All characters belong to JKR

All's Fair in Love & Kisses

(Granger Enchanted Hermione's Pick a Pair out of The Hat Challenge)

by

AnneM


Pairing: Hermione/Lee Jordan

Prompt: Not Fair by Lily Allen

Part I - Talking about First Kisses

"Is he here, Harry?" Hermione exchanged looks with her best friend Harry Potter as they walked closer to the back garden of the Burrow. People were milling all about near a large white tent, which was in the middle of a field close to the house. Chairs were set up in rows down the garden path, resembling a makeshift wedding chapel.

Harry approached her, took her hand, kissed her left cheek and said, "Yes, I'm sorry, but you had to know he would be. He's George's best man."

A prickly feeling arose on the back of her neck. "I shouldn't have come," she declared.

"How could you miss George's wedding?" Harry asked.

Ron approached; he patted Harry's back and asked, "What are we discussing?"

One annoyed look from Hermione answered his question. "Oh," he blurted out. Of course, he knew. He took her hand and said, "I told you he'd be here, Hermione. Do you want to leave? I think Mum will understand, as will George and Angelina, although I've yet to ever understand your aversion to him."

She took a steady breath and announced, "No, I won't leave just because of him. It's only, you're both in the wedding, as are your wives. Whom will I sit with during the service?" She gave them a rueful grin and hit Ron's arm playfully. "No, really, I'm fine." Still, she looked around as she asked, "Is he alone, or with someone?"

"I don't know, does it matter?" Ron replied. His older brother Charlie called for him and Harry and they jogged away, leaving her alone, with her thoughts and memories.

She walked around the white folding chairs toward the shed where Mr. Weasley kept his Muggle 'treasures'. It was close to where IT happened - the scene of the crime…as it was. The place where HE did it. Even seeing it to this day caused chills to run up and down her arms. She almost turned around to leave when Mrs. Weasley called her name.

Instead, she pasted on a smile and said, "Coming, Molly."

She would be just fine as long as she didn't have to see HIM.

She didn't get her wish. During the wedding, instead of watching the bride and groom, as everyone else did, she couldn't help but watch the man she had least wanted to see as he stood up at the front with the wedding party. Handsome as ever, and devilishly seductive, he had a sexy smile that could melt ice at the North Pole. Her breath almost caught when he turned and looked at her during the vows.

He smiled at her and winked.

She swiftly looked away.

She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of knowing that even after ten years he had such a pronounced effect on her. Under her breath she said, "I really do hate that man."

Draco Malfoy sat beside her. He leaned closer and said, "What did I do now?"

Scowling at him, she pinched his arm, hard, and said, "Not everything's about you. I hate loads of people besides you, you know."

He chuckled and turned back to the front, while her gaze dropped to the grass during the rest of the ceremony.

After the wedding, during the reception, George and Angelina seemed so happy. Seeing them on the makeshift dance floor, swaying in each other's arms, smiling at each other with such love and devotion, caused her to feel such a yearning. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she hadn't even noticed when HE walked up to her, bowed and asked her to dance.

She didn't say no, and of course, she didn't say yes either. Instead, she frowned, stood up and walked away to join Harry, Ron, and their wives. Blaming her mood on too much wine, too much sun, and a bit too much reminiscing, she refused to believe that a simple little incident from her childhood could influence her so much to this day. Seeing this man again, and remembering what happened between them, couldn't be the reason for her melancholy. Yet, she was happy to be back with Ron and Harry. Ever since they'd married, she hadn't spent as much time with them as she used to, and she missed them.

Later, while joking and laughing with the boys, they somehow began talking about 'firsts'. The first time they did magic, the first time they got pissed out of their minds, the first time they fell in love, and the first time they really kissed someone…a full-blown, on the lips, tongue on tongue, kiss.

Hermione's memory of her first real kiss was the point of her distraction today. However, she put on a jovial air and joined in on the conversation. "I don't care what you think; I'm telling you now that it wasn't you, Mr. Weasley." Hermione came stumbling in to the kitchen of the Burrow, holding Ron Weasley's hand in hers, and she laughed when he said he doubted her statement, so she added, "I know it's hard to believe, Ron, but it's true!"

