Notes: Back-up fic for hphpficexchange livejournal. Written post-DH. But it has absolutely no spoilers, it's set before the great hunt.
He could think of many a corny thing to describe this moment, one he had truly never seen coming. She was Hermione, his best friend and this wasn't supposed to happen. But there she was, sleeping peacefully, a soft sated smile on her face. The sheen of sweat had dried, and her skin glowed in the gentle light from outside. She had never looked better tucked in under his shoulder.
Before now, he'd never pictured this, ever. In all his sordid teenage fantasies, Hermione had never made an appearance. There was an air of 'untouchable' where she had been concerned, and he hadn't minded at all. By the time he had began to indulge in them, the guest stars had always been fixed points. Cho had been a long running favourite, and then Ginny happened, and took over for a good while. But Hermione, she hadn't even been a blip on the radar, until now.
How he would ever be able to sleep in this bedroom, in any bedroom and not see her. See her smiling lazily up at him, picture her eyes hooded as she moved over him, seeing her come apart beneath him. He would never be able to sleep again. Voldemort would have it easy, killing an insomniac? A walk in the park. Or maybe, he could just send him a note? Terribly sorry, seems I shagged my best friend, and I'm a bit of a mess at the moment. Do you think we could reschedule? All the best, Harry. That would work as well.
There was nothing he could do about it now, what's done is done. All he could really do was wait for the inevitable fallout and he knew it was coming. Hermione was going to wake up soon, and remember what she had done, and who she had done it will. And the world would fall off it's axel, and life as he knew it would end. Melodramatic? Yes, but he was seventeen, he was allowed a little melodrama.
Everything had snowballed, quickly, zooming and hitting him smack in the stomach, faster than a bludger. What did she come upstairs for anyway? To talk to him, to convince him to come back down to the wedding reception. Hermione had found him packing; he had snuck away from the festivities, for his first moment to himself since he'd arrived. Seemed Ron and Hermione had suspected he would pull a runner on them, and hadn't let him have any real privacy. They always seemed to find him, and keep him company.
This was his chance, his opportunity to pull a fast one. He'd pack in the middle of the wedding. Ron was surely downstairs getting fairly sloshed, and tonight while Ron slept the deep sleep of the pissed; he would sneak down the stairs with a backpack on his shoulder, and face what he had to. Alone. He wasn't going to bring them into it. Of course they wouldn't let him go without them, but he wasn't bringing them.
Maybe Hermione was onto him, maybe she was just concerned. His thoughts had taken over lately, becoming more withdrawn, and prone to outbreaks of his temper. He didn't like taking it out on them, so he would try and keep it inside. Which made him worse, there was no spout to let the steam out. He could feel it, simmering below the surface at all times. Harry had become a volcano, an active one, very active. The slightest disturbance in the atmosphere, and he was off.
She had stood at the doorway to Ron's room, her hands on her hips, a glare on her lips. Of course she knew exactly what he was planning, and she was having none of it. Telling him in no uncertain terms that he wasn't leaving them behind, no matter how sneaky he planned. He had spluttered, and played dumb for a moment. Then she elevated an eyebrow just slightly, and he caved. It was too dangerous and I can't let you come. She had raised her voice an octave or two, and told him that that was ridiculous. Carting them all of to the Ministry to face Voldemort? That was dangerous. Not taking them to help him in this most important of all missions, that was bloody dangerous. He needed them; he needed Ron and her to help him.
Harry had started then, Hermione hardly ever swore. So for her to drop Ron's favourite word he knew she was serious.
He had collapsed onto the bed then, she had sat next to him, taking a hand between hers. Hermione rested her head on his shoulder, and apologised. For what he wasn't sure, she mentioned a lot of things, stuff about Malfoy, Ron, Lavender, and believing him. It all clicked into place, she felt guilty. He didn't think she had anything to really feel guilty about, he had moments when he hardly believed the stuff he thought up. His judgment at times was severely misguided. So he told her, told her everything. How Dumbledore had suspected Malfoy, he knew what he was planning, and he still didn't stop him. No matter how daft Dumbledore could be at times, he must have had a good reason to allow someone to carry out a murder plot on himself.
