A/N: Based on an idea posted by Seel'vor in his Yahoo!group whilst discussing the most recent update of his epic rewind fic "Harry Potter and the Quantum Leap." More precisely, it's based on his request for a brain bleaching when I posted a little snippet of this story (that was based on his idea). I'm sure you'll be able to figure out which part that is.
Disclaimer: Not my characters, no money being made, etc., etc.
Hermione Granger frowned when she entered the Gryffindor Common Room. "Ronald Weasley," she hissed, "I thought that you were too busy with homework to join me in rounds tonight?"
The red-haired wizard looked up from the chessboard and fumbled for a resposne.
"Erm, yeah...Harry and I were working on that Transfiguration essay," he replied defensively. "But then he got this wild look in his eye and bolted. Said something about putting the lesson to good use."
"So he left the Tower?"
Ron shrugged. "Guess so...went out the door about an hour ago."
"And rather than go with him, or join me for our Prefect rounds you decided to skive off?" Hermione huffed.
Ron shrugged again.
"Didn't think that he'd be gone that long...besides, now that you're back, you can help, right?"
Hermione threw up her hands in frustration and growled. Not thinking that the serial procrastinator was worth the effort, she spun on her heel and crawled back out the portal. She didn't need Harry's map to know where he'd likely gone off to...for the past few weeks, Harry had used the Room of Requirement as a safe haven as often as a training area.
Along the way to the Seventh Floor, Hermione tried not to think about the recent embarrassing gaffe she had made there, when Harry and she needed a place to plan out the next month's DA lessons. She had volunteered to do the pacing, and thought about her need for a private place to talk with Harry. Hermione had expected to create a replicate of the Common Room, but to her shock, horror and embarrassment, what they found was something closer to a love nest decorated by Madame Puddlefoot.
Hermione's cheeks had flushed bright crimson, as she realized that she had either let her thoughts stray, or the Room had sussed out what, deep in her heart, she really wanted to do in a private place with her best friend and secret crush. Harry, to his credit, had been the perfect gentleman, and done little more than raise an eyebrow when he spied a bearskin rug tailor made for shagging in front of the fireplace. They had somehow managed to hammer out a quick lesson plan, and left before the awkward questions that were on the tips of tongues forced a voicing.
They hadn't talked about the incident in the intervening days, and by unspoken agreement, Harry had been the one to summon the room in the two times that they'd needed it since. That the simple, functional furnishings provided in response to Harry's needs weren't upholstered in pink velvet and trimmed with white lace was, for Hermione, both a relief and a disappointment...while they allowed them to focus on the tasks at hands, they also suggested that Harry didn't harbor the kind of knicker-drenching feelings for her that she had for him.
"Not that Harry likely wears knickers," Hermione mused.
Thoughts of her Harry dressed only in pants filled her mind as she approached the Room of Requirement...so much that had she tried to summon the door, her most compelling need would have been discovering whether he wore boxers or Y-fronts. But the opportunity didn't present itself, as a heavy wooden door already stood in place. Hermione smiled, and a warm glow formed within her as she savored the small act of intimacy that this particular door represented.
Even when Harry "needed" a place where he could be alone, the Room made the door visible for her, and allowed her entrance. Now whether that was based on what Harry knew he really needed, or the Room doing some artistic interpretation, was still open for interpretation. He had tried to make light of the situation the first time that this happenned, wondering out loud if the Room would have allowed her to enter if he had needed a safe place to wank. Hermione had scolded him, and punched his arm when he asked if she wanted to find out, but the quasi-rhetorical question had never been answered to their satisfaction.
"Not that I wouldn't mind watching Harry satisfying himself..."
With that naughty thought in mind, Hermione opened the door and entered a smaller version of the DA training area.
"Evanesco Proprius!" Harry shouted, as he cast the vanishing spell towards a small wooden box. The container bounced upon the table that it sat on, but didn't disappear.
The black-haired wizard spun around in a flash and pointed his wand towards the bushy-haired witch.
"Oh, sorry, Hermione," he said, dropping his arm. A look of concern came over his face as he glanced at his watch.
"Oh, I really sorry...I promised to meet you in the Common Room, didn't I?"
The Prefect waved Harry's concern away with a hand as she closed the door. "No problems, Harry...you actually gave me one more reason never to trust Ron when he says that he needs to do homework instead of rounds."
