Return to Me (Series Epilogue)

Harry cracked his eyes open as sunlight streamed into the window and across his face. “Wake up sleepyhead,” a voice made him blink and look up.

“What,” Harry mumbled as he rubbed his bleary eyes. He fumbled for his glasses and slipped them onto the bridge of his nose.

“Happy Birthday,” Hermione was crouched over his legs, leaning seductively on all fours. “I have a present for you…”

“You do?” Harry asked, now fully awake as he slid his hands over Hermione’s satin covered hips.

“Yes,” she purred, leaning in to nip at his ear. “It’s been far too long since we’ve had a chance to…” Hermione was interrupted by a knock at the door.

“Dad are you up yet? Happy Birthday!” the voices of his two youngest children came through the thick wood.

“I bloody am now!” Harry shouted back, groaning as Hermione slipped off him.

Carl rolled his eyes at his twin sister Corinne. “Ten Galleons says they were about to do something disgusting.”

“Carl!” Corinne grimaced at her brother. “That’s really gross!”

He smirked at her and pushed the door open; both of them were carrying wrapped gifts. “Happy Birthday!” his twins both clambered onto the bed with him and Hermione.

“Hey, thanks you two,” Harry pulled Corinne on one side and Carl on the other.

“Open mine first,” Carl thrust the oddly wrapped package into Harry’s hands. Harry grinned at his son. Now twelve years old, they were home from the summer from Hogwarts and would soon be going back.

He and Hermione had experienced a bit of empty nest syndrome after the twins left for school, but had thankfully found several ways of occupying their time, including more shagging on Harry’s piano and rechristening several rooms.

Harry peeled off the paper. “Hey this is fantastic!” Carl had given him a solid gold representation of a golden snitch. “I’ll put it on the fireplace!”

Corinne handed him a flat package and Harry eagerly ripped into it. “Wow,” he said, flipping through the photo album.

His daughter had filled it with pictures of the two of them over the years, starting from when she was a baby to ones taken just a few weeks ago. “Mum helped me put it together,” Corinne laid her head on his shoulder.

“I love BOTH my birthday presents,” Harry pulled his kids close with each arm. “Thanks you two,” he kissed each of their heads. “Now run along and let your mum and I get dressed.”

“Okay,” with a hug for Hermione, their kids scampered out of the room. Harry grinned after them for a moment before pulling Hermione back on top of him.

“She was so excited to give you that album,” Hermione said softly.

“It’s fantastic,” Harry said before pulling her head down for a kiss.

*** *** ***

“Blue!” Caitlyn Weasley set down her bag. “Are you coming or what?”

“Helena and I will be along in a few minutes,” Blue shouted down the stairs. “You and Lily go on ahead!”

They were heading to Harry and Hermione’s house. It was Harry’s 52nd birthday and Hermione was planning a surprise party for him. Blue was taking him to a Quidditch game; to treat him to a guy’s day out while Caitlyn and their daughters visited (aka set up the party) with Hermione.

Caitlyn sighed as she glared up the stairs. Her oldest daughter tugged at her arm. “Let’s go Mummy, I want to see Grandma!”

“All right love,” Caitlyn replied, smoothing back Lily’s bushy brown hair. “Are you ready to Floo?”

Lily nodded, clutching onto her bag containing her journal and books to read. She had also written a short story that she wanted to show her grandmother.

“Well off we go then,” Caitlyn headed for the fireplace and gave Lily some powder. “You know how to do it love.”

Once Lily had disappeared, Caitlyn took a pinch of powder and did the same. She disliked travelling by Floo, mainly because it made her dizzy and dirtied up her clothes. Yet since Lily and Helena were both too young to Apparate, they were stuck with Flooing for the time being.

She tumbled out of her parents’ fireplace; Lily was sitting primly on the sofa, brushing soot off her shirt. “Are you all right mum?” she asked as Caitlyn coughed from the dust.

“I’m fine,” Caitlyn replied. “Your grandparents need to clean that thing out.” With a charm she cleaned herself and her daughter off, and then they headed into the kitchen.

