Hermione couldn't sit still.
The chair was uncomfortable, the hard back of digging into her back as she tried to relax. Ron had slid his arm around her back, slowly, awkwardly, rubbing what he must have believed were soothing circles into her back. His fingers traced the divots of her spine and whenever she glanced at him, he offered a weak smile. His eyes were as bright as they ever were.
Her stomach twisted. Hermione fidgeted with her ring, the slim white gold band that circled her ring finger that came together with a single diamond. It was simplistic, something she preferred, and it was a complete joke. Not that Ron would make a terrible husband; he just wasn't for her. They both knew it, but when the law was passed by the Wizengamot Ron had apparated directly into her flat and proposed.
Too afraid that she would be matched with a Death Eater, she'd said yes. Here they were six weeks later, and she was sure it had been the longest six weeks of her life. She theorized the Ministry would eventually pull their heads from their arses, and hopefully, it would be before they got her properly knocked up. As bad as the situation was, she couldn't imagine putting a baby into the mix of things.
Somewhere in the future, this day would be a distant memory. It would be a section in textbooks of the time several old, balding men had attempted to tell society what to do with their bodies. It was enough to make her want to leave Britain, but the two men on either side of her made her realize she couldn't leave.
Still, hadn't they fought in a war for the betterment of society? This, telling her to cease her contraceptive potions or she would be fined, possibly put in Azkaban for a night or two, was decidedly not for the betterment of society. At least she would end up with someone she trusted. Hermione loved Ron, she truly did, but there was a difference between loving and being in love.
Looking around the room and recognizing so many of her former peers, guilt ate at her for taking the easiest way out.
Harry grabbed her hand, lacing his fingers through hers and held their hands out of sight. She glanced at him, the corner of her lips dragging down. "I don't like this." she murmured, and Ron's movements stilled. "I wasn't talking to you," Hermione said, weakly smiling. Though Ron pulled his hand back anyway. "I meant I don't like all of this. Rita Skeeter is staring at us as if we're the prize."
"Well," Harry drawled. "The two of you already paired yourselves off. She's waiting to see who my lucky witch is."
She knew she hadn't imagined Harry's eyes straying toward her. "Right," she whispered.
Silence fell over the hall as Kingsley made his way to the stand, stiffly gripping a scroll of parchment. It was ironic that it was always a piece of paper changing her life, first it was the first Hogwarts letter, and every one thereafter. Or it was a flyer inside of the Ministry calling for her arrest for aiding and abetting Harry Potter.
Now it was a Marriage Law. At the turn of the millennium, witches and wizards alike had been celebrating the new year. Surely it would bring happiness, and then a week later the Wizengamot and the office of the Minister of Magic had released a joint statement. The Marriage Law of 2002, to begin in early January, brought Hermione's world down around her ears.
"Thank you for coming today." Minister Shacklebolt began, clearing his throat.
Dean shouted from the crowd, scowling and twisting away from Angelina, who tried to calm him. "You make it sound like we had a bloody choice!"
Kingsley continued, "I know you're upset with the law, but it is imperative that we replenish our population, or we will be wiped out." As true as it was, Hermione disagreed that this was the right way to do things. Stealing the choices of others was a step just below Voldemort, but she wouldn't say it in a room filled with reporters. "In my hand are the pairings to be read aloud. It was worked on closely to find those who would be compatible."
Hermione knew all about the soulmate charm. Largely flawed as it worked best during a woman's most fertile period, and required blood from either individual -
So, yes, she had her doubts that this would be anything short of a trainwreck.
She didn't listen to the pairings, as unlike her as it may be. To listen meant that she would be warring with herself of whether she should just walk out completely. Truthfully she was only there because aurors would have hauled her in any way, and to be a pillar of support for Harry.
Angelina had been paired with George, a sombre moment where she watched the redhead give her a weak smile. Angelina beamed at him, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek. There had been something there before the war, Hermione was certain, and she let a bubble of hope surface that George might be happy. She couldn't think of many more worthy than he.
Harry was still holding her hand as Kingsley read through the list, his finger twisting her engagement ring as he did so. Chills rolled down her spine when she finally looked at him. "What?" she whispered.
His eyes were dark behind wiry frames. "If I don't tell you now, I probably won't considering my new wife wouldn't appreciate it."
She tilted her head to the side, leaning forward to listen. "What are you on about, Harry?" Absently, she was surprised he'd kept any secrets from her. It wasn't like him since they were even closer since the end of the war.
That was a fact she wouldn't touch on.
He smirked against her earlobe, lips mistakenly brushing the soft skin there. "If Ron hadn't proposed, I would have. I didn't want - I didn't want you to be trapped in a loveless marriage when you deserved better."
Hermione jerked back, her breath catching in her throat. He already knew the marriage she was about to enter would be loveless in the love it was meant to be. There was no passion, no spark, and neither she or Ron held that against the other. However...
"Harry Potter —" the Minister's voice cut short, yanking Hermione from her thoughts. The crowd was staring at the man curiously. From the side of her vision, Hermione saw Skeeter, her pen levitating above her notepad as she greedily shot a look at the Boy-Who-Lived. "— I apologize. I thought there had been a mistake." Kingsley swallowed, glancing down at the parchment to see the name hadn't disappeared. "Hermione Granger." he finished.
At first, she didn't understand. There had been such a long pause between names, she reasoned. Kingsley was calling on her, not for —
Harry took her hand, the one that was still entwined with his own and pulled her from the hall. He'd nodded to Ron, mouthing, "Come on."
The entire hall erupted into chaos once the ornate double doors swung shut behind them. Ron was right on their heels, his face already turning red when she'd turned back to look at him. Despite Harry's break up with his sister, they still thought Ginny would be his match. They got on well enough, and no matter how many times Hermione said that didn't make a relationship, Ron didn't listen.
"They can't be serious." Ron snapped finally, hauling the two of them to a stop by grabbing the necks of their robes. "This is mad. How can the Ministry believe the two of you should be married?" he boomed, and reporters flocking to them was instantaneous.
She moaned under her breath, covering her face with shaking hands. "Ron, this isn't the place. Even Skeeter is here, and you know she'll make a spectacle of everything you say." Hermione could imagine the headlines now.
ONE THIRD OF THE GOLDEN TRIO BREAKS TWO THIRDS' HEARTS.
Ron threw his hands up, his lip curling. "So?" he argued raking long fingers through his hair. "No offence, Harry, but you said it yourself that you love her like a sister."
Hermione bit the inside of her cheek. After his whisper to her, she wasn't so sure about that either.
Harry sighed. "Hermione is right. This isn't the place for this. We need —"
His friend wasn't so patient. Ron tugged Hermione to his chest, wrapping his arm around her middle. "There's a clause in the Marriage Law, Harry," he said triumphantly, his fingers drifting down her spine again.
Hermione shot a look at Harry. Though she knew exactly what Ron was about to say, she was more distracted by Harry's pained expression. He looked like..he was imagining how he knew how every inch of her felt.
"Oh?" Harry said through gritted teeth.
Ron grinned above her head as if he knew something Harry didn't. He nodded, smiling. "Pre-existing couples can petition the match, alright?" Ron didn't mention how the entire engagement was a sham, not with so many ears nearby.
Pressed against him, Hermione thought he was acting possessive because he still didn't enjoy Harry winning in anything over him.
Hermione wiggled free of him, her fingers splayed against his sternum as she gave him a short push. "I think we should discuss things before we floo into the Ministry to lodge a complaint." She was on the receiving end of a sharp look when her voice wavered.
"What is there to talk about? I always wanted to marry you." Which was true a long time ago, but he couldn't very well say that.
"I think you should let go of her, mate," Harry murmured, stepping forward as if he were about to rip her free himself. She rarely saw him jealous, but there was no mistaking it.
Aghast, Ron muttered, "Do you want to marry Harry?"
She didn't say yes, but she also didn't say no, which really said all that needed to be said. "Ron, all I want is to have a discussion before we run to apply for a marriage license. Can we do that?"
"I..sure. Yours or mine?" Ron asked, his face falling as she stepped away from him.
Hermione gave a weak smile. "My flat is fine," she replied, and he was gone with a crack. "Harry?"
"Yes?" he answered with caution. Her voice was thick with tears, and she didn't want to face him. "Mione?"
Her shoulders fell and she turned to give him a tight hug. Laying her head on his shoulder, she whispered in his ear, "I have to tell him about the forest, the tent."
Harry froze, not even reaching up to return the warm embrace. "Do you really?" he asked, his tone already resigned.
"Harry, he's going to ask me if I want to marry you and when I can't tell him no, he will want an answer."
"I don't want to ruin your - you can't tell him no?" His brain caught up with her words and he moved forward to slowly to grab her hand before she took a large step backwards. "Hermione, what in the buggering fuck does that — "
Hermione's flat was on the corner of the building, completed by a large bay window. She used it as a reading nook - overlooking the Thames. It was a quiet place with wards that rivalled the Ministry. It was her home, and as Ron turned to look at her, she'd never felt as uncomfortable in her own home as she did then.
Not quite as quick to let his temper take control anymore, he cleared his throat. "I know that marriage is a large step, Mione."
She didn't scoff, but only out of kindness. "It's a huge step considering we aren't dating anymore."
"Are you still angry with me for — "
Hermione shook her head. "No, I'm not angry. We didn't fit together, Ron. It's like we're two puzzle pieces from different boxes."
He didn't completely get the reference. "I assume that's a muggle reference Harry could understand? Since you were both raised as muggles," he sneered.
"Don't." Hermione's voice hardened.
He sighed. "Mione, for Merlin's sake we're engaged already," Ron mumbled, not catching the way she twisted the diamond ring around her finger.
She spoke gently. "You proposed because you knew the law was coming, Ron. Can you imagine spending the rest of your life with me?" Hermione asked, reaching out for him, but he jerked away. "Ronald," she stressed.
"I've always thought it would be you. I know the engagement was a way to avoid…" It was unlike him to trail off. She'd expected him to yell, to curse her, something. "I'm not accusing you of wanting to marry Harry."
"It's an astronomical step, Ron. I don't want to marry anyone, but marriage bonds would destroy our friendship in the end. We're ill-matched." And he knew it was true by the way he hung his head. "I know you want to ask me," Hermione said, her voice barely above a whisper.
In all fairness, he'd wanted to ask her since the final battle, since she returned to Hogwarts and Harry seemed to keep a closer correspondence with her than Ron did.
"Is the reason you're about to hand me that ring back because you have feelings for him?" Ron asked, slumping into his seat. "I want to make it clear that I am trying to be mature, to not lash out at you."
Hermione took a seat across from him, nodding. Crossing one leg over the other, she still grimaced. "I appreciate that, but I'm more worried you'll take it out on Harry."
He scowled at the name. "That bad then?"
It's complicated, she wanted to say, just like her history with Ron. Following the end of the war, they hadn't made a go of things. He was mourning Fred, and he needed to be with his family. They hadn't tried until he exited auror training, and even then, they seemed to fight more than anything else.
"Hermione," he snapped, rubbing his temples. "You're getting lost in your thoughts. I don't care how you phrase it, it's going to sting no matter what so out with it."
She bristled, biting her lip. "When you left us in the Forest of Dean.." Hermione trailed off, chancing a look at him.
His hand was curled into a fist, resting on his knee. "Son of a bitch," he growled. "I always thought something happened."
Her eyes widened. "Why?"
"He looked at you a certain way when you weren't looking, the way he used to look at my sister." Ron paused. "Suppose it makes more sense why he and Gin never picked up where they left off."
"I didn't mean for that — "
Ron waved her off. "I know. She probably knows too, and if she does, she's not angry." He tacked the ending on there when her cheeks filled with red. "I'm relieved."
She laughed, her sides shaking. "Marrying me would have been the biggest mistake you ever made." Hermione mused. "Though — " she continued, rising from her chair and sitting on the armrest of his, taking his hand in hers. "— you're a good man, Ronald Weasley for stepping up to do it."
He gave her a lopsided grin. "I couldn't have you being married off to someone like Malfoy, you know."
Hermione wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "Thank you for taking this so well. I shouldn't have lied to you."
His shoulders fell as he peered up at her. "I'm pissed, but I always thought there was something there. I didn't want to believe it. Harry is probably worried sick right now."
She smirked. "I did tell him I was going to tell you. I would hazard the guess he's watching his floo as he waits for you to come charging in."
Ron snorted, hair falling into his face. "Hermione Potter." he chuckled, standing. "It has a certain ring to it. Are you sure you're ready to have his kids? You know, we talked about it once. He wants to name his first born James."
Hermione nodded. "Of course. I think it's a lovely name for a little boy."
"Yeah, well, he also wants to name one Albus Severus, so I suggest — "
"I'll be in charge then. We'll have sensibly named children." Hermione cut in, her body turning toward the floo as it roared to life. "Well, he couldn't wait for you to come to him." she laughed, pulling the ring from her finger and placing it in Ron's palm.
Ron looked down at her, yanking her into a tight hug. "If he ever hurts you, I'll kick his arse."
Hermione slid her hands up his back, squeezing him. "You could have a turn after me."
Letting go of her, Ron stormed toward the floo, slamming his shoulder into Harry's as the man tried to begin an apology.
"As much as he would like to pretend, he isn't angry," Hermione called, folding her arms across her chest. "He's keeping up with appearances for now. He knows he should be angry he's just learned his best mate shagged his fiance."
Harry spluttered. "You weren't his fiance when," he stopped as she giggled. "It's impolite to tease," he grumbled.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
Whether it was someone, or someones that wanted the tent scene, here you go. I'm absolutely blown away by the love for this fic. As of this moment, I'm pretty sure it will be longer than 15 chapters as I tend to get suuuuper wordy. I hope you enjoy this chapter, and will let me know what you think. Reading your thoughts just makes my entire day. I think I'll be writing this ship for a while. :)
I wasn't planning to update so soon but your feedback makes it impossible not to.
Thank you again to Alexandra O to beta reading this fic. And thank you to MykEsprit for her seal of Harmony approval.
Hermione had sobbed, trembling fingers covering her mouth as she tried to sleep. The tent was large - thanks to magic - but it was not large enough to escape Harry. Not that he wanted her to. He'd tried to slide an arm around her shoulders, to console her, to whisper that Ron was a lot of things, really, he could go down a list at the moment, but he wasn't worth the tears. How many things had they been through over the years?
The stone, the chamber, Sirius, the tournament...was this all it took to push him too far? All it was was roundabout jealousy, ill-placed and ill-timed.
Harry sat on the far side of the tent, his hand clenched into fists. He was pretty sure he could track the redhead down easily enough, jab his wand into his throat, and force an apology from him. Though if he did, there was no guaranteeing the locket clasped around his neck wouldn't lead him to more drastic measures.
He shook his head in a weak attempt to force the violent thoughts from his mind. It wasn't what she would want, not at all. Whenever this ended - it would end Harry told himself - Hermione would probably break down and handle it herself. The thought of Ron being attacked by canaries was a pleasant thought, but —
She was slumped to the ground, her knees buckled beneath her as she dry heaved. He could hear her mutterings from where he sat, soft, weak. "It's my fault." she would whisper, pulling the edge of the tent back before peering out.
Harry liked to think he had seen enough in his short life to be desensitized to heartbreak. Thanks to the scar on his forehead, he knew his mum died screaming. He could hear it sometimes when Voldemort tried to rattle around inside his thoughts, the sound of Lily Potter fighting.
Watching Hermione close in on herself was too much. He should be honest, should say that whenever it came to his female best friend, he could only think of how to brighten her mood.
Harry flipped his wand in between his fingers, his breathing shallow as he glanced down at the locket. Heavily nestled against the thick fabric of his jumper, he wondered absently what it would take to simply vanish.
"It's the locket," she called, his voice thick with tears and her eyes bloodshot. "I think we both know that you would never leave."
He hadn't realized he'd spoken. "Did I say anything else?" Harry rasped, leaning forward and climbing to his feet. A grimace twisted his lips as she turned away from him.
Hermione shook her head. "Of course you could have. I was...too preoccupied to notice." She rubbed her eyes, a stray eyelash landing on the tip of her nose.
He reached down lazily, capturing it between his thumb and index finger. Harry held it out, balancing the thin dark lash against the pad of his finger. "Make a wish."
Hermione snorted, taking his other hand and climbing to her feet. "Harry, doesn't that seem silly? My only wish is for this war to end."
He shook his head, fingers trailing along her forearm. "Be selfish for a moment," Harry whispered, holding his finger up again.
She looked down at it, biting her bottom lip. "I couldn't—"
Harry nodded, coaxing her. "You can, 'Mione. Just make a wish."
Hermione sighed, her eyes fluttering shut as she leaned forward. Within the same moment, the lash was blown from his finger, drifting to the floor. "Are you happy now?" Hermione huffed.
"Not until you tell me what you wished for,." he replied.
Whiskey coloured eyes shot open, and she chewed her bottom lip again. A bad habit, but one that enraptured him nonetheless. "What?"
Harry smirked, tucking his wand into his back pocket. "If you don't tell what you wished for, how did you expect me to make it come true?"
"I —" she spluttered before she caved. "I'd like to forget about what just happened. I don't want to think about this war, or how I might be killed if I step beyond the wards."
At the time, the request to make her forget didn't sound like a bad idea.
He'd never been fond of touch, not when he was conditioned by the Dursleys' to believe it meant a punishment was coming. Still, he pulled her into him anyway, stroking her spine and listening to her breathing hitch in his ear. "I won't let anything happen to you."
Hermione collapsed against him. He thought it might have been the only time she let anyone do anything for her. Harry knelt down, holding her steadfast against him while he awkwardly attempted to console her.
"Oh, Harry," she murmured. "What if he's hurt? What if he's killed because we didn't go after him?"
It was just like to her to be worried about others before herself. "He's alright." Of course, he didn't know that, but at the moment - and yes it made him a terrible best mate - he didn't fucking care.
Luckily she didn't call him on it. "How could he think that?" Hermione murmured.
Harry knew what she meant. How could Ron believe the two of them were anything but best friends? It could have something to do with the fact that the image of Hermione and himself that Ron saw had more tension than Ron and Hermione had ever had. But he couldn't say that.
He wanted to make her forget.
It led to slow dancing with her even though he decidedly couldn't dance. She grinned ear to ear when he twirled her, insisting that he let her do the same. Nevermind the semantics that he was a head taller than her and then some. It made her happy.
It felt right.
Gradually, bit by bit, he found himself enjoying being pressed against her. He wasn't daft; he knew Hermione was a woman, puberty having hit them long ago. Knowing she had breasts and feeling them were two entirely different things. She giggled, had he said that out loud? Fuck.
And so round they went, quite literally as they danced around their makeshift home. Until -
"- We can't," she murmured, her lips a breath away from his.
"We could," Harry replied, his hand smoothing down her back. She arched a little against him, her lips parting. He watched her blink, her eyes slowly dilate as she peered up at him. "I'm just saying,"
"You've already made me happier, Harry. You don't need to snog me to take my mind off of things." Hermione tilted her head to the side, waiting for his response.
"And if it's to make me happy?"
Her eyes widened. Swallowing hard, Hermione's fingers trailed along the nape of his neck. "I wouldn't be opposed, but your friendship with Ron - I wouldn't want to ruin that either."
She would tell him he had too much of a one-track-mind later when they remembered how he'd shrugged.
"I don't want you to be not opposed, Hermione. If you don't want it, I would never hold it against you."
Hermione kissed him first, and it was a fact that later she would dwell over. It led to his fingers slipping into her hair and backing her toward the bed he normally slept in. He wasn't planning to shag her.
She mewled when her back met the mattress. It was a small, uncomfortable bed. At first, it was just his fingers sliding up her sides, then against her skin as her jumper slid up her sides.
"You're hesitating," she whispered, the pressure tickling his lips. "Don't do that." Hermione shrugged out of her top, all confidence without fear. Hermione hooked her leg around his hip and rolled on top of him.
She was draped over his chest. Harry frowned when her fingers fumbled with the chain around his neck. "Take it off," she coaxed, "You'll wonder later if you really wanted this or if it was the horcrux."
His lips parted for a reply.
"And I want you fully here with me for this."
Harry let her pull it over his head, and it fell to the floor with a hard thud. He only asked the once, "You're sure?"
Hermione didn't say much after that, not beyond variations of "Merlin," or "oh, Harry," and he learned it was possible to get drunk on things other than booze.
It was well into the evening, or early morning hours when Hermione woke. When he'd floo'd into her flat, they hadn't talked about the fact that sixty days were all that they had before they needed to wed. Hermione didn't want to talk about it, not immediately. Then there had been Kingsley's patronus bounding across her living room, alerting Harry to a situation within Diagon Alley.
Apparently, the world wasn't responding so well to the news.
Harry floo'd back into her flat once the situation was in hand. He didn't offer the details of the brawl in Diagon Alley, and she didn't ask. She assumed individuals had been fined already, likely due to the pairings that she still hadn't heard since she hadn't left her flat.
She invited him to sleep on the sofa, and they would discuss everything in the morning. It was the plan, but Hermione stirred half past two, and this was how she ended up waking him in the middle of the night while he laid on her sofa.
"Harry!" Hermione shook him by the shoulders, feeling her cheeks heat up as he moaned in his sleep. "Harry Potter, wake up!"
He didn't move. Well, he did, but not in the way she expected. Rather his hips moved upwards as if he was moving against another.
Hermione gave up. Grabbing the edge of the blanket, she yanked hard.
He tumbled onto the floor, arm flying out and his wrist slamming against the end table with a loud crack. "Fuck," Harry winced, rubbing the back of his head. "I was having a good dream."
She bristled, knowing just what the dream had been. "I'm well aware of what you were dreaming." Hermione placed her hands on her hips before leaning down to turn his wrist over in her hand. Not broken.
At least he had the good graces to act sheepish, his cheeks reddening. "You do? Erm-why?"
Hermione tried to prevent her smirk, really, but her efforts failed. She clicked her tongue, an odd sense of triumph washing over her. "You moaned my name."
His mouth fell open and then snapped shut. "Shit, 'Mione, I'm sorry."
She shook her head, taking a seat. "No need to apologize. At least I know you're still attracted to me. Considering this law—"
"You thought I wasn't attracted to you anymore?" Harry croaked, crawling up to the couch and laying down. His head rested in her lap, her fingers softly sliding through the strands.
Nervously, she tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "How was I to know? You never...listen, it was years ago."
He snorted, reaching up and tracing the outline of her jaw. "Sure, it was years ago — yes, I'm still very much attracted to you."
Hermione nodded, shifting in place and tucking her legs beneath her. Still playing with his hair, her nails softly moving against his scalp, she nodded again, as if she'd forgotten she already had. "Well, that's perfect then. Mutual attraction is a large part of any relationship."
"Hermione, it's just me here. Why are you talking to me like I'm a stranger?"
She chewed her bottom lip. "You have to marry me now because of this law."
Harry sat up, pulling her to nestle into his side. "I don't have to do anything."
She rolled her eyes, leaning forward to grab the blanket from the floor and pull it over them. "Is this where you tell me," sarcasm dripped from her tone, "you've harbored secret feelings for me since the night we spent together?"
"My gods, you are a bit daft, aren't you?"
Her nose wrinkled. "Do you have any idea who you're speaking to? I'll have you know that I'm called the Brightest Witch of My Age and it's not for nothing." Hermione grinned.
"You loathe being called that. Moving on, yes. I realize I was with Ginny, but you were with Ron. I thought you were happy and I wouldn't have wanted to ruin that."
She laid her head on his shoulder. "I never asked you why things ended with Ginny. Since we're—"
"Going to be married?" He finished with a grin. "She knew, she figured it out pretty quickly after the first memorial of the final battle."
Hermione shivered as a cold draft rolled through her flat. "Was she angry? She was never upset with me."
Harry shook his head, pulling the collar of her jumper to cover her collarbone. "Ginny acknowledged pretty quickly that we weren't going to be happy for an extended amount of time. Then you walked in wearing that dress that clung to you. She laughed in my ear before she told me that I was already a lost cause."
Her brain fizzled. She could have commented on his former girlfriend's statement, it was the most shocking. "You remember the dress?"
His chest rumbled with laughter. "That dress caused me the need to wank."
Brown eyes widened, and she giggled. "Harry!" she admonished. "That's...did you really?"
Harry chuckled. "Not at the event, of course, but later. You can't be surprised that I remember the dress when I remember everything about you." Scarlet dusted her cheeks as she tugged the blanket over her head. Only Harry followed her, leaning his forehead against hers. "Don't hide away," he breathed.
"We should talk about the law," she whispered, fingers gripping the front of his uniform. "This is going to wrinkle."
He shrugged, earning him a swat. "Which part do we talk about? The fact that every time I've looked at you for the last few years, I've wondered why you weren't with me? Or the fact that in sixty days you'll, hopefully, be Mrs Potter?"
Hermione squeaked, both hands flying up to tuck rampant curls behind her ear. "I mean," she caught her breath, "you could be Mr Granger."
He howled with laughter, his forehead knocking against hers, their noses smashing together. His laughter died. "I really want to kiss you." Harry murmured, reaching up to cup her face in his hand.
"I'll let you kiss me - it would be hard to avoid given the semantics of marriage, and —"
Harry pressed his lips to hers, his hand sliding to the nape of her neck. Pulling away, and ignoring the way her hands reached for him, he said softly "Do you know how much time I could have saved while we were still in Hogwarts if I had done that?"
Her pale pink lips formed a pretty 'o' before she reached behind her. "Harry," she cautioned, grinning ear to ear. "I think you should run now." Hermione hit him with the pillow previously tucked behind her back.
He arched an eyebrow, a red mark forming on his cheek at the friction. "If anything, you should be the one running."
Her voice died in her throat when he sprung off the couch, tearing through her flat. Left confused, there was a door shutting behind her and then a hoard of transfigured pillows that knocked her from the couch.
It was a good night.
In the morning, she stretched across the pillows on the floor. Her hair was knotted, a side effect of having a pillow fight in the middle of the night. Lazily, Hermione reached across the blankets to feel if Harry had stayed.
He had. She cracked one eye open, her heartbeat quickening as she took in the sight of him. "Before you start about my lack of clothes—" Harry began.
She laughed, propping her head up, mirroring his image. "I can't say I'm complaining," Hermione openly teased and her blush was worth the way his face lit up. "But yes, explain."
"It was hot," he replied, reaching behind him to pull his glasses from the sofa. "Bollocks," Harry muttered, letting the broken pieces fall to the blankets below them.
"You could have changed the temperature. It's a simple charm." she rolled her eyes, laying back to the mat they'd made. "What time do you need to make it into the Auror Department by?"
"Oh," he waved the subject off. "I'm taking a personal day. The minister is happy to approve them as he assumes we're planning to woo our matches."
Sunlight trickled in through the window, cutting in a line across his chest. Hermione leaned forward, fixing his glasses with little more than a movement of her hand and her brow furrowing. "Oh? Is that what you're planning to do then?"
He smirked. "What?"
"Don't be coy, Harry," she muttered, sitting up, crossing her legs and sliding his glasses back onto his face. "Fine," Hermione grumbled as he pretended to zip his lips and throw away the key. "Are you planning to woo me?"
"Depends, do you need to go in today?" Harry replied, standing and pulling her up. "I was thinking I would make breakfast. You can have a lie in if you'd rather actually. I didn't think of that before." He scratched the back of his head, padding over the tile flooring of her kitchen and putting the kettle on first.
He tensed when she slid her arms around his waist from behind. "Is this what I have to look forward to all day if I don't go in? Don't be fooled; I still have a meeting for werewolf rights, but it should only take a few hours. After that, I'm all yours."