"Let me guess...playing chess with Seamus?"
"Right in one," Hermione replied with a sigh. She then glanced over at Harry's target and asked, "Problems with the vanishing spell? Thought you had that down a month ago?"
The Boy-Who-Lived snorted. "Yeah, I did...I mean, I do...thought I'd try adapting it to silence opponents."
"What are you thinking of doing…make the sound waves disappear as your opponent speaks?"
"No, something a little more direct... make their vocal chords disappear." Harry then walked over to the table, opened the lid to the small box, and cursed as he fished out an undisturbed gold galleon.
Hermione gently scolded Harry for his language, then asked, "But, Harry that's...that's...a bit dark, isn't it?"
Harry snorted. "Now, Hermione...do you really think that they'd allow a Dark spell into the ministry-approved Hogwarts curriculum?"
"Oh, you know what I mean," Hermione chided. "Evanesco isn't a dark spell, it's the way that you're using it that is borderline."
"But is it?" Harry asked. "I mean, first off...as far as the Ministry is concerned, it's the spell that is Light or Dark, and not how it's used, right?"
"Erm, yes, I guess...but it'd be painful, particularly when Silencio would work just as well."
"That's the problem, though, isn't it?" Harry asked. "Let's imagine that when it comes time for me to experience my annual death match against Moldishorts or his minions, I'm fighting a Death Eater, and try to interrupt his spell casts with a Silencio. What's the first thing that the marked wanker standing next to him is going to do?"
"Use a Finite, I imagine."
"Exactly," Harry replied. "Whenever a witch or wizard gets struck speechless, they assume they've had a silencing spell placed on them, and use the appropriate counter."
"But...if it isn't an actual spell that's keeping them quiet, but the lack of vocal chords..." Hermione reasoned. "Makes sense, except...like I said, it's rather brutal."
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "Think that they'll be using tripping jinxes and tickling spells against me? Besides, it's not permanent...if magic can regenerate missing bones, it should be able to do the same with the voice box."
"Mucous membranes," Hermione replied.
"The vocal chords...actually the correct term is vocal folds...they're mucous membranes stretched over the larynx. Closer to skin than bone in composition But your point still holds, since skin can be magically regenerated."
"There you go, then," Harry replied with satisfaction. "Now if I could just get the spell to work..."
"Why are you trying to practice it that way?" Hermione asked.
"I reckoned that the trick part is figuring out how to make something disappear that is hidden by something else."
Hermione nodded. "I agree that's the right approach, but shouldn't you break it down in steps?"
"What do you mean?"
"Build up in difficulty," Hermione replied. "Just like we practiced making worms disappear before mice in class. Metal, particularly gold, is a tough material to work with."
Harry looked at his friend and sighed. "Of course...decided to use something real to practice on, instead of what the Room provided, and all I had in my pocket was some spare change."
After a quick check of her robe pockets, Hermione replied, "Sorry, I wish that I could help, but mine are empty as well...left my book bag back in the Tower."
Harry thought for a moment, before a thin smile broke out onto his face.
"So you'd be willing to help me if you could?"
"Of course, Harry."
"And would you say that it would be easier to make fabric disappear than metal?"
"Erm, sure it is, although I don't see how that..."
Before Hermione could finish her response, Harry whipped his wand arm out, took aim at her robes, and yelled, "Evanesco Proprius!"
The bushy-hair witch yelped in surprise as the spell made her much more sensitive to floor drafts.
"Harry Potter!" she shouted. "I can't believe that you just did that!"
"So the spell worked then?"
"Of course it bloody well worked...what made you think that you had permission to vanish my knickers?"
"Well, you did say that you wished to help," Harry replied cheekily.
"But...oh!" Hermione fumed. "You give them back this instant!"
Harry reluctantly shook his head. "I would if I could, but…"
"What do you mean?" Hermione demanded. "It's...oh, Merlin, you had to add on the Proprius bit to make the spell irreversible didn't you?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "I was trying to think of battlefield conditions."
"Oh! As if you'd want to make Voldimort's knickers disappear during a duel!"
Hermione turned and started to leave when Harry reached for her arm.
"I'm sorry Hermione... really I am...guess I wasn't thinking and..."
