402 Perfect

Even in the darkness, Chris saw the glistening tears spilling down the man's face, his lips pressed together as he gazed at the tombstone.

Chris knew it was Harry. She didn't need to recognize his expression (like Luna said), her instinct told her it was Harry.

It took him a moment to realize someone was standing beside him and when he did, he did a double-take and wiped his tears haphazardly. He glanced at the old couple a few rows back, which now Chris knew was Hermione and Ron.

Chris pulled out her wand, and noticed he balled his fist in the pocket of his coat over what she was sure was the handle of his wand. But Chris didn't turn to him, she raised her wand, moved it in a circle through the air, and a wreath of Christmas roses blossomed before them. Quickly catching the flowers she lay them on Lily and James Potter's grave, and in her mind apologized to them for all the pain she have inflicted upon their son.

"Did you know them?" Harry asked surprised.

"I knew of them," Chris answered straightening up. "From their son."

Harry froze for a split second before asking,

"You knew their son?"

"I did — I do," Chris didn't realize she was shaking until she started speaking. "He was someone — someone close to me . . . someone I miss every day. . . someone I regret leaving behind . . ."

There was a pause as Harry's eyes searched hers. They both weren't looking like themselves, but there was a familiarity in their gaze. Finally, Chris raised her left hand in front of Harry and his gaze fell on the bracelet on her wrist. The one he made for her birthday with all four fonders' colored stones and her initials. Chris had worn the bracelet after disguising herself for this very reason. To show Harry, so he could recognize her. And Harry did.

"Please tell me, I am not dreaming," fresh tears filled Harry's eyes. "Please tell me, it's really you. Please. . ."

"It is me, Harry. I am so sorry, I left you like that . . . I —" before Chris could finish Harry pulled her close. Burying his head on her shoulder he held her so firmly as if he was still afraid she was a dream and would disappear any moment if he just let go. Chris's heart ached as she wrapped herself around him tightly as well. There was no space left between them. Tears were streaming down her face and Chris had no idea if it was her who was still shaking or if it was Harry.

Chris didn't know how long they were standing in the dark snowy graveyard but the moment was only broken by a familiar stern voice.

"What's going on here?"

Harry and Chris both pulled away and quickly brushed away their tears. Harry grasped her hand and intertwined her fingers with him, before turning to the old couple in front of them. It didn't take a lot of effort to recognize the glare and the stern unpleased and shocked tone of Hermione even if she was disguised as an old woman.

"Hermione, it's Chris! I told you she will return." Grinning, Harry gave Chris's hand a small squeeze and Chris smiled.

"Chris?" Hermione and Ron both almost screamed in shock. Both of them stared at Chris, mouths hanging open.

"But how do you know it's her?" Hermione asked recovering first and quickly looked around carefully to be sure no one heard them. At last, her eyes stopped and narrowed at Chris with suspicion. "And how did she find us here? Harry, it could be a trap."

Chris saw Hermione readying her wand for the worst and Chris decided to lower her wand in surrender.

"It's me, Hermione. It's not a trap or anything. And I am not alone. Ginny, Luna, and Colin are with me. They are just outside the church."

"Ginny is here too?" Ron relaxed hearing Chris and let out a big smile. "She is outside? Hermione, let's go. Let's meet them."

Ron almost started running out of the Church but Hermione held him in place.

"Ron! She could be lying! She could be telling this to get Harry alone with her!"

"Why would she lie about Ginny, Hermione?" Ron looked bewildered. "As far as we know, nobody even knows Ginny, Colin, and Luna are alive."

"And what's wrong if she wants to talk to me alone. It's Chris, Hermione," Harry said firmly.

Looking exasperated Hermione turned back and forth between Ron, Harry, and Chris. Realizing Ron and Harry both were already convinced, Hermione pointed her wand at Chris angrily and ordered,

"Tell me something only Chris and I knew."

"In your third year, you used to sleep in my dorm room using the Time-Turner," Chris answered with a smile.

Hermione lowered her wand but didn't look very pleased.

"See? Now let's go meet Ginny," Ron said excitedly.

Hermione didn't protest this time as Ron dragged her away, Chris was about to follow them but Harry didn't move. Chris shot him a quizzical look as Harry spoke to Ron and Hermione.

"You two go ahead, Chris, and I will follow you in a moment."

Ron smiled but Hermione clearly didn't like the idea.

"But Harry, we still out in the open and —" Hermione stared at them with a frown, but Harry didn't seem to care.

"We are still under disguises, Hermione," Harry pointed out which made Hermione furious.

Chris tried to divert the conversation.

"Oh and speaking of disguises, Ginny and all are disguised too, so be careful and say something so that they can recognize you," Chris reminded Ron, who gave a nod.

"Come quickly," Hermione ordered Ron and marched away.

As soon as they were alone Harry let out a long sigh of relief and looked back at his parents' grave. Both of them stared at the grave in comfortable silence. They stayed like that for a few more minutes, but the darkness and the silence seemed to become, all of a sudden, much deeper. Chris realized the carols had finished, and the chatter and flurry of churchgoers were fading away as they made their way back into the square. Somebody inside the church had just turned off the lights.

"You know, Hermione is trying to get us here for months. She kept telling us, but I didn't want to come," Harry broke the silence. "I didn't know if I could come here and face . . . them."

Chris squeezed Harry's hand.

"Harry, I'm so sorry—" she tried to speak but her throat closed up in pain.

"It's fine. It's okay. . . don't worry, I understand," Harry turned to her and held her face close.

Even in this darkness, Chris could see the care and understanding in his eyes, which made her feel like crying again. How did she leave him like that? How could she hurt him like that? This boy, who showed her love and care countless times, understood her even when no one did, who held her and consoled her even after they both lost their teacher, Dumbledore. The boy, who put her pain above his grief.

"You are here. . . you are really here . . . Chris, I . . ." Harry mumbled under his cold shaky breath and smiled. Seeing him so happy, Chris couldn't help but grin as well.

"I am here," she mumbled.

"Merry Christmas, Chris," Harry breathed.

"Merry Christmas, Harry," Chris rested her forehead on his and closed her eyes.

And for a moment everything felt perfect.

⟦To be continued⟧

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