I am slowly replacing the first chapters of this fic as they were not betaed and it showed.

Diana, or Darth Beta as I have dubbed her, is kindly assisting me.

DISCLAIMER:  Anything you recognized belongs to JK (I'll get book five out when I'm good and ready) Rowling.  I do own the aged computer this was written on.  I would be more than willing to make a trade….

I am giving this fic a rating of R for later chapters.  R for restricted, responsible for your actions and read something else if you are not mature enough to handle adult themes.  You should know better anyway.

Fellytones and Fuzzy Slippers: A Love Story

CHAPTER ONE – Can You Be Convicted Of Murder By Fork?

'They can't possibly be real.'

Hermione Granger had on her best, "My-you-are-so-very-interesting," face as she quietly listened to the blonde sitting across from her. Her table mate's inane story became a faint buzzing in Hermione's ears as she studied the incalculable proportions on display.  'It's a crime against nature, it is. It's not within the realm of physics that a body as petite as that could support breasts of that magnitude. How can her waist be that slender? Does she even have a ribcage? And those eyes, really.  That shade of blue exists no where else in the known universe.  She has to be veela; she has to be.  It was a sin against womanhood for her not be.'

Hermione paused to relay a "You don't say," and an "Oh, that's so funny," in the appropriate areas before continuing her mental lynching of the woman before her.  'Does she ever shut up?  Doesn't she need to breathe?'  Hermione looked down at her chest again, 'I suppose those things can hold a lot in reserve,' she smirked secretly in her thoughts.  She paused to look at Ron who was staring at his latest girlfriend in awe and wonderment. He threw back his head in laughter at her relentless banter and flashed that wicked smile of his.  'Look at the grinning idiot,' she thought. 'You can sure pick a winner, can't you, Ron?   She was, after all, just like the others - beautiful and stupid.  She's more than beautiful though, isn't she… Heck, even I want her.'  Hermione shook her head at this last thought.  As much as she hated to admit it, Maria Elena was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. And Ron, her Ron, was madly in love with her.

It was four years since they finished Hogwarts.  Four years since the end of Voldemort and his tyranny.  Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter were instrumental in his defeat.  In fact, so much of their lives then was focused on saving the wizarding world from his clutches that they had little time for anything else, including each other.  Somewhere in the back of her mind she always thought she and Ron would end up together.  After the war she needed some time alone, so she went away to the Aurellia Academy in France to finish her education and get her degree.  She kept in touch with everyone as best she could through the owl post but had little time for visits as she was intent upon receiving her doctorate in as little time as possible.  Within three years she had not only became Dr. Hermione Granger, Fellow in Advanced Arithmancy, but she had embarked upon a successful career encoding and decoding equations for the Ministry of Magic, and she was the youngest witch in history to do so.  She didn't date much, again because she had always assumed she and Ron would be together.  It never dawned on her that he had other plans.  It never dawned on her that he did not feel the same way. 

Truth be told they never really discussed it.  She never mentioned how she felt.  She had assumed he always knew.  It was those assumptions that brought her here to meet Ron's fourth girlfriend this year at a restaurant near her flat in London with Harry in tow.  When Ron broke up with, "Merlin help me--Amber," as Hermione would refer to her, she had thought they might finally get their chance.  When Ron called her to go out to lunch, she was thrilled only to have her hopes squashed, as she saw not only Harry seated at the table, but a supermodel unceremoniously attached to Ron's arms.  The last hour was spent with Maria Elena, who was painfully full after three bits of her salad, carefully explaining why pink is her favorite color and how she will only go to Gustav to do her hair after Renaldo almost convinced her to go with platinum blonde as opposed to her natural golden highlights.  'Natural my arse,' Hermione thought while biting down hard on her fork. 'Let's face it, girly.  I don't think anything on that body would decompose if it were buried for a hundred years.'  Oddly enough, Hermione liked the sound of that.  She smiled until she looked at Ron.  He was mesmerized by the anorexic Barbie doll with the gland problem, and Hermione did all she could to keep her lunch down. 

Harry watched her with sympathy wondering how she managed not to break her teeth as she chewed her food with such intensity, as if she were biting down on steel and crushing it with her incisors.  She seemed to be in pain after every bite of her pasta.  He understood, probably more than Hermione would have wanted him to.  He knew about how these two felt about each other probably even before they did.  Neither would ever admit to anything out loud and though he wanted that when they were younger; now, it just made him sad.

Remembering those days was always tough for Harry for so many reasons.  As much as tried he to deny it, he needed his friends to be there for him - his survival depended upon it. He hated the idea that they liked each other in a way that would exclude him. Nothing terrified him more than the thought of being alone.  Now as an adult, he realized how selfish that was.  He also felt a little guilty knowing he might have helped them, but didn't.  Now he watched as one best friend dated one girl after the other looking for something he would never find, while the other wouldn't look anywhere at all, hoping for something she might never get.  These two were meant for each other; they just didn't know it yet.