"Yeah right...a boy not thinking about the ability to make a girls knickers vanish."
"But I thought that we were best friends," Harry protested. "Unless you're thinking that I'm a boy, and you're a girl, and..."
"Well we are, aren't we?"
Harry paused. He was on dangerous ground, trying to placate his best friend without making it seem like he didn't think of her as a beautiful girl...no...a beautiful woman that he'd want to see without her knickers.
Because that's exactly how he secretly thought of her.
Not being able to come up with a way to negotiate that verbal mine field, he tried a different approach.
"Look, Hermione, let me make it up to you."
The angry young witch snorted. "And how exactly do you plan on doing that?"
"By replacing what I took away."
"By replace...you're going to make me a new pair of knickers?" Hermione asked incredulously.
Harry nodded. "Worth a go, and I could always use some work on my conjuring charms."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Harry, you know that it's near impossible to make that kind of magic permanent...unless you're thinking that it'd be fun for me to be wearing the conjured knickers when the charm failed and they suddenly disappeared?"
"No, no...I'm serious," Harry declared. And to show his earnestness, he used a cutting spell to trim off a short length of his robe's sleeve. "More likely to stay permanent if I use transfiguration, and go from fabric to fabric, right?"
Hermione nodded. "Yes, although I don't think that I'd be all that comfortable wearing knickers made out of thick wool."
"Perish the thought, and trust me," Harry said with a smile. He closed his eyes, and added, "Now, for a clear mind, and clear intent..."
After a few seconds of concentrated thought, he opened his eyes and cast a spell on the bit of sleeve. Hermione watched as the wool fabric shimmered, then shrank in size until it could be balled up into Harry's closed hand.
A smile broke across Harry's face as he felt the transfigured object within his grip. He reached out and offered to Hermione.
"There...I'll wager that'll be a bit less scratchy against your skin."
A gobsmacked expression came upon Hermione's face as she inspected the newly transfigured pair of knickers.
"Erm, wow, Harry…their very silky and very...black."
Harry smiled. "They are, aren't they?"
"So, not to criticize your transfiguration skills, but...are you sure that you finished the spell?"
"Why would you say that?"
Hermione held the knickers out in front of her, so that Harry could see her face through the translucent fabric.
"Well, the fabric is a bit thinner than normal."
Harry nodded. "I think that the correct term is sheer."
"Oh, I see," Hermione replied. She then turned the knickers around so that Harry could see the back.
"And the rear panel, it sort of went missing...just this bit of string."
Harry looked confused. "Isn't that what they're supposed to look like?"
Hermione arched an eyebrow.
"Some knickers look like this...they're called thongs."
"Well, then, there you go," Harry said with a grin.
"So tell me, Harry," his best friend asked. "This is exactly what you intended them to be?"
"Erm, yeah, why not?...that's what they look like, right?" Harry asked.
"Well, it's just that they're rather racy," Hermione replied. "Why would you think that girls' knickers look like this?"
Harry froze. "Damn," he thought. "How am I supposed to answer that...because that's what I'd like to see her wearing?"
Hermione frowned. "Are these the kind of knickers that Cho Chang wears?"
"What?" Harry asked. "Of course not...I mean...why would you think that I'd know?"
"Well, you did seem to fancy her for the longest time..."
"And you know how that ended up, didn't you?" Harry replied. "One soggy kiss, and she was fully dressed at the time."
"Oh," Hermione replied. "So you've used your Invisibility Cloak to sneak around and see some examples first hand?"
"No!" Harry replied. "Even if I was that much of a pervert...the cloak wouldn't get me up those steps, would it?"
Hermione smiled, pleased to see Harry just a bit flustered.
"So then, Harry...what made you think that woman's knickers look like this?"
The wizard in question let out a deep sigh, and decided that it was time to reveal two truths...one that was disgusting, and another that was potentially heart-breaking.
"I'm getting dead on my feet," he asked. "Can we continue this conversation sitting down?"
When Hermione said that she didn't care, Harry closed his eyes and concentrated. After a few moments, the Room of Requirement changed its configuration, and replaced the training area with a sitting room. Harry opened his eyes, looked around, then led Hermione by the hand to a comfortable brown leather sofa.
"I've told you some about what it was like growing up at the Dursley's right?"
