Harry & Hermione
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chem prof - End Game
Chapter 14 - A Magical Christmas Holiday
Disclaimer and Acknowledgements
The Harry Potter universe and all the characters in it belong to J. K. Rowling. I get nothing out of this except enjoyment.
Thanks to Old Crow and Dee for prereading this chapter.
Chapter 14, A Magical Christmas Holiday
'Harry, Wake up.'
Harry cracked his eyes open to see a very excited Hermione sitting on the side of his bed with a big smile on her face. After he sat up and rubbed his eyes, he opened them completely and noticed that she was dressed in a tank top and shorts, with telltale bikini strings emerging from the tank top and tied around her neck. She was also having trouble sitting still.
"Harry, come on. The sun's out and we're going to the beach today," she announced, reaching out her hand to try to pull him out of the bed.
"OK, OK, I'm up," he grumbled good-naturedly. Her smile was so infectious that he couldn't help returning it. She had been happier the last few days than he could remember her being for a long time.
Viktor Krum had come through for them big time. He had arranged all the necessary papers using their Jack and Jane Farmer identities, and had obtained an international portkey to Miami, followed by a local portkey to Port Canaveral, where Dan and Emma Granger met them. They were going to be staying just south of there in the Cocoa Beach area. It was a convenient location in central Florida, with nice sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, the American Space Center just to the north, and the internationally famous amusement parks less than an hour's drive to the west. Viktor had also supplied them with a potion to counter the effects of what muggles called jet lag, with the result that they were able to travel on December 24 and be awake enough to spend a relaxing Christmas Day with the Grangers. After the church service in the morning and a large Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, they had spent the rest of the day catching up with Hermione's parents.
Harry and Hermione had decided to share what they had been doing with her parents, up to a point. They left out Hermione's encounter with Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle, for example. They also omitted the love potion story. Dan and Emma were enthralled about the battle with the giants, laughing delightedly about the Star Wars tactic Harry used to fell them. Emma squealed with delight when Hermione showed her the charm bracelet and explained the significance of the charms, and she wanted all of the details about the dresses the girls wore for the Halloween dance. Hermione embarrassed Harry with the story of his making Witch Weekly's Most Eligible Bachelor list, and Harry turned the tables by describing how she had held onto him in terror during their dragon ride. Dan was fascinated with the concept of the ring of power. Then they had spent some time discussing the overall situation in the war as it now stood.
"That's fantastic," Dan had commented. "You started from a position where people were panicked and just about ready to give up, gradually reduced the enemy's forces while building up your own, and now it looks like you have the advantage. What's next?"
"First of all," Harry tried to point out, "I've hardly done anything." Dan smiled while shaking his head, but let Harry continue. "Viktor and Major Thompson have been taking care of the battle strategies. I've spent most of my time training. I need to get strong enough to beat him when finally I face him."
"When we face him, Harry," Hermione interrupted, giving him a look that Harry knew he better not argue with.
"But before that," Harry continued, "I still … we still …" he amended before Hermione could say anything again, causing her to give him a firm nod, "we still need to need to find and destroy the last horcrux – his snake. All we can do in the meantime is continue to train and hope Viktor can continue to eliminate his followers and keep him from recruiting more."
Dan had agreed, hoping to himself that whatever they had done or would be able to do would be enough, and not wanting to consider the alternative.
On hearing that the two were coming to stay with them, the Grangers had switched from a one-bedroom suite to a two-bedroom suite. Harry had offered to sleep on the sofa bed in the living area of the suite, but twin glares from Hermione and Emma convinced him otherwise. Dan and Emma had already decided that since the students had been living together for half a year already, they could certainly trust them for a few weeks in a bedroom with two double beds. To make it more comfortable for everyone, Harry and Hermione had conjured a privacy wall between the two beds in their room. Of course that meant that Hermione was free to come over and jump on his bed when she decided it was time for him to get up.
But now the sun was out and Hermione was itching to go to the beach. She had a hard time sitting still during breakfast, which was the source of much amusement for her parents. Apparently this was a long-standing joke in their family, and happened every time they went to the beach on holiday. Finally breakfast was over and Hermione was practically pulling him out the door.
With the eye of an experienced beachgoer, Hermione quickly selected the 'perfect spot', dumped their beach stuff, and quickly removed her tank top and shorts. Harry caught his breath. It had been a while since he had seen her in one of her smaller string bikinis, and he had forgotten just how good she looked in one. Added to that, he was now looking at her with more than friendly interest. Fortunately, she was eager to get into the water and they ran out and jumped into a wave before any embarrassing reaction could develop.
