Return to Me (Chapter 12: Will You?)

The sunlight streamed through the window over Harry’s bed and directly into Hermione’s closed eyelids.

“Ermph…” she said, rolling on her side, her nose immediately hit something solid. Her eyes opened to find her body nestled next to Harry’s. Hermione felt a smile curve across her lips as she watched his chest rise and fall rhythmically; one arm slung over his head, the other was nestled under her neck. A sense of delight filled her like she had never known before. Even though they had not made love the night before, Harry had been a perfect gentleman, simply content just to hold her and every now and then kiss her deeply. She had not minded that in the least, and now the urge to feel his lips on hers was so great, Hermione leaned over and gently placed her mouth on his.

Harry smiled inwardly as he felt Hermione lean over him and press her lips to his. Gently, so she wouldn’t feel the movement, he wrapped his arms around her tightly and rolled her up on top of him. She squealed in surprise.

“Harry James Potter!” she said in mock anger, and he laughed. “How long have you been awake?”

“Just now.” He smirked up at her and she grinned and kissed him once more.

“As much as I love kissing you,” Harry said smiling up at her, “I have to tell you, you’ve got the worst case of morning breath I’ve ever smelled.”

Hermione felt her jaw drop down. “I can’t believe you just said that. It’s not like your breath is rose scented either!” she poked him hard in the chest with her index finger.

“Ouch!” Harry said, laughing again as she pushed off of him and headed for the bathroom. “Hey, where are you going?”

“To use your toothbrush!” she grinned devilishly at him and closed the bathroom door. Harry jumped off the bed and opened it, grinning at her as she squirted white paste onto his blue toothbrush.

“Honestly Harry,” she said, talking around a mouthful of foam. “I would think you’d at least have one of those nice spin brushes.”

“I don’t see you complaining.” Harry replied as he watched her brush vigorously. She spat the paste into the sink and smiled brightly at him.

“All clean!” she sang. Harry shook his head and brushed his own teeth quickly.

“I need to take a shower.” Hermione said. Harry leaned back against the sink and folded his arms across his bare chest.

“Okay.” He said. She raised her eyebrows at him.

“Are you going to stay here while I do?”

Harry puckered his lips in a pout. “Please?”

Hermione couldn’t help but smile at his antics. “Maybe tomorrow.” She said, grabbing his arm and pulling him towards the door.

His face lit up like a child’s on Christmas Day. “Okay then.” He stuck his tongue out at her and she closed the door behind him.

Harry snickered at his own antics as he pulled out a clean pair of jeans and a shirt to wear that day. He felt wonderful, like he had just won the lottery. Everything in his life was falling back into place. It was almost as if the past 10 years hadn’t happened. Almost, but not quite.

After a few more moments, he heard the shower shut off, and the sound of Hermione humming came through the doorway. A minute after that, she stepped back into his bedroom with nothing but a towel wrapped around her.

Harry clenched his jaw hard as he saw her in that towel, with the water droplets clinging to her skin, her very long dark hair falling down her back. The towel shifted a bit as she bent over to pick up her clothing and Harry had to turn away to contain himself, taking a deep breath and biting down hard on his lower lip. He wanted nothing more than to take her right there, but he wanted even more to respect her feelings. He yanked the shirt on over his head and stepped into his jeans, zipping them up roughly.

“You’re not going to shower?” Hermione asked, having picked up her clothes.

“I will later.” He said.

She nodded. “I’ll be right back.” She went back into the bathroom and put her clothes from the previous night back on, she could change when she went to her flat later. She went back into the bedroom and was rather amused to see Harry pacing the floor.

“Will not think about her in a towel….” He kept mumbling over and over. She smiled and sneaked up behind him, wrapping her arms around his middle.

“What’s wrong with me in a towel?” she asked innocently, as he turned around to face her.

“Absolutely nothing.” Harry sighed, looking down at her. “It just scares me how much of my self control jumps out the window when you’re around.”

