Title: All the Same
Summary: She laughed in a way that made him both want to smile and rip his heart out simultaneously. "If only it could be you. If I loved you, imagine how much easier my life would be."
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. The song in all chapters is Never Leave by Seether.
Word count: 3803
It's never been the way that I described
Two years after the war, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley shocked the world when they ended their relationship. What made it all the worse was that there was no ridiculous scandal, no atrocious love affair, no monstrously disproportionate blow up. It was over – the end. In fact, they were even determined to remain friends. It left all of Wizarding London upset and confused.
"We simply aren't right for one another, Harry."
"Yeah, mate. It just didn't work out, that's all."
Which made even less sense to him, because Harry couldn't imagine two people more right for each other. Ever since first year, he had known that they would get together and probably even get married one day. Because Ron and Hermione were made for one another – Harry just knew it.
But he kept his mouth shut, because if Harry knew one thing in this world, it was his friends. He knew that Ron and Hermione were stubborn to the bone and that they had to do things on their own, because if he tried to interfere it would only drive them further apart. So Harry remained on the sidelines and hoped to Merlin that the two would come to their senses and, in the end, it would all be the same again.
Ron and Hermione quickly realised that sharing a flat with an ex was not their most brilliant ideas. And, of course, Harry heard it all – from the stories about how awkward it would get to the maddening frustration it led to. The quirks that had once brought them together were threatening to destroy their friendship. So after the two longest weeks of their lives, Hermione decided it was time for her to move out.
The only problem was that she had nowhere to move to.
So on the fifteenth day after the breakup, she recruited Harry and Ginny into helping her find her perfect flat. It was a simple enough task. Unfortunately, with Hermione Granger, nothing could ever just be simple.
"What about the one in Diagon Alley?" Harry asked, exhausted. They had visited probably every bloody available flat in Wizarding London.
"It was nice, but the area was so busy. I prefer someone more peaceful."
"Well, we saw that one outside the city – I'm sure it's plenty peaceful there." Ginny suggested.
"Absolutely not. It had four bedrooms, which is far too excessive for just me."
So it went for the next week or so. No flat ever seemed to suit Hermione's fancy – they were too big or too small, too loud or too quiet, too far or too close. And the longer it took, the further the strain on her relationship with Ron grew. They would bicker, scream, and on more than one occasion, one of them would have to walk out.
In fact, it was on one of the occasions that Harry realised the solution.
Hermione and Ron had got into some spat about something or other (he couldn't even be bothered to remember about what anymore) and she had asked to spend the night at his flat. It was a quiet evening, most of which they spent reading in silence.
"I'm going to make a pot of tea. Would you like a cup?" She asked.
And then, just like that, Hermione set out into his kitchen. She didn't need to ask him where anything was or even how he liked his tea – it was all natural to her by now. Which, honestly, was to be expected, seeing as how she practically lived at his flat now and all. And then, just like that, Harry knew the solution to her and Ron's problem.
"Yes, Harry?" She answered from the kitchen.
"Why don't you move in?"
He was met with a slight pause. "What?"
Harry couldn't help but grin, it wasn't everyday he was able to surprise her. "Move in. I have a spare bedroom and you need a place to stay. I live in Muggle London so it's away from everything, but not so much that it's inconvenient. The landlord has no problems with pets, so you don't even have to worry about Crookshanks."
"I couldn't possibly impose on you like that." She stepped out from the kitchen.
"It wouldn't be imposing; I wouldn't have asked if it would be. Besides," his grin grew. "You practically live here already – Merlin, you even helped decorate the place when I got it. Admit it, Hermione, it's a good idea."
"Well, I suppose you're right." She finally smiled. "Alright, but only until I find a place of my own – I don't want to overstay my welcome."
"Take as long as you need. My home is your home.
One morning, three days later, Harry awoke to soft music and a sweet aroma. Instinctively, he reached for his wand and silently rolled out of his bed, determined to catch whoever had broken into his flat. Before he could even reach the bedroom door, however, his brain caught up with his Auror reflexes and he remembered his new flatmate.
His brows furred slightly and his eyes glanced at the clock. It was barely past seven; Hermione didn't need to be at the Ministry until nine. Harry knew this, because only Aurors were required to clock in at eight. So why in Merlin's name would she be awake so early? As far as he knew, it didn't take Hermione two bloody hours to get dressed in the morning.
He found his answer standing in the kitchen. Hermione must have heard him, because she looked up from the stove and smiled. "Oh good, you're awake. I was worried that it would be too early for you. Sit down, I'm just finishing up."
Harry frowned. "You made breakfast? You didn't have to do that, 'Mione." He explained, but obeyed her and took his seat regardless.
