A break from the winter setting of "Unexpected." The days have been really hot where I live, and as I was sitting in my kitchen picking out cherries from the fridge to eat, this story came to me. I know it's pretty cliché, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway.

Taste of Cherries

Hermione Granger eats cherries slowly. She holds them between her fingers and sinks her teeth gently into the reddish purple skin and exposes the darkened, wet center to the seed. When she was younger and her mother wasn't watching, she would swallow the seeds, feel the hardness slip down her throat and into her stomach, and she hoped that someday, it would grow into a cherry tree.

But now she is nearly grown up, sixteen and not needing the comforts of wishful thinking. Or, at least, that is what she would like people to believe. She understands that cherries cannot grow out of one's stomach; the acidity destroys the seed and tries to take whatever nutrients are held within. So now that she is older and wiser, she spits the seeds out onto the grass and hopes that one day, they will find themselves under the soil and grow into a cherry tree.

Ginny Weasley watches Hermione Granger from her perch above the trees, hanging on a broomstick as she, her brothers, and Harry play a small game of Quidditch. She is the Keeper, but the boys are on the other side of the field, scrambling for the Quaffle. She knows they are shouting and swearing at each other, but she finds she can't focus on anything but the brunette sitting on the grass, spitting out seeds and gently sucking on the juices that cling to her fingertips. She thinks that if she were down there, she would be sitting next to her and taking her fingertips into her mouth, sucking lightly, until the juices were gone and all that would be left would be the reddish stains that would not wash off for another few days. And if she were down there, she would kiss Hermione Granger and taste cherries. Ginny Weasley does not like cherries - they are too fragile and sweet. But she thinks that she would like the taste of cherries if it resided on Hermione Granger's lips.

A large red ball flies over her head. Her eyes travel with it, and her brain thinks for a moment that it is a giant cherry about to attack her. But then she hears the shouts of her brothers calling for her to wake up, and she realizes that it is the Quaffle, and she just let in a goal.

Hermione Granger becomes nervous when Ginny Weasley starts walking towards her. The game is over, and they are all going inside to beg lemonade from their mother. And yet Ginny is walking towards her, and she doesn't know what to do. If she could, she would take Ginny into her arms and tell her how beautiful she is with her red hair shining like fire under the afternoon sun. She would tell Ginny how lovely her voice is, and how she wishes she could make Ginny laugh like her brothers do, like Harry does. She would whisper something charming and Ginny would smile, and then Hermione would take the opportunity to lean in for a kiss. She imagines that Ginny would taste like cherries, though the girl does not like them. But Ginny reminds her of cherries - dark, but sweet, and passionate. Ginny's eyes burn with a fire that makes Hermione's heart thump painfully in her ribcage.

She takes up another cherry and starts nibbling on it nervously as Ginny approaches and sits down next to her. Her fingers are becoming permanently stained, but she doesn't mind. She likes the redness; she likes the sweetness that clings to her fingertips. When Hermione was smaller, eating cherries was her favorite part about summer. Now that she is nearly grown up, sixteen and much more complicated, her favorite part about summer is spending a month and a half with Ginny and her family. She does not miss her mother, who chides her for eating so many cherries and staining her mouth red. Her mother clings to her like a nervous spider and constantly worries about Hermione's life in the Wizarding world, where she cannot protect her. She does not miss her father, who smiles sheepishly but does not understand the way a young girl's mind works. When she was smaller, she was the apple in his eye. But now that she is nearly grown up, sixteen and unwilling to be a marionette, he is not sure what to do with her.

Ginny is sitting next to Hermione and feels an uncomfortable warm tension grow in her abdomen. She has been waiting for a year to do something about her crush on the other girl. She is fifteen and while certainly not as nearly grown up as Hermione, she knows what she wants. She is sure of herself and daring. At least, when she is around her brothers. But Hermione makes her feel insecure and shy. She is unsure of what to do with her hands, her body, her face when they talk. She is unsure of what to say to the girl who pretends to know everything. But Ginny knows something that Hermione doesn't know, though she wishes that the brunette would find out.

She notices that Hermione has finished her last cherry and that juice is clinging to her fingertips again. Hermione looks almost vulnerable in the sunlight, as if her soul resided just on the outside of her skin. The sun is shining on her skin, making it glow. They are sitting in a comfortable silence, because they know each other very well. Ginny sits up and talks with Hermione about everything they can think of. Usually, silence makes Ginny nervous. Silence means that her brothers are planning a practical joke on her. Silence means that her mother is upset. Silence means that her father came home with not quite as much money as they were hoping for. Silence means unsaid words. But this silence makes Ginny feel comfortable. It makes Ginny feel like her daring self. And before she can let herself think about it too hard, her hand reaches out and takes Hermione's, and she pulls her delicate fingers to her mouth.

Hermione gasps and her body begins to tingle. She tenses slightly, surprised by this sensual contact. She remembers vaguely hearing that one's fingertips are one of the most sensitive parts of one's body. Her heart begins beating so hard that she is sure that Ginny can hear it, but her mind is too foggy to care. She can't quite believe this moment is happening, and while her rational mind tells her to say or do something, she ignores it and revels in the feeling of Ginny's gentle tongue sliding over her ridged skin. Even if it's not real. Even if it's not meant the way that she hopes - because even if it's not, the blood pooling near her abdomen doesn't care.

So instead of saying or doing, she simply looks at the redhead with half-closed eyes and slightly parted lips. She watches Ginny watching her, and wonders if maybe it is meant the way that she hopes; Ginny's sparkling blue eyes hint that maybe this is real. Ginny is staring and that combined with her tongue is sending shivers down her spine and her mind races with a million dirty thoughts and she is sixteen, nearly grown up and her hormones are on fire.

