I might be a smidge bitter. I might also have recently taken some cold medicine. Either way, I don't own Harry Potter
In a deceptively small cottage in the middle of a windswept moor, far from anything resembling civilization or indeed other people in general, Hermione Granger had just finished her latest set of experiments, sent the results to her superiors in the R&D department of the International Magic Protectorate aka IMP, and was preparing to go to headquarters so she could present her findings in person. She was in the middle of deciding whether or not she should take her copy of An Arithmancetic Analysis of Atlantean Runes or if she should indulge herself instead by instead bringing her newest book on quantum mechanics. After all, when stuck in a waiting room, as she undoubtedly would be because her superiors were often incredible bastards who enjoyed any little power play they could imagine to use against her, it was best to have something interesting with which to pass the time. She was interrupted in the musing by the sound of frantic pounding at her door.
The young woman paused for a moment and narrowed her eyes as she reached out to inspect the wards that surrounded not just her immediate house but also the surrounding twenty kilometers, just in case ,while the knocking continued. That a person, and her protections were still intact enough to let her know it was just a single person, had actually gotten to her door meant they were either very, very good at circumventing wards, powerful enough to overcome her protections with brute force rather than finesse (and Hermione could count on two fingers the number of individuals powerful enough for that), or they were one of the few actually allowed near her little cottage that was deliberately in the middle of nowhere.
That they were knocking, albeit in a fashion that made the witch wonder if her door would buckle under the assault soon, made her decide that it was probably someone who was allowed near her research facility/home away from home. Intruders weren't generally polite enough to knock. Unless it was Luna testing her security again. But the brunette witch was fairly sure that her friend was busy investigating the latest wizengamot scandal. Well, it was either that or she had re-joined the Cirque du Soleil. Hermione was fairly sure that the blonde had mentioned something about performing some sort of animal act instead of being an acrobat the next time she joined a circus.
"Hermione!" a familiar, frantic voice called as the knocking continued, "please! Let me it!"
She ran to the door, opened it, and Harry Potter, her best friend and boyfriend of the last year and a half, came tumbling into her home. Well that, mostly satisfied her curiosity. Harry had the power to overcome her protections if he really wanted to, but since she always ensured he had an invitation through the wards of anywhere she lived or worked, it wasn't generally an issue.
"Thank God you're alright," Harry gasped, not even bothering to scramble up from the floor, instead choosing to clutch at her jean clad legs as he looked up at her with wild eyes. His face was pale and her eyes widened and she gasped as she realized that there were a few patches of hair missing from his head. The bleeding scalp beneath led to the assumption that someone, or perhaps several someone's, had actually torn the hair from his head. She could see scratches from some creatures claws all over his arms and his clothes were torn in several places as though something had grabbed at him and he had barely managed to tear himself away.
"Of course I'm alright," Hermione answered, "but Harry, what on earth,"
Harry didn't let her speak any further. He jumped to his feet and kissed her as though he thought he would never see her again. Just as all thoughts about Harry's odd arrival was fading from her mind in favor of more interesting things, he pulled away and disappeared through the door to her bedroom.
Hermione paused before the open door for a moment, a little shocked. She'd not actually seen her boyfriend since before she started her experiment. Her latest runic experiment had required as little magical interference as possible, thus she had set it up in her little cottage and warned away those who might have thought to visit. It was rather good timing as before her experiment Harry, now an agent of the IMP's Black Ops division, had gone on a mission to Gautanubania. It was a mission that she was fairly sure was supposed to last for another two months while Harry and his team dealt with a particularly ruthless ring of human traffickers who had possibly figured out a way to restrain witches and wizards. Of course she wasn't technically supposed to know about the location of that mission, or the estimated duration. But Hermione privately if they really didn't want her to know something then they should have developed counters to her latest series of magical bugs and other monitoring devices.
Besides, if she didn't keep tabs on Harry, as he did her, then how else was she supposed to know when she should commandeer some form of transportation to go and save him from certain peril? And if he wanted to believe that he was keeping tabs on her just in case he needed to save her from certain peril, well, she'd never figured out a gentle way to disillusion him and it was a harmless habit.
"Harry," she called, a little miffed at the broken kiss. It had been a month since they'd last kissed and he just stops? She gave him the benefit of the doubt for all of the minute it took to scan her modest little bedroom and note that her lover was not, in fact, waiting for her. Actually, he was going through her dresser and tossing everything into a suitcase.
"Harry," Hermione snapped, "what's going on?"
"It's only for a week," Harry replied distractedly as he ran around her room, apparently trying to pack everything he could see. He was starting on the books.
"Harry James Potter!" Hermione snapped, "
"We finished the mission early," Harry replied absently, not looking at her, "the snitch we caught knew more than we thought he would and I'm back early."
"And?" Hermione pressed gently, "what's wrong? Did you miss someone during the raid? Did something happen?"
Harry whimpered and Hermione made a decision and looked at her with such pain in his eyes that for a moment she couldn't breathe. She had only seen such pain and sadness in his eyes twice in his life. The brunette almost couldn't stand it. She made a decision. She was going to call on every spell she knew and invent new ones if she had to and wipe whatever was distressing Harry from the time stream.
"Oh God Hermione," Harry replied, "I shouldn't have come. I've led them right to you. I should have sent someone else to come and get you."
"Who Harry?" Hermione demanded fiercely, "tell me what's going on!"
