Hermione collapsed onto her sofa, clutching her overly stuffed stomach.
"I think I have lost the ability to ever put food anywhere near my person ever again."
George just laughed and he made his way into her kitchen. "You'll have to relearn that at some point, Love," He said as he reached for the handle of the refrigerator. "Because Mum sent us back with enough leftovers to last until Valentine's Day. Even I can't eat all of this by myself."
"Well too bad, because I may never eat again. I don't think I could even if I wanted to."
"Then I shouldn't ask if you have any room for a cup of hot chocolate?" George said teasingly, popping his head out from behind the arch that led to the kitchen.
Hermione rolled her eyes, "Don't be absurd, George…. There is always room for hot chocolate."
"As my lady commands," George laughed as he gave an over exaggerated bow and disappeared back into the kitchen.
Aside from Molly shoving fourth and fifth helpings of food onto Hermione's plate, this evening had been perfect. Possibly the best Christmas she'd had in close to a decade. She had a stomach full of a home made supper, a tiny mountain of presents and was spending the rest of the evening listening to Bing Crosby while snuggled up with a cup of hot chocolate and possibly the best sort of bloke in the world. Life was pretty ok right now.
George returned just a half a moment later with said hot cocoa. Hermione took the mug greedily before snuggling down into the space at George's side that she seemed to always fit in to so perfectly. She took a sip of the warm brown liquid and almost moaned in delight. It was perfect.
"Keep making those noises, Love, and I may not be able to wait till after the cuppa to ravish you again," George waggled his eyebrows at her.
Hermione giggled and leaned up to kiss him on the cheek before nestling back into his arm. "I love you, you stupid git," she sighed.
In unison they both went still. Hermione upon realizing what she had just let slip, and George in hopes that he hadn't heard her wrong. He didn't have to look at her to know she was currently the same shade as her old Gryffindor jumper.
Hermione shot up out of her cozy spot and looked gave him an embarrassed fidgety stare, "I… what I mean is… when I said I love you I meant…. Uh…"
George smiled and pulled her back to with a searing kiss. Hermione melted completely into it.
"I'm hoping," he said when they both came up for air, "is that you meant exactly what you said."
"Too soon," Hermione breathed in short gasps as George peppered her neck with feather soft kisses. "Too soon to feel that."
George cut her back off with another kiss, gently prying the cup of warm cocoa from her hands and gracefully putting it on the coffee table. He laid her down on the couch and tugged open each of the six buttons that blocked his view of her. When her shirt was opened, he kissed his way from the hem of her trousers all the way up to her moaning lips before covering her with his own body.
George looked into her chocolate brown eyes, those eyes that he literally ached to see every day. "I love you too, you fussy over-thinking book worm."
Hermione grabbed George by the hair and forced his head back down where she crushed his lips to hers. She didn't want this moment to end. She wanted these words, needed these words, and now that she had them she was never letting them or this man go. If he one day decided they didn't mean to him what they meant to her, so be it. But she had this moment right now and if she never had another one, she'd still be content for the rest of her life.
George pulled away for a moment to catch his breath. He meant it. Whatever she decided in the future, he meant what he had just said and if she let him, he would spend the rest of his life proving it to her. He said it to her again and again as they slowly removed each other's clothing. He screamed it to her as they brought each other to oblivion. And as they lay together sated in pleasure hours later and on the edge of sleep, he whispered it in to the soft curls framing her face.
Hermione fell into a deep contented sleep with George's arms wrapped protectively around her. Yes, she thought as the land of dreams took her. Best. Christmas. Ever.
The holidays passed by far too quickly for Hermione's preference. She'd much preferred it when her day consisted of nothing but lying around her flat in a bathrobe with a half naked George bringing her hot chocolate. But today was January 2nd and it was time to get back to work. George had pranced out the door this morning, eager to open his shop, but not before he gave her a toe curling kiss, made them both breakfast and a thermos of tea for the road. Seriously… he was making it way to hard to force herself into actually leaving the flat.
The walk to work was pleasant. The crisp January air turned her nose a bright pink that reminding her of the charming shade George's ears turned when he got embarrassed. Hermione laughed to herself as she reached for the door handle of her practice. Merlin's beard she had it bad. She hoped she would be of actual use today.
Walking through the door of her office sent a shiver up her spine. And not in a good way. Usually Sally would be at the front desk by now and to greet her happily before shoving a stack of case files in Hermione's face. She hadn't expected to walk in on what felt like a funeral service. Hermione furrowed her brow in confusion when she laid eyes on a red eyed Sally crying into Viktor's arms, her own hand clutching a news paper.
"What is going on?" Hermione asked tentatively.
