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The Awakening

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“What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck!” Hermione stared at herself in the mirror, unable to believe her eyes.  Wings.  She had wings.  She closed her eyes and pinched herself, wincing at the feel, and then opened her eyes again.  Wings.  She turned and looked at them carefully.  They looked like the wings of a fairy, very similar to her favorite book of fairy stories from her childhood.  This could not be happening to her.  She thought back to the previous night and her attendance at the Pre All Hallows Eve bonfire held at the Weasleys, and she felt herself relax.  That had to be it- George fucking Weasley must have slipped her something that gave the illusion of wings.  She was going to kill him.

She froze at the knock at the door.  “Hermione?” Harry’s voice came from the other side of the door.  “Are you okay?  I heard you swearing.  Can I get in there?  I need to take a shower.”  Harry and Hermione had chosen to live at Grimmauld Place after the war and were still there six years later having found it convenient to get to work at the Ministry. 

“Um…” Hermione’s voice sounded a little panicked- much like it had when she had turned into a cat second year.  “I…I’ll let you in, but you have to swear not to laugh.”  She opened the door and let Harry in, covering her face so she couldn’t see his reaction.  “I think George slipped something in my drink last night.”

“You…you have wings…” Harry reached out to poke them.

“Hey!” Hermione angled herself away from Harry’s prodding fingers.  “I didn’t poke around that time George gave you antlers did I?”

“Sorry,” said Harry.  “They’re kind of pretty.”

“I have to figure out how to get rid of these- I can’t go to work like this.”

“Well, let’s start by flooing George,” said Harry.  “We get you set to rights by mid-morning.”  He took Hermione by the hand and they headed downstairs to the fireplace.  “George Weasley’s flat!” he called as he threw powder in the fire.

“GEORGE!  GEORGE WEASLEY!!” Hermione shouted into the fire.  “Get your ass out here and explain what you did!”  They watched as George stumbled blearily out of the bedroom throwing a shirt on. 

“What?  What’s going on?”  He looked over to see Harry and a very angry Hermione’s head in his fireplace.  “It’s six in the fucking morning.  What couldn’t wait?”

“What did you give me last night?” asked Hermione.  “Don’t lie to me.”

“What are you talking about?”  George frowned in confusion. 

“I only had one drink last night, and you gave it to me,” said Hermione, her voice rising in hysteria.  “And now I have wings!”

“Wings?” George shook his head.  “Hermione, you’d better come through.”  Their heads disappeared briefly out of the fire, followed by Harry tumbling through, then Hermione.

“Bugger.” Hermione’s wing got caught on the edge of the fireplace.  “That hurts!  It’s not funny George, now give me the antidote”

George, who had started snickering at Hermione’s predicament shook his head. “I didn’t put anything in your drink,” he said.  “I swear.  I’m not going to mess about this close to All Hallows.”

“Then how did this happen?  Did Ron do something?”

“I don’t know,” said George.  He looked over the wings again.  “You said it hurt when they got caught…”

“It did.”  Hermione bit her lip as she thought.  “Harry, when George gave you those antlers, did they hurt?”

“No, I couldn’t feel them at all,” Harry replied.  Hermione stood very still, not liking where this was going.  Harry watched her for a moment before reaching up and pulling on a wing and watched as Hermione flinched. “Did you feel that?”

“Yes.”  Hermione sounded hysterical again.  What the hell now?  She didn’t plan on it not being George, and she was beginning to panic again.  “What do I do?”

“I don’t know.” George looked at Hermione with pity, completely at a loss.

“Ugh fine,” growled Hermione.  “I’ll figure it out for myself.”  She grabbed the floo powder and disappeared.

“I hope you’re not having us on George,” said Harry.  Five years as an Auror had done wonders for his confidence, and his physique, and he advanced on George, a stormy look on his face.  “She doesn’t need this right now.”

“I swear, I didn’t do anything,” said George, his hands up in placation.  “I’m pretty sure Ron didn’t either.  She wouldn’t be able to feel anything we created- otherwise the fun is over too early.”

