"That man is impossible! He's insufferable! He's…"
"Got her completely hooked,"
Hermione started at the unexpected intrusion to her ranting. She spun around to confront the twin owners of the snide comment.
Fred and George Weasley smirked from their comfortable places on the sofa. Their matching red-heads cocked to the left, a sure sign of trouble.
"What are you two doing in here?" she demanded, warily eyeing the room for danger.
"It's a library, Hermione. Why wouldn't we be here?" Fred replied, casually, but with a hint of…something, amusement?
"Yes, but what are you two doing in the library? I didn't think you even knew where it was."
The brothers winced, feigning wounded features.
"We're right hurt by that,"
Hermione snorted. "Right, I just bet you are. Now tell me what you did, because if I'm somehow disfigured or naked or something…I swear you'll both be very sorry!"
Matching eyebrows shot up.
"Naked you say? Now why didn't we think of that, George?"
"Don't know, Fred, but it's a brilliant notion,"
"We should look into such a prank,"
"Indeed, we should,"
"Unless mom or Ginny are about,"
Twin grimaces twisted their impish features.
"Boys!" Hermione barked, dwindling on patience. "Focus!"
Both boys rose to their feet as if they were somehow joined at the hip and moved towards her.
"What's got you in such a tiff, love?" Fred inquired, sounding genuinely concerned.
She exhaled, praying for patience. "I'm just having a rotten day, and would appreciate some peace and quiet!"
"Had a row with Black again, did you?" George piped in, ignoring her statement completely.
At the mention of the ex-criminal, Hermione tensed. Her temper reached a boiling point and she all but spit fire from her mouth and eyes.
"Oh, that man… that man should be locked away! He should be bashed upside the head, dunked in cement and tossed into the deepest, darkest part of the ocean! He should be cut into strips and fed to a Thestral! He should…"
"I wonder if it hurts, George," Fred whispered, wide-eyes never leaving Hermione's flushed and enraged features.
"Thinking the same, mate," George replied, blinking rapidly at her as if she'd magically grown a second head.
"What are you two talking about?"
The twins shrugged, never taking their eyes off her.
"We were just wondering if all that pent-up sexual frustration hurt,"
It was Hermione's turn to blink. "Sexual…what are you two on about?"
"Well, you and Black…"
"There is no me and Black and never will be!"
The twins nodded.
"Right, because you hate him," Fred agreed,
"Despise even," George confirmed,
"Wouldn't at all worry if something should happen to him,"
"Would walk right over him if he were dying in the middle of the street,"
Hermione frowned. "I wouldn't go so far to leave him dying in the street, think of the children that might see his corpse. I couldn't live with myself if they were traumatized by the sight."
Grinning, the two exchanged sly glances and started for the door.
"Hey, where are you two going?" she called after them,
"Just leaving you to your peace and quiet, love," George called back before disappearing from sight.
Baffled by the two, Hermione snatched up the book she'd been reading before the interruption off the coffee table and flopped down on the worn and lumpy sofa. Dust floated around her, making her wonder just how long it took before a place was truly clean. Molly Weasley had been dusting and polishing number twelve Grimmauld place for nearly two years now and the manor was no closer to being clean than it had been before the Order had made it their headquarters. The place was just too old, too unused and forgotten, but it had a library made for dreams. Every volume she could possibly want lined the dusty shelves. She could live there for the rest of her life and still never make a dent. It was perfect. The world was perfect when she was in the library, until he came around.
Sirius Black, ex-Azkaban escapee, marauder and Harry Potter's Godfather, a man with a single mission in life, to make her life a living hell. Ever since his announced freedom from the crimes he'd been sentenced for and found guilty of, he'd done nothing but frolic about uselessly wherever she happened to be, asking her random questions when she was working, poking fun at her when she was most frustrated or upset, forcing her into conversations when she'd rather just read. He went out of his way to frustrated her, and the devil knew it.
She'd entertained the notion of simply ignoring him, but the man made even that impossible, strutting around the manor with his shirt unbuttoned, his hair tussled and the most…seductive, five-o-clock shadow darkening his chiseled jaw. Couldn't the man at least attempt to look decent? Couldn't he for once button his rumpled blouse and not torment her with the sight of his pale, clear-cut stomach and rock-hard chest? Why did he constantly crave the need to hypnotize her with his fluid motion, his graceful ascend and silky, smooth drawl? The man had no idea what he did to her with just a simple rake of his long, tapered fingers through his satiny tresses. By the time he'd stalked from the room, she was a melted puddle from the heat and her heart threatened to explode from her chest. He made her that angry, that defensive, that…weak.
Oh, Lord, what was happening to her? Maybe she needed a break, a few minutes to collect herself. She was always left wound up after a disagreement with Sirius, like there was all this extra electricity and emotions warring inside her that she couldn't quite figure out how to get rid them.