Harry Potter sat down and smiled up at his best friends, as he asked, "What are we talking about now? I think I've forgotten from the porch swing to the kitchen table. What's hard to believe, Hermione?"

Answering for her, Ron said, "She's trying to tell me that I wasn't her first kiss, but I happen to know that I was. I don't know why she's suddenly trying to convince me otherwise. She must think I'm as pissed as you are, Harry, but I've always known I was her first. It happened right after we destroyed that Horcrux during the battle of Hogwarts. Sure, I'd already kissed loads of girls, but I was Hermione's first kiss."

Harry laughed at the 'loads of girls' comment as Hermione, smiling, said, "No, no, no. I never once told you that you were my first kiss. You only assumed it."

With a feigned look of indignation on his face, Ron dropped her hand, placed his fists on his hips and said, "If it wasn't me, who was it, then?"

Still laughing, she knew she would never tell them, because instead of being a sweet memory, as it should have been, the memory of it all was too excruciating to endure. She had kept it locked up in her heart for ten long years and even though she was joking about it now, there was no way she would reveal the painful truth to either of them. Therefore, she was about to tell them that it was none of their concern, and that it was too late for such conversations anyway, when a man walked through the backdoor.

He smiled and said, "Yes, tell us who it was, Granger."

The smile dropped off her face when she saw who asked that question. She should have known this man would still be here. Even though George and Angelina had already left for their honeymoon, and most of the other guests had left, she should have known that HE would still be here!

However, it made NO sense that he would ask her with whom her first was, because he knew it was with him.

Seeing this man opened up all sorts of old wounds - wounds she didn't wish to have opened. Wounds she didn't want to explore, and wounds that if she talked about them, she'd only have to bandage, because they would start to bleed again. Oh, why oh why had Ron brought up the subject of first kisses anyway? Patting Ron's back she said, "I think I've gotten too much sun today, and then had too much wine and champagne tonight. I'm so tired that I'm about to drop. I'm going to go upstairs to have a lie down before I Disapparate home, alright?"

Ron shrugged as she walked out of the room, then he looked at Harry and asked, "What's wrong with her?"

Harry looked from Ron to the man standing in the doorway. The man in the doorway slipped back outside without a word to either of them. Harry thought he knew what was wrong with Hermione, but wouldn't say. Instead, he walked up the stairs, went straight to Ginny's old bedroom and knocked on the door.

"Come in, Harry," Hermione answered. Harry opened the door and walked in with a sad, wane smile on his face.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

Sitting on the bed with a sigh she asked, "Who was your first kiss? Cho, right?"

He nodded.

"Mine really wasn't Ron," she continued. He sat beside her and took her hand in his. Without saying a word, he waited for her to continue. Instead, she said, "I hate that man. I wish he wasn't here."

"He was George's best man, so of course he was going to be here today. I've always wondered why you hate him so much. I don't know anyone else who hates him," Harry replied. "He's a right great chap. All the blokes like him because he so affable and friendly, downright funny and easy going. All the women like him because he's so good looking and charming."

"Yes, well, that right great chap took away my right to have a pleasant memory of a first kiss, and left a painful memory in its place, and he did it to win a bet, on a dare, and then he told everyone about it, and what did I get out of it? Nothing? Not even a happy reminiscence of a first kiss, that's what!" She dropped his hand, stood, and went to stare out the window, while that 'affable, right good chap' was still out there with the Weasleys.

She turned to Harry and asked, "Did you know about it at the time? I've always wondered. Did you and Ron partake in the bet?"

Harry looked incensed and no longer drunk. He stood up and said, "You should know better than to ask that, Hermione Granger. If I'd known about it, I would have stopped it. Why didn't you ever tell us?"

Shrugging, she turned back to look out at the pitch-black sky. "I was too embarrassed, and I didn't want to hurt Ron." After a few moments she added, "He took away my right to have a happy memory of a wonderful first kiss, and I'll never forgive him for it. Never."

Harry reached for her shoulder and grasped it lightly. "Hermione, it was a long time ago. Forgive and forget."

"Easier said than done, Harry," Hermione responded. "Please, just leave. I really do want to rest before I Disapparate home."

