Chapter 12 : Chapter twelve
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Second Time Love
The month since Voldemortís defeat had been rather hectic for Harry and Hermione, travelling from celebration to celebration, visiting new memorials to those who had died in the second Voldemort war, and for the past week they had been attending the trials of former death eaters.
Between them Harry and Hermione had been able to hand a large list of death eaters a lot of whom had claimed to be under the imperious curse and were therefore technically innocent, but with the list having been accepted as evidence, most of the death eaters who had previously been able to buy their way out of a goal term found themselves not only serving long stretches of time in Azkaban they also found thanks to a suggestion from Hermione, their money and possessions confiscated to pay out damages to those injured or to families who had lost loved ones.
It had been a satisfying time for Hermione as she watched the end of the death eaters and though she had nothing against purebloods the near eradication from the wizarding world of the pureblood belief in their supremacy came as a great relief and gave her a feeling of satisfaction.
It was on a Monday just over a month since the big battle at the ministry, as lunchtime approached she sat in the court room with Harry by her side as Lucius Malfoy was sentenced to death, she watched as he was led away screaming his innocence to the room where the veil of death was, it had titled Harry somewhat when Lucius had expected to be set free simply because he did not take part in the final battle, but with Harryís evidence, starting at the attempt to kill Ginny Weasley and other Muggle born students at Hogwarts Lucius was doomed to pay for his crimes. Hermione sat back a little with some satisfaction as the junior Malfoy who had plagued both her previous life and this one, was sentenced to ten years in Azkaban for having the dark mark and helping in several tortures of Muggles, she also felt some satisfaction knowing that Mrs Malfoy who had been sentenced to five years would leave Azkaban as yet another penniless pureblood, all the Malfoy wealth had been confiscated and thanks to information from Mundungus Fletcher all their possessions stashed away in the muggle world were confiscated too.
Then as the prisoner she had been waiting to see was brought in and chained to an old oak chair she sat up and readied her self to be a witness.
Delores Umbridge was sentenced to twenty five years for the attempted murder of Harry Potter and Dudley Dursley, and for the attempted use of an unforgivable spell and for using an illegal instrument to punish pupils.
Three weeks after the last of the major death eater trials Harry and Hermione returned by invitation to Hogwarts, they were there to cram in some work before taking their N.E.W.T exams before setting off for a well earned rest and a tour of the world. They were sat in the common room of Gryffindor tower reading the story in the Quibbler about the mob destruction of the Daily Prophet news paper offices and all the press room equipment.
Harry chuckled as he read about one Rita Skeeter being tarred and feathered and escorted from Diagon Alley tied to an old Muggle broomstick, during the celebrations Rita had published another story about Harry that was full of lies, it had been one story to many for the people of the wizarding world and what had started off as a small gathering calling for her to be fired turned into a full mob destruction of the paper that was seen as a main supporter of the evil Voldemort.
For the past three months Hermione had been teaching Harry how to dance, they had spent every spare moment in the room of requirement, every free period, every evening some times late into the night they had danced.
When they first started Harry had still been a little stiff and clumsy but he had very soon begun to improve, and as Harry led Hermione around the empty dance floor provided by the room for the last time she felt proud of him, he danced far better than Viktor Krum had and as far as she could tell he was now an excellent dancer. Like with everything else he did for her he worked hard to get it right.
On the last day as students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Harry was trying his best to plaster his unruly hair into some semblance of order, he gave up after several failed attempts feeling sure that his wife would forgive him once again, either that or she would subject him to a very swift and extremely short magical haircut.
Looking up from his mirror he could not help but chuckle as he thought about the last time he had been to a School ball, pictures of his one time best friend dressed in the most hideous dress robes imaginable came into his mind and he wondered what Ron Weasley would be wearing tonight.
Tonight the last night as an honorary seventh year students Harry and Hermione were to be guests of honour at the first annual Potter summer ball. Harry had been just a little annoyed when he first heard about the ball, but Hermione had pointed out that it would serve as a reminder to future Hogwarts students what could happen if evil was left to spread unchecked.
