A/N: So yesterday I was sitting and listening to my Bon Jovi album 'Bounce'. It's a fave of mine and when the final song rolled around, I was ready to hit the repeat button. As the final song played though, I was struck by inspiration and, as a result, this little one-shot was born.
So, this ficlet is based on the Bon Jovi song of the same name. Seriously, listen to it. It's a beautiful song. If you're a Bon Jovi fan like me, you'll probably know the song I'm talking about.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Harry Potter franchise. Also, the last thing Harry says in this fic is taken directly from the song on which this is based. I do own Shane though.
Please Note: This is told from Harry's POV.
Open All Night
I first noticed her arrival as I walked past the lounge window, on my way to the T.V, with a large slice of pumpkin pie resting on the plate I carried.
The taxi driver opened the boot of the car and dragged her suitcases to the footpath where she paid him. After he drove away, she picked up her luggage and turned to the Muggle apartment block that I lived in. she looked up at the window at which I stood. As our eyes met, I knew what had happened. She gave me a brave smile and left my line of vision as she entered the building.
I put my pie on the coffee table and cut another piece for when she arrived. As I fished a spoon out of the cutlery drawer I thought, 'How many Galleons would I be willing to bet that Shane left her?'
Poor thing. I recalled the phone call I'd received just over two years ago when she revealed to me that Shane had proposed. She had been so sure he was 'The One'. I wondered what he'd done to make her show up on my doorstep at 1 a.m. laden down with her belongings.
Given time, I was sure I could come up with various reasons.
I was no stranger to the sense of abandonment and loneliness that came with heartbreak. Still, I was her friend. She came to me for comfort and nothing else. Despite the feelings I had for her, I would be nothing but the best friend and older brother when she knocked on my door.
As I set the second plate down beside my own and rearranged the cushions on the couch, I figured she was probably just stepping out of the elevator and coming down the hall. I wasn't wrong because, a moment later, there was a polite tap at my door.
I made my way over, mentally preparing myself for what was coming. When my hand reached the door knob, I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I pulled the door open and she was revealed.
She smiled prettily and then blinked numerous times, as if to hold back tears. "Hello Harry," she said quietly and, after a minute, threw herself into my waiting arms.
"Hello my 'Mione," I replied into her still untameable hair. Pulling back a little but still remaining in her arms, I continued, "What brings you to my humble abode at such an ungodly hour?"
She glanced away from me and avoided the question by saying, "It can't be all that ungodly if you're still awake."
I chuckled. "If you want to look at it that way then I suppose you're right. But seriously, what happened?"
Tears gathered in her eyes and her lower lip trembled. I sighed and ushered her inside, moving her bags inside after her. I placed my hand on the small of her back and propelled her to the couch. She sat in the centre and I took the place on her left.
"Now, tell me what happened."
She sobbed as her bottled up tears spilled over. Taking her left hand in my own, I placed my right arm around her shoulders and hugged her.
"'Mione? Come on now, tell me what's wrong."
Drawing a breath, she expelled it with a shudder. "Shane… he… he left me."
Although my heart ached for 'Mione, I felt a certain sense of victory. I'd never liked Shane much. He'd always treated her like a prize. He polished her up just the way he liked it and then went out and showed her off to his friends. With him, she was never more than an animal on display. The Weasleys and the surviving members of the Order agreed with me.
Hiding my glee, I said, "Why? What happened? What did he do?"
'Mione sniffled. "Nothing."
"Now 'Mione, you shouldn't be defending him when he's obviously upset you so much."
She shook her head. "No, I'm not. Defending him, I mean. I got impatient and started asking him if he was ever going to marry me. We've been engaged for two years. You might recall that we started planning a few things but then it all came to a stand still. It's not like we don't have the money to go ahead with it. At first I thought he might have been busy or just plain nervous about making a commitment. In any case, he never mentioned the wedding again."
"Like I said, I got impatient. I asked him what he thought of a summer wedding and he kind of choked. He even asked what I needed to be married for anyway. He said I don't need to be. Well, obviously, I reminded him that he proposed to me and he just said 'So?' From there it progressed into a huge argument until I packed my bags and left. I left my ring behind."
I looked down at her hand in mine and at her ring finger. The only clues that remained to suggest a ring had recently sat there were a slight indentation and paler skin.
"Oh Merlin. I'm so sorry 'Mione."
She shrugged and dug through her handbag for a tissue, which she used to wipe her eyes and cheeks dry.
She sniffed and stuffed the tissue back in her bag. "Did my make-up run?"
"Just a little."
'Mione sighed. "Oh well. It's not like I have to impress anyone."
Reaching forward, 'Mione took one of the plates I'd left there and pushed the spoon into the pie. I watched as she raised the morsal to her mouth and chewed slowly before swallowing.
Absently, I reached for my own slice and wondered if she'd still taste like strawberries, as she had the last time I'd kissed her.
It had been the last week of school in seventh year when it happened. As we no longer had homework, the seventh year Gryffindors had decided to gather in the boys' dormitory late one night. Ron and Seamus had brought food and Butterbeer up from the kitchens and Lavender and Parvati had come armed with various Muggle games.
About half way through the night, Lavender had held up Dean's empty Butterbeer bottle. "We can play 'Spin the Bottle'!"
The look that had come to Hermione's face at this suggestion was a classic. It still brought tears of laughter to my eyes now.
Before 'Mione could protest, Lavender had thrust the bottle at her. "Go on Hermione. You spin first."
