Surprises - Hermione/Cormac
She could hear the voices leaving the party, thankfully heading in the opposite direction to her. Hermione had spent the last hour cursing herself, Ron, but most of all her stupidity. It had been a stupid idea, not the first to be caused by Ron Weasley. Trying to make him jealous, to make him feel a tiny bit of the pain he had caused her when he took up with her. It backfired though, of all the people to pick. He no doubt raised Ron's ire like no other (bar Malfoy), but he hadn't considered the consequences.
An evening with Cormac McLaggen.
It had quickly deteriorated into some kind of hell, leaving her to spend most of the night avoiding him. After speaking to Harry, and Luna; Hermione had hid in a dark corner till he found her. She had no idea what to say, or what to do, she had stood there completely lost. Cormac spoke quietly to her, he was trying to be charming, trying to make her open up to him. He'd recognised her unease, and told her he was going to go get them some drinks.
Hermione had ran.
Heading back to Gryffindor hadn't been an option, she didn't want to give him the satisfaction of seeing her return so early. She'd found a quiet corridor, and sat in the darkness till it was late enough to return to the tower. With holidays starting tomorrow she wouldn't see him for a few weeks, and she was grateful for that. Some time spent away from him would be just what she needed. To give herself a little clarity. She wasn't entirely fond of who she'd become lately.
The walls were quiet now, everyone having no doubt headed to bed. Hermione walked through the halls slowly, avoiding the ghosts, and the patrolling prefects. The Fat Lady gave her a look, but opened regardless, thankfully for once without question.
The Common Room was deserted, except for the lone figure on the couch in front of the fire. As Hermione stepped further into the room she recognised the short brown hair.
"I got you a drink," he said quietly.
Hermione moved around to sit beside him, "Cormac, I... I'm sorry."
"Uh-huh," he muttered.
She watched him stare into the fire, his eyes set on the flames. "I never should have asked you, I shouldn't have asked anyone. It was stupid, I was stupid."
"You're not the only one."
"It's my fault, not yours."
"I said yes didn't I?" Cormac said bitterly, spinning an empty bottle in his hands. "Everyone knows why you asked me, it's so bloody obvious, even Weasley should know if he wasn't so dense. I know you were just using me in some pathetic attempt to make him jealous, but still I went like some sucker for pain and embarrassment."
"I'm sorry," she whispered, turning to gaze into the flames as well. "It was pathetic, and rather thoughtless of me."
He cleared his throat, and she turned her eyes back to him, "Is he worth it?"
Hermione shook her head, "Sometimes I'm sure he will be - but now, well I'm not so sure anymore."
She couldn't stand still, she had to keep moving, she couldn't stopTo stop would mean she would have to think about things, do things. If she kept walking though no-one would stop her, not if they thought she had a purpose. Hermione didn't though, she didn't know what to do, she barely knew what to think. By keeping her feet moving she could keep those thoughts away, to stop would force her to deal with them, and she was far from ready to do that.
The sun was coming up slowly, throwing light over the partially destroyed corridors, with it's inhabitants still shocked by the events of the day before. Families, friends huddled together, bonded by their shared loss, and the fact that they were still alive.
Hermione avoided the Great Hall, and the outside of the Castle. Sticking to the mostly vacant corridors. She crossed to the windows on her left, looking down onto the grounds below. Watching the people slowly leaving in small groups, and the ever increasing amount of Wizarding media arriving.
Hermione jumped as the voice came from down the hall, looking up to see Cormac staring down.
"Just doing their job," she said quietly.
"Maybe," he muttered.
"Still vultures though," Hermione said with a slight smile. "In my experience at least." She easily noticed the cut on his forehead, and the dirt covering his robes. He looked as tired as she felt, "How did you know to come back?"
"I was in London, at mum's, and we managed to catch the gossip on Potter Watch," he said quietly, turning from the window. "So I headed to Hogsmeade, and snuck in with everyone else. Some I should have stopped and sent back."