Harry studied George for a moment and the nodded.  “I’d better follow her.  She’s probably freaking out right now.”

……..

Harry arrived home to find Hermione frantically searching through the library, muttering to herself.  “Want help?” he asked.

“All I can get,” she said.  She glanced over at him quickly.  “Wait, Harry.  You just got off work and you need to get some sleep.  I’m so sorry. I can go through here myself.”

“If you think I’m going to leave you alone right now, you’ve gone daft,” said Harry.  “First things first, come on.  We’re going to get something to eat, or some tea, and take a few minutes to sit down.  Then we’ll make a list.  A list of possible places we can get answers.”  He took her hand.  “Come on.  I need coffee, and you need to think.”  Hermione shot a reluctant glance at the bookshelf before giving in to Harry and following him to the kitchen.

“Bollocks!” On the way down her wing had caught the edge of the curtain covering Walburga Black and she hurried over to shut it. 

“FILTH!  FILTH STAYING IN THE HOUSE OF MY NOBLE….” Hermione looked up as the portrait went silent, the former Mistress of the House looking at Hermione for the first time.  Hermione and Harry looked at each other in confusion as the old dowager stared in disbelief at Hermione before bowing her head.  “My lady.”

“I…what?” Hermione stepped back in shock at the old woman’s new deferential treatment. In the nearly ten years that Hermione had known of the portrait, she had never once seen this happen, not even when Sirius was alive.  “I’m ‘your Lady’ all of the sudden?”

“You are the Aos Sí,” breathed Walburga.  “The Fair Folk…”

“Aos Sí…” Hermione sounded it out slowly, trying to remember why it sounded familiar. “That isn’t possible.  Those are just stories.”

“Stories have to start somewhere,” said Harry.  “Look at The Three Brothers.”  Hermione fidgeted, trying to decide if she was going completely insane or not. “It’s a start isn’t it?”  Harry looked at the portrait.  “Do you have any books on the subject?”  When Walburga nodded, Harry grabbed Hermione’s hand and walked back to the library.

……..

They had been reading for an hour when there was a knock at the door.  Since everyone came in the floo because it was easier than apparating on the front step, Harry cautiously drew his wand and went to the door and peered through the peephole.  “I know she’s here, mortal.  It’s best to let me in quickly.” Harry cracked the door and, with wand still drawn, looked outside.  A handsome blonde man stood at the doorstep, and he held up his hands at the sight of the wand.  “I mean you no harm,” he said.  “I am here to see her.”

“And who, exactly, is ‘her’,” Harry asked.  “This is my home and you are a stranger.  I’m not going to just let you in.”

“You are protective,” observed the strange man.  “That’s good.  As it is, I am here to see Hermione.  I am assuming that she has gained wings? I would not have been pulled here otherwise.”  He could tell by Harry’s expression that he was right.   “Please.  I can help.”

“Let him in Harry.”  Harry looked back to where Hermione was and reluctantly lowered his wand, stepping aside to allow the man through.

“Thank you,” he said.  “Can you take me to her please?”

“She’s just over here, in the library,” said Harry.  “We’ve been trying to figure out what happened to her.” 

The man stopped as soon as he saw Hermione and fell into a bow.  “My lady, we finally meet.”

Hermione stood and walked over to the man.  “Please stand up.  I don’t…”

“I’m here to tell you,” he said.  “My name is Yarrow Lightweaver.  I am your Uncle.”

Hermione paled.  “I…that can’t be possible.”

“And you,” continued Yarrow as though she hadn’t spoken, “are Hermione Granger.  My sister always had an absurd fondness for those mortal Shakespearian plays.  I wasn’t surprised she named you something so unusual.”

“I…” Hermione tried to think.  She knew that Helen Granger was not her mother, but her father never spoke about her real mother.  “I don’t know anything about her.” She looked at the beautiful man before her.  He had the same color eyes as her- whiskey brown with flecks of amber. 

“Your real mother, Briar,” explained Yarrow.  “She fell in love with a mortal and became pregnant with you.  My parents were prepared for her to leave our world for this one, but she died in childbirth.  Your father remarried and his new wife adopted you.  We respected your father’s right to raise you and watched as we could.”

