Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the wonderful world of Harry Potter.
Hermione Granger thought she knew about love between a man and a woman. She thought that she understood the concept of being in love. She certainly believed that she had been in love, that she had loved with her entire being. However, when her relationship with Ron had ended, she realized that she hadn't been in love. They had come the conclusion that they had a brother-sister kind of love and this had been clear when they had tried taking their relationship to the next level – when they had gone to third base – and both of them had felt equally weirded out. They had talked the entire night and come to a mutual understanding that they were better off as friends. This had been three years ago. Ron had dated started dating Luna Lovegood a year after they had broken up and were now going to get married in a month.
As for Hermione, she had dated, but she had never gone out with any man more than a few times. She didn't feel a spark with any of them and what was the point of dating anyone if you just felt indifferent to the person? This on the other hand, had made it difficult for her to meet anyone new in the recent year – apparently word had spread that she never let anyone get beyond snogging on her couch and this had inadvertently given her the nickname "Ice Queen" – she had been told this on the last date she had had, almost eleven months when she had hexed her date for not listening to her demands to not put his hand down her pants. "You truly are the Ice Queen everyone says you are," the man had spat at her before he left. She hadn't accepted anymore dates after that.
Ron and Hermione had become better friends when they broke up. With the loss of the sexual tension between them and the "oh, does she/he like me, do I tell her/him?" no longer a problem, they had more or less stopped bickering that same day. They had become closer because now they could talk about anything. They had seen each other naked and if they could live through that, they could definitely talk about everything from everyday occurrences to sexual conquests and problems. However, Hermione had not mentioned the real reason for why she had stopped dating – she found it too humiliating to talk about it and if it came out that Ron already knew about her demeaning nickname, her heart would break since that meant that he had kept the information from her.
She and Harry, however, had experienced a bit of a fall out the last couple of years. Hermione had gotten a bit snippy about Harry's personal life and he hadn't taken that too well. As a matter of fact, they had barely spoken in the last year. After Hermione had scolded Harry about being just a tad too promiscuous, Harry had rebuked by saying that she was an uptight goody-toe shoes that just really needed to get laid. This had resulted in them not talking for two whole months and the situation was still tense between them.
When she thought about it, Hermione could understand that Harry wanted the lifestyle he currently had. He had lived a big part of his life with one responsibility after the other and when he finally had gotten rid of Voldemort, all his responsibilities had suddenly disappeared. For the first time in his life, he could finally live without looking over his shoulder, do whatever he wanted to do and just live life on his own terms. Hermione had kindly reminded him about his dream of settling down and start a family. Harry had kindly told her to mind her own business. From there, things had just gotten worse. Ron had, of course, gotten caught in the middle. He had flat out told them that he refused to choose a side, because he was friends with them both, but mainly he just thought they were being ridiculous.
The past couple of months though, there had been another reason for Hermione's dislike of Harry's personal life. After one pub night, when Hermione had suddenly up and left when she had seen Harry dancing quite shamelessly with a voluptuous brunette, Ron had come after her to see what was bothering her. She had told him, quite frustrated, that she didn't know what her problem was.
"Hermione, it's like you're in love with him or something, with the way you're acting," Ron had said, half-joking, half-serious.
"Don't be ridiculous, Ronald," Hermione had snapped at him, her words slightly slurred due to the drinks she had been drinking. "I'm just bad tempered because I haven't had sex in a year."
Ron had tilted his head and given her a weird look.
"Hermione... You told me a few months ago that you're still a virgin."
Hermione had flinched at that and then informed him that whenever she rambled when she pissed that he was to stop her before it got out of hand. Obviously she had just said that because she was joking. Ron had given her a skeptical look, but she just had apparated home, clearly annoyed.
Home was Grimmauld Place. After Harry had rid the world of Voldemort, the trio had stayed at the Nobleand Most Ancient House of Black over the summer, tidying it up and just simply relaxing. In the fall they had gone back to Hogwarts to finish their last year and after graduation they had made a permanent home at Grimmauld Place. Kreacher took care of the cooking and the cleaning and was becoming quite an affectionate little House-elf. Who knew that all he wanted were some kind words and appreciation?
