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The Secret Is Love

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Present Day


“You’re making them wrong! You’re making them wrooo-ong!” The blue haired boy complained, bouncing on his toes to see the batter, his face scrunching up in frustration.


“I’m not done yet...” Hermione muttered, her face forming a frown to match her step-son’s. “It just needs a little something extra...” 


She pulled out her wand and waved it over the mixture, turning it electric blue in colour. “There! See? Just how they’re meant to be!”


The blue haired boy, instead of being overjoyed, burst into tears. “It’s wroooo-ong!” he wailed, running out the kitchen and up the narrow staircase to his room. His sobs filled the house and Hermione slumped against the counter, tears of her own running down her cheeks. “It’s all wrong… How did it all go so wrong…”



Seven Years Earlier


She didn’t know why she’d agreed to this. Teddy was Harry’s godson, not hers after all. But Harry had insisted she come along, he thought it would be good for her to get out in the fresh air or some nonsense. Admittedly the air in the library was a bit stuffy. But it’s not like she never went outside! There was a good ten minute walk between the library and the tube station and then another five minutes from there to her flat. That was thirty minutes of fresh air a day, thank you very much! 


He led her up a country lane towards a small cottage with colourful bunting hung up outside and banners that announced proudly ‘Happy 3rd Birthday Teddy!’ As they neared the cottage music began to drift out towards them. Hermione raised an eyebrow as the lyrics found their way to her ears. 

“S Club 7? At a wizarding birthday party?” She questioned.


“Heh,” Harry chuckled, “Not what you expected huh? Teddy loves them at the moment, can’t get enough of them. I think it’s starting to drive Andy up the wall but it’s his birthday so… what can you do?”


The door swung open as they approached and a harassed looking Andromeda toppled out with a small grinning blue-haired boy wrapped around her leg. “Just one more time, please ‘Dromy!” the boy pleaded, giving her his biggest puppy dog eyes. 


“Ugh, fine!” the woman sighed dramatically. “But then we have to change the song, okay? I don’t think Aunty Cissa wants to listen to it all day.” She caught sight of them and beamed. “Harry! Hermione, come on in! This little one” she shook her leg gently, causing the boy to shriek with laughter. “Is being a little menace!”


Harry swooped into action, rescuing Andromeda’s leg from Teddy’s clutches and hoisted him up into the air, carrying him back into the house. “Teddy! Happy birthday! How’s my favourite little man doing?” 


Andromeda leant against the doorframe and sighed, reveling in the opportunity to take a breather from the excitable toddler. She threw Hermione a causal grin. “Hello stranger. Long time no see! When Harry told me you were coming I thought he was joking. Hermione Granger leaving her books? Not a chance…”


“And yet here I am.” Hermione replied cautiously, not quite used to Andromeda’s teasing.


“Here you are indeed.” Andromeda looked her up and down as though surprised that Hermione hadn’t appeared on her doorstep as an actual bookworm.


The clattering sound of pots and pans falling on top of each other came from behind Andromeda, causing her to sigh and scrunch her eyes closed for a second. When she opened them again her eyes were steely in determination. “Narcissa!” she shouted. “Get OUT of my kitchen, you don’t know what you’re doing!”


Turning to Hermione she waved her into the house. “Come help me turf my sister out of the kitchen. How are you at making waffles?”



Teddy it turned out, had developed a taste for waffles and was insistent that they be the same colour as his hair.


“I refuse to eat anything that’s blue .” Narcissa stated, eyeing the waffle placed in front of her warily.


“It’s perfectly safe!” Andromeda said, adding a hearty helping of whipped cream on to Teddy’s serving and passing it to the near vibrating toddler.


“What evidence do you have for this?” Narcissa continued, prodding the waffle with the tip of her wand as though afraid it would jump up and bite her.


“I googled it.” Andromeda replied dryly, winking at Hermione as she passed a portion to Harry. 