“But did he know?” asked Harry.  “I mean…he was a muggle.  How did he know about fairies.”

“My father was a muggle, but my Grandfather was a squib,” said Hermione.  “Remember when Slughorn asked if I was related to the Dagworth-Granger line?  I am, but it was easier for everyone to believe I was a muggle-born instead of descended from a squib.”

“Well, what exactly are you then?” Harry had never seen Walburga show any respect to anyone who came through this house, even when Narcissa Malfoy asked to come in to peruse the family library.”

“I don’t know,”she said.  She turned to Yarrow. “Am…I’m not some kind of princess am I?”

Yarrow chuckled.  “No, dearest.  Just being a fairy, even a half-fairy is a rare occurrence, and that you have wings makes you very special indeed.  Even your mother didn’t have wings.”

“Don’t all fairies have wings?” asked Harry.

“No,” replied Yarrow.  “The last to have wings in our family was our great-great Grandmother, Willow.  It means you are meant for very great things. Now, we do not have much time.  Tonight is All Hallow’s Eve, and we must be ready.”

“For what?” asked Hermione.

“To meet your family.” Yarrow looked down at his niece.  “Briar’s death was felt like a millstone around our neck and they have been waiting a long time to meet you.”

“Where are they?”

“We have been living in what you call the Forest of Dean, or as we call it, the Coedwig y Deon for the last one hundred years,” Yarrow sat down across from Hermione and took her hand.  “Every year, every individual Aos Sí is given the choice to stay in our land or go out into the world.  I have chosen to stay in the mortal world to find you, and now I have.  I would like to take you home.”

“I…” Hermione glanced over at Harry, who looked flustered.  “I don’t think I can just go off with someone I barely know, even if you’re family.  We’ve been through a war, and to this day I still do not trust easily.  Harry would not even have let you in the house if I didn’t have these wings.”

“I understand,” nodded Yarrow.  “Perhaps I can share some information with you?  It may bring back some memories?” Hermione nodded.  Yarrow smiled.  “You camped in Coedwig y Deon over All Hallows Eve when you were five years old.  Do you remember?”

“Of course…it’s also…”

“I know,” interrupted Yarrow.  “You, and this young man, and another were there.  I watched.  I saw many wondrous things while you were there.  Do you remember anything of your time there with your parents?”

Hermione took a deep breath and covered her face.  “Dad taught me about fairy circles and fairy mounds. He brought me to meet you didn’t he?  He knew about you?”

Yarrow nodded.  “We promised that we would not interfere in your life, but we wanted to meet you.”

“You…you were the hikers,” said Hermione.  “You sat with us at the fire for a while and…there was an older lady who kept playing with my hair…”

“That was your grandmother, Camelia,” said Yarrow.  “She gave you something, did she not?”

“Merlin, I almost forgot about that,” said Hermione.  “Wait…just wait here.”  Hermione got up and ran to her room, grabbing her jewelry box from her dresser.  She rifled through it looking for a small satchel her father had given her a few days after the camping trip and breathed a sigh of relief when she found it.  She hadn’t taken any of her childhood possessions with her when she, Harry and Ron had been on the run, and somehow, her jewelry box had made it through the damage unharmed when the death eaters found her house.  She opened the satchel and pulled out a small broken stone on an intricately beaded chain and stared at it.  Her dad never let her wear it, telling her that it needed to be saved for the future and that she would know when the time came.  Shaking her head at the memory, she put the stone back in the satchel and took it down to Yarrow.

Yarrow smiled when he saw it.  “Your grandmother made this, she worked on the chain for a long time, making sure it was just right for her granddaughter.”

“Why is it broken?” asked Hermione. 

“It’s not broken,” said Yarrow.  “It’s incomplete.”  He pulled a similar satchel from his pocket and opened it, pulling out a small piece of stone.  Taking Hermione’s piece in his hand, he placed the broken piece on it and closed his other hand over it.  A flash of light and the necklace was whole in his hand.  “Your grandmother thought you may have a hard time believing and she wanted to be able to give you something concrete.”  He put the necklace around her neck again.  “It’s a fairy stone. This will protect you.”