"Stay here tonight. I'll see you in the morning. And remember, forgive and forget." Harry kissed her cheek and walked out, leaving the door partially open.

Hermione turned back to the window and said to no one, "I might get even with him someday, but I'll never forget what he did to me, and I'll certainly never forgive him."

A voice from the hallway said, "Good, because while you're busy not forgetting or forgiving, I find that I can't forgive or forget either." Hermione gasped, and placed a hand over her rapidly beating heart at the sight of the man in her doorway. He'd overheard her talking to Harry, and her admission. She licked her dry lips, took a ragged breath, and was about to give him a set down when he concluded, "I'll never forget our kiss Hermione. Never. And I'll never forgive myself if I don't get to kiss you again, at least once."


Part II – The Definition of a First Kiss

Hermione always had a happy notion that everyone should be able to look back on his or her first kiss and smile. It should be a happy memory, full of wistful, beautiful poetry and prose. Hermione's first kiss was with Viktor Krum when she was in her fourth year at Hogwarts. The Quidditch star took her to the Tri-Wizard Yule ball and when the ball ended, he kissed her on the cheek.

It was all so romantic. Hermione smiled for days and days after that chaste kiss. At the time, he was bidding her goodnight after the ball. Holding her hand in his, he leaned forward and brushed his lips against her right cheek. Her whole body tingled at his touch. Right after the kiss, her hand floated up to her face, her fingertips grazing the sensitive skin underneath. She smiled up at him and he smiled down at her in return.

That was her first kiss, and it was a wonderful memory. Nonetheless, it didn't count as her TRUE first kiss because it was on the cheek, and everyone knew that a TRUE first kiss was on the mouth.

A true 'first kiss' was mouth to mouth, lips to lips, tongue to tongue, arms wrapped around each other, breaths mingling, and hearts beating together. That was the definition of a true 'first kiss'.

She kissed Cormac McClaggen after her chaste kiss with Viktor, but not because she wanted to, and in all reality, HE did all the kissing, and she only participated to make Ron Weasley jealous. All she remembered about kissing him was that it was wet and slightly disgusting. Mostly he slobbered all over her face. There was slight lip on lip contact, but nothing more, because she kept her lips tightly closed. She had long ago pushed all those memories aside. She didn't count that as her first kiss either, because in many ways she wasn't a willing participant, and because her mouth was closed and their tongues didn't touch.

Because everyone knew that a TRUE first kiss was sweet and fulfilling with both parties fully willing.

Others probably imagined her first kiss, her real first kiss…romantic, lips on lips, passionate, no holds barred, was with Ron. SHE always wanted to count the kiss she shared with him as her first kiss, mostly because she loved him, and because kissing him had always been her dream. It was what she had longed to do for so long. During the battle of Hogwarts, right after she destroyed the goblet Horcrux, she was so overwhelmed with emotion that she turned to her long time crush, and ever-best friend, Ron Weasley, threw her arms around his neck, and planted a kiss smack dab on the center of his mouth.

He brought his arms around her, kept her locked in his embrace, crushed his body into hers, and moved his mouth hard against hers. It was slightly unnerving, but mildly pleasant. They even opened their mouths. They touched tongues. It was…well…only nice.

A month after that they decided they were better off as friends.

Nevertheless, it was something that happened the summer before that summer, a kiss that happened that summer before, that was secretly her true, first kiss.

After it happened, she was elated. Finally - her first kiss, a kiss she had longed to have happen, a kiss she would one day relay to her own daughter. It was special. It made her tummy tingle and her head spin. It made her want to go on kissing this other person forever and ever and ever. It made her forget that she had liked Ron for years. It made her forget about her unfortunate debacle with McClaggen. It made the memory of Viktor slip from her mind.

Her first grown up, full on, tongue in the mouth, belly tingling, limp limb, kiss.

She had just come to the Burrow after having sent her parents off to Australia. All the Weasleys were getting ready for Fleur and Bill's wedding, and though there was tension in the air due to Voldemort's return, Hermione was happy to be with 'her boys', even if it was only for a few days, before they were to start their quest for Horcruxes.

