WARNING: Non-epilogue compliant. Other than that, this fic can be completely canon-compliant. As for other warnings, not much for now. I'm going to go ahead and rate this T for future chapters.
DISCLAIMER: I, alas, do not own anything recognizable. The wonderfully talented J.K. Rowling owns all of this, and I am merely playing with her world for my own amusement.
A/N: This is for my best friend Hamaliel. He was bemoaning my tendency to write slash the other day, and I asked him what he'd like instead. (And since he's kind enough to edit for me, I decided that I'd write him a present!) He informed me that Harry and Hermione were supposed to end up together, so would I please write a story with the two of them? I agreed (of course), and here's chapter one. Enjoy!
More Than Friends?
"Call me in a couple of days?"
"Of Course," Hermione replied. "We're still friends, you know." She smiled at this, and Ron found himself smiling back. "Good luck," she added. Ron grimaced, thinking about the family scene he was about to cause. Then he shook his head, smiled again, and hugged her good-bye. Hermione walked a few feet outside the door, turned on her heel, and vanished.
She popped up in front of the door to a flat near downtown London. She knocked briskly, and the door soon opened. "Hey 'Mione! Come on in! Can I get you anything?" Harry asked.
"Tea would be lovely," Hermione replied, "and I have a favor to ask you." Her tone was serious, and Harry immediately focused his full attention on her.
"Hermione, whatever you need, you'll have it," he said seriously.
She knew he meant it. They'd been best friends since their first year at Hogwarts, and she knew very well that he'd give her anything she needed. Or Ron, for that matter. And they'd do anything for Harry. She smiled a bit as she sat on his sofa. "Don't worry Harry, it's nothing too terrible, I promise." The serious look on his face melted into a slightly more relaxed expression, and he sat down beside her.
"It's Ron and I," she said, taking a deep breath to steady herself. "We've called off the engagement, and I'm moving out of the flat. I was wondering if I could stay here for a few days, until I decide what to do?"
"Stay as long as you want," Harry answered. "You can have the guest room for as long as you need it." Hermione nodded her thanks, and then a shrewd look overtook her face.
"You don't look very shocked, Harry. Why is that, exactly?"
Harry grinned in response. It was such a Hermione thing to say, and he knew she wouldn't rest until she knew the whole story. He thought about making her work for it, but decided she'd probably had enough for one day.
"I've seen it coming for awhile 'Mione. The two of you never seem to be in the same place lately. Mentally, I mean. And you always look strained when you're together. I knew something was wrong, I just didn't know how to ask about it," he trailed off.
Hermione sat there in shock. "Was it that obvious?" she asked.
"I don't think so, but you're my best friends. We've all be together for years. I don't think Ron's family sees it though. Probably because they don't want to. That's how it went when Ginny and I fell apart."
Hermione nodded, remembering that particular episode. It had happened years ago, and Mrs. Weasley still held out hope that her only daughter and Harry would end up together. Ginny, however, had finally been convinced otherwise, and seemed perfectly happy dating around and having fun. She was, after all, only 22, and although Hermione herself was only 23 she felt much older.
"Has Ron gone to the Burrow?"
"Yes," Hermione replied, and this time she smirked a little. "That ought to be fun. Poor Ron. I offered to go with him, but I think he was afraid his mum would tear me apart."
Harry laughed aloud at that comment. "He's probably right, you know. Best you stay here. Want to unpack your things and grab dinner? Or would you rather I left you alone for a bit?"
"Alone, I think" Hermione replied. "And thank you Harry. This means a lot to me." "Don't worry about it Hermione. That's what friends are for," Harry said. He pulled her into a brief hug, and then left the room.
Hermione sat gazing around Harry's guest room, 'My room', she corrected herself. She'd just finished unpacking her things and was wondering what came next. She wasn't hungry, had no desire to speak to anyone, and sleep was out of the question for the moment. She absently gazed out the window, wondering what on earth she was going to do now.
She'd been with Ron for 6 years, since they were 17. She loved him, just not in the right way. As the years had passed, he'd become more like a brother and less like a lover to her, and it had been the same with his feelings for her. It still could have worked, she supposed, except that they wanted such different things out of life. She wanted to do something, have a career; make a difference to the world is some way other than defeating Voldemort. She wanted children, certainly, but that was years away. She wanted a partner, an equal. She wanted to share the housework and the cooking and everything else. But Ron….
After Uni., Ron had joined the ministry's auror program. She'd supported him in his decision, but she couldn't give him much more than that. He wanted a wife who would stay at home. Kids. A home and family much like the one he'd grown up with.
The last few months had been miserable. They'd fought constantly about everything, and how neither of them could be what the other wanted. So they'd ended it today, and Hermione was sure Ron was just as relieved as she was. For the first time in over a year she felt like she could breathe.
Deciding on a course of action, she crossed over to her desk and grabbed some parchment and a pen. She sat for a moment, gathering her thoughts, and then began to write. She knew what she wanted, and she fully intended to get it.
She finished her note, sealed it, and sent it off with her owl Hamaliel. Deciding she was hungry after all, she left her room in search of Harry and dinner.