“My awakening?”

Yarrow frowned.  “It should have happened on your eighteenth birthday,” he said.  “There is something about your magic, something that was interfering, but you finally seem to have broken through it.  How have you been feeling lately?”

“Tired,” admitted Hermione.  “Ever since my birthday.”

“You’ve been having more nightmares again too,” said Harry.  “I usually just put my arm around you or rub your back until you calm down.”

“You never said anything,” said Hermione.

“I guess I didn’t want to embarrass you,” he said. 

“And what do you dream of?” asked Yarrow.

Hermione thought for a moment, trying to remember what her dreams had been as of late. “I’ve been dreaming of Dolohov for some reason.”

“You mean the Department of Mysteries?” asked Harry.  Hermione nodded and told Yarrow of what happened.

“He hit you with a spell?  What kind of spell?” asked Yarrow.

“No one knows,” said Harry.  “It was his design, and we were never able to determine the source of the incantation.  It can be deadly, but Hermione silenced him before he hit her with the spell, so she survived.  Others haven’t.  As far as we were able to tell, it attacks the magical core, and if you’re hit full force, it will kill a wizard or witch.”

Yarrow looked at Hermione appraisingly.  “Did it leave a scar, this spell?”

Hermione nodded and blushing, lifted her shirt, showing Yarrow the long purple scar on her torso. Yarrow nodded and ran his fingers over the scar.  “I have been watching you for some time, and considered approaching you because of the aura I saw around you, but since it did not seem to affect you, I kept my distance.  This spell suppressed your fairy magic, but as always, it comes to the surface eventually.  We can have someone examine you closer if you come home.”

“When you say ‘come home’, do you mean forever?” asked Hermione as she set her shirt to rights.  “Will I be able to come back?”  She glanced at Harry again, her heart dropping at the stricken expression on his face. 

“The entrance to our home opens only once a year, on All Hallow’s Eve,” said Yarrow.  “If you leave with me, you would be gone at least that long, but you would be able to return if you chose when the portal opens again the next year.”

“A year?”  Hermione teared up.  “I…I can’t decide that right now.”

Yarrow took her hand.  “I know there is no time.  I should have approached you earlier, but you may not have believed me, and the only way I could approach was out in public since your home is unplottable.  The only way I could find you is because the emergence of your wings called to me.  I’m putting so much on you in so short a time, and I am asking you to make a decision that is causing you some heartbreak.” He glanced between the two.  “If I could advise you, I would say to come with me.  You need to learn how to control your powers, and how to embrace your heritage.  You need to learn to protect yourself, because you are a rare creature, especially if you return to this mortal world.  If you do return, you will be sought after.   You need more than I can provide, and the ones who can help you best will not leave their home.  And no…” he said when he saw Hermione start to speak. “He would not be able to come.  He is human.”

“Could we still…be together?” asked Hermione.  “You said you were prepared for Briar…my mother…to leave.”

“She was full fae, with a life span considerably longer than humans.  She would have had to give that up to be with your father,” explained Yarrow.  “You, as a halfling, do not have to make that choice.  You still wield great power.  A power that can be used in this world to do great things, and we can help you decide your path in this world.”  He watched as Hermione sagged in relief, holding her hand out for Harry.

“I will leave you to talk,” said Yarrow.  “I will meet you at the forest entrance at eight o’clock.”  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small leather book.  “Here, this was your Great Grandmothers.  It may provide some insight.” He stood and kissed Hermione on the forehead before walking out the door, leaving Harry and Hermione alone in the library.

Harry immediately pulled Hermione into his arms, unsure of what to say.  He loved her, he knew that much.  He had for a long time.  They had always been each other’s rock through everything, and now would they be torn apart?  Their relationship had started so slowly, that neither had been aware of their feelings until Ginny finally slapped Harry upside the head and told him he was in love with Hermione and to get on with it before she got sick from all the mooning about they were both doing.  Hermione had been living at the Burrow at that point, but after the finally realized that they were meant to be together, she moved into Grimmauld Place three years ago.  Their respective careers kept them busy,  but they built a good life together and had been talking about marriage and children recently.  Would that all go away now?  He finally pulled back and took her by the hand.  “Come on, let’s go get something to eat, and we can talk.”

