This is something I originally wrote with the idea that Harry would be drowning his sorrows in a pub with a world-weary bartender taking pity on him, eventually ending in Hermione coming to comfort him. What I got was this little mess. It's rushed, a little disjointed, and only slightly OOC, but I haven't touched fan fiction in a while, and I needed to dust off my writer's arm. So, just take this as it is.
I don't own Harry Potter or any of the affiliated persons, places, and/or other creative property. I do own the fictional Mosley's Pub and the bartender, who is probably not Mosley.
"Harry, listen – "
"What d'you mean 'It's not working'?"
"It's just not. We're alright for a while, and then you just…shut down. I ask you if you're okay, and you just say 'Everything's fine', when it's not, but you won't…open up to me!"
"Because whenever I try, you just…don't get it. You weren't there, you don't understand what it was like."
"And that's why it's not working. Harry, I love you, and that won't ever change, but we're too…different. You've been through hell, and what you saw and did was so awful I can't even begin to imagine it, but…that's just the problem."
"So…this is it?"
"Yes. I hope we can still be friends, but I understand if you…won't want to see me for a while."
"I'll let myself out. I'll…see you."
"Well, say something."
"You've been given your own department?"
"Well not necessarily 'given', Ron, I had to write a paper, submit a lot of forms, get signatures; it was a lot of work. Aren't you excited?"
"Yeah, no, I am."
"You don't sound it."
"You sound angry."
"I'm not. You know, you've just been given a department, Harry's head of the auror office – "
"Oh, for heaven's sake, I knew this would happen! You're jealous!"
"I am not – "
"Ron, you are green in the face because Harry worked hard to earn himself a position that you showed no ambition for and I've spent that last year running myself ragged and finally gotten my own department made while you've gotten nothing for sitting on your arse!"
"Well excuse me for not being a workaholic, for wanting to have some fun in life!"
"Ron, there's a difference between having some fun and spending your whole life slacking off. I worked hard to get this department formed, and Harry risked his life on more than one occasion for a position ten times as dangerous. I will not let you ruin this for me."
"Why don't you run off to Harry then, so you two can become king and queen of the whole damn world?"
"You are honestly…. That's it. Fine, then."
"What, where're you going?"
"To the pub to celebrate. I'll not sit here and watch you sulk because you're a lazy unmotivated arse. And I'm not coming back."
"What d'you mean?"
"Ron, you need some time alone to figure out what's important to you, what you really want out of life. I'll come by tomorrow to collect my things while you're at work. I'll stay with Ginny or Luna, or I'll shack up with Harry like before."
"You're running away to Harry?"
"I'm done fighting, Ron. You need…something I can't offer. I think we made a big mistake in trying for a relationship, but hopefully, we can still be friends again. If not right away, eventually."
"You gonna stare at that thing or drink it?" the bartender asked, wiping dry a mug as he set it on the counter. The boy looked mournfully up at him, and the bartender immediately regretted his harsh tone. This poor young lad was clearly having a bad night. "Hey, sorry, mate. Take your time."
"No, it's alright," the kid said. He didn't even look eighteen yet, but the bartender didn't have the heart to card him. He needed a stiff drink or two. "Just…lost in thought."
"Woman troubles?" the bartender asked, and knew right away he'd hit the nail on the head. The boy's expression went from morose to pained like he'd just been punched in the gut. "Ah, you're still young. There'll be plenty others. Boy, in my time, I been on the other side o' this bar, same as you, more times than I'd care to count. It'll get better, mark my words."
The kid nodded noncommittally and picked up his glass, tossing back the contents in one gulp and surprising the bartender. Kid didn't look like a drinker, but then again, you never knew with teenagers these days.
"That's the spirit," he said, taking the kid's glass and replacing it with a full one. "Go on, this one's on me."
Hermione sighed (for the umpteenth time since she'd left the apartment) as she entered the small pub. She'd specifically chosen a place she'd never been before in case Ron did decide to take the initiative for once in his life and try to find her (though she very much doubted that would happen).
Some unnamable rock tune played in the background, mingling with the sounds of dozens of different conversations and several televisions around the walls tuned to all sorts of different games and sports stations. Making her way through the crowd, Hermione headed for the bar, determined to at least enjoy herself with the help of some alcohol tonight.
"Hey, pretty girl!" a very obviously drunk university boy shouted from a nearby table where he and his friends were watching a football game. "You look lonely. Care to join us?"
