For the HPFC 48 hours or less Challenge.

My pairing: HarryHermione.

My prompts: dance, tag along, midnight run, tease

A warning: This is my first time with this pairing.

A disclaimer: I don't own anything.


"A Rough Road to a Good Life"

"May I have this dance?"

That was all it took to send her spiraling down memory lane. That voice, that hand extended, those words.

She had promised herself that she wasn't going to cry, not anymore, not tonight. She was so sick of crying over him. Still, her eyes were puffy, red. Her willpower was being severely tested.

She'd told herself that she wasn't going to spend tonight hiding in a corner. She'd told herself that she was going to support him, not wallow in misery. She'd overestimated herself.

Still, she hadn't expected it to hurt this much. She'd thought she was over him, because she knew, logically, that he would never figured out that she'd ever loved him. It had taken him four years to figure out she was a girl, for Merlin's sake!

But as she watched one of her best friends dance with his new bride, tears welled up once more as she looked at how happy they were.

It isn't your fault, she told herself. It isn't your fault that he's oblivious. It isn't your fault that you're too brainy for him, too geeky, too bucktoothed, too fiery, too doubtful, too plain looking. It isn't your fault that you aren't good enough for him. It isn't your fault.

Silent rivers coursed down her cheeks. She failed to persuade herself.

"May I have this dance?"

She blinked and looked up.

Brilliant emerald eyes spoke to her, saying merely, 'I understand.'

His hand was extended, palm up. He nodded to it, not needing to speak. 'Take it.'

So she did.

He led her outside the tent, into the beautiful garden. They danced in the way of a man who didn't know what he was doing and a woman who did, neither knowing who should lead. They danced underneath the stars, and she felt like maybe she wasn't just a useless tag-along, maybe she meant something to someone.

She wondered vaguely how they'd gotten from there to here. From that horrible pit of self-pity and despair to this, this fairy-tale life that she'd always dreamed of but never actually imagined could be hers.

He was all she'd ever dreamed of and so much more.

He made a point to tell her every day that she was beautiful, just because he knew she didn't believe him.

He tolerated her obsessions, when she would hole herself up in her office or their basement and work frantically for hours, but he wouldn't let her work herself to death.

No, they weren't perfect. No one was. They fought like anyone else. Both of them had spent a few nights on the couch throughout the years. Both had, at one point, packed everything up and stomped out the door. But both had returned.

And now, when everything seemed to be going wrong, when she was swollen and achy and her stomach was blown up like a balloon, he still told her every day that she was beautiful, that the baby inside of her was bound to be beautiful, with such a beautiful mother.

He hovered obnoxiously because he cared.

He humored her demands for midnight chocolate runs without complaint.

Like tonight.

When everything hurt.

When she hadn't slept last night because the munchkin inside of her hadn't slept.

When she couldn't work because her boss had her on "forced leave."

A part of her felt guilty as she shook him awake at midnight. A bigger part of her was screaming, "Chocolate! NOW, or you will DIE!"

She fell asleep on the couch waiting for him to return. She awoke to the warm scent of milk chocolate in her nostrils.

Her husband was smirking above her, dangling the chocolate bar tauntingly above her face. As she reached for it, he snatched it away.

"Harry James Potter, you are such a tease!"

He simply continued to smirk. Frowning, she heaved herself off of the couch and tackled him with her considerable bulk, gently landing them both on the plush carpet with a murmured spell to cushion the landing. Pinning him down, she snatched the chocolate bar out of his hand, grinning triumphantly.

Life was good.