VII. Nightfall

By this point, Ginny was beyond tears. She stared quizzically at the trembling girl laying below her. Hermione's face wore a look of shocked surprise as she gasped for air, tears still streaming down her pale cheeks. Ginny was awestruck, suddenly realizing what had transpired in a matter of seconds. She could still taste Hermione, and she guiltily longed for more; for another long drink from her soft lips. But Hermione's shock confirmed what Ginny had feared most: she had scared her.

"Perhaps there wasn't a chance all along," Ginny told herself despondently, "at least now I know." She sighed, shakily raising herself to a sitting position. "Good night," she uttered miserably. The lantern above her faded slowly until the room was filled with the dim light of a high moon. Hermione didn't move.

Ginny pulled a heavy quilt from the ball of blankets at the middle of her bed and curled up tightly, trying to keep as much distance between herself and Hermione as she could. Embarrassment and shame consumed her. This had to be the end of her friendship with Hermione as she knew it. Was it worth it? Trading a few moments of mind-numbing passion for a friendship that spanned across the years? Ginny shivered as the gravity of her actions set in. "How could you, Ginny?" she thought, "how could you sacrifice something so dear to you for Ithat/I?"

Dizzying thoughts danced through her head as she lay in the moonlit silence. Hermione's soft breathing was the only sound that broke the uncomfortable silence. She was still lying where Ginny had left her, her delicate curls framing her angelic features like an auburn halo. Ginny shut her eyes tightly, feeling bittersweet comfort in Hermione's presence. The intensity of her feelings proved to her that she loved Hermione. "But is it worth being around the one you love if she thinks you're disgusting?" she asked herself in a whisper. A solitary tear made a slow descent down her face. A wave of fatigue swept over her, and she yielded to it, with a wish to end the dismal evening.

In a flash, the crooked walls of Ginny's moonlit room disappeared from sight. She was on the Hogwarts Express, standing before an open compartment. Dean Thomas was inside, sitting next to Seamus Finnigan and a few other Gryffindors. "Goodbye Dean," she said, reaching to shut the compartment, "It's been fun, but I've found true love." Slamming the compartment shut, she turned to walk away. The carriage suddenly became a dimly lit passage at Hogwarts. Ginny could see a slender figure running toward her in the flickering torchlight. Her heart leaped as she recognized the figure as Hermione. She was smiling, her curly hair streaming behind her as she ran. Her arms opened, and she threw herself at Ginny. "My love," she whispered, before swiftly and passionately kissing her. Several of her classmates walked past, taking no notice. Hermione released Ginny from the embrace to stare into her eyes. Her hand crept down to Ginny's side, coming to a rest just below her chest. Suddenly, she awoke.

The room was aglow with the faint light of the distant moon. Ginny lay on her back, her clothes clinging to her sweaty body. She shifted slightly before she made a sudden and perplexing realization. Gasping, she felt Hermione's cool hand resting under her shirt, just above her slender midriff. Hermione was so close to Ginny that her gentle breaths tickled her cheek. Ginny was afraid to move; afraid to look over, in fear that she might still be dreaming. But it Ihad/I to be real. Ginny could feel Hermione's rapid pulse through her tiny hand; she could hear the gentle timbre of her sweet voice through her nervous breaths.

Finally, Ginny carefully took her hand and laid it on top of Hermione's. Like the rest of her body, her palm was sweaty. Hermione tightened her grip slightly as Ginny felt her inching closer. Ginny's heart pounded furiously as Hermione's hand slid across her sweaty skin to her side. She was frozen to the spot as Hermione's slender leg tucked between her own. Hermione's face was only inches from Ginny's when she broke the awkward silence.

"Ginny," she exhaled, "I'm sorry if I hurt you. It's just that. I didn't ." Her voice trailed off. Ginny had finally mustered up the courage to face the situation. She turned her head to face Hermione. The silence in the room thickened as their eyes met. Tears hung from Hermione's eyelids as she struggled for breath. Her eyes closed slowly as she removed her hand from Ginny's shirt. Before Ginny had a chance to think, she felt a small hand in her hair, gently pulling her closer. In an instant, a warm pair of lips softly brushed against her face, faintly touching her lips before resting on her cheek. Ginny breathed deeply, savoring the sweet scent of Hermione's breath. She hesitated to even move. Her hopes had already been dashed once tonight, mere moments away from the fulfillment of her desires. She knew that she wouldn't be able to face another letdown. She lay motionless, desperately hoping that Hermione would provide some direction. Minutes passed. Hermione's gentle breaths blew softly against Ginny's face, but neither girl stirred.