The brunette snorted and rushed to cover her mouth to avoid spitting bits of waffle across the table. When she finally recovered enough to look up again she was met with a pair of mischievous glinting dark eyes and a smirk plastered on Andromeda’s face.


“Is there something funny?” Narcissa demanded, glaring at the pair of now giggling witches across the table from her.


“Of course not…” Andromeda drawled, smirk still present on her face as she tucked into her own portion. “If you don’t believe me you’re more than welcome to google it yourself. The computer is in the study.”


Hermione just about choked again and had to excuse herself for a glass of water lest she receive another glare from the blonde Black sister.


She was on her second glass of water when Andromeda came racing in with a shit eating grin on her face and pulled Hermione with her into the pantry, closing the door behind them. Hermione, flustered, started to stammer a question but was shushed by a finger pressed to her lips.


“And in three… two… one…” Andromeda murmured, her breath ghosting against Hermione’s forehead.

“ANDROMEDA!” Narcissa’s furious yell echoed through the house, leaving the pair of them giggling against each other in the small pantry.


“You didn’t?” Hermione gasped.


“I did.” Andromeda’s wheezed response came as she leant against Hermione. “I made her google it!”


A snort of laughter erupted from Hermione once more. “And here’s me thinking you were the nice sister!”



Six Years Earlier


She didn't need quite as much coaxing the next year to go along to Teddy’s party. Admittedly that had something to do with the letters Andromeda had been sending recently, insisting that Hermione attend the nearly four year old's party.


Hermione, he's already made his list and you're on it! So you have to come. It's the rules (he tells me). You wouldn't want to be a rule breaker now, would you?


Please, if not for Teddy then for the look on Narcissa’s face when she finds out what I’ve done to the waffles this year!


And I promise not to drag you into the pantry this year! Unless you want me to, of course, in which case I promise nothing!


I’m teasing (or am I?) but please come if you can. Teddy and I would love to see you.


Andy x


Hermione smiled down at the letter and tucked it back into the book she was working on, using the letter as a bookmark so that she could resume her work once she had written her reply.


Well… if it’s the rules then I guess I’ll have to, won’t I? Hermione Jean Granger is no rule-breaker after all. (Unless you count the first seven years of my magical schooling…)


What colour will the waffles be this year? I don’t think you can get away with them being blue again. Narcissa will kill you!


I will say nothing about the pantry and neither should you, Madam Tonks! I’ll see you and Teddy on Saturday.


Hermione x


She found herself smiling again as she finished up the letter. It had taken a few letters to get used to Andy’s teasing tone but now she found that she could tease back with equal ease. Their friendship was still quite new, especially compared with the near decade of friendship she had with Ron, Harry and Ginny, but it was nice. Easy, even. Andromeda was just so very likeable, despite the strong resemblance to her elder sister.



When she apparated in front of the cottage the first thing she noticed was the sheer abundance of green around her. It was like she’d wandered into the Slytherin common room on Salazar Slytherin’s birthday. Every shade of green imaginable was festooned along the lane to the house, all the way from lime to forest green. It was an assault upon the eyes and very much in the style of one Teddy Tonks. 


She could already see the four year old bouncing about in front of the house, most likely hyped up on sugary treats already. Leaning against the side of the house with her dark curls held back by a green and silver bandana was Andromeda, looking like a cross between a pirate and an exasperated clown. Her cheeks were artificially rosy and a wide luminescent green smile was painted across her face. She waved lazily as Hermione approached, pushing herself off the wall to greet her visitor.


“‘Mione! So glad you could make it!” Andy said, her bright green smile widening as she tried to actually smile underneath the green paint. She pulled Hermione in for a hug and whispered “Whatever you do, don’t let Teddy paint your face. It itches like hell!”


Hermione stifled a laugh just as Teddy approached her, armed with his face paints. “‘Mione! Can I make you a zebra?”



It took Andy a whole hour to be able to look at Hermione without bursting out laughing. Her own face paint was now tear streaked and had run, making her look like an even sadder clown. 