Harry soon decided that having a happy, wiggling, wet Hermione in his arms while dodging waves on a sunny beach was probably the best time he had ever had in his life.
Once her initial burst of energy had subsided, Hermione was ready to go for a walk. As they walked along the sandy beach, Harry noticed that she had been absolutely correct last summer when she had told him that at beach resort areas many girls wore skimpy bikinis like hers. But for the most part he kept his eyes on her, constantly trying to reassure himself that all of this was actually happening. This was so different than the world they had just left a few days ago that it was difficult to reconcile the two realities.
Back at their beach blanket Hermione stretched out to get some sun. Reaching back to untie her strings, she asked him to put sunscreen on her back. Harry, being no fool, decided that this was a great idea and took his time, making sure to rub the lotion thoroughly into every exposed bit of skin. He assumed that the contented moans from the happy girl beneath him meant that he was doing a good job. When he reached the bottom of her back he hesitated. She was wearing a Brazilian cut bottom, which meant that he would need to rub lotion on part of her arse. Of course, Hermione chose this exact moment to remind him to be sure that the lotion covered her all the way to the edge of the suit. Harry was quite red-faced by the time he finished, and it wasn't from sunburn. At least she wasn't wearing a thong bottom.
"Tie me up." Harry was dragged back from some less than pure thoughts, and his initial interpretation of her request was similarly less than pure. "Tie me up," she repeated. "I need to do you, too." After regaining control of his runaway thoughts, Harry quickly retied her bikini strings and lay down to have his own lotion applied. He quickly realized why Hermione liked back rubs so much, and responded with some contented moans of his own. When she asked, he sheepishly admitted that he hadn't put any sunscreen on anywhere, so she did his legs and arms, and insisted that he turn over so she could do his chest also. Somehow, this seemed to take even longer than his back, and Hermione and he were both breathing a little faster by the time she was finished. Finally she lay down next to him.
As soon as he saw her smirk he knew he was in for trouble. "So, Harry," she said with an evil grin, "do you think I should wear my suit with the thong bottom one of these days?"
Harry's brain locked up while pondering in exquisite detail the process of applying sunscreen to a thong clad Hermione.
"Honestly, Harry, don't look at me like that," Hermione scolded, pretending not to realize why he was staring at her with a vacant expression. "There are at least three other girls on this beach wearing thongs."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Of course. Didn't you see them? We walked right by two of them."
"Oh. I reckon I was pretty much just looking at you most of the time."
Harry hadn't thought Hermione's smile could get any bigger than it had been already, but it did.
After a couple of hours lying on their beach blanket interspersed with short dashes into the waves Hermione thought that they had been in the sun enough for the first day and suggested that they go shopping. Harry would have just as soon remained there gazing at his scantily clad girlfriend all day, but he realized that she was more experienced than he at judging sun exposure, and he was beginning to feel a little warm, so he agreed. To his delight, Hermione only put her shorts back on, leaving just her bikini for her top, and they set off for the nearby shopping strip. They grabbed a bite to eat at a fast food place while Hermione told him about the shop that she wanted to visit. She had, of course, read the entire section of the guidebook on area attractions, and there was a particularly famous store that was considered to be a must see. Ron Jon's Surf Shop.
The store was incredible. There was a huge selection of surf boards and related equipment, diving gear, all manner of beach supplies, and racks of bikinis and other swimwear. Not to mention the world famous Ron Jon's tee shirts. They even had instore entertainment.
Harry and Hermione looked through the tee shirts, then moved on to the tank tops, where Harry selected one to buy. Then Hermione spotted some crop top tank tops, which Harry decided he liked her in even more. He was amazed at what they did for her figure, emphasizing her curves nicely. Seeing his reaction, Hermione immediately determined that this was a must buy. While picking one out she also noticed some crop top tee shirts with Property of the University of Miami Athletic Department on them and took one of these into the dressing room. When she emerged she was wearing it and with a big grin waited for Harry to notice the adjustment she had made.
Her face fell as she noticed his frown. "That doesn't seem much like you, Hermione." When he noticed her disappointment he hastened to explain. "I was thinking of S. P. E. W. You've always been the sort who hated the idea of others being considered property.
