The Pain that Became Pleasure

In her dream everything was blurry and out of focus. She could only sense shapes of unknown things, and all the shapes were a shade of grey or black. It was bleak and depressing. But the feeling of despair was greatly intensified when Bill Weasley was suddenly standing right in front of her. His face was a mask of sadness, his square shoulders were sagging and his arms were hanging limply at his sides. Her heart clenched in empathy.

She heard herself ask: "Bill, are you alright?"

His answer was short and precise.

"No."

Hermione jerked awake. Her breathing was quick and shallow, her chest was heaving as she struggled to regain composure.

It was just a dream. Just a dream. Nothing but a dream.

At still she couldn't forget Bill's face. The dark circles under his eyes, the ashen colour of his face, the downturned mouth and his mournful eyes. Even though she tried to brush it off as nothing but a dream, his face kept haunting her. She couldn't go back to sleep. She walked to the little kitchen to make some hot milk, but once it was drunk she felt no closer to sleep than before. She knew there was only one remedy. She threw her coat on over her small pyjama, stuck her feet into a pair of sneakers and turned on the spot, thinking of Shell Cottage. When she opened her eyes again she was standing in front of the front door. She hesitated only slightly before knocking – it was very late at night after all.

She didn't have to wait long before the door was opened. In the doorway stood Bill, looking every bit as miserable as he had in her dream. Her breath caught in her throat.

"Hermione," he breathed incredulously. "What are you doing here?"

"Uh," she wavered. "I… I just felt like visiting you…?" It ended up sounding more like a question than an explanation and a crease of speculation appeared on Bill's forehead.

"This late?" he asked.

"Yeah," she continued, trying to sound upbeat, but it fell flat. She sighed in defeat. "Okay, that's not it."

"Then what?" Bill prompted curiously.

"It's a little complicated. Can I come in?"

This time it was Bill who hesitated. He cast a glance over his shoulder and a look of hurt flickered over his face. But it was quickly replaced by determination. He then turned back around and flashed a little apologetic smile.

"Just one minute," he apologised. "I really should tidy up first."

Before she had the chance to protest, he had closed the door. She waited a little impatiently, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Half a minute later Bill was again standing in the doorway, this time with a little smile on his lips as he invited her inside. As Hermione entered the little cottage she wondered why he had felt the need to tidy up before allowing her entrance. She'd seen the place look a right sight mess before but that never seemed to have bothered Bill. What could have been so messy that he had had to get rid of it? While she contemplated, Bill had taken her coat from her and she threw off the sneakers, happy to be rid of them – sneakers are far from comfortable when you're barefoot. Bill swept a curious glance over her attire, boxer shorts and an oversized 'I heart werewolves' t-shirt, and grinned when he read the text. A little blush crept into Hermione's cheeks. Perhaps she should have changed before coming here. Still grinning Bill gestured towards the living room. They sat down, Bill in a comfy armchair and Hermione on the little, cosy couch.

"So," Bill started. "Tell me what brings you here at this late hour."

"Well, you, really."

Bill's eyebrows shot up in question.

"You see," Hermione started her explanation. "I had this dream about you." She paused and bit her lip. Was this really a good idea? But Bill waved at her to make er continue, so she did. "It was quite short, really. It was just you standing in front of me looking down right miserable. So I asked if you were alright. You know, in the dream. And you answered no. And then I woke up."

She stopped her rant and looked expectantly at Bill, who looked at her quite the same way.

Finally he broke the silence, saying, "And then you just decided to come over here to check up on me?"

"Well, yeah," Hermione said with a little apologetic laugh. Yeah, this really had been stupid of her.

She was just about to say so and get up and leave when she saw the tears in Bill's eyes.

"Bill!" she exclaimed breathlessly and rushed over to kneel in front of him, taking his hands in hers. "Bill, what's the matter?"