“All I’m saying is that I’ve never seen a green and yellow zebra, that’s all!” She wheezed and popped the last of the emerald green waffles onto the plate, giving Hermione another one of her dazzling smiles through the cracked green paint.

“Well I could hardly correct him, could I? It’s his birthday! What kind of person would I be if I did that?”


Andy smirked to herself, leading them from the kitchen back to the dining room where the rest of Teddy’s invited guests were seated around the dining table. Teddy, as usual, was at the head of the table with Harry on one side of him and his Aunt Cissy on the other. Narcissa looked up as they approached the table and eyed the plate of waffles warily.


“Oh marvellous, green waffles this time.” She commented with a sneer. “I wonder what that could mean on that ludicrous internet of yours!”


“Honestly Cissy!” Andy replied, placing the plate down in the centre of the table. “Always so suspicious! I played one prank on you and now you think there’s a grand conspiracy against you.” She winked at Hermione and added. “Oh! I’ve forgotten the toppings, Hermione, would you be a dear and help me bring them through. Help yourselves, folks!”


She took Hermione by the hand and all but dragged her back to the kitchen once again stifling her laughter until the kitchen door was firmly closed behind them. 


“Andy…” Hermione replied slowly. “What have you done to them this time?”


The older witch took a couple of wheezing breaths before she managed to get out “Popping candy! She’s gonna lose it!” Tears were running down her face, blurring her already blurred face paint. She tried to wipe the tears away but only managed to smudge the paint further.


“Oh Andy…” Hermione sighed and waited for the inevitable yelp from the blonde in the dining room, which came seconds later.


“ANDROMEDA! Why are you like this?!”



Five Years Earlier


The waffles were canary yellow this year to match Teddy’s bright blonde hair and Narcissa was already eyeing them warily as Hermione and Andromeda placed the waffles and assorted toppings on the table.


“Well then, what is it this year? You’ve scarred my mind for life, set fireworks off in my mouth. Any indication from the pair of you as to this year’s assault on my person? No?” Narcissa questioned them as Andromeda slid the top waffle on to her sister’s plate.


“Honestly, Narcissa!” Hermione exclaimed, helping herself to whipped cream and fruit for her own dessert. “Not every waffle is a threat to your life.”


The blonde crossed her arms and glared at the bright yellow waffle on her plate. “You say that Ms Granger, but I’m fully aware by now that you are in cahoots with my sister. I shall not suffer another one of your childish pranks.”


Andromeda rolled her eyes and switched her own plate with Narcissa’s. “There. I’ll eat yours and you have mine. No trickery involved! I’m hardly going to eat something that’s booby trapped now am I?”


Narcissa’s eyes narrowed as she looked at her sister. “So you admit there’s a booby trap, do you?” She snatched her plate back from Andromeda. “I’ll be taking that if you’re so convinced it’s safe to eat! You can eat your own booby trapped waffles and suffer!” she declared, cutting into the waffle and taking a determined bite.


When nothing happened she smirked across the table at Hermione and Andromeda, both of whom were trying to keep their faces straight as the blonde witch transformed in front of their eyes until she resembled a large canary. As soon as the feathers appeared they both lost their composure and burst out laughing, the rest of the table joining in alongside them.


Narcissa looked down at herself and gave a high pitched warble, glaring over her beak at the pair of them until the effect of the canary cream wore off. “You two are so immature !”



Later that evening, once all the guests had gone, Hermione and Andromeda were sat in the living room enjoying a glass or two of firewhisky having successfully wrangled Teddy to bed after multiple transformations into a canary. Andromeda was sprawled across one sofa whilst Hermione was curled up in a nearby armchair.


“You’re great with Teddy, you know.” Andromeda said, taking a sip of her whisky and smiling fondly at the witch across the living room.


Hermione returned the smile, “Well, it’s not hard. He’s a great kid. Reminds me a lot of Tonks.” 