……..

Hermione fiddled with her sandwich as she thought about what had happened that day and jumped when Harry poked her.  “Eat,” he prompted.

“I can’t,” said Hermione. Harry didn’t respond.  He didn’t even know what to say. 

“What do I do?” asked Hermione.  “I can’t live like this,” she pulled at her wings “but I can’t leave you either.”

Harry sat, knowing what he had to say, and not wanting to say it.  He took a deep breath.  “I think you should go.  At least for a year.”

“What?  You want me to leave?”

“No,” Harry took her hand.  “I don’t want you to leave.  I want you to stay here with me for as long as you want to. But, you need to learn about your powers and what they mean. And you can’t get that here.  What happens if you accidentally hurt someone?  Remember when I hit Malfoy with that spell and almost killed him because I didn’t know what I was doing?”

“I…” Hermione swiped at her eyes, which were filled with tears.  “I know…but leaving my life here…”

“Your life is going to change,” said Harry.  “I mean, really, do you think you can walk into work tomorrow and no one is going to notice your slight change?”   A laugh burst from Hermione as she thought about it.  “I’m afraid,” Harry admitted.

“Of what?”

“Look at Walburga,” he said.  “She was falling all over herself about you.  What happens if they take you away, or if…someone tries to kidnap you because of what you are?  You heard Yarrow- you need to learn to protect yourself, and somehow, I don’t think a fairy will be satisfied with working in the DRMC, do you?”  Hermione saw the fear in Harry’s eyes.  “I don’t want to hold you back.  I can’t hold you back.”  He glanced down at the journal in Hermione’s hands.  “Go ahead and read what you can,” he said.  “I’ll give you some time to think.”  He reached over and took Hermione in his arms, holding her close, breathing in her flowery scent that always comforted him.  “I’m going to go do some reading of my own.”  He placed a lingering kiss on her lips and smiled at her encouragingly before heading back to the library.

Hermione opened the journal and, after a glance at the spidery script, grabbed her sandwich and took a bite before turning her full attention to her reading.  Her Great Grandmother had chosen to stay hidden in their world but had led her family and many others to the Forest of Dean, creating the land they lived in and imbuing it with the magical energy that enriched and protected it.  She wrote about her magic, and the choices she made, and what possibilities were before her and why she chose the way she did.  Hermione found great wisdom and comfort in the journal and began to realize the potential she was capable of as one of the Fair Folk.  Communing with all kinds of magical creatures, bringing balance and fertility to not only the land, but to animals and man, held great interest to Hermione, but when she read about healing, she was intrigued.  As she read, she began to realize that Harry was right.  She was overwhelmed with possibilities and needed to learn how to channel her new gifts properly before she could make any decisions about where her life could go.  That meant going “home”, at least for a year.  But how could she leave Harry? Could she ask him to wait a year for her, would he want to?  Or should she consider giving up her gifts as her mother did, but that could mean giving up her magic as well, and she didn’t know if she could do that.  She paged through the book again, and stopped when she found a small envelope tucked in the last few pages- she had almost missed it.  She saw her name written on the front, and with shaking hands, opened it and pulled out a letter.

Dearest Hermione,

If you are reading this, it means that I am gone.  I hope I survive your birth, but the runes have not been optimistic, so I am preparing for the worst.  I am so sorry that I am not there you help you through your Awakening.

I do not know what you have been taught, but my brother Yarrow has promised to look out for you as best he can until you are ready to come home.  While your father knows and understands what I am and where I come from, he is human, and will never completely comprehend the intricacies of what it means to be a fairy, and he will not know how to help you learn your gifts.

Please know I loved your father very much.  I gave up everything I am to be with him, and I will never regret it.  I know that you will be brilliant and that someday, you will do very great things.  You are my greatest achievement and I love you very much.

