Alas, JKR just will not hand over the rights to Harry Potter to me… I've tried everything! Oh well :sigh: I'll have to settle for playing with whoever I want, whenever I want! :cackles evilly:

Author's Note: Thanks to everyone who reads this after the appallingly long time between posts. I'm deeply sorry. Apparently writing sex that includes feelings and slowness just isn't that easy for me…

Thanks to JaxieTonks and ImmortalWog for beta-ing, and to my good friend Red for convincing me that I can in fact write flowery sex scenes!

Part 3

The third time was an accident. Just as unplanned, just as accidental as the past two… They'd decided yet again that it was not a mistake, just a simple accident, something that could, apparently, happen between really good friends. Happen and be forgotten… Though they both still wondered if sex could really be an accident…

Though they had only spent a few days at Shell Cottage with Bill, Fleur, Luna, Dean, Griphook, and Mr. Ollivander, those few days seemed to be what Harry, Ron, and Hermione needed. Time for Harry to think and plan, to wonder and organize, time for Ron to refresh himself with his family, a soft place to sleep, and food for his belly, and time for Hermione to fully recuperate from her torture at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange.

Every time Harry's mind shifted away from his questions about Dumbledore's plans and Voldemort's movements it went back to the time spent locked in the cellar at Malfoy Manor. He'd hear Hermione's screams rip though his mind as he remembered her enduring round after round of Cruciatus and he'd have to move, head outside, pace around his room, do something because he hadn't yet really been able to assure himself that she was alright. He'd asked how she was before they went to talk to Griphook, but everyone had been there and he couldn't check for himself. Touch her to make sure she was alright, still whole, still his Hermione.

Inevitably when he thought this he'd head for her, needing to do just that, needing to feel her strong and soft under his hands. Needing to touch her hands, rub her arms, hug her to him. Of course every time he found her she was with someone else; chatting with Fleur in the kitchen, laughing with Bill and Dean in the living room, sitting quietly with Ron on the porch. That was when the guilt and shame pushed Harry back, back to his solitude, back to thinking on Dumbledore and Voldemort and what he had to do. It was so much easier to think on those heavy and convoluted topics than on why his stomach clenched when he saw Hermione and Ron together, why he wanted just a few minutes alone with Hermione, why in those minutes he so desperately seemed to want to get his hands on her.

As he wandered back into the house after an afternoon spent on the cliffs contemplating the many paths lying in front of him, he paused at the door to the living room. He watched as Bill and Fleur sat close on the couch while Ron and Dean and Bill had a heated discussion about Muggle soccer versus Quidditch, Luna serenely reading a curse-breaking book by the fire, occasionally adding her interesting and strange opinions into the discussion. Before anyone noticed him, Harry melted back into the shadows, realizing that Hermione wasn't with the crowd. He glanced into the kitchen, but she wasn't there either. Quickly, stamping down on the small spurt of guilt he felt at sneaking around, he headed upstairs, hoping that he could have those minutes with her. Just to make sure she was alright. As a friend.

He checked on Mr. Ollivander and Griphook, both were resting, the wand-maker from what Harry suspected was a healing potion. Harry felt sure the Goblin was simply sleeping; though Fleur may have given him another cup of Skele-Grow to make sure his legs would mend well.

Relief flooded through him when Hermione called out a soft "come in" after he'd knocked on the last bedroom door. As he walked through it she turned to face him, the still bright yellow-gold glow of the setting sun streaming through the window at her back, teasing out the colors of her hair and caressing her body, making her look soft and delicate and when she smiled at him it was as if the golden glow filling the room was coming from Hermione. Harry's heart stopped in his chest and he froze just inside the room, not even registering the door swinging quietly shut behind him. It was as if he'd never seen anything or anyone so beautiful.

"Harry?" Hermione watched as Harry simply stood staring at her, his eyes the only part of him that was actually moving. Self-consciously she smoothed her hands down her sides, brushed at her hair. She'd been wondering if they would get any time alone, it was rare, especially since Ron had come back, but she missed those days when it had been just she and Harry traveling together. As glad as she was that Ron had returned, as happy as it made her that he seemed uncomfortable leaving her side, she'd missed Harry. It was a feeling that squeezed her heart in her chest and made her feel a bit guilty, especially whenever Ron smiled at her, but it wasn't one she could seem to get rid of.

