Thank you a simple kind of lovely, for beta-ing this story.
I sat in a big armchair in front of a roaring fire. I could feel the smooth velvet under my hand, which clasped an untouched glass of red wine. My head was bowed. My skin was warm from the flickering flame, but inside was a hollow chill that rarely left. A ghost of the past resided there, ever haunting.
I heard my wife call. She must have just peeked around the door frame. I could hear her footsteps behind the chair. I didn't move. Finally she came in, blocking the fire from my view.
"Percy, stop," she told me as she grabbed the wineglass from me, setting it on the mantle.
I looked up at her with sunken eyes. She was so beautiful. I don't think I'll ever know why she choose me. My head bowed back down.
Hermione knelt down in front of me, lifting my chin with her hand. I didn't want to look in to her eyes; if I did, I would see all that emotion. I tried to lower my head back down, but she held me there and I didn't have the strength to look away.
"Hermione, I," I grabbed her wrists tightly. "I can't. You don't understand. It's my fault."
She positioned her hands on my cheeks. I still held on to her wrists.
"It's not your fault," and then she leaned in and kissed me.
I hadn't realized it, but I needed that ounce of love so much. I let go of her wrists, and instead found her waist with my arms, pulling her closer to me. She snuggled up to me, soon on my lap. Our lips were still attached. We pulled apart for breath, her smiling. The corners of my mouth turned up in a weak attempt, and at that moment, I knew she could see what I was thinking.
"Percy, there is nothing you could have done."
"I was there, Hermione. I saw him die. I was so helpless," I looked in to her eyes pleadingly, willing her to understand.
"Being helpless means there was nothing you could have done. You have to stop beating yourself up. Fred wouldn't have wanted you to."
I sighed. Fred. I didn't miss his jokes or pranks that he was constantly playing, or the noises that came from his room that hindered me from working during the summer. When he was alive he was a constant nuisance and bothered me to no end, but his absence left a notable hole. I had forgotten the times he made me laugh, and cheered me up. He was supportive in those few moments when I needed him to be, and although it didn't seem like it, knew where the line was.
I blinked a tear away. I missed him, I missed him so much. I had deserted my whole family. I came back to them in a broken world, and Fred had died.
"But what if I had never left?"
I looked at her for an answer. I don't know what I wanted her to say, but I needed her to understand what I felt. She looked at me and had a look of exasperation on her face. I knew what she was thinking. She wanted to just gloss it up, but she knew I would accept nothing but the truth.
"Maybe it would have been different," she said. I sighed and closed my eyes. Hurt from the guilt I felt washed over me. "But we can't do anything about that. Think of the joy you brought everyone when you came through that portrait hole, when you returned. Especially Fred and George. You saw their faces."
I smiled in recollection. I felt Hermione's lips against mine once more before they were lifted. She trailed her lips against my chin, down my neck, and onto my collarbone. She gave me an affectionate nip, and I felt her smile against my skin. She started to undo the buttons of my robe, leaving in their wake a kiss. I bit my lip, holding in a moan. My eyes were still closed when she reached the last button, sliding the cloth off of my arms.
Warm air tickled my skin and I finally opened my eyes when I felt Hermione slide off my lap. She stood in front of me, unclasping her own work robe. She had soon discarded her robe as well as her panties, and once again, her lips locked on to mine. She positioned herself on top of me, her knees to either side of my legs.
I kissed her, hungry for more. I felt her hands at my hips, dipping below the elastic of my boxers. Her hands were smooth and warm against my skin. She stroked my flesh lightly until I let out a groan and pushed in to her hand.
Hermione smirked, and pulled the thin fabric down my limbs, exposing me.
She removed her mouth from mine, bent down and kissed the head before raising herself up and lowering on to my shaft, moaning as she went.
I watched her in fascination. Her eyes were shut as she began the familiar pumping motion. She had a ghost of a tan from the previous summer when my brothers, Ron and Charlie, taught her to ride a broom with an amount of elegance. I leaned forward and placed a kiss in the middle of her chest.
She was ecstasy. Pleasure from her actions filled me. Whatever she did sparked electricity that ran thorough our bodies. I smiled.
I heard her whisper, "Percy," before tightening in the moment of release. I followed in her exculpation, and even if only for a moment, all contrition disappeared.
Hermione adjusted herself so that I was no longer in her and collapsed in to my arms, where I held her. She is so precious, and I don't ever want to let her go. I may not know why she choose me, because it certainly was her that choose me, not the other way around, but I'm sure as hell glad she did.