Love,
Your Mum,

Briar Lightweaver

Slowly, she closed the letter and got up, knowing she had to find him and talk. 

……..

She found him in the library, dejectedly flipping through a book, and sat down in the chair next to him. He looked up at her sadly. “You have to go, don’t you?”

“I do.”  She started to cry.  “I don’t want to lose you.”

Harry got up and pulled Hermione into his arms.  “I don’t want to lose you either.  You’re the best thing in my life.”  Though they had been together for three years, it had taken Harry a while to realize that Hermione, the one who had always been there for him no matter what was the love of his life.  He and Ginny had fizzled out early on, the year they had been apart having forced growth in both of them that could not be denied.  After that, Harry dated around, but everyone was either into the Boy Who Lived or the Man Who Conquered, and he began to wonder if he would ever find someone who would love him for being himself.  He did find it, and now he was being forced to give it up.

He crashed his lips down on hers, desperate to forget for a moment that they were going to be separated.  Her hands came up to clutch his hair, pulling him closer to her, as close as possible as they kissed each other in a frenzy of anxiety and need.  Hermione pulled away, panting as she pulled Harry’s shirt over his head while Harry tried to do the same to her.

“I…can’t…how…those wings…” he muttered as he pushed her shirt and bra up, unable to figure out how to extricate her clothing from around her new acquisition.

“Just leave them,” moaned Hermione as Harry captured her nipple with his lips, his fingers lightly teasing the other one knowing it would drive her crazy.  She ground into his erection as she straddled him and tangled her fingers in his hair, trying to commit the feeling of what he was doing to memory.  His fingers brushed against her skin slowly, lovingly as he flicked at her nipple with his tongue. They separated briefly to remove their clothes, their eyes never once leaving the others before Harry pulled her back into his arms.  He held her close for a moment before his hands started to roam again, wishing they had more time to properly explore each other, even though they knew each other’s bodies very intimately by this point.  He held his hands on her hips as she guided him inside of her and sunk down on him with a moan.  They stilled for a moment, committing the feel of this to memory before Hermione began to move. He groaned as he felt her tight channel around him, slick and warm and he leaned down to catch her nipple in his mouth as his hand reached for her other breast, rolling the nipple between his fingers as she rode him.  She leaned back, loving the feel of his mouth against her breasts as she felt his cock inside of her.  She could feel the ecstasy building again as she slid along his length, her sensitive clit rocking against him and she gave herself over to it again, crying out as she climaxed, her cunt tightening around Harry’s cock. Hearing Hermione give in and let go brought Harry along right after her,  his hips stuttering against hers as he groaned his release.

They lay quietly after, cuddled up as comfortably as they could given Hermione’s wings, and tried to gather their thoughts.  “What happens now?” asked Hermione, reluctant to break the quiet togetherness they had together, but needing to know.

Harry kissed her temple.  “We get through it,” he said.  “I…I had been planning on talking to you today about an offer Kingsley made the other day.  I was on the fence about it, but given our new circumstances, I’m considering it.”

Hermione sat up, and after smoothing her bra and shirt down, turned to Harry.  “Hold on.”  She stood up, and after casting a cleaning spell on the two of them, reached for the rest of her clothes.  Harry followed suit, and soon they were clothed and sitting on the couch, fingers intertwined.  “So what is this news?”

“Kingsley wants me to do some advanced training,” said Harry.  “At the ICW.  It would begin after the New Year and last six months.”  Hermione squeezed his hand.  “I think it would be a good move for me…for us.” Harry continued.  “I just didn’t know how you would feel about it.”

“We would talk it out like we are now,” said Hermione.  “I would have supported you.  I still will if that’s what you want to do.”

“There was something else,” said Harry.  “I knew that you would be supportive of this opportunity, and I…” he pulled a small box out of his pocket.  “I was going to ask you to marry me tonight.”

Hermione sat up.  She and Harry had talked about marriage, and though they had been together for a while, they had been happy as they were and didn’t feel the need to take the next step until they had both been set in their careers.  “Are you still going to ask?”

“Do you want me to?” asked Harry.  “With everything going on, I’d understand if you wanted to hold off.”