She had watched Harry since they got back and knew he was hurting, deeply hurting after the loss of Dobby. All she'd wanted to do was press herself close to him and hold him, comfort him. It didn't help that after she'd slept off the pain and weakness from her bout of Cruciatus from Bellatrix, all she could think about was how happy she was to be alive and how much more alive she wanted to feel. The kind of alive she'd felt with Harry when he'd had her pressed against a wall and pressed into his mattress. Hermione had felt crushingly ashamed when she realized just what her body seemed to want from her best friend, and she'd fought to bury the desire deep down and focus on the next part of their mission or on Ron whenever he was close to her. Hermione had found herself pulled in two directions during their stay here in the cottage; part of her was so glad that she and Ron seemed to be starting something, seemed to be able to move forward, even if it was only a little bit, and another part of her that couldn't stop watching Harry, couldn't stop thinking about their time together in his dorm room and in the Room of Requirement.

And now here he was. Staring at her like she was…beautiful, and the door to the bedroom had closed and she needed him to stop looking at her like that. She needed to think of Ron, think of Ginny, focus on what Harry needed as a friend…not what she seemed to need from him.

"Her-Hermione. I just-Everyone's downstairs…" Hermione's heart shot to her throat and her stomach flipped but she forced herself to stay where she was. Far from Harry. "I wanted-Are you-?" She watched as he closed his eyes and seemed to take a deep breath. When his eyes opened and focused on her they stole her breath. They were dark emerald green and seemed to burn through her as they had been the year before after Slughorn's Christmas party, and in Harry's dorm room the year before that. Something low in her belly tightened and she could feel her cheeks flush with the memories of those two nights.

Suddenly Harry crossed the room and his hands were on her bare arms, his face was close to hers and all she could see were those deep dark beautiful green eyes, full of concern and worry and a tamped down desire she fully understood. Giving in to that desire she closed the distance between them and her eyes flickered to his lips, her hands rising to smooth up his lower back.

"Harry." His name slipped out of her on a sigh and Harry knew she understood; knew she knew why he was here, why he couldn't stay away. And he knew, in her step toward him, in her widened eyes and flushed cheeks, in the press of her small, warm hands on his back, he knew she felt the same. That she'd fought to stay away from him, that they'd been avoiding each other for the same reason, and that neither could fight it anymore.

Slowly Harry dropped his head to hers, cupping her lips with his own, lightly running his tongue along her bottom lip, slowly sliding it across hers when she opened her mouth to him. As his hands slid up her arms to encircle her back she let out a quiet and satisfied sigh, her hands curling up to grip his shoulders.

Slowly he walked her back until she bumped the big bed in the middle of the room. Reluctantly he pulled away from her, ready to ask, to beg and plead, but before he could form the words she had pulled off her shirt and the backs of her fingers skimmed up his stomach, his chest, his arms as she lifted his shirt and pulled it over his head. When her fingers dropped to the top of his jeans, Harry dropped his mouth to her shoulder, nibbling and kissing his way across the soft skin there to the angle of her collarbone.

His own fingers worked the button of her pants and as her hands slowly pushed his jeans and underwear down, letting them fall to his ankles as her fingers curled around his butt. He kicked them off as his hands moved under the top of her pants and down, sliding her clothes down as his hands gently curved around the swell of her bottom.

His mouth moved up her neck to cover hers and she smiled into the kiss as she shimmied her pants the rest of the way to the floor. He scooped her up, her legs wrapping around his waist, and for just a second he lost himself in the heat of her pressed against the hard length of him. His eyes opened as hers widened and blurred and the memory of pressing her against a wall a year before flashed into his mind. He realized this time was different, there was no burning desperation pushing either of them, there was no rush to their hands, no push towards that blissful end, no anger or frustration pulsing through their veins.

Hermione cupped Harry's face and kissed him slowly, surely, deeply as he kneeled on the bed and she felt him move toward the middle before gently tipping her back onto the thick pillows piled against the headboard. She wondered at their lack of desperation and fast hands until she felt those Quidditch roughened hands of his skim down her sides and lift her to unhook her bra. Her mind blanked when those hot, slightly calloused hands cupped and lightly squeezed her breasts, fingertips skimming across her nipples.

