"And then you make twelve wishes?" Rose asked excited.
"Twelve wishes for the twelve clock dongs." explained Hermione.
"The midnight dongs! Like Cinderella dongs right?"
"Oh don't start with your Cinderella again." said Hugo exasperatedly.
"Mum, would you please please tell us that story again? Quickly?"
"Honey, you know I'm not good with those kind of stories. You'd have to ask dad."
"Dad pleaaaase?" Rose supplicated with puppy eyes.
"Sweetheart it's really late now. And Mum already told you about muggle's New Year celebration."
"But that doesn't count as a story, because it's real, right?"
"Goodnight sweethearts." he answered shaking his head and slightly grinning. He turned off the lights and whispered through the ajar door, "Sleep tight."
"Why don't you like princess muggle stories?" Ron asked Hermione adjusting his pillow.
"It's not like I didn't like them, I just think they don't really have a... message."
He looked at the ceiling, thoughtful.
"Because they're all perfect?"
"Because they're all perfect." she nodded. "And no one is actually perfect. They're also too superficial."
"But you're perfect." he smiled.
She rolled her eyes trying to contain her smirk but her blush betrayed her.
"There must be at least one not-so-superficial-and-annoying-story." he insisted and did as if he didn't notice her magenta cheeks.
"Well, there is one. Some kind. It's called “The Beauty and The Beast„. It's more about inner beauty. I remember in the story, she was the intellectual kind of girl, and he was forced to be a beast by some witch who wanted to teach him a lesson." she told in that tone she took when telling stories, entering everyone in another world. She sighed. "But the truth is, I, as a child, never really liked princesses."
"Why?" he asked taking her hand as her voice lowered.
"I guess I just wasn't the princess the princes would look for..." her voice broke and he squeezed her hand as he turned to look at her dazzling brown and beautiful eyes.
"Because you weren't just a princess," he rustled, "but a queen, a magical queen for only those who knew to look further than your beautiful outside."
She kissed him softly, shedding a pearl-like tear, thought he couldn't guess if it was a tear of nostalgia or just of pure joy.
"Where did you say we were going?"
"I didn't, it's a surprise." repeated Ron.
Hermione slowly passed a last brush on Hugo's hair. After some protests, he had given up fighting.
"We're going by car?" he inquired, surprised.
"Oh yeah." Ron laughed. Hermione then realized what car they were taking and her eyes grew wide.
"Are you serious Ronald? It's not even legal, is it?"
"Come on Hermione! It's New Year! Let's have fun!" And they suddenly found theirselves in the airs.
"Coolest New Year ever!" shouted Hugo and Rose couldn't help but agree.
When they arrived to the lake, Hermione finally understood.
"Are we having a muggle New Years Eve?"
"It's about the only time when muggles make magic." said Ron putting Rose over his shoulders and taking Hugo's hand.
There was a playground, a really big green area and some kind of outdoors dance floor. When midnight approached, the family walked towards the chairs they had put around the lake to wait for the fireworks. The children sat next to some friends they had just made waving to their parents with huge smiles.
"I don't know what I could even wish for." said Hermione smiling and waving back .
"I do." answered Ron just before the music started. When the countdown began, he held her his hand and said loud enough to cover the twelve dongs:
"Beauty Granger, would you let me be your Beast tonight and dance with me?"
She laughed as the fireworks started and threw herself in his arms. Rose and Hugo were too astonished with the bright liquid colors in the sky and had forgotten of their parents, absorbed by muggle magic. He catched and kissed her. They stopped because their smiles wouldn't let them continue and Hermione whispered, her lips still close to his:
"My king, what a wonderful way to end a year and start another one."