She stepped down to him, "Who?"
"Colin Creevy," he sighed. "I walked up that dark passageway beside him, and now all I can think is that I should have made him come back."
"He wouldn't have listened, he would have just tried again."
"Maybe, maybe it might have been different," Cormac closed his eyes, shaking his head. "I saw him, down there."
"After?" Hermione said thickly, her hand resting on his arm.
"Yeah," he cleared his throat. "He doesn't look nearly old enough, big enough to die like that. He shouldn't have been here."
"You could make that same argument for all of us."
Cormac stood up, "It's finished though, your boy Potter did it. With you right beside him, you did good Hermione."
"I didn't do much," she whispered. "I did what I had to do, you played your part, we all did."
"Some more than others."
"Hey you came back," Hermione said squeezing his arm gently. "I think that means more than anything you did."
He smiled slightly, "You don't have to be nice to me Hermione, it's not like we were ever friends."
"I hardly think that matters anymore."
This wasn't her pillow, nor was this her bed, so that meant that this wasn't her room. She had woken up in someone elses bed, naked.
"Terrific," she muttered to herself.
Hermione sat up, holding the sheet to her chest she looked around the small, non-descript room. She instantly knew it wasn't as innocent as just sleeping over. There were marks on her chest, and an unmistakable ache. There was no memory of who though, the only thing she could remember was drinking too much. Which was incredibly unlikely for her, never having more than one or two.
There was a party.
Ron's birthday, and his new girlfriend had been stuck to his side at Seamus's pub. Hermione had had a drink glued in her hand, she remembered that. That ruled out Ron, not that he was really a viable option (and this wasn't his flat). It also ruled out most of the Weasleys - she wouldn't, they wouldn't. The list of possibles was small, she wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not yet.
Her clothes were nowhere to be seen, which at the moment wasn't a good thing. Hermione pulled the closest thing on, a large Quidditch jersey. She didn't know which team it represented, but it covered her. Which was just as well, because the door was opening slowly.
A nervous face popped into the doorway, his eyes widening as he saw that she was awake. "You're awake," Cormac said, a mug in his hand.
"So it would seem," Hermione said quietly. "So, I slept here."
He nodded slowly, setting the tea down beside her.
"And, you and I?"
"That as well."
"Right, well I though as much."
Cormac sat down next to her, leaning against the pillows. "You look good in that shirt, Hermione."
She felt her cheeks heat up, she moved to stand up, pulling the shirt down, "I should go."
He grabbed her hand, and pulled her back down, "What's the rush?"
Hermione smiled as he slipped closer to her, "There's no rush."
Cormac moved her swiftly, manovering her onto her back, with him leaning over her, "Then where are you going?"
"Right now?" She grinned, shifting as he pulled the shirt up and off. "Absolutely nowhere."
Her lips parted easily, her fingers threading through his short, thick hair. The railing was cold against her back, as he pressed into her firmly. She could hear the people inside cheering, and laughing.
Hermione pushed him away from her, taking deep breaths of the cold, frigid air.
"Happy New Year," he breathed into her ear.
She smiled as he fingered the curls falling from the knot, "Happy New Year, Cormac." He grinned at her, leaning back down to her, and she quickly slipped away from him. "It's pretty cold out here."
"Bloody hell, Hermione," he swore softly, grabbing her elbow. "You aren't doing this again."
"Doing what?" Hermione sighed, her hands forced into her coats pockets.
"Running, leaving," he muttered. "Each time we get close, or close to being close you run away. Are you scared or something? Do I scare you?"
"No! It's not that, I like you, I do."
Cormac shook his head slowly, "Then what is it?"
"I can't control myself around you," she breathed deeply. "And I can't control you, that's all it is."
He chuckled, stepping closer to her again, pushing her against the rail again. "You want to be the boss? To tell me what to do?"