When his mouth gently licked and sucked at one of her nipples, his fingers teasing the other she moaned his name quietly as a golden glow of the room seemed to light her eyes even behind her closed eyelids.

Her hands dropped to his strong shoulders, gripping the skin there as his mouth kissed all across her chest, across the peak of both her breasts, down the valley between them and, it seemed, across every inch of her stomach before those talented lips drifted lower…

Harry heard her low gasp as he felt her fingers bury themselves in his hair while he kissed and lightly licked into the soft curls at the apex of her thighs. He heard her start to protest, but he couldn't stop now if he wanted. He had needed to know she was alright, to know she was alive and whole and undamaged. He'd assuaged most of his fears with hands and lips already, but there was a driving need in him to light her up with his touch, to make her skin glow and flush, to make her limbs weak, not with pain or fatigue, but with pleasure. He wanted to be sure she knew there was more to all they were fighting for than hunger and cold and pain and death, he wanted to show her there was more just as he'd shown her those horrible things during the last months.

So before she could protest he dipped his head and nibbled and licked and kissed, listening as he went, paying attention to what brought sound or tension to her soft body. His hands slid beneath her hips of their own accord and lifted her so he could lick her open with ease before sliding his tongue as deep as he could into her. She tensed beneath him and he pressed his tongue in and out of her, hardening almost painfully as her hands gripped his hair and her body began to writhe against the bed.

When he shifted to suck and lick at her clit she bucked once before he could press her hips down into the soft mattress. He worked her with his tongue and lips and the light scrape of teeth until he felt her shudder and tense hard under his hands. Quickly he thrust two fingers deep into her and sucked hard on her clit. Harry watched as she bowed off the bed, her breath frozen in her chest, her skin flushed and with a shine of sweat making it glisten in the slightly darker gold of the half-set sun shining through the windows of the small room.

Slowly he kissed and licked his way back up her body, his hands caressing as much of her as they could, even as her hands ran over every inch of his back, pressing him close to her. He settled lightly on top of her, one arm propping himself up, one hand working into the curls spread across the pillows under her head. Harry was pretty sure he'd never been harder in his life, but the desperate need for release he kept expecting to overtake him never came, it was enough in that moment to rest his hard length in the cradle of her wet heat as he kissed up her neck and along her jaw, across her cheeks and into her hair.

Hermione worked her hands into his thick and messy hair and brought his lips to her own, desperate for those extremely talented lips to work against her own as they had worked against lower parts of her. She moaned low when she tasted the unique tast of Harry's mouth mixed with what she could only guess was her own flavor.

"Harry, why..?" Her question left her as he shifted himself against her core, the hard length of him hot and practically pulsing against her.

"I couldn't stand it, Hermione. Listening as she…" Harry swallowed, his forehead dropping to hers, "As she tortured you." Hermione lifted her hands to cup his face in comfort and kissed him again.

"I'm fine. Really I am." Harry lifted a hand to skim up her arm before encircling her wrist, his eyes locked on the deep, still slightly blurry brown of her own.

"I had to know, had to prove to myself that you were, that you-that I wasn't going to lose – I can't lose you Hermione. Not you as well as everyone I've already lost. I can't."

"You won't." Hermione lifted her upper body off the bed and pressed against Harry's, trying to show with skin and warmth that she was alive and whole and fine. She took his lips again, skimming her tongue along the curve of his bottom lip, licking into his mouth and along his tongue. "You won't. I'm here, Harry." She rolled him, sliding her thighs open to rest on either side of his, pressing her body flush to his. "I'm here." She shuddered as she felt his hands curve around her shoulders, his warm palms running up and down her back.

Smoothly she lifted her hips and slid the length of him deep inside her. His hands dropped to grip her hips, almost bruising, and he let out a low harsh sigh before she latched herself back onto his mouth. Hermione felt like she could spend forever kissing Harry Potter, his lips were gorgeous and the way his tongue worked across her mouth, against her tongue, it was enough to drive a girl insane, but she wanted to give him the proof he seemed to so desperately need. She'd prove with skin and hands and body that she was alive and was with him as always.