Sally and Viktor jerked their attention to the newcomer and the blonde witch detangled herself to walk over and silently hand her employer the newspaper she's been holding
Hermione had a bad feeling about this. She slowly unfolded the paper and read the glaring headline with a sinking stomach
A HOUSE DIVIDED
By: Rita Skeeter
Popular Quidditch coach and former family man Viktor Krum recently abandoned his wife and two children. Mrs Krum said it had been a fairly amicable split over his inability to separate his training time from his family time. Well as it turns out, it seems he just wanted to follow his broom to greener playing fields. Krum has recently been seen out and about with a new witch on his arms. A homely looking girl when in compared to what Krum seems to have gleefully and mistakenly left behind. This reporter did some research and discovered that this witch was one Ms. Sally Sheffield; a legal secretary to none other than attorney and former Golden Trio Princess Hermione Granger. Granger, being a former girlfriend of Krum, is acting as his legal representation during his divorce and custody trial. Aside from the suspicious nature of having an old flame help Krum leave his wife, this reporter really must wonder why Krum is fighting so hard to take these children away from their mother in the first place. Especially as it was made quite obvious in my interview with Mrs Krum and her charming sons, that the boys want nothing to do with their absent father or his new main squeeze. Which ever witch at Granger Law Firm that may be...
The article went on like that for the rest of the page, using ever writing trick in to book to paint Viktor and Sally as the most vile of people. There were even statements from the boys about how cruel Sally was to them when they visited.
"When did this hit the stands?" Hermione asked in a strained voice.
"Apparently yesterday evening. Special edition release," Sally replied, wiping her tears on the back of her hand. "There is an article today calling for you to sack me and that Viktor be remove as head couch of the Bulgarian team because such loose morals shouldn't be associated with a family sport. We got back this morning from Bulgaria and found we couldn't get into my flat due to all of the hate mail. One of the envelopes had a curse in it that killed my owl."
Hermione pulled Sally into a hug that would have done Molly proud. Sally began to cry all over again.
"We're ruined," she cried. "I've ruined everything. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Ms Granger. Please don't hate me I am so so sorry!"
Hermione stroked Sally's hair while she cried trying to sooth her. Viktor looked no better off then Sally."I'll fix this," Hermione whispered into Sally's hair. "I will fix this. I promise. I've dealt with this little cockroach before I can do it again."
"But our reputation!"
"Can be repaired... especially after we expose that woman's lies."
"But how are we going to..."
Sally was cut off by the door crashing open and a frantic blonde woman came bursting through it. An equally looking frantic looking man carrying a baby followed right behind her.
Sally blinked in surprise, "Sarah?"
"Sally!" she exclaimed and all but shoved Hermione aside to envelope Sally into her arms. "Shhh Darling, its ok. Don't cry dearest, big sister is here now. Its alright I've got you."
Hermione took a step back to give Sally and her sister some room. She approached the man and baby with a gentle smile."Hello, Dennis," she said with a hand shake. "It's good to see you again."
"Likewise, Hermione," he nodded. "Wish it was over a better situation thought."
Viktor cautiously approached Hermione and the man. "Mister Creevey, I am so sorry... I never vhanted dis I swear."
"I don't think any of us did, Viktor," Dennis said solemnly. "But it is what it is. So how do we fix it."
"I'll take care of that," Hermione replied before turning to her still sniffing secretary. "Sally, why don't you go on home with Sarah and Dennis?"
"What!?" Sally's eyes went wide with horror, "Am I actually sacked?"
"No! No you are not sacked, not ever," Hermione said firmly. "But you are very upset and won't be able to help me with what needs to be done today. I promise as soon as this is sorted out I will owl you immediately and you can come back in. Go home with Sarah and have some tea or a nap or whatever will help you calm down. It will be alright I promise."
Sally reluctantly nodded and kissed Viktor goodbye before letting her sister and brother in law apparate her out of the office. Hermione fixed Viktor with a ice cold stare.
"You have exactly ten seconds to explain to me what in the hell happened, before I drop kick you back to Bulgaria. That isn't just my secretary I sent away sobbing hysterically with a shattered reputation, that is my friend. So start talking and talk fast, Krum."
"I don't know vhat happened," Viktor said helplessly. "All I do know iz dat ve vent to pick up my sons for christmas und Helga refuse to let us take dem. Und now dey haf refused to see me for almost tree veeks. Dis haz never happened before. Den dis article appears. I vorry, Herm-on-ninne... dis iz not behavior of my sons. And dis iz not how I vill allow Helga to treat Sally. Dis iz her fault. I can feel it."
"I need to know everything, Viktor. If you want me to help you I need every minuscule detail about what has happened in the last year as you can remember, especially after you met Sally. I need memories, statements, receipts, EVERYTHING. Got it?" Hermione snapped. "And so help my Merlin, if that girl's life is ruined because of this, the things I will do to you will make Voldemort's cruciatus curse feel like the tickling of a kitten's whiskers. Do we have an understanding, Mr. Krum?"
Viktor nodded and they got to work.
A/N: Long over due chapter. I apologize. My muse apparently went on holiday without me and forgot to tell me. I hope this helps.
On a side note, how many of my potter book nerds figured out from the clues way back in Chapter 15 that is was Colin Creevey that saved Sarah and Sally's lives? Be honest, its only us computer screens here ;)