Her mouth opened and closed silently and she'd looked from the bottle to me and back again.
"Oh go on Hermione," Ron had said, "be a sport! Spin the bottle!"
She'd swallowed hugely, laid the bottle on the floor and, eyes tightly shut, flicked her wrist sharply.
She hadn't opened her eyes until she heard Lavender and Parvati giggle.
When she had noticed that the bottle pointed to me, an expression of horror crossed her face.
"I can't kiss Harry!" I remembered her protesting.
"Sure you can!" Parvati had said. "I'm sure it's not hard. Just think of all the girls who wish they could be in your position. Now, get on with it! It's my turn next!"
The look she had given me then was plainly asking it I was actually going to do it. With a sense of fun, I'd taken the plunge and kissed her before she could protest again.
I vaguely remember her wide eyes as I came towards her and the cheers that erupted around us as I deepened the kiss but what stand out in my mind now, are the softness of her lips, the scent of apple body wash and the taste of strawberries.
I drifted back to reality and registered that, where she'd consumed all her pie, I'd only had two bites.
I wished I could just erase the memory of our only kiss from my mind. It really tortured me sometimes, particularly when she was sitting as close to me as she was now. The power of my emotions scared me. When she hugged me, her wild mane of hair against my cheek, I felt like I never wanted to let her out of my arms. It didn't help that, every time she left after a visit, I felt lonelier than I ever had when my ex's left. Her leaving ripped my soul in two. I missed her so much that it hurt. I also dreamt about her every night. Every time I closed my eyes, she walked before me, beckoning, smiling, laughing.
'I guess it's too late to stop loving her… but it's too early to make a move. She's just had her heart broken. I'd be heartless myself if I did anything now.'
I'd never wanted to love her. Merlin knows I never planned to. In fact, I'd promised myself a long time ago that I wouldn't. When it had occurred to me that I was in love with her, I'd tried everything I could think of to somehow get around it. My last 'get-over-Hermione' girlfriend had walked out on me six months ago, finally giving up.
I silently begged Hermione to release my heart so I might be able to go on with my life. I didn't want to make the same mistakes Ron made when he went out with her in sixth year and broke her heart. They'd gotten over it but their relationship had never been quite the same. I didn't want to hurt her. Merlin, I'd rather kill myself first but there was always that danger that something would happen.
I looked up at her from the pie I had now broken up into several pieces and moved around my plate. The way she said my name just made me love her all the more.
"Mmmm?" I asked and returned my plate to the table.
"Would it be alright if I stayed here? Just until I find my own place of course."
"Yeah, sure. Stay as long as you want. You don't even have to leave, if you don't want to."
She giggled. "Don't be ridiculous, Harry. I'll leave eventually. I don't think I'll even stay all that long. I don't mean to impose."
I held one of her hands in my own and replied as seriously as she had. "'Mione, you're my best friend, my sister practically. You wouldn't be imposing on anyone. Trust me. You stay as long as you want to."
As she stared at me, tears came to her eyes again. 'Mione flung her arms around my neck and I hugged her tight. I kissed her cheek and smoothed the hair from her face.
"You alright now?" I asked.
Pulling back but resting her arms on my shoulders she replied, "Yes. I'm fine now. Thanks Harry. I can always count on you to make everything better."
I smiled gently at her before noticing my watch. "'Mione, it's two o' clock in the morning. You should get to bed."
"So should you!"
I chuckled. "You're right there. I'll just go set up the spare room."
As I made to rise, 'Mione gripped my arm with her hands. When I looked at her questioningly, she opened her mouth to speak but closed it again quickly.
She hesitated again for a moment before saying in a tiny voice, "Would it be wrong to ask if I could sleep with you tonight? It's just that I love feeling your arms around me when I'm miserable. You make the pain go away."
I watched her. She wasn't looking at me, but at the coffee table. "Sure you can stay with me. I don't mind. You go change in the bathroom."
She nodded and went immediately to her suitcases and rummaged through them to find what she needed.
As she made her way to the bathroom, I took the plates over to the kitchen. I covered the pie I had demolished but hadn't eaten with cling film and replaced it in the fridge. The other plate and the two spoons went into the sink.
I went into my bedroom and, as I changed into pyjama bottoms and an old tee-shirt, I thought about spending the night with my friend of sixteen years.
'It'll be hell for me. At least she'll be happy though. That's what counts. Still, at least she'll be in my arms and not Shane's.'
I was just rolling down the sheets when 'Mione arrived. She had changed into loose silk pyjama bottoms of pale blue with pale green trim. The top she wore was obviously part of the set and was held up by two thin straps.
"Ready?" I asked.
She nodded and made her way to the bed, which I let her climb into first. Once I was under the sheets with her, I tucked the blankets around us and gathered her into my arms.
'Mione flicked her wand and all the lights in the apartment instantly went out. She then laid it on the bedside cabinet.
About five minutes after this, her voice came out of the darkness. "Harry?"
"Yes my 'Mione?"
"Are you sure this is alright with you?"
"Sure. You can sleep with me whenever you want to. I don't mind. These arms are open all night."
There was no response to this. Instead, 'Mione rolled over in my arms until she was facing my chest. She curled herself into me and then sighed happily. A moment later, her breathing slowed and she was asleep.
My own breathing fell into the rhythm she set and, stroking her hair, I soon gave in to my dreams of her.
A/N: Yes? No? Maybe? I like it personally, but then, that's just me. You can tell me what you think if you leave a review… That was a hint there, in case you didn't catch it.