She raised her body to sit back, her muscles aching a little from the torture curse but when Harry's eyes locked on hers and his hands skimmed up her sides to cup her breasts the ache dissipated in the pleasure that wove through her.

Harry watched, unable to look away from the glow of Hermione's skin in the now reddish-gold of the setting sun, the fire it brought out in her curly hair, the dilation of her eyes and flush of her face as she slowly brought them both closer and closer to climax. She surrounded him with hot tight wetness, her inner muscles squeezing and releasing him with every shift of her hips even as she moved above him quiet and beautiful in the dying sunlight, her thighs pressing against his hips, her breasts moving as she moved and he could have sworn that life itself was beaming from her very skin.

Suddenly Harry wanted that skin, that lush curved body pressed against his own while she rode him, he could tell she was close, hell, he was fighting back his own orgasm, and he wanted, so desperately wanted her wrapped around him as she rode them both over ­– as her body convulsed around his and showed him without a doubtthat she was really there, really alive and still with him.

Harry sat up quickly, wrapping an arm around her back as his mouth latched onto the pulse point at her throat. He slid a hand between their bodies and pressed against the sensitive bud there as her hips rocked and rocked and rocked against him. He moved the pads of his fingers across her clit once, twice before she clenched around him, her head dropping back as her thighs viced hard around him. She brought him with her, his face buried in the warm skin of her neck, her rapid scattered heartbeat beating against his cheek, his eyes, his lips, ripping her name from him on a low groan. He rocked into her deeply twice more, unable to keep still as her inner muscles continued to convulse around him before they fell back onto the pillows in an unceremonious heap of tangled limbs and heated skin.

Minutes, maybe hours, later Hermione purred into Harry's neck, content and feeling better than she had in days. She felt him stir beneath her and took a deep breath, letting the scent of Harry's neck and the sex still in the air sink into her brain, weave around her lungs, through her heart before it was all gone and they were back to fighting for the light and the good. When he let out a low sigh she raised her head and shifted to move off him.

"Mmm…no, just a minute more," Harry's hands gripped her hips before one pressed her head back onto his shoulder. "Just another minute." Hermione sighed then smiled as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. Suddenly she heard Ron and Bill's laughter drift up from the living room and felt Harry's hands clench once again on her body. For a fleeting moment she allowed herself to believe it was a possessive movement, that he wanted her specifically, that it bothered him that Ron might have claimed her first. Then realization hit, they were naked, had just had sex in their Best Friend's family's home, had snuck away to be together. If anyone found them…so many people they loved would be hurt. And yet…Hermione desperately wanted that minute more.

"Oh, Harry. What're we to do?" Harry let her slide off him, settle next to him on her back, let the small fiction in his head of keeping her there with him forever disappear. He'd been forming a pretty little picture of many afternoons spent in just this way, nights spent together just he and Hermione and a big bed, mornings waking up with her wrapped tightly around him, his nose buried in her hair, his hands full of her sleep warmed skin… Then Ron's laugh had found it's way in and shattered it all. Reminded him that this wasn't his woman, that she was his friend, that she was his Best Friend's woman, and for the third time he'd stolen something from Ron. Not maliciously, but certainly selfishly. There was no fixing it, only moving forward and forgetting.

Harry plastered a smile on his face and rolled to face her.

"I think we both need to reacquaint ourselves with what "accident" actually means." He chuckled at her low laugh.

"Too bad I left my dictionary at home."

"It's not in that magical bag of yours?" Harry sat up feigning a search for the bag. "I'm disappointed in you, Know-It-All Granger." Hermione sat up herself and smacked Harry in the arm before reaching for her shirt.

"Real funny, Harry. Just remember that bag's been dead helpful and don't you tease me about it." Harry felt a low buzz in his veins at the smooth expanse of her back, the hint of breast just covered by the sheet and was not surprised this time that he was semi-hard already. Three times was enough proof for him that there was something between them, something more than an accidental sex. He mulled that over in his head while they finished dressing.

"Hermione." He wrapped her hand in his and pulled her down to sit by him on the bed. "I know the policy – "accident" – but, I mean, there's something here, don't you think?" He watched her eyes drop and cursed himself for pushing. What if this question cost him her friendship? Stupid Harry, stupid.

