|SIYE Time:17:14 on 24th September 2017|
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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Mild Sexual Situations
Story is Complete
Summary: AU In a world where Harry and Hermione haven't met the Weasleys, a chance encounter on Christmas Eve wil prove fortuitous
Hitcount: Story Total: 3017
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
This contains a couple of phrases taken from HP and PS, and HP and COS.
Harry anxiously scanned the crowd, looking for his best friend. Hermione knew how much he hated being the centre of attention, and had promised to be here by his side the whole time. The fact that she hated riding his motorcycle meant she was arriving by Portkey, and by his calculations, she should be here any time now.
It was the first Christmas since the final battle, and everyone in this room had fought bravely for the Order of the Phoenix. Harry didn't even know many of their names, as he had been secluded and trained from a young age. Hermione had joined him when she was twelve, her parents having been killed by Death Eaters. Her brilliance had been recognised even at that early age.
Harry had needed a companion his age. His childhood friend Neville Longbottom had gone to Hogwarts and Harry had missed him. Being around Sirius and Remus, then later Tonks was fun, but Harry knew he was missing out on something valuable by not going to Hogwarts or having friends his own age.
Hermione had been by his side since then. He knew the press thought them a couple, and neither did anything to dispell the rumours. In truth, Hermione was too focused on her books and her career to be bothered by any of that 'nonsense'. Harry thought she could do with a bit of 'nonsense' and he personally wasn't averse to the idea for himself. They had never contemplated giving their friendship a nudge in the other direction, agreeing they were more like close siblings.
“Where are you, Hermione?” asked Harry, looking around. He saw Sirius talking to an odd looking wizard with strange eyes. He saw Remus trying to stop Tonks from drinking another glass of mead. He saw Neville, and promised himself he would catch up with him later. Neville had brought a couple of friends with him and Harry thought he would like to meet them.
SLAP “I know I look bloody ridiculous in this outfit, which I had to wear because I lost a bet. But no, Irish, I will not go into the closet and, as you sweetly put it, look at your big candy cane.”
Harry caught Sirius' eye and they smirked at each other. They heard the young woman's voice again.
“If you don't stop pawing me, you'll be sorry. No, you ass, I don't want to look in your sack. I warned you!”
The crowd parted as if they didn't want to get too close, and Harry saw a petite witch wearing a sexy little Santa outfit, right down to the hat perched perkily on her head. Her wand was waving as a drunken young man smiled drunkenly at her, holding his hand as if he was about to grab her-
“Aah,” the man screamed as bats covered his face. “Get 'em off, get 'em off!” he ran off to the closest bathroom, Neville and a dark skinned tall young man following him.
When Harry turned back, the young witch was gone. He turned again, only to find himself being knocked over.
“Fang. Come 'ere, you bloody daft mutt! Fang! Sorry 'bout that, 'arry,” muttered Hagrid, heading past him.
“No harm done. A little humiliation is good for the soul now and then,” said Harry, still looking at the ground.
He went to push himself up and raised his head. He froze as he saw the cutest legs. Funny, he never thought legs could be cute. Of course, not all legs were encased in thigh high Christmas stockings with tipped elf boots.
“There's something terribly satisfying in having a man at my feet.”
It was her.
Harry tried to get up with as much dignity as he could. “Does it happen often? Men falling at your feet.”
She grinned at him, her brown eyes full of mischief. “Absolutely. It happens all the time. I've almost gotten used to it.”
“So I'm just one of many. I'm Harry, by the way.” He held out his hand.
“Pleasure to meet you, Harry. I'm Ginny.” She put her hand in his and they both felt the spark as their skin touched.
“Oy, Harry,” called Sirius.
Harry turned to Sirius and gestured 'in a minute'. Sirius winked and nodded. Harry turned back to Ginny, but she was gone.
Hermione rushed to the Portkey destination. She cursed herself for starting one of her new books, but she just couldn't put it down. When she saw how late it was, she contemplated not going to Remus and Tonks' Christmas Eve party, but she knew Harry would be looking for her and she had promised him she'd be there. She should have let him pick her up, but she hated that damn motorcycle so she said she'd take the Portkey. An owl had messaged her with the Portkey destination and what the Portkey would be. Apparantly someone else was taking the Portkey with her, but she didn't know who.