At exactly seven thirty Harry stood speechless with his mouth wide open as Hermione, no longer just the pretty girl who had wowed him at the fourth year ball, walked down the stairs from her room, now she was an extremely beautiful young woman, her once bushy hair grown into long and wavy tresses that hung down to the base of her spine, her once boyish figure now curvy, her long shapely legs hidden by a fabulous periwinkle dress robe that showed all her beauty joined him at the bottom of the stair.
Together they walked from the Gryffindor tower down to the great hall, Harry could not help but feel proud when he saw the looks of envy from both male and female students, he heard some of the gasps and whistles as they made their way to the great hall with the other students.
Professor McGonagall had them wait as everyone else filed in to the hall, then gave them instructions to enter when she next opened the doors. Hermione could not remember ever feeling quite so nervous but with Harry holding her hand and reassuring her despite his own nervousness she managed to keep the shaking to a minimum, the great oak doors opened and Harry offered her his arm, together they walked slowly up the aisle made for them by the students. On reaching the head table they were offered seats where everyone could see them, as soon as they were sitting the rest of the students were told to sit, speeches followed and for thirty minutes different dignitaries praised the two Gryffindor students, heroes of the wizarding world.
The speeches were over and Hermione looked at all the expectant faces, she had just learned as everyone else had that they were not starting the first dance, they were starting the ball by dancing the first dance, it was just going to be the two of them for the whole dance.
The Minister finished his speech and waved Harry and Hermione toward the dance floor, both feeling nervous as seemingly hundreds of pairs of eyes watched them they took up their position and waited for the music to start.
Hermione need not have been worried though, as the music began Harry led her effortlessly around the polished wooden floor.
For the first time she could remember she felt really graceful and elegant, dancing with Harry somehow felt like dancing on a cloud.
There was thunderous applause as the music ended and Harry leant Hermione backward and kissed her in front of everyone.
Hermione began the next dance with pink cheeks as they were joined by dozens of couples on the dance floor.
Several witches tried to get Harry to dance with them but he kept all but two of his dances for Hermione, they did not see Ron, it appeared he had not attended which was some small relief for both of them as it avoided any awkward situations.
Neville was there with Ginny and Luna and they all joined Hermione and Harry at their table during a break from the dancing, Luna congratulated them on getting to their final exams a year early, she said it was probably caused by interference by the bottle nosed eriwad, though as usual no body had any idea what she was talking about.
Harry danced with both Ginny and Luna and they heaped praise on him when he escorted them back to the table, Neville admitted to feeling just a tiny bit jealous because he was hopeless at dancing, Harry told him all he had to do was find the right witch and she would put wings on his feet.
ďMaybe so Harry, but I bet they still stay as two bloomin left feet,Ē Neville laughed.
Hermione felt immensely proud every time she danced with Harry, it wasnít pride in her self she felt, it was a huge pride in her husband, as the evening wore on and the music began to get slower and more intimate Hermione became aware of more and more witches watching them dance, she could almost feel the jealousy and it made her cling ever tighter to Harry.
She wondered for a moment how she had gotten so lucky to have some one who had grown so handsome fall in love with her, but she did not worry about it as she revelled in his loving touch.
By the time the ball was over Hermione was more than ready for bed, she had enjoyed this ball so much more than the only other ball she had been too, and though she had been dancing all night she was far from tired, and she didnít care if they gave a light show either.
The journey south on the Hogwarts express the following morning was unusual only in itís lack of Draco Malfoy trying to get a rise out of them, Harry and Hermione sat in a compartment with Luna, Ginny, and Neville, the time was spent chatting or playing the odd game of exploding snap.
Reaching Kings Cross after rushed goodbyes to their friends Harry and Hermione had to rush to catch another train, joining Mr and Mrs Granger just in time to catch their connection; they climbed aboard the train that really began their holiday around the world.
They were off on a sea cruise with only three stops at wizarding towns along the way, they looked forward to living the life of ease for a while.