She rolled her eyes and put two plates of waffles down. "Honestly, Harry. When was the last time you had a decent breakfast?"
"I rarely have the time." He admitted. "I'm usually in too much of a hurry to get to the Ministry since it's so early." He ate a piece of the waffle. "These are fantastic, Hermione!"
"Don't talk with food in your mouth." She replied, cutting a piece of her own waffle up. "And thank you. But that's no excuse not to have breakfast. I'll make sure to have some prepared before you leave in the mornings."
"You don't have to do that. It's only quarter past seven. I thought you didn't have to go to the Ministry until nine."
"Oh, I know, but I prefer to go in earlier. I'm able to get more work done that way."
Of course. Harry playfully rolled his eyes. Hermione and her work – some things would never change, he supposed. He knew better than to argue with her, but it still didn't seem fair. "Alright, but I'll make dinner then. Deal?"
Hermione laughed. "Deal."
The next two weeks passed with ease. Harry had to admit that he had been slightly worried that he and Hermione would face some sort of problem as flatmates. Not that he had expected it to be a disaster, but he expected something at the very least – some sort of annoying habit, something in his flat she wanted to change, even a few bossy comments. He waited and waited, but nothing happened.
Granted, she was a bit of a neat freak, but after living with the Dursleys for as long as he had, Harry wasn't exactly the messiest person around. With a few exceptions when she was preparing breakfast, Hermione preferred silence. She said it was easier to concentrate on her work that way, but he didn't particularly mind. While Harry loved the Weasleys and the loud, loving feel to the Burrow, he wasn't sure he could always live like that. There were times when he loved being surrounded by family and friends and all the noise that came with it, but Harry usually preferred peace and quiet.
Not that he saw Hermione enough to find anything particularly bothersome. They would have breakfast together every morning and dinner together every evening. Sundays they would apparate together to the Burrow for breakfast, and Wednesday nights they would meet with Ron for lunch. Other than that, however, Harry saw her no more than he had before. For the most part, Hermione stayed at her office in the Ministry or in her room with her work. She did, after all, have her own life and he had his.
That all changed on the third Friday after Hermione moved in.
The first thing he noticed when he came into the lounge was the soft jazz melody lingering in the air. The second thing was that Hermione was curled on the sofa with Hogwarts: A History on her lap. The third, and most important, thing was that she was crying. Not the loud, bawling sort of cry, but rather the soft, quiet sort. It was the sort that if Harry hadn't been paying careful attention, he wouldn't have noticed. The moment he took the slightest of steps closer, she quickly wiped her eyes dry before looking up.
"Harry! I didn't expect you back so early." She gave him a smile that didn't reach her eyes. "I thought you said you had a meeting today?"
"We finished early." He answered, before dropping his bag and moving closer. "Hermione, what happened?"
"What do you mean? Nothing's happened."
"You were crying."
She tensed up slightly, but the forced smile stayed glued to her lips. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Harry snorted. "You're a bloody awful liar, 'Mione. Merlin only knows how you got a job working for the Ministry." He teased. Hermione was actually quite a persuasive liar sometimes. This, however, was not one of those times.
"Oh, stop it." She chuckled, lightly hitting with her book.
"Careful, those books of yours are bloody huge!"
She laughed and scooted to the side, leaving room on the sofa for him. He grinned and plopped down beside her. His arm went around her shoulder and she leaned against him almost instinctively. She didn't look up at him, however, and was quiet for a moment. He tried to remain patient as her fingers traced the letters on the spine of her book. Finally she sighed softly.
"Ron has a date tonight." She finally admitted.
And just like that, Harry felt like the world's biggest prat. Ron had told him about the date, of course – some pretty little witch who was a regular at the joke shop. He'd finally built up the courage to ask her out for dinner and she'd agreed. But Harry had never stopped to consider how it would make Hermione feel; he still wasn't even convinced her and Ron were truly over.
"I'm sorry." He mumbled.
She immediately tensed and pulled away from him. "Don't."
"Don't, Harry. I don't want Ron back."
"I'm not entirely sure I believe you."
She huffed and stood up. "Well, I don't."
"Hermione, you were crying because he's out on one date. You can't honestly tell me you don't still love him."
"Of course I still love him!" She snapped. "We were together for two years, I've loved him since we were children, but that does not mean I want him back."
"So you're taking a break. It's Ron, he'll come to his senses soon enough."
"For the love of Merlin, Harry, it's not a break! We're over. Ronald doesn't need to come to his senses. It wasn't even his decision to end it – I broke up with him!"
Harry froze. "What?"