Hermione had excelled at her first year at Hogwarts, so much that, after the death of her parents, Dumbledore had offered her the chance for advanced study. She had met Harry and Sirius, who she would be living with. She found Harry a kindred spirit, an only child like herself who had no friends. They quickly recognised the similarities between them, and Hermione knew she had made the right choice in training and studying alongside Harry.
“No!” she called as she saw the tin can up ahead shimmer, then disappear. She stopped running and slowed down. “Damn.”
“There'll be another one in half an hour,” said a voice behind her.
Hermione spun around, her wand extended. “Who are you?”
“Er, Ron. Ronald Weasley. Mind lowering your wand?” he said, smoothly.
“You've got a mark on your face. Did you know, right there?” said Hermione, pointing to a spot near his nose.
Ron blushed and looked away. “It's a scar. From the battle.”
Hermione blushed now. “Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm Hermione, Hermione Granger. Did you say there'll be another Portkey in half an hour?”
Ron stretched his legs out as he sat on the bench. “Yeah, I wasn't sure I'd make this one so they said they'd send another one. Hey, wanna go to that coffee shop and grab something to eat while we wait? I'm starving.” He stood up and held out his hand to her.
“I'd like that,” said Hermione. She took his hand and he smiled down at her. Hermione faltered for a second, unused to a man's appreciative glance.
Ron was all manners as he seated her then went to place their order. He came back and sat down. Hermione flushed as his attention was all on her.
“So you were going to the party tonight? You know Remus and Tonks?” asked Hermione, nervously. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and tried to flatten the rest, wishing she'd taken a bit of extra time on her grooming before she'd dashed out of her flat.
“Don't tuck it away. I like it,” said Ron softly.
“You do?” gulped Hermione.
Ron nodded, leaning forward to tell her something. Unfortunately, the waitress interrupted with their order.
“Tea and scone for the lady, hot chocolate and brownie for the gentleman,” she said, placing them down.
“Cheers,” said Ron, although his gaze never left her face. Hermione found it disconcerting and sipped her tea for something to do.
“So...Tonks and Remus?” she encouraged.
“Oh, yeah, sorry. I've only met Remus once or twice but I know Tonks well. She, er, helped my sister out of a bad situation her first year at Hogwarts,” said Ron.
“Oh?” said Hermione. Tonks had mentioned an incident a few years earlier with a diary that had turned out to be a Horcrux. She knew Tonks had helped the young girl deal with all she had gone through. Hermione was amazed that a young witch was able to hold off Voldemort's possession for nearly a whole year. Tonks had assured Hermione and Harry that this particular witch was quite strong.
“Tell me about you. Why were you in such a hurry to get to the Portkey? And what made you so late?” he asked.
“There's not much to tell. I had been shopping earlier and bought a couple of new books. I couldn't help but start reading and I lost track of time. I have to get to that party. My friend is waiting for me, and he hates it when I'm not there,” said Hermione, in a rush.
“Oh, he does, does he?” asked Ron in a disappointed tone. He looked out the window. “Nice night for it.”
Hermione felt his withdrawal, and it stung. She thought back to what she had said. Oh Merlin, he thought she and Harry were together. Maybe it hadn't been a good idea to ignore the rumours in the paper.
“Yes, my friend. I love him like the brother I never had,” said Hermione. Under the table she crossed her fingers.
Ron brought his gaze back to hers. “Really? That's good to know. Very good to know.”
Hermione let out a breath she hadn't realised she had been holding. She smiled at him.
“You're beautiful,” said Ron suddenly.
“No, I'm not,” said Hermione automatically. “I'm too bookish. I don't really care about make-up and shopping, I haven't had time for any of that sort of thing. I really don't see-”
“Hermione.” Ron grabbed her hand. She looked into his eyes.
“You're beautiful.” He brought her hand to his mouth and kissed it.
“Oh,” she gasped. Suddenly, she felt beautful and feminine and desired.
Unaware to both of them, the second Portkey, an old rubber boot, glimmered briefly and disappeared. In the cafe, Ron and Hermione gazed into each others eyes.
“That's Mad-Eye Moody. Whatever you do, don't leave your wand in your back pocket around him. He'll come up and tell you how you'll lose a buttock,” grinned Ginny, pointing out the Auror that Harry had heard Tonks mention.
They had been wandering around the party together, pointing out people they knew.