“I’m sorry.” She apologized. Hermione felt bad, she’d have taken her clothes into the bathroom with her if she’d known how he was feeling.

“It’s all right.” Harry smiled down at her, and then pulled her tighter into his arms and she rested her head against his chest.

“Oh!” she cried a moment later, pulling her head away, and looking at his shirt, which was now wet from her hair. “I’m sorry!”

“It’s all right.” Harry said. He grabbed his wand from the night table and cast a drying spell on the shirt.

Hermione moved to the dresser and took up his brush. “I should dry my hair before I get everything else wet.” She pointed to his wand. “Can you cast a drying spell for me?”

“I’ll do more than that.” Harry came up beside her and took the brush from her hand. He muttered the drying spell and her long hair was instantly dry. Harry guided her over to the bed, and then began to pull the brush through her hair, gently, using his fingers to work out any snarls. He loved the feel of her silky locks as they slid through his fingers; he leaned forward and smelled his shampoo, which had an ocean scent to it.

“You smell good.” He said, burying his face in her hair. Hermione leaned back and he dropped the brush to the floor and wrapped his arms around her.

“Don’t stop doing that.” She murmured. Harry kept one arm wrapped around her waist while the other went back up to her hair and combed through it with his fingers.

“I can’t believe you kept your hair this long.” Harry said. “Not that I’m complaining, mind you.”

She smiled. “Yeah, me either. I thought about asking Grace what spells she used to change how I looked, but I don’t mind staying this way.”

“I love how you look either way.” Harry said, turning her face towards his.

“Thank you.” She replied, kissing him quickly, and then standing up.

“You going somewhere?” he asked, grabbing her hand and tugging on it, wanting her back on the bed next to him.

“I can’t stay here all day…” she said. “I do have to go home sometime.”

“You are home.” Harry said. He got up and pulled her back into his embrace. “I want you to move in here with me, and with Caitlyn.”

“You don’t beat around the bush do you?” Hermione asked.

“Not with this.” Harry said seriously. “I want you here for the rest of our lives.”

“Well…” Hermione said, looking up at him. “Perhaps you want to help me pack?”

Harry whooped and spun her around much like he had when she, as Catherine, had told him about some of her memories. Hermione laughed gaily as the room whirled around her.

“Ohhh now I’m dizzy.” She groaned as he set her down.

“Perhaps you’d like a little mouth to mouth?” Harry asked her, his eyes twinkling.

“Oh yes, that would be nice, I feel quite faint…” Hermione teased. She fell back, knowing Harry would catch her. He grabbed around her waist and pulled her back up tightly against him.

Harry leaned forward and teased her lips with his own, brushing them lightly against hers. Hermione took the bait and placed both her hands at the back of his head, pressing her mouth against his roughly, forcing him to part his lips so that she could taste every aspect of him. He pushed her back down on the bed and fell on top of her.

“You have such a one track mind…” she said.

It was definitely some time later that Hermione finally managed to leave Harry’s flat. He told her he wanted to take her out for dinner that night, and therefore had to make arrangements, and promised to stop by later to help her pack up her things to make the move to his place.

“I can’t believe you’re moving out.” Grace complained as she helped pack up Hermione’s things later that afternoon.

“Grace it’s not like I’m moving far, it’s just one floor up.” Hermione said, magicking some clothes from the closet into a box.

“I know, but now I really feel as if I won’t see you anymore.” Grace said, sitting down on the bed and crossing her arms.

Hermione stopped what she was doing and took a good look at her friend. “Grace…” she said, sitting down next to her. “I promise, I swear, that I’ll always make time for you. It’s like I keep saying, if it weren’t for you, I probably wouldn’t be here right now.” She put her arm around Grace’s shoulder. “We’ll still see each other all the time, I just won’t be living here anymore. Besides, now you can bring your dates in here and be as loud as you want.”