A hot bath should help loosen her tension.
Dropping her book back down on the coffee table, Hermione shoved to her feet and padded up to her room to soak for an hour.
"Hermione, we need you out here, quick!" Harry shouted frantically from outside her door only twenty minutes into her relaxation.
Instinctively, Hermione shot out of the tub and grabbed for her towel. She had to remind herself repeatedly that the war was over and the worst thing that could have happened was someone had a run in with a stray boggart hidden in some closet. With Remus and Tonk away on vacation with Teddy, she was the only one who could handle the situation.
"Coming, Harry!" she called, hurriedly dragging on her skirt and blouse, forgoing her underwear in her haste.
The green-eyed, dark-haired wizard met her outside the door, his expression tense and anxious.
"What's wrong?" she demanded.
Something in her chest jolted and for a moment she forgot to breathe as she fought to concentrate on the rest of Harry's words.
"He's trapped…we don't know if he's hurt or…"
"Where is he?" she demanded, already racing for the stairs.
"Hallway closet," Harry called, running after her.
Outside the closet stood a small crowd consisting of the twins, Ginny, Ron and now Harry and Hermione. The others glanced up when she arrived, wand at the ready.
"Did anyone try Alohomora?" she asked, shoving her way to the door.
"We tried everything," Ginny insisted,
"How the hell did he end up locked in the closet anyway?" busy eyeing the keyhole and juggling the doorknob, Hermione missed the look the crowd exchanged behind her back.
"Clumsy, I guess," Ron replied,
Hermione sighed, shoving back a stray curl from her face. "Well, we should get him out, I suppose. Heaven knows what kind of curse is trapped inside with him right now."
The others moved back as she lifted her wand. "Reducto!"
The spell hit solid wood, and nothing happened. Hermione blinked, baffled. It should have been blown to pieces.
"Alohomora!" she snapped, flicking her wand roughly and jumping when the door clicked open and swung outwards.
She turned to the sheepish group behind her. "I thought…"
As if she'd touched a portkey, her navel gave a sharp jerk and she was hauled into the broom closet and the door was slammed shut behind her, pitching her into complete darkness. It was in those few seconds that she realized she'd dropped her wand and stood plastered against something, completely defenseless.
"Son of a…!"
"Language, Miss. Granger,"
Hermione jolted at the brisk response, and the fact that it was coming from above her. "Sirius?"
"No, it's the closet monster,"
Hermione snorted. "Closet case more like it,"
Ignoring his grumbled retort, she reached around her for a way to squeeze some room between them, but they were both backed against the walls, practically stepping on top of each other and the narrow space was barely wide enough to stretch her arms out fully.
"What the hell is going on?" she demanded, absolutely positive this was one of his crazy ideas to distract her.
"How would I know?" he barked in return,
"Because you're always behind these stupid stunts!"
"Well, not this time!"
A brisk knock echoed around them, drawing their attention to the door.
"Don't mean to interrupt your bickering," Fred or George snickered, "But we thought you'd like to know the rules of our game if you want to get out, unless you'd like to remain stuck in there forever…together."
"Fred, George, you're both dead when I get out of here!" Hermione shouted, venomously. "You'll wish Voldemort had gotten a hold of you once I'm done!"
"Don't think so, love," one of them replied, "We're pretty certain you'll both be thanking us by the end of this."
"Keep holding your breath!" she hissed under her breath,
"What are the rules?" Sirius interjected her seething,
They could hear more snickers, some scuffling and finally a response.
"Sirius, you need to determine the color, type and material of Hermione's panties," Hermione's shrill of outrage was ignored, "Hermione, you're not allowed to tell him, show him or give hints. Any prompting from you and the spell will seal and you'll be locked there until we can come up with a counter-spell, which we haven't invented yet so…"
"You can only respond with a yes or no," the other twin picked up easily, "Sirius, you're not allowed to touch until after you've guessed correctly."
"How do we know when I've got it correct?" Sirius asked,
"You'll be unglued," came the answer, "As you must have noticed by now, you're both attached at the pelvis and when you've guessed the right answer, the spell will wear off and you'll be released, but…"
The two inside the closet groaned on unison. "But what?"
"But you won't be released from the closet until you kiss, properly,"
"Fred…George…you both better run when we get out," Sirius growled,
"You as well, Harry, Ginny and Ron!" Hermione supplied
Their threats fell on deaf ears.
"Happy guessing, guys!" the twins sang on unison.
Hermione exhaled, dropping her head back against the wall and closing her eyes. "This is ridiculous,"
"This is certainly not how I pictured myself getting into your panties," Sirius agreed, with a touch of amusement in his voice.
"Well, enjoy it, because this is as close to my panties as you're going to get…Oh my God…!"