“That's Sirius Black, my godfather. I'm sure you heard the stories of how he betrayed my parents and went to Azkaban. He broke out and came and took me away from my Muggle relatives, and told me of the prophecy. He's been training me ever since, and Remus home-schooled me and Hermione,” said Harry, nodding his head in the direction of his godfather, who was pouring something into the punch.
“So, you and Hermione grew up together,” said Ginny, pulling him down to sit on the couch.
Harry nodded, wondering where his friend had got to. “Yes, she went to Hogwarts her first year, then came and lived with me and Sirius.”
“And the two of you are...” Ginnys' voice tapered off. She wasn't a witch who would steal another witches wizard, no matter how strongly she felt about him.
“Like siblings. I know the press make it out to be more, but it's never been that way between us. She's my sister and best friend,” said Harry.
“Don't talk to me about siblings. I've got enough of them. Why do you think I'm wearing this outfit tonight?” groaned Ginny.
“Because I thought all my Christmas wishes had come true,” said Harry, softly.
Ginny looked at him and smiled. She leaned closer to him and licked her lips. Harry leaned closer to her, looking at her wet lips.
“Wanna get out of here?” she whispered.
Harry smiled at her and nodded.
“So all your family have been working underground, that's amazing. We knew there were people helping wizarding families escape, and we knew that it was someone in the Order, but Harry and I didn't meet many of the Order. Sirius and Remus said it was for our protection.”
“It would have been nice to go to Hogwarts. I wonder if I would have been Sorted into Gryffindor. All my family were there, you know, even Ginny.”
“I was in Gryffindor. Do you know, we would have been in the same year had you gone to Hogwarts,” mused Hermione.
“I would have hated that,” said Ron.
“Why?” asked Hermione, hurt.
“Because I reckon we would have been best friends straight away, but I would have missed you when you left after your first year,” smiled Ron.
“I didn't have any friends that year. Maybe Neville. I was quite lonely,” admitted Hermione. “I'd always wish I was a part of a big family.”
“You don't have to be lonely anymore, 'Mione,” said Ron.
Hermione smiled at the nickname, then looked away at the intensity of his eyes. She glanced at her watch and let out a scream. “Oh no, we missed the other Portkey.”
She reached down to grab her bag and jacket. In her haste she knocked over her chair. “Damn. I'm sorry. I just can't believe we missed it. Harry will-”
“Hermione, breathe.” Ron placed his hands on her arms and made her stop to look at him.
“But the party...Harry...” she said weakly.
“The party will go on. Harry will be fine.” assured Ron. His words were hypnotic, and Hermione found herself nodding.
“Hermione, will you come with me?” asked Ron softly. He held out his hand.
Hermione didn't even think. “Yes,” she breathed, placing her hand in his.
Ron smiled. Her trust was everything. He led her outside and away from the cafe. Neither of them noticed the third Portkey that lay waiting, an old newspaper.
“I need to side-Apparate you to get through the wards, okay?” asked Ron.
Hemione nodded and stepped closer to him. He put his arm around her. Hermione instantly felt warmth and unintentionally stepped even closer. “I trust you, Ronald.”
With their eyes locked on each other, Ron side-Apparated them away.
“Where are you taking me Harry?” gasped Ginny.
“To the roof. You said you wanted to get out of here. I'm providing the means,” grinned Harry, grasping her hand and pulling her along. “Come on, we're nearly there.”
“I thought we'd Apparate or something,” said Ginny. “What's on the roof?”
“You'll see,” grinned Harry. Although as they got closer he remembered how much Hermione hated riding his motorcycle. What if Ginny was the same? “Um, Gin, maybe we should just Apparate or something...”
“Bloody hell, now you've dragged me up these stairs I want to see what you're hiding up here. Lead on, Potter,” she smirked.
Harry grinned at her cheekiness, and they went up the last flight. He released her hand to take out his wand. The bike was under a Disillusion spell. He turned back to Ginny but she was at the side of the roof, looking out at all the lights of the city.
“Wow. Harry, come have a look,” she called. Harry went to her side and gasped. With the ususal city lights and all the Christmas lights, the city below was a mass of colour.
“Happy Christmas Harry,” she whispered, her eyes blazing.
“Happy Christmas Ginny,” he whispered back, bringing his face closer to hers. They tilted their head as they prepared to kiss, but just then, Ginny glanced over his shoulder.
“Merlin, is that what you brought me up here for? Is that yours?” she cried.
Harry nodded, chuckling at her enthusiasm. “You don't mind if we take the bike, then?”