When she had come home and settled into her bed after that pub round, Hermione had carefully thought back on Ron's words about being in love with Harry.. She had always found him immensely handsome and in the last year he had gotten even more appealing due to the huge newfound confidence in himself. Harry had become aware of the effect he had on women and he had started taking advantage of it. Of the situation, of course, not of the women themselves – he always made it painfully clear that if a woman were to follow him home, it would be purely sexual, nothing more. Witches in general seemed to have no problem with this. If they wanted to have sex with an obvious gorgeous and sexy wizard or if they simply wanted to roll around in the sack with the famous Harry Potter, Hermione didn't know. Perhaps it was a mix of the two.
Hermione had fallen asleep, her last thoughts about Harry. In the morning, she had woken with a start and uttered a soft moan as the memories of the dream she had just had came crashing back. Harry caressing her naked body, Harry kissing his way from her mouth downwards, Harry making her writhe under him in ecstasy, Harry making her scream his name as he moved inside her... She had closed her eyes and then let her hand trail down into her knickers, feeling that the fabric was very damp indeed. Her fingers had then settled on the sensitive, little bud which was the only place she knew of to get sexual pleasure, and she had rubbed it gently, not needing much friction to accompany the vivid pictures of her dream. When she came, only a few minutes later, she knew that she had just experienced the most powerful orgasm of her life. She had stayed in her bed afterwards, panting madly, her whole body tingling from the after match of her climax. Then she had put her robe on and gone down to the kitchen, her entire being screaming for a cup of coffee.
She had been shocked to find both Ron and Harry at the kitchen table. Harry never brought girls to Grimmauld Place, he preferred going their homes instead of having them ogling his. Besides, it was easier to come up with an excuse to leave in the morning instead of having them thrown out. But that particular morning, it had only been eight o'clock in the morning. Either Harry's latest conquest had kicked him out super early or Harry had never gone home with the brunette in the first place. The boys had looked up when a floor board creaked under her. She had stayed in the doorway, hesitating, unsure whether she was welcome to join them or not. Ron noticed this.
"Hermione, since when do you hesitate before joining us? Get your ass over here," he had demanded as he poured her a cup of coffee.
Hermione had smiled and tiptoed over to the table. She didn't dare look at Harry, but she could feel that he was watching her.
"Look, I know we haven't been on great terms lately, but when you just left yesterday, I got worried about you," Harry had said quietly, sounding more like the old, caring Harry she missed so.
She met his gaze and another memory from the dream flashed through her mind. Harry snaking his arm in under her, holding her closer as she arched her back, his thrusts slow but hard, his burning gaze never leaving hers. Hermione had gasped then and had flown up from the chair, knocking her cup over in the process. Ron and Harry had gotten to their feet as well, their postures ready for anything, their eyes alert. Aurors in training, indeed.
"What, what is it?" Harry had wondered, his eyes searching the kitchen for an intruder.
Ron, on the other hand, had watched Hermione like a hawk. He noticed her flushed cheeks and the way she tried pulling her robs tighter around her body. He saw that her mouth was open and he noticed the heavy heaving of her chest.
"No-nothing," Hermione had manged to get out. "I just remembered that I, uh, have a meeting with my research partner, and that I, uh, need to go get ready."
With that she had fled the room, leaving a puzzled Harry and a suspicious Ron behind. She had sat down on her bed, her forehead resting heavily in her hands. What is going on with me? she asked herself. First I dream about Harry, then I masturbate to the images of said dream and then I can't even look at him without thinking about those wonderful things he did to me. Merlin, maybe Ron is right. Maybe I have feelings for Harry. After a little while, there had been a knock on the door and then Ron had entered with a cup of coffee in his hand.
"Here," he had said, holding out the cup to her. "You never had any in the brief time you were downstairs."