Hermione nodded, and scooted closer to Harry so that she could drape a comforting arm around his shoulder.
"You know that I was never allowed to watch the telly, and never taken to the movies." When Hermione nodded, he added, "I've never seen muggle porn magazines, or lad rags, and it should be obvious by my clothing that Aunt Petunia has never taken me to a muggle department store."
"Oh, Harry, I know...and we are going to do something about that this summer, I promise."
"Thanks, Hermione," Harry replied. "I guess what I'm saying is that the only place I've seen women's knickers before is, well...it's rather embarrassing to admit..."
Hermione squeezed Harry close to her.
"You can trust me, Harry, you know you can."
Harry smiled, and reached up to squeeze Hermione's hand.
"I know, but what the Dursleys forced me to do...it was so horrible..."
Harry took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly. Tears formed in his eyes as he whispered, "They made me do the laundry."
Hermione paused. She'd been thinking that Harry was about to admit to being abused as a child. Not that having to do all of the cooking and cleaning wasn't a form of abuse in and of itself, but...
"They made you do the laundry, Harry?"
Harry sniffed, and rubbed his face against his shortened robe sleeve.
"I had to do all of the laundry, Hermione...all of it! Oh, I'm so embarrassed..."
Hermione pulled her friend into one of her patented hugs. "Oh, Harry, I'm so sorry..."
Although she wasn't quite sure what she was sorry about...certainly that Harry was so upset, but having to do the laundry didn't seem half as bad as being locked up within a cupboard, or having a cat flap on your bedroom door for meals...
"Was there something particularly horrid about that chore?"
Harry nodded his head, which was buried into Hermione's chest.
"It's why what, Harry?"
"It's why I thought that all women's knickers look that way."
Hermione frowned at this response. She wasn't putting the puzzle pieces together, but didn't want to upset Harry by asking him outright. It wasn't until she looked over his shoulder, and at the transfigured knickers she still held in her hand, that she made the connection.
Harry did the laundry...all of the laundry, including his Aunt's, and if that was the only place he'd seen women's knickers before that meant that...
"Better ask the Room for a bucket, because I'm going to puke!"
"No," Hermione admitted. "But would you blame me if I did?"
"Of course not."
There was a lull in the conversation, before Hermione shook her head and smiled.
"Well, if that's not a mood killer, I don't know what is."
Harry cocked an eyebrow.
"A mood killer?"
"Yes, Harry, you know…something that takes away…"
"I know what it is Hermione," Harry said with a smile. "Guess I was wondering just what kind of mood you were in before this all came out."
Hermione crossed her eyes in confusion. She thought that the hardened nipples that had been poking through her robes were more than information for Harry to answer his own question. So was he being a gentleman again and ignoring her arousal, or just that daft?
Rather than ask that question, or answer the one that he had asked, she changed course. Holding out the sheer black thong, she said, "Guess that I owe you an apology, Harry…I thought that you were just being cheeky."
"No, it's my fault, Hermione," Harry replied. "I should have known better than think that my Aunt fancied something that you'd want to wear." He reached for the knickers. "Here, let me try again."
"Oh, that's okay, Harry..."
"No, I insist," Harry said. "So how should they look? A lot bigger, I imagine, and not so see through…and cotton instead of silk, right?"
Hermione pulled the transfigured knickers back from Harry's grasp.
"No, Harry, these are fine," she insisted. "I love them."
"Oh, please, don't think that you have to wear them just because I made them for you."
"No, really, I want to keep them," Hermione said.
"But...they're obviously not like the pair that I made disappear."
"So describe them to me, and I'll make them right."
Hermione looked at Harry through squinted eyes.
"You want me to describe my underwear for you, Harry?"
"Yeah...how else am I going to know?"
"Well I'd give you a tour of my knickers drawer, just to help repair some of the damage that the Dursley's have done, but...is that the only reason why you want to know?"
Harry stammered out a "no," but the bright red flush of embarrassment that graced his cheeks and ears suggested differently.
"Or would you rather me model a few pair for you?"
"Hermione!" Harry said in exasperation.
She noted that the response lacked a denial.
"Oh, Harry," she said with a loving tease to her voice. "It's not as if they're that much different from the muggle swim costumes that I wear to the beach on hols."