“That is so cool. Come on, let's go,” she cried, dragging him off.
Harry laughed as he followed her flowery scent. He had no idea where they were going, but as long as he was with Ginny, he really didn't care.
“Where are we, Ronald?” asked Hermione, looking around. She pulled her jacket closer, more in defense than needing the warmth.
“This is my family home, the Burrow. The house is over there, and my Dad's shed is over there,” said Ron, pointing.
“And we're out here, why?” asked Hermione.
“This,” said Ron, his hand sweeping around, “is our Quidditch pitch. I'd like to fly with you tonight.”
“Fly? Oh no, I don't fly,” said Hermione, shaking her head.
“What? That's crazy? Why?” asked Ron, smiling.
“I don't like it. I was never any good at it. I've flown many different things, and hated them all. A hippogriph, a dragon, a motorcycle. No. I'm just not any good at it. I can't fly,” said Hemione, firmly.
Ron shook his head and stepped closer. Hermione breathed in his scent. He smelt like freshly cut lawn, which she found strangely comforting.
“You're Hermione Granger. You can do anything,” he said, his voice low. “Accio broom.”
“No, Ronald, really, I don't-”
“I love the way you say my name,” said Ron huskily. His eyes pierced hers.
“Fly with me, 'Mione. I promise I'll fly low and slow. We'll just do a lap of the pitch then if you want to stop, we will. I give you my word,” said Ron.
“All right,” said Hermione as if in a trance. She couldn't deny him anything when he looked at her like that.
He smiled. “That's my girl,” he said softly. Hermione wished it were true.
Ron hopped on the broom and flew slowly in a circle. He flew in front of her. “Hop on and hold tight to me.”
Hemione took a breath and hopped on. Ron waited while she got comfortable, and closed his eyes briefly as she held tight to his middle.
“Low and slow, like you promised,” she said warningly.
Ron chuckled and took off slowly. Hermione tucked her head against his back. She found herself enjoying the ride.
“I want to take you higher so we can see the Christmas lights of the local village. Do you trust me?” asked Ron.
“Yes,” said Hermione. He grinned at her over his shoulder. “Eyes on the road, er, sky,” she reprimanded teasingly.
Ron chuckled. “Yes, 'Mione.”
They flew higher and higher, although Ron took it slow. Finally they reached the top and Ron held his broom steady while Hemione lifted her head.
“Look,” he said , pointing.
“Oh, it's wonderful,” she sighed. The lights in Ottery St Catchpole twinkled prettily.
Ron brought the broom around so she could see his house. “It's not much, but it's home,” he said, gruffly.
“I love it,” she whispered against his back, looking at the lopsided house in the distance.
“'Mione, I want-”
Ron's words were cut off as the sound of an approaching motor could be heard. They looked up to see the silhouette of a motorcycle break through the wards.
“It's Harry!” cried Hermione.
With a sigh, Ron slowly brought the broom close to the ground. The motorcycle pulled up near them. Hermione wondered who was riding on the back.
Harry's passenger hopped off once the bike had stopped. She removed her helmet, waving her long fiery red hair from side to side. She let out a whoop.
“That was brilliant. I loved it! Oh, we are so doing that again,” she cried to the driver.
Harry took off his helmet and took hers from her. He laughed and looked around, stopping when he saw Hermione on the back of a broom with someone he didn't know.
“Hermione?” he called.
Ginny turned around to see who Harry was talking to. “Ron?” she called out in surprise.
Ron hadn't wanted to go to Hogwarts. He'd always had an inferiority complex after being the butt of most of the twins pranks over the years, so he chose to be home schooled. When he'd been injured and scarred from the final battle he had again retreated into himself. Yet here he was, flying with a girl named Hermione.
“Hermione?” said Ginny. “Your Hermione?” she asked Harry, who nodded.
“Who's he?” asked Harry to Ginny, seeing the frown on Ron's face at Ginny's words.
“My brother Ron. Well, one of my brothers. Closest one in age to me and best chess player you'll ever meet,” said Ginny, proudly.
“One of your brothers? How many do you have?” asked Hermione.
“Five more,” said Ginny. “Are we flying or what?” She looked at Harry, who nodded.
“Accio brooms,” she called. Two brooms came whizzing through the air. “Sorry, just Cleansweeps.”
“It's fine,” said Harry, hopping on one.