Maria Elena announce she needed to use the "little girl's room;" she wiggled her nose at Ron and giggled before she left.   He was beaming.

Finally prying his eyes from the retreating form of his beloved, he turned to his best friends with a look of rapture on his face. "Isn't she amazing?"

"She's something."  Hermione tried to sound complimentary, but it came out strangled, as if she was fighting incontinence.

"She's quite a charmer."  Harry's attempt at praise

"We met at the Ministry.  She is a friend of Seamus's girlfriend.  He introduced us, and we hit it off right away.  I owe him big time."

"So do I," Hermione muttered under her breath.   She was just beginning to enjoy the quiet left in the wake of Hurricane Hooters when the pouty-lipped she-devil suddenly returned, holding a portable phone.  'Does she even know she was a witch?' 

"Ronny, I have to run. I just got a call from the office, and they need me to get back.  Walk me out." The words held the implication that he would be duly rewarded for his efforts.  She turned to his friends and said in a voice like melting butter, eyelashes fluttering at the speed of light, "It was wonderful meeting you. Harry.  You too….Hermania, was it?"  She gave them both a toothy grin.

Hermione matched her pearly white for pearly white. "Hermione, actually.  Sorry you have to rush off.  Hope to see you again soon," she said sweetly. 'Preferably impaled on something jagged and rusty,' she added mentally.

Ron escorted her to the door.  Hermione returned to her pasta, stabbing several pieces with her fork of death and shoveling them in her mouth as she chewed with a vengeance.  Harry looked at her and shook his head.

"What are you going on about?"  She was not in the mood for his opinions or his head shaking.

"Why don't you just tell him how you feel?"

She feigned ignorance. "What are you talking about?"

He sighed in frustration. "This has been going on for years.  I know how you feel about him. Why don't you just admit it….to him and yourself?"

"There is nothing to admit."  Her shoulders slumped in resignation. She put down her fork, brought her hand up to her temples and started to rub in small circles. "Anyway, if you're implying what I think you're implying, then I think we can both agree it would come to nothing.  It is obvious what he wants, and I can assure you it is not me." Picking up her fork again, she started to play with her food, hoping Harry would get the hint.

"How do you know?"  Well, so much for that.  "Neither one of you will talk about it."

"Just let it go, Harry."  In truth, she did not want him to let it go, but his insisting only caused her more hurt.  Hermione knew all too well that she was not like the women Ron chose to date.  She was not beautiful; she was not sexy; she was not mindless.  Okay,  maybe that last part was undeserved.  Even Marie Elena had a good job at a publisher and was interesting in her own way.  Hermione knew that to get what she wanted she would have to change who she was, and she wasn't sure if it was something she could do.  Deciding she was not going to be the only one dwelling in self pity this afternoon, she turned her attention back to the friend sitting across from her.

"You know, you're not the one to talk about admitting feelings."

Harry looked up sharply. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"It means in three months we will both be attending a wedding that shouldn't be happening."

This hit a little too close to home.  It was Harry's turn to sigh, slump his shoulders, and rub small circles at his temples.  As much as he hated to admit it, she was right. 

Harry spent so much time and energy trying to forget his battles with The Dark One, that he allowed something special slip through his fingers. The year following the final battle was spent doing nothing, wondering what there was to his life now that the one thing that had consumed him was gone. He was numb for so long that it was hard to begin life again.  It was only recently that he finished his degree in Advanced Defense Against the Dark Arts and had some aim in life.  When he finally woke up from the haze, he found that Ginny Weasley was engaged to Colin Creevey.  It was only when Ron told him of the upcoming nuptials that it really hit him.  Ginny Weasley, the girl who would giggle whenever he entered to room; Ginny Weasley, his shadow for nearly all his years at Hogwarts; Ginny Weasley, the shy red head who would blush frantically at the mere mention of his name, had moved on.

"Pathetic, isn't it?"

Hermione had to agree.  "How did we get to this point, Harry?  How did we manage to screw things up so badly?"

At this Ron returned to the table, his lips swollen, hair disheveled.

"Sorry that took so long," he said breathlessly.  Hermione and Harry exchanged a knowing glance.  Both doubted he was that sorry.

"Okay, so the truth now.  What do you really think?"  He seemed nervous as he waited for the reply.

Hermione hoped Harry would answer first, but they both knew whose opinion Ron was looking for. "Are you happy?"  she asked.  'Please say no,' she thought.

"Absolutely," was the response.

"That is all that matters then, isn't it."  He furrowed his brow and she relented. "She is lovely."

That was what he seemed to be waiting for, and he picked up his previously abandoned sandwich and started to eat.

Hermione suddenly lost her appetite.