Andromeda chuckled to herself. “He’s every bit his mother’s son, I’ll give you that. It’s nice sometimes, seeing her in him. But it’s hard at other times. I still miss her…” Her voice croaked and she pushed herself into a more upright position. 


“Tonks always made me laugh. Even when the war was starting again and things were getting darker… she always knew how to make people smile.” Hermione looked up and saw that Andy was staring into her empty glass. She made her way over, took the glass from her so she could refill it and handed it back, taking a seat next to her. “I didn’t think I would ever laugh like that again until I started visiting you and Teddy.”


Andy looped her arm around Hermione’s shoulders and took a slow sip from her glass. “We love your visits, you know that? It’s nice to have someone to share in his antics. Not to mention another adult in the house. Harry’s great and all but he’s all about Teddy. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit and drink whisky with of an evening...” She paused for a moment, seeming to search for something like courage before she added quickly. “You could move in, you know? If you wanted to, that is!” She hurried to add, the words rushing out. “It’s just, I know you live on your own and it must get awful lonely, and I’m a great cook! I can do more than just waffles!”


Hermione snorted at Andy’s sudden panicked rambling and grinned at her friend. “I’d love to. When can I move in?”



Four Years Earlier


“So you mix the batter like so .” Andy directed, guiding Hermione’s hands with her own, her front flush against Hermione’s back. 


Hermione tried not to shiver at the feeling of Andy’s breath on her ear. It was becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate when the brunette was this close. They’d been living together for almost a year now and it was getting harder and harder to deny that she might have feelings for the witch pressed against her back. She’d always known that Andy was an attractive witch, but to find herself appreciating the gentle curves of the woman’s body, the laughter lines around her eyes, the way her voice sounded early in the morning and late at night… All husky and seductive…


She shook her head. These were not the kind of thoughts she should be having about her friend!


“You alright there, love?” Andy asked, her breath tickling Hermione’s neck. Gods above! That was not helping...


“Fine!” She managed to squeak back, trying not to notice the every shift of the witch behind her.


“You’re all red…” Andy muttered, spinning Hermione round to face her. “Do you need some water? A lie down?”


Hermione shook her head again. If Andy would just step back a second she might be able to breathe. She side-stepped away from Andy, moving towards the kitchen door. “I just need a little air!” She tried to say in as calm a voice as possible, but found her voice was still higher than normal.


Her feet kept moving until she made her way outside where she took several deep gulps of fresh air. She was so focused on her breathing that she didn’t notice Narcissa approaching the house until the woman was right in front of her, giving her a critical look.


“Is anything the matter Ms Granger? You seem a touch… flustered.” 


“Ahh!” Hermione squeaked. “Narcissa! I didn’t see you coming. I’m fine, I’m fine. Just a bit hot in the kitchen is all. Needed a breather.”


Narcissa rolled her eyes and muttered “Didn’t see the witch in bright pink robes approaching… I feel like Dolores bloody Umbridge…” She gave Hermione another cursory glance before continuing. “I take it my sister is inside? No doubt plotting her next assault upon my person… How many galleons will it take for you to reveal your secrets this year, Ms Granger?”


Hermione’s face paled. She hadn’t really been listening but the mention of a secret had her flushing again. 


“Secret? There’s no secret! Why would there be a secret? Oh look! Here’s Teddy!” She exclaimed, thankfully to see the pink haired boy bouncing into view. “Teddy! Your Aunt Cissy is here! Why don’t you go show her the garden?”


Narcissa offered her a parting look of confusion before turning her attention to her great-nephew. There was definitely something odd about the Granger girl today…



She tried to distance herself from Andy for the rest of the day, which proved to be far more difficult than she might have hoped. Teddy had assigned their seats and was adamant that there would be no change to the seating arrangements. And, as usual, Andy wanted her assistance in the kitchen.


“What’s gotten into you today, ‘Mione?” she asked, closing the kitchen door behind them to give them some privacy. “You’re acting awfully strange. Did Narcissa corner you before about the waffles? Because if she’s said or done anything to hurt or upset you I will end her, I swear it!”