"I'll admit, Harry," Hermione forced herself to meet Harry's famous green eyes, forced herself to follow through with the decision she'd made while they finished dressing. "It seems likely that there is," her heart stumbled at his small smile, but she pressed on, unwilling to hurt anyone else for her own needs or desires, "but what about Ginny?" This time it was Harry's eyes that dropped from hers and it dampened the bright spot in her that their afternoon together had lit up.

"Ginny and I aren't together, Hermione-"

"Because of this war. If there wasn't a war, wasn't a Voldemort, weren't Death Eaters out there, if we had returned to Hogwarts for our seventh year, wouldn't you be together? You and Ginny?" Harry got up to pace, unable to be near her and have this conversation.

"You and Ron?" He bit out the words, but knew they were true. Knew that she was right, but it didn't stop his heart from cracking a little. Hermione sighed and stood, blocking his path. This time she took his hand, pressed her hand to his cheek, let herself drown in those bright green eyes for just a moment.

"Yes, Harry. Ron and I, you and Ginny. How we both know it should be." Harry closed his eyes in a moment of denial, but with her strong warm hand holding his, her warm palm pressed against his cheek, he knew she was right. Too many people to hurt if he fought her on this. But for just one more moment, here, in this dark room with just the two of them he could be selfish.

He gripped her wrist and pressed a kiss to her palm, pulled her closer to him, needing to feel her lush body close to his just one more time.

"How it should be Hermione, but maybe, just maybe, not how we may want it." He moved closer, his face inches from hers as he put a hand under her chin so her eyes met his.

"No, not always how we may want it." Hermione moved just a bit closer, allowing herself to press against the hard plane of his chest, to feel the long lines of his body against hers. "But there are other people to think of, Harry. Other feelings, other desires, other hearts…" Their eyes met for a moment, and Harry wished that it could only be he and Hermione to consider. "It can't be just you and me, Harry, it just can't." Harry nodded, breathed deep, Hermione filling his lungs, smoothing the cracks in his heart, but still he couldn't let go.

"You're right, it can't. But Hermione, we can have one more minute of just you and me." He smiled into her eyes before lowering his mouth to hers.

"One more minute, Harry." His name sighed from her lips as he kissed her, as he gave her that one minute of selfish desire. She fell into his kiss, wrapped herself around him, wanting to remember forever what it was to be kissed by Harry Potter, what it was for just one minute to be loved by her best friend as more than a friend, what it was to be happy and content and fulfilled by someone else's desire and need and care for her.

Harry's arms tightened around her and for one minute he tasted and explored, reveled in and enjoyed the heat and sounds of Hermione Granger wrapped around him. Took that minute into his heart to remember forever what it was to have everything he could ever want all to himself with no strings or drama or pain; friendship, desire, trust, laughter, happiness, love… For one minute it was all his to take and give back.

A yell for dinner and the doors of the other bedrooms opening broke Harry and Hermione out of their kiss. Harry dropped his head to hers and squeezed her in a hug before stepping away from her.

"Oi! We can't eat 'til everyone's here! Harry! Hermione! I'm starved!" They both laughed at Ron's plaintive yell from the kitchen, Harry moved to the door, opening it for Hermione.

"I guess this time it's me that's made you feel better?" He asked, a friendly smile on his face.

"And you have. Good job to you." Hermione winked and Harry chuckled remembering her lecherous look from their fifth year encounter.

"Glad to help out a friend, though I'm positive I shouldn't tell just how I've helped you out if someone were to ask me…" This time Harry gave Hermione a leer as he moved past her and headed down the stairs. "I wonder just how I will explain how I got you into such high spirits?"

"Perhaps a promise to become more involved in my work with S.P.E.W.?" Hermione chuckled to herself at Harry's stumble on the stairs below her.

"I think not. How about a recounting of the greatest plays in Quidditch World Cup history?" This time Harry chuckled and Hermione stumbled as they reached the bottom of the staircase.

"Hmm, no. We're just going to have to improvise, see how that goes." Harry nodded gravely before grinning and hurriedly walking backward toward the kitchen, his voice raised in mock excitement.

"Then Krum pulls out his Wronski Feint, you remember Hermione, from the World Cup we went to…"