Chagrined, but relieved to know what he had found objectionable, she pulled off the offending top and gave him a hug. Of course, feeling all that bare skin cheered him right up. "You're right of course," she conceded. "But I was thinking it would be amusing to get one of these for each of Harry's Honeys. Susan in particular," she teased. "Although on her you might never get past the 'Property of' part. She giggled as he groaned at that image, but then he sobered quickly and she realized where his thoughts had gone.
"I doubt if Ginny would be too happy with one right now." Hermione nodded, and moved to put an arm around him. She knew that these moments would happen occasionally while they were on this holiday, and had resolved to just be silently supportive when they occurred. While waiting, she surreptitiously transfigured the shirt back to normal.
Just then their attention was diverted, as each experienced an odd feeling. Instantly alert, they scanned the shop until they noticed an employee approaching. He didn't seem dangerous, but they were ready to dive away and pull out their wands in at the slightest sign of trouble.
"Hello," he said calmly, noting their edginess. "I noticed how you altered that top. I wonder if you two might be interested in seeing some of our more magical products?"
Harry and Hermione shared a surprised look. "You mean, this is a …"
"We are a mixed business. We have both a nonmagical and a magical section. If you're interested, merely walk through the wall between those two mirrors over there."
They thanked him, and after Hermione made her final selection from the crop tank tops (she decided to get two) they moved casually toward the indicated wall and, passing through just like they did at Platform 9 ¾, suddenly found themselves in the hidden part of the store. Here they also found a variety of beach products, all with a magical twist.
Harry was looking at the gillyweed when Hermione came over to show him some enchanted sunscreen. It constantly adjusted its strength to make sure that you never burned, no matter how long you stayed out in the sun. Then she spotted the magical swimwear. At first, they looked like ordinary one-piece swimsuits, but she discovered that they could automatically transfigure themselves into any style the user chose. Of course, she had to try one on.
"Harry, isn't this incredible magic?" she asked excitedly when she emerged from the dressing room. "It works like the Room of Requirement. All you have to do is concentrate on what you want it to look like." Harry watched as she closed her eyes and thought, and was startled as the fabric shrank. In seconds she was wearing a two piece suit like the ones she swam laps in. She concentrated again and she was wearing a triangle bikini top, then the bottom diminished until it was also merely a pair of triangles tied together at the sides.
"Amazing," she gasped in surprise. "It's not just going invisible either. I can't feel it at all on the parts of me that aren't covered." Then she got another sly look on her face and Harry started to worry. A second later the bottom had morphed into a thong.
"Hermione!" Harry hissed, although he decided he wasn't going to complain too much as he watched her twist her body this way and that while she looked over her shoulder at the mirror. She really did look rather good in it. Finally finished inspecting her bum, she looked back at him with that wicked grin again. And her top disappeared.
"Hermione!" After a fraction of a second during which he confirmed that she looked every bit as good as he remembered from the summer, he whirled his head around to see if anyone else was looking, while simultaneously glancing around frantically for a towel, a shirt, anything to cover her with. At the same time her delightful laughter reached his ears.
"It's OK, Harry, you can look now," she finally managed to get out amidst her giggles. Hesitantly, he peeked back over at her and was relieved to see that she was wearing a top again. And incredibly small top, which seemed to be losing the battle to contain her, but a top nevertheless. Just as he was getting his breathing under control a sales clerk came over with a twinkle in her eye.
"I just thought you'd like to know that about fifty percent of all the witches that try on that suit can't resist doing what you just did," she announced to Hermione. "And furthermore," she continued, turning to Harry, "ninety percent of their boyfriends respond exactly the way you did." Then she looked back at Hermione again. "In case you're interested, there's a nude beach up at Canaveral National Seashore. It's the last parking lot all the way at the end." Hermione thanked her graciously for the information, seeing that Harry was too stunned to respond. Then she turned the conversation back to swimwear.
"This is the most incredible suit I have ever seen. I really want to buy it," Hermione told Harry. "Check the tag and see how much it is."
"One hundred Galleons!" Harry sputtered. "Are they serious?" (A/N – approximately 500 pounds or $1000)
"No, no," reassured the sales clerk. That's the list price. The actual price is only fifty Galleons." At Harry's skeptical look she hurriedly added. "And if you buy a second suit it's half off."
"Do they work on muggles?" inquired Hermione. "My mum would love to have a suit like this."
"Muggles?" asked the sales clerk. "Oh, you mean nonmagicals. No, I'm sorry, it only works for wizards or witches."
"Wait a minute, did you say wizards?" Hermione's eyes lit up and Harry suddenly got a very bad feeling about this.
"Certainly, we have men's swimwear of the same material."