She looked like she meant it too, finger twitching at her side as though ready to launch herself into a duel with her sister, should she happen to walk in at that moment. It was enough to make Hermione laugh and dispel the tension in the room. 


“Narcissa didn’t say anything!” She said, pulling a sheepish looking Andy in for a hug. “Or she might have, but I wasn’t really listening. I’m just a bit out of it today is all. But I promise I’m fine. You don’t have to go fighting anyone.”


“Hmm…” Andy hummed at her as she pulled back from the hug, smoothing back some of Hermione’s hair with her fingers. “Shame really, I think she’s gonna want a fight after she tastes those waffles. I dusted hers with crushed acid pops. My perfect sister is about to have a hole in her tongue!”



Narcissa had, once again, been furious. She had refrained from hexing Andy, but only just, and Andy had been snorting with laughter all afternoon, earning her many a glare from her younger sister. It seemed, however, that the blonde had taken a moment to speak with her sister as Andy sidled into the kitchen whilst Hermione was washing up the last of the dishes. She perched on the kitchen island behind Hermione and waited for her to finish before she said anything.


“So, uh, Cissy thinks she knows what’s up with you.” She began slowly, staring down at her dangling feet like a nervous teenager. When Hermione didn’t reply she chanced a look up and was met by a pair of wary looking amber eyes.


“She’s probably wrong, of course, but I thought I’d check in with you anyway. You know, on the off chance that she’s right?”


Hermione swallowed thickly and motioned for Andy to continue, despite dread building in the pit of her stomach at the words still to come.


“Cissy… Cissy thinks uh… Huh, this is more awkward than I thought it would be!” Andy laughed and rubbed at the back of her neck. “Cissythinksyoukindafancyme!” the words came out as one and she was about to repeat herself, slowly, when she noticed how red Hermione’s face had gone.


After a moment of awkward silence she added “You do…” 


The words came out slowly, her eyes widening as realisation set in. She slid off the counter and made her way across the room to Hermione. The younger witch stood motionless, watching her friend approach with a deliberate slowness that filled her with a mixture of dread and anticipation. Her breath hitched in her throat as Andy reached her and trailed her fingertips lightly along Hermione’s jaw, across her cheek and up into her hair.


“I kinda fancy you too, ‘Mione.” She whispered, her breath ghosting so lightly against Hermione’s lips it made the younger witch tremble. How long they stayed like that, less than an inch separating them, Hermione didn’t know. It could have been seconds or it could have been years. However long it had been it became too long. She couldn’t hold herself back anymore. She closed the gap and finally kissed Andy, soft at first before pressing harder until they had their fingers entwined in each other’s hair, only breaking apart for air.



Three Years Earlier


They had decided not to trick Narcissa with the waffles this year, which was, in itself, a trick. A trick made even more amusing by the vast amount of suspicion the blonde had towards the purple waffle placed in front of her this year. She gave it a delicate prod with the very tip of her finger nail, as though expecting it to explode at the slightest touch.


“And you expect me to believe you’ve not done anything to this?” she enquired, her gaze flitting between the two grinning witches. 


“Yep.” Andy said and took a bite of her own purple dessert. Hermione nodded along but couldn’t keep the grin from spreading further across her face. 


“Nope!” Narcissa declared and slid the plate away from her. “I refuse to believe the pair of you haven’t tampered with it. You’re both far too happy with yourselves and I don’t like it.” 


“Suit yourself.” Replied Hermione as Narcissa summoned an apple to herself only to find a seven year old Teddy tugging at her robes, his plum hair clashing brilliantly with his yellow owl-like eyes.


“Aunt Cissy!” He whined. “It’s my birthdaaaaay. We always eat waffles on my birthdaaaaay.”