"No, thank you," Hermione said, continuing on her way. She heard the boy's friend razzing him as she walked and rolled her eyes, gasping when she spotted an all-too-familiar mop of messy black hair hunched over a drink.
He looked up upon hearing his name and turned, and Hermione felt her heart sink; he looked miserable, though he brightened slightly upon seeing her.
"Hermione? What're you doing in Mosley's?"
"I…fancied a drink," she said, sidling onto the stool next to his and smiling at the bartender. "Vodka martini, dry, please."
"Comin' right up," the bartender said, heading off to make the drink. When he'd left, Hermione glanced sidelong at Harry, who was staring at his drink with such a horribly lonely expression that Hermione wanted to hug him. She put her hand on his arm.
"Harry, what happened? Is it Ginny?"
She felt him tense at the name and knew right away that that was exactly the problem. "Did…did you two have a fight?"
"No," Harry said, his voice heavy. "There wasn't even a fight. She just…broke up with me."
"Oh, no!" Hermione said as the bartender set her drink down in front of her. "Oh, thank you." She fished a note from her purse and set it down, but the bartender had already moved on to another customer. Shaking her head, she turned back to Harry. "Why would she do that? You two were getting on so well. Molly was practically planning the wedding already."
"She said…we weren't right for each other," Harry said. "Said it wasn't working. She said we were too different."
Hermione nodded; she could understand that logic. Harry often came across as unapproachable by most (save her) because of what they'd been through. She took a sip of her drink and sighed again.
"Well, if it's any consolation, Ron and I have broken up, too," she said, and Harry looked sharply over at her.
"He's…definitely not right for me," Hermione said. "He wants a housewife who'll sit at home, pop out babies, and ask him how his day was, like Molly. He doesn't want a wife who's more successful than he is."
"Did you finally get that…Ethical Creatures Office?" Harry asked, stumbling over the lengthy name in his inebriation. Hermione giggled.
"The Office for the Ethical Treatment of Magical Creatures," she said. "Kingsley approved it this morning. I've been running around all day setting up offices and reviewing job applications, filling out funding requests, and I get home foolishly expecting Ron to be happy for me."
"What'd he do?"
"Got jealous, of course," Hermione said, building up a full steam. "I mean, he's never lifted a finger more than he has to in his entire life, and he gets jealous of us for working hard to get where we are, like he's entitled to – "
She was stopped mid-rant by Harry's hand over hers.
"I'm happy for you," he said. "Congratulations. Let me know if you need some muscle. You've got the full auror corps behind you."
She looked up at him, feeling her first genuine smile of the night creep across her face. "Um," she spoke past the lump in her throat. "Thank you, Harry."
Harry smiled at her and took a swig of his drink. "So, is that why you're here?" he asked. "Celebrating?"
"Yes," Hermione said. "Even if I had to do it myself."
"Sounds lonely," Harry said, and Hermione shrugged.
"I suppose I would've called you sometime," she said, then giggled. "Even if it was just to drive my sloshed arse home."
Harry chuckled. "Dunno what we're gonna do now," he said. "Walk back to our flats, I suppose."
"Not me," Hermione said, taking a sizable gulp of her drink. "I can't face Ron again tonight. I'll have to shack up with…Luna or someone."
"You'll stay with me," Harry said, emptying his glass and setting it down. The bartender came and swept up the glass.
"Plannin' on drivin' tonight, mate?" he asked, and Harry shook his head.
"Don't even have my keys on me," he said, and the bartender nodded approvingly, filing another glass and setting it down. He looked questioningly at Hermione, who was nearing the end of her drink as well.
"Oh, I suppose another won't hurt," she said. "I appar—I…walked here."
The bartender nodded. "Vodkatini, comin' up."
Hermione turned back to Harry. "I don't want to impose – "
"Hermione, all I'll do if I'm alone tonight is mope around," Harry said, shaking his head. "If you're there, we can mope together and watch a movie or something."
Hermione nodded with a smile. "The Princess Bride?" she asked.
Harry grinned. "As you wish."
Hermione giggled as the bartender served them another round, smiling knowingly at them as he did. "Tonight's on me, you two."
"Oh," Hermione said, eyeing the note she'd set on the counter. "Um, thank you. What's the occasion."
"You two just take care of each other," he said, looking between them. "And open your damn eyes."
He left them, and Harry and Hermione looked confusedly at each other.
"Weird bloke," Harry said.