Ginny finishes on Hermione's last finger with a flourish and lowers Hermione's hand from her mouth but doesn't let go of it. She watches Hermione's lack of breath and wonders if maybe this was all wrong, if she should have continued to just be friends instead of breaking through the borders. And yet Hermione's eyes are glazed and burning with a passion she has never seen before, and it's sending shivers down her spine despite the hot sun beating down on them. But her mind is a pessimist, and when Hermione opens her mouth and draws breath in, she is surprised when it is not a voice of regrets and understanding.

"Ginny," Hermione says, and her voice is husky, wanting, yearning. Her voice is everything that Ginny wants to hear. She swallows and stares at Hermione, waiting for the girl to say more. She is surprised again when instead of watching her lips move, she feels them pressed against her own.

Hermione is melting into Ginny's lips and she is delighted to find that she is right, that Ginny's lips taste like cherries. They are soft and sweet and send electric fire coursing through her body. She is feeling daring now, and gently slips her tongue into Ginny's mouth, finding the muscle that had brought them to this point, that had licked her fingers clean only a moment before, or years before, or whenever that was. Because time is disappearing for Hermione Granger and there's no way to bring it back now that she's found the object of her desire kissing her back.

Ginny tastes the cherries on Hermione's tongue and is delighted to find that she doesn't mind the taste of cherries at all. In fact, she only wants to taste that sweetness more, so she hungrily kisses Hermione, clings to her with her fingertips as her body shakes from wanting, yearning, desiring. Hermione's skin feels like it's on fire. Feeling it makes her fingertips tingle. She wants to know what it feels like to have their skin pressed against each other; she wants to know what it would feel like to have Hermione quake beneath her fingertips between her thighs.

A cough interrupts her just as her hand is teasing at Hermione's peaches-and-cream skin. They both pull apart and Ginny notices her own terrified look mirrored in Hermione's face. Harry is standing a yard or two off, a sly smile on his face. Ginny feels panic pushing her heart against her ribcage painfully. She is afraid that Harry is going to yell at them for being wrong, that the black-haired boy is going to run into her house and tell her mother that she is kissing Hermione Granger in their backyard.

But he doesn't. Instead, he simply nods and mimes zipping his lips shut with his fingers before shoving both hands into the pockets of his shorts and meandering away. Hermione stays frozen in place, but Ginny bursts into relieved laughter, and a wildness takes the place of panic and she stands, tugging Hermione up with her, and they are running away.

Hermione is being pulled down a half-beaten path away from the house and her thoughts are running wildly through her head, train wrecks happening everywhere around her. She is feeling carefree and half-terrified; panicked and calm; blissfully on fire and not warm enough. She wants to know what it's like to lick Ginny's skin and nibble on her neck. She wants to know how Ginny looks without her clothes on. And she doesn't know where it all came from - but she doesn't want any of it to go away.

Ginny stops running when they reach a small pond surrounded by tall grass where they won't be spotted again. She trusts Harry to not talk, but she trusts the ducks in the pond more. No one in her family speaks their language, and no one else in her family knows where her secret hiding spot is.

Ginny is only fifteen but she knows what she wants. There is almost an unspoken agreement that talking is for later, and their mouths are on each other again, kissing and biting at lips as they let their hands roam free, slipping under fabric and emitting small gasps. Neither of them has done this before and they know because they told each other at midnight in the darkness, and they had both blushed and Ginny only realizes why they had now. Ginny is counting on her instincts to show her where her hands to go, how to flick her fingertips across Hermione's breasts just so to make the older girl moan and how to kiss her so that they're both hungry for more.

And somehow now their clothes are in piles next to them and they are staring at each other bare, vulnerable, covered in sweat. They are molding into each other and moving first slow, then fast, then slow again. They are holding each other tightly with one arm as their fingertips are moving across super-sensitive skin, and they both realize that fingertips aren't the only sensitive parts of their bodies as they hips are bucking into each other's hands.

They realize what it's like to have the atoms of their bodies break down into liquid magma and make their bodies tense up and then go limp, and they collapse into each other and fuse together as their atoms rearrange and cool. They realize what it's like to stare into another's eyes and feel love and happiness and passion shining back at them. And they both feel so overwhelmingly happy to know that it's the person that they've always cared for.

Hermione curls up in Ginny's arms and stares back at the other girl and feels a smile tugging at her lips. She realizes that she had left her previous statement unvoiced, and decides to finish it now. "Ginny," she says, and the redhead raises an eyebrow questioningly. "I love you."

Ginny smiles back and feels her heart swell almost unbearably in her chest. She kisses Hermione's sweaty brow and looks deep into her brown eyes. "I love you, too," she replies, meaning it fully. The seriousness is overwhelming. Because it is her nature, she decides to say something else to break the feeling of frozen time. "You taste like cherries."

Hermione laughs like Ginny thought she would, but her reply is not what she expected. "So do you."

Ginny Weasley is only fifteen but she knows what she wants. She is sure of herself and daring. She didn't like cherries until Hermione Granger kissed her. But now she eats them by taking small bites out of the skin down to the seed and lets Hermione suck the red juice from her fingertips, and Ginny returns the favor. They sit together under the summer sun and revel in each other's presence and love. And though Hermione is nearly grown up, sixteen and serious, she is happy to let all of her troubles melt away under the hot sun, under Ginny's gentle cherry-stained lips. Because now that she knows Ginny tastes like cherries, just like she had hoped, the summer never really disappears.