"But I haven't been to the beach, either," he muttered, burying his face into her chest to hide his embarrassment.
Hermione let out a lilting laugh that was borderline gigglish.
"Well, I could have started by modeling what I slipped into this morning, but they've gone missing, haven't they?"
Harry's only response was a groan that caused the patch of skin beneath her collar bone to vibrate in a very pleasing manner.
"Will you look at me for a moment?"
Harry reluctantly pulled his face from her chest and looked into her eyes.
"Do you fancy me, Harry?"
Harry groaned again, and buried his face into Hermione's robes. She pushed his head away and said, "What's wrong Harry?"
"That question," he replied. "Either way I answer, you'll probably hex me."
It was time for a few more missed heartbeats. "Well," she finally stated. "If you think that I'll hex you either way, then you might as well tell me the truth."
Harry looked into Hermione's eyes, trying to fathom the hidden meaning behind her words.
"Do you want to know the truth?"
Hermione smiled, and reached up so that she could cup the side of Harry's face.
"No...I don't want to know the truth...I need to know the truth."
Harry nodded, and pushed forward like the brave lion that he was.
"Yes what, Harry?"
"Yes, Hermione...I fancy you."
The young witch who held Harry in her arms broke into a wide smile. She leaned forward, turned her head slightly, and planted a feather-light kiss on his lips.
Once she pulled back, she caught his gaze once more and asked, "There, now, Harry was that so bad?"
Harry shook his head. "It was rather brilliant, actually...and certainly not wet."
Fire burned within Hermione's eyes. "Well, let me try to fix that, then."
Harry watched in amazement as she slowly dragged her tongue over her lips, before leaning forward for a slightly more aggressive snog. But he stopped her before she could reestablish contact.
"Does this mean that you fancy me as well?"
"Will you hex me if I said yes?"
Harry shook his head. "I think that I'd hex myself if your answer was no."
"Well then," Hermione said with a wider smile. "The answer is yes."
She kissed him, then added, "Now put that wand away...I've got a better place for that hand."
Several minutes passed, during which time, tender words were spoken, bodies were caressed, and spit was swapped.
Hermione was on Harry's lap, urging his lips to explore further down her neck, when she felt a flash of heat on her back. She turned her head, and noticed that the Room had once again changed its configuration.
"Did you ask the room to change?"
Hermione paused in thought.
"Is there a reason why there's a bearskin rug in front of the fireplace?"
Harry broke off providing tender kisses long enough to glance towards the rug and reply, "It looks better there than in your version of Madame Puddlefoot's, don't you think?"
Before answering, Hermione looked about the rest of the room. It was that same comfortable area that Harry had fashioned for their talks...warm earth tones, comfortable leather upholstery, solidly built woodwork. It all seemed so safe, and loving, and inviting...
"Yes, I think that it's perfectly placed now," she decided. Hermione then took a daring next step.
"Would you like to lay down on it with me and test it out?"
Harry sighed. His heart (and loins) screamed out "Yes!" but his head said that this was all a dream, and that even if it was real, that things were moving too fast.
"I would love to test it out with you," Harry replied. "But maybe another night...after we have time to catch our breath?"
Hermione nodded, a little surprised that Harry had been the one to put the breaks on where they both wanted the night to lead.
"It is getting rather late, isn't it?" she said, as she reluctantly pulled herself up off of Harry's lap.
Hermione finished adjusting her robes befire realizing that Harry hadn't moved from the sofa.
"Are you going to stay there all night?"
"No...just until I won't be embarrassed when I stand."
"Why would you be embarrassed to...oh!"
Feeling rather impish, Hermione bent down and retrieved the transfigured thong that had dropped to the floor during their snogging session.
"I don't suppose it would be easier for your...condition...if I were to slip these on?" she asked.
Harry's eyes went saucer-sized.
"No, Hermione, it would only make my...condition...that much harder."
"Oh, I see," she replied. "Better close your eyes, then," she added, as she stepped into the thong, and slipped it up into place.
"Not helping, even with my eyes closed," Harry whined.
"Oh, relax, the show is over," Hermione chided, as she smoothed her skirt and robes.
"Yeah, but just the thought is enough to..."
"Well, taking them off now wouldn't help things much either, so get on with it."