Grace looked at her a moment and then the two of them burst into laughter.

“That’s a good point.” Grace said, wiping her eyes. She held out her hand, her pinky finger extended. “Pinky swear that we’ll always stay the best of friends.”

Hermione smiled and hooked her pinky finger around Grace’s. “Pinky swear.” She said, and the two of them hugged. Hermione looked around the room, she was only half done. “I should really keep working now, I want to have this finished by the time Harry comes by.”

“Speaking of Harry,” Grace said slyly, “What did you two do last night?”

“Nothing!” Hermione said. “We didn’t have sex, if that’s what you’re implying.”

“Why not?” Grace asked. “I would have.”

“Grace!” Hermione whirled around.

“Sorry.” Grace said sheepishly.

“I don’t know why we didn’t.” Hermione said after a moment. “I guess it just wasn’t the right moment, you know?”

“Yeah, sometimes it needs to be just right…” Grace agreed. She folded the last shirt and placed it carefully in a box. “Doesn’t this all seem to be going really fast?”

“Yes it does.” Hermione replied. “Not that the past nine years with you haven’t been a blast, but I’m happy to finally know everything, and regain my life.”

“Yeah, I can understand that.” Grace said, helping her shrink the boxes down. “I have some news for you though.”

“Oh really?” Hermione looked up in interest.

Grace smiled widely. “Justin and I got back together.”

“That’s great!” Hermione said, genuinely happy.

“He’s taking me to the Caribbean this weekend.” Grace said.

“Oooh,” Hermione teased. She sat down on the edge of the bed. “I remember back in school everyone thought he was gay for a time, because he and Seamus Finnigan were joined at the hip. Turns out they were doing some project together and they both worked best at night….” She trailed off laughing at Grace’s look of horror.

“Gay?” Grace finally managed to utter.

“No, no he’s not!” Hermione said through her laughter. “Everyone just THOUGHT he was!”

“You are so mean!” Grace said, grabbing a pillow and whacking Hermione over the head with it.

“Hey!” Hermione cried, laughing even harder. She retaliated by smacking Grace’s face with her own pillow, the two women shrieking with laughter as feathers started flying around the room.

Harry knocked on the door to Grace and Hermione’s flat. He could hear them inside, but they weren’t answering the door. Putting his hand on the knob, it opened and he stepped through the doorway. Following the noise, he was amused in the least to see Hermione and Grace in the midst of a pillow fight, the white feathers from the pillows were thick in the air, and Harry laughed inwardly to see some of them settle in Hermione’s dark hair.

A grunt at his elbow made him turn, and he was surprised to see Justin Finch Fletchley standing at his side.

“Harry.” He said, nodding his head (all four of them had had dinner together a few nights before, so Justin knew all that had occurred). “Boy did we get here at the wrong time or what?”

“I think so.” Harry said, as the two women finally noticed both of the men standing in their doorway. “You know, the only thing you guys are missing is the mud, and this would be complete.”

“Yeah, why weren’t we invited to the orgy?” Justin asked as innocently as possible.

“You’re disgusting.” Grace said dryly, obviously not meaning it from her tone of voice. She stepped over the now flat pillowcase and kissed Justin.

Harry turned away to look at Hermione, who was biting the inside of her lower lip. He walked across the room and pulled a few feathers from her locks.

“Well I had everything packed…” Hermione said, grinning as she looked around the room. “Now I need new pillows.”

“Did you get everything else packed already?” Harry asked in surprise, trying to ignore the muffled sounds coming from the doorway where Grace and Justin were still kissing.

“Yes, we did.” Hermione said proudly. A loud slam made her jump into Harry’s arms and they both looked to see that Grace and Justin had stumbled out into the hall, pulling the door shut along with them.

“Goodness.” Hermione said.

“You’re still very jumpy.” Harry commented, absentmindedly rubbing one hand in a soothing motion on Hermione’s back.

