Harry left the hospital soon after the doctors were convinced he was healed and quite honestly, a danger to no one.
Sirius Black had left Grimmauld place, his money, and his possessions to Harry in his will. With the arrival of Harry’s 18th birthday, the title and deed were transferred to him. Narcissa Malfoy was furious and was contesting Harry’s claim to what she insisted was her family home and fortune. Perhaps she was upset at the death of her husband and capture of her son during the raid at the Ministry.
Harry soon moved into his new house and honestly, seemed a bit lonely after the aurors moved back to the rebuilt Ministry. The house had been completely cleaned out of all charms and spells. Any protections were standard, although Harry could add any of his own. He started the day he moved in.
The magical items that were deemed safe were kept; others were taken elsewhere or disposed of. Harry was recompensated with a large amount of gold and the thanks of the Department of Mysteries
The scout from the Hornets began hounding Harry shortly after he had moved in, but Harry decided he needed a few weeks to himself before settling himself in a career. Especially one so public, looking the way he did.
Reporters bothered him constantly and he was pelted with owls at all hours.
Harry had been offered a number of house elves from some of the older wizarding families as a token of their thanks. With help from Hermione he assured them of a steady wage and time off to pursue other hobbies. For some of the elves that meant doing work in a different part of the house, unpaid. Hermione was frustrated but took Severus’ advice and finally gave up. Harry was impressed.
Harry even negotiated a contract for an enthusiastic young elf on behalf of the Weasleys and Molly finally got extra help around the house. She nearly cried.
Dobby accepted Hermione’s invitation to visit the Snape estate before the school year started. Soon after he wrote to Professor Dumbledore requesting he make use of vacation time he had saved up. When Dumbledore asked Hermione about it she just smiled and said Dobby had so much to entertain himself with there he probably wanted to make the most of his trip. Dumbledore had looked at her suspiciously, but approved Dobby’s request.
Dumbledore took Hermione’s advice and additionally, hired her as a councilor at the school. The Ministry had put all new hiring on hold and Hermione still didn’t know whether she wanted a Ministry position at all. She was needed at Hogwarts for the time being. A school harboring any animosity in a post-war situation could be volatile. To Hermione’s surprise he had also hired a former Slytherin, Blaise Zambini to be a councilor as well.
Hermione vaguely remembered the Slytherin, although they had shared classes. He was a thin young man of medium height. His dull red hair hung lank and lifeless on his head and was cut unevenly, as if he had done it himself. His skin was pale and had a grayish pallor to it. His mouth was a thin slash set in a long face. His dull brown eyes blinked slowly at whatever he was looking at. He had always been quiet in class and had kept to himself.
Now that the war was over and they were out of school, Hermione was pleased to find Blaise was shy and intelligent. She also noticed he never wore green or black, although he wore a silver pin with a snake on it. She never asked why.
When the year started the children of the Deatheaters and other pureblooded families seemed to be able to talk to him, and he seemed to perform his job well. He was organized and efficient. Hermione was thankful for the help.
Unfortunately, some of Hermione’s friends were still students and they wanted to pop by at all hours. Most of the time they showed up when they were supposed to be in class and just wanted the afternoon off. Hermione turned them all away, annoyed they were wasting her time. After she had taken 30 points from Gryffindor they finally stopped showing up.
Even more unfortunate, Hermione found there was a desperate need for councilors at Hogwarts. Some of the First Years of mixed parentage, away from their parents for the first time, suffered from incredible nightmares and the house elves reported an occasional bed wetting to Hermione. She often found herself summoned out of bed in the middle of the night to talk to a hysterical student.
Blaise found himself more often summoned to the hospital wing. Apparently Deatheater children had a bizarre idea of what their duty was once their side had lost. He very nearly lost his nerve after they had found the first suicide attempt. He came back to the office he and Hermione shared covered in blood. He had calmly made a cup of tea and stared into the fire until it was nearly time for dinner. Hermione had given him a biscuit and he offered her a single small smile. It looked as if it pained him. The girl survived.
