Title: Finding Some Peace
Rating: PG-13
Ship(s): Bill/Hermione mainly, Draco/Ron and Ginny/Harry on the side
Words: 3,925 approx.
Disclaimer: Me not Jo. If I was, I would've thought of something better than 'Half Blood Prince' (it's something to get used to, I suppose).

After a long day of cleaning their current residence, number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, and putting up decorations for Christmas in the Black estate, Harry Potter was beyond tired, and did not care that it was only nine in the evening. All he wanted to do was collapse into bed and sleep for a good fifteen hours at least, but knew better, especially since it was Christmas Eve and his roommate and best friend, Ron Weasley, was liable to wake him up at the crack of dawn to open presents. Opening the door to his room, he was not so surprised to find his best friend in a rather compromising position with his supposed 'love', one arch enemy, Draco Malfoy.

"Potter, you git, can't you see we're busy?! Shut the door before someone barges in and finds us, will you? – Didn't those filthy Muggles teach you to knock before coming into a room, so bloody rude!" Draco huffed from where he was straddling Ron, and Harry knew that his best friend and irritating adversary were naked underneath the very thin sheets that covered their bottom halves. Harry rolled his eyes and spotted Ron, who was now sitting up, ears and face a bright shade of red and sheepish smile etched across his face as he muttered, "Sorry mate, we should've told you where we were."

Harry walked over to his bed, avoiding the two occupants on the bad behind him as he grabbed some pajamas and a pillow and walked out the room, shouting over his shoulder, "Don't worry, I'm sleeping with Ginny – good night, you prats!" Harry smirked as he heard Ron yelling back angrily through the now closed door about not doing anything with his little sister or face some torture or another. Sometimes Harry couldn't help but to thank Draco for staying over at Grimmauld Place for the holidays in their seventh year, not that any of them had a choice, especially with Ron's subtle pleas to invite him over after Draco's mother was killed to sacrifice her son from her husband, Lucius Malfoy. Renouncing his title of Malfoy heir, Draco hid in the only other house he was linked to, seeing that he was technically a member of the Black family since his mother was a Black, and the only person that Kreacher, the treacherous house-elf, would listen to (he still refused to listen to Tonks, even if she was blood-related).

Learning from his first mistake, Harry knocked on the door to the girls' room once he arrived there, muttering obscenities to himself for a moment before the door opened to show his other best friend, Hermione Granger. She saw the pajamas and pillow in his hand and snorted, widening the entrance into the room so that Ginny could see him come in. Ginny smiled almost pityingly at her boyfriend and asked with mock-concern, "Oh did Ron and Draco kick you out again against your will? Those two go at it like rabbits, honestly – boys are so weird." She shook her head as Hermione sneered, still a bit hurt by the fact that Ron, whom she had a mad crush on, would end up falling for his nemesis after all those years of constant fighting. Luckily, since the two boys had found love with each other over the past summer, it gave Hermione time to get over her young crush over her best friend and move on with her life, although that didn't mean she liked Draco any better, she was still a bit bitter about it... sometimes.

"I think I've become immune to their constant shagging the past six months, so it doesn't even faze me anymore. You know they actually asked me to join them once?" Ginny and Hermione rolled their eyes at Harry, who told them back before Halloween that Draco and Ron had asked Harry if he was interested in joining in their sexual adventures, as Draco put it, and as Harry was slightly shaken by the proposal, he couldn't help but to feel flattered by the gesture, and tend to bring up the subject at all times. Ginny was a bit irritated, wondering if her boyfriend was actually considering in a threesome with her brother and nemesis, but she knew he enjoyed the attention from the ones he loved, even if that included sex with Draco.

"Harry, you've told us a thousand times! You need to get over it – honestly, I think a part of you is interested in their proposal – why don't you just go and shag them already and stop pestering Ginny and I all the time about it?" Hermione said coyly as she read her massive Arithmancy tome without looking up at him. Harry glared back at Hermione then turned to Ginny and pouted like a wounded puppy, causing Ginny to burst out laughing as she extended her arms open to comfort her beau. Harry crawled into her lap, stuck his tongue out immaturely at Hermione, who looked up at them and rolled her eyes, and began to play with Ginny's long, fiery mane. Hermione looked up at them, noticed them snuggling up far too closely for her comfort, and made her way out of the room with her wand and text in hand.