“Morning!” Lily cried out as she saw her grandmother. Hermione turned around, a smile breaking across her face.

“Hello love,” she hugged her granddaughter tightly. “Hi Caty,”

“Hi Mum,” Caitlyn hugged her mother. “Where’s Dad?”

“Showering,” Hermione replied. “I’m just making breakfast for him and the kids if you’d like to join us.”

“I’m not hungry but Lils hasn’t had breakfast yet,” Caitlyn put her hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “Blue and Helena should be along in just a bit.”

“Oh good,” Hermione said, turning back to the stove.

“Where are Colin, Carl and Corinne?” Caitlyn asked as Lily sat down at the table.

“Carl and Corinne are around here somewhere and Colin is still sleeping.” Hermione turned to her daughter. “He was out late last night with Katrina.”

Caitlyn cocked her eyebrow. “I’m going to wake him up,” she dashed out of the kitchen. She raced up the stairs and pounded on the door to Colin’s room.

“Rise and shine, valentine!” she called out in an overly loud voice. Opening the door to his room, she saw her seventeen year old brother sprawled beneath his sheets, his head under the pillow. “Come on you lazy bum its Dad’s birthday!”

“Go away Caty,” Colin grumbled, pulling his head out from under the pillow. Caitlyn laughed at his hair, which stood straight up in every which direction. “You weren’t the one out until three this morning!”

“Says you,” Caitlyn hit him with another pillow. “Blue and I have an active nightlife… sometimes.”

“Whatever,” Colin grabbed the pillow away from her and sat up. “I don’t need to know any more than what you just said.”

“Well fine,” Caitlyn got up, pulling his curtains apart. “But get your arse downstairs before I send the monsters up.”

“Go away,” Colin said rudely, pushing away the covers as his older sister left the room.

Caitlyn grinned as she leaned against the wall outside his room. “He loves his big sister,” she said to no one before skipping down the stairs. As she crossed past the living room she saw her husband and youngest daughter spill out of the fireplace.

“About time you two got here!” Caitlyn laughed and staggered back as red haired Helena threw herself at her mother. “What on earth are you wearing?”

“My Chudley Cannons clothes!” Four year old Helena was the bouncy, energetic member of their family. While she was loud and spunky, Lily, aged six, was quiet and pensive most of the time.

When Lily had been born, Blue and Caitlyn decided to name her after Harry’s long deceased mother. Helena actually looked more like her great grandmother, even though both girls had Caitlyn’s bright green eyes.

“Why are you wearing those?” Caitlyn picked her baby up, kissing the young girl’s forehead. “Love you know Daddy and his team aren’t playing today.”

“Because I’m going to the game Mummy and I wanted to wear my Quidditch clothes!” Helena bounced in her mother’s arms. “Can I please? Daddy said I had to ask you!”

Caitlyn looked at Blue, who grinned sheepishly. “She found out we were going and made me help her change…” he said.

“I suppose you can go,” Caitlyn nuzzled Helena’s nose. “But first you need to go see Papa and tell him happy birthday!”

“Okay!” Helena squealed and Caitlyn put her down to run out of the room. She looked at Blue who grinned at her again.

“Where’s Lily?” he asked, pulling his wife into his arms.

“In the kitchen with my mum,” Caitlyn answered.

“Good,” Blue leaned down and kissed her hard. “Didn’t get a chance to do that earlier this morning.”

“Mmm I know…” Caitlyn let her head fall back so he could kiss her neck. “We’d better not stay in here much longer or they’ll start searching for us.”

Blue pulled away from his wife with a groan. “All right, but we’re picking back up where we left off later on.”

“That’s fine with me,” Caitlyn gave him one last kiss. They went back into the kitchen and Caitlyn slipped into a chair beside Lily who was drinking a glass of pumpkin juice.

“Hey look who I found running around!” Harry announced, coming into the room with a giggling Helena in his arms.

“Happy Birthday!” a resounding chorus echoed in the kitchen as Colin, Carl and Corinne joined the rest of them.

“Dad’s an old man now,” Colin cracked, grabbing a banana from the middle of the table.