Neither of his best friends had ever told him much about the break up, just that it had happened and that they had agreed to it. Harry hadn't believed them, of course, but he had always imagined that Ron had been the one who had done it. Hermione had always been the one that held them together, the logical one. Even Harry had to admit that Ron was usually the one who caused their problems; he was the emotional one. It made sense that he would run off and do something reckless that would hurt their relationship, or even, in this case, end it. But Harry had always imagined that Hermione would be the one to forgive and forget, because she loved Ron too much for that. She always had.
She took a breath. "I broke up with Ronald."
"But I thought..."
"I know." She smiled sadly.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
She sat down beside him again. "We didn't think it mattered, honestly. Not in the end, at least." Hermione explained. "He didn't like it at first – we had quite a spat actually – but he eventually realised that I was right. We love each other, but Ron and I aren't right for one another. We want different things and we couldn't keep ignoring it."
It made sense when Harry thought about it. Ron was ready to settle down and start a family, and probably quite a large one at that. But Hermione wouldn't be ready for any of that – she was far too involved in her work, and honestly far too good at it. Having a family anytime soon would take time and stress that would be unhealthy for both her and the child unless Hermione were to quit her job, which she never would.
"I don't want Ron back, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to know he's out with someone else right now. I still loved him."
Harry was silent for a moment before he stood up. "Get dressed." He told her.
"We're going out."
"I don't think that's such a good idea, Harry."
"Sure it is. Now get dressed, I know this brilliant Muggle coffee shop we can go to."
Hermione stared at him for a moment. "You're serious, aren't you?"
"Of course I am."
A grin, one that finally reached her eyes, spread across her lips. "Then you better change as well. You can't very well travel around Muggle London in your robes."
"Starbucks?" Hermione laughed when she caught sight of where they were going. "That's your brilliant coffee shop?"
Harry grinned. "Have you ever been?"
"Once or twice, but not much more than that. Mum loves them though."
"Your mum has good tastes."
The bell on the door signalled their entrance. There were a few people in the coffee shop, but, for the most part, it was empty. The sound of a blender mixed with the music coming from the speakers. Mugs and the sort lined a shelf along the wall, and a few paintings were scattered about the place. It was absolutely Muggle and as much as Harry loved the Wizarding World, it was a refreshing change.
"Hey, Harry!" The girl behind the counter grinned when they approached. "I wasn't expecting you to come in tonight."
"Exactly how often do you come here, Harry?" Hermione laughed.
Harry ignored her. "Hey, Wendy. I thought I'd bring Hermione by. She just moved in."
"Oh? Where about?"
"My boyfriend and I broke up last month. I let him keep the flat, but I needed somewhere to stay." Hermione added quickly. "Harry and I have been friends since we were children, so he's lending me his spare bedroom until I can find a place of my own." She explained.
Wendy smiled. "Well that's awfully sweet of him."
A few minutes later, when they sat outside with their drinks, Hermione took a sip of her coffee and gave him a sly grin. "She's cute."
Harry blinked. "Who? Wendy?"
"No, the other girl." Hermione rolled her eyes. "Yes, Wendy. She fancies you."
"Really?" He glanced over his shoulder through the glass window.
"Are you blind, Harry?" She laughed. "Yes. You should ask her out."
He paused before he shook his head. "Absolutely not."
"I like this place. I don't want to risk ruining that." He admitted.
"Harry, it's only a coffee shop." She took another sip of her drink.
"That's not the point." He explained, wrapping his hand around his cup. "There's a reason I chose to live here: no one knows who I am here, 'Mione. I'm not Harry bloody Potter; I'm not the-boy-who-lived or some sort of war hero. I'm Harry and only Harry – Merlin, they don't even know my last name. I'm just another person walking in and out of here, another face in the crowd. So many people come here that I don't exactly make any sort of difference. It's... it's sort of nice, you know?"
She nodded. "I think I do."
It was strange, admitting such a thing to Hermione. He had never told anyone that before, because he never thought it was anything worth telling. But still, it felt as if something had been lifted off of him. It felt right sharing something so personal, yet completely insignificant with her.
He smiled at her and took another sip of his coffee.
"You'll never believe who I ran into today." Harry said, stirring the pasta sauce.
"Who?" Hermione asked, sticking her head in once she had finished setting the table.
"Here, try this." He held the spoon out.
She took a taste. "Mm, it could use a bit of salt." She said handing him the container. "Who did you run into today?"
He added a pinch. "Anthony Goldstein." He continued to stir, but saw her tense slightly from the corner of his eye. "You remember him, don't you? He was the Ravenclaw prefect our year. He works in the Department of International Magic Cooperation now."
"Is that so?" Hermione turned to the cupboards and pulled out a wine glass. "Fancy a glass?"
"Alright." He nodded as she poured herself one. "It was rather odd, actually. He had the strangest question for me. Here, try it now." He held the spoon out to her again.