Apparating to the back garden, she was taken aback when the first person she saw was a handsome, black boy with long dreadlocks. It was George and Fred's best friend, Lee Jordan. He'd apparently come for Bill's wedding, though Hermione hadn't seen him since school. He'd changed a great deal from the last time she'd seen him. He looked so much older, more a man than a boy.

"Hello," she said hesitantly as she approached him.

He smiled and held out his hand. She placed her hand in his. "Hermione Granger," he said as he took her small hand into his, holding it tightly. Once they were in front of each other, she noticed how very tall and handsome he'd become.

She smiled and joked, "No, I'm Hermione Granger. You're Lee Jordan."

He laughed at her silly joke, her hand still encased in his. "And I always thought you had no sense of humour. Thanks for clearing that up for me, Granger. Fred told me you weren't coming until tomorrow."

"Talking about me with Fred now?" she asked lightly, realizing he still had her hand. "Fred's a liar. It's about time someone told that hard fact to you." She pulled her hand from his, aware that she was trembling slightly, and afraid that her hand might be sweating because she was nervous for some reason. "Are Harry and Ron here, do you know?"

He motioned to the house with his head and said, "I was just inside, with Freddie boy and Georgie, but they're all alone. I think the rest of the family, along with Harry, went to see Bill and Fleur's new cottage. They were going to eat there, I believe."

Hermione nodded. "And you didn't want to go?"

Lee merely shrugged. It was enough of an answer for her. "Maybe I should come back later," she said, "when the family returns."

"Really?" He smiled at her. Just a hint of his smile made her pulse beat wildly out of time. With a gleam in his eyes, and a touch of that same smile on his face, he teased, "And where are you going to go? You're staying here until the wedding, aren't you?" When she didn't reply, he added, "I was leaving, but I might be inclined to stay if you do."

And that was the beginning of SOMETHING. Hermione never knew what it was that was between them, but for the next couple of hours they sat outside in the garden and they talked and laughed. The conversation wasn't forced or strained. He was almost as witty and acerbic as the twins were, and several times, she found that she laughed hard and long at things that he'd said. Forgetting all pretenses, she relaxed and began to enjoy their time alone.

She'd begun to wonder what it would feel like to have him kiss her. A real kiss.

When the sky was in the early stages of twilight, as if it couldn't decide if it wanted to remain blue or turn black, Lee announced that he had to leave, but would return for the wedding. He asked her if she'd walk down to the end of the path to the edge of the wards with him. Feeling nervous, she shook, but was convinced her shudders were due to the cold, not nerves. Wrapping her arms around herself to ward off the cold, she agreed. She was used to his teasing and friendly rapport, but suddenly he seemed as quiet and reserved as she was while they walked to the edge of the wards.

Looking up into his dark brown eyes once they reached their destination, she said, "Well, goodnight, Lee. I'll tell Harry and Ron goodnight for you."

"Yeah, you do that. Goodnight, Hermione." He didn't seem anxious to leave after that. Reaching out his hand, he pulled on one of her curls, which rested on her shoulders. His hand brushed the bare skin of her collarbone as he did. "You have beautiful hair, you know?"

She wasn't sure what that had to do with anything, but she smiled and said, "I've always hated my hair. I like your hair." Innocently, she reached up and touched one of his long dreadlocks. It was softer than she imagined.

When she looked back into his face, his eyes were closed. He opened them when he said, "Did you know that men sometimes aren't very honourable, Hermione? Did you know that sometimes they do things with girls that they both regret? You're such a sweet, innocent girl, but you need to beware of men like me." Pausing, he added, "Did you know that men have very naughty thoughts when it comes to good girls like you?" His eyes were so dark that she could barely see the pupils.

Stammering, she asked, "Wh-what, what kinds of thoughts?"

Smiling, he faltered. His hand went back up to her shoulder, brushing her hair aside. "Thoughts about kissing, and more. How many men have you kissed, Hermione?"

She licked her lips, anxiously, naively. His hand went from her shoulder, to cup her face, and his thumb went over her moist lips, following the same path as her tongue over her lips. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she admitted, "I'm still waiting for my first real kiss." She wouldn't tell him about Viktor or Cormac, and she certainly wouldn't tell him that she was waiting for Ron to kiss her.