"Fleur left me," he croaked, a single tear spilling from the corner of his eye. Instantly Hermione jumped onto his lap with her arms around his neck, hugging him tight to her chest as he sobbed. Every tear that landed on her t-shirt made her hear swell with concern and sympathy. Once the stream of tears slowed down Bill drew back a little from her Embrace to look up at her in gratitude.

"Thank you," he whispered hoarsely.

Hermione just smiled in reply.

"Aren't you going to go all you on me now?" Bill asked after a short moment of silence.

"Meaning…?"

"You know, ask a lot of questions and be all nosy and stuff. Hermione-ish."

Hermione looked at him sternly as she answered, "I'm quite capable of knowing when to turn off my Hermione-ish-ness. This is one of those times."

Bill smiled a little lopsided grin.

"Well, you can ask anything you'd like."

Hermione pondered a little before asking the last question Bill thought she'd ask, "Would you like me to make you some tea?"

He was too surprised to answer. He just stared at her blankly before finally nodding dumbly. Hermione smiled reassuringly, patted his back and went to the kitchen. He could hear her fumbling around in there. He followed her.

Hermione was busy looking for the tea filters and didn't see Bill leaning nonchalantly against the doorframe into the kitchen.

"It was a long time coming."

His sudden words made her jump slightly, dropping the newly found filters on the floor.

"What was?" she asked.

"Fleur leaving me," Bill answered and gracefully pushed away from the doorframe to pick up the filters.

"Oh," Hermione managed to mumble dumbly as she accepted the filters and turned back to the now boiling water.

"We'd been estranged for a long time. We only spoke when we were fighting." He sat down at the little kitchen table before continuing. "She was jealous, you see."

Hermione had poured two mugs of tea and gave one of them to Bill as she sat down in front of him.

"How jealous?" she ventured to ask.

"Really jealous."

"That's not exactly what I meant. I meant, what kind of jealous? Of something or somebody?"

Bill cleared his throat a little before answering, "Of somebody."

"Oh," Hermione said again. It really was the best word for a conversation such as this one. It said everything and absolutely nothing at all.

"Yeah, it was quite bad. But this time it was worse than before. She started throwing things. She'd just left when you came over. Just 10 minutes before, actually. That was why I wanted to clean up before letting you inside."

"Oh, so that's why," Hermione said a little brightly, happy to finally have something she could comment on. "Yeah, I was wondering about that."

Bill sighed heavily.

"I knew she was going to leave me eventually," he continued, staring into his mug. "It was just a matter of time. I almost blame her for not leaving earlier. It would have been easier on the both of us."

For once no words offered themselves to Hermione so she settled for a silent comfort, reaching over the little table to grab Bill's free hand. He took it gratefully. They sat together in a strangely comfortable silence.

"Who was she jealous of?" Hermione finally dared to ask the one question that seemed to have hovered in the air.

Bill didn't look at her when he answered, "You."

"Me?" Hermione exclaimed loudly. "I don't understand. What in Merlin's doxy filled pants do I have that she doesn't?"

Again Bill cleared his throat before answering in a barely audible whisper, "She felt that I was paying too much attention to you."

Suddenly Hermione was swarmed with flashes of memories – memories of Bill, of how he looked at her, how he held her hand, how he hugged her, how he sometimes said her name and how his lips sometimes lingered a little too long on her cheeks. As the memories overcame her she tried to take back her hand, but Bill held it tightly in his own. There was no point in struggling. He was both bigger and stronger. He held her captive. When she finally dared to look at him his eyes were filled with worry and silent apologies.

"Was she right to be jealous?" she whispered the monumental question.

"I'm afraid so," Bill whispered in reply. Hermione felt how her breathing became ragged and hyper and her head swam. Was Bill in love with her? Had she, without knowing it, been the reason that his wife had left him? From far away Bill's voice called her name softly.

"Hermione, please say something," he pleaded.

"I can't breathe."

He was on his feet in a second, taking a hold of both her hands and held them over her head.

"Deep breaths, Hermione," he commanded. "Focus on deep breaths."