Madame Pince was thankful for the assistance. If Hermione and Blaise hadn’t stepped in, it would all fall to her in addition to her normal duties as healer of Hogwarts.
Severus had started out the year with his ‘bottle fame, brew glory’ speech, much to the annoyance of Hermione and Professor McGonagall who happened to be passing his room as he started his first class of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Professor McGonagall fixed Hermione with a withering look and Hermione had to cover her mouth to keep from laughing.
Neville had woken a few weeks after the school year. From what Ron said, it sounded like he was in the magical version of physical therapy. He walked with a noticeable limp now and talked much slower than he usually did. Ron commented that his father had thought this was because Neville had become more focused, not because he had any damage to his brain. Neville had already written to the Ministry about information on their Auror program.
Mrs. Longbottom had showed up at the Ministry while construction was still going on, demanding to speak to whoever was in charge. She demanded Neville be hailed as a hero publicly and her family be noted for their dedication to the cause. Mr. Weasley, who was in charge although no one was using the title ‘Minister,’ agreed and decided to boost morale in the nation by throwing a celebration for the battle heroes with a special part of it dedicated to the Longbottoms. The celebration was to coincide with Halloween and would be covered extensively by both the Daily Prophet and the Quibbler.
Luna Lovegood was now her father’s top reporter and the only person to get an interview with Harry Potter. Mostly, because she let him help her write the questions and he edited it with her. It talked about his disfigurement, but there was yet to be a picture published of him since the battle.
Mrs. Weasley was rapturously proud of her husband and joked since there was no Minister he had become the nations ‘Arthur.’ Dumbledore was still peppered by owls a dozen times a day but unlike Fudge, Arthur seemed to pay attention to Dumbledore’s replies and the owls soon stopped arriving so rapidly.
Remus Lupin had been granted the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. After some new changes at the Ministry it became much easier for him to get a job, as long as the proper precautions were taken. His students quickly warmed up to him and he was freely able to discuss lycanthropy, its effects, and how to avoid it happening to you.
Hermione was delighted to find Remus’ quarters were somewhat near hers and invited him to join the scavenger hunt for charmed items in her room. Severus wasn’t pleased at the intrusion, but rather than argue with Hermione he retreated to his room and bound it with a silencing charm.
Hermione had finally showed Severus all the pictures Colin had developed of their quarters and he laughed out loud at the vines on her bed. Helga said she vaguely remembered putting the charm on the bed at the request of a suitor, but really didn’t remember all the charms on the room anymore, or even who the suitor was. She did remember he fathered her third child, however. She looked chagrined.
Since Severus was prone to loud snoring at times, Hermione was thankful for a bedroom of her own to retreat to; otherwise she used the room as her study. Severus still used the room on a regular basis for fishing, but otherwise stayed out of it. He wasn’t willing to feel her wrath by upsetting any of her piles of scrolls or books.
Once a week, Hermione took the floo connection to the Bibloitheque oo Amazon. She reported anything she found out on Harry’s condition to the Amazons. Harry was a bit curious about them, but regarded them in the same category as the dozens of historians that were owling him on a daily basis.
The Amazons weren’t really interested in the information Harry had gained about Voldemort, but the process used to make the exchange happen. This was their only difference from the other historians, in Harry’s eyes.
Well, and their tendency to send him pretty girls to talk to.
Ginny found herself very popular her Seventh Year. Although she was polite and socialized, she mostly kept to herself. There was no way to hide her missing finger, but the cut was so exact most people didn’t notice unless she gestured with her hands. Her scar was covered by her robes. She hadn’t gone to see Harry after she heard what happened to him. She never talked about the battle to anyone.
The Marriage Law was disillusioned after the Ministry was ready to take on new business. Several marriages were annulled, some with the authorities having to step in to retrieve confined women.