Hermione had given him a grateful smile and taken a long sip of the hot beverage.
"So are you going to tell me what just happened down there?" he had asked her when she didn't volunteer any information. "And don't give me any crap about a meeting with your research partner. That might fool Harry, but I know that you only meet up with him on Tuesdays."
She had only given him a weary look and taken another long sip of her coffee. Ron had sighed, sitting down on the bed next to her.
"Hermione, since when can't you look into Harry's eyes without gasping and fleeing from him?" he had wondered and when he had seen the look in her eyes, he knew he was on to something. "Forgive me for saying this so bluntly, Hermione, but you looked turned on. And it seemed to terrify you."
Hermione had put her cup on the nightstand, her hands to shaky to be able to hold on to it. Ron had taken one of them in his own, caressing his thumb gently over her palm.
"I don't think you want to hear about it, Ron," she had said, knowing how much he had hated to stand in Harry's shadow.
"What, about you getting turned on simply by looking at our best friend?" he had scoffed. "Perhaps I need to hear it now, 'cause it's most likely a lot worse in my mind. Seriously, Hermione. I'm not jealous at Harry anymore. I'm at Auror school and I'm together with a beautiful, wonderful girl. Please tell me."
She had told him, with as few words possible, about her dream, what she had done when waking and what really had happened in the kitchen.
"I'm just confused, Ron. I've never felt anything like this before. I just need sometime to deal with it."
"What are you going to tell Harry?"
"I'm not going to tell him anything. I'm going to leave the house now for a few hours to make him think that I really had a meeting."
Ron had sighed at her words, but had refrained from commenting. It was not his place. He just had to accept that she needed to do this her own way.
This had been almost four months ago. It hadn't taken Hermione long to realize that she fancied Harry, fancied him like she had never fancied a man before. This had made her avoid him whenever they were both home and made her even more snippy when the whole gang was out drinking. And now, Hermione was half-sitting in her bed, looking out one of the enchanted windows and thinking about the disastrous ending to yesterday's outing.
* Flashback *
An angry Harry pulled an equally angry Hermione with him outside so that they could speak to each other without hollering to be heard of the loud music of the club. He let her go the minute they got outside and he gave her a glare.
"Look, Hermione, you really need to stop telling me what to do and what not to do," Harry barked, sounding absolutely furious. "I'm tired of your snide comments and the way you're always looking down your nose at the way I've chosen to live my life. Back. The fuck. Off."
His last words had been said slowly, determinedly. Any normal person would have done as he demanded, but since when was Hermione Granger one to back away from an argument?
"Fine. You go live the life you claim you want," Hermione snapped at him, glaring daggers at him. "But as for looking down my nose at you, I'll stop doing that when you stop looking down your nose at me!"
Harry started, caught off guard by her comment.
"Oh, you think I didn't hear you say to your latest little slut how I am the most uptight person you know? That if a man could just shagged me silly, I could get the plank keeping my back so stiff out of my ass?"
Harry had the decency to look ashamed, but he didn't do anything to try to argue with her that she was making things up. Hermione's eyes teared up.
"I feel like I don't know who the hell you are anymore, Harry. I never thought you to be capable of saying something like that behind my back – to someone you barely know even. Yes, I might question the lifestyle you have chosen, but I tell you how I feel, not everyone else."
Harry still didn't say anything. They just stood there, looking at each other. After a while, Hermione started to feel the cold wind affecting her skin. It was an unusually cold May evening and she shivered slightly. Harry noticed and shrugged out of his new Armani jacket (yes, he was a slave to expensive, muggle brands these days). He handed it to Hermione who put it on without a word.
"I don't know how we're going to be able to resolve this when you seem so intent on doing all you can you get under my skin," Hermione said, finally breaking their eye contact. "Merlin knows how many times you talk like that behind my back..."
"But Hermione, you were the one who started... well, everything."
