A/N: And so we start another drabble collection. If you've been with me for a while (you know who you are) you'll know I do this sometimes. Start stuff and find bits and pieces later, OR I write for flash fiction things on other sites . . . and so on. In this collection, then, I plan on posting flash fics written to prompts on other sites as well as anything else I've randomly written. SOME of these might show up as part of a larger story at some point, but I make no promises.

Christmas Kiss

Hogwarts AU

Pairing: Remus/Hermione

Prompt: First Kiss

. . . .

"Hey," Remus murmured, wrapping his arms about her torso as she stared up at the frozen Christmas sky. "Everyone's worried about you."

Hermione shrugged, but she didn't dislodge him from his embrace of her. "I'll be all right. I just—I miss them."

Pain and fellow-feeling arced in his chest, making his eyes burn and his throat tighten. It wasn't her words, it was the way she sounded so lost . . . "I remember when my mum died," he whispered into her hair. She stiffened in his arms, but relaxed immediately thereafter and he sighed. "I'd never felt so alone. Even Dad couldn't find me. I wanted to, I wanted to find my wolf and keep him," he confessed. He'd never told that to anyone before.

She shivered and, abruptly, turned to enfold him in her arms. "I'm so sorry. And it must have been so hard for you. With everything else you had to handle." She burrowed her cold nose into his cloak and he relished the scents she carried with her and wondered if his own scent was discernible to her. "Were you in Hogwarts when, when it happened?" Her hands shifted and he could feel them clutching at the woolen fabric of his cloak. The tiny gesture warmed him more than he might have thought possible.

"No," he answered, still breathing in ink and parchment, spices and chocolate. The girl could get him more comfortable than anyone, but his wolf wanted her in that moment. Fierce and hard. He swallowed back the sudden, unexpected rush of lust and blew out a breath. She was barely eighteen; he had to remember that. "It was during winter hols, like now," he told her. "I hadn't known she was sick; Dad didn't want to give me one more thing to worry about whilst I was at school." He could see his mother's face in his memory. "She was so tired, Hermione," he whispered. "And she looked so . . . old. I didn't know what to do."

"Oh, Professor," the girl said softly against his chest.

He had to laugh. "Remus, or Moony if you'd rather, Miss Granger. I'm not your professor, remember?" Leaning back from her a bit, he waited until she tilted her gaze to meet his. Her heart thudded—he could hear its extra thumps as well as smell the sharp spiking of chagrin and . . . something else.

"Moony. I've always rather liked that name, though I wasn't terribly fond of the others," she told him, her bright eyes scanning his face, with rapid movements.

Warmth spread out over his skin. Moony meant the wolf and she preferred the name. That, that did something to him. Something very good and also rather dangerous. Still, he couldn't release her. Not now. "So, if you need to talk," he said, remembering why he'd followed her outside in the first place, "I'll listen."

She half-collapsed against his chest again. "It's almost as if I'd rather they'd been ill," she confessed, sounding ashamed. "I would have liked to have seen them, had time to prepare, you know? It was just so, so sudden." Her breath caught and Remus clutched at her more tightly.

"You're allowed to cry, you know," he said softly. "We're out here, all alone, and no one will see but me. I'll even close my eyes," he added with a sympathetic attempt at a smile.

Sniffling she shook her head so that her curls caressed his throat. His whole body yearned for her, but he refused to take advantage of her vulnerability as she hiccoughed and breathed and gasped and waged her own personal battle. "If I cry, then he won," she said, rasping. "I can't let him."

"He'll never know," he promised. "We've almost got him, you know. Tomorrow, we're burning all the horcruxes and you won't have to worry about him ever again."

She gathered herself, a series of small motions he could feel as she made them up and down the length of his body. "Neither will you." Tilting back, she stared at him again. "I'm sorry to have been such a, such a watering pot."

He cupped her face with one hand and when she leaned into his palm, he felt his heart race and his lips parted just to breathe. "Far cry from a watering pot, Hermione."

"Moony . . ."

Maybe it was the tender way her lips framed his name. Maybe it was the soft brush of her hand as she slipped it from his back up his chest to mirror his motion. Maybe it was the quick gasp she made when he tugged her that little bit closer against himself. Whatever it was, he could no more deny it than he could have denied the pull of the moon. He bent just a bit, nuzzling her nose with his, inhaling her scent, making sure there was no fear, there. And there wasn't, not from her. Not ever. Instead, she nudged him a bit and slid her open mouth against his skin. "Moony," she whispered again.

"Mmmm," was all he managed to say before their lips brushed for the first time. Brushed and met and molded and danced in the introduction of old friends who had been given a surprise Christmas gift. Hearts pounded and she slid and adjusted so that her arms were up and around his neck and he half-lifted her against him, slanting his mouth over hers again and again before silently demanding entrance to taste her.

Chocolate. Mint. All the best things surrounded his tongue and drugged his awareness. Her purring satisfaction, her restless movements against him, had him holding her more tightly, fingers bracing her bum and relying on her strength to hold herself next to him. He felt that she was his equal in every way. Intellectually, physically, emotionally. He could feel this tangibly as she gave herself to him, relaxing as he plundered her and she returned the attentions.

How long their first kiss lasted, he would never later be able to say. But when she broke it off—murmuring an apology about needing to breathe, of all things—he felt as if the earth as he knew it had shifted.

"Hermione Granger, you never cease to amaze me," he whispered, studying each minute shift of her expression.

Offering him a kiss-swollen smile, she cocked her head a little to one side. "Well, you've been impressing me for years, Moony, so I guess we're even."

"Remus? Did you find her?"

"Mrs. Weasley," Hermione said on a sigh.

"Yeah." He set the young woman gently on the frozen ground and did his best to straighten anything that might have given them away. He smiled into Hermione's eyes, finding an answering amusement in their depths. "Found her, Molly. We'll be right in."

"Oh, good, dear. I've a hot toddy for you both when you're ready."

Hermione caught his hand in hers as they walked back to the Burrow and he didn't even care who noticed. He didn't let her go.