To everyone’s surprise, Parvati Goyle stood by her new husband and refused the offer of an annulment. Gossip said she stood by him because of his change of sides near the end of the war, but those close to him said it was the stubbornness and loyalty of a good woman that changed him. Either way, it one of the very few marriages that worked out, unexpectedly.
Hermione felt it was inappropriate to comment.
“Severus?” Hermione asked tentatively.
Severus lay nude under the sheets near her. He had planned to spend the day fishing off her window ledge, but she had been reading a stack of parchments when he came into her room, only wearing a towel wrapped around her waist and one around her hair. They hadn’t stayed in place for long.
“What?” Severus frowned at her sternly.
“What?” Hermione asked, taken a little aback at his reaction.
“You only use that tone when you’re about to say something you don’t think other people will like,” Severus said. “How expensive is it?”
“Well, I suppose that depends,” Hermione said, stalling. “This is not the way I imagined this conversation happening,” she said, a little annoyed.
“I’m sorry,” said Severus, relaxing a little. He thought to himself that he would have to work on his paranoia. “What is it?”
“I was just wondering,” began Hermione slowly.
Severus froze. Was she going to ask him about his past? His Deatheater past? God forbid, his sexual past?
“Do you think you’ll ever want children?” Hermione blurted out.
He had a whole school full of children. They drove him absolutely mad. Pieter seemed to enjoy his, but he seemed to have the most well behaved children on the planet. Curious, considering how he and Severus had been as boys.
“I honestly hadn’t given it much thought,” said Severus, propping himself up one elbow. “Do you want children?” He was relieved. It was a touchy question, but unlikely to lead to divorce.
“Well,” said Hermione, trying to sound logical in case she was going to have to present an argument. “I had always imagined I’d have children.”
“Well,” said Severus, looking like he was thinking hard. “If you conceive in the next few weeks you will most probably give birth in the early summer. It would be practical to have several months of free time after the child arrives.”
“I didn’t mean right now,” said Hermione, surprised. “I just meant, you know, for future reference.”
“Ah,” said Severus looking a bit embarrassed. “Do you - want children with me?”
Hermione looked at Severus. His black eyes were fixed on her and he looked very serious.
“Well, you are my husband,” said Hermione sarcastically. “You would be the logical choice.” He gave her a look she couldn’t decipher.
Severus gazed down on her speechless. This woman. This infuriating, beautiful, stubborn, bossy, intelligent, competent, compassionate woman, that was brave enough to take his name when anyone else would have turned and fled, wanted his child.
“Well,” Severus smirked at her and laid his head back on his pillow. “I would be, wouldn’t I? At least Hogwarts would have one competent potions student.”
Hermione smacked him and rose from the bed.
“Hermione,” Severus said seriously as he sat up. “I can support a family. I never really planned one, but I never planned on getting married either.” He began pulling his clothing back on. Hermione watched him. He got to his feet and kissed her on the forehead. “I don’t regret getting married.”
Hermione gave him a crooked smile.
“Back to work,” Severus said pointing at the piles of research material. “I’ll go get lunch.”
Hermione made a face at him, but went back to her work.
“Hello, Severus,” said Remus Lupin as Severus walked through the portal to the kitchens. “How are the fish biting this fine Sunday?”
“I couldn’t tell you,” said Severus a little stiffly. No matter how hard he tried he could never really be comfortable in the presence of the werewolf. “Hermione had other plans.”
“Maybe I should have taken advantage of that law and gotten myself a young wife,” he mused. Severus brushed past him and opened the door to a cooling cupboard.
“More trouble than its worth sometimes.” Severus picked a basket off a shelf and placed a couple of apples in it.
“Wearing you out, is she?” Remus grinned wolfishly as he brought a mug to his lips.
“She is not wearing me out!” Severus exploded suddenly. “We are two perfectly capable adults!”