"Where are you going, Hermione?" Ginny asked as she finally looked up and saw her friend walk towards the door. Hermione turned back, grimaced a bit as Harry began to nibble Ginny's ear as though no one else was in the room and stated, "There is no way I'm staying here and listening to you two snog while I read. I'll be up in the drawing room if you need me, assuming you can pry your faces from each other for more than two seconds, that is. I'll see you later, Ginny, and most likely Harry as well, seeing that he's officially become my second roommate." Hermione sighed and closed the door behind her, making a disgusted face as she could hear Ginny squeal from her room and made her way down the drawing room in the musty mansion, only to realize that she wasn't alone in the room. She could see a tall presence sitting with their back in an armchair near the fireplace, completely absorbed in a book. Walking with as much grace and stealth that she had and closely the door behind her quietly, Hermione made her way to the couch across the room and finally realized who the person was when the pulled their long red hair out of a tie to scratch through it roughly, as though completely frustrated.

"Bill? Are you alright? Is something the matter?" Hermione asked hesitantly, not really wanting to intrude in anyone's business. Bill's head shot up in surprise, the irritated expression on his face disappearing the moment he noticed the person who addressed him and smiled back at Hermione. He let out a deep breath, tying his hair back up into a loose ponytail and chuckled as he said, "No, Hermione, I'm alright. Just a bit... aggravated is all, what with all that's going on around us. I just – nevermind – what are you doing here? I mean, why aren't you hanging out with your friends?" Hermione couldn't help but to notice the bitter tone in his voice, even if it was faint, it was there.

"Well, I suppose with all the adults out, everyone took the chance to take advantage of an empty house. Somehow I doubt they see you as a threat to stop them from having some fun. So naturally, Ron and Malfoy threw Harry out of their room, as usual, and Harry sought comfort in Ginny, and I didn't need to be around for that – though I doubt you want to know what your baby sister is doing with my best friend, hmm?" Bill shrugged and stated, "Ginny's a smart girl, and it's Harry. He's too scared to ever do Ginny wrong, for simple fear of six older and stronger brothers coming to pound him into the ground, Ron worst of all. I have no worries in either of their virtues. In fact, I'd be more worried about Harry than Ginny – she's a feisty one, but I think Harry needs someone aggressive, makes him a stronger man, and he needs his strength now more than ever, plus the kid needs some happiness in his life, and I'm glad my sister's the one to give it to him." Hermione nodded at Bill, silently agreeing to what he had to say, and took her place at the couch to read her book.

A few minutes into it, she had a feeling that she was being watched, and as she looked up she realized that Bill was watching her with a calculating, if not shrewd look on his face. She arched an inquisitive eyebrow at him, completely comfortable with Bill as he was Ron's brother and completely trustworthy (even Percy became trustworthy again after he came home last year and begged forgiveness to his parents for being, as Ron stated numerous times, 'the world's biggest git.'), and asked, "Is there something wrong now?" Bill turned down to his open book, and from where Hermione sat, she could see that it was still on the same page it was when she first entered the room. She could see him frowning, and looked as though he was conflicted over something, but a second later he closed his book, getting up and making his way over to where Hermione was sitting. He looked down at the book Hermione was reading and a faint smile creased his face, and he sniggered for a bit as he read over the page opened in front of them.

"Merlin, I miss this class! It was one of my favorites easily, along with Charms, of course. Does Professor Vector still teach there?" Hermione nodded at Bill's question, causing him to burst out laughing for a bit before he stopped and let out a contented sigh. He beamed at the book again, his eyes glazed over and he bit his lip, as though trying to remember something. Hermione watched him for a bit until he broke out of the trance and whispered back, "I had a bit of a crush on her back when I was at school, even if it was ages ago. Well, I mean back then she was younger and she was a fair beauty, if you ask me. I remember back in fourth year, when I really started noticing girls and stuff – I was a bit awkward, sort of like how Ron was at that age, I'd say – and I couldn't help but to notice how pretty she was, even though she was quite older than myself. I knew she was my teacher, but it was one day towards the end of fourth year, and after everyone left class one day, I took one of my broken quills and transfigured it into a pink rose, making sure no one was around to see me. My friends would have seriously taken the mickey out of me if they ever found out, but I sort of went up to Vector, told her, 'Professor, you are easily the prettiest women I've ever met,' and handed the rose over to her, blushing insanely – stupid red ears, bloody Dad for giving them to me – and dashed out of the room before she got a chance to say anything back. After that, she always used to smile at me and sometimes wink, but I knew it was nothing serious, of course, but I couldn't help but to always blush, even in my seventh year and dating so many girls – I was such a dork, come to think of it." Hermione snorted as Bill beamed reminiscently, reading over her book again and stating, "Oh I remember this, stupid formula took me ages to figure out, but luckily I got it." Hermione vaguely nodded, staring blankly at the fireplace across the room and sighing sadly, which Bill did notice.

