looking him in the eye.
"It's over now right?" She asked rather anxiously. "I mean it's really over. For good this time. He isn't ever coming back, right?"
Harry nodded and then kissed her lips very gently. Hermione gave a long sigh of relief, and lost herself in Harry's kiss.
"It's over." He said when he let go of her lips. Hermione gave him a winning smile, and settled back down next to him. They lay there for several long, wonderful moments. Harry gave a sigh as he began running his fingers through her soft brown curls, his eyes falling shut of their own volition.
"So what happens now?" Hermione asked. "I mean… well, summer's about to start. I thought you were going to be going to wherever Sirius was, but now that it's all over, where are you going to go? What are you going to do?"
"I don't really know." Harry admitted. "Sirius said that my life was my own now, and I could do whatever I wanted. The trouble is, I don't have any idea what I want to do. About the only thing I'm sure of is that I want you with me whatever I do."
"You know, I don't think mum and dad would mind terribly if you just came home with me." Hermione suggested. "At least then you'd have someplace to go while you sorted things out. I mean… if you wanted that is."
Harry nodded and Hermione smiled at him. They fell silent again.
"Sirius said he was going on vacation." Harry sighed. Hermione lifted her head, her face expressing her curiosity. "Maybe I should too."
"Do you even know what a vacation is?" Hermione asked, fighting against the smile that was threatening to break out on her face.
"No." Harry said in his typical even tone as he looked into her eyes. "But I'm sure that you do, and I already told you that whatever I do, you're going to be with me."
Hermione grinned at him, and kissed him deeply. "Then I guess we should decide where we want to go. Maybe one of those islands Neville told you about."
Harry smiled the smile that always warmed her heart, and made her shiver. The smile he only gave to her.
"Maybe we can figure that out after you keep your promise to me." Hermione said softly, giving him a very pointed look.
"Which promise?" Harry asked slightly confused.
"Harry… the war is over now." Hermione said, pulling herself up so that she was now looking directly in his eyes. "Tonight is the first night after the war."
Harry looked at her for a second before his eyes went wide with realization. Hermione's grin grew as she watched a smile widen, and his arms wrapped tighter around her waist, drawing her closer.
"And it would be wrong to not keep a promise." Harry said, making Hermione giggled in spite of herself.
"Very, very wrong." Hermione agreed.
"HERMIONE!" Lavender Brown said, hugging her friend tightly as the curly haired brunette and her boyfriend entered the Great Hall the on the day they were all about to return home. A lot of students had been taken home by magical parents the day before, so only muggleborns and a few half-blood students remained behind to take the train back to London.
"Harry!" Lavender said as she let go of Hermione and hugged the messy haired youth, who, for the first time in Lavender's memory truly returned the hug, making her squeal as he lifted her off the ground.
"Where have you two been these past two days?" Lavender asked as the three of them sat at their usual spot at the Gryffindor table.
"Keeping a promise." Harry said, filling his plate with eggs bacon, toast, and fruit, more than Lavender had ever seen Harry eat before. She gave a questioning look to Hermione, who was smiling rather oddly, and Lavender suddenly realized where the two lovers had been, and exactly what they had been up to.
"You total slag!" She laughed, giving Hermione a playful shove. Hermione gave Lavender a shove in return, making the blonde laugh even harder.
"You know you're going to have to tell me everything, right?" Lavender asked, giving her friend a pointed look.
"Yes, I know." Hermione sighed, shaking her head. "There's no other way to get you to stop pestering me about it. I've come to terms with it, but you're going to have to wait for now."
"So long as I don't have to wait long." Lavender replied.
"Maybe I'll tell you while we're getting tanned on the beach this summer." Hermione said, taking a piece of bacon from Harry's plate. Her boyfriend didn't even blink as he consumed his breakfast.
"Beach? What beach?" Lavender asked.
"We're all going to an island over the summer." Harry said between bites. Hermione nodded as Lavender looked on in wonder.
"Harry and I decided that we're going to take a long vacation, and we want you and Neville to come along." Hermione said as she reached for a platter of sausages, and began making her own breakfast plate.
"Where is Neville?' Harry asked, only now noticing the other boy was not currently present. Lavender pointed across the Great Hall to the Hufflepuff table where Neville sat next to Hannah Abbott. The two were talking, and Hannah looked rather pleased with whatever Neville was saying. The three Gryffindors all watched until Neville stood up, followed By Hannah who hugged him tightly. A moment later, Neville joined the three, giving Harry and Hermione a large, welcoming smile.
"We'll it's nice to see the two of you again." He said as he sat across from his own girlfriend.