Despite his strenuous protestations, Harry soon found himself in a magical men's swimsuit. It began as an extremely uncomfortable baggy suit that came down to his knees. A moment's concentration morphed it into a more satisfactory boxer length. With only a bit of prodding from Hermione, he changed it into a racing style suit, to which he was more accustomed. Then she suggested he make the sides only a half inch wide. That felt pretty good, too. Then she suggested he change it into a thong."Hermione!" No way!"
"Aw, come on, it'll be fun," she laughed as a panicked look appeared on his face.
"Hermioneeee," he whined, getting desperate.
"Pleeease?" She gave him her most pleading look.
Now that just isn't fair! I can't resist that.
When his shoulders slumped in resignation she knew she had him. She had to force herself to avoid licking her lips in anticipation. He gave her one more disgruntled look, but she wouldn't budge. He concentrated and changed the suit again.
Well, that feels weird, Harry thought. Not as bad as I thought it would, but weird anyway.
"Harry, turn around." Harry shook his head, then dodged to stay in front of her as she tried to get around behind him to take a look.
"Come on, Harry, I want to see."
"No!" He wasn't giving in this time.
Harry frowned. It wasn't like Hermione to give up this easily. He looked at her suspiciously.
"She grinned at him. "That's OK. You're standing in front of a mirror, so I can see it anyway."
Shocked, Harry whirled around to confront the traitorous mirror. But … there was no mirror anywhere. Too late, the twin gasps behind him informed him that she had gotten him. Again.
Hermione and the sales clerk were sharing extremely pleased expressions. Between the running, swimming, and weightlifting, Harry had developed very nicely toned legs and a bum that would make girls drool. The clerk turned to Hermione. "I love this job."
Harry finally managed to concentrate enough to change the suit back as he heard Hermione reply to the clerk. "We're definitely buying it."
"Hermione, can we talk a bit?" As Hermione had thought, Emma loved her new suit and wished she could have one like it. Now things had calmed down and they were alone in their room putting their purchases away.
"Sure. What's on your mind?" Hermione worried a bit at Harry's serious demeanor.
"I know that we enjoyed teasing each other this summer at the pool, with the swimsuits and all, and I pulled that prank with your bikini top. We had a lot of fun but we both knew it wasn't serious. But now …" he hesitated, not sure how to express it but hoping she would understand what he was thinking.
"Now our relationship is different and you aren't sure how to take the teasing?" Hermione suggested. Harry nodded. "I understand," she agreed. "Let's talk about it."
So the two of them had a frank and open discussion about the physical aspects of their relationship. They reaffirmed that they didn't want to take it any farther than hugging and kissing. At the same time, they agreed that they both liked the teasing, and that they were now a bit more comfortable with each other's bodies than they had been. As a result, they resolved that each would let the other know if a situation made them uneasy.
Harry went first. "You know when that clerk mentioned the nude beach? I don't think I'm ready for that."
"Fine. I'm not either."
"I think I'm OK with you wearing a thong," he continued. "I certainly have to admit that I like the way it looks on you." Hermione smiled happily at that comment. "But I don't think I would be comfortable putting sunscreen there."
Hermione couldn't help pulling him into a hug. "No problem. I can take care of that myself. Especially now that we have this magical sunscreen, I can put it on once in the morning and not worry about it all day." She pulled back and gave him a saucy grin. "I'd still want you to do my back, though."
Harry smiled back. "Definitely." Then he took a deep breath before he continued. "I'm not sure if I'm ready for you to be topless. I might be able to handle it."
"Don't worry. I'll only do that if you say it's OK," Hermione reassured him. "We can't do it on the beaches around here anyway. But I think you'll find that it would be more comfortable for you if we were on a beach with other topless girls," she pointed out. They agreed that they wouldn't worry about that possibility unless the opportunity arose.
"Anything else?" she prompted.
Harry hesitated. "I don't really want to wear a thong."
Hermione laughed and pulled him into another hug. "Don't worry, I won't make you do that again if you don't want to. You did look really good, though," she teased and he obliged by turning red. They both held the hug a good long while. It was wonderful being able to talk to each other like this. It confirmed for them once more that they were comfortable enough with each other to be able to talk about anything.
After a few days Dan and Emma had started to notice that while the kids seemed to be very happy together, there were times when Harry would get a distant, pained expression on his face. At such times, if she were present, Hermione would simply grasp his hand or put her hand on his arm or shoulder, as though to offer silent comfort. They also noticed that there were times when Harry and Hermione would gaze at each other in silence, and it appeared as though they were communicating somehow. As a result, they decided that they would try to have private conversations with the teens.