She didn't have to see his face to know his reaction. "When is the meeting?"
"Then we have time for breakfast and a snog, don't we? Only after you brush your teeth of course, but — fuck, that hurt, 'Mione!" Harry yelped when she pinched his nipple.
Hermione spun on her heel, checking her breath where he couldn't see and tossed a reply over her shoulder. "Good."
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
Welcome to the new update! Thank you AlexandraO for editing. I hope you enjoy it, will find me as humorous as I like to think I am, and will tell me what you think!
Hermione's day was, in one word, a clusterfuck. Was there any other way to describe the day when the muggle repelling charms around a habitat for dragons failed? Granted, they were baby dragons, but still, it was a disaster.
And on top of that, she was pushing parchment while dealing with the paperwork. Wild curls slipped from her hair tie while she scribbled her signature across the bottom of the documents. A knock came from the door, and she glanced up to see Harry leaned against the trim.
Hands neatly tucked into the pockets of his auror uniform, he was smirking. "I heard about your dilemma. Brings a whole new meaning to—"
Hermione cut him off as her eyes narrowed. "Don't you dare say it. I must have heard it six times in the last hour alone," she hissed. Hermione began to roll up the six feet of parchment, rising from her chair as she did so. "What brings you to my floor?"
"You," he said.
She snorted. "Colour me shocked. I thought you would be training new aurors today."
Harry shrugged. "Kingsley thought the newest aurors would be better off if they had a few weeks of patrol under their belt. Something about how I attract danger." He waved off the notion, his lips curving. "Do you have lunch plans?"
Her robes swished around her as she started to shoo him from her office. "Well, I have a meeting with the liaison for Centaur Rights today, but I could make myself available for dinner."
He arched an eyebrow. "You do? That's strange since I just came across Amos in the atrium. He's contracted an illness. Funny thing, if you ask me since his face is green and his arms are purple."
She giggled. "That is strange considering George told me last week at Sunday dinner how he'd come up with a new product. He was still torn between Blast of Colours and Rainbow for names. But," Hermione said, watching his face drop, "it turned Percy purple and green."
He sighed, walking toward her. Harry tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "Alright, you caught me. I wanted to spend lunch with you. I floo called your secretary to see what your schedule was like." His touch lingered, his finger tracing her jawline.
"What did Katie tell you?" Hermione leaned against her desk, hyper-aware of how he towered over her, and how his gaze continually dropped to her lips.
"She spouted policy at me of how she couldn't just cancel appointments without your sign-off," he drawled with a roll of his eyes. "She was quite helpful regardless since she told me she would automatically cancel them if they didn't show up within ten minutes of their appointment time."
Hermione snorted, laying her forehead against his chest. Her fingers fidgeted with the bronze buttons of his overcoat. "You sabotaged my meeting. How Slytherin of you."
His fingers smoothed down her back, rubbing slow circles that made the hair on her arms raise. "Hungry?"
She nodded. "Famished. Let me just grab my coat." Hermione slipped out of her billowy robes, carefully laying them over the back of her chair. "What did you have in mind?"
Wrapping her coat around her, she scowled as Harry knocked the floo powder from her hand.
"It's a surprise. We'll have to side-along."
"I loathe Apparition," she muttered, letting him take her hand in his. "Shall I close my eyes for this surprise as well?"
He gave her a wide grin. "It would be nice."
She'd gotten to the point where her knees didn't mistakenly buckle when she landed, but Apparition would never be her preferred choice of travel. The Floo was much more comfortable , and aside from the occasional speck of powder getting in her eye, it was fine.
Harry landed them on the edge of something.
"Harry!" she shrieked. The two of them were standing on the edge of the bridge overlooking the Thames. Her mouth dried. "What were you thinking? We could have fallen in!"
Even while she swatted at him, deliberately stretching up on her toes to messy his hair, Harry kept his hands on her waist. "I'm an auror, 'Mione. Do you really think I would drop us into the river? I've Apparated into worse places than this."
He had a point. "I thought we were going to lunch?" Hermione asked, looking around them. The bridge was quiet, which was strange. Normally there were tourists all around.
Harry nodded. "We're having lunch here on the bridge. Didn't you say that you loved the view once?"
She had a long time ago when she'd first moved into her flat, which wasn't far from where they stood. Hermione covered her hand as she laughed under her breath. "I did. Where is everyone?"
He summoned a wicker picnic basket, carefully sitting on the edge of the stone bridge. "I got the idea from your situation this morning. While they were repairing the muggle repelling charms, I put up one of my own."
Her mouth fell open.
"Pumpkin juice?" he feigned nonchalance.
Her brows nearly shot into her hairline. "That's...that's illegal!" she laughed, taking the bottle from his extended hand. "My gods and they want you as Head Auror one day?"
"Terrible idea, really," he chuckled and passed her a sandwich. "I made these myself, so they might not be very good."
Hermione smiled before she bit into it. She sat on the edge of the bridge, letting her legs dangle over the edge. "How is your day?"
"Better now," Harry murmured, taking a drink of his pumpkin juice. "So, the dragon incident."
She huffed. "It was a disaster. The Obliviation Squad report says they wiped the memories of two dozen muggles. Two dozen! Merlin, can you imagine seeing that before you learned you were a wizard?"
Harry's laugh was low as he bit into his lunch. Swallowing, he replied, "Must have been a sight."
A little blue bird chirped as it landed between them. "Here," Hermione coaxed, laying her crust in front of him. "Yes, well, I've heard the phrase 'sweet baby dragons' enough times to last a lifetime, I think."
Harry chuckled, watching quietly as she inched the bread toward the bird. "Would you like to come over tonight? I'll cook."
She glanced up. "You loathe cooking."
"Well, you're terrible at cooking so if one of us is going to cook, it's safer for me to do so," he murmured with a smile. "Or we could settle for takeaway."
"For tonight, we can. Eventually, I'll need to better my skills anyway. What sort of wife would I be if I never cooked?" Hermione muttered sourly. He'd see right through her undoubtedly, and he would realise this was just another thing in a long list that she felt she ought to be better at. "Molly might teach me."
He held a finger up. "You don't have to cook. I'm happy to do it. I think this is a serious topic that we don't need to discuss right now though. Did you hear about Ron's match?"
Hermione shook her head. "Not a thing, but he's gone today, and I heard a rumour on my floor that he's submitted for leave for the next week." The baby blue finally took the crust into its beak before flying away. "I'm assuming you know?"
He swallowed. "He didn't waste any time. Ron married her last night in front of Kingsley. He sent me an owl this morning from France."
Her eyes shot open. "What? He could have at the very least invited us." Truthfully, it stung a bit to know that one of her best friend's hadn't bothered to tell her about one of the most important days of his life. He hadn't been angry when he left her flat, so why -
Harry rubbed her back. "You should breathe, 'Mione. He's not upset with you. Ron said if Molly found out, it would have been a headache. So he didn't tell anyone. Given the way we stormed out of the hall, Kingsley found him later and told him privately."
"I would very much like for you to stop dangling the truth in front of my face and tell me who his match was," she muttered.
He grinned. "Daphne Greengrass."
In hindsight, taking a long drink of pumpkin juice wasn't the best idea when he replied.
She spluttered and choked. "A Slytherin?" Hermione didn't know the woman beyond her Hogwarts house, and that she hadn't been overtly involved in the wrong side of the war. Following the war even, the blonde was loud and frequently referred to blood purity as an old belief that needed to die. "Huh, interesting. Does Molly know now?"
He nodded. "Rita Skeeter sent her an advance copy of tomorrow's Prophet. I reckon Molly has been trying to reach Ron ever since." Harry's shoulder bumped against hers as she kicked the backs of her feet against the edge of the bridge. "Ginny has been matched as well, but the Ministry is trying to keep it under wraps."
"Really?" Hermione leaned into him, laying her head on his shoulder while she stared at the rippling water. "Why?"
Harry's hand rested on the top of her thigh, his fingers tracing a pattern through her jeans. "Officially, they're saying it was a mistake, that the spell didn't work as designed. Unofficially, it's because it worked perfectly, but it didn't work as the Ministry wanted. She was matched with Luna."
Hermione yanked back and stared at him. "Ginny's gay?" she asked. Hermione stomped out the incredulity from her voice, knowing it would give just about anyone the wrong idea. "I had no idea."
"Don't look at me like that," Harry laughed. "I knew, but she didn't want to tell anyone. Not that I can blame her. The press latches onto anything that involves us. Gin noticed how I looked at you, and coincidentally, she would have been more interested in you than me."
She squeaked. "Does she know that we — in the tent?"
He gave a small shrug of his shoulders. "I never told her, but to her it was probably obvious. I don't think Molly knows about the match yet, but I do know that Ginny had a meeting with Kingsley this morning."
Hermione frowned. "Do you think they would be happy together? Oh, Harry, we can't let them ruin this. It would be too cruel to force Ginny into a marriage with a man." She paused, tapping her fingers against her chin. "Come on, we need to meet with Kingsley right now."
He blinked as she quickly stood despite how worried she had been about falling over the edge earlier. "Right now?" Harry repeated.
"You never answered me about coming to Grimmauld -"
She fixed him with a glare. "Harry, that's not as important as making sure our friend isn't about to be screwed over by the Ministry."
He did have the good sense to look a little guilty. "Where are we going?"
Hermione didn't tell him, which was never a good sign, but she grabbed his hand, and they were gone with a harsh crack!
One did not typically Apparate directly into the Minister of Magic's office. Not only were the wards supposed to stop you, and at worst splinch you, it was the most secure room in the building. It would alert aurors immediately, and you would be flat on your face before you had a chance to brandish your wand. And they typically could not Apparate in or out of the Ministry, but an Order of Merlin had certain sway.
One was not typically Hermione Granger.
She landed smoothly, bending her knees, and then she took in the room. Her vine wand was still clenched in her palm tightly, and her hair was tangled from Apparition.
Behind his desk, Kingsley didn't bother looking surprised. "Hermione, always a pleasure to see you. Does Harry have any idea where you were Apparating to?" he asked, chuckling even when he ought to have been furious.
"No, he had no idea."
"Merlin, you can't just pop into the Minister's office!" Harry groaned, dragging his hands down his face. "Kingsley, I hate to disobey protocol, but she's, hopefully, my future wife and arresting her won't earn me any points."
The door behind her burst open. Kingsley raised his hand and shook his head. "Your expertise will not be required today," he stated, waving them off.
She glanced over her shoulder to see a boy fresh out of training glaring at her. "You can try to subdue me if you'd like," Hermione said calmly. "I'll even put my wand down so you can cast the first spell. So I'd have to suggest that you knock me out with one spell, or well, it won't be pretty at all."
The door closed with a soft click and the murmured grumbles of the man. "How can I help the two of you today? Unfortunately, I have a meeting in a half hour."
Hermione didn't take a seat. Her lips were still set in a grimace. "Ginny told me about the match." It was a lie, but if she said it was Harry, he'd suffer the repercussions of releasing details even he shouldn't know. "I want to talk to you before you do anything rash, such as voiding the match."
"I see." Kingsley's eyes darted to Harry in suspicion, but he said nothing. "My hands are tied here. It's the will of the Wizengamot. If it were up to me, this entire law would have never passed."
She didn't linger on that for long. "One of them could still conceive. It's not traditionally done here in England, given how prejudices are still strong in the community, but there is a clinic in France. They specialise in taking a sample from each partner's magical core, and they're able to create a pregnancy. It's out of testing now and is completely safe."
The man behind the table sighed. "The first objection they will have is how the Ministry can't fund this."
"I'll pay for it. No one needs to know it was me, and there's no way I ever use all of the galleons in the Potters' Gringotts vault."
Hermione stared at him, grinning ear to ear. "I know it won't be as simple as this, but I would happily go to the Daily Prophet and pluck the memory from my head where you say you would have never passed this law."
The Minister rolled his eyes. "Never to worry, Hermione. I'll visit with them and be sure that they don't absolve the match. Miss Weasley is incredibly lucky to have friends who care so much about her."
Harry nodded, rising from his seat. "Maybe not tell Ginny that I'm paying for it quite yet. She won't like it in the first place, but she should hear it from me."
Once outside the office, Hermione was on the receiving end of another glare. "That went better than I expected."
Harry caught her hand and slid his fingers through hers. "Well, you didn't give him much of a choice, you realise that, right? At the very least, he called off the aurors before you blackmailed him." He pulled Hermione close, brushing his lips against her hair. "Though if you'd hexed the one behind us, I wouldn't have minded. He's a little twat."
Her laugh echoed in the corridor. "I'll see you tonight."
The rest of her day was tame in comparison to how it began. Until the last hour when they had another incident. This time it was centaurs rather than dragons, and she delegated the task to a junior head.
This was just not the sort of thing she had the patience to deal with again. The paperwork could be filled out and signed in the morning. It was already seven o'clock, and she was now late to making it to Grimmauld Place. Ideally, Hermione would have made her way home to change into something prettier, but she used the floo and stumbled through Harry's fireplace in her robes instead.
Hermione hung her robes by the door, slipped her flats off, and making her way through the house. "Harry?" she called. It didn't smell like he'd picked up Indian food like they had planned.
It smelt like something was on fire.
"Harry?" Hermione called out again, checking the living room first.
"In the kitchen," he yelled.
The sight she walked into was not the one she expected. "Merlin," she choked, waving her hand to chase away plumes of smoke. "I thought you were picking up takeaway?" Hermione giggled.
Harry wore an apron that he'd probably borrowed from Molly, and there was food everywhere. It was on the ceiling, the walls, the cupboards, and in his hair. "I wanted to impress you," he grumbled, snatching the mittens, which were also burned somehow, off his hands. They landed on the cluttered table.
She laughed, muffling the sound by covering her mouth. "What did you try to make?"
"Nothing much. A duck, I think. I can't tell what it was meant to be anymore. Some sides, which again, I'm not sure what they were now. I've lost all rational thought after nearly burning down the house three times."
"Three?" she sniggered, her entire body shaking.
He stared at his shoes. "I bought three ducks, from different shops because I didn't want anyone to ask questions."
Hermione nodded. "Alright. That's the logical thing to do, to buy more ducks when you—" She fell into another fit of laughter. "I suppose this means you don't have all your ducks in a row then?"
"You think you're so funny, don't you?"
She shrugged. "I'm actually pretty proud of that one. Since you had dinner planned and dinner has now been overcooked, would you like to get Indian now?"
Harry sighed and nodded.
"First," he muttered, waving his wand toward the vintage radio in the corner. It was also covered with food. "Dance with me, yeah?"He took her hand and swayed with her, pressing a kiss to her temple. "How was your day?"
Not that he could see it, but she was grinning from ear to ear. "Better, now."
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
A million kudos and thanks to AlexandraO for beta reading today and to MykEsprit for reading this last night and giving me her opinion. :) I hope you enjoy this chapter, and will tell me what you think at the bottom.
Hermione saw Harry every day usually. It wasn't out of the norm. From working in the Ministry to Sunday dinners at the Burrow, she realised now that she hadn't gone a day without seeing him in years.
She tapped her ink pen against the parchment as she sat curled up in the corner of her couch. Dwelling on the fact that she always saw Harry wasn't helping her with the fact that he was away overnight on an auror mission. She wasn't clingy, she swore to herself, but it was rather jarring to realise how much she missed his presence.
Crookshanks laid across her feet, nipping at her fuzzy socks as he did so. "Stop that," Hermione grumbled, reaching down to bat him away. It didn't work in the least. A cry tumbled from her lips as the half kneazle ran his paw over the moving unicorns woven into the fabric, and sunk a claw in as if to capture the creature. "Crooks!"
His head snapped up, his eyes widening as he tilted his head to the side. For a long moment, Crookshanks stared at her until the unicorns began to move again and he lunged for them.
Hermione hissed under her breath and slid her socks off, leaving the worn pair to her familiar who was getting more entertainment out of them than she had or ever would.
Her floo crackled to life, and she cast a surprised look across the living room. Her eyes widened as heavy boots sounded against the floorboards, and soot was knocked loose from the chimney. He slid a hand through his tousled hair and beamed at her.
"I'm back early."
She stood dumbfounded for a moment, her hands clutching the book in her hands as she took him in. Lately, over the past few weeks, she'd noticed a familiar emotion bubbling up within her any time Harry set off with the Aurors. She didn't feel as worried as she did during the war. But still a bit distressed, nonetheless.
"Hermione?" he asked again. Harry's smile slipped as she gave no reaction at all. "If you were hoping for a quiet evening alone, I can —"
He'd been pointing behind his back, half turned back toward the floo when she slammed into him. Hermione cupped his face, peppering his cheeks with kisses as he caught her. "Merlin, I didn't realise how much I would miss you."
Harry chuckled, arms tightening around her waist before he picked her up and spun her. "Well, if this is the reaction I'll get every time, I'll leave more often."
She glared at him. "Don't you dare."
"Did you have dinner plans?" Harry hadn't set her down, but instead carried her into her kitchen and set her on the counter. He was standing in between her thighs, wrapping a stray piece of hair around his finger. "Have you eaten today?"
She shook her head.
"Why not?" he frowned, taking a closer look at her. "You don't even look like you've slept."
Hermione folded her arms across her chest. "I slept for three hours this morning," she said weakly.
His eyes shot open. "Three hours?" Harry echoed. "Why?"
"After the late dinner we had last night, I went back to my office. There's resistance from the Wizengamot regarding the laws we're attempting to pass for Werewolf Rights, and I was drafting a counter-argument."
He nodded. "I understand how important this is to you, but even if you're exhausted, it doesn't take you all night to do that."
She swallowed, a sheepish look crossing her face. "You misunderstand," she murmured, her finger circling the dirtied bronze button on his uniform. "I drafted several counter-arguments, one for each objection they might have, and some they're quite unlikely to have."
He leaned over her, his body shaking with silent laughter. "I'm not —" he wheezed. "I'm not even surprised."
Hermione muffled her giggle with the back of her hand. "I'm confident it will pass, or at the very least, sway some members to our side. Are you hungry?"
"Famished," he replied. "You should sleep though. I can pick up takeaway and make my way home. You look like you're about to drop."
She chewed her lip. "I'd like to have dinner if you're not opposed."
"Not opposed?" he asked, the tip of his finger skirting her jawline. "You're oddly formal when you're nervous."
"I'm not nervous," Hermione argued, looking away from him.
He snorted. "You're a terrible liar. I'm not opposed to dinner."
A scowl twisted her features. "You're mocking me."
"Am I really? Quick deduction, Miss Granger. Fifty points to Gryffindor," Harry murmured, pressing his lips to her forehead.
Her nose crinkled as she fought off a smile. "That's a lot of points to award for something so simple," Hermione pointed out. She grasped his jacket in her hands, tugging him flush against her.
"It's because I fancy you." He shrugged. "Let me clean up, and we'll go. Do I still have a spare set of clothes here?"
Hermione nodded but called out as he walked around the corner. "Actually, wear the uniform."
Harry poked his head around the corner. "I knew you had a thing for my uniform." He grinned, giving a two finger salute as he disappeared.
"No." She shook her head, eyeing the broomstick in his hand with trepidation. "Fuck no," Hermione said again, her tone harsher as he tried to coax her onto it. "I loathe flying."
"I remember you mentioning that once," he said, holding out his hand. "'Mione, it will be fun."
The memory of getting on a broomstick with Ron was still fresh. While it wasn't his fault she'd fallen into a lake, it hadn't left her with the greatest confidence of leaving the ground ever again. "Why do you want to fly with me so badly? Harry, I could sit down here with a book while you fly. I'll still watch you."
He tilted her chin up after stepping closer. "I just want to show you why I enjoy it so much, and maybe it can be something you enjoy as well."
She doubted that. "I don't want to be anywhere but on the ground. Your seventeenth birthday and Gringotts don't apply, so don't even bring them up!" Hermione hurried to say as he opened his mouth.
"Well," he started, "It was meant to be a surprise, but since you must know. Neville recently got back from a trip where he was searching for new plants. As it turns out, there's a recently discovered plant near us, in fact, he was the one to make the discovery. Ron told him to name it the Longbottom."
"That's a terrible name," Hermione muttered.
He laughed. "Neville said the same thing, and also that it was pretentious. I thought you would find it interesting. A recent discovery and all. With it not being revealed yet, and you would be able to see it before most of the world, sounded like it was a perfect excuse to get you on a broom."
His attempts to coax her onto the broom were working. "Can't we apparate?"
"I haven't been there before, but I happen to an excellent flyer. You wouldn't fall, but even if you knocked yourself off the broom again, I would catch you."
Hermione looked up at the dark sky, taking in the vast expanse that was riddled with stars. "What does this plant do?"
He knew he had her by the way her eyes twinkled. "Technically, it's a flower. It has certain healing properties Neville believes may be able to help heal the minds of patients in the Janus Thickney ward."
She whirled around to face him. "His parents?" she whispered. "Does he believe they could make a full recovery?"
Harry nodded, his eyes no longer bright, but sombre "I asked him that. I was worried he was getting his hopes up, but he's confident in the prospect. He's spoken with Healers at St Mungo's and Unspeakables in the Department of Mysteries."
She was nearly at a loss for words. The idea that Neville, sweet Neville, who had been her first friend at Hogwarts, could have his parents back. And then her face fell. "I would never think you were just telling me this to get me on a broom, but if he's sure, why hasn't he collected everything yet? I can't imagine he's not snatching every flower he can find."
Harry smiled. "I volunteered to grab this one. I want you to go with me, but I'm willing to grab it and come back for you."
Hermione shook her head furiously, sliding close to him. "I'd love to go. You won't let me fall?" she asked, her voice small as she slid onto the broom before him.
"Of course not," he murmured, brushing her hair from her shoulder and pressing a kiss to just below her ear.
Hermione understood why Harry had always loved flying. She supposed it was freeing, but the idea of knowing several hundred feet were between her and the ground terrified her. What made it better, however, was that he didn't use jerky movements. The ride was a steady incline as they rose into the sky, and her back was pressed flat against his chest. Occasionally, Harry would flatten his hand against her stomach, stroking the soft skin through her jumper. It was a short flight, only eight minutes, but her legs were jelly.
"Was that so bad?" he asked. Harry cast a summoning charm, a large clear container settling in his open palm.
"No," she replied, trailing after him as they ducked through the trees at the edge of the cliff. "I'm not sure I would do it often, but it was enjoyable."
He laughed. "We aren't flying back down. You don't have to pretend you loved it," Harry called over his shoulder.
"It was nice," Hermione told him, coming to peek right over his right shoulder. "A little terrifying still, but this was a much better experience than falling in the lake."
Harry snorted, laughing uncontrollably. "Yes, I would imagine so. This is it."
The flower itself was much smaller than the vegetation around it. Its petals were a royal blue, gold spreading throughout the middle and along the edges. Hermione knelt beside it, watching curiously as Harry carefully trimmed the roots before placing it in the box.
"I didn't think about how much he must trust me to allow me to collect this."
Hermione smiled. "Of course he trusts you. Are we meeting him now?"
"We're going to Apparate to St Mungo's. I'm almost positive he's still there, but otherwise, we'll leave it with the Head Healer." Harry handed her the container with a wide grin and vanished on the spot with a crack.
Hermione glanced down at the flower in her hands, struck silent by the hope that his might change the world as they knew it. A smile curved her lips as she apparated.
They wouldn't hear if the flower, which still went unnamed as Neville was pressured to decide on a name, had been successful in restoring the minds of patients who had been tortured for some time until much later. Neville thought it might be two months, but truly there was no measure of time that he was not willing to wait.
Ron was finally back from his honeymoon, with a pretty witch on his arm, and they were the talk of the Daily Prophet. So far Hermione had overheard Ron and Daphne's names no less than ten times throughout the workday. She'd never met the former Slytherin outside of an academic environment, and she wasn't sure what to expect.
So when Ron swung by her office to ask her if she would come on a triple date, she was hesitant.
He leaned against the door trim before waltzing inside and kicking the door shut behind him. Ron fell into the chair across from her with a wide grin plastered across his face. "I'm in love."
Hermione laughed. She stowed away her parchment and ink and rested her chin on her knuckles. "How is she?"
"She's nothing like I thought she would be." Ron began, waving his hands as he plunged into a lengthy story about how Daphne Greengrass — Weasley now — wasn't a stereotypical Slytherin. "Her father was livid when he learned of the match. His other daughter is marrying Malfoy."
Hermione nodded. "I saw that in the Prophet. I'm sure he's paying extra to keep Daphne's name out of the press if he's so ashamed. I'm happy to hear you're so happy, Ron. Tell me what she's like."
He looked like he'd been struck by a stray bludger. "Merlin, she's everything, 'Mione. You have to meet her."
She forced a smile. On the one hand, Hermione wanted to meet whoever could make Ron so happy immediately, and on the other hand, she was ashamed to admit she was concerning herself with house rivalries. "I'm sure I'll meet her on Sunday."
He grimaced. "Of course she'll be there, but Mum is sure to be loud with her opinions. I'd rather the two of you could meet before that, maybe she could have you on her side when Mum starts in? You know how she never listens to me."
Hermione sighed but nodded. When he put it that way, she could hardly say no. "You need to put your foot down when it comes to Molly. Your marriage should come first, especially if she makes you this happy. Did you have an idea for plans? Dinner maybe?"
"Funny you should ask. I took it up myself to make plans." Ron said, fiddling with the nameplate on her desk. "I already spoke to Harry earlier, but we're meeting at a pub. Ginny and Luna will be there."
At least there would be more familiar faces. "Sounds great," Hermione said. She sighed then, caving and asking, "Is she likely to have an issue with me? I'm worried about that, and you're my best friend. I'd like to be sure I can be friends with your wife as well."
He chuckled and reached across the desk to grab her hand. "She'll surprise you. Plus do you really think I would have married her if I thought she'd hate my best friends?"
"It was a law. You didn't really have a choice." Hermione said.
Ron threw his hands in the air as he stood. "If she was the sort to tear my friends down, I suppose it would have been the first forced marriage to end in murder. "
Her mouth fell open. "Ron!"
"I would have been the dead one. Daph is downright scary when she likes to be. I bet the two of you will hit it off."
Hermione wasn't sure what to make of that, whether it was an insult that she was intimidating, or not. "Daph?" she asked quietly, a smile twisting her lips. "That's cute. What does she call you?"
A wicked look crossed his face. "Nothing I can say in public."
Hermione groaned as she shook her head.
"Eight o'clock!" Ron called over his shoulder and made his way out of her office.
As she'd been promised, Daphne is nothing like one would expect. In fact, she really should have been in Gryffindor with the way she stood up in the pub and loudly stated that Ron Weasley was her husband and she'd greatly appreciate if bystanders would cease their staring.
Hermione had snorted into her glass, mistakenly inhaling her booze. Harry sat at her side, his tumbler half raised to his mouth.
"Tell us about your honeymoon," Hermione said politely.
Ginny snorted, halfway already on her way to being pissed. "Don't tell us about your honeymoon," she said. "I've already heard some things from Ron that no one ever needs to know."
Daphne grinned, knocking her shoulder against her husband's. "Oh, of course he did. Let me guess, he only mentioned the stories that made him sound good?" As Ron coughed into his sleeve at Daphne's side, Hermione realised the witch had Ron well pegged.
"Don't tell them about that," Ron muttered, his cheeks turning red.
"Oh," Ginny laughed. "I think she definitely should. Don't you think so, Luna?"
Luna had collectively drunk more than the lot of them, and she still wasn't showing it. "Please do," she replied as she wrapped an arm around Ginny's shoulders.
"On our second night in Mykonos, Ron and I drank a bit too much, and I asked him if he'd ever been skinny dipping. The answer was no."
