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Stag and Otter

Chapter Text

"This is rubbish." Ron moped. "It's bloody fourth-year all over again."

Harry grunted his acknowledgement as he finished scribbling his note on the parchment in front of him. Parchment he had carefully selected for this purpose.

"They still move in bloody packs. It's like they close ranks after the announcement."

"Yep," Harry replied as he carefully worked the seems. It needed to be perfect.

"C'mon, Harry. Help a guy out would you?"

"One moment." The Head Boy nodded as he held aloft his masterpiece. "Done!"

"What is that? Nevermind, I need your help picking one."

"I said one moment, Ron. Gotta be perfect."

Harry half-stood and rested his knee and lower leg along the bench, aiming over Ron's shoulder.

"Harry... what are you doing?" Ron called, a shudder in his voice as he eyed the pointed tip facing him.

Harry took a deep breath, pulled back his arm and let loose with a deft flick of his wrist. Ron yelped and fell backwards off the wooden bench, clattering loudly as he hit the stone floor and drawing nearly every eye in the Great Hall.

"What the hell, Harry?"

The raven-haired boy watched as a hand shot out and clasped the parchment, ending its perfect flight plan. A nervous grin on his face as he watched the owner of the hand open the artwork and read the note within.

Brown eyes looked up at him and he let out the held breath as he recognized the mirth in the familiar orbs. A slight nod the only reply from the Head Girl at the far end of the table.

Harry leapt up, a fist in the air in triumph before he knelt beside his prone friend, hand extended.

"C'mon, Ron. Let's go find you a date."

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"Hermione?"

"One moment, Harry." She responded, devouring the final pages of her favourite book.

"Hermione?"

"Almost done, one page left." She twirled the final page and read those words that made her heart swell.

"Hermione!" He sounded exasperated now.

"Nearly… and done. Yes, Harry?" she replied, glancing up into his green eyes.

So lost had she become in them, she barely noted the glimmer of light off the ring sitting in a box in Harry's outstretched hand as he knelt by the couch.

He smiled at her as she gasped and looked up.

"Hermione…"

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"Harry, stop. Where are you taking me?" Hermione asked angrily as Harry hadn't said a word since they left the Quidditch Pitch.

"Hospital wing." He replied simply.

"Why?"

He paused a moment and looked at her, his eyes ablaze. "Because rule-abiding Hermione Granger just hexed someone flying on a broom a hundred feet off the ground over Quidditch. If you aren't under the influence of a potion, then you aren't Hermione Granger. Either way, someone is in trouble!"

He turned on the spot and Hermione no longer fought him as he led her with renewed purpose.

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"Harry?"

"Yes, Hermione?" Harry looked up from his book at his best friend for the past seventeen years; who'd lived with him for the past twelve.

"Why aren't we married?"

Harry was slightly stunned at the question. "I don't know. Do you want to be?"

"Um… I guess?" She replied as Harry noted the bridal magazine that Ron's wife Lavender must have left on their last visit.

He smiled, before setting his book down. "Ok then."

Hermione gasped as Harry knelt in front of her and a small black ring box appeared in his outstretched hand.

"Oh…" She whispered. "Yes!"

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Oh god, not now!

Hermione froze as she looked about the room. She'd wondered in the back corner of her mind if this might be a problem, but had managed to quash the worry before committing to the task at hand.

But, now she had to change, something the other 'Harry's' were already doing and their states of undress were not helping her situation at all.

She'd worn the loosest pair of knickers she owned and it still wasn't enough to handle the growth as her blood rushed south.

She bit her lip as her eyes settled on real Harry and she froze again at the glimmer in his eye as he caught her gaze, before his flicked down, and widened.

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"Harry, pull over and ask for directions."

"I don't need to ask directions, Hermione. I know where I am going."

"We're lost, Harry. You've driven past that dentist's office four times now. Please admit defeat and ask for directions."

Harry glared at her out of the corner of his eyes for a moment, drawing her eye and her ire.

"You know what, fine. If you're so certain, I'll pull over."

Harry pulled the car into the parking area of the park they'd driven past so many times and got out of the car. He stepped around to Hermione's door and opened it.

"What are you doing?" Hermione asked as she allowed him to guide her from the car.

"Celebrating your birthday," Harry replied, turning her to face the gathered crowd of people in the park behind her. Two very familiar faces standing at the front beaming at her. Richard and Helen Granger.

Hermione spun on her heel to face Harry once more to see a broad grin on his face. "I told you I didn't need directions, they needed more time. Happy birthday, love."

Harry leaned in and kissed her firmly, to loud cheers from the crowd.

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Dobby's face spoke of both great happiness and profound terror as he walked back into the kitchen. Winky waited before noticing he had entered alone and fixed him with a glare women had perfected over many centuries. "Dobby was supposed to summon Master and Mistress for dinner. Where are they Dobby?"

Dobby glanced up at the angry look on Winky's face but the smile on his own did not shift. The terror in his eyes washing away as Winky's words filtered into his mind. "The Great Harry Potter and his Miney are... busy. And unlike bad old master won't punish Dobby for seeing by accident. We should put a stasis charm on their dinner. Dobby thinks that they will be a long while yet, and they have already sort of eaten."

Dobby blushed as he snapped his fingers and assisted Winky in cleaning the kitchen. It was good to see Great Master happy now the war was over.

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Two thousand eight hundred and forty-six days. Almost a full third of her still young life. There had been bookshelves and bed covers. Swimsuits and soccer balls. And oh so much paint. As an only child, her parents let her have perhaps a little too much say in things like that.

Periwinkle blue. An entire house filled with her favourite colour.