They finished their drinks and made their way to the front door, skirting past the soccer fans who were now engrossed in their game. The sun had set completely while they pair were in the bar, but the midsummer night was balmy, perfect for a walk back to Harry's flat, which was a few blocks down.
The only problem was, Harry was zonked (he'd apparently tied a few on before Hermione had arrived at the bar), and Hermione was at least tipsy from two vodkatinis.
"Hermi'ne," Harry said as they walked. He could at least walk, but he was swaying dangerously, and Hermione kept a hold of his arm as they went. "Why…I mean…we broke up, and it sucks, but…I kinda feel…relieved? Why would I feel relieved?"
"Maybe you knew it wasn't working, too," Hermione said. "You just didn't want to admit it or something."
"Tha's possible," Harry said. "I didn't…sometimes I just felt like I couldn't…talk to her, y'know? Like no matter how much I tried, she just…didn't get me."
"I can understand that," Hermione said. "You've been through a lot, after all."
"You get me," Harry said, leaning in to place his head against Hermione's, nuzzling her neck and sending Hermione's heart hammering somewhere near her throat. "You've been through the lot with me. I can talk about it all with you."
"I suppose that's true," Hermione said. "Me, you, and…Ron. We've all – "
"Not Ron," Harry said. "He left in fourth year, and you stayed by my side. And then he left when we were hunting horcruxes. You stayed then, too."
"I did," Hermione said. "I couldn't leave you alone."
"Hermione, you should be my girlfriend," Harry said, nodding at his inebriated logic. "You get me, and you can talk about all the shite I've been through, and you…. Hermione, you should be my girlfriend."
"Well, Harry, there's more to it than – "
"And I don't care if you're crazy successful," Harry went on, seeming oblivious to her. "I'll be happy for you. I'll help you. I won't be a jealous little bitch with some huge self-worth issues."
The alcohol seemed to be loosening Harry's tongue in regards to his true opinion.
They reached Harry's flat, and after a two-minute search for his keys ("The fuck'd I put them in my pocket for?") entered, whereupon Harry promptly pushed her against his wall and planted one of the most fantastic, mind-boggling, knee-weakening kisses Hermione had ever been privy to in her entire life. She couldn't believe Harry had ever worried about snogging prowess; it seemed like the man had been put on this earth to kiss. Hermione eventually gathered her wits, intending to plant her hands against his chest and push him away, but she ended up fisting his shirt and pulling him to her. How did that happen?
Thoughts of a movie night were gone as Harry pulled Hermione to him, kissing his way down her neck and to her collarbone.
"H-Harry," she gasped, incapable of anything else really as Harry kissed lower, right at the collar of her shirt. He undid a button, exposing a bit of cleavage, which he saw fit to kiss as well. "Harry we're drunk." He undid another button, showing off a bright purple bra with a bit of lace. "Harry, are you planning to take me to your bedroom?"
"Absolutely," he said, sounding completely unashamed.
"And what would you do with me once you got me there?" Hermione asked, smirking at him.
"Strip you naked and ravage you into the wee hours of the morning," he said, and Hermione felt her cheeks heat up.
"And why should I let you do such dirty things to me?" she asked, and Harry moved in close, leaning in to brush her ear with his lips.
"Because I love you, Hermione Jane Granger," he said, and Hermione shivered all the way down to her toes. "For all the reasons we talked about and a million more I'll be glad to explain to you tomorrow."
"You're just drunk," Hermione whispered, and Harry shook his head, wrapping his arms around her again and pulling her to him.
"You can't tell me this doesn't feel right."
It did, actually. Incredibly right. Any time she got this intimate with Ron, thing had always felt off, awkward, like they weren't in sync, but Harry….
"Oh, sod it," she said, wrapping a leg around his waist. Harry gladly picked her up, carting her off into the bedroom.
They finally got to sleep around six in the morning.
The sound was coming from somewhere across his room. It sounded like…a pager? Or an…electric razor?
He felt a stirring in his arms and wrapped them tighter around his "captive", pulling her close to him. He was a little fuzzy on the details, but he very much remembered taking Hermione to bed last night, shortly after deciding that he was in love with her (something that didn't surprise him a whole lot once he figured it out).
"Mmm, Harry, that's my phone," Hermione said in a whisper. Harry only tightened his grip, and the bed shook as she giggled, squirming in his grip. "Harry, let go."
"Tell me you love me," Harry whispered in her ear, and he felt her still next to him.