“Yeah, yeah,” Harry replied. He set Helena down and kissed his other grandchild on the head. “How are you Lily?”

“Good, Papa,” Lily answered shyly. “Happy Birthday,”

“Thanks love,” Harry smiled fondly at his mother’s namesake.

“HARRY!” a loud voice boomed. “Happy Birthday!” Ron Weasley grinned at his best friend of many, many years now.

“Ron!” Harry exclaimed. “Hey, thanks!” he said when Ron handed him a rather lumpy package.

“It’s from Mum,” Ron replied. “I didn’t get you anything.”

“Thanks,” Harry said, now sarcastic but he was still grinning. The package contained several homemade goodies from Molly Weasley.

“But we DO have a surprise for you,” Ron said grandly, ignoring Hermione’s dropped jaw. “Blue?”

Blue stood up and pulled some strips of parchment out of his pockets. “I think maybe we have some tickets for today’s Quidditch game of Puddlemere against the Magpies.”

Harry was the one with the dropped jaw now. “WHAT?!” he cried.

Hermione gave Ron a look, realising his plan to get Harry out of the house.

“Tickets for us guys to see the game,” Blue said handing them over to his father in law. “While you girls sit and do whatever it is you do…” he grinned at his wife who elbowed him sharply in the stomach.

“I want to go!” Helena shrieked, jumping up and down in her Cannons gear.

Lily rolled her eyes at her younger sister’s exuberant screams as her father looked at her. “You want to go too love?” he asked.

“No,” Lily shook her head and looked down at her bag.

Blue’s eyes met Caitlyn’s and he shrugged. “All right, you have fun here with the rest of the girls. He mussed his eldest daughter’s hair before scooping Helena up. “Everyone ready?”

“I sure am,” Harry replied. Corinne smiled at her twin as he and Colin got up.

“Have fun, catch me a snitch,” she said and Carl glared at her.

“That’s not funny!” he was sensitive about his inability to be a Seeker like his father. Corinne only giggled as the men left.

“You love to tease him don’t you?” Caitlyn commented. Corinne, shy as a child, had blossomed into a talkative almost – teenager.

“Of course, it’s my duty as a twin,” Corinne sipped at the tea her mother put in front of her and smiled at her niece. “Hey Lils.”

“Hi,” Lily said shyly. She admired her young aunt; her long black curly hair, her cheerfulness and the fact she was nice to everyone.

“What’s new?” Corinne leaned back in her chair as he sister and mother began to get party supplies out of a cabinet.

“Nothing,” Lily replied. “I wrote a story to show Grandma.”

“Can I see it?” Corinne asked. Lily pulled a sheaf of papers out of her bag and handed them over. “Come on, let’s go in the living room while they start setting up.” She put her arm over Lily’s shoulders and guided her out.

“How’s she doing in primary school?” Hermione asked.

“Fine,” Caitlyn replied. “She loves writing and reading… even maths.” She made a face and she and Hermione both laughed.

“It’s become a family trait,” Hermione smiled. “Come on, Lavender should be here soon.”

“Where’s Grace?” Caitlyn asked.

Hermione raised an eyebrow. “On yet another vacation with Justin, probably making even more children than they already have.”

Caitlyn laughed. The brood of Finch Fletchley children was quite large, and it seemed to grow even larger with every vacation Grace and Justin took alone. “What’s going on with Colin and Katrina?”

Hermione grinned. “It seems to be getting serious.” She said. “She’s really a lovely girl.”

“She is,” Caitlyn agreed. She liked her brother’s blonde haired, blue eyed American girlfriend. She was a Muggle but now knew about Colin’s wizarding abilities and fit in well with the family.

“Well… Harry of course thought Colin was too young to settle, but he really isn’t settled, you know?” Hermione shook out one end of a tablecloth and Caitlyn helped her spread it over the dining room table. “I mean, they’re not getting married or anything but I think Colin’s in love.”

Caitlyn smiled. “That’s really sweet. I should tell her what a prat he really is.”

Hermione laughed. “I’m sure she knows at this point. But Harry was the same way when you and Blue got together…”

“Tell me about it.” Caitlyn pulled the tablecloth smooth. “I mean, we couldn’t even tell him at first about living together.”