There was some greater plan at work, and he didn't know what it was. He told her she was right, he needed her. There was so much he didn't know, that he couldn't figure out one his own. He needed someone to tell him to pull his head in, to know exactly how to do that, someone who wouldn't take any of his shite. He needed her.
She had nuzzled her face into his neck, of course you do. Harry had chuckled softly as she whispered that. They sat there for how long he didn't know, till right about the time his shoulder started cramping from the resting on it. The shadows had darkened, and the moonlight was trickling in through the lace curtains. He could hear them outside, they were happy, they were relaxed. Just like Hermione.
If she didn't move every now and then, he would have thought she had falling asleep. Her face was turned into his neck, and her little puffs of breath stirred the hairs on the back of his neck. That right there should have been the first sign, he should have sounded the alarm bells and got the hell out of there. Alas no, he had sat there. Thinking to himself that, that was odd. Hermione and himself had embraced as friends many a time, whether it be out of joy or sorrow, or just in the spirit of friendship. His body however, had never responded.
There had never been a thought as to whether it affected her like it did him. If getting goosebumps up ones arm was normal, a shiver down his spine was natural. Harry had managed to convince himself that it was all perfectly standard, nothing abnormal here. No sir. It wasn't until his pants starting telling him that it wasn't natural. Simply embracing ones best friend wasn't supposed to cause them to tighten beyond the normal state, was it?
He needed to move, now. He needed to extricate himself from her, before she noticed.
Before he did something stupid like bring a hand up her back, slowly. Before he moved it through her hair that she had left out that day, leaving it cascading down her back. Before his other hand moved around her hips, stroking the bare skin between her skirt and top. Before she moved her head, and looked at him with a question in her eyes. Before he angled his face, and pressed his lips down upon hers softly.
Unfortunately, he didn't. He did all that, luckily he retained the good sense to stop himself from kissing her longer than a purely platonic friend would have. Now he never professed to know much at all about how girls thought, when in doubt he turned to Hermione. That option wasn't entirely applicable at the moment, as she was sitting in his arms, her eyes wide with shock, and her lips parted slightly. The only thought he could entertain at the moment was that she was going to slap him for sure, and that Ron would kill him if he knew. Out of all the mistakes he had made over the last few years, this was right up the top of the pile at the moment. Good one Potter.
"Harry-" "Crap, I'm sorry Hermione, I shouldn't have done that." "It's fine-" "No! Gods Ron is going to kill me..." "Ron is or was trying to encourage Luna to leave the party in favour of a more private party in his dad's shed." "Oh, but still I-"
"Crap, I'm sorry Hermione, I shouldn't have done that."
"No! Gods Ron is going to kill me..."
"Ron is or was trying to encourage Luna to leave the party in favour of a more private party in his dad's shed."
"Oh, but still I-"
She cut him off then, insistently kissing him. His hands that had remained entangled in her hair, and resting on her hips swept back into action. Holding her to him, he gave himself up to the moment. To the soft pressure of her lips against his, to the sweet taste of her as she engaged her tongue with his own. To the silkiness of her hair that ran through his fingers, and the smooth expanse of skin that his hand touched. To the little noises she made as the kiss became deeper, she had completely taken over him, all thoughts had left him.
Instinct had taken over, and it was going with what she wanted. The speed, the intensity it was her show. She pushed him over, moving over the top of him. Pressing herself down into him, his arms wrapped around her, holding her to him. What he had done with Ginny, it didn't compare to this. Maybe it was because he knew Hermione longer, better. With Ginny it had felt good, and right at the time.
This however, it was like coming home.
