Secrets We Keep

Erm, those who like Ron Weasley should stop reading now…

Okay, I'll assume anyone reading from this point on is happy with Ron-bashing. He's completely odious in the first part of this fic, just to warn you.

Also, yes, I seem to be caught on the trope of Hermione's first time. It's probably as I'm now writing three concurrent fics. Iinsanity, I'm telling you. Maybe, one day I'll move onto another trope…but today is not that day!

This fic does not contain the idea I had for Innocent Shadows. This is a disclaimer I'll have to write a lot, it seems. Of course I was writing this with a different outcome in mind. All plot, and angst and violence…then Severus said two words. And –everything— changed. He's a bad, bad man…

And as ever, all the stuff you've heard of is JKR's, not mine.

M and a little bit of angst with lashings of fluff. Totally HEA.

"Rat's nest!"

Hermione Granger slammed the door to the side room and threw up a ward. Her wand stabbed a silencio at the walls, her magic sweeping around her in a wild rush.


She flicked her wand and cast a lighting charm to any candles littering the room. Golden light flared, the surge of sudden flame a strange growl. She frowned at the small room with its desk, shelves packed with scrolls and books and the archways leading to a warren of similar rooms. But her anger quashed her curiosity. Damn, Ronald Weasley. A pox on him.

She swore under her breath, the fury she felt tightening her chest. Heat burned in her face. "Frigid!" The word burst from her. "An ice-box? Bastard!"

Hermione stalked to the large, empty hearth. She stood before it, unseeing, breathing hard, the prick of tears threatening to fall. Her life hadn't been her own until the end of the war, until its final day. And she'd wanted to wait. To make it special. To make it matter. Was that so hard to understand? She was…grieving. So many had been lost… She pushed down the familiar aching pain that always seemed to punch a hole through her heart. Not him. Not now.

There was so much else; her life was in turmoil. To push away all thought, she'd crammed for her NEWTs, finishing them only days before. It had hardly helped. Her parents were back, their memories restored, but with a coldness, an aloofness that stabbed her. The war was not long over and she couldn't rush into anything when her heart was still in such a mess. Voldemort had been dead just three months, along with his Death Eaters, all succumbing to his final curse. The Dark Mark devouring them whole.

Hermione shuddered at the memory of seeing Lucius Malfoy clutching his arm in pain…and then disbelief as flesh and blood peeled away to expose the bones in his wrist and forearm. Before invisible razors slashed away at those too…

Nothing could stop the curse. Nothing. He took a whole hour to die.

She pressed her the heels of her hands to her eyes, pushing against the sockets. The hideous memory killed her fury. The thoughts she'd fought to deny all summer lurched within her again.

Had Severus Snape met the same end? Had his body torn itself apart even after his death? Nightmares had plagued her that summer, of how they had simply left him after his last breath had escaped his body. His death playing over and over through her dreams. And his voice condemning her for her failure…

She'd tried. She'd tried everything. Shoved a bezoar past his slack lips. Poured the potions she had after it, ignoring Ron's demands that she leave the greasy traitor. But she couldn't… She'd pressed her hands to his torn throat, his life's blood spilling over her fingers so fast. So fast… But he'd slipped away. She'd thought he'd looked at her in his final moments, eyes darker than midnight, and framed by the longest lashes. Utterly beautiful…

Hermione closed her eyes and shoved down the sour pain. She couldn't change what had happened. Severus Snape was dead. Gone.

And Ronald Weasley was a complete idiot.

She pressed her lips together. She'd planned…she'd planned that the night of this stupid ball she would sleep with him. Her contraceptive potion and the magical vial for collecting her virgin blood nestled in her transfigured beaded bag. Ready.

She'd even patted it, smiling before she stepped into the hearth at Grimmauld Place to floo to the vastness of the Ministry atrium. They were all to meet up there and go together into the celebratory Ministry ball. She'd been nervous, excited, jitters filling her stomach. Good jitters, she told herself. It was time. It was right. Finally. She was moving on with her life. Her nerves were simply inexperience. Nothing more. This is what a girlfriend did. But she winced as that voice sounded too much like Ron's rather than her own.