"I expressed concern about you!" Hermione shouted as she stomped her foot. "I saw my best friend change into someone we made fun of at school! I saw you becoming the complete opposite of the man you've always said you wanted to become! You were the one who let it get out of hand when you so kindly informed me that I needed to get laid!"
"Well, you do!" Harry shouted back at her, his eyes blazing with fury. "I would do you good to get laid again, 'cause I remember a time when you still knew how to have fun, a time when you weren't so bloody uptight!"
Before Hermione could stop herself, she slapped Harry as hard as she could across the cheek. Harry was completely taken by surprise and stumbled into the wall behind him. His hand flew up to to his cheek and he gave Hermione a shocked look. Tears were flowing freely down her own cheeks and she was so sad, hurt and angry at the same time that she barely knew what to do next.
"If you are so intent on getting me laid, perhaps you should do the honors yourself. You seem to be screwing everything with breasts, and at least I've got that, eh? Then you can see for yourself what a lousy, worthless piece of shit I am in bed and you'll finally know that my uptightness has nothing to do with me not getting laid."
Harry's eyebrows shot up, but before he got a change to say anything, she turned on her heel, and apparated back home.
* End flashback *
Hermione was horrified about what she had said, horrified that she had slapped him. How could she face him now? How could she look at him? She couldn't bare to see the contempt she was so sure she would find in his eyes. At the same moment the thought flitted through her mind, there was a knock on her door. Her heart nearly stopped. Was it...?
"Hermione? It's Ron. Can I come in?"
Hermione didn't know whether to feel relived or disappointed, but she told him to come in. He took one look at her red, swollen eyes and then sighed.
"Oh, Hermione, what the hell happened last night? Have you slept at all?"
Hermione felt her eyes tear up and she shook her head. He sat down beside her and grabbed her hand, but when she promptly burst into tears, he immediately pulled her into his arms.
"I don't know what to do anymore, Ron," she whispered into his neck. "I can't go on fighting with Harry like this."
She told him what had happened last night, her voice breaking every now and then. Ron kept her in his arms through the entire tale, his palms gently rubbing her back. When she was done, she broke free from his arms and got out of bed to get a handkerchief so she could blow her nose.
"Hermione, you need to talk to him. You need to just come out and say it. You want him. Is that so hard to tell him?"
"Yes! I don't want to be just another one of his many women. I want more than that. I deserve more than that."
Ron nodded his head in agreement.
"You do deserve more, especially if the men you've been dating have told you you're worthless."
Hermione's cheeks reddened a bit.
"What? What are you not telling me?" Ron demanded.
She took a deep breath, seriously contemplating whether or not she should tell him about the whole "Ice Queen" thing.
"Have you heard about someone called Ice Queen?" she asked him slowly.
Ron frowned as he thought about it.
"Yeah, word got out about this witch who just would never let anyone get into her pants. Seamus told me a few weeks ago that he had a friend who had dated the infamous Ice Queen a few weeks about a year ago and then got hexed when he tried to get intimate with her and... Oh, Merlin!"
He broke off as realization suddenly dawned on him.
"You're the Ice Queen?" he wondered, sounding absolutely astounded.
"Well, that's what he said! I didn't know if he was just trying to mend his wounded pride or if he was actually telling the truth. He wouldn't listen to me, so I had to hex him to get off me. It was our second date, I wasn't ready to have him touch me there yet."
Ron shook his head and grabbed her hand again.
"Hermione, you don't need to explain yourself to me," he said gently and gave her a small smile. "Is this why you haven't dated for so long? I mean, even before your crush on Harry...."
"Yes, that's why," Hermione interrupted, suddenly feeling very tired. "I haven't slept at all. Can you get me a Sleeping potion from the cabinet in the bathroom?"
Ron looked like this was the last thing he wanted to do, but he did it nonetheless. It was clear that she was simply exhausted. He gave her the potion and then made his down to the kitchen. Harry was there, his head resting on his left hand and he was staring down into a cup of coffee, gently swirling the liquid around with a spoon. He looked absolutely miserable.