Harry scoffed. "You told me you had!"
Ron's face grew even redder. "Alright, it was a lie."
Daphne seemed to have already heard this white lie of Ron's. "So the two of us went down to the beach. And we stripped right there on the pier before we dove in. What we weren't aware of was that police regularly patrol the shoreline. So we were arrested for indecent exposure and lewd acts in public. However," she paused to take a long drink of Ron's firewhisky, "Ron's clothes fell into the water, and he couldn't just summon them back to him due to the Muggles."
Harry spewed firewhisky, coughing as a deep crimson crept down Ron's neck.
Hermione had the decency to laugh behind her hand, her shoulders shaking as she leaned into Harry. "And then?" Hermione asked.
"The policeman was neither accommodating or amused, but he gave Ron his hat to cover his…" Daphne trailed off, raising her glass with a smug smirk before pecking her husband's cheek.
"Oh, Merlin, my sides hurt," Ginny gasped. She set her glass down on the table too roughly, the amber liquid sloshing onto the table. "Mum would have kittens," she sniggered.
Ron's eyes narrowed. "Mum doesn't need to know!"
Throughout the exchange, Luna was a bit quieter than normal, which came as a surprise. She silently sipped her drink, laughing with the rest of them.
Hermione poked Ginny's side, crooking her finger and whispering in her ear, "Is Luna okay?"
The redhead's face darkened, but she shook her head. "Not particularly. Mum hit a nerve earlier today when Luna visited for lunch. She was crass and decided to mention how we would never have children."
Hermione frowned. They had already solved all of that, and as far as Hermione knew, the Ministry had delivered the news to the couple. "But...haven't they told you about a surrogacy?" she whispered.
Harry was watching the two of them from over his glass.
Ginny nodded. In her lap, she was holding Luna's hand, slowly stroking her finger across her knuckles. "Normally she wouldn't be upset, you know? Luna has always bounced back, but Mum...she kept at it."
Luna offered a weak smile. "Wrackspurts are coming out of your ears, Hermione. You should have that looked at."
Under the haze of alcohol, Hermione lunged across Ginny and wrapped them both in a fierce hug. "Both of you listen to me — Ron, Daph," the nickname already sounded so familiar "this goes for you as well. If Molly Weasley says anything like that again, she'll be staring down my wand."
Ron roared with laughter, tipping back in his chair. "She's pissed now."
"Ron, you shouldn't do that," Daphne said just as his chair slipped beneath him and he flipped himself backwards. "Or do exactly that, okay." she laughed.
They were drawing attention to themselves, and Hermione was still sprawled across both girls.
"Up you go," Harry murmured, laughter heavy in his voice as he helped Hermione to her feet. "Will the two of you be able to make it home?"
Ginny nodded. "We'll use the public floo. I'm not sure those two are even going to make it out of the pub." She tilted her head toward her brother and his wife, who were quickly pawing at the other's clothes. "Maybe take that home, yeah?" Ginny yelled.
Ron was grinning like an idiot as Daphne wound her arms around his neck and swayed with him in the middle of the floor. There was no music, and Hermione heard the blonde tell Ron not to sing.
Ginny gagged. "They're so cute it makes me want to vomit. Bye Harry, Hermione." She kissed Hermione's cheek, pulling her close by her hip to whisper in her ear. "He's head over heels in love with you has been for years. You should take him home and do something about that."
Hermione smiled. "Yeah, I'll be sure to do that." She led Harry from the pub. "Would you mind if we walked back to my flat?"
"Of course not. I wasn't going to leave you to get home alone anyway. It's a short walk." Harry murmured, tugging her into the curve of him. "Cold?"
Her shiver had nothing to do with the outside air. "Not at all." Hermione peeked up at him as they made their way down the sidewalk. "Will you stay tonight?"
Harry's lips parted. "Yes."
The walk to her flat was short, and they paused on the bridge overlooking the Thames. Hermione rested her hands on the stone ledge, gazing over the water. "I loved when you brought me for lunch here. You shouldn't have cast that charm, but it was the most romantic thing I've ever had happen to me." Her words were slurring together.
"Come here. You'll fall in if you lean too far."
She mumbled, "You'll catch me. You said that."
"Good." Hermione stopped dead in her tracks. "Harry?"
"I'm really drunk," she said flatly, laughter bubbling up in her chest. "Gods, have I ever laughed this much in my life? The last few weeks with you, I think they've been the best of my life. I'm not sure why it took a slightly crooked government to push us together."
His eyes were wide and bright behind his glasses. "I wanted you before. I told you that, but I suppose I never worked up the nerve. I was convinced you wouldn't be interested." Harry scratched the back of his neck despite having already told her all of this before.
She blinked, her brows drawing together. "Well, if that's not the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, I don't know what is." Hermione pressed her lips to his, her tongue darting out against his and she slumped against him. "Harry?"
"Mmm?" he murmured, his hands pressing to the small of her back. "What is it?"
"I'm not sure I can walk back to my flat. These shoes are awful."
Harry took one look at her heels and turned. "Climb on my back." He knelt down, helping her to be sure she didn't fall.
The walk to her flat was only a few minutes with him carrying her, and she rested her chin on his shoulder. "Harry? You're really fit," she whispered.
Below her grip, he was shaking. "You are fucking drunk."
She relaxed against him as he climbed the stairs to her flat. "Yeah, you're right. I shouldn't have drunk so much."
Once inside her flat, Harry carried her straight to the bedroom. He set her at the foot of her bed, sliding her heels off and tossing them across the room. "Give me a second — whoa!"
Hermione caught him by the edge of his jacket, yanking him onto the bed. She straddled his waist, kissing down his jaw as she unbuttoned his shirt. "Harry, please," she murmured before pressing her lips to his.
His fingers tangled in her hair as he rolled her onto her back, his fingers sliding down her side, brushing against the side of her breast. "Not while you're drunk."
She groaned. "Harry —"
He shook his head. "Not without a Sober Up potion, 'Mione. If I'm going to sleep with you for the first time again, it won't be while we're drunk off our arses."
"I'm not drunk," she insisted. "Alright, I'm drunk. Stop laughing." Hermione crawled out from under him, rifling through the drawers beside her bed.
She was out of Sober Up potion.
"I could get some, I'm sure," she muttered.
Harry tugged her backwards into the bed, pulling the blanket over them. "Shh, just get some sleep tonight."
She didn't like the sound of that, but she was hardly in a position to complain. Hermione snuggled into his side, grinning to herself when his head rested on top of hers. Harry pressed a kiss to the top of her head, and she fell asleep to the feeling of his fingers running up and down her spine.
The flat smelled of breakfast, and she groaned and sat up. In the mirror across from the bed, she looked like a fright. Her hair was sticking in all directions, and her makeup was streaked, likely from rolling around in the bed and rubbing her eyes in her sleep.
Hermione crawled out of bed and looked down to see that Harry had peeled her out of her dress at some point. She probably hadn't even woken up, but she found herself in a familiar quidditch top. She padded across the room and made her way into the kitchen.
Harry was hunched over the bar, murmuring something to himself.
"Harry?" she called, coming around the island. "Did you make breakfast?"
He raised his head. "I picked it up, and I restocked your Sober Up potion."
Heat rose to her cheeks. "Oh, I acted like a complete idiot last night, didn't I?"
He kissed her temple. "You were adorable."
Hermione set the takeaway boxes out. "You know, whenever we inevitably have to live together, we won't be able to eat takeaway every day. Not only is it unhealthy, but it's also expensive."
"Right," Harry said from right behind her, but there was a hitch in his voice. "Hermione, turn around for me, love?"
She spun on her heel, his clothes swinging as it reached just above the knee, and she was holding a piece of bacon. It slipped from her hand as her eyes widened. "Harry?" Her voice was caught in her throat.
He was on one knee, his eyes uncharacteristically bright even for him. "I know that we've done all of this backwards, and I know that you might think this is only because of the Ministry."
"I don't," she whispered.
"And I know we agreed that we could wait the full time before we were forced to marry, but I don't want to wait anymore. You said it best, I'm not sure I've ever laughed this much in my life. I tried to think of what to say but, just, please marry me?"
Hermione hiccuped, nodding while she tried to clear her throat. "Yes," she gasped, not even pausing to stare at the ring he slipped onto her finger before she tackled him to the floor.
Chapter 5: Chapter Five
New update finally! I didn't mean to take so long, but I got caught up in a storm of writing.
Thank you, AlexandraO for reading and editing this for me this morning!
Please review! Have a great Saturday wherever you are!
Hermione had thought of her own wedding before. She'd dreamed of it even, discussed it with her mother as a little girl. Having imagined a white dress, and having her hair done into an elegant style that didn't give away just how uncontrollable her curls were, Hermione found a peculiar how she'd really rather elope and steal Harry away.
She could still have all of those things, Harry had been quick to promise her the world and everything in it. Hermione waved that off, rolling over in the bed beside him and laughing as he draped her across his broad chest.
Idly, Hermione traced the scars on his chest. Some were from the war, some were from his career as an Auror. She considered asking him about them, but it was impossible to think straight with the way he was gazing up at her.
Hermione straddled his waist, drawing her lip between her teeth as she rolled her hips against his.
He hissed, "Witch."
She grinned. "Something wrong?"
"Nothing," Harry bit out. Clearly, he was still determined to hold out until their wedding night. Even if they had done everything arse backward, he thought it sentimental.
That Hermione deserved it.
He wasn't aware of how desperately she wanted him, but she thought it was too endearing to ruin it.
"When do you want to get married?" Harry asked, his fingers tracing a scar that ran along her lower stomach. "Whenever you want," he reassured, leaving the question open. .
Hermione leaned forward, her hairs brushing his bare chest. She smiled ear to ear, grinding against him once more. "Well," she drawled as his hips raised against hers. "Do you have any plans for tomorrow?"
His eyes, previously closed as her touch roamed over his skin, flew open. "Tomorrow?" He choked. "But….don't you want to plan a wedding?"
"Oh," Hermione sighed. "Sweet, sweet Harry. Do I want to plan a wedding? Merlin, no. I haven't forgotten what a right terror Fleur was as she planned her own wedding. Granted, she had Molly hovering over her and that's bound to make anyone crazy."
He blinked. "So," his fingers swiped across her hips, just above her knickers, "you don't want to plan a wedding then?"
She shook her head. "I think I'd rather elope. Unless you want a wedding? I would understand, of course, if you did."
Harry's cheeks were red as he propped himself up on his forearms. "No, I just thought it was what you would want. If we visit the Ministry in the morning, we only need a witness. They'll give us the time off for a proper honeymoon, given how this was Ministry mandated from the start."
She gave pause at that. "I hadn't even thought of a honeymoon yet. I assumed they would want us to return home so you can properly knock me up." Sarcasm dripped from her voice and he chuckled below her.
"Lucky for you, I've already made plans."
Hermione leaned down, pressing her lips to his collarbone. "Oh? I like when you take initiative."
His grin was wicked as he flipped her onto her back. "Is that so?" He asked, hooking his fingers into the waistband of her joggers.
Her squeal echoed in the house.
Harry threaded his fingers through hers, squeezing her hand and gave her a reassuring look. "You're sure? We can still turn around—"
She rolled her eyes, and stretched up on her tiptoes to silence him with a quick peck to his lips. "I'm sure. There's just so many eyes on us now."
He nodded. "It's not every day the most beautiful witch in the building gets married, you know."
Her head snapped up, and her cheeks flushed. "Stop it," she hissed.
He poked her sides, a loud laugh escaping him. Harry picked her up and spun her down the hallway, ignoring her pleas of protest. "Never. I'm proud that you're mine." He didn't say it quietly. Pressing his lips to her temple, he murmured, "Marry me?"
Ron met them at the end of the corridor, a playful smile curving his lips while he slid his hands into his trouser pockets. "You two are disgusting," He joked, and yanked them both in for a hug.
Harry patted Ron on the back. "Thanks for being our witness."
Ron snorted. "I'd be offended if you picked anyone else."
She had expected there to be a lingering sense of animosity, of bitterness, and she was overjoyed to see that was not the case. "Who else could it have been?" She asked. "You're our best friend."
Ron dropped a kiss to the top of her head, pulling her in for a one armed hug. "I'm happy for you, 'Mione."
"Me too." She replied. "I'm so happy Daphne is so good to you, and for you."
Ron smoothed her hair before stepping away. "It's nothing like what I expected," he said as he turned to face Harry. "If you hurt her, I'd have to beat the shite out you, you know that, don't you? No wands; I'd do it the muggle way."
Harry took Hermione's hand once more, leading her into the Office of Magical Bindings. The office was bustling with activity, from people applying for marriage licenses and waiting to be wed.
In a corner of the room, a new addition had been added. Hermione recognized the crowd sat in the designated chairs and the unfairness of the sudden law threatened to swallow her up once more. As happy as she might be, it didn't mean the same applied for everyone.
Her lingering gaze was the only reason she didn't notice Skeeter nearing them, enchanted quill and pad floating behind her. "Miss Granger, or is it Mrs Potter already?" She asked sweetly.
Hermione forced a smile. "Oh, Rita," she sighed. "I think you can just call me Hermione now. We've been through so much, haven't we?"
The woman's eye twitched at the subtle reminder of her time spent in a jar. "I wouldn't want to presume." Her voice was cheerful.
Aware of multiple sets of eyes on them, Hermione hooked her arm through Ron's and slid her fingers through Harry's in a united front. "Wouldn't you?" Hermione replied. "I would say it was nice to see you, but it's grossly impolite to lie. If you'll excuse me."
Rita stepped in front of them. Her blonde hair was perfectly styled, her bangs hovering just above her ostentatious frames. "The Wizarding World is dying to hear about the Golden Trio. Don't you have a few moments to keep the public happy?"
Hermione might have mentioned that publishing drivel about her love life wasn't bloody likely to keep the public happy. Reversing the law that was shaking up the world would have done it though.
Taking her silence as compliance, Rita asked without preamble, "Is there any animosity between yourself and the newest Mrs Weasley."
It was as if cold water had been dumped over her head. Of course she should have expected nothing less from the woman in front of her. Hermione fixed her with a sharp glare. "Absolutely not. Daphne is a delight."
"And between the two of you…?" Rita motioned to the two men.
Ron and Harry exchanged a similar look, but it was Ron who answered.
"Harry and Hermione are my best friends. I can't think of a better pair," Ron replied smoothly, and though his face was red with anger, he stomped his temper down.
Rita wasn't pleased with the answer. "How do you feel about Hermione having chose Harry, the Boy-Who-Lived, long before she ever dated you?"
You could have heard a pin drop. The room was eerily silent, and Hermione didn't look away from Ron to see everyone staring at them. "Excuse you?" Hermione hissed.
Rita feigned innocence. "In the forest—"
Hermione took a menacing step forward and she tilted her head towards Rita. "I'm not sure how you've learned about that, but I'm sure it was through illegal means," she said, her tone low.
Skeeter's eyes widened. "Just an inside source," she replied.
A hand came down in Hermione's shoulder, gently pulling her backward. "I'll answer the question," Ron said, shrugging his shoulders. "How do I feel about it? I would have been so angry I couldn't see straight a year ago." His hand fell from her shoulder. "I love my wife, Skeeter. I plan on loving her for a long time, and asking me ridiculous questions about my ex girlfriend is disrespectful toward Daphne."
Skeeter's face reddened, her mouth opening and closing , oddly resembling a fish. She attempted to gather a response, spluttering as they turned away from her.
Hermione quickly led Harry and Ron to the queue line, cutting the conversation off completely.
The ceremony itself was simple, so simple that Hermione idly thought she would have never chosen the hustle and bustle of a planned wedding.
Ron watched from over Harry's shoulder as they recited their vows, watching golden magic flow from Kingsley's wand and link them.
It was a small affair with the four of them in a dimly lit room. Ron's eyes had watered as Hermione's did.
Tears had slipped down her cheeks as Harry promised to love her for a long as she would allow it. She remembered his vows, word for word if she thought about it, to cherish her, to protect her, and their family.
It had been a whirlwind from the start to the end. Hermione hugged Ron tightly before she made her way to the lift.
"Where are we going?" Hermione asked as Harry as he slid in beside her. The grate closed and she waved to Ron as he disappeared from sight. "Harry?"
He moved as she blinked, caging her against the wall of the lift as his lips crashed down on hers. Her fingers slid into his hair, a whimper escaping her as his hands found her hips, still keeping her pinned her to the wall. "International port key," he whispered against her lips.
She nodded, not of the mind to ask anymore questions. "Harry, everyone will see us."
"I'll confund them all then," he replied breathlessly.
She laughed then, her chest completely light as he looked down at her. "Or," She nipped his throat, "you could just stop the lift. There's a button right there."
"Right you are, Mrs Potter." He smirked.
"I hate traveling by portkey," she grumbled, brushing sweaty hair from her face. Hermione adjusted her dress again, silently wishing for the upteenth time that she had worn trousers.
Harry laughed. "I hate to tell you, but we have one more left to go. I thought you hated Apparition?"
She glared. "At the moment, I hate them both equally."
They had taken three portkeys already, and Hermione was certain that he was leading her all over the place so she wouldn't discover where they were going before they landed. So far they'd landed in France and Spain.
"Should have worn pants," she muttered quietly.
"And deprive me of seeing your knickers?" Harry whispered, his fingers sliding up the back of her neck.
She shivered. "One more then?"
He nodded. He held his hand out, clasping the rusted button in between their joined hands.
The world began to spin. Harry pulled her in for a quick kiss, wincing when he accidentally head butted her instead.
"Harry!" She groaned, rubbing her forehead. "Clearly that was a terrible idea!"
Looking sheepish, Harry offered, "I can't keep my hands to myself, Mrs Potter."
Her anger vanished. She sighed. "Maybe wait till we're back on the ground, husband."
She would never tire of saying it.
Hermione landed not so gracefully in the ocean. It was the shallow part, where one would just be wading in, and Harry insisted they were meant to land in the sand.
He had not taken the changing tides into account.
As an unfortunate result, Hermione started her honeymoon by stepping on a jellyfish and crumpling into the water as if she were boneless. One muggle hospital trip later, she was sitting in the center of the bed in their hotel room.
"I'm so sorry," Harry apologized again.
Hermione shook her head. "You don't have to keep apologizing. It's okay. Things happen."
He ran his fingers through his hair as he climbed into the bed beside her. "I know, but this is supposed to be a good experience for you and I."
"A rogue jellyfish isn't going to ruin our holiday, Harry. I've already taken a pain potion and I'll be healed tomorrow. You're worrying too much." Hermione leaned against him, laying her head in his shoulder.
His fingers were splayed against her shoulders as he slid behind her. Harry massaged her shoulders, pressing his lips to the base of her neck. "Merlin, you're tense."
She moaned as he pressed down harder. "It was a stressful week."
"Amos Diggory was met with pushback when he presented the Werewolf Rights Act. It's all so bloody absurd. Our government can pass a Marriage Law, but not a law that protects its citizens?"
In the mirror that hung in front of their bed, she watched Harry nod. "You'll get it." He slid the strap of her dress down her shoulder, not breaking eye contact as he peppered the bare skin there with kisses.
She sighed. "It's a collective effort and we're never going to make any changes with others like Umbridge leading the opposition."
"Umbridge?" He asked quietly.
"It's as if she hasn't forgiven me for the centaurs," she muttered darkly. "Oh! Right there." She relaxed, collapsing against Harry.
If she looked up, she would have seen him smirking. "How's your foot?"
"It's fine," Hermione whispered.
Harry slid the thin straps of her dress down her arms, and she pulled her arms through them. With each minuscule movement as she moved against him, the thin material slid down her chest, quickly bunching around her waist.
Hot breath fanned against her ear, and goosebumps rose across her arms. "Is there any particular reason why you're not wearing a bra, Hermione?"
She swallowed. Well, in truth, she'd hoped something like this might happen. "The straps would show, so I charmed my dress instead."
He chuckled. Harry's hands slid up her sides, his calloused fingers brushing against her breasts. "Do you do that often?"
She shuddered as his finger brushed her nipple. "Yes." Hermione's head fell back to his shoulder, quiet whimpers leaving her as he pinched her nipples. "Oh."
Harry pulled her closer, his bicep heavy across her breasts as he slid his free hand down her stomach. His hand dipped below her dress, and beneath her knickers. "Already wet?" He rasped. Harry's movements were torturously slow.
Hermione could barely breathe as she attempted to move her hips closer to him, her pleas close to escaping her. "Harry, please don't tease."
He dropped the pretenses.
Harry rubbed her clit, growling in her ear as her hands flew up to grab his forearm. "You're so fucking pretty." He groaned.
Hermione could see them in the mirror as she kicked the blankets away. Enthralled by what she saw, Hermione couldn't tear her eyes away.
Her legs were spread wide as his fingers reached between her thighs, parting her folds. His teeth skimmed her neck as he kissed down it, leaving a mark that was sure to bruise where her neck met her shoulder.
"Harry!" Hermione shrieked, pressing herself closer to him. "More."
Harry didn't give her what she wanted. At the second desperate cry to tumble from her lips, he said, "What do you want?"
She would get him back for this. Not that she voiced that bit. "Your fingers," Hermione whispered.
He didn't hesitate. One and then two fingers pumped into her, curling against a sensitive spot that he clearly remembered. His thumb brushed her clit, applying more pressure despite the awkward angle.
Hermione was a mess. Between the pleasure and his voice low in her ear, whispering things that he's said before, things that had echoed in her mind for years after the fact.
Her hips bucked against his hand. "Harry, God, I'm going to come."
He pulled his hand away.
"You fucking bastard," she gasped as he moved out from behind her. Hermione watched wide eyed as Harry moved down the bed, sliding his arms around legs before he pulled her down the sheets.
"That's not nice." Harry replied, kneeling between her legs and lowering his mouth to her cunt.
Her legs trembled.
"I can't," she shuddered. She threw her hands out, clutching the sheets and arching her back. "God."
Harry threw his glasses off, and they tumbled across the floor. "Let go," he ordered, and a chill ran down her spine.
Hermione did not typically scream, but at that moment she had little doubt that anyone in the quaint muggle hotel hadn't heard her. It was his name sliding off her tongue while she writhed below him.
Still boneless, and half brained, Hermione scrambled for him as he sat on his knees in the middle of the bed still between her legs. "Come here." She murmured, straddling his hips and feverishly kissing him. "We should have never waited this long."
Hermione felt his smile against her lips.
"I love you."
She froze, not because she hadn't been expecting it, but because she hadn't known her heart could feel so incredibly full.
He tucked a curl behind her ear. "I didn't say it just so you would say it back."
Hermione shook her head, sliding her palms up his chest. "That's not it at all." Twisting her ring around her finger, she smiled. "I love you." She rested her forehead against his, gently sighing.
Harry ran his fingers down her back, grinning up at her as she cradled his face. "You should sleep. We have a full day tomorrow."
She didn't doubt that Mykonos was breathtaking, but Hermione found that didn't truly want to leave their hotel room at all.
As early morning rays streamed through the curtains, Hermione rolled onto her side. Stretching in place and reaching across the bed, she found Harry close to toppling over the side of the bed.
Silently as possible, Hermione slid closer to him. She slipped under the sheets, pressing her bare body to his. "Harry," she whispered, lightly running her fingers up his sides. "Wake up."
He groaned in protest.
"Harry," she poked his side. "Wake up already."
Hermione knocked the sheets from the bed, straddling his waist and tickling his sides. A squeal left her as his eyes shot open and she found herself flat on her back, her hands pinned above her head.
"Morning," Harry's gaze dropped to her breasts, and then lingered on the darkening love bite. "How did you sleep?"
She didn't reply. Hermione wrapped her legs around his waist, cupping his face as she pulled him to her.
A low laugh rumbled in his chest as she wiggled against his grip, lifting her hips to his. He murmured that he loved her while leaning back. Harry didn't tease her, which was a welcome change from the previous night. Nestled in between her thighs, the tip of Harry's cock slipped through her folds.
"No teasing this time," Hermione whined.
He slid into her with one thrust, filling her, and the pleasure etched into his face was everything. "Hermione," the guttural tone of his voice sending a chill down her spine. "You were right. We should have never waited so long." His words were accented by slamming into her a second time.
Hermione clutched his forearms as her legs were tightly wrapped around his waist. Still moaning, he pulled her into his lap, carefully maneuvering her and settling her legs over his shoulders.
She choked on his name, her head falling back as he slid into her. "Not slow," she gasped, "not this time."
"No?" He smirked.
She shook her head. "Fuck me or I'll—"
Harry moved against her, his thrusts harsh and unforgiving as she cried out. "You're beautiful like this," He rasped. "Flushed and shaking."
It was so much. "I don't want to leave this bed at all today," Hermione begged, dragging her nails down his muscled back. "Not even for a moment."
His fingers found her clit. "We have so much time to make up for, don't we?"
"Yes." The word was dragged out as she met her orgasm, her legs trembling.
And in the end, they didn't leave the bed at all. Not even for meals, which Harry was all too happy to feed her himself.
Chapter 6: Chapter Six
I'm so happy to update! Thank you to my friends who cheered me on through out this week and thank you to AlexandraO who beta read this today. She's the best! I hope you enjoy.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After a blissful, well spent two weeks in Greece, Hermione and Harry returned home. The first thing Hermione focused on was the fact that it was no use keeping both of their homes. As much as she loved her flat and the lovely view it granted her of the Thames, it only made sense to move into Grimmauld. Harry quickly disagreed.
"Harry," she hedged.
He dutifully chewed the burnt remains of what was meant to be their breakfast. "No. You love your flat." He waved a hand at her protests. "It's fine. Grimmauld Place isn't going anywhere. Not to mention, I like your flat more than that dark place anyway."
She frowned. "Curse Breakers swept through that place a long time ago."
He sniggered behind what she thought was bacon, but she could have been wrong. The remnants on his plate were black no matter what it was. "No, I mean it's literally dark. Honestly, it's more depressing than I can stand."
Hermione blinked, her mouth falling open. "So add a bloody window, or two!" She flicked her wand over the table, vanishing both of their plates. "For Merlin's sake, stop eating my cooking. You can tell me it was terrible, Harry. I knew it was."
He ran a lazy hand through his hair that was still wet from his shower. "I wouldn't want to offend you. Happy wife, happy life, and all that."
A scowl twisted her features. "It was burnt." Hermione deadpanned. "Like beyond recognition, Harry. You didn't have to eat it." Still, he had eaten her cooking, chewing around the charred remains and it was all rather adorable if she thought about it. "Thank you anyway."
Harry grinned. "Come here." He crooked a finger, beckoning her with a simple movement.
Hermione pushed away from the table, coming to stand just in between his legs. "You have to be at work soon." She murmured, her fingers sliding along his broad shoulders. "You should really be putting your uniform on."
A smirk curved his lips. "If I put it on, will you just take it off?"
She groaned as his hand slid up her inner thigh, his thumb flattening against her clit through her knickers. "Well," she breathed raggedly, "that would be a waste of time, wouldn't it?"
"You're the one who likes to get me out of it so much," Harry whispered, reaching around with his other hand to slide the zipper of her skirt down. "I'm really fond of these skirts you wear. Have I told you that?"
A moan left her as his thumb began to move in slow, teasing circles. "Once, or twice. I bought several more after you told me." Hermione laughed breathlessly. "While you'd probably like to try, this table isn't strong enough to hold me while you fuck me."
His eyes darkened as he looked up at her. "Hmm," Harry mused, slipping the lace edge of her knickers to the side. "Suppose we'll need to buy a new one then. I have every intention of taking you on every surface in the house."
She pressed herself against his hand, her hands balling into tight fists as he worked her with his fingers.