"They want us to go on vacation with them over the summer." Lavender blurted out. Neville looked to Hermione and Harry who both nodded confirmation.
"Where?" Neville asked.
"We decided on Bora Bora." Hermione smiled. "We'll be going in July and staying for at least a month, maybe longer." Hermione said. Both Lavender and Neville looked to each other, and then back at Harry and Hermione.
"Um…" Neville started. "Not that I don't want to go, but I can't really afford…"
"It's on me." Harry said, not even looking up from his plate."
"Actually, it's on his godfather." Hermione stated. "Yesterday, we got a letter that told Harry there was a trust vault at Gringott's for him. Well, technically two of them, and Sirius mentioned Harry would be getting the Potter family vaults at the end of July. He told Harry to use one of the vaults for some fun. So… we talked about it, and it would make us very happy if the four of us went to Bora Bora together. We'll have our own bungalows, but we'll be together for most of the summer. That is, if you two agree."
Lavender stared at Neville, practically begging him to say yes. Neville had little choice, nor did he really want to refuse. He would never pass up an opportunity to see Harry experience real life or a chance to see Lavender in a teeny tiny bikini."
"I'm in." he said. Lavender clapped her hands, and got up to rush around the table and hug her man tightly, squealing with joy.
"Good." Hermione smiled. "Lavender, I'll need you to come stay with me about a week before we go, so we can go shopping for everything we need."
"Of course." Lavender nodded.
"I might need to stay with you during that time Neville, if it's alright." Harry said, now finished with the mountain of food he'd had.
"I'd be honored to have you stay." Neville smiled.
Harry gave his friend a nod of appreciation, and Neville just smiled. He glanced at Lavender before turning back to Harry to ask the question that had been on his mind for the last two days.
"Harry, Are you coming back next year?" He asked.
Harry looked up at Neville and then turned to Hermione, a very miniscule smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Professor McGonagall stood at the Head table to announce that it was time to head to the carriages. The four friends rose together and headed out of the Great Hall. They got into one of the carriages together, and then onto the train back to London.
During the trip home, Hermione reflected on how different this trip was than any other she'd ever had. Not once did she even consider opening a book, preferring for the first time to converse with her friends as she sat next to her boyfriend. She laughed, and joked, and acted like a typical seventeen year old girl should.
It was truly bizarre, and yet, such an amazing experience.
When the train finally pulled into King's Cross station, Hermione hugged both Neville and Lavender very tightly before promising to see them in a few days, as they had decided to get together before their vacation to hammer out all the details. Harry hugged his friends as well before following Hermione through the barrier and into muggle London where the Grangers awaited the arrival of their daughter, both looking very anxious.
Hermione had written to them and told them all about what had happened in the final days of the school year, and to assure them she was alright. Hermione's mother practically pounced on her daughter, while Hermione's father grasped Harry's hand, and thanked him for helping to protect his daughter. Harry then told Dan that he had not even seen Hermione during the battle. Hermione promised to explain everything at the welcome home dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant, which her parents agreed to at once.
During dinner, Hermione came clean about everything she had done and seen during the battle, and Harry offered a very edited version of his own battle. He had decided that for the time being, he would not tell anyone about seeing his parents. It wasn't that he thought no one would believe him. It was simply that he wanted to keep that memory for himself for now. But he had decided that he would tell Hermione first. Well, first after Sirius anyway.
It was during desert that Harry and Hermione revealed their summer plans. The Grangers at first were reticent but relented pretty quickly when the two lovers revealed how they planned to take care of things, and that it was a sort of compensation to Harry for going through all he had. Hermione did note however, that her parents didn't even ask about sleeping arrangements.
Just before bed, her mother did shock her daughter when she asked why she was going to sleep in her own room rather than with her boyfriend. Emma Granger told her daughter that she and Hermione' father had discussed things at great length since Christmas and had decided that Hermione was an adult, and could make her own decisions, and that Harry was a fine, upstanding young man who very clearly loved their daughter. All that Hermione's parents asked was that they be safe, and not create any complications until they were ready.
As Hermione lay in bed that night, sighing with contentment as Harry's fingers ran soft trails up and down her naked torso after another intense session of lovemaking, She could not even begin to fight the smile she had on her face as she wondered at how much her life had changed in a single year.
As Harry began kissing her neck, and she felt his excitement growing against her thigh while her own body responded, making her giggle lightly as she rolled her body on top of his, and adjusting herself so he could enter her womanhood for the third time that night, Hermione Granger was yet again convinced that she was no longer Fate' plaything. She was blessed, and she wanted to prove that she was worthy of Destiny's gift. She vowed to love Harry as fiercely and as completely as he loved her.