“Loud noises, yes.” She said. Hermione bent over and picked up the shrunken boxes. “Here’s everything.” She carefully deposited them into Harry’s palm.

“Think it’s safe to go out there?” Harry asked, carefully inching open the door and peering out into the hallway. Hermione peeked over his shoulder.

“Oh good, they’ve gone into her bedroom.” Hermione said, pushing the door open all the way and going down the hallway. A few grunts and moans were heard from behind the closed door of Grace’s room; Harry and Hermione scurried out even quicker.

Harry let them into the door of his, rather, THEIR flat, and deposited the boxes on the floor, enlarging them to their normal size. They spent the next few hours unpacking things, and finally had everything set up the way it should be.

Harry glanced at the clock on the wall. “Is it that late already?” he asked in disbelief.

“Why?” Hermione looked up from the books she was placing on the shelf.

“We have dinner plans at seven.” Harry replied.

“We do?” Hermione asked. “Where?”

“It’s a surprise.” Harry grinned at her. “But wear something nice, formal.” With that he sprinted down the hall to take a shower.

Hermione looked after him for a moment, and then went to the closet where she was pleased to see that Harry had carefully hung up all her clothing neatly. She flipped through what she had, and then spied a white garment bag at the back of the closet. Curious, she pulled it down and there was a little note attached to the top.

-Hermione, knock him dead…. love Grace-

“Grace, you are too much!” Hermione whispered as she saw the dress. It was gorgeous; it was blue, almost violet really, made of silk with one diagonal strap across the back, which dipped down low, the bodice in the front was just revealing enough to keep her comfortable, and the whole thing had a shimmer to it that made Hermione wonder if it had been charmed. Smiling to herself, she took what she would need to get ready, then went into the guest bathroom and cleaned herself up and used the spare bedroom to get dressed.

Harry stepped out of the shower and into the bedroom. “Hermione?” he called.

“What?” she answered.

“Where are you?”

“I’m getting ready in the spare room.” She answered. “I’ll be out in a few minutes!” She finished pulling the dress on and was able to zip it up on the side. Then she took up her long hair and twisted it into a fancy bun, and pinned it securely. Hermione put on some of her favorite cologne, used her wand to apply a bit of makeup, and she was ready.

Harry was getting frustrated; he could not get his tie on right for some reason. He supposed it was due to nerves; he had a very special evening planned.

“Bloody tie!” He said angrily, pulling it off and throwing it onto the dresser. A soft laugh from the doorway made him turn, and his breath caught in his throat at the sight of Hermione.

“Having trouble?” she asked lightly, she seemed to float into the room.

“I uh…yeah, uh, just a little.” Harry managed to mumble. “You look incredible.”

Hermione blushed under his intense gaze. “Thank you.” She picked up the tie and walked over to Harry. Looping it around his neck, she tried to keep her attention on knotting it correctly, but the look in his eyes was distracting her. “Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked, keeping her eyes averted, as she did not trust her sense of self control.

“I’ve never seen anyone look so amazingly beautiful in my life.” Harry said as she managed to finish putting his tie on. Hermione looked up at him, then raised herself up the last few inches and gently pressed her lips to his.

“I love you.” She said softly. “So much.”

“I love you.” Harry replied. “Never stopped, not once.”

“In a strange sense,” Hermione said. “I don’t think I ever did either…somehow, I knew that there was someone or something out there for me….” Harry kissed her again, and then pulled back.

“We’re going to be late.” He said. They went into the living room, where Harry threw some Floo Powder into the fireplace.

“If we’re seen on the streets we’ll get mugged, this is the easiest way to get where we’re going.” He said.

“Just where are we going?” Hermione asked.

Harry smiled and turned around. “The Golden Snitch!” he called out, and he grabbed Hermione’s hand as they whirled through and came out of the fireplace at Oliver’s club.

“What are we doing here?” Hermione felt a bit confused, as they were dressed quite formally. Harry said nothing, but covered her hand with his and led her over to the elevator.