"Plus, think of all the walls—"
"Harry!" She whimpered.
A finger slid inside her, curling inside of her and causing her shoulders to fall. "I plan on creating several memories with you, and I want you to remember how I feel sliding inside of you no matter where you are in our home."
Another finger slid into her, and Hermione's legs nearly buckled. "You're going to be late," she gasped.
Harry rose to his feet in a fluid moment. His free arm slid around her back, fingers digging into her side. "I don't particularly care if I'm late," he whispered into her ear. Harry walked her backwards into the kitchen, picking her up and setting her on the countertop. "Do you?"
"Not right now, no." Hermione's back arched as his fingers moved faster, his thumb still pressed against the sensitive nub. "Harry, stop teasing."
He chuckled against her ear. "Bed?" Harry offered.
She shook her head quickly. "Counter."
He'd pulled her off of it in the same moment, turning her while still gripping her hips roughly. Harry slid her skirt up her arse rather than letting it pool around her ankles. There was the sound of his trouser zipper sliding down, and then he was sliding into her. Harry groaned, his hips moving forward while his fingers slid down her spine.
Hermione knocked the container of sugar into the sink. "Oh," she moaned, her fingers sliding down the granite as she reached for anything to hold onto. Still, they really were going to be late, and since she didn't fancy walking into the Ministry while everyone knew what they had been up to…they really needed to hurry.
She was ill prepared for it.
Hermione cried out his name, gasping to catch her breath as he slammed into her, his hips pressing flush against her.
Harry reached down, his fingers rubbing her clit in frenzied circles, and she was already teetering precariously on the edge.
It was a lot like falling with him, over and over again, each and every time.
Her legs were shaking and she squeezed her eyes shut, shuddering below him as his fingers knotted in her hair.
He withdrew from her, turning her to face him before he cupped her face gently in his hands and pressed his lips to hers. "I think I'd like to start every morning like this."
She head tipped back as she laughed lightly. "Sure, but maybe we should begin it this way while we're still in bed, and not when we're trying to leave for work."
Harry nuzzled her neck, peppering kisses there. "I'll probably be home late."
She combed her fingers through her hair, grinning at the domesticity of it all. "That's fine. I have an appointment at St Mungo's on my lunch break so I won't be seeing you then either."
He raised his head. "What's the appointment for?"
Nibbling her lower lip, Hermione sighed. "I'm on an experimental contraceptive right now. It's meant to last a year, and I received a letter once we returned telling me I would need to meet with a fertility specialist."
"They're planning to reverse it?" Harry asked. "Is that possible?"
"I'm not sure. It's still extremely new so they may not be able to. If so, it will throw a wrench into the Ministry's plans. I'm not sure how they would handle it. We have six months to conceive, but if we don't—"
Harry cut her off. "We'll handle that if it comes to that." There was a long pause. "I know this is probably a silly question to ask, but do you want to start trying?"
Hermione blinked a few times. "All of this is incredibly new to me. Being together, being married, and I hadn't planned on having children before establishing my career." She peeked up at him. "But all of this, every moment spent with you makes me think about it. I know it's coming of course, due to the Marriage Law, but I wonder what it would be like...being parents."
He grinned, tucking her hair behind her ears. "Yeah?" Harry asked.
His excitement was contagious. She nodded slowly, melting beneath the slow kiss that he gave her. His fingers slid through hers, his hips pinning her to the edge of the counter. "It's hard not to think about it. I know that I shouldn't want to have kids right now, not when we've more or less been thrown together."
"For better, for worse," Harry murmured.
The muggle part of their vows had been important to her, and he'd given her whatever she wanted. "For richer, for poorer..." Hermione slid her arms around his neck.
"In sickness and in health..." Harry traced the bow of her lips with one finger.
"Until death do us part."
He gazed down at her. "I meant every word of it, and not just because the Ministry told me to do it. I might have died of a broken heart if you'd rejected me."
Hermione was smiling, her eyes filled with the happy sort of tears. "We are terribly late now. They'll know what we were doing."
He scoffed. "I'll tell them I left the seat up in the loo, left my dirty socks right beside the hamper, and that I told you how you were a terrible cook. I'll even pretend to limp." Harry sniggered. "They'll believe I was getting my arse beat by my new pretty wife."
Hermione burst into laughter. "Perfect. I'll pretend to be absolutely cross with you."
He nodded. "Good girl. Do you mind if I come with you to your appointment?"
"Of course not." Hermione pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth. "I need to clean myself up. Go put your uniform on."
The healer at St Mungo's was tickled pink to see Harry strolling through the doors with her that afternoon, his hand tightly clasped in hers.
He was attentive, asking questions when allowed, and Hermione sat back in the uncomfortable hospital chair while Harry asked several questions. She knew the answers to most of them already, but let him have the moment.
The end result was Hermione took a potion home with her to take that night. It would negate the effects of her birth control within the week, the healer said.
A month passed. She'd told herself that she shouldn't get her hopes up, and that it was unlikely she wouldn't get pregnant within a month. She just wasn't prepared for the disappointment when she was right. There were other things to factor in. Since ending her contraception method, the healer told them it may take up to a year in the worst case scenario for her fertility levels to return to normal levels.
And there were her own fears, coupled by the stress of worrying about it. Hermione hadn't mentioned it to Harry, assuming that it was something else they would discuss if it came up. She didn't want to worry him, not for nothing. Following the end of the war, one of the first things she'd done was have a proper check up at St Mungo's.
There was a possibility—she didn't know how high it was—that any pregnancies she had would be high risk, or she could be barren.
It twisted her stomach when she thought about it.
She glanced up from her desk, finding Daphne standing with her hands clasped in front of her. Hastily stacking the parchment away from her, Hermione held a hand out. "Have a seat. How are you?"
The blonde chewed her bottom lip, and from the looks of it, she'd been doing that more often than not. Daphne looked around her office, finding no one there before her gaze settled on the nameplate on Hermione's desk. "I understand that we're not very close, but it was my hope you wouldn't mind I came to you."
"Of course not. I'm about to take lunch if you'd like to join me?"
Daphne shook her head. "That sounds lovely, but I don't want anyone else to hear."
She fell back into her chair. "You're scaring me. What's going on?"
Daphne sucked in a breath. Her hands were shaking as she slid her fingers through her hair. "I think I'm pregnant."
It felt as if all of the oxygen had left her body. Hermione stared at Daphne, her mouth falling open. She knew that Daphne and Ron's marriage had just passed the two-month mark, and they were already pregnant?
Realising she needed to say something, Hermione leaned forward. "Have you performed the diagnostic spell?" What she wanted to say was that it was great, that Ron would be overjoyed, but all the colour had drained from Daphne's face. "Daphne?"
She whispered, "Yes."
"How are you feeling?"
"Absolutely scared out of my wits," Daphne replied, her knee bouncing. "Ron should have been the first one I told, but I wanted to speak with a woman, and my mother isn't speaking with me at the moment."
"Because you married Ron?"
Daphne nodded. "I can't make my mother and father see what I see."
That brought a smile to Hermione's face. "You love him already, don't you?"
"He's incredibly easy to love." It was a whisper. "He'll be so excited. Sometimes he jokes about all of the things he'll tell our kids, how he'll teach them to fly and all of the jokes he'd pass on from Fred." Daphne fidgeted with the frame on the desk.
It was a picture of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
"I worry about I'm not fit to be his wife, because my family supported the Dark Lord. Perhaps not openly, but Ron is—Ron is better than me. I worry about pulling him down with me." Her eyes were watering, though she tried to hide behind of curtain of hair so Hermione wouldn't see. "Again, I know we aren't close, but—"
Hermione made her way around the desk, taking the seat just next to Daphne. Taking her hand in her own, Hermione squeezed. "You can come to me for anything. You're not pulling Ron down, I promise you that. If you were, you would have already heard from me. He's my best friend."
"It's strange how easy you are to talk to, knowing what I know about your relationship with him."
Hermione gave a small smile. "It wasn't much of a relationship before we had to accept how ill-matched we were. The two of you are the best thing I've seen come out of this law. He'll understand why you're scared, and he'll be there from the moment you tell him. Honestly, he tends to hover whenever something is wrong."
Daphne's shoulders shook as she laughed. "I know. I sprained my ankle on our honeymoon, and you would have thought I'd been assaulted!"
"Better than the start to our honeymoon. When we landed on the beach, the tide was sweeping in, and I landed on top of a jellyfish."
Daphne grimaced. "Definitely worse." Her hand slid over her belly. "Were you actually taking your lunch, or were you just saying that to be polite?"
"Oh, no. I'm famished. Would you join me?"
Daphne rose with her, linking her arm through Hermione's as they left her office.
Hermione thought it was the beginning of a great friendship.
As the weeks passed, three of them to be exact, there were more pregnancy announcements. Luna and Ginny's magical surrogacy had been a success, and Luna was now pregnant. Ginny had yet to learn Harry had been the one to pay for the procedure, and her husband was holding out on the hope that Ginny never learned.
Hermione visited with her friends, smiling and laughing, but her stomach would eventually sink as the conversation turned to babies.
She shouldn't be upset. These things took time, and there was also the running joke that Weasley's got pregnant without trying. Hermione knew she couldn't be upset, but still, her heart ached a bit whenever Molly brought out little onesies for Daphne and Luna as Sunday dinners. Harry hadn't noticed how the words, "I have one for you too, dear. Just as soon as you're pregnant!" stung when they came from Molly.
Hermione didn't want to mention it either.
After correspondence with her healer, Hermione mapped out when she should be most fertile. Daphne had seen it in her office before it could be hidden. They'd had a long laugh over it, and later that night, Hermione presented Harry with it.
It was his turn to cook. As she stumbled out of the floo, her heel getting caught in the groove of the fireplace, she found her husband wearing an apron that said 'Kiss the Cook'. "Where did you find that?"
Harry flipped the wooden spoon over the back of his hand. "Muggle shop. Molly joked when she saw it that it might help with—"
She held up a hand, cutting him off. "I'm pretty sure I know what Molly said," Hermione said uneasily. "Speaking of that, I've made a chart for when we should have sex."
"I spoke with my healer. There are certain times of the month that I'm most fertile, and that's when we should,"
Harry tossed the spoon over his shoulder, and it landed in the sink with a loud thud! "Is one of those days today?"
Completely serious, Hermione glanced down at the monthly calendar she'd created while still at work. "Um, yes actually."
Harry grabbed her, carrying her down the hallway into their bedroom. Muffling her loud laughter with a searing kiss, Hermione found the mattress soft below her. "Won't dinner burn?" She managed.
Harry didn't answer. She wasn't sure that he'd even heard her as he quickly unbuttoned her blouse.
He kissed down her neck as he pushed the flimsy blouse over her shoulder, dipping his head as his mouth moved along the edge of her bra. She heard him whisper how beautiful she was into her skin.
His hand just slid between her thighs when a bright light illuminated the room.
Hermione scrambled, and Harry threw the sheet over her.
A Jack Russell Patronus had bounded into their room, and into their bed. "We have a Death Eater sighting. Kingsley wants us ready to go in the DMLE within ten minutes."
"Go," Hermione's voice sounded hollow to even herself. "You need to go."
He smoothed her hair down. "I'm sorry. If I get home late, is tomorrow a good day?"
She shook her head, averting her gaze. "No, but we'll still try. It's okay. You should hurry. Be safe." Hermione pressed her lips to his temple.
He dressed in his uniform quickly, grabbing his wand and giving her one last forlorn look before he vanished through the floo.
Nearly immediately, her floo came to life once more, only it was Daphne's face there. "Hermione—"
She already knew Daphne was struggling with Ron being an Auror and all the fear that came with it. "Come through the floo, Daph. It's going to be a long night. There's no reason for us to be alone."
She came through the floo is a haze of green smoke and fell against Hermione.
Hermione ribbed circles in her back. "I know, I know," she murmured, watching the floo still where Harry had just gone through. "I worry too."
I'd love to hear what you think. Thank you for the feedback so far!
I realise this fic isn't an extensively planned marriage law. Really I just wanted to write a sweet story centered around Harry and Hermione. So I hope that you're still enjoying even if it's not quite so plot driven. I'm telling you now, this story is mainly just a feel good story.
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
Welcome to a new update. Thank you for reading, as always. Thank you to AlexandraO for beta reading today.
A fair warning: this chapter deals with depression, anxiety, and infertility. I've combed over this several times, but I'm just too close to the subject matter to tweak in any farther. I hope it's enjoyable.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Over tea at one in the afternoon on a Saturday, Daphne was the first one to ask her what was wrong. Hermione swallowed, setting her cup down with shaking hands, and shook her head. It was nothing worth worrying about, not yet anyway. It had only been six weeks since halting her contraceptive.
She'd only gotten her monthly cycle once.
Hermione blurted the truth anyway. "I'm not pregnant."
Daphne blinked. Once, twice, three times before she replied. "How long has this been bothering you?"
She crumbled, her eyes beginning to water. "Since we came home from our honeymoon."
A spoon clattered to the table between them. Daphne stood from her chair, coming round and rubbing Hermione's shoulder. "Merlin, that long? Why didn't you say anything before?" Rubbing slow circles over Hermione's back, Daphne patiently waited for a response.
"I thought it was a silly worry," Hermione muttered. "There's a chance I'm infertile from events during the war."
Daphne drew a sharp breath. "Have you told Harry?"
Hermione shook her head. "He wouldn't care. I know he wouldn't, but I don't want to feel as if I'm damaged." She waved her hand. "It's silly. It's nothing and I'm emotional is all."
"It's not nothing," Daphne said. "If it's something to you, then it's something to me, and I'm sure Harry would feel the same way. "Come to the sofa , and tell me everything."
Hermione followed her, her toes sinking into the soft carpet of Ron and Daphne's home. The newly married couple hadn't wasted any time in purchasing a home of their own. She sat at the end of the sofa , bringing her knees to her chest. "I was struck by a curse created by Dolohov when I was in fifth year. During the war, I was tortured in Malfoy Manor by Bellatrix. Healers can't determine if it will prevent me from having children."
A hand found hers, and Daphne offered a weak smile. "I had no idea."
"Harry knows about the events, but I haven't told him about…" Hermione sighed. "I don't think he's noticed how it's affecting me yet. I've kept it hidden well up to now. You're more observant."
Daphne laughed. "I'm sorry. I know there's nothing I can do to help, Hermione, not really. I have a few fertility potions I purchased for Astoria if you would like one. Malfoy can buy her an entire apothecary, but—" She cut herself off. "Merlin, the two of you are in the exact same situation."
Tilting her head to the side, Hermione asked, "Astoria is infertile?"
"It's not diagnosed, and I don't think it's a problem on her end. She mentioned that Draco was cursed when he was given the Dark Mark. Healers believe it may cause problems." Daphne's face fell as the words left her mouth. "Obviously, not getting pregnant is a problem due to this asinine law, but all Tori's ever wanted was to be a mum."
The words struck home, twisting something sharp violently in Hermione's chest. "I'm sorry for your sister."
"It will be okay. Even after paying so many fines, the Malfoys are still one of the richest families in Wizarding Britain. He's going to move mountains if that's what it takes for her to get pregnant. I think he's considering surrogacy like Ginny and Luna right now."
"Apparently," Daphne cut in, grinning widely, "they've been unprotected sex since seventh year. They're certain it will take outside means."
Hermione had never thought of Malfoy as someone who could care so much about another human being. It was unfair of her, seeing as she didn't know him, and what she did know tended to keep them at opposite sides. "I hope her worries can be assured soon." She murmured. They had gotten so far off topic that Hermione wasn't sure how to bring up her own worries again. "Should I talk to Harry?"
"Of course." Daphne nodded. "He's your husband, not to mention your best friend. He'll understand, and there's no reason for you to suffer in worry alone."
She bit the inside of her cheek. "I'll think about it."
Hermione stared down at the muggle pregnancy test in her hands. She wasn't sure how her anxiety had manifested so suddenly, but there she was, in the middle of her bathroom while Harry slept soundly. It was three in the morning. Too early for her to have made a quick dash to a twenty-four-hour grocery, visiting their abysmal pharmacy section.
Her hands shook as she stared at it. Negative. She expected it. It was dangerous to get her hopes up, and she knew it, but while in a meeting hours earlier she'd experienced a bout of nausea. So she hoped something had gone right.
The door knob twisted, but Harry found that it was locked. "'Mione?" He yawned from the other side. "What's wrong?"
Hermione caught the sight of her reflection. Her eyes were rimmed with red, and they were puffy. She threw the test into the rubbish bin, tucking it at the very bottom so Harry wouldn't notice in the morning. After washing her hands, she splashed her face and opened the door. "Just nauseous," she muttered.
There was a flicker of hope that entered his eyes, but Harry didn't ask her. "Are you sure?" He caught her by her waist, tilting her chin up. "You don't look well."
Hermione stared at his chest, pulling away from him. "I'm fine," Hermione said, rubbing her eyes. "I just want to sleep." Stepping out of the warm embrace, she padded to the bed, crawling beneath the covers.
He slid in just behind her, his arm slipping beneath her pillow as he spooned her. "Hey," Harry whispered, rubbing her shoulder. "What's wrong?"
She pushed his arm away from her the moment he wrapped it around her waist. "Stop. I just want to sleep. I don't want to cuddle."
When Harry's arm fell away from her, she could imagine the shocked look on his face. He gripped her shoulder, rolling her onto her back. "Hermione, talk to me. What's wrong?"
She glared at him, throwing the covers off of her. "I just want to sleep. Is that a crime?" She snapped. "I'll sleep on the sofa."
"Wait!" He called after her, confusion and worry in his tone, but she let the door shut behind her anyway.
When she woke the next morning, Hermione found herself covered with her favourite blanket. It was one Mrs Weasley had made for her after the war, and there was also a pillow tucked beneath her head. Harry must have brought her body pillow as well. As she raised her head, it was clear Harry was already gone.
She rolled onto her side, sniffling as she buried her face into the sofa cushions. Knowing that her behaviour the night before was no way to act, she wished he hadn't left for work yet. Hermione sighed as she pulled herself up.
Hermione sent a short missive to the Ministry, informing her assistant that she'd come down with a cold and wouldn't be in today. She considered sending one to Harry as well, but she would talk to him once he was home. There was no reason to pull him away from work due to her shaky mental health.
She laid on the sofa for another hour before the floo activated. Lifting her head, Hermione's eyes widened as she saw Daphne stepping out from her fireplace. "Daphne," Hermione greeted.
The blonde placed her hands on her hips as she crossed the room in three strides. "What are you doing on the sofa ?"
Hermione swallowed. "I slept here."
"I heard." There was an edge in her voice that Hermione had never heard before. Was that the tone Ron meant when he described his wife's anger? "Harry popped into my house this morning. Ron had already left, that's what I told him, so imagine my shock when he wanted to talk to me."
"Because his wife screamed at him in the middle of the night, and he had no idea why. Harry even said that you usually at least tell him why you're screaming, but instead he told me that you stormed out."
"I don't know why he's telling you our problems anyway."
"Hmm, tough one," Daphne tapped her fingers against her chin. "It might be due to our close friendship. You haven't told him anything, have you?"
She pulled the blanket over her head. "No," Hermione replied, her voice muffled. "I don't want to talk about it."
Daphne ripped the blanket over her head. "I think you need to talk about it, Hermione. Why aren't you at work?"
"I thought I was pregnant. Logically, I knew I wasn't of course. In a meeting yesterday, I had to excuse myself because I nearly vomited over Amos Diggory. Turns out it was just the bad Indian Harry brought home for dinner the night before." Hermione scowled. "My curiosity won out in the middle of the night, so I took a muggle pregnancy test."
Her friend took a seat at her feet, and Hermione didn't want the pity that was there. "Oh, Hermione."
"I wasn't pregnant."
"Harry doesn't know you took this test?"
She shook her head. "He found me crying in the bathroom, however."
"Ah," Daphne bobbed her head. "He's not angry."
Hermione thought he ought to be given the way she'd lashed out without a reason. "Of course he's not."
"Why don't you go lie in bed, and I'll make you some tea?" Daphne didn't leave her any choice as she gathered up both pillows and the blanket. She ushered Hermione down the corridor. Daphne laid the blanket over her after Hermione climbed into bed, and told her she'd be back just as soon as she could.
The tea didn't help, but Daphne sat with her for a long while after. Hermione cried openly, whimpering how scared she was that maybe she couldn't get pregnant, and the Ministry would re-match Harry. She cried that she couldn't imagine having anyone else now and that sometimes life wasn't fair. She apologised for the accidental jab, but it wasn't fair how some could get pregnant so easily, and for all they tried, they hadn't.
Daphne was patient, combing her fingers through Hermione's hair as gently as she could. When it was a lost cause, Daphne rubbed circles over her back instead. She hummed in Hermione's ear, letting Hermione lay her head on her shoulder, and Daphne promised they would figure it out.
Hermione promised that she would take care of herself when Daphne left for lunch with Astoria, though she offered to reschedule.
She shook her head. "I'll be fine. Really. I'll talk to Harry tonight." Because if she didn't, she was going to go mental.
Daphne made a quiet exit, and Hermione turned her face into the pillow.
A strangled sob left her.
He wasn't having a good day. Three Aurors had teased him by eleven o'clock, asking if he'd had his first married lovers' quarrel. It was followed by the question of whether he'd slept on the sofa because Hermione Granger wasn't likely to let him stay in the marital bed if she was angry.
Harry gritted his teeth as he watched a new batch of Aurors training in the charmed room. Currently, it was set to a mountain landscape, with jagged rocks to trip over, and a cliff's edge that would induce the very real feeling of plummeting to the ground if you fell. His mind was elsewhere, specifically Hermione.
Try as he might, he couldn't figure out what was wrong. He went through the previous day's events, from waking up and enjoying a shower together, then to a breakfast that she said she didn't want. Hermione told him the night before that she'd been sick during the middle of the day, throwing up in the bathroom after excusing herself from a meeting, but a sickness wasn't likely to cause her to yell at him.
There was no mistaking just how angry Hermione had been when she stormed out of the room.
She had been crying in the bathroom, he was sure of it.
"Auror Potter?" He turned to see Hermione's assistant, who was clutching her lunch close to her chest. "I was wondering if you would pass on my get well wishes along to your wife? She didn't say what she was sick with this morning when she sent her owl."
His eyebrows drew together. "Hermione didn't come to work?"
She shook her head. "You didn't know?"
Harry wasn't sure what to make of it. "No, I didn't. She must have gotten sick after I left this morning. I'll let her know." As the woman walked away, Harry found the nearest Auror to watch the trainees.
He needed to get home.
When the door creaked open, Hermione assumed it was Daphne again. "Go away. I'm fine!" She said. Her cheeks were wet from tears, as was the pillow below her. She curled up, wrapping her arms around herself.
She didn't look up when the covers were pulled from her body, not even when she heard someone kneeling in front of her. But then a hand settled on her forearm, a heavy hand that couldn't belong to Daphne. Her eyes popped open, and she found Harry looking at her worriedly.
"Harry?" Hermione whispered, her fingers digging into the sheets. "What are you doing here?"
"You didn't go into work." He said. Harry sat on his knees, his hand finding hers. "How long have you been crying?"
She hiccuped. "Since I woke up."
His brows shot up. "Is this related to what made you so upset last night?" A nod. "I can't help if I don't know what's wrong. And I want to help," Harry murmured as he tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "I love you, Hermione. I don't ever want you to this upset."
Hermione shifted in the bed, swinging her legs over the bed and sinking to the floor in front of him. She stared at her legs, her hands shaking. "I'm not pregnant." It was a whisper, her voice breaking halfway through.
"I know, but we'll keep trying."
"We try all of the time! Merlin, if we're home, we're fucking, and we're always home." Hermione let her head fall into her hands as her shoulders fell. "I don't think I can get pregnant."
His hand was warm over her knee. "Please talk to me."
She broke. "After the war, healers told me there was a chance I might not be able to conceive. Between Dolohov's curse and the torture, there was always a chance. It's only been two months, and I know it's not enough time to know, but-"
"How long has this been hurting you?"
She bit her lip. "From the second we said we wanted to try. I'm so properly terrified that I can't give you a family, which is what you've always wanted, and that if I can't, the Ministry will give you another match."
He held up a finger. "I would snap my own wand before I let them separate us,"
"What I want is you." Harry lifted her hand, pressing his lips over her knuckles. "We have money, Hermione. We can pay for infertility treatments for as long as it takes. If it's what we want, we'll find a way."
"I can't be that positive." Hermione let her head fall against his shoulder. "Not when everything and everyone is reminding me that I'm not pregnant."
Harry stilled beside her. "What do you mean everyone?"
Her eyes widened as her own words caught up to her. "I don't want you to be angry with Molly. She wasn't thinking when she said it." Following the silence that fell, Hermione swallowed. "I visited the Burrow last week with Ginny, you remember?"
"For dinner on Wednesday when Ron and I were gone?"
She nodded. "Molly wanted to talk about grandchildren, and she jokingly asked more than once 'When are you going to get pregnant?' It was nothing major, now that I think about it. I've been emotional, and I'm just overreacting."
"No, you're not," Harry muttered under his breath. "She should keep her bloody mouth shut and her nose out of our fucking business."
He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Come on, get into bed." Harry scooped her up, laying her in the bed, and covering her. "You need to rest. I know you barely slept on the sofa last night."
She winced. "I'm sorry I ran away from you."
"It's alright, but next time try to talk to me. Sleeping without you was hell." He smoothed a hand down her side. Harry waited for her to fall asleep, but he didn't know that she'd woken as he rose from the bed.
Seconds later, she heard his voice calling out, "The Burrow!"
Hermione knew it couldn't mean anything good, but maybe Molly Weasley would learn to keep her comments to herself.
For those readers that agree with me that Molly's been a twat, well, she's an even bigger twat here. Any thoughts are welcome as always. Thank you for reading!
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
I know that it's been two months, and I took a while, but here I am! The last two months have been brutal on writer's block. Thanks to AlexandraO for encouraging me and editing this! See the bottom for some news.
Mini trigger warning: this chapter deals with a few things that come with infertility, like depression. Just wanted to put that out there!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The following morning, Hermione sipped her tea while Harry ate across from her. "Do you know when you'll be home tonight?" He asked.
She looked up. "I can be home just after five. Why?"
He ate the last of his eggs before wiping his mouth with a napkin. "It's a surprise. Five?"
Hermione nodded. "You know I hate surprises. Just tell me what it is now."
Harry came round the table, dropping a kiss to the top of her head. "Can't do that. It would ruin the surprise."
"What should I wear then? If you won't tell me where we're going, at least tell me what's appropriate."
A grin spread across his face. "Anything you want, love. You could wear a sack, and you'd still be the prettiest witch I've ever seen."
Laughing quietly, Hermione hid her smile behind her cup. "Flattery will get you nowhere."
"Are you sure?" He called out from the floo.
She was left with the silence of their flat, and Hermione rose to get ready.
Hermione's first appointment at St Mungo's had been circled on their wall calendar in the kitchen for three weeks before the day finally arrived. She waited on pins and needles as each day passed, still hoping that she would miraculously get pregnant without the intervention of healers.
The floo came to life as she changed into a nice dress in their bedroom. Hurrying down the corridor while attempting to slip on her shoes, Hermione rounded the corner and stumbled into her husband.
He caught her, steadying her with a bright smile. "Careful."
She stared at him as her shoe slipped from her hand. "You're home early."
Harry tilted his head to the side, sliding his Auror uniform off his shoulders, along with his robes. "Your appointment is today. Did you think I would miss it?"