"Them, it's happening again Hermione, we've got to get out of here! We've got to go somewhere, anywhere, got to get away."
Hermione was becoming increasingly frustrated with all of this.
"Harry," she started again and the green eyed wizard looked at her, really looked at her this time, and his eyes widened in realization.
"You don't know," he whispered and Hermione scowled.
"You don' t know!" he repeated, louder this time.
He finally came out from under the bed and Hermione sat up and growled.
"Harry James Potter, explain right now who I have to hurt," Hermione demanded.
"Tomorrow is Valentine's Day," Harry moaned and Hermione's own cinnamon eyes widened. She could feel the blood rushing from her face and for a brief moment she was dizzy. For a glorious moment she was numb.
"Oh sweet Morgana," Hermione gasped and she stumbled back, "How did I not realize? I need to pack, we need to get out of here. Why are you here? You should be running."
Valentine's Day, a day that somehow caused otherwise perfectly sane witches and wizards to go utterly mad, becoming desperate for someone, anyone, to become their significant other. Somehow it didn't affect those who weren't of age, and Harry and Hermione had never experienced whatever caused the madness they saw in others during the cupid filled holiday. But they did have to deal with the dozens of witches and wizards who were willing to forgo even the most basic of common decencies to ensure that they had a Valentine. Among some it was even a competition to ensure they had the best Valentine. And Harry and Hermione were both very uncomfortably aware that, though they were together, their names were still at the very top of the wizarding world's best Valentine's list.
Hermione shuddered as she remembered last Valentine's day. It had been her and Harry's first Valentine's day together and they had been so sure that, despite the madness, people would respect their new relationship.
They had been so very wrong.
And now it was that time of year again.
"Harry, you shouldn't have risked coming here," Hermione scolded, "we saw last year what some of those, those, floozies are willing to do. Guatanubania would have been safer! You should have just stayed out of England!"
"You were still here," Harry replied simply, sounding calm for the first time since he had arrived.
All of Hermione's anger at Harry putting himself in danger rushed away and she smiled without thinking.
"You were still here when you were supposed to be gone," Harry repeated, "to be safe, while I was on my mission. But you were still here. I couldn't just disappear and leave you alone. Even if you weren't my girlfriend Hermione, you're my best friend and what sort of friend would I be if I didn't have your back."
She kissed him before she could think and they wasted several valuable escape minutes but Hermione was of the firm opinion that it was worth it.
"And you were supposed to be safe on your mission," Hermione whispered when they broke apart, lungs protesting, "but you finished early."
"If I hadn't then Neville and the twins had instructions to come and protect you," Harry admitted sheepishly. Hermione huffed slightly.
"This is my lab," she pointed out, "one of the most secure facilities in the world. No one,"
She stopped, stiffening as she felt her wards coming down.
"Securest facilities in the world?" Harry repeated and she glared at him for a moment before deciding to put her anger aside for the time being.
"Let's get out of here," she said and he nodded and grabbed her hand. She fished her wand from its holster and with a wave, finished the packing that he had started. She winced as she felt pressure against her wards and another protection shatter. What was with witches and wizards that made so many grown men and women so desperate during this stupid holiday? She felt the pressure of several hundred owls attempting to delivery Valentine's gifts and she shivered. Why couldn't people just go back to being as reasonable as they were in Hogwarts and just ignore the wretched scam of chocolatiers and card companies?
"Can't go outside," Harry muttered contemplatively.
"Through here," Hermione dragged Harry to her open wardrobe. She closed its intricately carved doors, tapped three times, and then opened them again. They climbed into the wardrobe and passed through the now illusory back panel and entered Hermione's lab. She felt Harry's hand tighten around hers as the protections she set double check to ensure they are actually allowed to be in the lab.
"Come on," Hermione pressed and at the back of the lab were a set of three doors, each a different color. One was red, one blue, and one green.
"Experimental," the smartest witch of her age said dismissively, "but only because the higher ups are idiots."
"Where will they take us?" Harry asked.
"America is red," Hermione pointed at the red door, "Japan is blue, Australia is green."
They shared a glance and both of them reached for the same door.
Outside, several dozen suitors all stood at Hermione's door, each bearing a bouquet of flowers and boxes of tainted sweets, each eager to persuade the brilliant witch that he (or she in a few cases) was her true soul mate and that she should dump Harry Potter in their favor. Several dozen women were all waiting to comfort Harry Potter when he was dumped and attain the coveted position of Mrs. (or Mr. in a few cases) Potter. Or at least official member of the not yet official Potter Harem. One of the Potter suitors was a ministry secretary and had the paperwork for a harem all ready to go as soon as Potter agreed.
When the door of the cottage "mysteriously" opened with of course no outside influence, the Valentine's frenzied suitors packed into the tiny cottage, only to find it completely empty. Even the furniture was gone.
They tore through the cottage and searched the grounds but found nothing. And they had a very hard time explaining to the aurors, who had come to the property to check out an anonymous tip, just why they were trespassing on private property, particularly private property that was connected to the International Magic Protectorate.
Thousands of miles away, Harry and Hermione sat in the sand of an unplottable beach, relaxing in each other's presence and, for the first time in both of their lives, enjoyed Valentine's Day.
Just a bit of cold syrup induced nonsense for the holiday. I hope you all enjoyed it! Please tell me what you think! Happy Singles Awareness Day!