Remus was quiet and appraised Severus for a few moments. “Do you want to talk about it?” He reached into the inside pocket of his robes and brought out a small flask.
Severus poured himself a mug of pumpkin juice and held it out to Remus. Remus poured a healthy dollop of an amber liquid into Severus’ mug. Severus took a deep drink and sat quietly for a moment.
“She wants a child,” said Severus. “Perhaps more.”
“Right now?” Remus asked, looking mildly surprised.
“Well,” Severus hesitated. “No.”
“Then what are you worried about?” Remus asked drinking from his mug. “She’s a young bride, Severus. Of course she’s thinking about babies.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Severus said lifting his mug to his lips. “At least she doesn’t want one now.”
“I take it you don’t want children, then,” Remus said.
“I-” Severus started awkwardly. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity.”
“She might even change her mind when she gets older,” said Remus slowly.
“Not that I’m entirely opposed,” Severus said as if Remus had stayed silent. “I just hadn’t given it much thought.”
“It looks as if she’s giving you time to think,” said Remus. “At least a couple years warning. Sensible girl.”
Severus drained his mug and stood up.
“She always is,” said Severus as he finished packing their lunch.
“What took so long?” Hermione asked as she looked up, her face appearing between stacks of scrolls.
“Lupin was in the kitchens,” said Severus.
Hermione waved her wand and the scrolls cleared from the table to a corner of the room. Severus set the basket on the table.
“Why didn’t you ask him to join us?” Hermione asked opening the basket and unpacking it.
“I didn’t know if you’d be dressed,” said Severus. “It’s a pleasant day and light is spilling onto the bed. You might have decided to take in some sun.”
“Not a half bad idea,” said Hermione who had slipped into casual red cotton robes. “I might think of that in the future.”
A large black barn owl landed on the open window sill with a scroll attached to a leg. His feathers ruffled loudly at his landing. Severus looked at it and frowned.
“What’s wrong?” Hermione asked.
Severus shook his head. “That’s a Black family owl. It must be from Harry. It just – surprised me.”
Hermione had never spoken to Severus of Sirius. She wondered if it would be appropriate. She decided if he wanted to talk about it she would by all means let him, but she didn’t know his limits and didn’t want to find out just now.
“I wonder where Hedwig is?” Hermione frowned as she walked to the window. To her surprise the handwriting wasn’t Harry’s.
Dear Hermione and
Harry is holding a secret celebration at his house next weekend. It’s Friday night at 9: PM so you won’t be missed at dinner.
Hope all is well with you.
“He just bounces back, doesn’t he?” Severus chuckled as he shook his head. He was reading over Hermione’s shoulder.
“Must get it from his grandmother,” Hermione said folding the letter. “Are we going?”
“I can’t imagine you not going,” Severus sighed. “Are you making me go?”
“I couldn’t fathom making you do something you didn’t want to do,” Hermione said with a grin. “At least not without me ending up miserable.”
“Good to see you applying that intellect of yours,” Severus said turning back to the table and his half finished sandwich.
“So I’m going by myself?” Hermione asked as she dug in the basket and came up with an apple.
“Unless you insist I go,” said Severus. He desperately wished he didn’t have to attend.
“Fine,” said Hermione. “I will go to a fabulous party and you’ll sulk around the dungeon.”
“Smashing,” said Severus picking his fishing pole up. He kissed her on the cheek and climbed out her window.
“Hermione!” Ginny crowed across the room as Hermione stepped through the fireplace into the kitchen of Grimmauld Place. Hermione was about 20 minutes late due to a fight between a fourth year Gryffindor and a second year Slytherin. It had taken both councilors to diffuse the situation.
Hermione waved at Ginny, not wanting to shout over the noise filling the room. Fred and George ran up to meet her, pumping her arm as they shook her hand and shoving a bottle of Butterbeer at her.
“Where’s that man of yours?” Fred joked.
