Harry was woken up by Ron yelling at him and thumping his head with a pillow.

“Gerroff!” Harry grunted as he sat up in the camp bed and fumbled for his glasses.

When he located them and put them on he saw Ron tearing open his presents, already wearing a maroon jumper.

Harry grinned and scrambled out of bed to open his own presents as Ron unwrapped a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and shoved a handful into his mouth with gusto. Harry laughed as Ron immediately spat out a grey spotted bean, his eyes watering as he gasped, “Onion.”

Harry opened the squashy package he knew was a Weasley jumper first, and pulled on the dark blue sweater bearing a Golden Snitch over his pyjamas. Ron had bought him a Magical Photographs box (“They’re wizard!”) which contained an ordinary camera and two large bottles of thick indigo potion. Ron paused in his present opening frenzy to point at the potion and say, enthusiastically and with a half-chewed mouthful of Every Flavour Beans, “That’s the stuff you develop them in to make them move!”

“Thanks, Ron,” said Harry, as Ron roared in delight and thumped Harry on the back as he ripped open the Chudley Cannon new strip robes that Harry had bought him. Harry opened, predictably, a package of Uncle Vernon’s grey socks from the Dursleys. He also received an untidily knitted red scarf with yellow dots from Hagrid, a parcel of maggots from Kreacher (which he was less than thrilled about) and a box of Honeydukes fudge from Mr Weasley. He couldn’t find a package from Hermione, although Ron had unwrapped a bottle of Butterbeer that had her neat writing on the tag. It puzzled him that she would buy Ron a present and not him, and as he had bought her some witch’s perfume (called Love Potion) he was rather indignant about it.

After Harry had finished laughing and Ron had finished looking aghast at the golden “My Sweetheart” chain he had received from Lavender, they dressed properly and went downstairs for Christmas lunch, as everyone had overslept.

Hermione was looking a little subdued at the other end of the dinner table and didn’t speak to or even look at Harry, though nobody else seemed to notice.

After several second-helpings when everybody was stuffed to bursting and even Ron had to turn down Mrs Weasley’s offers of the chipolata dish, the dinner party broke up and everyone headed into the living room for some chit chat and to listen to the wireless, which Mrs Weasley predictably tuned in to Celestina Warbeck again, much to Fleur’s distaste.

Mrs Weasley called over her shoulder to Harry, Ron and Hermione as she left the room (after magicking the plates into the sink where they scrubbed themselves) that she would like the garden de-gnoming as the rascals were all back again.

The trio went outside and began their task, as Muggle fairy lights that Fred and George had acquired from the village glowed rainbow colours in the frost-adorned bushes. When Ron was at the bottom of the garden and Harry was trying to pull at a pair of horned feet waggling out of an abandoned boot, Hermione approached him and cleared her throat.

“Um, nice night, isn’t it/” she said nervously, and when Harry raised his eyebrows rather than frowning at her (as Ron would have, had he been there) she rushed on in a whisper, “I have got you a present Harry, but I can’t give it to you in front of everyone else. Just meet me in the attic after we‘ve finished.”

“Why?” said Harry, surprised, but she was already hurrying away to a darker part of the garden.

Later, Harry told Ron that he needed the bathroom and after Ron’s footsteps had creaked into his room and the door had closed, Harry crept up the stairs as quietly as possible.

In the light from under Ron’s door he pulled down the stepladder to the attic and used his head to push open the trapdoor. As he emerged he saw Hermione sat cross-legged behind a jar of bluebell flames. She pushed something behind an old trunk and picked up a gold wrapped box from her lap.

Harry closed the trapdoor and sat down in front of the jar of flames. It lit up their faces eerily. Hermione didn’t speak but offered Harry the parcel, who opened it slowly. Inside the box was a round-based blue glass potion bottle. Inside it a bright frothy liquid bubbled contentedly.

“What’s going on, Hermione? Why did you have to give me this in secret? And what is it exactly/”

“It’s an Unsouhait potion,” Hermione said. “Whoever drinks it will be granted one thing that they are wishing for. But the wish is only temporary. It only lasts for one day, and everyone involved forgets what happened except you.”

“Where did you get it?” Harry murmured as he inspected the bottle, turning it in his hands so that it glinted in the blue light.

“I made it. It only needed a few difficult ingredients that I got from an apothecary in Diagon Alley. It took a year to brew it. I found the recipe in Moste Potente Potions in our second year, but I didn’t dare to make it. Until last summer, and Voldemort had come back and everything was changing…I thought, you never know, I might need it one of these days.”

Harry replaced the bottle in its box. “It’s illegal, isn’t it?”

Hermione nodded reluctantly.

“Why did you give it to me?”

“I thought…that you might need it more. If anyone needs their wish to come true, it’s you. Besides, I don’t know what I would use it for.”

She laughed to herself in a way that was more sad than humorous and stood up, brushing the dust from her jeans and her lilac Weasley jumper. She brushed the top of his head with her hand as she walked past him and opened the trapdoor to climb down onto the landing.

He realised he had forgotten to say thank you. He was sure Hermione knew he was grateful. This little bottle contained something powerful. It could change his life, change the world…even if it was for just one day.

He got up and was about to extinguish the bluebell flames when he remembered that Hermione had hidden something when he came in.

He felt he shouldn’t be nosy but he was curious.

He held the jar in one hand and raised it to illuminate the floor. A small pink book lay on the dusty wooden boards. And written on the front cover were the words, “Private Diary of Hermione Granger”.

The End

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