"You're going to miss it, aren't you?" Hermione blinked at turned over to him, turning her head slightly in confusion as Bill went on and stated, "Hogwarts, I mean. Seventh year is really a bittersweet time – you can't wait to get out into the real world with all you've learn and make a difference, but at the same time it breaks your heart to leave a place you've loved and called home for so long." Hermione smiled back, grateful that someone understood how she felt about leaving school. Harry was too burdened with the upcoming final battle to worry about what was to come after school, and Ron was too busy engulfed in either helping Harry, snogging Draco, or with Quidditch and Head Boy duties for it to settle into his system, so it was hard for her to have someone close to her and her age to understand what she was feeling underneath the impending climax of the Second War.

"It's going to take a lot – the transition, that is – all those years at Hogwarts, it sort of feels like a crutch, being at school and safely protected by Professor Dumbledore, you know? Even after the war ends – whenever that happens – I know it won't be the same. I've more or less spent all my time with those two and I know after this year I won't be around them anymore, nagging them to do homework or to not break every rule in the book. I was so excited when I first got to Hogwarts, but petrified of making friends and that initial transition – I'm just scared. Some Gryffindor, hmm, afraid of what's to come..." Hermione swallowed the lump that was growing in her throat and felt strong arms engulf her in a hug, where she broke down into frightful sobs. Bill held her tight, soothing Hermione with comforting words and encouraging her, despite his great fear of how things would turn out, that everyone will be safe and happy at the end.

Hermione loosened the firm grip she had around Bill's neck and looked back at him before hesitantly asking, "Erm, not to be nosy, but how's Fleur? You haven't mentioned her lately, just wondering – sorry if I'm invading in your personal life, forget I said anything, I –" Hermione blushed a bit, feeling embarrassed but was waved off by Bill, who still had a firm grip around her and said, "Well, we sort of broke up a bit back. I suppose she began to miss home, and there were just problems between us – it's not something I really want to think about the moment, if that's not too much to ask, sorry." Hermione shook her head no vigorously, her bushy hair practically smacking Bill in the face as he still held her, causing him to snort out and break down in peals of laughter.

"Honestly, how can you stand your hair like that – you should tie it up like I do, you know," Bill chortled as his laughing fit was subsiding, and Hermione mock-glared at him and huffed, "I happen to like my hair the way it is, thanks," and finished the comment by sticking her nose in the air in a pompous and dignified manner. Bill couldn't resist the temptation and nipped Hermione on her upright nose. She stuck her tongue out at him in a juvenile manner, her nose still up in the air as she tried her best not to smile, but temptation got the worst of Bill as he nipped down at her tongue too, causing her to gasp and fall back against the end of the couch, taking Bill down with her. Hermione was half-sitting, half-lying on the couch, Bill pressed up against her and she could feel his grip on her tighten, causing her to blush slightly and bite her bottom lip anxiously as she saw Bill take a momentary glimpse above her head, where she had a feeling he was looking at the door to see if it was closed. He looked back down at, gazing back at her eyes and down at her lips expectantly, knowing full well that this was his baby brother's best friend, but that she was no longer the little awkward teenager he met years ago before the Quidditch World Cup. He heard her gulp nervously and stared at her with the same longing he hoped she was feeling for him at that moment. Bill released a deep breath before leaning down and brushing his lips against Hermione's. She gasped, but didn't stop him – in fact, Hermione wrapped her arms around his shoulders, deepening the kiss with him as he lowered her so that she was completely lying on the couch and him sprawled cautiously above her.

Bill nibbled on Hermione's lower lip, causing her to gasp once again, opening her mouth enough for him to slip his tongue in, further deepening the kiss as he pressed his body against her, and noticing that she wasn't stopping him he moved his hands from where they were underneath her back and cupped her face gently. Hermione threaded her fingers into Bill's long locks, pulling the tie that held it together and splayed it against his face, hiding both their faces in a curtain of ginger hair. Bill mentally hesitated a bit, but when he felt Hermione moan into his mouth, he took the chance to move his hands down her arms slowly, eliciting another pleasurable moan from his partner as he made his way to the tie that held her bathrobe on. He felt Hermione's hands move down his shoulders and to his back, tracing patterns that were clouding his mind from any logical thought and he pushed away from their kiss, panting frantically with her.