“But he wasn’t angry about it,” Hermione reminded her.

“Yes… but there was a whole other situation that was far more important.” Caitlyn replied. She leaned in closer to her mother. “Do either of them remember anything?”

“I don’t think so,” Hermione said thoughtfully. “The first few weeks, Harry and I would wake up with one or both of them in bed with us. But after about a month neither one of them said a word about it. And we were careful about shielding them from any media.”

“Hello!” a voice broke through their discussion. Lavender had come, her arms full of party favours.

“Hi!” Caitlyn greeted her mother in law with a hug. “How are you?”

“Good love, just great.” Lavender dumped her goods on the table. “Hi Hermione.”

“Hi Lav,” Hermione answered. “Good timing, the men and Helena just left.”

“I know, I purposely waited until they were gone.” Lavender looked around. “Where’s Lily?”

“With Corinne in the living room,” Caitlyn replied. “She wrote a story she wants to show you,” she spoke to her mother.

“I’ll go see her once we’re finished setting things up,” Hermione smiled.

Caitlyn brushed her long hair over her shoulder as she helped her mother hang up a sparkling banner. “Do you think Dad will like a surprise party?”

“Hopefully,” Hermione tied the end of the banner up. “I tried to give him his birthday present from me this morning but—“

“Don’t tell me any more!” Caitlyn held up her hand. “That’s disgusting and you know it.”

“Love, it’s no different than you and Blue,” Hermione smiled maddeningly then laughed. “I’m just teasing you Caty.”

Caitlyn shook her head. “One more word about that and you’ll be doing party preparations on your own.”

“Fine, fine,” Hermione was still amused. Lavender finished setting the magically expanded table in the dining room as Corinne and Lily came back into the kitchen.

“Mum you’ve got to read this,” Corinne held out Lily’s story while the young girl blushed profusely.

“I promise I will once we get these decorations up,” Hermione said to her granddaughter as she set the pages on the counter. “Lav, did you get those favours I asked you to?”

Corinne and Caitlyn went after her so none of them saw the crestfallen look on Lily’s face. She turned and went into the hallway and into the closet. She got down on all fours and crawled behind the long heavy cloaks into the corner, pulling her legs up as several fat tears rolled down her cheeks.

*** One Hour Later ***

“Hey, has anyone seen Lily?” Caitlyn was growing worried. She hadn’t seen her daughter around the house in quite some time.

“She was in the kitchen with us,” Corinne said. “I thought she’d just gone upstairs or something.”

“No, I checked up there.” Caitlyn looked out the window at the pouring rain. “I don’t think she’d go outside in this weather either.”

Hermione joined them. “Did you find Lily?”

“No,” Caitlyn shook her head. “And I’ve checked all over the place…”

“Well let’s look around again,” Hermione said. “Lavender went to see if she’d gone over to their house, Corinne, you take the top floor, I’ll check the second, and Caty you look around down here some more.”

Caitlyn nodded and her mother and sister went upstairs. She began checking behind the sofas and her father’s piano, then in the kitchen and in the hallway. Caitlyn opened the closet door and pushed aside some cloaks.

“Lily!” she said in relief. Her daughter looked up at her and Caitlyn was shocked to see tearstains streaked over her face. “What’s wrong love?” she crouched down so they were eye to eye.

Lily shook her head. “No one missed me for a long time,” she said, looking at her knees.

“What?” Caitlyn was confused. “Come on out here,” she pulled her daughter out of the closet and into the living room. “Sit down here and tell me what’s wrong.”

Lily shrugged. “I was gone in there for a long time and no one missed me. And no one but Corinne wants to read my story I wrote.” She fought back a new onslaught of tears.

“Love, of course we missed you… I’ve been looking for you since half past eleven, and I was terribly worried when I could find you. I never thought you’d be hiding behind the cloaks.” Caitlyn brushed her daughter’s hair behind her ear. “What else is bothering you?”

“Everyone loves Helena and not me!” Lily burst out. “Daddy took her to the game but not me. He always plays Quidditch with her, and you always help her with her homework.”