Hermione made no efforts to avert her gaze as Harry reluctantly stood up and adjusted himself in an effort to minimize his waist-high profile.
"Is it uncomfortable, when it gets like that?" she asked curiously.
Harry snorted. "Yeah, but it's something that eventually goes away...either on its own, or...with some help."
Hermione's eyes danced with delight.
"Perhaps I should apologize for causing you pain?"
Harry shook his head. "It's nothing that I can't handle."
"And exactly how do you handle yourself, Harry?"
The Boy-Who-Lived rolled his eyes.
"Speaking of pain and discomfort, how's that bit of string feel up your bumm...ack?"
Hermione laughed as she pulled him into another hug. "Oh, Harry...I do hope we'll get to the point where you'll feel comfortable enough to say the word 'bum' in front of me."
"But you always scold me for language, Hermione."
"No, Harry...I scold you when that kind of language is used in inappropriate situations."
"Oh, I see," Harry replied. He smiled as he pulled deeper into the embrace and dropped a hand down to squeeze her bum. "So there are appropriate situations for me to say the word bum?"
Hermione smiled. "Along with other certain words...yes."
Harry arched an eyebrow. "That almost sounds like an invitation to talk dirty to you."
"Almost," Hermione agreed.
"So," Harry said with delight, "I wouldn't get in trouble if I asked you what it felt like to have that thong tucked-up tight in between your arse cheeks?"
Hermione snorted. "That's pushing it, mister."
"But not too far, then?"
Hermione shook her head. "No," she finally proclaimed with a bit of exasperation.
"So what's it like?"
"What is it like to have that thong tucked-up tight in between your arse cheeks?"
Hermione rolled her eyes and pushed Harry away.
"You know what they say to aspiring authors, Harry?"
"Show, don't tell."
"What's that mean?"
In response, Hermione drew her wand from a robe sleeve and cast a boxer-vanishing charm on her new boyfriend. As he yelped in surprise, she then proceeded to slice off a section of her robe sleeve, and transfigured the fabric into a larger version of the thong that she was now wearing.
"Here you go, Harry," she said with a smile, as she handed him the undergarment. "Slip these on, and see for yourself."
"You can't be serious."
"Of course I am."
"But...it's not like I'm wearing a skirt...can't slip these on over my trousers, can I?"
Hermione replied by casting a trouser-vanishing charm.
"Hey Harry," she said, "I'm starting to get the hang of that spell."
Harry looked at Hermione with disbelief. But knowing her as well as he did, she wasn't about to back down.
Well, then, he decided, then neither will I.
Not willing to even give her the chance to peek through her fingers, Harry ducked behind the sofa and slipped on the man-sized thong. As he stood, he felt the strong need to adjust himself. But rather than give Hermione the satisfaction, he tried to work the problem out by wiggling.
"These thongs are rather uncomfortable, aren't they?" he finally asked.
Hermione smiled as she grabbed Harry's hand and led him towards the door.
"You actually get used to them fairly quickly," she replied.
Harry didn't pick up on the implications of Hermione's response until the trip was almost over.
"Hey, you were right, Hermione," he said, as they finally approached the Fat Lady.
"Right about what, Harry?"
"You do get used to wearing a thong fairly quickly."
There was a pause in conversation that allowed Hermione to giggle and both of them to scamper through the portrait hole. Finding the Common Room empty at what was now a very early hour, they risked a final kiss and warm embrace in front of the dormitory stairs.
"So, Harry," Hermione asked, after their lips parted. "Are you happy about all this as much as I am?"
Harry smiled and nodded. "I'm deliriously happy," he replied. "Except, there's this one nagging question."
"What's that, Harry?"
"How did you know?"
"How did I know what, Harry?"
"How did you know that it doesn't take very long to become accustomed to wearing a thong?"
Hermione gave Harry a very impish smile.
"Why Harry...what do you think I was wearing before you decided to vanish my knickers?"
Hermione was well-positioned to feel Harry's response as it strained against her transfigured bit of sleeve. She chuckled and said, "Don't forget the silencing charms when you handle that problem upstairs."
Harry snorted at Hermione's cheek. Replying in kind, he asked, "And are you going to need to heed your own advice?"
Hermione looked into Harry's mirth-filled green eyes, and pulled him into the final embrace of the night.
The answer was a definite "yes."