Her mouth dried, and she had half a mind to pull him into the bedroom. "I just—I didn't expect you to come. You don't have to." Hermione rambled. "I overheard from Maria, who is an assistant in the DMLE, that there's a large case going on. You must be swamped, so if you—"
Harry cradled her face before kissing her. She quieted, her words dying in her throat. He maneuvered her toward the couch, sitting at the end while pulling her into his lap. She made quick work of the buttons on his uniform. He chuckled, his chest shaking. "We're going to be late."
"No one is going to point out that Harry Potter is late to something." She muttered, pushing the jacket over his shoulders. "And if they do ask, we'll just let them know that we were practicing."
"God, I love you." Harry rasped. His fingers were tight on her waist, bunching up the fabric of the casual dress she wore.
She grinned. "Don't bother unzipping it." Hermione unbuttoned his trousers, pulling the zipper down while pulling it away from him. "There's no point if we're making it quick."
"Or we could not make it quick." He groaned when she freed his cock, stroking him while swiping her thumb across the head. "Maybe it will be quick."
Hermione couldn't help the giggle that escaped her. "You can make it up to me after dinner tonight."
She slid down his length in one movement, her head falling back as she moaned. "Harry."
He pushed the sleeves of her dress down, unzipping it anyway so it wouldn't rip. "Come here." Harry pulled her closer by her hips as she rode him and pressed his mouth to her collarbone. Kissing a path down to the space between her breasts, Harry dragged his mouth across the top of her breast, his tongue darting out.
Unable to pull her eyes away, Hermione watched as he stared up at her as if he were memorising everything about her. The way her lips parted, the way she choked out a moan as his tongue flicked against her nipple.
His hair was soft as she tugged on it. "Harry," she panted. "There, there," Hermione pleaded.
It seemed that as much as Harry enjoyed watching her ride him, he enjoyed taking control even more. His grip on her hips tightened, and he lifted his hips to thrust into her. She clutched his shoulders, laying her head in the crook of his neck while frantically kissing his pulse point.
Harry reached between them, slowly rubbing her clit while she whimpered just beside his ear.
"Please, I'm so close." Hermione gasped.
His pace quickened, and she was at the edge. Hermione's fingernails dug into his shoulders, and there would be marks left where she had gripped him so tightly. "That's it." Harry praised. "Let me hear you, Hermione."
Hermione released a choked sob of his name and slumped against him as he stilled. Both of them were covered in a thin layer of sweat, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. "I love you," Hermione said quietly. "Thank you for coming home for my appointment."
His head fell back to the sofa while he rubbed circles on her back. "I wouldn't miss it for anything." Harry checked his watch. "Yeah, we're late."
She laughed. "Not the best first impression to make, is it?"
"I don't give a shite about first impressions right now." Harry snorted. "My wife is mostly naked on my chest, and I'm thinking of having a second go in our bedroom. Do you think you could reschedule it for a later time?"
Shaking her head, Hermione stood and righted her dress. "I'm going to go clean up. I'm fairly certain they'll know why we're late, but I don't fancy them performing a physical exam while…" She motioned to her legs.
When his eyes narrowed on her hungrily, she hurried from the room before he could change her mind.
Healer Jones was a polite woman in her early fifties, from the looks of it, with styled grey hair. She'd greeted Hermione and Harry with a smug smile before leading them back to the examination room. Sitting in the chair with a clipboard nearby, Healer Jones clasped her hands in front of her. "When did you come off of your contraceptive potion, Mrs Potter?"
Hermione shifted uncomfortably on the bed, clad in the stiff gown that they had given her. "About two months ago. I understand that it may take up to a year for my fertility levels to return to normal, but there are some circumstances that have me worried as well."
"I see," Healer Jones said with a nod while reaching for her clipboard. "You were told of the possibility that you may not be able to conceive?"
She said it so matter of factly that Hermione normally would have appreciated the blunt approach, but her heart stuttered in her chest. As her eyes watered, Harry took her hand in his own. "Yes," Hermione said raggedly. "I was tortured during the war, which may be the cause, but I was struck by an unknown curse by Antonin Dolohov. They were unable to say which could have caused the problem."
The woman across from her scribbled notes down while Harry ran his thumb across Hermione's knuckles. "You haven't suffered a miscarriage in the past, have you?" Healer Jones asked, her eyes flicked back to the chart.
"No, I've never been pregnant."
Healer Jones pinched the bridge of her nose with a heavy sigh. "What we're going to do today is take some blood samples from you, and send them for testing. That should take a week, and we can discuss them then. Mrs Potter, would you say your level of stress has been higher than normal?"
Hermione shook her head. "No, I—"
Harry cut her off. "Excuse me, but yes, they have. I realise you don't notice it because you're normally high strung due to work," Harry said to her apologetically before turning back to Healer Jones, "but with this law being passed, and the threat of a re-match, I'm not sure she's slept a full night."
There was the tapping of her quill against the clipboard. She offered a small smile to Hermione before saying, "You're quite lucky to have Mr Potter as your husband. I think the best thing we can do while we wait for your test results is for you to start potions to reduce your stress."
While picking at her nails, Hermione swallowed. "That sounds logical, but may I ask something?"
"Anything you like, dear."
Hermione suspected that Healer Jones had an idea of just what she was about to ask. "Depression, is it normal for it to accompany the stress with this?"
His hand tightened around hers, reassuring.
"I've never taken potions for depression, but do you think it might be beneficial to me? Of course, I don't want to sound like I just want a potion to make everything better, but I…" Hermione trailed off, unsure of what to say. It was one thing to depend on Harry for help, but she worried that if she needed a potion that it was similar to saying he wasn't enough.
"We'll start you off with a low dosage. Since you've never taken one before, it may take some trial and error before we find the right fit for you." Healer Jones spoke easily. "Have you suffered from depression before, or is this the first?"
Harry didn't recoil from her as she feared, and Hermione was struck by how normally Healer Jones had handled it.
"After the war," Hermione answered. "I knew what it was, but I thought I could bury it under work. I didn't discuss it with my healers. I didn't think I could ask about it." She blurted the last part, her eyes widening as she realised what she had said.
"You'll never need to feel that way in this office, Mrs Potter. Depression takes many forms, and it's perfectly okay to ask for help." Healer Jones winked at her. "Give me just a moment to work these potions up so they won't interfere with any fertility potions we may give you next week." She stood and exited the room, leaving Harry and Hermione alone.
Hermione nibbled her lower lip, glancing up at Harry. "You're not upset?"
He blinked. "Why would I be upset? Of course I'm upset that we're here because of what's happening, but that's because you're upset." He traced her jaw with his knuckles. "What's wrong?"
She leaned into his hand. "You make me happy, and I didn't want you to believe that I wasn't happy because I was depressed." It felt like splitting open to say it, and she looked away, suddenly interested in the vials sitting on the countertop. "I don't need the potion more than you, but,"
He pressed a finger to his lips. "You're rambling. Let me tell you something, I took a whole slew of potions after the war. Depression, anxiety, you name it. It's okay, Hermione. Would you have thought that I needed you less because I needed medicine?"
Well, when he put it like that. "No," she replied. Hermione laid her head on his shoulder. "Thank you."
He slipped an arm around her.
Logically, five days was not long enough for her potion to combat her depression. Still, she felt better after getting everything off her chest, and Harry was so understanding that she didn't fear talking about it.
They went to lunch in Diagon Alley before browsing Flourish and Blotts, a stop that for her, and Harry dutifully followed her around the store. He carried the books she selected, which the stack had ended up over his head, instead of Hermione charming them to float behind her as she made her way through. When she opened her handbag to pay for them, the corners of her lips dragging down into a frown as she realised just how much she'd spent, Harry had paid before she could.
He had them delivered to their flat instead of carrying them across Diagon Alley. They made another stop for Harry to purchase new gloves for matches of quidditch played on Sundays at the Burrow, and then they made the stop that she'd been looking forward to the least all day.
Hermione's stomach twisted as they stepped into the store, instantly surrounded by cribs, and baby toys. "Oh, for Merlin's sake," she hissed as the sales clerk neared her. "Hello," Hermione straightened.
"May I help you find anything?" The young woman asked. Her name tag read Rachel.
"No, I'm just browsing, but thank you," Hermione replied. She calmed herself. While being in the store was irritating, it wasn't the sales clerk's fault, and it was ridiculous to act as if there was a stick up her arse.
Rachel nodded with a smile. "You'll find the boy's section on the right, and the girl's on the left in the back of the store. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help." Rachel bounced away.
Hermione sighed in relief. She dragged him toward the boy's section. "I want to be out of here as soon as possible."
"Do you know what you want to buy for them?"
Not really. Daphne's baby shower was only in a few hours, and she'd really put this off for too long. "They already have the essentials, so I think some nappies, clothes, and toys should be fine?"
Harry shrugged. "Whatever you say."
Hermione piled several outfits in Harry's waiting arms since they were quite inexpensive. Ignoring his disbelieving stare as she grabbed a whole slew of toys, Hermione continued through the shop.
"You realise that he won't be able to play with any of these until he's a bit older, don't you?" Harry called.
"Then he'll have them then." She answered. "One last thing," Hermione grabbed a mobile that was quidditch themed before leading them to the register. "If we have a boy, I'd like this." She held the boxed mobile up. "Isn't it cute?"
Harry laid their purchases across the counter before leaving her. He returned with a second mobile and a book that he placed in front of the sales clerk. "I spotted the book earlier. I was going to come back later, but since we're buying this. Plus, the mobile can be used for a boy or girl." He kissed her on the temple.
Rachel rang them up, and Harry paid. As they exited the shop, Hermione pulled the book from the bag and read the cover once more.
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Hermione bumped Harry with her hip. "How do you feel about going home for a bit of practice?"
Harry's fingers found hers, and he Apparated them straight into their bedroom.
Daphne's baby shower was a fun-filled three hours in which Hermione watched Daphne and Ron open gifts for their child.
Hermione leaned against Harry, happier than she'd believed she'd be. Ron's favorite gift was the quidditch themed mobile, and it became apparent that the couple was still arguing about whether their child would ever be on a broom.
Harry nudged her. "That'll be us. You hate quidditch."
"If our child wants to play, I suppose I'll have to accept it." She smiled. "He'll just have to use a training broom until he's seventeen."
"He?" Harry arched an eyebrow. "We may have a girl."
Hermione sighed. "It's just a feeling."
As the baby shower ended, she hugged Daphne and Ron goodbye, and Ron squeezed her. "You're alright?" He asked.
A smile curved Hermione's lips. "Harry can't keep anything from you, can he?" She laughed. "I'm alright. Congratulations. You're going to make the second-best Dad."
Ron snorted. "As if. Harry's clueless!"
Hermione hugged him once more with a laugh. "We'll see about that."
They returned to their flat, and Hermione curled up on the sofa with her feet tucked below her bum. She opened the new book, the mobile laying on the coffee table in front of her.
News: Yesterday I wrote this chapter and the next chapter in full. I also wrote half of chapter ten as well. I think this will complete by the end of August, possibly mid-September, and wanted to be upfront with that! Thanks for reading and please tell me what you thought!
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
Here's a new chapter. Thank you to AlexandraO for editing today.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Harry shook her, and Hermione shot up, clutching the sheets to her chest. "What is it?" She asked sleepily. She rubbed her eyes, wearily looking up at him. Her eyes shot open as she saw that he wore his full Auror uniform, and she knew in an instant that something was wrong. "Harry?"
His hand skimmed her shoulder, tucking her hair behind her. "Morning."
"What time is it?" The moon was still just outside their window, just a sliver in the sky that barely illuminated their room. "You look like shite."
He snorted. "Thanks for that. I didn't want to leave a note. Ron and I are being called in for an emergency mission. Kingsley fire-called me fifteen minutes ago. I won't be home for a few days."
Hermione stiffened, and the sheets fell away from her bare frame. As she shifted, she was starkly reminded that her hips were sore from the grip he'd had on her earlier, likely bruised. "What's going on?"
"You know that I would tell you," Harry hedged, "but Kingsley didn't tell me what he was sending us on. It's a team of us though; I'll be home in no time."
It was odd, no, it was worrying that even Harry didn't know what he was walking into. "They normally brief you at least some before you get to the Ministry," Hermione said slowly. "Don't you think it's strange that he didn't tell you anything?" She reached up, smoothing his hair down from where it stuck up. It didn't work, the stubborn locks springing right back up.
"You're worrying too much. Everything is fine. It's probably just—"
"You said it's an emergency mission. This isn't a simple scouting mission as if they were watching Death Eater sympathisers, Harry. They don't call you in the middle of the night for that." Hermione's stare was hard as he flinched away from her, which was all the confirmation she needed. "Please be safe. Please don't take unnecessary risks." It felt like nagging, which she hated. Harry was a grown man and a fully capable Auror, but something curdled in the pit of her stomach that left her nauseous.
"Of course." Harry murmured before kneeling to press a kiss to her forehead. "I'll be home as soon as I can. Maybe you can stay with Daphne, or she can stay here while Ron and I are gone? I haven't spoken to him, but I doubt she's taking it well."
Hermione nodded. "I'll owl her in the morning." She shifted, climbing onto her knees so she could hug her husband. She hid her smirk as he stared at her breasts. "I love you."
He squeezed her to his chest. "I'll see you soon."
Hermione watched as he exited the room, and she listened to his heavy footfalls that carried down the corridor. As the Floo came to life, she grabbed Harry's shirt from the middle of the bed and slid it over her head as she was left in the silence.
She showered first thing, cleaning the dried come from her inner thighs as she leaned against the shower wall. Dressing in a blouse and pencil shirt, Hermione stepped into her flats before making her way into the kitchen. Her robes hung on the coat rack beside the Floo. Flicking her wand with a non-verbal incantation, the coffee maker whirred to life.
Normally, she would drink tea as she took her daily potions, but with her lack of sleep the night before, something stronger was a necessity. A smile crept across her face when she noticed Harry had set her potions out for her, and she snatched up the note he'd left her.
Have a great day. I promise I'll be home soon, but I wanted to leave these out for you. Love you.
P.S. Let's get pregnant!
Hermione doubled over as she laughed, giggling uncontrollably as she left the note on their fridge with a sticking charm. The fertility potion was the only one to leave a bad taste in her mouth, which she promptly washed down with hot coffee. The coffee didn't taste all that good mixed with the herbs in the potion.
Four weeks on the anti-depression potion, and she was starting to feel like herself again. Hermione still found herself randomly wanting to take a pregnancy test, but she usually held off since she knew a negative result could send her into another tailspin.
Leaning against the counter, Hermione sipped her coffee as she grabbed a bagel from the cupboard, knocking it shut as she stepped away. There was a tapping on the window above the sink, and Hermione sat her mug on the countertop. The tawny owl ruffled his feathers, allowing her to take the morning's edition of the Daily Prophet. He was treated by the bit of bagel Hermione let him steal since Harry had forgotten to pick up treats again, even though it was on the list.
Picking up her mug once more, Hermione sipped her coffee as she flipped the newspaper over, and opened it. Her mug crashed to the floor, the ceramic splintering, and the scalding liquid soaked her feet and seeped into her flats. A strangled sound ripped free of her as she froze.
DARK MARK CAST OVER SURREY
It went on to theorise that it was must have been a former Death Eater who had been released on probation. The article reassured that there was no third coming of Voldemort, a name that had not struck fear into her heart in several years.
Hermione swallowed. It was no wonder Kingsley hadn't told the Aurors anything as they were called into the Ministry in the middle of the night. She didn't like to think she could be the type to force Harry into something she wanted because she didn't like it, but if she'd known… Hermione had little doubt that she would have pleaded with him to stay home, to stay with her in their warm bed.
That was a ridiculous train of thought. Harry loved his career as an Auror and wishing she could prevent him from performing that job was selfish.
She scrambled for the Floo, tapping her foot impatiently as she waited for it to connect with Daphne's Floo. It didn't. Hermione was left without an answer, and she tried again, this time frantically calling the Burrow.
Molly's face appeared amongst the flames, her features contorting as she recognised Hermione. Before Hermione could get a single word out, Molly interrupted her, "Oh, Hermione!" She cried. "I'm so sorry for being so crass a few weeks ago. I assumed that you weren't trying for children yet, and still, that's no excuse, but—"
She didn't know. God, Molly must not even know. "Molly," Hermione said quietly. "I truly appreciate your apology, but have you seen this morning's edition of the Prophet?"
Molly shook her head.
Hermione summoned the paper into her hand, frowning. "Move, I'm coming through." She stepped through, her shoulder slamming against Molly's by mistake. Neither of them were focused on that when Hermione revealed the cover page. "Have you heard from Daphne?"
Molly's face drained of colour. "She's asleep in Ron's old room. They stayed the night after dinner last night. Ron left this morning but didn't want to wake her. He said it was nothing, just an emergency mission that would be resolved within a few days."
Funny, Harry had told her the exact same thing. Hermione rubbed her eyes, tears already welling up. "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to wake her. She needs to know." She slipped past Molly, climbing the familiar stairs that she had used for years, and lightly rapped her knuckles on the door, but there was no sound from within.
Daphne was sprawled across the bed, the space beside her barren. Her hand was over her stomach, and her other arm tucked beneath her head.
Hermione didn't want to wake her. Taking quiet steps toward the bed so as not to scare Daphne, she took a seat beside Daphne, the bed dipping below her. "Daphne," she whispered, shaking her shoulder lightly. "Wake up."
She cracked one eye open, and then the other flew open as Hermione came into view. "Hermione?"
Her heart was in her throat. "There's a situation." Daphne sat up quickly, her bump clearly showing through her camisole. "Harry and Ron were called away on a mission last night."
Instinctively, Daphne's gaze jerked toward Ron's side of the bed. "He didn't tell me."
"He thought it wasn't bad, and that he'd be home in a few days. He let Molly know, but didn't want to wake you in the middle of the night."
"Oh, God," Daphne gulped. "Are they in St Mungos? We can go—I can be ready in a few minutes."
"I don't know where they are," Hermione whispered. "I assume they're near Surrey. The Dark Mark was cast last night." She opened her arms as Daphne burst into tears and laid her head on Hermione's shoulder.
Hermione ate breakfast at the Burrow, her stomach rolling as Daphne pushed away the food Molly placed in front of her. Despite her world being turned upside down, she had no intention of calling off work either. She borrowed a pair of shoes from Ginny's old closet and disappeared through the Floo while saying she would visit on her lunch break.
The Ministry was always a hive of activity, but she was met with the lingering, pitiful stares that followed her down the corridors to her office.
She sat behind her desk, letting her head fall into her hands the second the door was closed. All that waited for her that day was a mountain of paperwork. It was mostly proposals from different individuals on the payroll of the Department of Magical Creatures that she would either approve to be taken up to the Wizengamot as a possible law, or she'd stamp it with her red seal, and clip a rejection slip to it.
It was so tedious that she managed to forget about Harry and Ron for all of five minutes. It went like that for the entire day. Five minutes of forgetting and ten minutes of worrying.
She visited the Burrow on her lunch, but it was a somber affair. Daphne laid on the couch while watching the charmed telly that Arthur had installed. Molly baked for the majority of the day, sending desserts to all of her children, country lines be damned.
At four o'clock in the afternoon, there was a knock on the office door. "Mrs Potter?" Sophie called. She was an assistant, but not Hermione's. "Do you have a moment?"
Hermione blinked, flipping the file in front of her shut. "Have a seat." Hermione rose to her feet, stretching her hand out, and shaking the young woman's hand. "How may I help you?"
Sophie was fresh out of Hogwarts, a former Hufflepuff that was too nice to refuse picking up everyone's coffee when she announced she was in dire need of a cup. Sophie cleared her throat. "Well, I think I may be of some help to you. My boyfriend works at the Daily Prophet, and he has an inside source upstairs in the DMLE."
Hermione tucked the files away in the middle drawer of her desk. "Inside sources at the DMLE are strictly frowned upon, so I suggest you don't tell me who the source is."
The woman cracked a smile. "Of course not. He doesn't even tell me, but he did show me an advance copy of the edition for tomorrow. I thought you deserved to see it now."
It had been silent over the duration of the day, no information trickling down the grapevine. Hermione grabbed the newspaper that Sophie offered. Her mouth dried as she stared at it. "Merlin."
For once that day, the pitying look that Sophie gave her didn't bother her. "They say Harry Potter is one of the best Aurors in a decade. I'm sure that he's okay." It was meant to be reassuring, but there was no reassuring her.
Not when Hermione held information that revealed an unnamed Auror had been slain in a fight with Dark Wizards, one who evidently possessed the Dark Mark. "Thank you very much. I appreciate you showing this to me." Hermione handed the paper back, already memorising all of the information she needed to know.
It was after one visit to the Minister's office later that Hermione could breathe. He verified that both Harry and Ron were alive, but it was all he could release. Technically, he had added, he wasn't meant to reveal that information regarding Ron since she wasn't his wife, or family, but she was as good as.
Daphne shrunk in on herself with the news. They were alive, and that was the best news that they could have received, but clearly, they were in a precarious situation teetering on the edge of violence.
The mission was meant to last three days, but Hermione hadn't seen her husband in a week. Once Molly's hovering had grown to be insufferable, Daphne had taken up the offer to stay with Hermione. They shared the bed, both anxious only to have someone there. Sometimes Hermione woke up to find Daphne crying in the bathroom and she would sit with her until the sobs subsided.
Sometimes it was the other way around, and Daphne held her hand while whispering things that neither of them quite believed.
But then in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, Hermione made an early dinner. She wasn't sure what had made her sick, the shepherd's pie, which she'd had enough of, or the treacle tart she'd nicked from Harry's stash in the last cupboard on the right.
"You're a bit green." Daphne padded over toward her, lifting her chin. "When did this start?"
Hermione shrugged. "I'm not sure. God, what is that smell?" She covered her nose, bile rising in her throat.
"The pie?" Daphne asked. "Or the treacle tart?" She tested it, bringing the plate to Hermione's face, and there was no reaction. The same could not be said for the treacle tart.
Hermione ripped away from her, dry heaving. "Is it expired?" She stood to check the wrapper, but found that it couldn't have been expired since Harry had purchased it recently. "It's not, but that smells foul. I don't even want to know what it tastes like."
Cocking her head to the side, Daphne said, "Fuck it," and popped the treacle tart into Hermione's mouth.
Hermione ran to the sink, vomiting.
"Alright then," Daphne muttered, holding Hermione's hair. "Sorry about that. Where's your pregnancy test?"
"What?" She gasped.
"I know you have one here, Hermione. Maybe you should take a muggle one first since you're more comfortable with those." Daphne's smile was kind, completely different from the mischievous one she'd given before shoving the treat into Hermione's mouth.
"Bathroom, but I don't think—"
Daphne steered her toward the loo, urging Hermione inside, and waiting outside the door. "I'll be here, okay? Take all the time you need."
The door shut, and Hermione caught her reflection in the mirror. Her skin was pale, and there were dark circles under her eyes due to lack of sleep. Sighing to herself, Hermione took the muggle pregnancy test from the cupboard.
Five minutes later, Hermione was still working up the courage to look at the test. She didn't want to confront another negative result with Harry there, but when had she ever gotten sick from treacle tart before? With trembling fingers, she picked up the test.
She was pregnant.
They were pregnant.
Alright, we've solved one problem and now we have another since obviously we have to have conflict somewhere. There are five chapters left of this short-ish story. Please let me know what you think!
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
Woot, new chapter. Hope you enjoy! Thank you, AlexandraO for beta reading. If you want to pop onto to her AO3 profile, she posted a delicious a/b/o Harmony today, and a super smutty fic for my birthday on Friday. Read her, love her, review her, please and thanks.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Hermione made an appointment with Healer Jones immediately. She'd always thought that Harry would be there for her first appointment and knew that he'd be there without a moment's delay if he could be, but there was still an empty space in her chest as she walked into the office alone. She sat silently, answering routine questions while there was the quiet scratching across the parchment.
Healer Jones let her leave the hospital with little fuss and reminded Hermione not to overexert herself. With her history of stress, it was a worry during pregnancy, and Hermione had plenty to go around with Harry still...somewhere.
He was alive, she knew that much due to Kingsley and her repeated questions to the DMLE. Though Hermione was beginning to think it was all they knew. She spent the evenings reading the book Harry had purchased just days before he was called away, and holding the mobile in her hands.
If anything, she and Daphne had grown infinitely closer compared to what they had been before. They switched off on cooking, though most of the time Hermione couldn't keep anything down. Molly invited them both for dinner, promising that everyone would be there, and she wouldn't hover over Daphne.
Hermione asked Daphne to not let it slip that she was pregnant. Obviously, Harry wouldn't be the first to know, but she wanted him to be the second. Not to mention, if Molly learned of it, everyone would know within the hour because it was good news, which was a sharp contrast to the gloom hanging over their lives.
Ginny pulled her into a tight hug the second they came through the Floo. "Have you heard anything?" She whispered.
She shook her head. "I don't even think the DMLE knows where they are now. If they were attacked, all I can assume is that they're waiting until they can apprehend whoever cast the Dark Mark." Hermione patted Ginny's back before following her into the kitchen.
Arthur sat at the head of the table, the Weasley family clock hanging over his head. "It's so good to see the two of you." Daphne hurried to him, wrapping an arm around her father-in-law and a peck to his cheek. "How is our little one?"
Daphne's smile was genuine. "He's starting to kick me, and he likes to lay on my bladder while I sleep." She took the seat beside Hermione, her knee bumping against Hermione's. "How is work?"
"Not very entertaining," Arthur replied. "Hermione, how are you holding up?"
She picked at the plate Molly set in front of her. "Not very well." She answered, honestly. "I'm worried about where they are, or what's happening to them. A whole team of Aurors have just vanished…" Hermione hadn't planned to talk about it but wasn't surprised as her emotions got the best of her. "Anyways, I'd love to hear about everyone's lives. Ginny?"
Ginny was focused on quidditch and the newest season with the Holyhead Harpies. She and Luna had moved into a flat not far from Hermione and Harry's, and most days she came home to Luna warding the flat against something. The tension lessened while Ginny went on a tirade of nargles, wrackspurts, and elolas—which was something Luna had just recently discovered.
Daphne slept at the Burrow that night, content to give Hermione a night alone to collect herself.
She insisted it wasn't necessary, but Hermione found it was refreshing to take a long soak in the bath while no one else was in the flat. She laid in the warm water, her knees just above the water while staring at the ceiling for close to an hour.
She'd taken six more tests, and performed the charm another eight times before it fully sunk in. There was a tiny baby already growing inside of her. Healer Jones had explained that normally a witch wouldn't know so soon, but due to her fertility potions, she was more prone to nausea. She was three weeks pregnant. Clearly, the fertility potion had worked wonders for her.
As her skin grew pruney, Hermione drained the tub before wrapping a plush robe around her. Too tired after a long day, she only donned one of Harry's old quidditch shirts and curled up on his side of the bed.
The sound of the Floo woke her, and she had her wand in hand before a word left her mouth. Sitting up while turning, Hermione's wand was tight in her grip as she made her way into the living room.
At the sight of the dimly lit figure standing beside the end table, her wand fell to the ground. He reached down, turning the lamp on.
Looking worse for wear, the side of his face painfully bruised, her breath caught in her throat. What happened? Are you okay? were the questions she meant to ask, but they weren't what came out of her mouth at all.
"You said it would be a couple of days!" Hermione cried, her hands shaking as they rose to her mouth. "I thought you were dead! They didn't even know where you were!" Even angry, she flung herself at him.
Harry winced at the impact, combing his fingers through her tangled hair. "I know. I'm so sorry I was gone for so long." His arms tightened around her as she began to sob, and Harry sat on the couch, pulling her into his lap. "Hey, hey, I'm alright, Hermione. A little—alright, a lot banged up, but I'm alive." He murmured the words into her hair, placing a soft kiss on her head.