"Ah," he said with a smile, "well, wait no longer."

Even before he bent his head, pulled her closer, or moved his hand from her cheek to the back of her neck, she felt a frisson of electricity moving throughout her body. Her breathing hitched, and his seemed to stop altogether as he claimed her lips, branding her with his mouth.

Nothing in her world would ever prepare her for a kiss like this. It was a kiss from every daydream, a kiss from every romantic book, all wrapped up in one. There was an urgency, a need, a want, a desire, and a hunger in the way he devoured her mouth.

His tongue traced the line of her lips, and then entered her lips easily, going over her tongue like silk. He plunged it inside her mouth, in and out, and she took all that he could give her, and she still wanted more. She held onto him for dear life, because her legs trembled, her heart skipped a beat, and her head felt light and full of air.

A hand came around to her breast and she almost moaned into his mouth. One thumb pressing on her nipple was all it took for her to squeeze her legs together. She felt his arousal on her stomach, and she was abruptly overwhelmed and confused. The butterflies she had waited for all her life felt like a swarm of bees battling inside her belly. When he finally removed his lips from hers, after having not only kissed her lips, but her face and neck as well, he continued to hold her upright, his arms still tight around her.

Then, with another smile he said, "Now you've had a first kiss worth remembering, Hermione." Lowering his mouth once more, he kissed her nose, then her forehead, each cheek, each eye, and then ended with her mouth once again. Then he turned around and walked out the garden gate, beyond the wards and left, Disapparating away. She remained at the Burrow, feeling aroused, bereft, confused and alone in the back garden.

At least she had her first real kiss, and he was right, she'd remember it always.

Walking slowly back toward the house, her mind whirled with unanswered questions, thoughts, and qualms. She wanted to ask him why he kissed her. What did it mean? Where did they stand? Were they boyfriend/girlfriend now? Did he like her? Did she even like him? Should she have stopped him? Should she have encouraged him more? Discouraged him?

Marching with determination toward the backdoor, she stopped when she heard men's voices in the kitchen. It sounded like George and Fred. The backdoor was open, leaving only the screen door closed. The window above the sink was open as well. Hermione was about to let them know she was outside when she heard one of them mention her name.

Stopping under the open window by the kitchen sink, she waited to hear her name again. At first, she didn't know why she had the sudden impulse to eavesdrop, but the longer she stood outside the window, the longer she was glad, and sad, that she had.

Because Fred and George were clearly talking about her.

"Well, do you think she'll do it, Fred old boy," George asked his twin brother.

"I almost hope she doesn't," Fred said in return. "Something about it unsettles me. I know I bet against you, and with him, and I know it was my dare in the first place, but now that I think about it, I wish he hadn't made that bet with you. I don't care, I hope we lose and you win, even if I do have to pay you an entire month's salary."

George returned, "Exactly, Freddie. You should have known better. Frankly, I don't know what made you bet against your own brother in the first place. Total lack of trust if you ask me, and you should have more faith in Granger, too. I don't think she'll fall for his lines anyway, and I certainly don't think she'll let him kiss her. She only has eyes for Ronnie, as much as that sickens me to say."

There was a silence and then Hermione heard Fred laugh. "Regardless, if she does fall for his swindle, and if she tells him it's her first real kiss too, then you'll have to pay up the extra ten galleons to Lee and five to me, Georgie. Of course, he'll still have to provide proof. Brilliant of you to suggest the whole memory in a bottle idea."

"Yes, well, I anticipated that he might lie, didn't I? He'll collect the memory and show it to us - because after all, one can't fake that, can they? One way or the other, his memory will prove either his and your undoing, or my own," George indulged with another laugh. "You might as well give me my due right now, Fred, my boy. I know Granger. I have faith in her, even if you don't."

Fred ended with, "Well, I know Lee, and he's smooth as silk. He'll kiss her and leave her with nothing in return but a memory, and a bad one at that, our poor girl."

They both laughed again, but Hermione didn't hear anymore. She felt a burning sensation in the back of her eyes and her nose. She wanted to cry. She also wanted to run into the kitchen, wand blazing, the urge to blast both men to pieces overwhelming and strong. Instead, she Disapparated upstairs on the spot.