Caitlyn was silent; she felt a heavy weight settle in the pit of her stomach. She’d had no idea her daughter felt this way. “Come here,” she said, pulling Lily into her arms. She stroked the bushy locks and held her daughter tightly. “If you don’t feel loved then your father and I aren’t doing something right,” she finally said.

Lily didn’t say anything but she felt a bit better as her mother hugged her. “Lily, love… Daddy and I love you very, very much.”

“You do?” Lily asked.

“More than anything else in the world,” Caitlyn said firmly. She pulled away and wiped away the tearstains. “Want me to tell you a little story?”

“Okay,” Lily nodded.

“When Daddy and I were about to have you, all he could talk about was how he wanted a little boy. When we went to the hospital and you came out, the first thing he told me was that we had a daughter.

“I asked him if he was disappointed and he held you out to me- the mediwizards had put you in a little pink blanket. ‘Never,’ he said. ‘Look at her, she’s beautiful… we have an absolutely gorgeous daughter.’

“We had to stay in the hospital overnight, and he stayed in the room with us the entire time. He could barely take his eyes off you… neither could I for that matter.

“You’re our special girl, our first little girl.” Caitlyn smoothed back Lily’s hair again. “Nothing on this earth, nothing ever, could make Daddy or I stop loving you.”

Lily sniffed, trying hard not to cry again. “Really?” she managed in a small voice.

“Really,” Caitlyn smiled as she hugged her daughter again. Lily clung back as hard as she could. “Feeling better now?”

Lily nodded and gave her mother a small smile. “I love you Mum,” she said.

“I love you too,” Caitlyn hugged her again. “Now why don’t you go wash your face and then I know that your grandmother wants to read your story you wrote.”

“Okay,” Lily scrambled off the sofa and went into the loo. Caitlyn went up the stairs and found her mother in her old bedroom.

“I found her,” she said.

“Oh good,” Hermione was relieved. “Where was she?”

“Hiding in the closet in the hallway,” Caitlyn sat heavily on her bed. “Mum… I’m doing something wrong.”

“What do you mean?” Hermione sat down next to her.

“Well Lily seemed to be under the impression that no one loved her,” Caitlyn felt tears welling up in her eyes. “I can’t stand that she thought that… does it mean I’ve been neglecting her?”

Hermione hugged her daughter much like Caitlyn had done for Lily moments earlier. “You’ve been busy lately and she’s at a difficult age…”

“She’s so sensitive,” Caitlyn replied. “But Mum, I feel just awful.”

“What did you tell her?” Hermione asked.

“I told her she was wrong, that Blue and I love her very much, then I hugged her for a few minutes.” Caitlyn said. “I’m pretty sure she believed me… but—“

“Then what you did was fine,” Hermione replied soothingly. “Your workload is bound to lighten up, and Quidditch season will be over soon, so you and Blue will both be home more often.”

“You’re right,” Caitlyn said. “Thanks Mum, I’m glad I know I can count on you for good advice.”

“Well why don’t you get Corinne- she’s still rooting around upstairs.” Hermione said.

“Lily really wants you to read her story,” Caitlyn got up. “It’s about Dad; she wants to give it to him for a present.”

“I’ll go right now,” Hermione said and she left. She went downstairs and saw her granddaughter in the living room. “Hello sweetheart,” she said.

“Hi Grandma,” Lily replied.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to read your story before this,” Hermione hugged the little girl to her. “What’s it about?”

“It’s about Grandpa when he was a little boy and if he grew up with us how he would have been happy.” Lily said, handing the pages over to her grandmother.

Hermione read the six page story in silence and at the end; she turned to her granddaughter with tears in her eyes. “Love… that’s the most beautiful story I’ve ever read,” she hugged Lily tightly. “And your grandfather is going to absolutely love it. How about I help you bind it together and wrap it up?”

“Okay!” Lily agreed eagerly. She and her grandmother hurried off to find some paper and heavy thread.

“There!” Hermione said an hour later as she helped Lily tie a bright red ribbon around the flat package. “You can go put it in the dining room with the rest of the gifts if you want.”