“You expect him to crawl out of his dungeons to enjoy himself?” Hermione asked, her eyebrows raised.
“A snob is what he is,” said George grinning and shaking his head. “Doesn’t want to sully himself with the presence of us.”
“Oh stop it,” said Hermione. “He’s not as bad as that.”
“Heya, Hermione,” an excited voice said behind her. She turned to face Harry.
The uncanny thing was his face still looked the same. He just looked as if he had drawn on his face and put Muggle contact lenses in. He hugged her heartily.
“How are you, Harry?” Hermione asked, a little hesitant.
“Drunk,” said Harry with a solid nod. Hermione looked at the twins and they nodded as well. She sighed.
The flames behind her leapt up green and crackled. She stepped aside as Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall entered the kitchen.
“Well it looks as if the party is already in full swing,” said Dumbledore cheerfully. “Excellent.”
“And where is Severus, Hermione?” McGonagall asked.
“Take a wild guess,” Hermione asked as she rolled her eyes.
“He’s left her to us tonight,” said Fred.
“He’s a brave man,” said Dumbledore as he took a Butterbeer from George. He sipped from it and instantly turned into a small shrub. The bottle fell to the floor and broke.
“You’re a braver man to take something from them,” said McGonagall said, raising a single eyebrow at the shrub.
“Well that was unexpected,” said Luna Lovegood in a dreamy voice as she floated up to them.
“It certainly was,” said Fred scratching his head. “He was supposed to turn into a meter tall chicken.”
“Wonder where we went wrong,” said George pulling a notebook out of his robes and jotting down something in it.
Dumbledore reappeared in front of them, his hat askew and tilted low over his eyes. He was frowning.
“Was that supposed to happen?” Dumbledore asked, straightening himself.
“Nope,” said Harry. “Could you hear us?”
“Of course not,” Dumbledore said. “Plants don’t have ears.”
“Interesting,” George muttered as he scribbled furiously.
“You were supposed to turn into a chicken,” said Luna dreamily.
“A chicken?” asked Dumbledore.
“A big chicken,” said Fred absentmindedly as he read what George had written down. Fred jotted a few notes of his own and gave the book back to George.
“Much more dignified than a small chicken,” said Hermione aside to Luna, who nodded.
Ron clanged a spoon against the side of a heavy goblet across the room he climbed onto the kitchen table and turned to look at them. As everyone quieted down it gave Hermione an opportunity to see who else was there.
Neville was standing in a far corner with his grandmother. She was straightening the front of his black robes and one of his hands rested on a gold cane. The handle looked like the head of a phoenix.
Tonks stood nearby talking to Arthur Weasley. Kingsley Shacklebolt stood behind him listening to Molly and nodding. Hermione watched Mundungus Fletcher shuffle into the room. She shivered at the thought of being paired up with him.
People she didn’t know lined the walls and Hermione wondered how many people were in the Order.
“First, we have to address the matter of the banishment of You-Know-Who by our dear comrade, Harry Potter,” Ron said loudly. The crowd cheered and raised their glasses to Harry who blushed and said thank you.
“Second, we have to give him points for style. Not everyone could save the world and get himself drafted for the Hornets in one day,” said Ron, nearly dancing with excitement.
“Congratulations, Harry,” shouted Hermione over the cheering.
“We also have to thank the Longbottoms who have given all they could and more,” said Ron, his voice getting fuller as the crowd encouraged him. Hermione was stunned. She could see him behind a podium, motivating a nation. “May their line stay true.”
Neville looked embarrassed but his grandmother beamed.
Ron went on to thank numerous people, most of whom Hermione didn’t know. The crowd had toasted so much they were undoubtedly drunk by the time Ron dropped his bombshell.
“We can’t forget my dad, who worked inside the Ministry against You-Know-Who,” said Ron. “In the face of adversity he never faltered and this is why today he was voted Minister of Magic by an emergency squad called by the Ministry.”