The 'pop' of her Disapparition caused Fred to look out the window. When he didn't see anyone, he turned back to George and said, "Seriously, I don't need proof, and I'll give you your money, if he didn't kiss her, but if he did, I think we need to make it clear to him that he's never to tell a single soul. For one thing, it would hurt our baby brother. For another thing, she's like a little sister to us, and in the long run, we don't want her hurt."

"Of course," George agreed. "We'll tell him that we'll kill him if he tells a soul, besides us. Listen, I didn't want to take the bet anyway, and Ron and Harry would be liable to kill you two if they found out, if Hermione doesn't kill you first."

"She'd kill you too, George, you know it," Fred said with a laugh. "Admit it; she scares you as much as she does me." The men laughed and shook hands in agreement.

Hermione Granger never heard that last part of the conversation. She never knew that the next day Lee apologized to Fred because he claimed that George had won the bet, not them. He told them that she refused to kiss him.

She also would never know that HE DID make a memory of that night, placing it in a vial, but he never showed it to a single soul. He kept it for himself, taking it out, examining it closely whenever he thought of her, whenever he needed to think of her, which was often over the last ten years, especially tonight, during George's wedding.

Because although she wasn't his first kiss, she was the only kiss that ever really mattered to him, because she was and always would be his first and only love.


Part III – Conclusion, Another Kiss

All the memories rushed forward as Hermione exposed her secrets to Harry. Although ten years had come and gone, and memories of other men and other kisses were now obscure and some even obsolete, that joyful-turned-painful first kiss still lingered in the forefront of Hermione's brain. Turning back to the window as Harry left the room, she said to herself, "I might get even with him someday, but I'll never forget what he did to me, and I'll certainly never forgive him."

Lee Jordan stood in the doorsill of the small bedroom, grasping the doorframe. He'd heard everything she'd just told Harry Potter and it hurt to think that he'd caused her pain. He never meant to. All he really wanted all those years ago was a nice kiss from a pretty girl. He never knew that she'd overheard about the bet and the dare. No wonder she'd spent the last ten years leaving a room whenever he'd entered it, or looking away when he looked at her. No wonder she hated him.

The memory of their kiss was as precious to him as it was horrifying to her, and it was his fault.

He walked over the threshold and said, "Good, because while you're busy not forgetting or forgiving, I find that I can't forgive or forget either." Hermione gasped, and placed a hand over her rapidly beating heart at the sight of the man in her doorway. She'd realized that he must have overheard her talking to Harry, and her admission of how much pain his kiss had caused her. She licked her dry lips, took a ragged breath, and was about to give him a set down when he concluded, "I'll never forget our kiss Hermione. Never. And I'll never forgive myself if I don't get to kiss you again, at least once."

Deciding she would ignore that statement, she spat, "Yes, I'm sure you always remember every dare you ever won, or every bet you ever made." Her arms around her middle, she said, "May I ask one question?"

"You may ask a million," he said lightly, walking closer.

"Why me? You could have made a bet about anyone, but you chose me. You made a fool of me. You hurt me. Why? What did I ever do to you?"

He closed the door behind him and continued his approach; she continued her retreat until she was up against the darkened window. "It had to be you, Granger."

"So you could win the bet, right," she started, "but why bet about me in the first place? Why?"

He was shaking his head slowly, his mouth open to speak, his eyes closing as if he were in pain, when he said, "For the record, I didn't win the bet," his eyes opened and bore into hers, "and it had to be you because I wanted to kiss you. I had to kiss you. I needed to kiss you."

"You can lie all you want, but I know what I heard that night," she claimed, stalking around him to open the door.

He grabbed her arm and clamped a hand on it before she could reach the door. "You heard George and Fred talk about a bet we made, but I told them I lost. I swear."

She looked at the hand on her arm and wrenched it out of his grasp. "Yes, and I can corroborate that claim with Fred right…oh no, Fred's no longer with us, then George…no, he's on his honeymoon. So sorry, I don't believe you." She opened the door and said, "Now get out!"

"I can prove it to you," he said softly. She opened her mouth to rebuke him again, when he bent his head and touched his lips to hers in a swift, sweet kiss. Her knees almost buckled, so he placed his arms around her, as the feel of his lips lingered on hers even when he drew away. He reached around them and closed the door again.