“All right,” Lily hugged her grandmother again and scampered out of the room. Caitlyn came in and sat down.

“Thanks Mum,” she said.

“For what?” Hermione asked, setting the teapot on the stove.

“For helping Lily with her story… I nearly cried when I read it,” Caitlyn smiled. “She’s got quite a knack with the quill.”

“She does,” Hermione agreed. “And I did cry after I read it. And I’m willing to bet Harry will too.”

Caitlyn smiled. “Well I think nearly everything’s set up. Lavender’s in the other room finishing with the rest of the decorations, and the guys should all be back soon.”

“We have enough time for tea,” Hermione said, bringing two cups to the table. “There’s always enough time for tea.”

“Very true Mum, very true.” Caitlyn said.

*** *** ***

“What a great game!” Harry exclaimed.

“Definitely,” Blue agreed, holding his daughter on his shoulders.

“Daddy I like it better when you play!” Helena shouted. She began to wiggle excitedly and Blue had to take her down.

“You’re a silly girl,” Blue grinned, handing her over to Harry. “Coming in Cannons clothes…” he teased.

“Hey, I like Chudley Cannons,” Ron stated, making them all laugh.

“I remember your bedroom at the Burrow, the first time I came to visit… it was all orange, Cannons everywhere.” Harry slung an arm around Blue. “Who’d have known your son would be their star player someday?”

“I’m going to play for the Cannons!” Helena squealed. “I’m going to be a Keeper like Daddy!”

“Colin can be the seeker,” Blue grinned.

“Hey, shut up!” Colin grumbled. He clutched a replica of a snitch in his hand that he’d bought before the game started for his sister.

“Uncle Carl, why don’t you want to be a seeker?” Helena looked quizzically at him.

“Because I’m awful at it,” Carl replied.

“Yeah, he’s pathetic,” Colin smirked.

“I’m game to helping you practise during the summer holiday if you want,” Blue offered. “Perhaps you can make the house team if you work hard at it.”

“There you go,” Harry cuffed his son over the head while Colin snickered.

“We should get back, I’m sure the girls are waiting for us,” Ron looked at his son who nodded.

“Maybe they’ll have made something to eat,” Colin added. “I’m bloody starving!”

“Aren’t you going out with Katrina later?” Carl smirked at his older brother.

“None of your business,” Colin pushed him and they began wrestling with each other.

“Knock it off you two,” Harry said.

Ron retrieved their portkey from a corner and tapped it with his wand. “Should be activated in a minute,” he said.

Harry smiled. “Thanks you guys… this was a great birthday so far.” He tickled Helena and she giggled.

“No problem,” Blue grinned conspiratorially at his father.

“At least our being gone gave all the women a chance to catch up on whatever it is they talk about,” Harry continued. “Hermione was never much for gossip and all until she and Lavender became better chums. Then once Caitlyn was old enough to know what they were talking about…” Harry shook his head. “Sounds like a room full of clucking hens.”

Colin and Carl smirked as everyone placed a hand on the portkey and were whisked away.

*** *** ***

“Is everything and everyone ready?” Hermione called frantically from the kitchen.

“Yes Mum,” Caitlyn replied. “In place and ready for Dad!” she smiled at her daughter, who was sitting next to her great grandmother Molly. Lily had perked up considerably since their talk earlier that day, and was currently clutching the gift wrapped package that Caitlyn knew contained the story her daughter had written.

“All right,” Hermione came in the room, looking completely frazzled. Caitlyn guided her to sit on the piano bench.

“Its fine, everything is fine,” Caitlyn said. Her father, husband and the others were due back any second now. “Dad’s going to be so surprised.”

“I hope so,” Hermione replied. George Weasley made sure there was no light coming from anywhere and then they heard Ron’s loud voice from outside.

“Why’ve they got all the lights off?” Ron wondered. Blue took Helena as Harry opened the door.

“Hermione?” he called, his eyebrows knit together. “Caty? Anyone home?”

“We’re in here dear,” Hermione replied sweetly.