Hermione’s jaw dropped as thunderous clapping and whistling filled the kitchen. Arthur was hauled onto the table to take a bow.
“Now we all have to vote for him when the Ministry can call a proper election to make sure he stays there,” reminded Neville, yelling over the din.
Arthur waved his hands and the crowd quieted down.
“Now, what was done couldn’t have happened without the help of everyone involved,” said Arthur smiling.
Hermione felt a little guilty. She and Severus didn’t really do much at all. Remus seemed to think the Amazonian prophecy would be valuable and pointed out she retrieved Dumbledore and the Amazons. That was a valuable contribution, but she still didn’t get to see any of the battle itself, really. She felt slightly cheated.
Hermione felt a tap on her shoulder and Dumbledore was motioning her into another room. His Butterbeer was gone and he was holding a mug of what looked like mead. She slipped through a few people and followed him.
Once in the other room he closed the door. It muffled the racket from the kitchen and gave them a bit of privacy.
“I believe Ron has found his calling,” Dumbledore chuckled. “What a noise.”
“He’s always been good at motivating people,” said Hermione. “Learned it from Lee Jordan.”
“Would you like something a little more adult, Hermione?” Dumbledore asked as he walked to a chest. He opened it to reveal a small bar. The bottles were tiny, but Hermione suspected they would pour out much more than they appeared to be able to hold.
“Is this serious, sir?” Hermione asked, fidgeting. She really wished at that moment that Severus had decided to join her. Or Harry. Or Ron. Anyone, actually, she really felt put on the spot.
Dumbledore turned around with a goblet of a thick looking red liquid in it. He handed it to her and a thick fruity smell wafted up to her when she smelled it.
“Plum wine,” Dumbledore said. “I believe you’ll like it.”
The room they had entered been redone. The last time Hermione had seen it the floor had been bare, the walls stained and dingy, tattered furniture had littered the corners of the room and the window had been cracked.
Now the room was clean, the floors swept and the walls repainted a light brown. The window was shuttered tightly from the inside and a new brown chair and loveseat beaconed invitingly from one corner. A low table sat near the loveseat and a bookshelf near the chair.
Hermione examined the bookshelf and was amused to see it was filled with books on Quidditch strategy and various catalogs for Quidditch supplies.
She sat in the chair and took a drink of her wine. She realized she should have sat on the loveseat, but Dumbledore didn’t seem to mind and even reclined on it, looking very relaxed.
“Hermione, do you know anything about Nordic legends?” Dumbledore asked.
“Which one?” Hermione asked, taking another sip. “There are quite a few.”
“Are you familiar with Heimdall?” Dumbledore asked.
“Guardian of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge,” said Hermione. “Let Loki trot across into Aesgard: realm of the gods. Created three races of man: Serfs, peasants and warriors.”
“In a nutshell,” said Dumbledore. “So you aware that he was reported to be able to and did manage to breed and create a bloodline.”
“Yes,” said Hermione. She supposed this was information she was supposed to report to the Amazons.
“The Jotun gave this to Lexi,” said Dumbledore pulling a small black wooden box out of his robes. “It belongs to you. She never opened it and doesn’t know what it is.”
Hermione reached out and took the box. It had a simple latch on it and she opened it. Dumbledore watched as a light emanated from the box and decorated her face with multi-colored lights.
“Did you open the box?” Hermione asked.
“I did,” said Dumbledore slowly. “Not to pry, but the Jotun are notorious for having a-,” Dumbledore seemed to be searching for a word. “Curious sense of humor.”
Hermione felt a chill pass through her.
In her hands lay the open box. The inside was lined with brown leather and a gold chain lay in it. From the chain a pendant dangled, made of something Hermione had never seen before.