"Look at my memory, Granger. Look in my mind. You'll see. You'll see that it's a precious memory to me, one that I don't just share with anyone, by the way."

Her chest heaved against his while his arms supported her body firmly against the hard wall of his chest. She drew her wand out of the pocket of her dress, placed it against his forehead, and said, "Legilimens."

They stood outside the back garden of the Burrow, near Mr. Weasley's old shed, and Lee's head bent toward hers. He took her mouth in a searing kiss. It was as hard and demanding as it was sweet and rewarding. He had wanted to kiss her for so long. He hated that he had to resort to a stupid bet to get enough nerve to act upon it, but so be it.

Soft, yielding in his arms, he held her closer, his hand roamed, and finally, the kiss ended on a sigh. She was almost weightless in his arms. He kissed her eyes, cheeks, nose and finally her mouth again. If only he had the nerve to tell her what she meant to him. But there was always time for that.

Days later, at Bill's wedding, he told Fred and George that he lost the bet. While he and Granger had a nice chat, she refused to kiss him. George laughed and said he knew it! Even Fred said he was glad of the outcome. They both told their best friend that they would have had to kill him if he had kissed her anyway. They told him never to tell anyone of the bet and dare. He promised that he wouldn't.

That evening, at Bill and Fleur's wedding, she looked so pretty. He asked her to dance with him. She turned away without a word. He didn't know why she was so upset, but then he realized…she must have found out about the bet somehow. She must hate him. She would never trust him again.

Three years later, at Harry Potter's wedding to Ginny he asked her to dance again. The hurt in her eyes had gone, though she still seemed to harbor ill feelings toward him. She would never forgive him. He understood, but that didn't mean he wouldn't keep trying.

The next year, Ron married Lavender. He asked her to dance, as was his tradition. That year she frowned at him and said, "Go away." He almost wanted to laugh. He almost wanted to cry. He settled for dancing with someone else while she danced with Draco Malfoy.

Tonight, at George's wedding, he watched her from his place up at the front of the crowd. She looked as beautiful as ever. He still wanted another kiss. He would love for her to forgive him. He would settle for that dance at last. He asked her, but she said no. What could he expect? Apparently, he took away all her happy memories of her 'first real kiss'.

Perhaps he could replace that painful memory with something else?

.

Hermione dropped the wand from the side of his head, her eyes opened wide with shock. "No," she whispered low.

"I can see now why you've not trusted me all these years, and why you've run away from me whenever I've come near you. You thought I betrayed you." He ran a long fingertip down her face. "I didn't."

"I see that now," she said sullenly. "And for the record, it's not as if I've spent every waking moment plotting your demise, or filled with remorse. It's only been the times that I've see you that I've remembered, and that it hurt all over again."

He smiled again. A smile that made her heart ache. A smile that made her insides turn to mush. "And for the record," he repeated, "I was a stupid boy of twenty, who made a wager so that he could get the nerve to kiss a girl whom he'd always wanted to kiss, and instead of winning the wager, or winning the girl, he lost so very much. Most of all, he lost time." Holding out his hand, he said, "Am I forgiven?"

Placing her hand in his, she said, "I'm afraid so, just promise me, no more dares and no more wagers."

"I've learned my lesson. May I finally have this dance?"

"But you didn't promise yet," she replied with bright eyes and a sigh.

He took a step closer, bringing their joined hands to his chest, his other hand sweeping down her arm, to her waist, gripping it tightly, and then moving up smoothly to press on her back.

Before she could answer, he dropped his head, touching his mouth to hers, and he began to kiss her, even as he moved them to a silent waltz, each cadence of which was in harmony with the beating of her heart. His hand threaded through her hair, curling it around his fingers, his mouth still on hers, searching and exploring and lingering.

His skillful kiss was everything she remembered and more. Trembling, his mouth moved over her face, down her neck and back again. He moaned into her mouth when she reached up and grabbed a fistful of his long, black hair.

When the dance and the kiss ended, he finally answered her with, "I promise. No more wagers. Only more kisses." With a wink and another smile, he reached for his wand and locked the door.

The End