At times Narcissa felt like she could hate the boy. She really did. Especially when he used his ‘Aunty Cissy’ voice on her. It was far too persuasive. With a sigh, she put the apple down on the table and pulled the plate with the purple waffle back towards her. “This better not taste like dirt or I’ll regret giving you two permission to be soppy and in love together.” She muttered and took a tentative bite.


To her shock, it tasted delightful and, judging by the lack of laughter around the table, nothing awful had happened to her appearance. She looked back up at the grinning witches across from her and narrowed her eyes. “Why does this taste delicious and why is nothing happening?”


Hermione simply smiled at her plate as Andy replied “You know, not everything is about you, Narcissa. Sometimes it’s just nice to be nice. Do you need another drink?”


Her sister nodded her thanks and continued to enjoy her dessert. Perhaps the Granger girl had finally drilled some common sense into her sister…



Present Day


“It’s all wrong… How did it all go so wrong…” she sobbed into her hands. Teddy was right. This would never do. 


She’d been practicing for weeks now, trying desperately to get the dessert right, but after every attempt there had been something wrong about it. First it had been the taste, then the texture, then the colour and now, now that she’d finally sorted that there was still something wrong.


With shaky hands she wiped away her tears and stood back up to examine the batter again. The consistency was right, the colour fine (Teddy had insisted that it match his hair)... She dropped a small spoonful of batter onto the waffle iron and tasted it once it was cooked. The taste was fine too but they didn’t quite hit the mark of Andy’s own. How the hell did the witch get them to taste so perfect even when she messed about with her own recipe to incorporate pranks for Narcissa?!


“Ugh!” She let out a frustrated groan and thumped her hand down on the worktop. 


“Problem love?” Andy said, sidling up behind Hermione and wrapping her arms around her waist. “It’s not waffle making season already, is it?”


“Andy!” Hermione exclaimed, rushing to tidy up her failed experiment but being severely hampered by her girlfriend’s hold on her. “You weren’t meant to see! It’s not ready!”


“What’s not ready?” Andromeda chucked into her neck, placing a few gentle kisses there as she did so. “What is this, some kind of grand, waffle proposal?”


Hermione’s grip on the worktop tightened and her pulse quickened. This could not be happening. She had worked so hard to keep this all a secret and it wasn’t ready and she shouldn’t have been able to guess!


“Hermione?” Andy asked, noticing how white Hermione’s knuckles had gone. “Is everything okay?”


“I wanted it to be perfect… But Teddy and I couldn’t get the recipe right and now it’s ruined!” Hermione sobbed.


“The waffle recipe?”


“Mhmm...” Hermione hiccuped and pulled the bowl of blue batter to her. “I wanted to make them like you do for Teddy’s birthday.”


Andy raised an eyebrow. “Teddy’s birthday? But that’s not for three weeks yet. Why would you need to make the waffles now?”


The thundering of Teddy’s footsteps coming down the stairs had them both turning in time to see him skid into the kitchen, puffy eyed and with a small box clutched in his hands. 


“Dromy! You need to tell ‘Mione what the secret ingredient is so she can ask you the question!”


Andromeda looked between her grandson and her girlfriend, the pieces slowly falling into place as she noticed the way Hermione was looking at her and the small box in Teddy’s trembling hands.


“The secret…” she said as if in a daze. “The secret is… it’s love…”


“Love..” Hermion chuckled to herself as if it was the simplest, most obvious thing in the world. She ushered Teddy across to her and took the box from his hands, swivelling around to get down on one knee in front of Andromeda.


“Andy… Andromeda, will you marry me?” She opened the box to reveal a silver band of metal with amethysts on either side of a sparkling white diamond.


It was Andy’s turn to hastily wipe tears away as she sunk down beside Hermione.


“You wanted to make waffles so you could ask me to marry you?!” she laughed and stroked Hermione’s cheek lightly before pulling her in for a passionate kiss that had Teddy going “Ewww… Gross!”


“Is that a yes?” Hermione gasped between kisses.


“Yes, you idiot! Yes!”