It was fashioned into a lacy three dimensional pattern. The material was almost translucent, but flashed multiple colors throughout the body of the material very quickly letting off a decent amount of light. As Hermione pulled it out she spotted a small leather pouch at the bottom of the box. It looked as if it was meant to go over the pendant so it wasn’t blinding at all times.
“What is it?” Hermione asked.
“A piece of Bifrost,” said Dumbledore.
“What?” Hermione breathed.
“When Ragnarok took place the bridge was shattered,” said Dumbledore. “What is left is the Aurora Borealis.”
“This is a piece of the sky?” Hermione breathed.
“This is a part of the bridge that was broken off and forged when it was still corporeal,” said Dumbledore.
“Incredible,” said Hermione as she slipped the leather pouch over the pendant and tied it tightly. She slid the chain around her neck and placed it under her robes. “Why did they give it to me?”
“One of the Jotun insisted it belonged to you,” said Dumbledore slowly.
“What are you saying?” Hermione asked, draining her goblet. Dumbledore refilled it for her.
“Some Vikings were descended from Heimdall,” explained Dumbledore. “Apparently one of them- created a child with one of your grandmothers.”
Hermione was silent, but once again drained her goblet. When Dumbledore refilled it, his bottle poured out water.
“That must have been over fifteen hundred years ago,” said Hermione. “I’m sure there are thousands of descendents of Vikings throughout Britain by now.”
“Apparently one of the Jotun was instantly drawn to you,” said Dumbledore. “Mithrax is a historian among his kind and was taken by how much you looked like a silver bust of Heimdall he has a record of.”
“Just because I look like someone doesn’t mean I’m related,” said Hermione.
“He took a sample hair off your robes when you were injured in the blast,” said Dumbledore, refilling his own mug with the bottle he held in his hand. “When his test came back as he suspected he finally had someone to return this artifact to.”
“Should I be wearing it?” Hermione asked.
“It is your right to wear it,” Dumbledore said. “The chain will never tarnish or break and the shard itself holds great power only you can learn.”
Hermione fingered the pendant through her robes and shook her head.
“I will of course want to see any notes you take in your research,” said Dumbledore. “Not much is known about it.”
“Of course,” Hermione echoed faintly. She placed the box in her pocket.
“As far as Mithrax can tell it makes a wonderful source of light in the dark,” said Dumbledore.
Hermione nodded. Part of her wondered if it did anything besides make light.
Suddenly the door flew open and Harry and Ron burst in.
“Didn’t like my speech?” Ron laughed as he took a deep drink from his mug. Hermione knew it was full of Butterbeer.
“It was wonderful,” said Hermione, smiling at him.
“Truly inspirational, Mr. Weasley,” said Dumbledore raising his mug.
“You’ll do us proud, yet,” said Harry laughing.
Ron turned red, but smiled at them. The door suddenly darkened behind them.
“Hello, Hagrid,” said Dumbledore cheerfully.
“’Allo,” said Hagrid, a mug the size of a small barrel in his hands. Hermione had never seen him in Grimmauld place and watched him duck through the door frame. She thanked the powers that be for Victorian ceiling height. “Sorry I’m late. Had a bit of trouble with the Augureys. Got into a cage of pixies.”
“We’re glad to have you,” said Harry, smiling and turning to face him.
It was apparent from Hagrid’s expression that he hadn’t seen Harry since his transformation. The color drained from his face. He took a step backwards and hit his head on the portion of wall above the door he had to duck into to enter the room.
“Ow!” said Hagrid, rubbing his head and regaining his composure. “Sorry Harry. Quite a look you’ve got there.”
“I know,” said Harry, sighing. “I wonder if I could get away with wearing a veil and sunglasses at all times.”
“Probably could,” said Hermione. “I’ve seen stranger.”
“People will get used to your appearance, Harry,” said Dumbledore. “It will just take time for them to adapt.”
“Especially when the new Quidditch season starts,” said Ron excitedly.