She closed her eyes and tried to do as he asked. It was a struggle but finally she seemed to regain control of herself. When she finally felt better she opened her eyes again and tugged on his hold. He released her hands and they dropped lifelessly into her lap.

"I'm so sorry," he apologised as he crouched down in front of her. "I shouldn't have been so blunt. I should have waited. Hell, my wife only left an hour ago."

"It's okay," she assured him. "I'm fine, just a little shook up."

Bill laughed a little as he joked, "I thought you were great at handling shocks and stuff like that."

"I thought so to," she admitted with a shaky smile. "Guess I'm not really."

Bill watched her intently before asking, "Do you want me to explain?"

Nodding, Hermione answered, "Please do, I'm a little confused."

Still sitting in front of her on the tiled kitchen floor Bill took her small hand in his bigger one and started trailing his thumb over the back of her hand.

"I can't tell you when it began, exactly. But I can tell you when Fleur figured it out. It was at Ginny's birthday. You gave that speech that had everyone bawling. I'm not ashamed to admit that I too shed a tear or two. Fleur saw. She always was a very perceptive woman."

Hermione didn't comment. She was busy watching the way his thumb massaged her hand gently and constantly. It was nice, she thought. A silent promise that he'd always be there for her.

"After that day," Bill continued absentmindedly, "things went downhill. We started fighting, often. Whenever you were near she hovered besides me, making sure that nothing happened. But she still didn't trust me, and so we fought again. It was a mess."

Hermione was at a loss for words, so she settled with a squeeze of his hand. He smiled sadly.

"Kind of a big coincidence that you just happened to dream of me tonight, huh*?"

"I guess so," she admitted reluctantly. "But I did, and I came. Shouldn't you just be happy about that?"

At that Bill grinned widely and all sadness left his face.

"I am happy that you're here," he said brightly. "And even happier that I finally found the courage to tell you."

"I didn't actually tell me anything," she pointed out. "About me, anyway."

"I thought it was obvious?" he asked with raw emotions dripping from his words.

"I'd like to hear the actual words."

Bill took a deep breath, looked deep into her eyes and said, "I'm in love with you."

Even though she had anticipated his words they still shook her to her core. It was something else completely to hear the actual words spoken. For a long time none of them spoke or even moved. Their eyes were locked on each other, Hermione's filled with questions and Bill's filled with adoration and worry. Finally Hermione broke the stalemate. With a sudden surge of courage she leaned forward and pressed her lips gently against his. At first Bill was unmoving but when she moved to pull back, he sudden wound his arms round her waist and pulled her of her chair into his lap. She was straddling him on the floor when he deepened the kiss, pressing desperately against her. She returned his heat, holding on to him for dear, dear life, feasting on his passion and affection. It wasn't long till they had to either be consumed by the kiss of pull apart. They gasped for breath, staring at each other in surprise.

"Okay…" Hermione said hesitantly. "What was that?"

"I believe they call it kissing," Bill said smugly. "But you should know; you started it."

Hermione laughed a little nervously and blushed.

"I did, didn't I?"

"You sure did," Bill laughed, hugging her closer. "I'm very glad that you did."

"Me too," said Hermione and surprised both of them. But the surprise quickly faded to smiles on both ends, and Bill tugged her down for a slow, seductive kiss. It was one of those kisses that held the promise of both pleasure and security. This time they didn't pull apart. Instead Hermione gently forced him onto his back with her hands on his chest. His hands found their way into her messy, tangled hair. He held her in place, deepening the kiss with his tongue. She welcomed him with a little moan. It felt nice to be appreciated like this. She wasn't sure if she felt for Bill as he did for her, but she was sure that she was willing to give it a try. She pushed her hands under Bill's shirt to finally feel his naked chest. A soft groan escaped Bill's lips.

"You better not do that," he warned her hoarsely.

"Why not?" Hermione asked in confusion.

Bill answered with a husky smirk, "Just don't want you to start something you're not inclined to finish."

