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Alieno Is Pro Iam

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It was shortly after the Battle of Hogwarts that Harry fixed his damaged holly wand with the Elder Wand inside the Headmaster's office.

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Harry was still hiding from the rest of the school and the survivors when the Golden Trio left the Headmaster's office. Ron went to rejoin his family, and Hermione, not knowing what to do with herself, decided to stay with Harry.

Harry wasn't ready to face any of the Wizarding World's gratitude, because he didn't think he had done any of this, any of the heroics from when he was eleven until now, at all by himself. So Harry and Hermione slipped through the castle undetected under the Cloak of Invisibility.

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Harry and Hermione stood side by side at the highest remaining point of Hogwarts, which was in fact, Gryffindor Tower.

Harry jammed his good-as-new wand into his pocket and raised the Elder Wand one last time. He aimed it at a random spot on the horizon. His mind cleared, and he focused on a 10 ¾-inch vine wood wand with a dragon heartstring core that bore his and Hermione's spellwork inside it. "Accio wand," he shouted, holding out his left hand to receive his Summoned object.

The force of the incantation and the power of the Elder Wand meshed together and summoned a slender piece of wood from a great distance. It hurtled toward Hogwarts at breakneck speed.

It halted right at Harry's outstretched hand. With its final spell at Harry's hand cast, Harry pocketed the Elder Wand. He held the vine wood one out to Hermione. "What is rightfully yours," he said with a smile.

Hermione smiled back gratefully, a glow bursting forth over her features out of joy to be reunited with her true wand. She glared at the wand of the late Bellatrix Lestrange. In a move of spite, she chucked it as hard as she could into the ruins of the Battle. She received her old wand from Harry with an even brighter smile. "Thank you," she said, as her fingers closed around the wood. That warmth filled her, just like when she had first touched this wand at Ollivander's six years ago. It was happy as well to be reunited with her after so long apart.

But the warmth persisted, building into a rush of feeling inside Hermione. A sudden image swam through her vision, and she was unsure if she was seeing it in front of her or in her mind as she looked at Harry.

"I love you, Hermione," Harry's voice echoed in her ears. The sound flitted in and out of clarity. "Alieno is… You won't remember what I've said unless you choose me… Pro Iam."

"Harry," Hermione said, her balance wavering from the force of such a memory being unlocked. She grabbed onto his arm for support.

Harry caught her weight and let her lean on him. "Are you alright?"

The whole memory came back to her in a flurry of images and sound. "You," she breathed, "you erased my memory."

Harry shook his head. "I simply kept that memory from you for a while," he replied. He felt bolder, knowing that she felt something for him. She wouldn't have remembered it otherwise. A warm feeling had settled in his chest.

"But why?" Hermione asked. She released his arm. "Why would you take that away from me?" By casting the charm with her wand, it had made it imperative to have her wand back in their possession to unlock it. That wand's temperament towards Hermione and Harry had always been ambiguous.

"I didn't want to complicate things with Ron, but I needed you to know, somewhere deep down, just in case I failed to defeat Tom," Harry told her. "In case you ever did feel the same."

Hermione gave him her half-smile, the one that told him she was exasperated with him being so thick and she was just grateful he was alive. She stroked his hair, just like she had done somewhere along the Horcrux hunt. It was a testament to their true friendship, how they could transition from such seriousness like war to such tenderness like confessions of love. It was what made Hermione fall so much further in love with him over the course of their hunt. He had done his best to protect her, and even she could see the logic in erasing the memory albeit temporarily. She wished, however, that it could have happened under less dramatic circumstances. She was fairly certain that the moment would not be any less meaningful.

A mischievous glint blossomed in Harry's green eyes. It was a look worthy of James Potter. "So I take it you do choose me," he said with a small smile, the same smirk he'd worn the day he joked about being the Chosen One over a year ago.

Hermione put her wand in her sleeve and rolled her eyes, as was her norm. "Of course, you silly prat, and besides you cast that spell. You tell me," she said.

Harry's grin grew, his eyes still locked on her face. His hands came up to either side of her neck. "Unless I'm half the wizard I thought I was, then I'll take that as a yes," he told her, leaning in and pressing his lips to hers for the second time.

This time, Hermione kissed him back, telling him without words that her answer to his question truly was yes. After a beat, she pulled away a few inches, just to look Harry in the eye. "I love you, too, Harry."

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Fin