Ginny drifted in and out of sleep for what felt like hours. She could at least find comfort in Hermione's presence. But she felt like she was cheating herself. She wanted to be closer, to shower Hermione with all of her affection. And yet, the lingering embarrassment of rejection gripped her. She couldn't move. Ginny breathed in deeply before letting out a deep sigh. She turned her head to look up at the dark ceiling, waiting for a restless sleep to sweep over her once again. As she shut her eyes, she felt Hermione's breath on her neck. The small hand in Ginny's hair moved swiftly to her abdomen. Hermione raked her fingernails gently against Ginny's supple skin. She kissed her again, touching her trembling lips to the corner of Ginny's open mouth.

She could no longer resist. Hermione held her lips in place as Ginny turned her head to face her. Ginny felt a sudden sense of emotional release as her smiling lips closed around Hermione's. A warm tear sped across her mouth as she eased herself in. Hermione moaned softly as Ginny kissed her again, raking her teeth gently on her pouting upper lip. Hermione's eyes were closed. A faint smile played across her lips, and the weight of Ginny's desire suddenly overwhelmed her. Her body was now pressed against Hermione's, and it felt every bit as good as she could have imagined. Her hand slid under the back of Hermione's shirt, falling naturally to the small of her back. The warm flesh was like tonic to Ginny's thirsty senses. She kissed Hermione again, slowly parting her lips in invitation. Hermione shivered and responded meekly, gently tugging on Ginny's lower lip with her timid mouth. Her eyes were still closed, and her face wore a slightly uncomfortable expression.

"Oh Ginny," she whispered, gently pulling away from Ginny's moonlit face, "I don't . maybe this wasn't such a good idea." But Ginny couldn't stop. Hermione's kiss had pushed her over the edge. Ginny followed Hermione as she rolled onto her back. Hermione looked desperately into Ginny's eyes as she unleashed a hail of frantic kisses onto her soft neck. A fleeting moment passed and Hermione was suddenly relaxed. Her hands fell gently onto Ginny's shifting back to pull her closer. Her body writhed as Ginny's thin lips teased her sensitive neck. It wasn't long before the flame of passion that was driving Ginny suddenly consumed her. Her hands found Ginny's soft, red mane and pulled her in for an open-mouthed kiss.

Soft moans intertwined with deep breaths as Ginny's hands wandered under Hermione's shirt. Her hands rested on her soft, slender belly before moving up to her delicate chest. In a flash, Hermione's shirt was off, revealing a lacy, black bra. Ginny lowered her tingling lips to explore terrain that she had wandered only in her dreams. Lovingly brushing Hermione's curls to the side, she kissed her delicate shoulder. Her lips moved swiftly to her breasts, tracing the lacy contour of her bra. Her quivering hands soon joined her lips to softly massage Hermione's petite cleavage through the sheer lace. Hermione gasped as Ginny drew herself in for another drink from her parted lips. Ginny raised herself.

"Ginny . don't stop." Hermione gasped, firmly grasping Ginny's narrow shoulders to pull her in. In the stillness, Ginny's heart pounded desperately. She was swelling with happiness as she desperately poured all of her emotion into the moment. Her tiny hands slipped under Hermione's diminutive body to lift her. She rolled onto her back and Hermione rose to straddle her. Hermione thrust her narrow hips into her trembling pelvis, straddling Ginny as she lay down. In a cloud of steamy breath and auburn curls, she launched herself onto Ginny, kissing her neck as her hands struggled to remove her loose t-shirt. Ginny's breasts tickled under her white bra as Hermione's breath teased the pale skin on her bare chest. Her hands unconsciously wandered up Hermione's unclothed back to the latches of her bra. Hermione followed suit, gently reaching under Ginny's quivering body to unclasp her white brassiere. In a flash, Ginny was savoring the feeling of Hermione's small chest driving into her own soft mounds. Ginny let out a quiet moan as Hermione's lips began to explore her chest and neck. And the evening was still young .

Dawn's purple light had snuck over the horizon by the time Hermione finally laid her weary head to rest on Ginny's shoulder. Ginny paused before allowing herself to slip away into her slumber. Hermione lay sleeping in her arms, her soft locks blanketing her naked chest. It was as if all of her dreams had suddenly come true. She could still taste Hermione on her lips. Her tongue prickled as she remembered the many kisses she'd shared with her that evening. She could have lived in that moment forever, feeding on the love, excitement and satisfaction. A contented smile stole across her face as she slipped into a deep sleep, her arms wrapped around Hermione's small, sleeping figure.