"Perfect." She nodded before taking a sip of her wine.
Harry turned off the stove. "Aren't you curious what he asked me?" He took a sip from his own glass, but then continued before she could answer him. "He asked me about us. He wanted to know about our relationship."
Hermione rolled her eyes and took their glasses to the table. "Harry, people have been asking about us and our relationship since first year."
He poured the sauce onto the two plates of pasta. "Actually, no one has personally asked me for quite a few years now. Bonn appétit." He took them to the table and sat down. "I told him you were my best friend, the same as ever."
"Harry, just get to the point." She took a bite of her spaghetti.
"He asked you out to dinner."
"And you said no."
"Does it matter?"
"You should have said yes."
She rolled her eyes and took a sip of her wine. "He works in the Ministry, Harry. Dating one's co-worker is never a good idea."
He snorted. "I would hardly call him your co-worker, 'Mione. He doesn't even work in the same department as you. How often do the two of you actually interact for Ministry affairs?"
"Well, we don't exactly."
"Then I don't see what the problem is."
"Hermione." This time he rolled his eyes. "He'd be good for you, 'Mione. I think you should at least give it a try. You aren't losing anything if it doesn't work out."
"If I tell you I'll consider it, will you drop the issue?"
"But you have to promise me." He took a sip of his wine.
Hermione laughed. "Goodness, Harry. Are you eleven again now?"
"I'm serious. You're my friend and I want you to be happy. Now promise me."
"Alright, alright – I promise to consider it. I won't make any promises about my final decision, however."
"Of course not." He grinned slyly. "Then you would make things easy and we can't have that, now can we?"
"Yes, Hermione." Harry grinned.
One of his favourite parts of any work day was his lunch break. Harry loved his job, really he did, and he was bloody good at it too. But some days he hated it, absolutely loathed it. And lately all he seemed to be having were those days.
It had been two and a half years since the war ended and peace was finally starting to settle in. At first, there had been panic and rogue Death Eaters that still needed to be captured. Now, however, most had been caught and, while Harry was glad to have the peace, it meant he finally had to put his hours into other work. More specifically, paperwork.
And Harry hated paperwork. Absolutely loathed it.
"Mr. Potter," his secretary witch stuck her head through the door. "Someone is here to see you."
"Tell them I'm busy and that they'll have to come back another time." The sooner he got this last document done, the sooner he could go on his lunch break.
"But sir, it's Ms. Granger."
Harry's head snapped up. "Hermione?" Although they both worked in the Ministry, they very rarely saw one another. They were both too busy in their own departments to ever wander off into each others'. "Send her in then."
Hermione gave him an embarrassed smile and shut the door behind her. "Sorry. Was I interrupting something?" She sat down in the chair on the other side of the desk from him.
"Nothing I particularly want to be doing." Harry shrugged. "Did you need something?"
"Well, not exactly. I came to tell you I won't be home for dinner."
Harry raised a brow. "Okay..." He waited for her continue. If she left her office to come all the way to his, there had to be more to the story than that.
"I decided to take your advice." She admitted. "I'm going out with Anthony tonight."
A grin spread across his lips. "That's great, 'Mione! I'm sure you'll have a great time."
She smiled and stood up. "Thanks." She turned to leave, but stopped before she opened the door. "And thank you, Harry. You were right."
He nodded. "That's why friends are for."
Hermione gave him another smile but left the room without another word. Harry stared at the door for a moment and a frown tugged at his lips. As happy as he was for her, the idea of having dinner alone was surprisingly bothersome. Finally, he sighed and shook his head before he dug out a blank piece of parchment. Perhaps Ron would be willing to meet for dinner tonight.
She keeps me begging for more
Note: Let me start by explaining that I'm normally a DHr shipper. HHr was my original ship, but I had given up on it long before I started writing HP fics. After the seventh movie, however, I decided to give HHr a shot. It's surprisingly easy to write and I have to admit, I've actually grown pretty fond of it. I started this fic days after I went to the midnight premier, long before I wrote Shooting Star, so I consider this to be my first HHr fic.
I originally planned to have this as a one-shot, but I think 10,000+ words is a bit excessive so I decided to split it. This fic should be about three chapters. I already have the second chapter finished and the third should be done within the next few days. The last chapter only has three scenes, but they are the most crucial scenes, so hopefully the chapters will be evenly split. I'll try to have the next chapter up in a week or a week and a half. Does that sound fair?
Also, Starbucks opened up in the UK in 1998. This fic takes place roughly during the year 2000, so I imagine there would be a Starbucks in London.
This fic is dedicated to fadsforwhatever, a fellow fandom girl who I found out lives only two floor below me.