Silently, Hermione cursed herself repeatedly. How could she have forgotten she wasn't wearing panties? How was he supposed to guess when there was nothing there? Did that even count? And what worse, Sirius was about to find out her dirty, little secret! She was trapped, pelvis-to-pelvis with the man and she wasn't wearing panties…
"Oh God…!" she whimpered, again, mortification coursing thick and hot inside her.
The spells forbid her from telling him, so she was left to groan, and shake her head. "Just guess already!"
Sirius cleared his throat, awkwardly. "Uh…color, type and material, right?"
She nodded, and realized he couldn't see that. "Yes,"
"Does it have to be in that order?"
"I don't know!" she barked, close to tears, "Just guess!"
Despite herself, Hermione chuckled, shakily. He was almost close. "No,"
He paused, his voice thick and husky when he finally spoke. "Please don't tell me black…"
A smirk twitched around her mouth. "Favorite color?"
He groaned, softly, sending shivers along her spine. "In underwear? Yes,"
Hermione chuckled. "Not black,"
He made a sound between disappointment and relief. "White?"
"What?" she squeaked,
He chuckled. "Just teasing. Pink?"
"You asked that already,"
"Oh, right, uh…red?"
"I'm running out of colors," he complained, "Gray? Teal? Burgundy? Blue? Orange?"
"No, no, no, no, and no,"
He groaned, frustrated. "Ok, uh…brown?"
"Ok, I give,"
Discreetly, Hermione cleared her throat and murmured. "Why don't we try type?"
She knew it was pointless to keep guessing, but what other choice did she have? She couldn't tell him and risk being trapped in a broom closet until Fred and George came up with a counter-spell. Besides, he might get lucky, or she might get unlucky, and he might guess correctly and free them.
Hermione huffed, affronted. "Certainly not!"
She could have sworn she heard him snicker, but it was cleverly disguised behind a cough.
"Thong?" was it just her, or did he sound…excited?
"No," she barked out, sharply.
"Er…what else kind of panties are there? I mean I don't spend a whole lot of time shopping for women's undergarments."
Hermione snorted. "Right, like you don't spend enough time getting them off every hussy and trollop that looks your way."
"Getting them off is different than actually naming and studying them," he retorted, not even bothering to conceal his womanizing ways.
"Wait, why did you guess Granny panties first?" she suddenly demanded, horrified that he thought her so un-sexy that he pictured her in such hideous undergarments.
She felt him shrug. "It's the first one that popped into my head."
She gasped, outraged. "So when you look at me, you think old and unattractive, is that it?"
"I didn't say that!"
"But you implied it!" she shrilled, "You took one, wild guess and assumed I'd wear something so outrageously hideous and…prim!"
"That's not fair!" he barked, "I don't think that at all! I find you very attractive, maybe more than I should!"
"But not as attractive as the flock of…loose women, you bring home nightly,"
"Loose women? You sound like my mother,"
Heat crept into her cheeks and she was momentarily thankful he couldn't see it. "You didn't answer the question,"
His frustrated sigh burst across her face, bathing her tingling skin with the scent of mint. "What do you want me to say, Hermione? That I find you sexy as hell and all I want to do every time I see you is shag you senseless, is that it?"
Hot tears burned behind her eyes. "You don't have to be sarcastic, Black."
"Just get on with this stupid game," she hissed, "I personally have better things to do than be stuck with you in a musty old closet!"
He was quiet for a moment.
"Fine!" he finally seethed, "Boxers."
"I'm a girl!"
"Is that a yes?"
She huffed. "That's a no!"
"Fine! But there are women who wear boxers too!" he muttered defensively. "G-String?"
"Stop shifting!" he huffed, trying to steady her when she nearly slipped.
"You're too tall…I'm practically standing on my tip toes so that my pelvis can touch yours!" she retorted, shortly.
"Put your arms around my shoulders," he instructed,
"Just do it!"
Pinching her lips sternly, she reached out and felt her way across his hot, firm, bare chest to his wide…bare shoulders?
"Sirius, where are you clothes?"
He sighed, heavily. "I was in the middle of taking a nap when I was summoned to save you,"
Her brow shot up in the dark. "Save me?"
She felt him nod. "Ron said you were trapped in the closet and they couldn't get you out…I didn't exactly pause to put my clothes back on."
It sent a strange, little thrill through her knowing he'd been worried enough to run out in only his boxers to save her.
"They told me the same thing, only I was in the middle of a bath," she explained,
"At least you're dressed," he murmured, "Aren't you?"
A chuckle poured out when his hands wondered along her arms to rest on her shoulders. "Yes, I'm dressed,"
Sort of. She added silently.
"Damn it," she heard him mumble under his breath, then louder he said. "Ok, hang on."
Circling his shoulders with her arms, she waited, curious to see what he'd do next.
His hands fell away from her shoulders and trailed lazily down her sides until they cupped her hips.