"No, oh I don't know."
"I think that's it," he grinned, his arms resting on either side of her. "I'm too independent, I do what I want to do. Which isn't always what everyone else wants. I do like you too Hermione, but I'm won't be a lapdog."
She nodded, "I wouldn't want you..."
"But," he said firmly. "That's not to say I'm not adverse to being told what to do, in the right situation."
His eyes were twinkling as he looked down at her, the smile grew on her lips. "I don't have a problem with that either."
"Why am I not surprised? You always were a bossy little witch."
It appeared there were only two people who were capable of making her do stupid things, and they both couldn't stand the other. So it stood to reason that when one caused her to do something stupid, the other would be more than a little disgruntled.
"Bloody hell, Hermione."
"No!" Cormac said firmly. "You don't get to say that, not yet. The bastard was going to kiss you!"
"He was," she whispered.
"And, you were going to let him."
He shook his head, "Were you going to kiss him?"
"I don't know."
Hermione sighed, sinking into a chair, "It's just, god I don't know! It's Ron, and I know that's hardly a reason, but it's all I can think of as to why. He's my friend, someone I loved, and continue to love in some way. It's hard to just forget, and sometimes the line gets a little blurred."
She nodded, "I know."
"You have to choose, you have to figure out what the hell you want," he said quietly, picking up his coat. "We don't have anything if you don't know who you want, I can't keep waiting for you to pick him and leave me. Either he's your friend, and we are together, or it's him."
"Where are you going?" She stood quickly, following him to the door.
"To my place," he opened the front door, stopping to turn back to her. "I don't need to pretend what I hope you pick, but we can't do this like this anymore."
Hermione quickly wrapped her arms around his shoulders, her feet lifting off the ground, whispering, "I do love you."
"I know, but you love him just as much," Cormac muttered, an arm around her waist. "That's the problem."
He was smiling, not objecting, but she didn't mistake the bewilderment in his eyes. Hermione made quick work of his buttons, pushing the trousers down his legs.
"Hermione," he said as she pulled him closer.
He stopped as he reached the bathroom counter, "Your friends?"
"Are busy," Hermione smiled, lifting herself up, and pushing her knickers down to the floor. "Like us."
"They'll wonder," he said slowly, as she slipped to the edge of the counter.
She was glad he liked to read, she just wished he'd read something a little different. Hermione had finished her book ages ago, and he still was fascinated with the Quidditch magazine. She had resorted to something she never liked to do. She slid up against him, pressing all of herself against him. Using her 'feminine wiles', to no avail. He remained oblivious.
Biting her lip, she rubbed her foot against his, "I'm cold."
"Uh-huh," Cormac flicked a page, not even looking at her. "It is a bit chilly, I'll light the fire in a bit."
"Right," she sighed.
"Your feet are cold, you can go get some of my socks if you want."
"Socks, just what I need."
He gave her a smile, "Second drawer."
She leaned over and kissed his cheek, before going down the hall to his room, and wrenching open the drawer. "Socks, all I want is socks." Hermione pulled an old, soft pair out, and sat down on his bed to pull them on. "Sod."
Pulling them on, she felt the bumpy bit at the toe of one of them, she quickly pulled it off, and was just turning them out when he dashed into the room.
"You alright?" Hermione asked quickly, watching him look between the drawer and the sock in her hand.
"Maybe," he shook his head.
"What is it?" She said, turning the socks out, looking for the bump, her mouth falling open as it fell into her hand.
"That," he groaned.
"Oh," Hermione whispered, turning the ring over in her hand.
"I had it planned, it was going to be perfect, and lovely. You weren't supposed to find it," he muttered. "Obviously. Fuck."
"Yes," she said quickly.
"Absolutely," Hermione laughed, reaching out, she gave him the ring.
"You want to?"
"Very much so."
The ring slipped quickly onto the finger, and she fell onto the bed with him right behind her. "Let's celebrate."