Hermione answered with a lusty smirk of her own, "Who said I wasn't going to finish this?"

Any reply Bill might have was cut off by another kiss, a hot, desirable kiss, leaving no trace of doubt about what was going to come next. Bill's hands untangled themselves from her hair and travelled down to the small of her back where he grabbed the hem of her shirt.

"I love this shirt," he breathed heavily as he started pulling it off of her. "But it'll have to go."

Hermione's only reply was to sit up straight with her hands in the air so he could pull it over her head. Once she was rid of her shirt, leaving her in nothing but boxers, since she didn't wear a bra to bed, she didn't hesitate in pulling off Bill's shirt as well. Once he was halfway naked as well he grabbed onto her breasts with the look of a starved man on his face.

"I can't tell you how many times I've dreamed about this happening," he said incredulously as he toyed with her sensitive nipples, tryingly pulling and pinching them, watching her face to figure out what she liked. But it wasn't until he took a taut nipple into his mouth that he was rewarded with a slightly guttural moan. Hermione's finger laced through his silky hair to draw him closer yet. Still sitting on the kitchen floor none of them had the thought to move. They were too absorbed in each other to care.

While still suckling on a tender nipple Bill let his hands wander further down till he hit the waistband of her worn boxers. It took quite some manipulating to pull them off without breaking the contact between them, but finally after many tries and pulls, they, and her lacy cotton panties, came off, and Hermione was left utterly naked. Bill easily found her enlarged clit which he ran a calloused finger over, making Hermione shudder in delight. He did it again, this time with more force, and Hermione threw her head back with a breathless moan. She clawed her fingers into his scalp, holding him closer, and arched her back as he continued to rug her masterfully. Then he suddenly plunged two fingers into her core and she almost screamed from the sheer pleasure. He continued pumping his fingers into her heat until she finally did scream. Her walls clamped down around his fingers and she trembled as an orgasm overtook her.

"Oh wow," she laughed huskily as she released Bill from her vicelike hold.

"I was just thinking the same thing," Bill admitted with a wide grin.

"Well, don't think I'm done with you yet!" she laughed huskily.

"I had hoped you'd say that," Bill smiled happily as Hermione ran her hands over his chest and let them disappear into the waistband of his boxers. She grabbed his hard member and Bill gasped loudly as she started working her hand up and down, slowly and teasingly. She smiled smugly when he pressed his eyes shut and bit his lower lip. But it wasn't enough, for either of them, she knew. With some finesse she managed to pull his boxers down his legs as he lifted his bum to help her. She didn't pull them all the way off; she was distracted by the feeling of his erection poking at her warm, sticky sex. She took a hold of his member again, this time to direct him to her entrance. She held his eyes with her won as she slowly slid down over it, taking him into her heat inch by inch until she was comfortably sitting in his lap. She rotated her hips and Bill groaned in response. She did it again and yet another time but by then it wasn't near satisfying enough.

Placing her hands on his shoulders and used them as leverage as she started sliding off of him again; just to impale herself onto his erection once more. They moaned together in unison, and when Hermione moved up again, Bill clutched her hips to pull her down forcefully. She moaned loudly as her bum connected with his thighs. Again and again Hermione rose from his lap only to have Bill pull her down again. Finally, when their bodies were slick with sweat, Bill pulled her down one last time and with a satisfied grunt he released himself inside of her. It took her only a little fidgeting before she joined him bliss.

Utterly content and fulfilled Bill fell backwards, dragging Hermione down with him. She lay snugly sprawled over his chest, legs intertwined with his, breath washing over his wet chest. And though his wife had just left him he felt happy and at ease. In his arms was the one thing he'd always wanted. He might not have her just yet, but there was always the promise of tomorrow. And he was a born optimist.

This was a request from Stille Nacht, who wanted another Bill/Hermione story. Since I love requests and had had this idea for some time I instantly started writing and here's the result. Hope it's sufficient.

As always please review. I so love reviews. And you're more than welcome to make a request or perhaps even a challenge.