Chapter 1 : Books Aren't Just for Reading
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“Honestly, Harry,” she said with a smile as she shut off the faucet in the shower. She turned to him and wrapped her slick arms around his neck. “I’m kind of surprised your mum and dad are okay with it,” she admitted.
“We’re not children anymore,” he laughed. “I mean, it’s been months since they caught us …”
“I know very well what they caught us doing, Harry James,” she scolded.
“It was the same thing we just did, wasn’t it?” he chuckled, his hands grazing the bare skin of her lower back.
“Several times over,” she said as she drew his lips to hers for a kiss.
It started out sweet and gentle but Harry quickly decided he was glad he was young still – he was ready for another round.
“Harry!” Hermione gasped as she felt her back press against the cool tile of the shower wall. “We don’t have enough time. Your mum and dad expected us down ages ago.”
“They can wait,” he murmured as his lips slowly moved to her chin, neck, collar bone …
“Harry, honestly,” she tried to scold but still tipped her head to allow him better access. “We have to go get your brother from King’s Cross.”
“Damnit,” Harry sighed as he pulled his face away from her chest. “That little git …”
“Harry, it’s Christmas,” she told him. “So please, as a gift to me, pretend to like your little brother.”
“Is that all you want for Christmas?” he asked as he wiggled his eyebrows.
“I seem to recall when I sat on your lap a little bit ago, Santa, there was something else I asked for.”
“I know, love,” Harry said in a sober voice. “We can pop by and pick up your mum and dad after we get Ethan home.”
“Your parents said yes?” she asked joyfully.
“Of course they did,” he told her as he pulled a towel down and wrapped her in it before doing the same for himself. “They love your mum and dad.”
“Good,” she smiled as she stepped out of the shower.
“Not nearly as much as I love their daughter though,” he added.
“We’ll do it again tonight, Harry,” she told him with a coy smile. “Right under the Christmas tree if you behave yourself,” she added before heading back into the bedroom to change.
A moment later Harry followed. He pulled on a pair of boxers and jeans before adding a jumper. He leaned over and gave her a brief kiss. “I have to run a quick errand and then we can go.”
“Give me a moment and I’ll come with you,” she responded as she pulled a necklace on.
“No!” he shouted. “Erm, no,” he said in a lower tone.
“Harry, please don’t tell me you need to go buy a Christmas gift or something. It’s Christmas Eve for Merlin’s sake!”
“No, I don’t have to buy anything. I just have to check and make sure my gift for you is ready,” he smiled before planting a quick kiss on her lips before apparating out of the room and not allowing her to protest.
That night, the two families sat around in the sitting room in front of a roaring fire. There were three couches so each couple – James and Lily, Michael and Emily Granger, and Harry and Hermione – took their own.
“What’s going on in here?” Sirius asked as he wandered into the room. “Sounds too quiet to be Christmas.”
“Remus and Tonks just went off to have their own celebration,” James muttered with a glance to his son.
Harry looked at Sirius with a look. Sirius apparently understood it and cocked an eyebrow. Harry gave him a nod and then turned to look over at Hermione.
“Stop reading over my shoulder,” she muttered, never taking her eyes off the book she had open on her lap.
“Sorry,” Harry sighed before turning his attention back to the Wireless.
“Where’s the midget?” Sirius asked.
“He went to get something to eat,” Lily responded, her own eyes glued to a book.
Michael Granger looked at his wife who was, not shockingly, reading as well. Seemed to be a thing with the women tonight.
“Quidditch!” James shouted, scaring the wits out of his son, Michael and Sirius.
“What are you on about?” Harry asked.
“Puddlemere United and the Harpys. Put it on,” Prongs urged.
Harry shot his father a dirty look but did as he requested. He looked to Hermione who stifled a sigh and then a yawn.
“Did he put the game on yet, Dad?” Ethan asked as he came into the room, arms full of food.
“Sweet Merlin, Ethan … keep eating like that and you’ll turn into Ron!” Sirius said with a barking laugh.
“Rather be Ron than Harry,” the younger Potter muttered.
It had been like that since he’d found out about Harry and Hermione. He would snipe and snap and be all-around rude to his brother and his former crush.