"Trust me," he murmured, voice husky and strained.
Hermione could only nod, cotton-mouthed.
Gingerly, he tugged her skirt up and bunched it slightly around her hips.
"Sirius…" she whispered, breathless and dizzy.
"I know," he rasped, before lifting her back against the wall and wiggling between her thighs. "Put your legs around me."
Trembling, she did as he asked, wrapping her legs around his waist and resting directly over his…
"Do you have your wand in your pocket?"
A strangled chuckle vibrated against the side of her neck. "What pockets, love?"
"Oh!" she squeaked, face flaming.
"Just ignore him," he soothed, his face still nestled against the thundering pulse on her throat. "He gets frisky around pretty women."
Like a bucket of ice-water had dumped over her head, the heat left her and she sat rigid in his arms.
"Only you could make jokes about such a thing, considering all the 'pretty women' it has been frisky around," she griped,
"Can we get on with this, please?"
He pulled his face back, breaking the warm contact. "Well, I don't want you having to endure anymore painful moments with me,"
Hermione winced at her own words thrown back at her. "Sirius…"
"Ok, I don't know anymore," he grumbled,
"Well, on to materials then, I guess," she sighed, already feeling tired. Part of her actually ached with the desire to rest her head on his shoulder and just doze for a few minutes.
He shrugged. "I'm just saying them as I go,"
He made a deep, growl of irritation and dropped his head back against the wall. The loud thunk, made her wince.
"Damn it, Hermione, I've gone through every color, type and material I can think of…fuck, if I didn't know better I'd say you weren't wearing any at all!"
Involuntarily, Hermione stiffened.
He caught the tension and went rigid as well. "You are, aren't you?"
She hesitated only a moment. "No,"
He growled a stream of very colorful cuss words and dropped his forehead down onto her shoulder. His 'wand' twitched against her, bringing a flood of heat washing over her. His fingers tightened, almost painfully on her thighs.
"I was in the bath…" she tried to explain, her voice squeaking. "I…"
"This isn't your fault, sweetheart," he whispered, stroking her jaw with each word. "I just can't believe my rotten luck."
"Rotten…luck?" she whispered, trying and failing to conceal the hurt in her voice.
Of course it was rotten luck. He probably wanted one of his supermodel girlfriends to be in the closet with him, not some bushy-haired bookworm who he pictured in granny panties.
"I didn't mean it like that," he murmured,
"It's ok," she lied, struggling to keep her voice even. "I know you'd rather be somewhere else right now…"
"You're wrong," he whispered, his warm breath tickling her lips. "This is exactly where I want to be…"
"But not with…"
"Yes, with you,"
Her heart leapt. "What about all your other girlfriends?"
"When's the last time you've seen me with another girl, Hermione? As soon as I realized my feelings for you, I haven't even glanced at another bird."
"What are you saying, Sirius?"
"I want you, Hermione," he murmured, touching her face lightly, "I think I've wanted you for so long that I can't even remember when it all started. I'd watch you by the fire and all I could see was the way you'd nibble on your lips or smile so unexpectedly at something you were reading. I know you think I annoy you to be a jerk, but that's not it. I want to spend time with you, talk with you; I want you to smile at me, laugh with me. I want you to spend as much time with me as you do reading. Even if we're arguing, I just want to hear your voice. I know I must sound so stupid, but I love you…"
She kissed him with everything burning inside her, telling him without words her love for him. Her fingers knotted in his silky tresses and held on tight as he molded her harder against the wall with his body and returned her hunger. Their panted breathing and strangled moans filled the cramped space, drowning out the soft click as the door opened, revealing the five pairs of eyes peeking around the corner.
"I knew it would work," Fred snickered,
"Should have used this on them sooner," George agreed,
"You do realize we're all dead once they get out of there, don't you?" Harry pointed out, already doubting his decision to help. Facing Voldemort was a piece of cake compared to Hermione's wrath.
The five exchanged terrified glances.
"Maybe we should spend the night at the Burrows," Ron suggested, voice squeaking.
Ginny quickly agreed. "Just until they cool down…"
It was quickly settled and they started for the door, but not before Fred and George paused and glanced back.
"Do you suppose we should have told them there was never any spell?"
They caught the other's eye, smirked and shook their heads. "Nah!"
Quietly, the group hurried from the manor, leaving the couple to consume each other in privet.
It was much later when Hermione pulled back from Sirius and exhaled, heavily.
"What's wrong, love?"
"You know what this means, don't you?"
He frowned, curious.
"We're going to have to thank Fred and George for being meddlesome troublemakers."
His brow arched. "And you're grinning like the cat who ate the canary, because…?"
She pecked his nose. "I know just how to pay them back, along with Harry, Ginny and Ron."
A sly smirk spread across his handsome face. "My clever witch,"