“Close your eyes.” Harry said as they had stepped inside and the elevator began taking them up.

“Okay.” Hermione said, closing her eyes. She could feel the elevator coming to a stop, and the doors opening, the cool night air rushing in.

“Open.” Harry said as soon as he had guided her outside. Hermione opened her eyes back up and gazed in wonder at the roof.

The half walls guarding the edges of the rooftop had small lanterns strung along, a closer look revealed small fairies inside. Soft classical music was playing, out of nowhere, and a tiny table was set up in the middle of the roof, with two seats and one candle in the middle.

“Surprise.” Harry said quietly in her ear.

“Did you do all this?” Hermione turned and asked with a large smile.

“Well…” Harry wrapped his arms around her waist. “I planned it, Oliver had it set up for us.” He took her by the arm and escorted her to the table. “I hope you’re hungry.”

“Ravenous.” Hermione replied. “All that moving today got me starving.”

“Well, all you have to do is think of what kind of food you like, and it will appear on the plate.” Harry told her

“Really.” Hermione said, looking down at the plate. Her eyes drifted back up and she watched as Harry closed his eyes tightly and a moment later, fish and chips appeared on his plate.

“Fish and chips, huh…” she said.

Harry only smiled back at her. “Your turn.” He said. Hermione looked down again at her plate and concentrated on her favorite meal, lemon pepper chicken with a side of Chinese snow peas, and a bottle of champagne.

“Wow.” Harry’s voice made her open her eyes. “You’re a lot more detailed than I am.”

“I even thought of a drink.” Hermione said smugly, as Harry, being the gentleman, poured the champagne into two glasses. She held hers up.

“Shall we make a toast?” Hermione asked, thickening her accent in a haughty manner.

“We shall.” Harry said, doing the same. “To you, the only woman I will ever love.”

Hermione blushed and clinked her glass against his. “And you as well, the only one for me, ever.” Harry leaned across the table and kissed her softly.

They finally started in on their dinner. While Hermione ate everything on her plate, Harry was only able to pick at his supper.

“That was wonderful, as far as food goes coming from our minds.” Hermione said, sitting back in her chair.

“Yeah, it was really good.” Harry said, sitting back. He checked his watch. “I need to use the bathroom, I’ll be right back.”

“All right.” Hermione said, watching him go to the elevator. Harry jabbed the button and a moment later the doors opened and he rode back down to the main floor. Oliver met him in the back room.

“Everything working out okay?” he asked. Harry nodded.

“So far so good.” He looked at the bag in Oliver’s hand. “Have you got the…”

“Yes, they’re right in here.” Oliver said. “You owe me so much for this Potter.”

“Yeah, I know, I know.” Harry said, pulling a length of cloth out of the bag.

Hermione stood up and walked over to the edge of the roof, looking over the half wall down at Diagon Alley. Faintly, she could hear people talking and music blaring; the classical music that had been playing when she and Harry had arrived had stopped a few moments before. She heard the noise of the elevator doors opening behind her, and she turned. Her mouth opened in shock and surprise as Harry and Oliver came out, both dressed to the nines in full Scottish kilts.

“Harry…” Hermione said, unsure of what to think of this.

“I thought you liked men in kilts…” Harry said, coming up to her. “Don’t I look like Mel Gibson?”

“Oh dear…” Hermione said. “You look better than Mel, any day of the week.” She leaned forward and kissed him, softly but passionately. They would have gone on, but Oliver chose that moment to begin playing Scotland the Brave on his set of bagpipes.

“Oliver!” Harry motioned to him to cut the bagpipes.

“Sorry.” Oliver said, snapping his fingers and the classical music began to waft through the air once more. He sheepishly smiled at the two of them and went back downstairs.

Harry turned back to Hermione; his stomach was alight with butterflies now that they were alone once more.