“Liar,” Padfoot snickered. “Don’t act like you don’t still fancy Hermione.”
“Shut up, Sirius,” Hermione replied, eyes still following the words on the page.
“I don’t need you to defend me,” Ethan said.
“Fine. But I think it would be best if you stopped acting like a childish prat and moved on,” she responded.
He stared at her for a moment before plopping himself down on the floor in front of the fire.
Sirius moved over to join Lily and James on their sofa. He glanced to his best friend and then to his godson. Harry swallowed thickly before nodding.
“Hey, Hermione?” Sirius called.
“What?” she asked, eyes still on her book.
James and Michael nearly groaned aloud.
Sirius sighed. Strike one. Nothing.
“Honey, do you think you could get me a refill of my tea?” her father asked.
“One moment, Dad. I just have a bit more to read and I’m done with this chapter.”
Harry’s hand, which had been moving from his pocket, stilled. Was she kidding with this? He shot a desperate look to his father who simply shook his head. He couldn’t think of anything.
Lily and Emily shot each other a look and rolled their eyes. They would have to be the ones to pull this off. Luckily they had been sitting on the ends of their respective couches and were close to one another.
“That’s fascinating!” Lily cried as she looked over at the magazine Emily was reading.
Emily’s eyes widened in surprise. “But I thought this was a muggle magazine,” Hermione’s mother stated.
“It is,” Lily explained. “Someone’s gotten careless.”
And that caused Hermione’s head to shoot up. Someone was being careless about muggle entertainment?
“What is it?” the younger witch asked, head slightly turned away from Harry so he was just beyond her peripheral vision.
“Oh, goodness,” Lily said with a self-deprecating laugh after seeing her son’s shaky exhalation from beside Hermione. “Silly us. Wasn’t magic … it was just another of those silly holograms.”
Hermione smiled at her mother and Lily before looking back at her book.
And gasping for the air that wouldn’t fill her lungs.
Everyone else seemed to have held their breath as well as Hermione’s eyes fell to a white gold ring with three diamonds in it. Her eyes flew to Harry who looked about to be sick from nerves.
“What …?” she asked.
“It’s … it’s a ring,” he said needlessly.
She nodded her head quickly acknowledging that fact.
“And … and it’s for you …”
Sirius groaned. Lily and Emily grasped each other’s hand. James and Michael watched and thanked the gods they weren’t the ones in this situation.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“It’s so I can ask you to marry me,” the young wizard blurted out.
Ethan’s head snapped up and a frown stretched across his face.
“O-oh,” Hermione said, eyes wide, as she watched Harry pick up the ring and take her left hand.
“I love you, Hermione. I love you more every day … I love you when you’re happy or mad or sad or … you know,” he trailed off and she blushed. “And I want to be able to love you every day for the rest of my life. You’re the greatest gift Merlin ever gave me. Please, Hermione, will you marry me?” he asked as he slipped the ring half way onto her finger.
“Oh, Harry, of course,” she whispered back as he slid the ring all the way on. “It’s lovely,” she added.
“It reminded me of us,” he whispered.
“How so?” she asked.
“Non-traditional and multi-dimensional.”
“Oh, Harry …” she smiled as she brought him in for a kiss.
Both of the older women had tears in their eyes. The men exchanged glances and Sirius smirked before mouthing `Stag Night!` with a pumped fist.
“I’ve been so worried about asking you all day,” Harry said.
“Why?” she asked as she smoothed the back of her hand over his cheek.
“I didn’t know if you would fall for any of the diversions,” he chuckled quietly.
“I can’t believe you put it in my book,” she whispered before kissing him again.
“Books aren’t just for reading, love,” he smiled. “They can be useful in all sorts of ways.”
“How did you know I would pick Hogwarts, a History to read tonight?”
“I didn’t, but that made it all the better.”
“I love you, Harry.”
“I love you more,” he whispered. “Every day for the rest of my life.”
“And every day after that as well,” she finished before pulling him in for another kiss.
"Happy Christmas, Hermione.” He than paused. "Was that considered behaving?" he asked with a lifted eyebrow and a smirk.
She blushed deeply - confusing the adults and the youngest Potter - and whispered, "Oh, you could say that."