“People can overlook anything when Quidditch is involved,” said Hermione. “Look at Bagman. The people just let him go and he turned out to be Voldemorts most devoted servant.”
Ron and Hagrid flinched.
“Oh, really,” said Hermione testily. She took the bottle from Dumbledore and it poured out more plum wine. As she suspected, it poured whatever the pourer desired as long as it was stocked in the bar. “He’s dead.”
“It never did anything anyway,” said Harry. “It started as a story to frighten small children and ran out of control.”
Dumbledore shook his head and rose from the loveseat.
“I imagined as much,” he said. “Now, let’s not be so elitist and join the rest of the party.”
Hermione was delighted to meet the other operatives in the Order. She had no idea so many of them had been deep undercover.
She finally got an opportunity to talk to Neville, who said he’d be in touch and would like to speak to her. He still had a limp, but the healers said he would get over it in a few weeks as he grew stronger. His hip had been broken in the blast and his inactivity made the muscles grow weak.
Phineas Nigellus watched the whole thing imperiously from a picture of a farmhouse.
Molly had cornered Hermione and interrogated her about her life with Severus. Hermione embarrassedly explained she had grown fond of Severus and although she knew her options, she had no intention of getting the marriage disillusioned. Molly had seemed satisfied with that answer and bemoaned the fact that Hermione had never had a bridal shower.
Parvati Goyle, who had arrived even later than Hermione, had overheard and agreed that she had gotten one, although thrown together haphazardly. It was a shame Hermione had missed out and agreed with Molly to make plans.
Hermione tried to protest, but Molly and Parvati insisted all the bride had to do was show up. They would make all the arrangements. She finally gave in and the women said they’d contact Hermione for her opinion on small details.
After a few hours and many toasts later Hermione finally threw a handful of floo powder into the fire and made her way back home.
“Well, hello,” said Severus as she staggered slightly through the fireplace in their receiving room. Helga Hufflepuff sat snoring quietly in her frame and Crookshanks lay curled up sleeping near Severus on the couch. It looked like he was grading first year scrolls. “How was the secret party?”
“I had a wonderful time,” said Hermione. “With the exception of being talked into a belated bridal shower.”
“I hope that’s not something I have to take part in,” he frowned seriously.
“Not at all,” said Hermione sighing. “I’m the only one that has to take part and all I have to really do is show up and choose the food.”
“That doesn’t sound too bad,” said Severus. “They are all people you enjoy the company of.”
Hermione nodded. He was right, of course. She was becoming too consumed with her job and becoming a hermit.
“There were a few important announcements as well,” continued Hermione as she flopped on the couch near him.
“How much have you been drinking?” Severus asked, sniffing her.
“I don’t know, but I blame it all on Ron and Dumbledore,” said Hermione, leading her head back and staring at the ceiling. The light fixture seemed to be wobbling slightly.
Severus shook his head and ticked something off on a parchment with a red quill.
“So what were these important announcements?” Severus asked.
Harry’s been drafted by the Hornets and Mr. Weasley’s the new Minister of Magic,” said Hermione wobbling her head slightly so the fixture was moving in a figure eight pattern.
“Really?” Severus asked, frowning. Hermione looked up and felt dizzy.
“What’s wrong with that?” Hermione asked.
“Has the manager of the Hornets seen Harry on person since the battle?” Severus asked.
“I- I don’t know,” Hermione said honestly.
“Don’t be disappointed if he changes his mind, Hermione,” Severus said, he looked up at her and his face looked grim.
Hermione nodded, already feeling the pangs of disappointment. Crookshanks nudged her and purred deeply. She scratched his ears as he pushed his head into her hand.
She felt her eyes grow tired and she closed them for a moment to rest them.
She never felt her husband enchant her body to float to her bedroom and change into her bedclothes. He tucked her in with a kiss and left Crookshanks with her to get some rest.
He was glad he had a small supply of morning after potions. He was sure she’d need one tomorrow.