FIVE YEARS LATER…
"They're running late." Dan Granger said, checking his watch as he handed a drink to Sirius Black. Sirius shrugged as he sampled the drink. He gave a smile of appreciation at the smooth flavor of his beverage, and gave a small toast to his host.
"Young lovers." Was all Sirius replied. Dan looked torn between wanting to smile at the thought of what young lovers get up to, and the fact that one of those young lovers was his daughter.
"Calm down Dan." Emma Granger said, waving for her husband to join her on the sofa.
"Calm down? Are you out of your mind? I mean, I'm about to watch … Dan started to rant, but Emma cut him off.
"We're all just as anxious as you are, but it's going to be okay." Emma smiled serenely as she offered her hand to her husband, inviting him to join her on the sofa.
"I still can't believe we were invited." Amelia bones said looking truly pleased.
"He was pretty insistent about it." Sirius shrugged. "Said he want the people that were important to him to be here."
"He refused another promotion, you know." Amelia said.
"I don't really blame him." Sirius replied. "He made her a promise and he's kept it for five years. He's pleased with training them, but I think he's had enough fighting for several lifetimes."
"The Aurors could really use his skill. I've no doubt he'd bring in half the top ten most wanted in at least two months." Amelia smiled.
"Sirius said it." Neville Longbottom said as he and his wife Lavender entered the living room both carrying trays of snacks and setting them on the table for everyone to enjoy. "He's just got no interest in fighting. But I've no doubt that if he needed to , he wouldn't hesitate. He still trains harder than any of the cadets he's in charge of."
The friends heard the front door open and a cheery female voice called out. "We're here!"
Dan and Emma Granger stood, as did Sirius and Amelia, and they all turned and watched as Hermione granger entered the sitting room followed closely by her long time boyfriend, Harry Potter.
Hermione hugged everyone, while Harry shook hands with the men and allowed himself to be embraced by the ladies.
"Oh good, I'm starving." Hermione said, spying the snacks.
"You should maybe wait a minute." Harry said. Hermione turned and gave him a confused look, especially when she noted Harry's rather trepidatious expression.
"Luv?" Hermione asked. Harry took a breath, and glanced at everyone present.
"I uh… Lied to you Hermione. Your parents weren't throwing a get together because they missed us. I put this together."
Hermione looked to her parents, now thoroughly confused. Her parents were standing close together now, Dan's arm around his wife, who was nearly bouncing on the balls of her feet. Hermione began to feel something stirring in her stomach as she looked at Neville and lavender. Lavender was beaming at her best friend as she rubbed her eight month pregnant belly. Neville looked just as giddy, and Hermione's brain kicked into high gear as she looked to Sirius, who looked on quite proudly.
Hermione turned back to Harry and noticed that he had something in his hands.
"Oh…" She stammered. "Oh… oh god."
Tears began to sting her eyes, and her whole body began to tremble.
Harry looked to Sirius and then slowly sank to his knee, looking very fondly up at Hermione.
"I was briefed on this custom by your father, and he told me that traditionally this is how I am supposed to ask this question." Harry said, looking at the small black velvet covered box in his hands.
Hermione's hand shot to her mouth to attempt to keep from becoming a blubbering mess as Harry opened the box, and held it up to her, revealing a rather simple, yet excruciatingly elegant diamond ring.
"Lavender helped me to find the right ring after Neville told me that I needed it. But, everything I tell you now, is from me."
Hermione glanced around and saw that her mother, Lavender and Amelia were all crying now, and she was sure Sirius was rubbing his eyes. She fanned her own face trying in vain to calm down. She knew what was happening and wanted to scream yes a thousand times, but her throat was prevent her from uttering a single word, and her eyes would not stop leaking.
"I wanted to sweep you off your feet and write some very epic heartfelt speech about our lives together and how much you truly mean to me. And then it was pointed out to me that I was going about it all wrong, and that you might not have responded to it. It was even suggested you might suspect a confounds charm or an imperious charm."
Hermione giggled in spite of herself as did Sirius and Neville. Lavender slapped her husband's arm and Amelia gave Sirius a sour look. Sirius gave a fake cough to wipe at his eyes yet again.
"The truth of the matter is that like always, I just don't understand why the custom exists. But I know that it would make you happy, and I want to make you happy. Today. Tomorrow, and for as long as you'll have me. Hermione Jean Granger, will you marry me?"
Hermione still couldn't speak, so she just nodded insistently and Harry gave her that smile. The one he reserved only for her. The smile that had never failed to turn her into goo ever since they had first fallen in love. The smile she knew he would continue to give her for the rest of their lives.