He had known instinctively what to do, his hands moved of their own volition. Exploring at will, touching all the right places, she was moving against him in ways that he never thought she could. Encouraging his hands, moving them where she wanted them. Which is how he found himself with both hands cupping her arse in one, and a breast in another. She had pulled her lips away, and was looking at him in a way that he'd never seen, or imagined seeing. Rising up, she removed his hand, and in one smooth movement pulled her shirt up and off.
Harry had watched her for a moment. Her stomach quivering slightly, the gentle rise and fall of her chest, and the bottom lip that she chewed only when she was nervous. To be perfectly frank he had been nervous as well, shit scared being a more accurate term. This girl, this woman was one of his best friends, and this right here could ruin that whole relationship. A relationship that he valued above everything. She was one of the most important people in his life. This wouldn't be simple and it wouldn't be neat.
But looking at her, the flush of her cheeks, and the rosy tint of her lips. Every single reason he would have had for why this couldn't happen, why is should never happen. He had forgotten them. All he had thought was that he had to touch her, had to kiss her, had to hold her in his arms, he had to love her.
Hermione opened her mouth slightly, interpreting his silence as a lack of want. Before she could say anything, he moved them. Rolling them over, so she was laying down looking up at him. Harry smiled at her, before convincing her of what he truly wanted. Together their hands moved over each other, removing clothing when it became a hindrance. It all moved in a blur, a very pleasurable blur. Right up until that moment, where he loomed over her, poised to break through that final barrier. The one that they would never be able to rebuild.
Her eyes convinced him. He could see it, she loved him. Maybe it was in that special way, or maybe it wasn't. Either way, she loved him, and that was something that made this all the better. His relationships in the past had never been based on love. Cho was a crush. His very first, and at the time he was sure that she felt the same for him. Maybe she had, but Cedric's death confused her, and turned it into something else. And while there was no doubt that Ginny loved him, it wasn't him that she loved. It was the ideal that she had grown up with; she had fallen for the boy she'd heard tales of. Maybe she had come to love who he was, but he was always going to be the stuff of legends to her. He was never going to be simply Harry.
Hermione though, she knew him. Probably better than he knew himself, she stood by him time after time. No matter how wrong, or stupid she thought he was behaving; there was one thing he knew he could always count on. Hermione, standing beside him. She would always be there, nothing would keep her away.
He wanted to be with her, who knows if this would happen again. This time though, this one time, he knew there was only one girl he wanted to be with. So as he moved into her, he looked at her.
This was Hermione, the one who had fixed his glasses numerous times. Who stood by his side when everyone thought him a monster. Who helped him free Sirius. The girl who had helped him more times than he could begin to count, who believed in him, encouraged him. She forced him to be all that he could be. The light had been turned on, and it shone brightly upon her.
The jumble of emotions inside him, coupled with that second of clarity, made this perfect moment finish abruptly. He could feel the flush of embarrassment blooming, Harry wanted to hide. While it had been good for him, there was a rather unfulfilled girl laying beneath him, who deserved so much more than that. She reached up, cupping his face in her hands; she leaned up and kissed him. Wrapping her arms around him tightly, holding him to her. He moved his head back, beginning to apologise, for being such a truly selfish git, when she shook her head.
"It was perfect."
He exhaled deeply, falling onto the bed beside her. Hermione pulled the cover up, and moved close to him, laying the blanket over them. While she fell asleep rather quickly, her head tucked away in his shoulder. He hadn't.
So many questions now, and the answers were not forthcoming. He had the good sense to place a locking charm on the door that no one would break.
All he could think was how he had completely stuffed up. Hermione? How could he do this to her? Life was complicated enough at the moment, this would only intensify the situation. She was so peaceful now; her face was completely devoid of stress, anxiety, and worry. All the things that would plague it when she awoke. They would have to deal with it all then. Short of waking her up, and discussing it with her, there was nothing that could be done. Tomorrow would come, and they would figure it out then. So pulling the blanket up around their shoulders, he wrapped his arm around her tightly.
He would wait for tomorrow.