"I wasn't sure what we were going to do if you didn't come home. I was so certain that you were hurt somewhere, being tortured by…" She broke off, hiccuping.
"Oh, Hermione," Harry brushed the hair that was sticking to her teary face back to get a better look at him. "I won't lie. I'm not in great shape right now, and we can talk about all of that tomorrow, but my only focus was coming home to you. Nothing would have stopped me."
She responded sourly, "A killing curse might have." Hermione lifted her gaze to find his eyes growing dark as he looked at her. There was a cut peeking out from below his shirt, and it appeared to be a long gash. "I wasn't sure what we were going to do if you didn't come home."
"We?" Harry chuckled. "'Mione, even the Weasleys weren't this worried. I admit there was a howler waiting for Ron and me from Molly that we made the mistake of opening in the atrium, but—"
She took a deep breath. "I'm pregnant."
Harry's fingers halted from roaming over the soft flesh of her thighs. "What?" His voice was suddenly hoarse as he gaped at her. "What did you say?"
"I nicked treacle tart from your stash, and it made me vomit. Daphne told me I was pregnant, pushed me into the bathroom to take a test, and it was positive. I made the appointment with Healer Jones for medical confirmation." Hermione blurted. "We're going to be parents. The fertility potion worked."
"Oh, my God." Harry choked. Cradling her face, his thumbs swiping across her cheeks, he stared at her in wonder. "You're pregnant?" He whispered.
She nodded, not trusting her voice. "I must have taken nearly twenty tests." Hermione laughed. "I couldn't believe it. Healer Jones thought it might take months, that we might have to place a request for a medical extension with the Ministry, but—"
Harry kissed her often. He'd ravaged her lips, and lazily kissed her in the morning before work, but he had never been as gentle as he was then.
His lips slid against hers, feather-light, while he stretched up to meet her. Harry winced as her palms slid over his ribs, and she pulled away. "No, give me this," Harry said lightly. "I'm fine."
He wasn't. She knew he wasn't, but she couldn't deny anything he wanted. "I wish you'd been here when I found out." She shivered as his lips roamed her neck.
"Tell me about it," he pleaded. His hand slid under her—his—shirt, palms pressed to her still flat stomach. "Please tell me everything."
"I was catatonic when those two lines appeared. You weren't here, and I was alone. Well, I had Daphne, but she wasn't you." Hermione's voice low beside his ear. "I worried that you wouldn't come home and that I—that we—"
Harry picked her up easily, leaving his bag discarded in the floor. He wrapped her legs around his waist, and she caught the grimace. "Let me carry you."
"Harry, you're injured," Hermione argued. "I can walk. I don't want you to overexert yourself."
He shook his head. "I carried Ron all the way out. Believe me, I can carry you to our bedroom." He cursed under his breath after mistakenly giving more information than he'd meant to.
Her stomach dropped, but she promised herself that she would leave it to be discussed in the morning. "Okay, if you want," Hermione caved. Her hands were everywhere, lightly sliding up his forearms, and over his shoulders. Harry kicked their bedroom door open, laying Hermione in the bed before kicking off his shoes.
"Hermione," he said quietly. "You're going to want to climb out of bed, and patch me up, but I'm fine." He unbuttoned his trousers, unzipping them before letting them fall to his ankles. "A combat medic gave me plenty of pain potions before allowing me to come home. I'm just sore."
She chewed on her bottom lip. "Harry…" All of the oxygen left her lungs as he pulled his shirt off. His chest was nearly completely purple, some bruises were turning yellow beneath newer ones. "What happened to you?"
He crawled onto the bed beside her and pushed her shoulder down to lay beside her. "A lot of things, but we can discuss it in the morning. Come here."
"I don't want to hurt you."
Harry gave a low laugh. "You won't. I'm not asking you to ride me like it's the last time you ever will, Hermione. Which," he added thoughtfully, "even if you did, I would gladly endure that pain."
She almost swatted his chest out of habit. "My second appointment is next week." The best thing she could do was change the subject before she demanded to know what happened. "If you'd like to come."
He nuzzled her hair. "I'd love to. They're not going to release me to return to work for at least a week." Harry's arms circled her waist, pulling her much smaller body into the curve of his. "Say it again."
Hermione smiled, laying her head on his shoulder while he stared down at her. "We're going to be parents."
"Do you think they have a book like yours, but on how to be a good father?" He asked quietly. "I didn't learn anything from mine, you know. Suppose I learned the most important thing from him, which is how to protect your family."
The kiss that followed was slow. It robbed her of breath as he pressed her to the bed, rolling to hover over her and thread their fingers together while her hands were pinned to the bed. "Harry," her voice was muffled. "You're going to be the best father, don't you know that? I've seen you with Teddy."
Harry moved down her body, delirious with happiness, and he kissed her stomach. "Hi."
Hermione propped her head up under her arms. She knew that their baby couldn't hear them yet, but she didn't stop him as he whispered to her belly.
She woke long before Harry. Jotting a quick note and sending it to her assistant, Hermione found herself with a full day to spend at home. She left the flat just after eight, making a trip to an Apothecary in Diagon Alley. She picked up the potions that were written out across the slip of paper Harry had left in his uniform the night before.
While carrying the bottle as vials clinked together, she made her way to the Apparition point before landing in their flat once again. Harry still hadn't stirred. She put the kettle on, ignoring the copy of the Daily Prophet that had been delivered that morning. She knew if she read it that it would reveal parts of the mission Harry had gone on, but she wanted to hear it from him.
No sooner than she'd poured two cups of tea, Harry stumbled around the corner. Wearing only flannel pajamas that were slung low around his hips, her reaction would have been much different if the entirety of his torso wasn't covered in bruises. Hermione sat her mug down, closing the space between them. "It looks much worse in the light."
There was a long cut, mostly healed, that led from the left side of his chest down in an arc to his ribs on the right. "Yeah."
She motioned toward the table. "Have a seat. I'll bring you some tea and your potions." Hermione took the seat across from him, handing him the two potions he was meant to take each morning. "What happened in Surrey?"
He lifted a finger while swallowing both potions. "Fuck, those taste terrible. As you've probably learned, the Dark Mark was cast by a Death Eater. There was only one of them, and it was Lucius Malfoy. They should have never let him off with probation. His wife? Fine. Draco? I testified for him. Lucius Malfoy is rotten to the core."
"Perhaps they'll give him a proper sentencing now." Hermione gripped her cup with both hands, blowing on her tea.
Harry took a long drink, gulping. "That won't be necessary. He's dead." He said with finality. "I'm to report with the DMLE shrink for eight weeks."
She almost dropped her cup. "You…?"
He nodded. "It was touch and go after the Dark Mark was cast. Officially, I shouldn't be telling you this. Unofficially, you're my wife, and I'll tell you whatever I want. Three muggles in Surrey were found dead. The details aren't important, but we partially Obliviated the muggle who found them. No one needs to remember that.
"We located where they were hiding in a house that was falling apart and went in." It was part of his job, she reminded herself, but she imagined Harry walked into that, and couldn't stomach it. "Ron and Davies took the second floor. Ron came flying down the stairs within minutes, holding Davies over his shoulder."
Her foot bumped his under the table. "I saw that he'd been killed while on the mission."
"It was a curse that severed his carotid. He was dead within minutes." He took another drink. "We were watching for several days. They were too cocky, wouldn't move from where we had found them. Eventually, the Ministry gave the order to go in and use any means necessary." Harry rolled his shoulders. "The wizards with him with sympathizers, and from what we saw inside the basement, they were planning an attempt to resurrect Voldemort."
Her cup did crash to the floor then. "That's not possible."
"No, it's not, but that won't stop anyone from trying," Harry said. "Ron went for Lucius while I cuffed one of the others. Never seen any of them before Malfoy scraped them out of whatever barrel he found them in. There was a wand on Ron, and I knew that Lucius would kill him. I'd like to say I didn't have a choice so I could let go of my twisted sense of guilt, but I made my choice."
Hermione reached across to take his hand into hers.
"I'd make it again. I wouldn't have forgiven myself if I had come home to you and he hadn't come home to Daphne. Still, he was hit with a crucio." Harry was calm while drinking his tea. "You took the day off?"
She nodded. "I wanted to be home with you. The department is going to go on without me just like normal." Hermione accepted the bitterness in her voice. She wasn't enjoying her place in the Department of Magical Creatures as much anymore, but she didn't want to bring up to Harry just yet. "You should rest."
He shook his head. "What would you like to do? I'm only sore, Hermione. It's fine."
Hermione glanced at the clock. "You're sure? We can do it once you're fully healed if you prefer." He only gave her a look. "I'd like to go shopping for things for the baby. If we've already taken the day off, and you're okay, then…"
Harry's grin was blinding. "I'll get dressed."
Crib? Check. Too many nappies to fathom using? Check. Baby clothes? Not quite since they didn't know the gender.
Lunch ruined by a rude reporter? Absolutely fucking check.
Daphne and Ron met them at a small cafe in Diagon Alley for lunch. Daphne hardly ate anything due to an onset of nausea, so she settled for a glass of water and side of chips in hopes she might keep them down.
"I'm so glad I can finally talk about it now." Daphne sighed. "Where's Harry? I wanted to thank him for saving Ron."
"In the loo," Hermione answered. "He told you everything then?" Her eyes flicked to Ron who stood at the counter, gathering up a second plate of chips that he knew Daphne would want. "It's terrifying."
Daphne nodded. "Absolutely. I think he's going to resign from the Aurors before his leave ends. Don't let it slip to Harry yet since he's still making up his mind."
In a traitorous moment, Hermione found herself wishing that Harry would do the same even though it wasn't fair. "I understand. Oh! Here he comes."
The blonde sprung up from her seat, throwing her arms around Harry's neck. "Thank you for bringing him home," Daphne said, pressing a kiss to Harry's cheek. "Oh, thank God." She snatched the extra plate of chips from Ron as he returned. "I'm famished, and if I can't keep these down, I will be so cross. All I want are chips."
"I'm not looking forward to the morning sickness. So far, it's just treacle tarts and bacon that make me sick." She was put out about the bacon, not so much the treacle tart. "But—"
"You're pregnant?" There was a screeching voice behind her that made it abundantly clear to everyone in the cafe. Harry's hand gripped her thigh as they turned around. Rita Skeeter, floating quill and all, stood behind them. "Oh, this is marvellous! How far along are you, Mrs Potter?"
Hermione swallowed. "Three weeks." Noting the disbelief, she added, "Fertility potions."
Rita smiled, and it wasn't quite as toxic as the ones she'd given in the past. "Wonderful! I'm sure you're eager to get out of the first trimester. That's the most worrisome of them all."
In truth, Hermione hadn't thought of it since she'd done a rather good job of not looking into things that would induce her panic. "We're just eager to have the baby," Hermione said clearly.
Rita looked to Ron, and Daphne before the curve of her lips became cruel. "How do you feel about it, Mrs Weasley? Your husband is still such close friends with his own ex, and now you're striking up a friendship. A bit of advice, love—"
Daphne's eyes sharpened, and Hermione was reminded the woman had been in Slytherin, likely for a reason. She slid her hair closer to Hermione, looping her arm through Hermione's. "How do I feel about it? I feel like I can't wait for our children to be best friends." There's a snap of a camera.
Rita turned her nose up and stormed away.
Okay, so note here. We're in the endgame of this fic. Originally I thought it would be 16 chapters, but it's going to be fifteen. Eleven is written, and I'll endeavor to write the last four before the end of the month. I'd love to read your comments if you have time to leave one!
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
Tbh, I'm kind of impressed with myself for the recent regular updates. I have already written chapter twelve, and will likely upload that once I've written chapter thirteen so I can stay ahead. Thank you to AlexandraO for editing, and making me happy with all her comments in the doc! I hope you'll enjoy this chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Two months into her pregnancy, Hermione woke every morning at six o'clock. This morning was no different. Clapping a hand over her mouth as she rushed for the bathroom, her stomach churned, and she counted herself lucky she made it before she threw up. She coughed, wishing she'd had the sense to cast a silencing charm before throwing up the remnants of her dinner from the night before.
"Morning," Harry yawned behind her.
Hermione wiped her mouth, reaching up to flush the toilet. "How many times have I told you to stay out? I'd like to vomit in private, thank you." She took his outstretched hand as he helped her to her feet. "Thank you." She said as he held out her toothbrush.
His hair was sticking up in every direction. Harry's pajama bottoms were slung low on his hips, low enough that she would have tugged them down if she hadn't wanted to get the vile taste out of her mouth first. He never wore a shirt to bed, and across his chest, her eyes dropped to the vicious scar that had been left after his mission months earlier.
"Have you seen Ron recently?" Hermione asked, popping her toothbrush into her mouth. While she'd seen Daphne twice for lunch in the last week, Ron had stayed busy at the shop with George.
Harry shook his head. "I dropped by the shop last week while responding to a disturbance call, but it was packed, and he was the only one working. I waved, and left."
She nodded, leaning down to spit into the sink. "Is he happy with his decision to leave the Aurors?"
He shrugged, rolling his shoulders. "He hasn't told me otherwise, but I know Daphne is relieved. Even before we left that night, he said her face would fall every time he left in the morning."
She could imagine, knowing that would be exactly how she felt within an hour. "That's good. We should invite them for dinner soon. Maybe this weekend?"
Harry pressed a kiss to her temple after wiping his mouth. "I'll owl Ron to let him know. How do you feel about breakfast."
She glared. "I'll just eat some crackers."
He gave her a look. "Healer Jones said—"
The door hit the wall by mistake as she left the room. "That I need proper nutrition," Hermione deadpanned. "I know, and I will eat at lunch."
He heaved a sigh, one that did not go unnoticed by her. "I'll come by your office with lunch then." Harry's fingers brushed her spine as she dug through their wardrobe. He plucked a blouse off of the hanger and handed it to her. "Wear this one."
The navy blue blouse was one of her favorites, but she hadn't worn it once since she started showing. "I think I'd rather wear something looser. While the whole world knows I'm pregnant, I really just look fat right now."
Harry spluttered. "Fat?" He echoed.
She arched an eyebrow. "That's what I said, isn't it?"
"Hermione, you're not fat." Harry took a quick step forward, lifting the shirt she wore by the hem and pulled it over her head. Before she could ask just what he was doing, Harry dropped to his knees in front of her. He smoothed a hand over her belly, over the slight swell that indicated she was pregnant. "You're beautiful."
She combed her fingers through his hair. "Thank you, but you're biased. I'm pregnant, Harry. I'm going to gain weight, but I'm not…"
His eyes were bright as he stared up at her, pressing soft kisses to her belly. "You're not what?"
It was so silly, and she wished she'd just agreed to wear the blouse he picked. "I'm not glowing," Hermione muttered. "Haven't you seen Daphne?"
Harry remained silent, looking at her incredulously. "You're kidding." He grabbed the blouse from her hands, letting the fabric fall through his hands. "I understand if you're not comfortable wearing this, but I think you should. I think you'll be surprised by how much you're 'glowing'."
She mumbled an agreement under her breath, donning the blouse and turning for him to zip it in the back.
Hermione tapped her quill against her desk. She swallowed, her eyes darting toward the letter that had been delivered that morning. The seal was immediately recognisable. Sighing, she opened the parcel, peeling the seal from the envelope before unfolding the letter. It was quite short and to the point.
Professor Flitwick was planning to retire within the next few years, Hermione learned, and Professor McGonagall was already preparing for his replacement.
She dropped the job offer as if it burned to the touch. Sure, she hadn't been happy in her Ministry position for some time, but Hermione hadn't anticipated doing anything about that. For Merlin's sake, she hadn't even told Harry, and she certainly didn't want to drop the news on him that she wanted to be a professor at Hogwarts.
There were three knocks on her door, each in a different rhythm than the last, and she scrambled to fold the offer before Harry stepped inside. "Are you ready?" He asked.
She slid the letter into the middle drawer of her desk and nodded. "Where would you like to go?" Hermione stood from her desk, hanging her bleak robes over the back of her chair. "I definitely can't eat Indian again. The heartburn is terrible."
Harry nodded toward the door. "Just follow me. You'll like lunch, I promise." His fingers threaded through hers as they exited her office. The corridor was loud, multiple employees hurrying through the Ministry as papers whipped all around them while on a venture of their own. Harry pressed his hand to the small of her back, ushering her into the lift.
Leaning with her back against the wall, the rickety lift began its descent. There was a frown solidly in place on Harry's face, and since there was no one in the lift, she asked, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong." He replied quickly, crossing one leg over the other while tucking his hands into his pockets. "We'll talk about it outside the Ministry."
Hermione's mouth snapped shut. It sounded ominous. They crossed the atrium in a hurry, her hand clasped in his. Hermione was accustomed to staring, especially after the war, but nowadays she found complete strangers staring at her stomach.
As was her habit, Hermione laid her free hand across her stomach. "Are we Apparating?"
Harry dragged his fingers through his hair, dishevelling it. "Can you Apparate?"
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, I can. Healer Jones only said I shouldn't use Apparition once I'm into my third trimester since it can trigger early labor. I'm only two months." At his hesitancy, she added, "Harry, I promise it's fine. I wouldn't endanger our baby either."
Pulling her into the curve of his body, Harry kissed her temple before they spun away.
Her lips parted as she spotted the picnic blanket. "You—" Hermione cupped his face and kissed him while laughing. "I'm shocked you could keep this a secret."
His arms came around her, and he cradled the back of her head. "It was dreadful. You've been having a rough go of it lately." He chuckled when her hands slipped below his uniform. "If you don't quit that, we won't eat lunch at all."
Hermione didn't mind. They were completely alone as it was. "Fine by me." She murmured.
"This is a bad idea." Harry didn't sound convinced himself as her fingers traced the line of hair leading into his trousers.
"What are you going to do, get me pregnant again?" Hermione snarked. Her own giggle bubbled up as he burst into laughter. "Alright, you're probably right. We shouldn't shag where anyone could technically appear."
"I can cast a strong Notice-Me-Not." Harry joked. He led her to the blanket, sitting across from her as she eagerly pulled the basket to her. "Hungry?"
She looked at him before replying, "I'm always hungry at this point. I'm going to look like a whale."
"A very nice whale."
"Harry!" She threw her wand at him.
"You could have put my eye out!" Harry exclaimed, even though they both knew that couldn't have been a possibility with the way he plucked her wand out of the air with an open hand. "You don't look like a whale."
"Not yet." She muttered. Hermione took a bite out of her sandwich and pushed the basket toward him. "Call me a whale again, and I don't know what I'll do, but it won't be pleasant."
"I didn't call you a whale." Harry insisted, but let it go as he realised it was a losing battle. "How is your day so far?"
Hermione swallowed. "Dreadfully boring. I've signed so many documents today that my hand cramped. Yours?"
He scratched the back of his neck. "Boot and I had to patrol Knockturn Alley earlier this morning."
"Did anything happen?"
He shook his head while pulling grass from the ground. The wind blew the grass across the blanket while she waited for an answer. "Nothing exciting. There was a drunk stumbling around, and yelling about his wife leaving him."
She snorted. "Lovely."
"Kinglsey called me to his office though, just before I came to your office actually." His tone had changed, and she was surprised by that. "Amelia Bones is currently on leave, or she would have given me the news." He exhaled before continuing, and her stomach twisted. "They're offering me a promotion inside of the DMLE."
It felt like the air had been knocked out of her. She didn't want to think about this. Hermione didn't want to blurt just what she thought of the promotion when he inevitably asked her. Her voice was tight, but she hoped he didn't notice. "That's great. Isn't that what you wanted?"
Harry didn't smile. "It used to be, but if I accept I'll be away from home more than I have been. It's likely to be back to back missions similar to the one in Surrey. Hermione, it's an off the books position."
Her sandwich fell to the blanket. "I don't understand."
"I would be hunting Dark Wizards, Hermione."
Her vision swam, and she just wanted to remain calm. "This isn't something the Aurors typically publicise, is it?"
He shook his head. "There aren't many Death Eaters loose now, but there are several individuals that are monitored. It's a dangerous job."
Then why are you considering it? We have a baby on the way. How can you— Hermione cleared her throat, breaking off pieces of her sandwich for the birds that were nearby. "Is this what you want to do?" Her eyes filled with tears she couldn't control, and she looked away from him.
He crawled across the blanket to sit next to her. "Hey," Harry coaxed, lifting her chin with one finger. "I want to know what you think about this. We're a team, Hermione. I want you to know that your opinion matters to me. If you tell me you don't want this, then I won't do it. It's as simple as that."
As simple as that.
"I don't like it," Hermione said slowly. "I'm sure you can understand why. We have a baby on the way, and the second you told me you would be searching for Dark Wizards, all I could imagine was burying you."
His breath caught beside her ear. "Hermione—"
"Would you let me finish?" She asked quietly, fidgeting with her fingernails. "I want to support you in every single thing you do, Harry. If this is what you want to do, then I support you. I may need some time to adjust, and it's terrible timing really. God, I would be alone at any given notice with a newborn, and while I have no worries about that, I just—" She choked on a sob. "I hate this, Harry."
"Hate what?" He rubbed her back.
"I hate that I'm emotional all of the time. I don't have control over my own emotions, and I'm constantly blubbering over everything." He massaged her shoulder, and she laid her cheek on his hand. "I don't want to live without you, and knowing that it's more likely to happen with this promotion, it guts me."
"I'll refuse it then."
It was that easy, she thought, and she wondered how Harry would take it if she admitted that she wanted him to leave the Aurors altogether.
With her hormones seeming to grow more and more volatile by the week, Hermione followed suit. In the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday, she had spent most of her morning cleaning their flat. Daphne and Ron would be over at six for dinner.
"Hermione," he stressed her name. His arms were full of groceries, and he set them on the counter. "Hermione!" Harry snapped, and the colour drained from his face as she glared at him. "Ron and Daphne aren't going to care how clean our flat is. What do you think they're going to do, run their finger across the top shelves and check for dust?"
"They won't care, but I care. This flat hasn't been properly cleaned since you moved in." Hermione replied flippantly while waving her wand and cleaning the baseboards.
"Are you blaming me for it being messy?"
Multiple pairs of underwear whipped around the corner as Hermione summoned them. "All of these were dirty, Harry. And all of them were left behind the bathroom door."
His cheeks flushed as he gathered them. "Alright, you've made your point. I'll do better."
Hours later, after she had cleaned every surface and done six loads of laundry, Hermione's mood had not improved. She muttered under her breath that help would be nice, and she knew that Harry was only doing much-needed paperwork in the living room.
"Can you please not bring work home with you?" Hermione asked, wincing as her voice came out too harshly. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound rude."
He arched a brow. "Do you mean just now, or the entire afternoon?"
She turned on her heel and spent the rest of the day in their bedroom reading.
The following morning, they hadn't discussed what she considered to be a little fight. Their first, actually. She woke long before Harry did, finding that her nausea had not made an appearance that morning. Hermione put the kettle on, knowing it wouldn't be long before he rolled out of bed himself, and she blew on her cup of coffee while reading the Daily Prophet.
"I'm sorry I acted like a prat," Harry said.
She lowered her newspaper. "I'm sorry for blaming you for everything yesterday, and I know you needed to complete those reports."
He sunk into the seat across from her. "No, I think you were onto something. I know our careers take up a lot of our lives, but there's no reason to bring them home. I should have helped you clean yesterday. It was important to you, and I brushed it off."
Her coffee scalded her tongue as she took a drink too soon. "Thank you, I appreciate that." Hermione made a decision that she had been debating for the last week, and all morning, and pushed the letter from McGonagall across the table. "I need to discuss something with you. I haven't enjoyed my position in the Ministry for some time now, shortly after we married actually."
Harry picked up the letter, his eyes widening at the sight of the seal. "Did McGonagall send you a job offer?" He asked in disbelief.
She nodded, clutching her mug. "Last week. I put it away since I wasn't sure if it was something that interested me at all, but I've decided that it does. What do you think?"
He withdrew the letter, scanning its contents before letting it float to the table. "I think you would be a brilliant professor, 'Mione."
She grinned, taking a sip of her coffee. "Professor Flitwick isn't retiring for a few years as you read, and that's the next thing I wanted to discuss. I'll completely understand if you disagree, but it's taken me quite a bit of work to ask, so what do you think of me staying home for a few years? I don't want someone else to raise our child."
"Absolutely you can stay home," Harry answered in an instant. "You can stay home forever if you like."
Hermione laughed, her hair falling into her face. "Oh, I don't know about that, but I would like to be home until Professor Flitwick officially retires. I wouldn't be leaving the Ministry just yet. I would lose my mind, but I know this isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life." It came as a shock to finally say it out loud.
"While we're on the subject, I have something to tell you. I received an owl from McGonagall yesterday morning."
Her mouth dried. Surely he didn't mean…
"They're looking for a new, permanent, Defence professor. Imagine my surprise when you told me she'd offered you a job as well."
She almost dropped her mug. "You're considering it?" Hermione's voice was weak. "Harry?"
"I've already made up my mind actually." He smirked, sipping his tea. "I'm sure you won't mind my decision since you'll be there as well."
Her heart threatened to beat out of her chest. "But you love being an Auror," Hermione argued. God, she didn't want him to choose this just because of her.
He set his cup on the table with a thud. "'Mione, I love you so much more. You're terrified every time I leave through the Floo. I see how you sigh in relief when I come home."
She slumped in her seat. And here she thought she'd been successful in hiding her opinions. "I don't want to be the reason you leave, Harry. You've always wanted to be an Auror."
Harry rose from his seat and knelt before her. He gathered her hands in his and kissed each of her knuckles. "My dad was an Auror when he was my age. I bet my mum was just as scared as you are, and," His palm settled over her growing stomach. "I know what it's like to live without my parents. I would never want that to happen to my child."
Her eyes watered as she smiled down at him. Her wedding ring glinted beneath the lights of their kitchen while she slid her fingers through his hair. "I love you so much," she murmured.
He kissed her stomach, his hands running up her legs. "I love you too. I'd do anything to make you happy, Hermione. Plus," Harry glanced up. "Can you imagine all of the cupboards we could take advantage of being at Hogwarts again?" He asked, wickedly.
Whoomp, there it is. Please review and tell me what you think. Only four chapters left now!
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
All my love to AlexandraO for editing this today. There are only three chapters left after this one, and the next fast-forwards through Hermione's pregnancy, and then we get all the sweet domesticity that I wrote this for lol. I hope you enjoy this chapter.
Note: There were some continuity errors in the beginning of Serendipity, meaning my timeline was all fucked up. Since most of you wouldn't be rereading it at this point, please keep in mind that Hermione and Harry married in February (the law went into effect in January) and Hermione conceives at the beginning of May. I kind of doubt that anyone is going to notice my mistake unless they reread before I fixed it, but just wanted to point it out!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
He dumped the paperwork unceremoniously onto her desk, and parchment flew in every which direction. Wearing a grin that stretched across his face, Harry braced his palms on the edge of the desk and leaned forward.
Hermione arched an eyebrow. "What is this, and why is it now covering the newest legislation?"
Harry snorted. "Because I think you'll like this much more than your legislation, though I'm sure it's a very important legislation."
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, it is." Hermione waved her wand, stacking the papers he'd thrown onto her desk before pushing them toward a photograph of them that sat on her corner. "So you will have to wait. Have a seat, Potter."
"Have a seat, Potter," Harry mumbled under his breath.
"I am sitting."
"I was mocking you." Harry's fingers stilled on the edge of the armchair. "Wait!"