The atrium was loud and packed, the bustle of so many over-excited people almost crushing. Ron had taken her hands in his and drew her into the grey shadows of one of the arches. His grin –cheeky, assured— had made her echo his smile and she didn't object when he pulled her to him.

She frowned when his large hand planted itself on her backside.

"Gods, Hermione you look hot. Let's do it now."

Hermione stared at him and her gut clenched. Did he mean what she thought he meant? She threw up a non-verbal muffialto and a notice-me-note charm and fought the sudden ache in her chest. "Do what, Ronald?"

His grin deepened and he ground himself against her. "Fuck, Mione. I've been aching for days. Near broke my wrist with the amount of…well, you know. We've been together a month. A month. It doesn't help that every one of our friends are at like nifflers dosed on a potion."

She pressed her hands to his chest. "You want us to have sex, here, in this alcove, with our friends and your family right behind us?"

He obviously hadn't picked up on her stiffness or the clipped edge to her words, because he was nodding, that now odious grin still in place. "It'll be like old times. A dark alcove behind a tapestry, never knowing if McGonagall or Snape is going to catch you bare-arsed."

Pain lanced though her chest. Oh, that did it. She knew he had more experience than her. That he'd had sex with Lavender Brown and possibly others. After all, she'd shared a room with Lavender, and the girl had been more than pleased to detail her exploits –loudly— with Parvati.

But not once had Ron ever pulled her behind a tapestry. She'd only been good for homework or keeping them all alive. She'd been the friend, the almost-not-a-girl, and he'd been happy as long as she was seen pining after him. Merlin forbid she should show interest in anyone else, whilst he shagged about.

"We never did that, Ronald."

He flushed and his grin dipped. But then he smirked and squeezed her behind. "Well, here it is, now's your chance."

She struggled out of his hold. "No, thank you."

Ron scrubbed his hand down his face. "Merlin's sake, Mione. You can't keep doing this. You're supposed to be my girlfriend. It's what girlfriends do."

There was the echo of her thoughts. His words fixing in her head. "And that means I have to have sex with you here and now?"

"Yes. No. I don't know. But you've hardly let me touch you."

She opened her mouth to defend the fact that they'd kissed lots of times and stopped. No. She didn't have to justify anything. He was pushing her. And she hadn't been…wasn't ready. An hour before, she had been prepared to go through with it. And didn't that sound like she was girding herself for an ordeal? Not something that she should enjoy, but something she must endure…

Ron hadn't noticed her pause. Did he notice anything about her? Ever?

"I mean, yes, you gave me that hand job last week, but I had to practically grab your fingers and hold you there. Doesn't make a man feel wanted, you know?" He grinned again, as if fact that he'd all but forced her to touch him was all in good fun.

She'd brought him to orgasm with odd detachment, analysing the feel of his penis in her hand. The almost spongy hardness, the musky scent of his skin, the sound of her palm and fingers trapped under his, slick and sliding, making a strange sort of smacking noise, one almost lost to Ron's pleasured grunts. That's when he wasn't begging for her to let him push his penis into her mouth. And then he came, his face scrunched and red and sweating. His jaw slackened, his eyes glazed and she wondered if she was supposed to be happy that she'd brought him such pleasure. But she didn't know.

And she didn't want to know. It hit her then and the thought of it was a fierce wave of relief. She didn't want to know, because she didn't want him.

"We should be getting back, Ron."

"A blowjob."

She blinked. She backed away from him, stopping on the edge of the shadowed alcove. Her spells teased across her shoulders. "Excuse me?"

"I'm dying here, Mione." It was all but a whine. "What can I do? What can I get you? Books. I'll give you any book you want. Please, Mione?"

She stared at him and her heart wrenched. He would buy her a book for a blowjob. An exchange of goods for services rendered. She pressed a hand to her mouth. "I am not a whore, Ronald Weasley."

He frowned, oblivious to his insult. "Good girls do blowjobs too." He gave her a sharp grin. "I won't complain if you don't swallow."

What had she ever seen in him? Should she have been glad that he'd never thought of her as girlfriend material before? Had Lavender and whomever else he'd been with put up with his crudity? Enjoyed it? He thought only of his own pleasure. His own needs. It only confirmed her decision that she wanted her life disconnected from his.