"Mate, I just came from Hermione's room," Ron said as he sat down in front of Harry. "She's been up crying all night. What in Merlin's name happened last night?"
Harry sighed deeply.
"I hardly know," he answered unhappily. "It went from her usual snippy comments to her telling me that she doesn't know who I am anymore. I'm starting to think she's right. The things I said to her yesterday..."
And then Harry told Ron his version of what happened last night. Ron noticed that the two versions were more or less identical.
"How come you didn't put healing cream on the bruise?" Ron wondered when Harry was done.
Harry winced at the reminder.
"I dunno. I feel like I deserve to have it there."
They sat in silence for a moment.
"Ron, I know we've never talked about it before, but you and Hermione... How far did you guys get?"
"We fooled around a lot with out clothes on," Ron answered straight away. "When we got our clothes off for the first time we managed to last ten minutes before we stopped. It was too weird."
Harry looked surprised.
"Oh. I always thought the weirdness came after you had slept together."
Ron slowly shook his head.
"No... We never got that far. Luna is the only one I've ever gotten that far with."
Again, Harry looked surprised.
"But what about all those women you dated before Luna?"
Ron chuckled slightly as he rose from his feet to get himself a cup of tea. Unlike Harry and Hermione, he had never started drinking coffee. He thought the flavor was absolutely revolting.
"Yeah, all five women I dated during the year before I started seeing Luna," he said as he rolled his eyes. "I think I kissed all of them but one, snogged two and fooled around with one of them."
"What happened with the fifth one?"
Ron gave him an annoyed look as he sat back down.
"Oh, you don't remember? We met up with you and the gang at a bar after we had eaten dinner and then you more or less swept in and took over. If memory serves me correctly, you accompanied her home that night."
Harry looked flabbergasted. Ron was sadly not surprised that his best friend had no memory of this event. Suddenly he felt the need to question Harry's way of living out loud.
"Do you even remember her name?" he asked, his tone slightly harsher than he would have wanted.
Harry just looked at him for a moment, then bowed his head in shame.
"You don't, do you? Do you usually not bother to remember their names, since you know you'll never see them again? How many names do you actually remember?"
Harry's tone was begging. If he wanted Ron to stop flinging out questions or if he was realizing that maybe it just wasn't Hermione that had a problem with his choice of living, Ron couldn't tell.
"Whatever, Harry. You'll never hear me say anything like that again. You live the life you want. But you and Hermione need to sit down and have a serious conversation. I'm getting married in a month and that means I'm moving in with Luna. I won't be here to take care of her when you've done something to make her cry."
With that he left the table, leaving Harry to his thoughts.
HP * HP * HP * HP * HP * HP
Hermione didn't wake from her slumber until much later. She noticed that it was way, way past dinner time and she briefly wondered if there was any point in getting up at all. Her stomach grumbled and she realized that she would never fall back to sleep without eating first. She got out of bed and searched for her robe, but she couldn't find it. Kreacher must have taken it to wash it. Glancing on the delicate, silver watch she had around her wrist, she surmised that she most likely was the only one home. It was Saturday and it was already ten o'clock. She was sure Ron was at Luna's and Harry was out finding another floozy for the evening.
With this in mind, she walked downstairs barefoot, wearing nothing but her favorite pajamas, if you now could call it that. It was a sexy thing, actually, that Ginny had given her for her nineteenth birthday, which the younger woman had seen as an affectionate joke between them. Hermione had started wearing it in bed when her too-big t-shirt had shrunk in the wash (Kreacher had been most upset – if Hermione hadn't stopped him, he would have ironed his fingers).
Her new pajamas, then, consisted of a pink camisole with small white dots and a matching pair of really short shorts that left little for the imagination. The camisole barely covered her navel. It had been slightly too small for her when she had first gotten it, but with the stress from her Advanced Potions class and everything with Harry, she had not taken proper care of herself. She had lost more weight than was probably healthy for her, but her breasts remained the same size – something she had found herself being grateful for, because she didn't think her B-cup sized breasts could afford to get any smaller. In any case, the pajamas fit her quite well now. It was loose and tight in all the right places at the same time.