“Why are you all sitting in the dark…” Harry began but at that moment everyone lit one of the lamps in the room.

“SURPRISE!!!!” a mantra of voices shouted and Harry jumped.

“Bloody hell,” he gasped. Hermione laughed, clapping her hands together.

“Happy Birthday dear,” she leaned in and kissed him gently.

“Happy Birthday Dad!” the rest of his kids shouted.

Harry grinned as the rest of the guests began to laugh. He saw Arthur and Molly, the Weasley brood sans Bill and Charlie, who lived quite far away, and Colin’s girlfriend Katrina was in the corner of the room by Caitlyn.

“Wow…” Harry was astounded. “When did you all have time to plan this?”

“That would be during the Quidditch game,” Blue replied.

“We surprised you Papa!” Helena jumped up and down energetically.

“You certainly did,” Harry laughed as did everyone. Everyone started to move and talk after that and Harry approached his wife.

“Worked like a charm,” Hermione said slyly.

“You’re a sneaky witch,” Harry replied. “I like it,”

“Good,” Hermione kissed him.

*** *** ***

“Hi Papa,” Lily said shyly. It had been an hour since the party had started and she’d finally managed to corner her grandfather alone for the first time.

“Hello love,” Harry pulled her over to the sofa. “Have you been having a good time?”

Lily nodded. “I have a present for you,” she handed him the package. “Grandma helped me sew it together and wrap it.”

Harry took it and pulled the paper off. He saw a carefully bound, slim book in his hands. Lily bit her lower lip and toyed with her hair as her grandfather read through her story.

Harry had small tears in his eyes as he finished. He took a deep breath and blew it out. “That was…” he shook his head.

Lily felt her stomach drop out beneath her. “It’s okay if you didn’t like it,” she said softly, looking down at her feet.

“No!” Harry sat straight up. “Lily, sweetheart, that was amazing. You write so well… it just made me wish I was really in your story.” He hugged her tightly to him. “I absolutely love it… thank you.” He kissed her forehead.

“I’m glad,” Lily said, still feeling shy. “Mummy thought I should give it to you so I did.”

“Your mum is a smart girl,” Harry gave her another hug. “I’m just going to go put this upstairs so it stays safe.”

“Okay,” Lily kissed his cheek before scampering off to her mother’s side.

*** Later That Evening ***

Hermione collapsed with a sigh onto the sofa. “I’m so tired,” she moaned.

“You had a busy day,” Harry sat next to her.

“I did,” Hermione cracked one eye open and smiled at her husband. “And I completely took you by surprise,” she laughed as Harry growled playfully.

“Sneaky witch,” he murmured affectionately in her ear.

“I’m your sneaky witch,” Hermione nuzzled the skin below Harry’s ear.

Harry slid his arms around his wife and pulled her on top of him. “Time to finish what you started this morning Mrs. Potter,” he said huskily before claiming her mouth.

“Well them we must recreate the crime,” Hermione breathed when he finally pulled away. “Be right back,” she kissed him again before skipping out of the room.

Harry grinned and moved himself off the sofa and over to his piano bench. Blue and Caitlyn had asked if they could take Carl and Corinne back home with them, and Colin would be out for hours with Katrina.

“I’m back,” a voice throatily drawled from the doorway. Harry turned around to see his wife dressed as she was that morning.

“Get over here,” Harry said, his breathing becoming heavier as Hermione glided over the carpet

“What are you going to do with me, birthday boy?” Hermione cooed as she sat on the other half of the piano bench and wrapped her legs around his waist. “Going to unwrap me Potter?”

“I think I am,” Harry pulled the cover over the piano keys and pulled Hermione up on top of them.

“Oooh…” Hermione leaned her head back as Harry attacked her throat, nipping at her skin lightly.

“Like that did you love…?” Harry trailed his lips over hers, pausing to kiss her deeply before moving his hands beneath her negligee. He wasn’t surprised to feel that she wore nothing underneath.

“It was more of a challenge this morning,” Hermione said, her voice low and husky. “I’ve been holding it in all day waiting for this.”

“I should have known you’d plan it down to the last detail,” Harry snickered.


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