From the day she first saw it in her fourth year on this earth, it had been her favourite colour in this world. For nearly eight years it had lasted only to be blown away on September the first, nineteen ninety-one. When it was forever replaced by the most beautiful colour she had ever seen.

Green so utterly perfect that it defies description. And is to this day only found in two places. The eyes of the people currently painting a room periwinkle blue. For upon seeing it's pale magnificence in one of Hermione's old scrapbooks, the green-eyed Rose had decided that the blue was the prettiest thing she had ever seen. And proclaimed her room needed it on the walls.

Of course, her father had agreed. After all, who could ever say no to those green eyes?

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The pale mark on his skin had always intrigued Harry. Its shape so hard to define as it flitted about his Britishly pale skin, some days disappearing entirely as it shifted over areas that were out of view. It was only now, after several weeks of basking under the bright Australian sun as Hermione bonded afresh with her parents a sun lounger away, that he caught sight of its almost clear white form against his freshly tanned skin.

He watched in silence as the little figure danced around his wrist, twirling and twisting. It took several minutes before Harry realized it was swimming through his skin. His smile grew as the creature become more and more playful the longer he viewed it. The form became more defined with time and soon he could make out the fine detail, detail that seemed familiar.

His attention was pulled from his musing by a pair of fingers snapping in front of him. His best friend trying to draw his attention so they could enjoy the bright waters lapping gently at the beach.

And that was when he first noticed the pale marks extending over both her shoulders, outlined a new against her own growing tan. Without thinking, his hand moved to touch the slender marks, silencing Hermione as she watched his fingers brush her skin.

“What’s wrong, Harry?” She questioned, noticing where his fingers were tracing. “Oh, those have been there for years. They’ve grown a bit larger the past few years, but always stand out more when I get a tan.” She smiled down at him as he noted his own little mark slide back into view, swimming up his arm and drawing both their eyes.

However, Harry was thankful they had the private beach to themselves when it ducked beneath his hand and for the first time ever he felt it’s presence on his skin as it placed itself at the point where his skin contacted Hermione’s and a warmth spread throughout his body while a bright white light emanated from under his hand.
Hermione’s marks began to glow, spreading quickly from the point of contact until their attention was drawn from the other by a startled shriek from behind Hermione.

“Hermione! When did you get that tattoo?” Her mother asked in shock.

“Tattoo?” Hermione whispered, trying to see what her mother was referring to, but hindered by the brightness of the broad lines reaching over her shoulder.

As she turned, Harry saw what her mother had been referencing. The marks did not only cover her shoulders but continued over her back until they converged together at a large heart-shaped mass. A face. Of a brilliant pale stag. One that was ever so familiar to Harry Potter.

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After realizing that he and Ginny would never get back together again, Harry became somewhat depressed, reading about the many forms of love that magicals have recorded over the years. Wondering if he'd ever find a form of his own.

In a moment of weakness, Harry twirled his wand, "accio soulmate."

He dropped the book as a surprised shout and thud rang out from the next room. Harry rushed inside to find Hermione rubbing her shoulder and looking at the wall between the two rooms.

"What the hell, Harry? That hurt!"

Harry stood dumbfounded for a moment as he considered what he was seeing before repeating the spell and wrapping his arms about Hermione as she flew into his arms.

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Hermione had known Harry was the best kind of friend a girl could have for years, long before they had started dating earlier in the year. And having spent years surrounded by cute and cheerful house-elves had certainly given her a unique perspective on the struggles of those she’d met since arriving at Hogwarts.

But when Harry had been told he needed to lead some silly dance the school was having due to his being forced into this death tournament, he had surprised her in the best way.

Now every eye in the Hall was on them. Most in shock, but a few, mostly those from the Ministry, were scowling heavily.

Hermione ignored them all as Harry twirled her about the dance floor, the finely decorated potato sack and matching pillowcase for Harry Nemea had made for them swishing about her form as she passed Mipsy dancing with little Dobby in full dress robes. She couldn’t help the laughter that spilled free at Harry’s Christmas gift for her newest crusade to support elven rights while spitting in the eye of a Ministry that would force children into deadly situations.

She had never been prouder of her friend or had so much fun in public.

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While Harry was certain that Neville saw it differently, he was currently very grateful for the Triwizard Tournament. The couple of dates in Hogsmeade he had ventured on were great, but there was something truly special about tonight; holding Hermione close and waltzing about the dance floor.

Her marvellous blue dress highlighted all the superficial facets of his best friend and had nearly every eye watching her in lust or jealousy, but Harry already knew she was beautiful long before she put it on. She was always so to him, whether it was fresh out of a shower in her PJs tucked in the corner of the couch with a book. Or covered in soot and looking a mess in potions class, her hair even wilder than usual due to the fumes.

But it was the light in her brown eyes that he couldn’t tear his attention from. The soul-searing happiness contained within at being here, dancing with him. Her long time best friend and now boyfriend.

As the song wound down and they came to a stop, he couldn’t stop himself as he leant forward and for the first time, met her deliciously soft lips with his own.

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Harry opened the small envelope and smiled at the picture on the front.

The giant red heart with a section of colours like a small pie graph showing the gifter’s heart. With small parts showing Bacon, tacos, and chocolate, but most being bright red and stating: You.

Flipping it open, he found the very familiar neat writing of his best friend.

Dear Harry,

I don't think you're ugly either

Happy Valentine's Day

Love Hermione

Harry’s smile at the words could have powered London, and he glanced up at his wife across the breakfast table. Her own expression of delight was a balm to his heart.

“I definitely think I can up that to ‘I think you’re utterly beautiful’ now, Hermione. I love you.”