Once down in the kitchen, she fixed herself a sandwich with a boiled egg and some smoked turkey. She put the plate on the table and then grabbed a bottle of butterbeer from the cabinet. After she had muttered a charm to make the content cold, she reached up to get a glass from the top shelf – she had to get up on the tip of her toes to reach one, and at the same moment her fingers closed around the glass, the silence was broken with–
Hermione was so startled that when she twirled around the glass flew from her hand and somehow she managed to knock the bottle over at the same time. She hardly seemed to notice, because in the doorway stood Harry, wearing nothing but a pair of jeans, his hair ruffled and wet. He must have come from the shower. They stood there doing nothing but staring at each other for a long time. Hermione could barely keep her eyes from his chest, still glittering with water drops, while Harry was desperately trying to focus his mind on something besides the image of seeing so much of Hermione's beautiful skin. It was easier said than done, since she was still standing in front of him. What was she wearing? He had never seen her wear anything like this before and it was the first he had ever thought about her as sexy. He saw the heavy rising and falling of her chest, saw how she trembled when she reached back with her hands on the counter to keep steady. Before he knew it, he found himself wondering what it would be like to go over to her and touch her, if her skin was as velvety smooth as it looked from here.
"Hi," Hermione finally said to break the long silence.
Harry swallowed, quite transfixed at the shaky tone of her voice. He clearly wasn't the only one that was affected.
"Hi," Harry breathed back and then tore his eyes from her body to glance around at the mess. "Are you hurt?"
Hermione followed his gaze, seeing the shattered glass and bottle on the floor. There was butterbeer dripping down the counter and the rest of it was in a puddle on the floor.
"No, I'm fine. You startled me."
Harry let out a small chuckle.
"Clearly," he said softly and his eyes landed on her feet. "Hermione, you're barefoot! Don't move, okay? There's glass everywhere."
He started making his way towards her and that's when Hermione saw that he was wearing flip-flops.
"Harry, just repair the glass and the bottle and everything will be fine."
"My wand is in my room," was all he said in reply and the next minute he was close enough to touch her. "Hermione, may I carry you to the other side of the kitchen to get you out of harms way?"
Her breath hitched and he noticed that her eyes were asking why he would want to do such a thing.
"Come on, just let me move you and then I can clean this up before Kreacher comes in and wants to do it himself," he coaxed, knowing that this was the best approach to get her to go along with it.
She gave him a tiny smile.
"Okay then," she whispered, feeling equally afraid as excited.
Harry slowly moved his arms towards her midsection and when Hermione felt his hands gently come around her waist to rest on her back, she had to bite her tongue to keep from moaning. He picked her up so that they came face to face, body to body, Hermione's arms wrapped around his neck, and then he moved her slowly to the other side of the room. They kept their eyes locked with each other's the entire time. Harry didn't want to put her down, but he did nonetheless. With her feet back on the floor, she didn't immediately let him go, because she could feel that he wasn't in a hurry to let her go either.
On the contrary, Harry's hands softly started caressing her back and this time Hermione could do nothing to mask how he was making her feel. Her lips parted and her breathing became slightly labored. This was exactly the reaction Harry had hoped and been waiting for. His hands slid under the silky fabric of the camisole to be able to feel her smooth skin on his fingertips. Hermione let out a surprised gasp. Harry was very pleased to find that her skin was as velvety smooth as it had looked. Hermione's fingers jerked alive, and she slowly traced them down over his naked chest. Harry had so far not betrayed any signs of arousal, but the moment she started exploring his own skin in the same way he was exploring her, his lips parted and he exhaled sharply. He flattened his palms on her back and was just about to lean down and claim her lips when they were interrupted by a loud 'POP' – startled by the very sudden noise in the still silence, Harry and Hermione jumped apart.
To be continued...
AN: Please review! Even if it's just something short, I'd love to hear what you liked and what I should improve.