"W-wait! Are – do you mind – I don't want to push you, Hermione?" Bill's hands were still firmly attached to the ends of the tie on the bathrobe, awaiting her confirmation to proceed. Hermione nodded her head and let out a moan when she felt Bill's lips and teeth nipping away at her neck, causing her to arch into his body when he hit a particularly sensitive spot. He let out a throaty groan as she thrust her center into his aching erection, and began a frantic attack at the tie, loosening it and pushing the sides of the robe apart so that he was met with nothing more than pale blue shirt that went up to her mid-thigh. Raising an eyebrow, he whispered back huskily, "You sleep in this with Harry right in the next bed?" Hermione, blinking furiously to regain conscious thought, merely shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly and breathed back, "Harry is like a brother to me, and he's too busy staring at Ginny to even notice, to be honest, so I don't really care." Bill smiled and chuckled deeply, causing Hermione to smirk as he pulled her up to a half-sitting position to take off the offending bathrobe as he latched his mouth onto the bottom of her throat near her collarbone. She fumbled to take off his robes as well, though it was a bit more difficult for her as her hands were shaking from the excitement and nerves. Hermione had snogged a couple of boys before, but never went this far and definitely not with someone this much older than her, and somehow the age gap and knowing that deep down it was slightly wrong gave her a rush that made her feel rather light-headed and serenely content. Just as she was about to pull the robes off from Bill to expose his naked torso, she heard a gasp from behind her. Bill shot his head from where it was licking Hermione's earlobe, turned a bright shade of red (which Hermione noticed went down to the half torso she had exposed) and pulled away slowly from Hermione, his eyes wide in shock. Hermione looked at Bill, who looked a bit frightened, and she gulped before she turned her head around and paled visibly at the vision of Draco Malfoy standing at the door of the drawing room in Ron's robes and slippers, cocky smirk nearly breaking his pointed, pale face.

"Well, now isn't this a development? I have to admit though, Granger, if I wasn't mad for your best mate I definitely would have gone after this Weasley, easily." Draco closed the door behind him as he leisurely walked over and stood above them in front of the couch as both Hermione and Bill scrambled to cover themselves up. Draco chuckled rather arrogantly at them, clearly amused at the sight before him as Hermione scowled back at him. She stood up, trying her best to flatten her hair from the disheveled mess it was, which caused both Draco and Bill to snigger at her. Glaring daggers at them both, she pulled her wand out at Draco and hissed, "You tell a soul you saw this and Ron won't see a reason to be with you anymore, if you get my drift," as she eyed Draco's crotch with a sneer on her face. Draco gulped almost imperceptivity, but as Hermione was always the one with the keen eye, she took notice of it and smirked back, causing Draco to let out a defeated huff as she pointed her wand to the door. He glared back at her, sneering as he usually would as though to threaten her, but she nearly shrugged it off as he walked out of the room, muttering obscenities about Head Girls and how insane they are. After Draco closed the door behind him, Hermione turned back to Bill, feeling rather shy all of a sudden.

"I don't care if my brother is in love with that git, I still wouldn't trust him if I was you. I think you should head off to bed, so that no one gets suspicious, you know," Bill said as she sighed and stared at Hermione with a sad smile from where he sat on the couch, his long hair a mess around his face. She moved to him, giggling slightly as she made to calm his hair down as well for a few moments before bringing her hands down to cup his face from where she stood in front of him. Bill moved his face slightly and covered his lips with the palm that was covering it, licking it a bit and smirking back at her. Hermione looked at the wall behind Bill's head blankly than blurted out, "I didn't regret this – I hope you know." Bill stood up and took her face in his hands, causing her to look up at him and whispered back, "I don't either, and I'd be really disappointed if you did. But you should go – here's your book." He let go of her face to hand her Arithmancy text over to her, and as Hermione took it from him, she tip-toed up and gave Bill a swift peck on the lips. Smiling shyly again at Bill, Hermione whispered back, "Was this a one-time thing?"

Bill looked back at her and asked softly, "Do you want it to be? I'll tell you now that I doubt want this to end... but I don't know." Hermione nodded, contemplating whether or not to ask the next question, but felt at this point she shouldn't be so nervous and said, "I don't want it to either – could we do this again... soon, maybe?"

Bill smiled warmly back at Hermione, who stood at the opened door, and said, "We'll see."

fini

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