“Race ya,” called Ginny, kicking off the ground. “First one to the goalpost and back.”
“Which one?” asked Harry, looking to both ends of the pitch.
Ginny just winked at him and took off. “Hey, wait for me,” he called, speeding off after her.
Ron and Hermione watched them fly as fast as they could, teasing and taunting the other. They were neck and neck, bumping and prodding the other.
Hermione shivered, glad Ron had been slow and gentle with her. She blushed at her thoughts.
“Had enough?” asked Ron. She nodded, then realised he couldn't see her. “Yes, please.”
He slowly lowered them to the ground. He held her arm as she dismounted, then he got off too. He lay the broom on the ground and turned back to her. She was watching Harry and Ginny loop each other and do spins and rolls. They were laughing and having fun.
“You care for him,” said Ron.
Hermione looked at him. “Yes. We've been through a lot together. To see him like this, happy and carefree, well...” She broke off, a tear in her eye.
Ron put his finger under her cheek and brought her face to his. “Tell me.”
Hermione looked Ron in the eye. “Harry is the bravest person I know. He's dealt with burdens that fully grown men couldn't have coped with, and he's done it with integrity and nobility. I'm proud to call him my best friend, and all I want for him is his happiness.”
Harry's laughter broke through the air. Ron and Hermione looked up as he zoomed past them.
“Well, he's got his hands full with my sister, that's for sure,” said Ron.
“I'm gonna catch you, Potter,” smirked Ginny, flying so low Hermione thought she could have reached up and touched her.
“She seems nice. I would like to meet her properly. I can't believe she likes that damn motorcycle, she must-”
“Hermione, shut up,” said Ron, smiling.
“What did you say, Ronald?” asked Hermione, whipping her head back from watching Ginny and Harry to Ron.
“I said,” Ron palmed her face, “shut up.”
He kissed her. And she kissed him back before she realised what she was doing. She, Hermione Granger, book nerd, was kissing a man she met only an hour ago.
She opened her mouth to protest and Ron slipped his tongue in. Hermione had never known the sensations that were zinging through her body. She pulled back, and her eyes went wide as she looked over Ron's shoulder.
“What is it?” asked Ron, softly. Her face was flushed and shining. Ron had never seen anything so beautiful.
“Look,” she nodded. Ron turned and looked up.
Silhouetted against the full moon were the figures of Harry and Ginny. They faced each other, still astride their brooms. As Ron and Hemione watched, they leaned in to share their first kiss. And their second and third and...
“Well, looks like Ginny caught him,” said Ron, chuckling.
“How do they stay up there while they're doing that?” mused Hermione, watching them.
“I'll show you sometime,” promised Ron.
Hemione brought her gaze back to him. “I think I'd like that,” she said softly.
“That's my girl,” said Ron approvingly. He brought his mouth back to hers.
From above Harry and Ginny broke apart, grinned at each other and looked down. “So that's your friend Hermione, the bookish one,” smirked Ginny.
“Yeah, why?” asked Harry.
“She's beautiful, Harry. Looks like my brother has fallen hard. Is-is that okay?” asked Ginny, hesitantly.
“As long as he treats her right, sure. It's not up to me anyway. It's what Hermione wants that matters.”
“You and Hermione, you never, um...never...” started Ginny, looking uncomfortable.
“No! She's like my sister, I told you that. No, I seemed to have realised very recently that I have a thing for red-heads, just like my father. Sirius will get quite a kick out of this,” grinned Harry.
Ginny looked down. “Well, it looks like your 'sister' also has a thing for red-heads. Come on, I don't think I want to see my brother thrashing around like an eel. Wanna go and meet my parents? I'm pretty sure Mum baked a treacle tart today,” said Ginny as they flew to the ground.
“Ginny, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship,” said Harry as they walked off towards the lop-sided house.
“Prat,” said Ginny, nudging him.
Hermione and Ron followed them, laughing as Ginny tried to kick Harry's butt. He picked her up and put her over his shoulder. She squealed to be put down, but when he did, she hopped on his back. He piggy backed her all the way to the Burrow.
Molly and Arthur were waiting for them at the door,welcoming the newcomers, and for the first time, Harry and Hermione found themselves part of a big family celebrating Christmas, as they all decorated the tree, sipping egg nog, wrapping presents and listening to Christmas music on the wireless.
Little did they know that night, it was a tradition they would be doing for many years to come with their children, and their children's children.
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