Their opportunity came when Emma and Hermione decided to go shopping one afternoon after the kids came back from the beach, and Dan and Harry begged off. Dan then persuaded Harry to go out for a walk.
"So what do you think of Florida?"
"It sure is different than anything I've ever seen back home."
"Actually, it's quite a bit different than the rest of the States, too. Sometimes it seems to be nothing but beaches and golf courses."
"Do you play golf?" Harry thought he remembered his uncle talking about golf once or twice, but he didn't know much about the sport.
"Nope. I have a friend, Scott, who insists that I'd love the game, but I just don't see the point. Emma and I are beach people. Golfing would just be wasting time that we could be spending on the beach."
Harry laughed. He could see now where Hermione's love of beaches came from.
"Emma's not that happy with the beaches here though," Dan continued. "She's used to sunbathing topless on holiday, you know, and that isn't very common in this country. You can really tell that this place was colonized by Puritans. Most Yanks tend to freak out at even the thought that they might see a woman's breasts. You know about the Sun's page three girls back home? If a paper did that here they'd get shut down. And don't get me started about network television. Whenever there's even a chance that a breast might show they electronically blur it out. Except for cable TV. Then anything goes."
"What's the difference?"
"I'm not really sure. Basically I think they're nutters on the subject."
Harry thought about that. He had been pretty shocked when he first found out about Emma and Hermione sunbathing topless, but he had accepted the idea fairly quickly. It didn't bother him that they did it, and he expected that eventually he would be able to handle seeing it. After all, he hadn't even seen a woman in a swimsuit before last summer. Then he remembered what the clerk at Ron Jon's had said.
"The store clerk told us there's a nude beach a little north of here."
"Yes, we read about it. We checked it out last week, but it's way out of the way. It takes a while to get to and it's not very big." Dan looked thoughtfully at Harry. He didn't seem to be too uncomfortable with this topic. "We're thinking of moving on along to Miami next week. A lot of us Europeans visit there, so they're more relaxed about that sort of thing. The women can go topless there, and there's supposed to be a large nude beach on the north side of town."
Harry nodded noncommittally.
"Would you be OK with it? We weren't sure how it went last summer after we left; if you ever got comfortable with Hermione sunbathing topless."
"No, not really. I only saw her without a top once and that was as a result of me pranking her. But we talked a bit about it the other day." Harry then relayed the story of how he had hidden her bikini top while she was swimming and she had called his bluff. Dan laughed and told him that sounded just like something Hermione would do. But then Harry grew quiet as he remembered their time at the pool last summer. Soon his thoughts came to the time they had been swimming when Ginny had visited.
Once again Dan noticed the pain on Harry's face, but this time there was no Hermione present to comfort him. After a bit he asked somewhat tentatively, "Anything you want to talk about, Harry?" Harry shrugged. He enjoyed talking with Dan, but he was Hermione's father after all. Dan seemed to realize this barrier to Harry confiding in him as well. "Harry, you're the most incredible young man I've ever met, but every young man needs someone older to talk to, maybe an older brother, maybe a father figure. I imagine Remus fills that role for you somewhat, but I get the idea he isn't much more socially experienced than you are." They stopped walking and he turned a concerned look toward Harry. "Why don't you try to forget I'm Hermione's father for a bit and just think of me as your Uncle Dan?"
Harry was silent for a while, staring out at the ocean. Without turning to look at Dan he asked quietly, "How do you know when you're in love?"
Dan had been pretty sure that that was what was on Harry's mind, and had given some thought to his answer. "I think it develops gradually. Love at first sight isn't really love at all. Love happens when you realize that someone means the world to you. That you enjoy being with her, and not just for snogging or making out. Just doing simple things with her makes you happy. You find that you care as much or more about what is best for her than for yourself. When you feel this way about someone, always wanting most what would make her happy, then that is love. You notice that I didn't say anything about the exciting, pit of the stomach feeling. That's the kind of thing that comes and goes. Real love lasts and it is a commitment."
Harry said nothing for a while, pondering what he had just heard. Dan smiled to himself as he watched the puzzled expression on the troubled youth's face, guessing what was going through his mind.
Surely that wasn't all there was to it? He pretty much described the way I've felt about Hermione for some time now! And, he realized, she certainly had often done things that showed she was more concerned about him than about herself. The problem was, what Dan had said also fairly accurately described how he had felt about Ginny.
