Chapter 11 : Danger Zone
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We are in a mess
A danger zone
What will happen next?
We’ll never know
“Danger Zone” -Gwen Stefani
The next morning, Hermione woke up feeling happier than she ever had before. It was an unpleasantly cold Christmas morning and Hermione was all snug under her warm covers. She turned over and saw a small white box tied with a red ribbon, not unlike the one Harry had had Ginny’s engagement ring in. Thinking it was probably from Ron, she reached forward and pulled the little box to her.
The tag upon it read ‘to- Hermione, from-Harry.’
With trembling hands, she opened the little box.
Inside it was a silver chain necklace that held a small otter pendant. It was the form of her Patronus. The little otter was curled up, holding a capitalized H in its hand. Underneath the necklace was a note written by Harry.
‘Just a theory but the otter is oddly close to Potter. Coincidence I think not.’
Hermione smiled to herself as she put the necklace around her neck. The flirty banter between them wasn’t at all new. It was something that had happened, less blatantly, months ago. Of course now that they both knew how the other felt, it would no doubt become more frequent.
Hermione put on her slippers and walked towards the drawing room. Ron and Ginny were already on the floor, tearing apart presents in a childlike manner.
“Happy Christmas” said Hermione brightly, hiding her necklace beneath her jumper.
“Happy Christmas.” said Ron and Ginny in unison.
“Where’s Harry?” Hermione asked, trying not to sound too curious.
“He’s in the kitchen eating breakfast.” said Ginny enthralled with the gorgeous dress Fleur had sent her.
“And you guys are opening presents without him?” Hermione asked.
“He didn’t seem to mind.” said Ron.
“Well, I’m going to go get some breakfast” said Hermione.
Ron waved her off as he looked at his new broom: The Thrasher 08.
Hermione found Harry sitting all alone eating a bowl of oatmeal.
“Happy Christmas.” said Hermione vibrantly.
Harry looked up and smiled at her.
Hermione sat down in front of him.
“I loved your present,” said Hermione warmly. “It was so thoughtful.”
“I’m glad you liked it.” Harry replied.
There was an awkward silence.
“Why don’t we go join them before they open our presents?” Hermione asked Harry.
“I have a better idea.” said Harry mischievously. He felt inexplicably daring. “Meet me in your room in five minutes.”
“Okay.” Hermione answered.
She walked by the drawing room and saw that Ron and Ginny were now opening up the pile sent by their parents.
“Where are you going?” Ron asked as he saw Hermione walk rather fast by them.
“I left something in my room.” Hermione lied. “I’ll be back.”
Hermione reached her room and closed the door quietly. She leaned on the door and let out a sigh of relief when a familiar pop noise signalled Harry’s arrival.
“Mistletoe” said Harry, holding the mistletoe above their heads.
Harry wrapped his arms around Hermione’s waist and drew her in for a tender kiss. It was a kiss that was disrupted by a knock on the door.
“Hermione come on! I want you to see what I got you.” said Ron boisterously.
Hermione sighed exasperatedly.
“I’ll be out in a minute!” she yelled back to him.
“Will pick this up later then?” Harry asked roguishly.
“Go back to the kitchen before you’re missed.” said Hermione chuckling. There was something just so thrilling about what they had agreed to do. The romance of forbidden love was overwhelming.
Harry dissaparated and Hermione composed herself before heading to the living room.
“Come here.” said Ron patting the empty spot on the couch next to him.
Hermione sat down next to him.
“Here you go.” said Ron handing Hermione a neon orange present.
“Thank you.” said Hermione.
Ron watched intently as Hermione opened the present neatly.
“Another box.” said Hermione half-heartedly.
“Yeah open that one too.” said Ron brightly.
Hermione opened three more boxes until she finally came into a small black velvet box. She popped it open, found a gold necklace with the pendant in shape of an H, and intertwined with the letter R.
“You like it?” Ron asked hopefully.
“It’s nice.” said Hermione.
Ron took the necklace and asked her to turn around.
“Who gave you that necklace?” Ron asked curiously, as he took Hermione’s old necklace off and replaced it with the one he had given her.
Hermione thought carefully as Harry walked in and shook his head discreetly.
“My…er dad. My dad gave it to me.” said Hermione pocketing the patronus necklace in her pant pocket.
“Your dad knows your patronus?” Ron asked curiously.
Hermione nodded fervently.
“How does it look?” Hermione asked, in an attempt to change topic.
“Looks nice.” said Ron.
“Well, now it’s my turn.” said Ginny brightly getting up to where Harry was standing.
“Now Harry, I didn’t really get you anything but I think you’ll be happy with what I’m about to tell you.”
Harry and Hermione exchanged nervous glances.
“It took a while but I managed to convince McGonagall to let me finish the rest of my seventh year through owl correspondence!” said Ginny excitedly.
“What?” Harry exclaimed.
“Now we won’t have to spend any more time apart!” said Ginny animatedly. “Isn’t it great?”
“How could McGonagall allow that?” Harry asked.
“I have my ways. Anyway, what’s the problem? We get to spend more time together.”
“Ginny, but finishing you education is important too.” said Hermione.
“I know. I’m not abandoning it completely. I’m just taking it on my own time.” said Ginny defensively. “You both did it.”
“Yeah but we had no choice, we couldn’t do our seventh year at Hogwarts with the war going on.” said Hermione.
“Anyway,” said Ginny speaking over Hermione. “It’s done. So…what’s my present?”
“Oh…er here.” said Harry giving her a small white box tied up in a red ribbon.
Hermione eyed the present in disbelief. Harry had told her that he had returned it. Yet there he was, giving Ginny the same box she had made him change his mind about.
Ginny took the box nervously in her shaking hands.
“Is this what I think it is?” she asked eagerly.
“Why don’t you open it and find out?”
Ginny ripped open the little box and felt her face fall when she saw what was inside. It wasn’t a ring, but a broach. A broach made out of ivory that was shaped into a rose.
“A pin…” said Ginny feebly.
Hermione smiled smugly to herself. It was obvious that Ginny had been expecting something else in the little box.
“You don’t like it?” Harry asked.
“Oh no I do!” said Ginny. “I just…nothing. I love it.”
“What did you get Hermione Harry?” Ron asked curiously.
“A book.” said Harry and Hermione in unison.
“Oh...” said Ron.
“Mum and dad are back at the burrow and they insist on having the whole family ‘round for lunch.” said Ginny. “Shall we get going?”
“Yeah.” said Harry.
The two couples grabbed their cloaks and apparated together to The Burrow.
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