Hermione scribbled her signature across the bottom of the weekly agenda before reading a new law that was to be introduced by Amos Diggory that afternoon. "You shouldn't mock your pregnant wife." She said nonchalantly. "It's rude." With one last signature, and telling herself that she would review everything else after Harry left, she leaned back in her chair.
Harry wore plain clothes, jeans that had come out of the wash that morning, and a t-shirt that favoured above his others. "So…" He pointed toward the stack of papers. "I wanted you to hear it from me, and the news will travel fast."
Unsure what to make of his words, she turned over the first blank page. Hermione held a title page in her hands, and the insignia of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement embossed across the front of it. "Harry, what did you do?"
His face splitting grin returned. "A little of this, a little of that, you know." He waved a hand, and she was sorely tempted to kick him in the shin.
On the second page, Hermione realised just what she was holding. The official discharge papers for Harry James Potter floated to her desk, slipping easily from her hands, and she gaped at him. "I thought you were going to wait?"
He shrugged. "What is there to wait for? McGonagall needs a professor for this year, and the farther you get into your pregnancy, the more I worry how the stress of me leaving may hurt you, or him."
She laughed, letting her head fall into her hands so she could wipe the tears away that formed at the corners of her eyes. "Harry, it could be a boy or a girl. We don't know yet. That appointment is several weeks away."
The corner of his lips twitched. "Why don't we perform the spell right now then so I can prove that I'm right? You're a capable witch, sweetheart. Go ahead and cast it."
She flushed in part from the compliment, but it was the term of endearment that did her in. Harry only ever whispered it in her ear when he was buried inside of her, or pushing her farther and farther toward her orgasm. Swallowing as she tapped her fingers against the desk, Hermione crossed her legs. "No, I want to wait."
He groaned and slumped in his chair. "Fuck, I thought that would work."
The news of Harry's early retirement spread quickly. By the end of the day, everyone in the DMLE knew, and Hermione received odd looks as she hurried toward the Floo. By the end of the week, it was slated for Monday's edition of the Daily Prophet.
Hermione read the headline out of curiosity and then set it on fire to the title page in the kitchen sink. Still the centre of attention even after the war, Harry still hated to see his name in the press. Considering she woke before him most mornings, it was easy to make sure he never saw it.
She returned to the dining room table, crossing her legs while she smoothed out the morning's ads. Circling each that drew her interest, or could interest Harry, she spent a half-hour that way.
"Where are your pants?"
Hermione glanced up. "In the hamper," she replied. "I'm hot, so I'm not wearing any."
As he did every morning, Harry kissed the top of her head. "What are you looking at?"
"Hogsmeade listings," she said softly. "Did you know that professors normally have to live in the castle?"
He hummed a response.
"Professor McGonagall Floo called me earlier this week while you were away training new Aurors. She informed me that we could share quarters in the castle, or if we wanted to live in Hogsmeade since we're expecting, that would be acceptable. Encouraged, even."
Harry took the paper from her, throwing himself into his seat. "This chair is going to break one of these days."
"There's a three-bedroom that sounds promising."
That was at the top of her list, for several reasons. "You think so?"
Harry nodded. "I don't know if you want another child, but the extra space would be nice."
"Do you want to see it today? They're available for showings throughout the week until five." She crosses her legs beneath the table. "Unless you'd like some time to think about it."
He shook his head. Harry stood, abandoning the paper and holding out his hand. "I'd love to, but first…" he tugged her down the hallway, threading his fingers through hers. "I ran a bath for you before I came to the table."
Hermione's heart clenched.
"You haven't been taking time to yourself." He murmured, his lips sliding down her neck while he pulled his shirt over her head. Harry groaned when she was left completely bare, and cupped her breasts, his thumb sliding across her nipples.
She sucked in a breath. "Sensitive!"
He guided her to the tub, holding her hand while she stepped in.
Hermione looked over her shoulder. "Well, are you going to join me?"
Ms Smith was a no-nonsense witch, not at all struck by the sight of Harry Potter and his lightning bolt scar, and Harry said they would take the property before they had gotten through an entire tour.
Hermione loved the little nook style office in the back of the house, and she adored the bay window that she could crawl into while nursing, or reading, or possibly both that was installed inside the living room.
Harry dropped the original set of keys into her waiting palm. "What's wrong?"
She knew that her face had dropped, but she'd hoped he wouldn't notice. "I don't want to return to work now. All I want to do is move everything and clean."
He chuckled. "We can start this weekend, and be completely moved by the first week of July."
Truly, it was only a few weeks away, and it shouldn't bother her, but she was just so impatient. "You're right." Hermione sat in the bay window, the warm glass pane pressing into her back. "I love it here."
Harry leaned against the wall to her right, licking one leg over the other. "Hey, Hermione?" He asked after a long pause.
Still staring at the flowerbed below the window, she replied, "what?"
"Do you want to go ahead and resign from the Ministry?"
Her head snapped up, her eyes wide. "I thought we agreed I wouldn't do that until I was farther along?"
The corner of his mouth twitched while he slid his fingers through his hair. "I know what we agreed, but what do you want? I see how you dread going to work each day."
Hermione swallowed. "I should keep working. It's best to have a steady source of income until you start at Hogwarts." Her fingers trailed along the window sill, and there wasn't a speck of dust. "I'll resign when we agreed." She said with what she hoped was an air of finality.
He quirked an eyebrow, and she knew Harry had seen right through her. "Hermione," he sighed. Harry wedged himself into the small space beside her. "You can't be serious."
"What do you mean?" Hermione muttered. "You've retired from the Aurors, and the new term won't start for three months. There's no way that I can sit at home for that long while doing nothing! I'll go mental!"
"I think you've already done that, love." He chuckled. "'Mione, you don't need to stay in a job you've grown to hate."
He put his finger to her lips, shushing her. "Listen to me for a moment. Have you completely forgotten how much is sitting in our vault?"
Well, she didn't think about it often, but that was because it wasn't hers. "That's your vault, Harry. It belonged to your parents."
He nodded. "It belonged to my grandparents, and then it belonged to my father, and his wife, who he added to the vault. Do you understand what I'm saying? You're already added to the vault. It's just as much yours as it is mine."
A sharp breath left her, and she pinched the bridge of her nose. "I know you've added my name, but my point is that I don't want to be someone who has their husband pay for everything, and-" Her point was cut short when he placed a chaste kiss to her lips. "Harry, you can't just kiss me to-"
His fingers knotted in her hair as he deepened the kiss, his tongue tracing the seam of her lips. "I think I can."
She bit his bottom lip. "No, you can't! Harry, I don't want to be dependent, I-"
He lifted her into his lap easily, his muscles flexing in his biceps. "No one would ever think you're a dependent witch. Even if you take time off, you're still as independent as you've ever been." Harry murmured, tilting her chin up with his knuckle.
Hermione deflated, her shoulders slipping and she clasped her hands in her lap. "It doesn't feel that way. It bothers me knowing what everyone would think. I'm Hermione Granger,"
He grinned at her former name. It was a heated discussion between the two of them because she was still proud of her heritage, despite now having a wizarding name.
"And everyone expects-"
Harry tended to cut her off mid-sentence, frequently, with valid points. "Everyone expected, still expects me to become the youngest Head Auror in a century. Should I do that anyway, even though it's not what my wife or I want?"
Heat flooded her cheeks. "It's different, Harry."
He shook his head. "It's not so different; you just think it is because you want me to be free to do whatever I want, but you're limiting yourself. Just tell me the truth, do you want to leave the Ministry now?"
She nearly gnawed a hole through her cheek. "What would I do every day? I need something to do, Harry."
His hands slid up her thighs. "You haven't taken a break in…you've never taken a break. We went on the Horcrux Hunt, and then when the war ended, you went back to Hogwarts for another year. You were a brilliant Head Girl and finished top of your class. After graduation, you applied for the Ministry while insisting that they treat you as any other applicant. Afterwards, you accused them of favouring you because it had been so easy, and it took myself, Ron, three senior department heads, and fucking Kingsley, the Minister of Magic to convince you that it was due to your long list of qualifications."
Hermione's mouth fell open. Not once had any scolded her while listing of her accomplishments, and she wasn't sure if she should feel chastised, or flattered. "Harry-"
Shaking his head once more, he said, "I'm not done. Now you've worked through the past four years to become a Department Head. Hermione, it's been non-stop."
"I like it." She said weakly. "Taking a break wasn't in my plans."
"Neither was marrying me," Harry said. "Neither was this pregnancy, but here we are. Plans change, Hermione. You don't need permission to take a break, or to be at home from anyone but yourself."
She swallowed, knowing that he was right. "Thank you," Hermione whispered.
"Now, please tell me if you want to resign early," Harry pleaded.
Her gaze strayed to just over his shoulder and out into the garden before she nodded. "Yes, I want to resign. I'll put my papers in tomorrow."
Harry's grin was bright as he hugged her tightly, massaging her lower back. "That's my girl."
She snorted. "You sound happier than I am."
"What could make me happier than being able to see my wife any time of the day I want?"
A month later, Hermione was pleased to say that she was no longer an employee for the Ministry of Magic. Leaving her office for the final time while clutching the nameplate that she'd coveted ever since entering the building had been difficult. Her office was clear of anything belonging to her, and it reverted into a blank slate for the next Department Head.
Kingsley considered asking her to stay on long enough to train her replacement but accepted that this was long overdue. Her co-workers hosted a farewell party for her, complete with cake, and shots of firewhisky that shouldn't have been in the breakroom, and Hermione stifled a laugh when they realised she couldn't drink. It hadn't prevented anyone else, and they each picked up a Sober-Up Potion as they filed out the door.
Arriving home, there was another party hosted in her honour, but it was much smaller. Hermione enjoyed the time spent with Daphne, Ron, Ginny, and Luna while Harry sat at her side. Luna was pregnant now and explained the finer aspects of the process of magical insemination.
Truthfully, Ginny snorted in her drink when Luna explained it arse backwards, and Hermione didn't make a comment while giggling.
Harry gave her a full body massage that night, leaving her trembling as he worked his way up and down both legs until she was a stuttering mess.
After an hour in bed that would leave her sore the next morning, Hermione rose from the bed while Harry slept. Drool trickled down his chin, and she left him while containing her laughter.
Inside the office, Hermione let the door click into place and stood for a long moment in front of it. It was decorated how she wanted. There was a desk where natural light would stream through the wispy curtains Daphne gifted her. The walls held built-in bookshelves with a ladder that would go all the way around. It was a gift from Harry since it'd been installed before she had thought of it.
Only in a few months times, she wouldn't trust herself to be at the top of it anymore.
Hermione padded across the room, unzipping the bag that sat in her chair. Withdrawing her nameplate, and running her fingers across it, she sighed. It was the best choice, and there was an undeniable weight lifted from her shoulders. She clutched it tightly while pulling her Order of Merlin from the bag. It had sat on the wall behind her desk in her office.
Two steps from her desk, there was an empty shelf at eye level. She placed the nameplate there and cast a charm to suspend the Order of Merlin just above the shelf.
It seemed silly, she thought, but it meant something to her.
Hermione was a wife now, soon to be a mother, but Harry frequently reminded her she was so much more than that.
A smile curved her lips as she turned away. Even being Hermione Potter, Hermione Granger was a mindset she never intended to let go of.
In the middle of August, it was stifling. The air conditioning charms in their home were failing, and it had taken longer than she liked to fix the problem. In the forced proximity and the sweltering heat, her husband snapped at her that he was bloody well trying.
She didn't care for his tone and knew she should have let it go, but didn't.
Sometime later, Harry called, "Do you mind bringing me a glass of water?"
The charms were solidly back in place, so she didn't feel guilty. Hermione walked into the living room and set a glass of ice in front of him. At his quizzical glance, she muttered, "Wait."
He apologised, and so did she because her little outburst was embarrassing.
"Harry?" Hermione said, leaning outside where he sat on the steps. "I'm going to a shop. I'll be back soon."
His eyes went over her. She wasn't dressed to go anywhere, already dressed in pajama bottoms and a loose-fitting shirt that belonged to him since all of her clothing felt too constricting.
"Where are you going?"
"Ice cream shop." She replied, not missing a beat even when he looked baffled. "Don't look at me like that. Your kid wants ice cream."
Harry snorted, climbing to his feet. "Oh, my kid now?"
She put her hands on her hips. "Yes, he wants mint chocolate chip from the muggle shop my Dad took me to when I was a child."
He openly gaped at her then. "You want to go into the muggle world for ice cream?"
Hermione expected this response. She rolled her eyes and turned on her heel. "It's not just any ice cream, it's the best ice cream, and they close in a half hour!"
"You don't even have muggle money!" Harry cried out, following her through the house while she grabbed a light jacket. "You're in your pajamas."
"Keen eye, Potter."
He howled with laughter. "I don't like your tone, Potter." Harry slid his arms around her middle. "Stay home, and let me get it, okay? I'll pick it up for you."
While this was what she'd wanted all along, Hermione was careful not to let him know that. "You're just worried about me getting mugged in London."
His breath blew past her ear while he kissed her neck. "It's late, Hermione."
He was right, of course. "Let me grab you the money, and you can go. Shouldn't take too long, just fifteen minutes." Hermione quickly slipped out of his grip and rifled through her handbag on the counter.
He was gawking at her. "That was too easy. You wanted me to go all along, didn't you!" Harry accused.
"Right in one. It's late, Harry." She stressed, grinning ear to ear. "I'll go with you if you like?"
He shook his head, pocketing the money. Harry kissed her before disappearing in front of her with the sound of Apparition echoing in his wake.
Hermione waited patiently, perched on the sofa with the third book she'd bought on parenting. The back cover promised to detail the habits of successful magical children, and what provided the most nurturing environment. She wasn't worried about the second, but she wanted to learn all she could. Asking Molly was her last resort. As much as the woman meant well, she treated as an opportunity to raise another child instead of just offering advice.
She tried not to focus on the fact that Harry had been gone for well over an hour. He was fine, she reassured herself. Even if he were the unlikely victim of some terrible incident, she would pity the other party when it came to Harry.
She flipped to page one-hundred-and-six just as he landed in the kitchen.
Hermione bookmarked her place and hopped off of the couch. "What took you so…."
At least twenty bags were sitting on their kitchen island, a pretty white and black one she picked out when they moved.
He stood sheepishly in front all of it, rubbing the back of his neck while clutching a piece of paper in his hand. "I have good news, and I have bad news."
She spluttered, "What did you do, buy me an ice cream parlor?"
Harry fell scarily quiet, and she feared that he had. "For a moment I thought about it, but do you want the good news or the bad news?"
"Featherston's Parlor was out of mint chocolate chip, and believe me, he searched everywhere. He remembered you, and we had a rather interesting conversation about how I was desperate because you're pregnant, and a little frightening if I'm honest. He asked me to pass along the message of well wishes and asked me what we were having. I told him it was a boy."
"Naturally," Hermione replied.
Harry thrust out the piece of paper.
Your husband is refusing to leave my shop until he has proof that I'm out of your favourite ice cream flavour. My wife is laughing like mad because he's so panicked. I'm sorry for the shortage-birthday parties are barking this time of year-but I'll give you a gallon free of charge next week if you like!
Congratulations! Go easy on Harry here, I think he's going to have an early stroke.
She was crying with laughter by the end of the note. "Harry, Merlin, I wasn't this fanatic about ice cream!"
He brushed his hair out of the way. "It's hard to tell, but the good news," Harry dramatically stepped aside, "is that I bought you ice cream from several other locations in hopes that you'll find one you like."
There were at least twenty cartons if not more. She groaned, "I'm going to get so fat."
"I don't think I'm supposed to reply to that."
She glared at him. "And just what would your reply be?"
He gulped. "You're beautiful, 'Mione, even if you're eating so much ice cream."
Hermione rolled her eyes.
Over the summer, she spent a lot of time with Daphne. Luna dropped in as much as she could, but it wasn't often since she travelled with Ginny while the Holyhead Harpies were in season.
September was on them before they realised it. Hermione visited the castle with Harry, touring his classroom. She had to say that her favourite part was his desk where he'd set her and snogged her until she couldn't breathe properly.
She woke early on the first day of term and made a full breakfast. She didn't eat more than a bite as her nauseousness returned in full after biting into a ration of bacon. Harry complimented her on her cooking even though he probably knew she'd picked it up, but that was no matter.
He told her about the Sorting when he returned home, utterly knackered as he fell into bed beside her. "I think it's going to be a good year," Harry whispered lazily into her neck.
Her hand settled on her stomach. "Yes, I think it will be." Hermine breathed.
I'll update as soon as I can, hopefully within a week to two weeks. I'd love to hear what you think.
Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
Sorry for the delay! I still hope to finish this by the end of this month, but life might not allow for that to happen. I hope you'll enjoy this chapter. Thanks for AlexandraO for editing.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Hermione laid on the sofa, her legs crossed at her ankles as they rested on the armrest. Harry wasn't due home for hours unless he came home for his lunch hour as he often did. Propping her head up with a pillow, she looked at her feet, wiggling her toes, which she could still see over her bump.
Soon that would change. At twenty-two weeks, Hermione only had a small bump. Not as large as Daphne, who was at thirty weeks. Due two months before her, she and Daphne spent the majority of their time together while their husbands were at work. Sometimes they complained about how bloody hot it was, and being pregnant during the season was no fun.
She hummed as she flipped the page of her book, drawing her lip in between her teeth. What was she thinking? Reading a raunchy novel while Harry wouldn't be home for some time was a terrible idea.
Just as the thought crossed her mind that she could take care of her needs herself, the Floo opened. "Hermione?" Harry called out. "Where are you?"
"On the sofa," she replied, snapping her book shut.
His eyes dropped to the cover as she tried to cover it. "Are you entertaining yourself?" Harry chuckled.
Climbing to her feet, she left the book and an abandoned bowl of fruit on the table. "Hardly. What happened?" Hermione traced a shallow cut just under his eye. "Are your second years getting rowdy again?"
He shook his head. "No, it was two sixth years this time. They're in detention with Filch for the rest of the week. I can't say I feel sorry for them." Harry slid an arm around her waist, pulling her flush against him and pressing a chaste kiss to her mouth. "They argued during class, and then threw quills at each other. One of them caught me, and as you can see…"
Her lips parted. "You're lucky it didn't hit your eye." Hermione murmured. "What would you like for lunch? I haven't eaten yet, but I can put something together in a few minutes."
"I'm not hungry. I just wanted to see you."
Her toes curled as he looked down at her, his eyes darker than they had been just moments ago. "Oh?" She whispered. "I hope you didn't plan on having any energy for the rest of the day."
Harry snorted a laugh, his hands falling to rest on her hips. "Well," he drawled. "My seventh years are duelling today, and there's an odd number, so I'll have to take one of them."
She pushed his robes from his shoulders, watching them pool on the floor. "Pity they'll think the great Harry Potter can't keep up then." Hermione grabbed his hand, leading him down the hallway.
He didn't throw her on the bed anymore-which was reasonable, but she found that she missed it quite a bit. Harry laid her backward as her knees hit the edge of the mattress, his large hands skimming her bare legs.
Crawling up to the pillows, Hermione grinned and crooked her finger, beckoning him toward her. "I thought I was going to have to do all the work myself."
He arched a brow. "You looked like you'd been caught doing something you weren't supposed to when I walked in."
Hermione hadn't been caught at all, but she had been considering slid her hand into her knickers only second before Harry arrived. She shrugged. "I was already horny." She admitted quietly. Having never liked the word, and Harry knew it, he was always surprised when she said it. "It's this pregnancy."
"You won't hear me complaining." Harry pulled her shirt over her head while she slid her knickers down her legs. "Fucking hell," He groaned.
She hadn't bothered with a bra that morning. Daphne wasn't coming by, and they were uncomfortable as her breasts had grown larger. "You're wearing too many clothes." Hermione bit out, tearing the buttons of his oxford open. "How long do we have?"
"Roughly fifty minutes, enough time to make sure you're too spent to leave this bed before I get back." Harry dipped his head, nudging her chin to the side with his knuckles and kissed down her neck. He nipped the skin at the base of her throat. A groan shook his chest when she dragged her nails down his muscled back.
Impatient, Hermione snatched her wand from the bedside table and vanished his trousers and underwear.
Harry pulled away from her, sliding down the curve of her body. His tongue swept across each nipple before he drew one into his mouth, softly laving it as she keened below him. Gently kissing down the swell of her stomach, Harry's lips pressed against her mound, just above her clit.
Her legs parted further, her heels digging into the mattress on either side of him. "Harry!" It was a gasp when his tongue trailed along her slit, flicking her clit. "Oh, God, there, there!" She shrieked as he pumped two fingers into her, curling slightly as she writhed.
The pressure mounted, his pace quickening, and Hermione was at the edge before she'd had enough time to enjoy it. "Harry, I'm-" Her voice cut off with a loud whine, stuck between a moan, and a more guttural sound. Hermione's head fell to the pillows, and she panted. "I'm not sure I've ever come so quickly in my life."
He grinned. "I'm thrilled my sexual prowess pleases you."
She reached out for him, cupping his face while she kissed him slowly. Tangling her fingers in his hair, a moan left Hermione's mouth as he slid into her. His hands roamed down her sides, thumbs circling over her hips. "Oh," Hermione buried her face in his shoulder, pulling away, as he set a slow pace. Raking her nails down his back, and wrapping her legs tightly around his waist, a whimper escaped her. "I love you." She whispered. "I love you so much."
He kissed her temple. "I love you too." Harry moved against her slowly, gradually bringing her almost to the edge, but not quite.
She was a mess. Hair stuck to her sweaty forehead, and Hermione shook below him. "Please, I need,"
His thrusts quickened, bottoming out inside of her. Harry reached between the two of them, rubbing her clit. "That's it, sweetheart." He murmured, swiping her hair away from her forehead.
Hermione came with a weak cry, and frantically slanted her lips against his. She nuzzled his neck, curling up against him as he sat against the headboard. "You should come home more often." She stretched.
"I'll keep that in mind," he laughed.
Near the end of October, Neville's hard work paid off.
To be clear, Hermione had all but forgotten about the plant she and Harry retrieved for their friend. Life had snowballed just after. Marriage...getting pregnant...buying a new home and moving. She felt terrible that it had just slipped her mind as if it were a small thing.
"Neville!" She shouted, throwing her arms around him.
Neville had to drop his plastic cup to catch her in time. "Always good to see you, Hermione." He grinned. "Your home is very nice. It's cosy."
"Thank you. That was my doing. Harry wanted to paint the walls red for Gryffindor." She replied.
Her friend laughed and gave her a brief squeeze before stepping backward. "You look great." Neville smiled. "How are you feeling?"
She waved her hand, sipping water since it was the only thing that didn't make her sick. "Great, except for in the mornings. Some foods make me nauseous, and I can't wait to be able to enjoy bacon again," Hermione giggled. "But I'm good. How are you?"
Neville glanced across the room, the corner of his lips twitched when his gaze landed on Hannah. "Well, actually. The Ministry granted us an extension on getting married; it's a special exception, but given what my research has led to…" He trailed off, his cheeks growing red as he ran his fingers through his hair. "That must sound cocky of me, doesn't it?"
She shook her head. "Not at all. I think if anyone deserves it, it's you. You've lived without them for so long," Hermione caught his hand with a solemn smile. "They should see you get married. How do you feel about it?"
An arm slid around her waist, familiar fingers brushing against the top of her arse. "Neville!" Harry greeted, pulling him into a tight hug.
Hermione stifled a small laugh. Harry was already well on his way to being drunk, and she would hazard the guess that if she sought out Ron, he would be much of the same.
"Healers at St Mungo's are confident that it will work," Neville answered finally, one he'd exchanged pleasantries. "There are patients in the Janus Thickney ward that signed forms before losing their minds-these are the ones who had known it was coming, mind you-to donate their bodies to experimental spellwork."
Her eyes widened a fraction, and she asked in a whisper, "Has it worked?"
Really, Neville was not supposed to tell her a single thing, especially not in the middle of a crowded housewarming party, but he gave a slight nod. "Yes, they've not been released yet, but yes." His joy was barely contained in his voice. "My parents will have an appointment next month."
It was so far away, she thought, and from the far off look that crossed Neville's face, he felt the same.
October arrived with a bang. Hogsmeade was decorated for Halloween overnight, and she took a large part of that. After making her way through the public Floo in Diagon, Hermione spent an entertaining few hours buying decor. She visited the shop, sitting with Ron, and George while they plied her with candy so she would take a look at their latest invention.
Fred's presence could never be erased from the building since he seemed to be a part of it down to the foundation she stood on. There was a portrait of him on an empty wall. It depicted Fred, with his hands thrown up and his hair sticking up in every direction. There was a pang in her heart as she stood in front of it, popping Honeydukes chocolate into her mouth.
She met with Daphne for a short lunch around the corner, where they both ordered chips, and told the waiter to keep them coming. When he gave them a disbelieving look, Daphne leaned back in her chair, arching a brow. "If eating were a sport, I would be the champion. Granger would be a close second. Keep those chips coming."
They talked of how Daphne was due in four weeks. Four weeks, Hermione thought in awe. The year had flown by without them noticing. Then the conversation turned to Hermione, who only had three full months of her pregnancy left.
And they were both boys. Merlin help them.
Harry came home to find her on a ladder, hanging string lights by hand. They were orange and white, and she'd only purchased them on impulse once as she paid. "Oh, my God, what are you doing up there?"
She took a bite out of her treacle tart, holding it in her mouth as she looked down and shrugged. Hermione continued hanging the lights, determined to finish the last bit before he inevitably removed her from the ladder himself.
"I thought treacle tart made you sick?" Harry asked, moving below her, his arms open and ready to catch her. "Merlin, get down from there. Hermione, just let me do that."
Hermione shook her head, leaning over.
"Fuck!" He yelled, sidestepping to be just beneath her. "You're going to fall."
Hermione climbed down the ladder, swallowing the last bite. "Treacle tart usually makes me sick, but George gave this to me today. He and Ron had made an entire line of treats for pregnant women that won't make them sick."
"Is it safe?"
She blinked. "Of course, it's safe. Who do you take me for? George shared the ingredients with me and showed me the patent. It's been cleared by healers already. So, now I can have all the treats I want."
He did very well not to mention the Honeydukes she'd asked him to bring home. "You could have waited for me to get home." Harry pinched the bridge of his nose. "You nearly gave me a bloody heart attack. Do you have any idea how old that ladder is?"
Glancing over her shoulder, Hermione reached into the pocket of her jumper, fingers wrapping around another chocolate bar. "A few years?" Guilt twinged in the pit of her stomach as he groaned. "I'm sorry I did it myself."
Harry nodded. "I know you want to do everything on your own, and I'll respect that, but no more ladders. Please, for my sake?"
Hermione agreed, offering him a block of chocolate.
They relaxed on the sofa, with her curling up into his side. He stroked her hair, chuckling softly when she shivered. "How was your day?" Hermione asked, glancing up at him. "Are your fifth years still giving you hell?"
"I'm not sure they'll ever stop." He replied. "It was a good day. We had a lesson on boggarts today for my third years." Harry murmured, the wind meeting the pane that made the wood creak. "I thought of Remus."
She snuggled closer, wrapping her arm across his broad chest. "I can imagine. Are you okay?"
"I think so. I still wish he was here, but that will never go away. Sirius, too." He told her, and his voice wavered. "Or my mum and dad, but wishing won't bring them back, but they would be proud."
"They would," Hermione agreed. "Tell me about the lesson."
"Well," Harry barked a laugh. "I finally saw my boggart for the first time. I can only imagine what it would have been in third year, but my students will have spread the news that by boggart is my wife, screaming at me like a banshee."