“I…I think I want you to ask,” said Hermione. 

Harry smiled and knelt before Hermione.  “Will you marry me?”

“Yes!”  She teared up as Harry slipped the beautiful sapphire and diamond ring on her finger.  “It’s beautiful.”

“You’re beautiful,” said Harry. “I wasn’t sure if you would want to wait.  You’re going to meet a lot of new people and…”

“So are you,” said Hermione.  “I know what I want, Harry. And I want to be with you.  It’s been you and me since we were eleven.  It just took us a while to get there.”

Harry kissed her.  “We won’t have any contact will we?”

“I’ll think about that,” said Hermione.  “I suppose I should go pack.”

………

They apparated to the Forest of Dean in time to see Yarrow leaning against a tree as he waited.  “You’ve decided,” Yarrow observed.

“I don’t think I have a choice,” said Hermione.  “But I have some questions.”  Yarrow indicated for her to continue.  “Can Harry and I still communicate?  Not in person obviously, but by writing or mirror?”

Yarrow thought for a moment.  “I don’t think mirrors would work, but writing…you mean like a two-way journal?” Hermione nodded.  “Those would work.”  Hermione immediately dug into her bag and pulled out a book.

“I charmed them while I was packing, just in case,” said Hermione.  She gave it to Harry, who nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Yarrow watched the two of them with a smile.

“I can see the love between the two of you,” he said.  “Hermione’s family will want to meet you.  Come.”  Harry grabbed Hermione’s hand and the two followed Yarrow through the woods until they reached a large mound.  “The entrance will open shortly,” said Yarrow.  “Your Grandmother will be overjoyed to see you.”  They waited quietly until the moonlight hit the mound and opened a portal revealing a small group of fairies emerging from within.  They gazed at Hermione with longing as they took turns embracing Yarrow.  They looked almost other-worldly, and Hermione could see why many chose to stay hidden.  Their beauty and radiance acted as a beacon and Hermione found that she couldn’t look away. Yarrow took a lovely older woman by the elbow and escorted her to Hermione, presenting her with deference, and an older man followed closely behind.  “This is your Grandmother, Camelia Lightweaver, and your Grandfather, Forest Lightweaver.”

Hermione could see the resemblance.  Camelia looked like a slightly older version of her, and most definitely did not look to be a grandmother, and she could sense the power in the older woman.  Camelia cupped Hermione’s face in her hands.  “My dearest, I have been longing to see you again. Welcome home.”  She looked over at Harry as if expecting an introduction.

“Grandmother, this is my Fiance, Harry Potter.”  Hermione took Harry by the hand again, a little nervous that they would not accept him since he was not a fairy and was relieved to see them all smiling and nodding at the handsome young man.

“Hermione, these are your aunts and uncles.”  He indicated a woman who looked almost exactly like her Mum.  “Petal”.  The woman nodded her head and smiled gently at Hermione, who felt a lump in her throat at the striking similarities between this woman and her mum.  Yarrow indicated a handsome man standing next to Petal.  “Bracken”.  The man nodded to Hermione.  “And this is Violet.”  The other woman nodded at Hermione, frowning slightly.

“She has wings, Yarrow,” said Violet.  “How can a half-blood have wings?”

“That will have to be a discussion for another day,” said Forest.  “Let these two have their moment before we depart.  We should be heading back, my dear.”

Hermione nodded and turned to Harry.  “I’ll write often,” she promised as she nodded to her journal.  “And I will be back. I promise.” 

Harry put his arms around her as she entwined her arms around his neck and they pressed their foreheads together. “I love you,” he whispered.  “Learn all you can, because once you come back, I’m never letting you go.”  He kissed her, lingeringly as if not wanting to pull away, but finally let her go.

“I love you,” said Hermione.  She caressed his face, tears in her eyes before she pulled away.  Yarrow smiled at the young couple.

“We will take good care of her,” he promised Harry as he took Hermione’s arm in his.

“I’m counting on it.”   

He watched as Hermione and her family went back into the portal, not leaving until the last light of the portal faded away.

It was going to be a long year.

Fin