Harry rose, and slipped his arms around her waist and bent to kiss her as their friends and family applauded loudly.
"I love you." Harry said in a soft whisper. Hermione, balling like an idiot laughed and squeezed him tightly.
"You're going to let me have the exclusive on this, right?" Lavender asked, coming over to congratulate her friend. "I think we could get a eight page spread for your actual wedding."
Hermione just laughed and shook her head.
"We'll discuss it, but I don't know that I want the details on my wedding in Witch Weekly. I've always fancied the idea on a small wedding." Hermione said, wiping at her eyes as she tried to gain control of herself. She and Lavender began to throw ideas for Hermione's big day as they admired Hermione's ring along with Hermione's mother who was still crying like a child.
"Well done." Neville said to Harry as he was the last one who got to congratulate the man. Harry gave him an appreciative nod, and followed Neville into the kitchen with Neville's beckoning wave.
"You did really good." Neville said.
"She knew. Just like you said she would. I saw it in her eyes before I even knelt down." Harry said, reaching out to take a finger sandwich that Neville had just prepared.
"But she was happy, mate, and just like I told you…" Neville started and Harry nodded.
"That's all that mattered. Have you decided?" Harry asked, changing the subject.
"I did. I sent Professor McGonagall my apologies, and she understood. She told me that she would likely ask me again in a few years. I need to be here with Lavender. The baby will be here in a month, and the business is growing. I had to hire five new people last month alone. I like the thought of teaching, and I think I will end up doing it, but, now isn't the time. You give any thought to kids of your own?" Neville asked. Harry shrugged.
"Just like any other operation, I'm taking this a step at a time. We've talked a little about it, and she keeps say three. But it's always in a sort of hypothetical manner." Harry said.
"Maybe not so hypothetical anymore." Hermione said with a broad smile on her face.
"And that is my cue to bring more food out to everyone." Neville chuckled. "Congratulations, to both of you."
"Thank you Neville." Hermione said, though she didn't even look at him. Neville rushed past her.
"You propose to me and then run off to hide in the kitchen?" Hermione asked playfully. Harry gave a non committal shrug as Hermione closed the gap between them slipping her arms around his neck and kissing him long slow and deep. She gave a soft groan as Harry squeezed her tightly.
"You do know what you got yourself into, right?" Hermione asked after she broke the kiss. "Things are going to get really crazy."
"Sirius explained it to me." Harry nodded. "I know what I'm getting into."
"Why am I suddenly worried?" Hermione asked with a grin. "I think I recall Sirius telling you a few drinks wouldn't hurt, and …"
"Nothing bad happened." Harry waved off Hermione's argument.
"Harry… you woke up naked in a rubbish bin in Sheffield." Hermione gave him a wry look.
"Neville said it wasn't that big a deal."
"Harry, you started the night in London. You could have splinched yourself in half." Hermione pointed out.
"So you think I might be in over my head?" Harry asked, looking a bit apprehensive now. Hermione simply shook her head.
"No. Because I will be with you every step of the way, and I know that you'll be by my side as well." Hermione gave him a winning smile. Harry stood to his full height and engulfed her in his strong arms and Hermione sighed contentedly.
Just as she did everyday since she and Harry had begun dating just after New Year's eve nearly six years ago, Hermione silently thanked whatever force had brought Harry into her life, and asked for nothing more. They had face their share of ups and downs, and always came out stronger for it in the end. But after your significant other vanquishes a Dark Lord, it really puts perspective on a life, and most of life's problems become insignificant in comparison. Hermione realized years ago that the suffering and abuse she had endured had been meant to forge her into the woman she became. If she hadn't gone through it all, she would not have been ready for Harry when they met. She would have been unworthy to stand at his side, and to be loved by him. Years ago she lamented her lot in life. Now as she was being held by her new fiancée she knew that she wouldn't change a single moment.
"Hey!" Sirius called from the door way. "You two have the rest of your lives to get kinky in the kitchen, but as it's your engagement party, perhaps you should grace us low beings with your presence."
"We'll be right there." Hermione assured Harry's godfather. She turned back to Harry, and kissed him gently.
"Come on luv." She smiled. "Another adventure awaits."
A/N: And so it ends. At last. Harry and Hermione go on to have three kids who give them loads of joy and massive headaches. Neville and Lavender have two kids and Neville eventually goes on to teach Herbology and keeping an eye on both the Longbottom and Potter children. Everything is perfect for them all for many many years. YEAH!
So, now I know a lot of you might be wondering what's next for me, and you'll be happy to know that I am working on my next story. So excited. As always, thanks for reading and wasting time with my trivial little tales. i hope you enjoyed it. BYE!