Finally Harry asked another question. "Is it possible to fall in love with more than one person?"
Dan was not expecting this one, so he had to think about his answer more carefully. "When I was about your age, finishing up school, I fell in love with one of my classmates. We had been dating for a couple years, and we had progressed to the point where we were talking about our future together. But when I went off to university, she stayed back home. At first we kept in close touch, and got together whenever we could, but after a while we slowly grew apart. During that time I became friends with Emma and eventually I found that I was in love with Emma and not in love with Victoria any longer. In fact, for some time prior to that Emma had been playing the part of the loyal friend, trying to help me sort out my feelings for Victoria. Then I realized that I had fallen in love with my best friend." He concluded by facing Harry once more and addressing him directly. "Anything's possible. You have to figure out what's right for you."
It did not escape Harry's notice how similar Dan and Emma's story was to his and Hermione's. He suspected that Dan had been playing up that aspect, trying to get Harry to realize his feelings for his daughter. In any case, Dan's answers to his questions had certainly given him something to think about. They resumed their walk and Harry opened up a little more about his feelings for Hermione, trying to explain them to himself as much as to Dan.
After they had gone to bed that night Dan and Emma compared notes.
"How did it go?" asked Emma anxiouxly.
"About like we expected," Dan replied. "He obviously has strong feelings for Hermione, and he's wondering if he's in love."
"But?" Emma had detected some uncertainty in Dan's voice.
"But he also thinks he might be in love with the other girl."
"That's pretty much what Hermione said, too," Emma responded. "Except she wasn't sure how strongly he felt about her. Apparently something happened to make him pull back from Ginny, and he turned his attention to her. She still can't believe it happened. One minute they were consoling each other, and the next minute they were together. She wasn't clear on exactly what he was consoling her about. If I had to guess, something happened with that other boy she was dating. I notice he doesn't seem to be in the picture anymore."
"So now what happens?"
"I'm not sure," Emma replied thoughtfully. "I don't think there's anything we can do about it, though, except let them know they have our unconditional support. It's something the kids have to work out on their own … I can't believe I'm still calling them kids," she chided herself. "They're certainly adults now."
"I know," Dan agreed. "It's incredible how much they've changed in six months. Not only physically, which is impressive in its own right, but emotionally. They seem like they've aged ten years. Someone took the boy and girl we left last June and replaced them with a man and a woman. I don't think we really want to know exactly what they've been through that changed them so much. I've seen it before, though. In the service, the same thing happens to guys after they've been in combat. They may have been boys when they went in, but they're men when they come out."
There was an uneasy pause in the conversation as they both contemplated what might have forced the teens to mature so much. Then Dan voiced an uncomfortable question that had been on his mind since his conversation with Harry.
"Did you really mean what you said about supporting them no matter what they decide?"
"What do you mean?"
"From what he said, I get the impression that he wants Hermione to be a close part of his life no matter what happens. I think it's entirely possible that even if he marries Ginny, Hermione might end up being with him anyway."
"You mean she'll be his mistress?" Emma found that difficult to believe. "I can't imagine that she'd be willing to do that. I don't think he's the sort of man who would do that either," she added.
"No, not a mistress, at least not in the sense you're thinking of. There's no way either of them would do anything behind someone's back. But … well we don't really know what wizarding customs are like. It's hard to say how they might decide to work it out. Are you willing to support them no matter what arrangement they decide on?"
"I … I suppose so."
"Well, there's no sense borrowing trouble." Dan now turned very serious. "As much as I hate to say it, they might not all survive."
"Oh, Dan, please don't," Emma cried. "I don't want to think about what it would do to Hermione if Harry died. And I can't bear the thought of losing her."
"I'm not sure that we would lose just one of them," he intoned grimly."You mean?"
"I'm not sure if either of them would want to go on living if the other one died. And you heard what she said – they plan on fighting him together. If one falls in the fight, I think the other one might follow. That happens all too often in the heat of a battle."
"Oh, my God! Dan, what can we do?" Emma was frantic.
Dan only had one answer. "Pray."
A/N 1 If you're thinking that the reason for having them go to Florida was so that I could get Hermione in a bikini again, you're absolutely right! But I also wanted Harry to have that discussion with Dan.
A/N 2 I've been trying to craft this story so that it will come down to Harry having to make a choice between Hermione and Ginny. But I get the impression that all of you readers want him to end up with Hermione. Is anyone reading this who wants Harry to end up with Ginny?