"Well, I certainly wouldn't be starkers in your bed if I didn't," she said, rolling over to face him. He finally opened his eyes to see her looking back at him, biting her lip. "Harry, this wasn't just a one-night stand, was it? I mean…it was…absolutely amazing, but…this is all very sudden. I mean, we just broke up with Ron and Ginny yesterday, and now we're…lying naked in your bed."
"And may I say, you look absolutely ravishing," Harry said, his eyes raking up and down her nude figure, and Hermione rolled her eyes as he rolled onto his back, putting an arm around her. Nestling into the crook of his arm, she sighed, trailing a finger through his chest hair.
"Hermione…tell me you love me," he said again, and Hermione smiled.
"Harry, I love you so much," she said. "I was so thick not to realize it, but I think I've loved you since the troll thing in first year."
"God, that was a hell of a year," Harry said reminiscently.
"Hermione, of course I love you, too," he said. "You've literally stuck by my side for the past eight years. I don't know how I didn't realize you were perfect for me sooner. Could've saved us a lot of grief."
"So…this wasn't a one-night deal?"
"Oh, no," Harry said, grinning lasciviously. "Every single night until we die."
Hermione giggled. "Harry if we spend every moment shagging, we'll be dead soon enough."
"I'm willing to take that risk," Harry said, rolling her onto her back and kneeling over her.
While Harry was in the shower ("Harry James Potter, if we shower together we'll never get clean."), Hermione made herself a cup of coffee and checked her recent calls. She had two missed calls from Ron and four from Ginny. Deciding on the lesser of two evils, she called Ginny.
Ring…ring…ri-click. "Hermione? Where have you been all day?"
"Sorry, Gin, had a bit of a lie-in," Hermione said, which wasn't false. "What d'you need?"
"Well…d'you think you could check on Harry sometime today?" Ginny said. "We've, um…we broke up. Or, I broke up with him."
"Oh," Hermione said, and Ginny was silent for a moment.
"I was expecting a bit more of a reaction," she said. "Have you talked to him already?"
"Um – "
"Hermione, you can have the shower," Harry said as he walked into the kitchen, noticing she was on the phone. "Oh, who you talking to?"
"Is that…is that Harry?" Ginny asked. "Are you with him?" She could practically hear the gears turning in Ginny's head. "You two shagged last night, didn't you?"
"You…. But what about Ron! How could you cheat on my brother like that!"
"Ron and I broke up last night, thank you," Hermione said. "We were all wrong for each other, and frankly, I'm surprised we made it this far. Harry and I met up at a pub and…."
"Shagged," Ginny said.
"Yes, Ginny, we shagged," Hermione said.
"Boy, you work fast, don't you?" The derision was thick in Ginny's voice, and Hermione scoffed.
"For your information, we've known each other for eight years!" she said. "And we love each other! So if by 'working fast' you mean getting over relationships that were doomed from the start and finally realizing how we feel about each other, then yes, we work fast!"
At that, she shut her phone, setting it down on the table before giving a great sniff, her eyes stinging. She felt Harry's arms wrap around her from behind, and she leaned back into his embrace.
"So, I guess it was Ginny?" he asked, and Hermione let a sound between a sob and laugh.
"Yeah, that was Ginny. I can't believe she said that. The worst part is, it's true in a way. I mean, I break up with Ron and climb right into bed with you. What does that say about me?"
"That being free of Ron finally made you realize what you'd been denying for years?" Harry said. "That you're hopelessly and madly in love with your very best friend, Harry James Potter?"
Hermione giggled. "Something like that."
"There's my future Minister for Magic!" Harry said as Hermione opened the door to their flat and stepped in, looking weary. "Did you see the doctor on your lunch like you said?"
Lately, Hermione had been feeling a bit ill, occasionally waking up sick to her stomach, and her appetite had suffered as well. Today, she'd gone to see Dr. Roberts on her lunch.
"I did," she said, sounding nervous, which frightened Harry. They moved into the kitchen, and Harry pulled the tea kettle from the burner, reaching into the cupboard the get out some teacups. "It's…nothing life-threatening or anything like that. I'll be fine, actually. But…."
"But?" Harry prompted her.
"Remember…that night? Vodka martini, declarations of love, shagging until six in the morning?" Harry nodded with a small smile at the memory. "Do you remember ever casting a contraceptive charm that night?"
CRASH! The sound of two shattering teacups left a ringing silence as the full realization hit Harry not unlike a rhinoceros likely would.
"Oh," he said. "So…you're…."
I was wary about posting this story, so flame it if you must. I will turn a blind eye to such criticisms, however, and continue on my way.