She sat up so quickly that the top of her head knocked against his chin. "Me?" Hermione gasped. "You're not afraid of me! There's absolutely no reason for me to be your boggart."
He put his hands up. "I don't know, 'Mione. You were pretty vicious last week when I ate your last bar of Honeydukes."
Her eyes narrowed. "Please tell me that a boggart, who looked like me, didn't chase you while shrieking about chocolate."
Harry looked everywhere but her. "Er, no, then. That definitely didn't happen."
Hermione glared at him.
"And casting Riddikulus definitely didn't turn your hair purple while you shrieks turned into quacks."
"Quacks." She repeated.
"If you think about it, it will make a funny story for Arthur?" He offered.
Rolling her eyes, Hermione muttered, "I'm not shagging you tonight."
Halloween crept closer, and Harry's mood took a turn for the worse. He still joined her for coffee in the morning, teased her when he had the chance, but he frequently woke in the middle of the night, shaking from his side of the bed.
Hermione pushed his hair from his sweaty forehead, cupping his cheeks as she pressed kisses over his face. "Harry,"
He stirred at her whisper, and idly, she knew it was his Auror training. "'Mione?" As he lifted his head, Hermione saw where tears had stained his cheeks. "What is it?"
She didn't point out that he had been crying. It was necessary, so she pulled him into her arms instead. Sitting up with her back against the headboard, Hermione laid Harry's head in her lap. "Nothing, I just wanted to dote on you. Do you think you can sleep?"
He nuzzled her belly, hand cupping the bottom of it. "Maybe," Harry inched her loose shirt up, resting it at the top of her bump, and pressed his ear to her belly. "Does he kick often?"
Hermione could no longer say that it might not be a boy, but it was the first thing at the tip of her tongue anyway. "Yes. Usually when I'm trying to have a lie-in after you leave." She stroked his hair slowly, watching as he pressed his lips to her skin. "He might kick, give me your hand."
Resting it over the place where James usually rested, she peered into the darkness of the room.
Harry's mouth fell open as a sharp kick met the middle of his palm, and he looked up at her. "Do you think he'll do it again?" There was so much hope in his voice. "I love you. I know I've been-"
She shook her head, hair slipping free of its bun. "It's okay to be upset. I'm here. Why don't you try to sleep? Or I can make you a warm cuppa?"
He slipped his arms around her middle, and it wasn't exactly comfortable, but she couldn't bring herself to pull away. Harry murmured, "No, I want to stay here."
Hermione continued to run her fingers through his hair in a soothing manner until he eventually fell asleep with his cheek against her belly.
Harry was such a light sleeper, so it was only a short time later that he woke with a start. "Bugger!" He muttered, but there was a grin curving his lips. "He kicked me in the face."
Giggling, she thought she was the luckiest witch alive.
Christmas was a full-scale event for the two weeks leading up to it. Hermione sat for dinner with the Hogwarts staff during the celebration at Harry's side. There was Christmas at the Burrow, which was always cramped, and it was even worse while weeks away from going into labour.
Unfortunately for Daphne, she was still pregnant, and Healers had chosen not to induce her.
Also, unfortunately, Daphne had resorted to doing absolutely anything to induce her labour, including sex. Hermione wasn't sure, and she didn't want to ask, whether their silencing charms on Ron's old bedroom had failed, or if they just hadn't bothered with them at all.
"It's a Christmas miracle!" George shouted, clapping his hands over his head while they all stood in the sitting room. "We're having a baby!"
"Yeah," Charlie sniggered. "The only Christmas miracle here is that our baby brother got laid."
Hermione couldn't stomp down her laughter quickly enough before Daphne shot a heated glare her way.
Oliver was born shortly after three in the morning, wailing as he made an entrance that no one would forget. Hermione sat in the plastic chair, adjusting herself with a grimace while muttering that cushioning charms did nothing for her.
"Do you reckon they would induce you too? You're here already, might as well." George laughed. When he landed at the end of her glare, he reminded her that she wouldn't get free nausea-free treats if she murdered him.
Molly kept a respectable distance from Daphne and Ron until she was invited to snuggle her newest grandbaby, which she promptly rushed to do. It seemed that Molly truly had come around in the last few months given the fact that she wasn't upset that Hermione entered the room first.
Sitting in a more comfortable chair that Ron pulled to his wife's bedside, he took the swaddled bundle from her arms and laid their son into Hermione's. "You look beautiful," Ron whispered, kissing Daphne's knuckles.
Daphne's voice was hoarse as she laughed. "Thank you."
Harry crouched beside Hermione, watching her brightly as she pushed a piece of the fabric away from the baby's face. "Oh," Hermione cooed, rocking him as he whined. "You're just perfect." Tears sprang to her eyes, and she was overwhelmed by everything all at once. "Harry?"
He rubbed her shoulder. "Yeah?"
"I can't wait for James to be here." Hermione watched as Hugo wiggled before his eyes closed. "He's beautiful." She reached up to hold Daphne's hand while watching small eyes open and close in an entirely new world.
Hermione's water broke while she was wiggling into a pair of jeans, which were still too tight despite being maternity jeans. She stared at her legs, her breath catching in her throat. James wasn't meant to come for another week. Healer Jones had reassured them what baby James would not be making an early appearance.
She was wrong.
"Accio hospital bag!" She cried. The medium-sized bag rushed through the air from the open door of their bedroom, and she caught it by the thick strap. Holding her hand to her stomach, which didn't comfort her nearly as much as she wished it would, Hermione waddled down the hallway.
She cast her Patronus, gritting her teeth as her otter bounded away with the message: I've gone into labour.
Counting silently in her head, Hermione would have smiled had she not been in the middle of a contraction. Twenty-five... twenty-six...twenty-seven.
Harry tripped over the edge of the Floo, dropping like a stone through plumes of smoke. Slapping his hands to the floor, he climbed to his feet. Wide-eyed and looking in every which direction, he looked like he was about to pass out. "He's coming?"
She gave a clipped nod.
Harry rushed past her, his heavy footsteps shaking the ground under her feet. "Where is the hospital bag?" He yelled.
Hermione glanced down at her hand. "I have it." She called back.
Was he throwing things off the shelves in their room? "Where is the bag, Hermione? I knew I should have kept it by the Floo."
Heaving a sigh, Hermione cupped her hands around her mouth. "I have the bloody bag, Harry. Can we please go before I have another contraction?"
Her husband ran down the corridor, skidding to a stop in front of her as she tapped her foot. "You have it?"
"Have the entire time, thanks for noticing." Hermione rolled her eyes. She held out the bag for him, which he slung over his shoulder. She made her way to the Floo, Harry's hand brushing hers. "Are you scared?" She whispered, her voice echoing inside the fireplace. "I'm terrified."
His hand found hers, and he leaned forward to press a kiss to her forehead. "Yeah, it's mental, isn't it? Me being a father? You're going to be the most wonderful mother, but I… I don't know. I feel like I've never quite grown up enough for this."
She knew how he felt, how he worried about being a parent. Hermione knew better. "Teddy adores you. You'll be the best father to our children."
He lifted an eyebrow as he grabbed the Floo powder. "Already thinking about number two?"
A laugh tumbled away from her. "Let's not get carried away before we get through the first."
To Daphne's playful ire, James came within an hour of arriving at St Mungo's. It was a smooth delivery when it came to the time frame, but as Hermione had terrible reactions to the magic they cast around a witch during childbirth, they had wanted to sedate her.
Until Hermione begged them not to, crying in a frustrated voice that she wanted to remember how James came into the world. Harry's pleas with her to do as the Healers suggested went unfulfilled, and she had looked at him with tears in her eyes. "I can handle it, Harry. I promise you that."
Hardly ever wrong, Hermione stayed awake, gritting her teeth with every "Push!" Healer Jones gave her.
"Is that him?" Hermione murmured when a cry broke the air. "No, I want—" Logically, realistically, she already knew that James would be required for the immediate diagnostic spells, a special case because of her previous trouble with conceiving.
Healers still held the worry that the events during the war may cause problems, but Healer Jones turned to them with a grin. "He's perfect."
Hermione reached out weakly and watched as James was settled into her arms. She leaned into Harry, who brushed sweaty hair from her face and kissed a top to the top of her head. "Hi," She whispered, catching James' hand with her finger. "I'm your mum." Her vision swam while she turned to bury her face into his chest.
Harry stroked her hair. "God, he's got a full head of hair."
James was the spitting image of Harry's first photographs, bright green eyes inherited from Lily Potter, and dark hair that was a Potter characteristic. His head went to the side, and Hermione shifted her hold on him, bringing him close to her face. "I can't believe you're here." She cooed. "This is your dad. He's going to teach you everything he's supposed to, and then some things that he's not supposed to."
Harry chuckled, his chest shaking. "You need to rest. They'll take James to clean him, and they'll bring him right back."
Hermione caught the hem of Harry's shirt as he lifted James from her arms. "You'll wake me up when they do?" She looked at James. "I don't want to miss a thing."
He nodded. "Of course."
She turned her head into the pillow, her mind racing, and she wasn't sure that she would be able to sleep. Hermione listened before Harry exited the room, however, and cracked one eye open to see him rocking James while pointing toward the bed.
"That's your mummy. She's the kindest woman I've ever known, the bravest, and so brilliant that nothing ever gets past her." Harry sighed. "So you've got a lot of learning to do if you want to get away with anything."
Nearly snorting with laughter, Hermione grinned into the sheets. Considering their son's name was James Sirius, she didn't think he would have any trouble getting away with hijinks.
Let me know what you thought of this update. Only two chapters left, possibly one if I can fit it into just one chapter. Thanks for reading.
Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen
Sorry for the delay, but this is the final chapter of Serendipity. Thanks for reading so far, and I hope the final chapter is pleasing to end. It's a lot of snapshots into their life with James, and their friends. I don't know when I'll write another multi-chapter of this pairing again, but U'm sure I will. I'm posting a Theo/Hermione multi-chapter right after this, so if that interests you… Take a look.
Thanks to AlexandraO for editing this, and making this readable.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Over the course of the first month in James' life, he didn't sleep through the night. Hermione knew it was to be expected, but she hadn't been prepared for just how colicky he was. When Harry took James, insisting that she take a few hours to rest, she would wake soon after because their son only wanted her.
She wasn't going to complain about that either.
Wiping her eyes, Hermione walked up and down the corridor, bouncing James in her arms as they went. He peered up at her from where he was snugly swaddled in her arms. Through the exhaustion, a smile curved her lips. "I love you." She whispered, lifting him and nuzzling her nose to his.
Newborns didn't smile, but she would have sworn that the corner of James' mouth twitched.
"I thought I told you to wake me up," Harry called. He leaned against the doorframe of their bedroom, his hair sticking in every direction. "He might not like me very much, but that doesn't mean you have to be alone."
Hermione placed James in his father's arm, quirking an eyebrow. "Don't be ridiculous. He doesn't dislike you."
"He screams the second you're gone."
It wasn't false, but she shook her head. "I'll light the fire. Come sit with us." Hermione led him into the sitting room, crouching in front of the fire before he could offer to do it for her. She joined them on the sofa, curling her legs below her and rested her head on Harry's shoulder. "Do you ever stop to look at him, and wonder how we made this?"
Harry wrapped an arm around her while still cradling James to his chest. "Are you kidding me? That's how I spend my entire day."
She grinned. They sat in mutual silence, both watching James as his eyes closed and he drifted to sleep.
"Do you think he'll sleep through the night?"
She chuckled. "Oh, absolutely not."
The news of Neville's research shook the Wizarding World, and rightfully so. As Hermione sat at the kitchen table, flipping the page of the Daily Prophet with wandless magic as James latched, she read the entire story twice. It was a remarkable thing, a miracle they called it, that so many patients of the Janus Thickney ward were going to resume normal lives.
There would be physical therapy, Neville explained in a moving picture across the front page, but he would leave that to healers to explain. What was important, Hermione thought, was the photograph that took up the top half of the front page.
Alice and Frank Longbottom had not changed out of their hospital gowns as they tightly embraced their son. The sight caused Hermione to hold James a little closer. As Alice lifted her head, there was no longer a glassy look in her eyes.
Harry walked into the kitchen, running his fingers through his messy hair, and glanced at James. "That looks familiar."
"Harry!" She stressed.
"He doesn't understand."
"That's not the point." Hermione laughed. "I didn't get around to cooking breakfast, but there are leftovers." Despite having been told that she didn't need to do anything for him, Hermione liked to stay busy. However, cooking had not been an option that morning since James had been nothing short of a little terror since the sun came up.
Harry warmed food for them both, laying a plate in front of her while keeping it under a stasis charm as she finished with James.
James sat in his high chair, his head magically supported while she quickly ate. "We're meant to be at the Burrow later this afternoon," Hermione said. "Daphne and Ron will be there as well. Ginny and Luna too."
"I remember." Harry picked up their son, patting his back. "Why don't you go back to sleep? We're going to go to Diagon Alley to pick up a few things."
She paused, dabbing her mouth with a napkin while she looked up at him. "Oh, I don't know. I got a full three hours, so I'll be fine."
He gave her a hard look. "You silenced the room so I could sleep in." Harry reminded her then. "And you think of me all of the time, so I'd like to do the same. Please go to sleep, or I will tire you out myself."
Hermione lifted an eyebrow. "How do you plan to do that?"
James wailed, and Harry sighed. "Get your arse in that bed, or I'll knock you out myself. It won't be fun, and you'll probably hex me in my sleep later."
Her nose crinkled when she giggled. "That's less sexy than I expected." Hermione teased and escaped before Harry decided to carry her into the bedroom himself.
Harry returned to Hogwarts just before James was four months old. He hadn't wanted to, and he bounced James for a little longer that morning before stepping into the Floo.
Daphne arrived with Oliver, her hair piled loosely on top of her head. "If James is sleeping through the night already, I'm going to switch our babies when you're not looking." She said, laying her bag at the end of the sofa.
Hermione shook her head. "Oh, no. He'll sleep for hours during the day, but at night? Absolutely not. I can't get him to sleep in his crib either."
Her friend's eyes almost bugged out of her head. "James is sleeping with you?"
Padding across the room after stepping out of her shoes, Daphne laid Oliver beside James on the blanket. "Aren't you worried he'll insist on sleeping with you once he's older?"
A little bit, but it was all Hermione could do to focus on getting through each day. "Harry moved his crib into the bedroom this morning so we could try, but James screams at the top of his lungs when we leave him." And that was the reason their baby was sleeping with them in the first place, Hermione couldn't stand to listen to him cry.
Though a few books and Molly had told her that eventually, she may have to let him cry it out.
"Ron scheduled a massage for me this weekend," Daphne said, crossing her legs below her. "There's an extra appointment if you'd like to come."
She and Harry were doing something, but Hermione couldn't remember what it was. "Maybe another time. How sweet of him to do that for you."
Grinning, and laughing, Daphne admitted, "It's more than I deserve. I've not been kind, but he still treats me the way he does." She scooped Oliver into her arms, dropping a kiss to his forehead. "How are you and Harry? We shouldn't wait so long to see each other again. It feels like ages."
It had been two weeks, but Hermione didn't say that. She knew how long it had been, but Hermione hadn't summoned the courage to leave the house often, or invite anyone. "He's a model husband and father." She smiled. "He does his best to let me get a full eight hours of sleep, even if it means he doesn't."
James kicked his feet, and she reached for him. Ignoring the way he grappled clumsily for her wedding ring, Hermione continued, "I have an appointment with Healer Jones tomorrow for James' checkup, and also for myself."
"Of course, how are you doing? Have you continued taking daily potions?"
Oliver squeaked, smiling widely as Daphne blew on his belly.
Hermione shook her head. "I didn't go to my follow-up once James was born, and I haven't made time for it. Though I think it will be best for me to resume them."
Daphne squeezed her shoulder, the warmth bleeding through the fabric. "Good for you. That's fantastic news." They didn't dwell on it any longer than that before the subject changed. "I'm famished. Would you like to go out for lunch?"
Her hair was more of a dishevelled mess than usual, and most of the clothes in the bedroom weren't clean, but Hermione agreed anyway.
James rubbed his eyes as Hermione carried him into the nursery, pressing her lips to his forehead. "I love you so much."
There was a soft coo in response.
Laying him in his crib, Hermione leaned over the edge and watched him catch her finger in his little hand while he started up at her. Wide-eyed, and fighting sleep, Hermione hummed while swinging his hand slightly with her finger.
"That's it, there you go, right to sleep." Wearing a tired smile, Hermione quietly closed the door behind her. She padded down the corridor and called out to Harry. "I'm not sure how long he'll stay asleep, but—" Hermione cut herself off as she stared at him. "What is this?"
"For one, I didn't cook. We both know how terrible I am at that, but I did pick up takeaway from your favorite Indian place. I thought you might like to watch a movie?" He nibbled his lower lip, and Hermione knew they were never going to get through an entire movie.
She threw her arms around him in a tight hug while burying her face in the crook of his neck. "That sounds lovely." Hermione helped him carry their food into the living room and curled up on the couch beside him. "What movie did you pick out?"
It turned out to be a movie made in Germany, and there weren't any subtitles. Teasing him through mouthfuls of food, Hermione kept laughing.
"I just don't understand how this happened." He huffed. "I told them I wanted a romantic comedy for my wife, and they gave me this."
She sniggered and finished her dinner before he did. "Did you happen to tell them that your wife was German?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "No, I did not."
Resting her elbow on the back of the sofa, Hermione waited patiently. Once his container was discarded, she slid into his lap. "Healers cleared me for sex," Hermione admitted, her eyes searching his. "Are you tired?"
Not bothering to answer her, he kissed her instead. They ended up on the floor in between the table and the sofa while Harry hovered over her. "Are you sure it won't hurt you?" He murmured, nipping the soft skin of her throat. "I don't want to hurt you."
A gasp tumbled from her mouth, and she shook her head. "You won't hurt me."
He tugged her shorts down her legs before hooking his fingers into either side of her knickers. Harry knelt between her thighs, never looking away from her as he licked a stripe up her folds. "Quiet now, you could wake James."
She wanted to scream as his lips closed on her clit, and he rolled his tongue against it. Harry pinned her by keeping his hands on her hips when she lifted them in an attempt to get closer to him. Whimpering, she begged, "Harry, your fingers. Please."
His touches were tentative. Sliding in one finger, Harry threatened to drive her mental before a second finger slid into her.
"Oh, God. Right there, don't stop." Her breathing was ragged as she dug her fingers into her hair. Hermione was on the cusp, seconds from falling over the edge.
It took him curling his fingers and a perfect swipe of his tongue to drag a weak, crack moan from her while she came.
Hermione reached for him, half shaking from the only orgasm she'd received in the last six weeks—when before that, they regularly couldn't keep their hands off the other. "I love you."
Harry cradled her face, gently kissing her while she pulled him closer. "I love you." It was muffled against her skin, and his breath rolled across her shoulder. "I don't want to be a nag, but you're sure you're-"
She nodded eagerly, wrapping her legs around his waist. "I'm positively certain that if you don't have sex with me right now that I will never forgive you."
He chuckled. "Well, I couldn't have that." Harry groaned as he slowly entered her. "Fuck, you're—"
Her head fell back to the carpet as she spread her legs further, clawing at his shoulders. "Please, I need you so badly."
Hermione begged, over and over again in different variations, that he felt so good, and she needed him.
Harry wouldn't move any faster, and each slow, steady stroke made her keen against him. "I always want to remember you like this." He told her in a muted rasp. "So pretty, and flushed, and mine."
Writhing under him, Hermione didn't think he'd be able to bring her off again, but as he reached between them, she was happy to be proven wrong. There were sure to be marks on her back in the morning from the carpet or light marks where he'd left them on her neck, but she couldn't bring herself to care.
Once fully satiated, and practically boneless, Harry draped her across his chest. He traced her spine up and down until she was near sleep, and then James started to cry. "Go to bed." Harry kissed her forehead. "I'll stay up with him."
They parted ways as she went to their bedroom, and he went to James. But her curiosity got the best of her when she heard Harry's low voice. Sneaking back out, Hermione lingered around the corner.
Harry paced the living room, rocking James close to his chest. "You'll love Hogwarts when you get there. Your mum will nag you about your marks, but only because she cares. I'll probably nag you about the quidditch team, but if you don't want to play, that'll be okay too." He nuzzled James' nose, earning a light, tinkling laugh.
"And I promise to always be the best father," He promised quietly.
On July 31st, they celebrated Harry's birthday. Hermione woke earlier than James, a miracle, and straddled Harry's waist. "Morning," she greeted, sleepily kissing him while his arms slid around her waist. "If we hurry, James probably won't wake up for another half hour."
With a baby that still refused to sleep through an entire night, the block of time was more than they got on most days. Harry's eyes darkened as he gripped her hair tightly, pulling her mouth to his while his other hand cupped her arse. "Fuck, this is a good way to wake up."
She moved against him, letting him throw her top onto the floor. Caged in his arms, Harry sat up. He dipped his head to run his tongue across her nipple, stroking the other as she ground down on him. "Oh," Hermione whimpered as his teeth grazed it, and dug her nails into his shoulders. "Harry, please, no more teasing."
"Can you bend over me, love?" Harry's hands skimmed her sides. "Merlin, you're just perfect like this."
Bunching the sheets in her hands, Hermione whined when he slid into her in one thrust. Quietly moaning, Hermione pushed herself back against him, urging him to move fast.
And when he did, a shriek escaped her.
Comically, they froze, but James didn't stir. There was no crying that filled the corridor, and she sighed in relief.
Slamming back into her, Harry covered her mouth. "You can't wake him." He whispered. "Or we'll have to stop. You don't want me to do that, do you?"
No. She shook her head, biting her lip. "No," Hermione whispered, slumping against the bed. "I just want this, and you."
Harry's fingers reached in between them, stroking the sensitive bundle of nerves until she came with a weak and muffled cry.
Around noon, after having a lie in while James slept the morning away, Hermione and Harry arrived in Godric's Hollow. Harry mentioned in a hushed voice that he hadn't been there since the war, and it seemed right that she was the one to be there with him.
An old pair of headstones met them, and they're flanked by two others. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin stared back at them, and while holding James tightly, Hermione watched Harry sit on his knees. Beside Remus', there is an extra for his wife. It had been a nice sentiment for Andromeda to consent to Remus being buried there alongside Tonks.
Hermione carefully sat beside Harry, nestling James into his waiting arms. Laying her head on her husband's shoulder, she listened to all the stories of the marauders, and Lily Evans.
"My mum didn't like my dad," Harry explained quietly. "But that's not the case for your mummy and I. I've always liked her."
Hermione tilted her head, arching an eyebrow. "Except for those few weeks where you loathed me." She laughed as Harry covered James' ears. "In our third year, Sirius sent a Firebolt, which I reported to our Head of House. Your dad didn't like me for a bit."
"It wasn't jinxed!"
"We didn't know that, Harry," Hermione said, smiling. James looked from Harry to her and back to Harry. "Why don't you tell him how Remus taught you to cast a Patronus? That's a good memory."
Hermione didn't miss the way Harry's eyes grew glassy as she hugged his arm, eager to listen to all of the stories he had to give.
Leaving James with Andromeda was one of the most difficult things Hermione had done in her recent memory. Sure, she supposed they had left their son overnight to have a night to themselves, or the once when they took an overnight trip to Paris for a belated wedding anniversary celebration. But this meant the beginning of not staying home with him each and every day.
She wouldn't get to watch him crawl around their home, looking to cause trouble. Gone were the times of waking up to Harry telling them goodbye, and getting to spend a few more hours sleeping with a baby that slept better with her. Which, they had started the process of getting James to sleep in his crib long before the summer was over.
Andromeda swept her into a bone-crushing hug while James sat with Teddy, watching the older boy accidentally change his hair from colour to colour. "The day will be over before you know it."
Hermione winced, glancing over her shoulder to see Harry waiting patiently at the door. "Would you mind if I popped in during my free hour? There's hardly any planning to be done on the first day…"
"Of course not," Andromeda smiled. "You can stop by whenever you like."
At the door, Harry snorted. "She'll be over quite a bit then."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Do you remember how you came home every day for a whole month after you went back to Hogwarts? Don't tease me for missing him."
He pulled her into a one-armed hug and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Oh, I would never do that."
She waved to James one last time and grinned when he waved back.
Like Harry, it took a month before she stopped using Minerva's private Floo during her free hour. Hermione realised quickly that it wasn't feasible for her to visit James every day. For one, she missed him infinitely more, and it made the last hours of the day slowly roll by. Secondly, James lit up when she arrived, which warmed her heart in a way that nothing else did, but he wailed when it was time to leave him.
And his sad cries remained with her for the rest of the day.
Professor Flitwick had left detailed notes and tips for her first-year as a professor—from how to help first year students settle in, to the problematic children in upper years. With his guidance, Hermione had settled in nicely. She ate lunch with Harry, usually at the head table, but they occasionally had lunch on the lawn, soaking up the free time they had before returning home.
Sometimes had a moment to themselves once they put James down for the night. They were lucky if it was long enough for a decent romp, which she had grown more and more desperate for lately, but more often than not, it didn't happen at all.
As Hermione made her way down the corridor, her robes swishing against the stone floor while she unrolled a piece of parchment, a hand shot out from an alcove, and dragged her inside. Her shout was muffled by a warm hand clamping down over her mouth, and she bit the soft skin there.
Harry smirked as he looked down at her. "Hello, Professor Potter. There's no need to be so feisty." He backed her up against the wall and wedged his knee in between her thighs. "I think we should get this out of the way, shouldn't we?" He coaxed the ungraded parchments out of her hands and laid them on the ground. "You're a hard witch to catch."
It's been a long time since Harry's pushed her against a wall and warmth coiled in her stomach. "You've been looking for me then?"
He nodded, lowering his head. Harry's lips were hot against her neck, and he tugged her robes down, inch by inch until he could trace her clavicle. "Mauling you in front of students would have been a terrible idea."
"We can't do this here." She hissed as his hand wandered to the top of her thighs, pressing to her clit through her knickers, reaching beneath her skirt. "Harry!" Hermione slid her fingers into his hair, pulling his head up. "You can't shag me stupid while there are students that could discover us any second."
The corner of his mouth twitched, and he didn't move his hand away. Still teasing her through the fabric, Harry continued, "Well, it's your office hour."
"Well, yes, but yours isn't for another hour…" Absently, she wondered if Minerva would give them the same office hours next term. They couldn't sneak off every day, or even every week, but once a month wouldn't go amiss…
Harry held up a parcel addressed to the Department of Education inside the Ministry. "Luckily, Minerva requested me to deliver this. Shouldn't take more than ten minutes once we Floo there, but if you'd like to come, I think we may have left the stove on."
Hermione giggled. "The stove, Harry? Fine, but we're going home first."
Luckily there were no students around to witness their childish antics while Harry chased Hermione all the way through the corridor. Minerva lifted an eyebrow as they entered her office and pointed toward the fireplace. "One hour, Professor Potter and Professor Potter. Not one hair out of place when you return!"
They were laughing as they vanished in the smoke, and she rid him of his robe as they landed in the living room. "Bed, or sofa?"
Hermione's eyes flicked toward the kitchen. "Over the counter." She squealed when Harry tossed her over his shoulder and didn't bother to let her walk ten feet.
He knocked their mail that had been piling up from the counter, and the cool granite pressed into her skin as he vanished her clothes.
This, she thought as Harry pressed his lips to hers, was what everything had been leading to all along. Years of Hogwarts, the war, everything. Pure happiness.
It had certainly been worth it. Everything had been worth it.
If you liked it, leave a comment if you don't mind. Thanks for reading!