“Are you all right?” Hermione asked, concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Harry willed himself to calm down. He reached with one hand in the pocket and drew out a small box.

“Hermione…” he said, getting down on one knee. Hermione’s eyes opened wide as realization set in.

“I know that technically, we are still married, but I want everything to be new.” Harry began. “Ever since you disappeared, my life has only been half full, but now that you’re back, everything is as it should be.”

Hermione’s eyes sparkled with tears. “Harry…” she began, but he shushed her.

“Will you, Hermione Leanne Potter, marry me, again?” Harry managed to say. “Will you become Hermione Leanne Potter?” they both laughed softly, and Hermione took Harry’s hand and he stood up.

“Harry, of course I will.” She said. “I want nothing more in this world than that.”

Harry released the breath he had been holding and drew her into his embrace tightly. They kissed briefly, and then Harry pulled the ring he had bought from the box and slipped it on her finger.

“Harry, what a beautiful ring!” Hermione exclaimed. She had never been one for flashy rings, but this one took her breath away. It was a large, clear-cut emerald, surrounded by about eight sparkling diamonds. “I love emeralds.” She said, looking up at him. “They remind me of your eyes.”

Harry smiled, but his eyes remained serious. “I’m never letting you out of my sight this time Hermione. I lived ten years without you, and I can’t do it again.”

“You won’t have to, never.” Hermione answered softly. The classical music stopped once more and a new song began to play.

“May I have this dance?” Harry asked, taking her hand.

“You may.” Hermione answered, smiling radiantly up at him. Harry pulled her up close to him, one arm around her waist, the other still holding up her hand. She rested her head against his chest.

A new day has come

A new day has… come

I was waiting for so long

For a miracle to come

Everyone told me to be strong

Hold on and don’t shed a tear

Harry tightened his hold on Hermione as a cool breeze flew across the roof.

Through the darkness and good times

I knew I’d make it through

And the world thought I had it all

But I was waiting for you

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky

Oh, it’s almost blinding me

I can’t believe

I’ve been touched by an angel with love

Let the rain come down and wash away my tears

Let it fill my soul and drown my fears

Let it shatter the walls for a new sun

A new day has… come

Hermione had never felt more secure in her life as she did right now.

Where it was dark now there’s light

Where there was pain now there’s joy

Where there was weakness, I found my strength

All in the eyes of a boy

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky

Oh, it’s almost blinding me

I can’t believe

I’ve been touched by an angel with love

Harry drew back a little to look down at Hermione. He regarded her with such love that he felt like he was going to burst. He bent down and kissed her gently.

Let the rain come down and wash away my tears

Let it fill my soul and drown my fears

Let it shatter the walls for a new sun

A new day has… come

Let the rain come down and wash away my tears

Let it fill my soul and drown my fears

Let it shatter the walls for a new sun

A new day has… come

Harry and Hermione were still kissing as the song came to an end; neither of them noticed the silence that had overtaken the roof.

“Harry.” Hermione said, breaking free. “I just want to know one thing.”

“What?” Harry asked.

“Did you go traditional under that kilt?” Hermione smiled up at him devilishly.

“What do you mean…oh….” Harry said as realization dawned on him. He grinned back at her. “Wouldn’t you like to find out?”

“I think I would,” Hermione replied, running one finger down his torso. Harry gulped hard.

“Really?” he asked. “You want to…” he was cut off as Hermione pressed her lips to his. “Need…fireplace…our flat…” Harry was able to manage. They scurried back to the elevator and rode down to the main floor, then used Floo Powder to quickly get back to their flat.

Harry half carried Hermione down the hall as she didn’t want to seem to take her mouth from his. He gently put her down on the bed, and then lay down next to her.

“Are you sure?” Harry asked, kissing her fingertips.

“I’ve never been more positive of anything in my life,” Hermione said. “Except when I said I’d marry you.”

Harry smiled and kissed her again, and Hermione got her wish- she found out what was under Harry’s kilt.


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