"I think…I think we should end this, Ron." She lifted her chin. "I don't like you speaking to me this way."

"What?" He stared at her, his brow furrowing. "What are you talking about? We're together, Mione." Something hardened in his pale gaze and his hands balled into fists. Red burned across his cheeks. "Is there someone else?"


"Is that why you won't put out?"

"Put out...?" The hideous phrase rattled around her brain as she fought to think straight. Had he ever listened to her? She seemed to exist in his head as a whole other person, not herself at all. "I'm not listening to this—"

He grabbed her arm before she could break free of the alcove. "I'm right, aren't I? You've just been stringing me along. Was it some sort of fucked up revenge? I ignore you, so this is you getting your own back?" He leaned in close, his face twisted into a sneer. "Well, I ignored you for a reason. D'you think I wanted to choke on that rat's nest you call hair? And I like my women to feel like women." He reared back to leer at the front of her dress. "You don't even have a handful."

She slapped him. Hard.

He rubbed his cheek, the sneer still fixing his features. "And that's the only bit of passion you've had for me," he spat. "I hope whoever you've moved on to likes their dick chilled. Because who else, Miss Frigid, would want to stick their dick in that icebox?"

Ron lashed out when he was slighted. She knew that. Had always known that. Still, that her one time friend, a boy who she'd planned to share her body with that night, could be so...nasty...

Hermione sneered back at him. She patted her beaded bag. "Well —he— will benefit from my planning. And —he— won't find me cold. Not anything about me."

She turned and strode away, her chin up, pushing into the mass of people surging forward into a huge ballroom. Her heart was in her throat and she wanted to scream, but she was almost choking. Anger, hatred, betrayal swamped her. How could he? How could he think, could he say those things to her?

For one moment, she wished there was a man, brave and courteous, who would treat her as she ached to be treated. To be held in strong arms as his lips brushed her forehead and a low, smooth voice promising that it would be all right. But there wasn't that man. Voldemort had taken him, just as he turned everything else in her life to shit.

Her anger surged anew. She spied a door and broke from the crowd…

…and that was how she found herself staring at a strange fireplace in a strange room.

Hermione pushed out a slow breath. She didn't want Ron. But what he'd lashed at her had hurt. They'd been friends for nearly seven years. She huffed out a breath. She should've known beginning a friendship from a lie would catch her out in the end. "Should've made the troll eat him."

She lifted her shoulders, conjured a mirror and looked over her reflection. Not too scary. A few wand flicks later and her hair was caught again at the nape of her neck and the few touches of make-up she preferred warmed her skin.

She stared at her chest with its modest neckline. Her mouth pursed. So she wasn't something from…from PlayWizard, but she was healthy and fit. That was what mattered. Not how much of her body Ronald Bilius Weasley would fit into his disgustingly sweaty hands.

Hermione vanished the mirror and turned back to the door, thankful for the little room. She had a ceremony to get through –Kingsley had hinted that the Orders of Merlin would be a part of the ball— though why the circumspection she had no idea. Who would receive an award was also a mystery. The list was beyond secret.

She patted the doorframe and smiled back into the room, not feeling better about Ron and his idiocy, but at least calm enough in herself to survive the rest of the night. "Thank you for hiding me." She had no clue if the room was similar to Hogwarts in its quasi-sentience, but it never hurt to be polite. The lights behind her flickered and a smile tugged at her lips. It seemed that it was.

"Was that your plan, Miss Granger? To scream obscenities and leave?"

Her heart was a hard and heavy stone and she couldn't catch her breath. She knew that voice. One she thought she'd never hear again. She gripped the doorframe, fighting the sudden sweep of dizziness. "Severus…?"

She risked a look behind her. He was there, leaning against the plastered curve of one of the archways, a lean, dark shadow. Golden light carved his harsh features, his curtain of hair shining, his endless eyes almost mesmeric.

A brief, cutting smile pulled at one corner of his mouth. "Hello, wife."

And there are the two words that derailed this fic… lol

Also I write a lot of sex (*cough*day-job*cough*) and it was an interesting exercise to write it so it was simply…eww. Thank you, Ron Weasley!