A/N: Okay, so here's what this is. And there are two reasons why this update is NOT Sharing Sleep... haha
1. In the midst of writing Sharing Sleep, smut started to emerge, which is NOT going to go into Sharing Sleep. So I needed a place to toss it, and so this happened.
2. My computer has finally decided to die a slow death in which it allows me to turn it on for 10 minutes at a time before going black. This is indeed the computer on which I have been writing SS. So, until I can either find a few hundred bucks lying around or a magical person who can spell a computer back into working order, I'm stuck. I can't copy the files onto another computer because the one I'm using now is at an office that I very rarely go to anymore, since being laid off... I'm hoping to make something happen in the next few weeks to fix my rather inconvenient circumstances...
Alright, so this story right here is nothing but smut and cursing, I mean like NC-17. So that's you warned. And instead of using italics for emphasized words, they're in caps. First of all, because it seemed necessary at the time, and secondly because I wrote this whole damn thing on my Blackberry and it has no knowledge of italics. That's what I've been reduced to!
And now, the best part... I want to thank (times infinity) and dedicate this story to my absolutely incredible napchic for inspiring me to keep writing this and for sending me the most amazing reviews to each chapter as I finished them! You are so, so wonderful and I cannot thank you enough for your friendship and for sharing the Ron/Hermione love with me. 3
She flinched next to him and he openly stared at her, thighs inches apart on the couch. They'd been sitting here in silence since... how long had it been, now? Well, since he'd plopped down next to her with one of her books in his hands, planting himself just shy of her personal space and adopting HER usual routine of reading limitlessly without speaking... But he wasn't reading. It had all been a simple ruse, a passive effort made to get through to her.
He'd been doing a lot of that lately, passively trying to get things started with her. It was downright mental that he'd still have to call it that, that 'things' still weren't 'started', even though she had. Started them, that is... with that damn kiss that had yet to be discussed...
Bugger, or maybe HE had started things. After all, he'd accidentally confessed to LOVING her in sixth year, though even HE hadn't meant it the way it may have sounded. Not because he HADN'T meant it, but because he hadn't meant to SAY it that way, just sort of slipped out and he hadn't even realized what he'd maybe, sort of, kind of, almost, possibly done until much later when... oh, sod it...
Or wait, had SHE started things really, years ago, with her cryptic nonsense about a Yule Ball invite?
And then there was that bloody perfume he'd given her. And what the hell had THAT meant? Once again, he found himself not entirely sure of his own youthful intentions...
It was so clusterfucked and confusing that he usually gave it up as a bad job after several agonizing minutes of trying to unriddle it.
He shifted, unintentionally moving actually INTO her personal space now, an inch from her twitching leg, and he sighed as she flinched again.
Okay, usually, he'd simply groan and stomp off to sulk in his room, anxiously pacing because no books on earth could possibly explain how to work his way out of their current state of what-the-fuck...
Oh, today... He was going to do what he did best of all of the things. He was going to start a row. On purpose.
He swallowed hard, stretched his long fingers as if prepping for a fist fight, and blinked solidly in her direction.
Eyes glazed with disinterest, she turned a page in her book and sank an inch lower into the couch cushions.
"Hermione," he tried again.
She wrinkled her nose, and maybe her eyes darted in his direction, taking him in peripherally, but that was all.
Nope. He wasn't going to drop it. Too bad...
Without warning or a second's pause, he snatched the book from her hands and leapt off the couch with it, slamming it shut and effectively losing her place for her. She gasped. Her eyes widened. And then she was glaring.
"Ron! For Merlin's... What is WRONG with you?"
"We're going to have a chat," he said, smirking outwardly but trembling from terror inwardly.
"A CHAT?" She huffed and pressed her fists down against the couch on either side of her, pushing herself up to stand in front of him. "So now you get to interrupt me whenever you please for a CHAT?"
He felt a deep sting for a moment, like his heart had been slapped, but he pushed through it by clearing his throat as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Today? Yes," he said boldly.
She glared even harder.
"First topic, why are you ignoring me?"
Her eyes widened almost imperceptibly before she looked away from him and sighed.
"Ron, I haven't been-"
"No point pretending. I can tell when you're lying, you know."
Her eyes snapped back to his like opposite magnets held too close together.
"You absolutely cannot."
"How would you know?" he challenged, now flattening one palm against her confiscated book as he held it firmly in his other hand.
"Nevermind that!" she shouted. "Give me back my book."
Her jaw dropped.
"Are you serious?" she nearly whispered.
His heart was pounding so forcefully he could hear it against his eardrums. He was clearly standing on the edge of a cliff, below which was an endless abyss. And he'd dragged himself up here, knowing she could push him off with a jab from one little perfect finger...
He cleared his throat again.
"I just want to get a few things straight."
"Well..." she trailed off, and for a moment, he was ecstatic as he watched her caving in. But she resumed her previous air of defiance without a beat, and he deflated, unsure how much longer he could keep up the charade of being in charge. He was so far from in charge he didn't even know what in charge looked like. But all that mattered was that she thought he did...
"Well what?" he pressed.
"Well, you can wait until I've finished reading, can't you!"
He felt his next word vibrating on his tongue, and as he closed his eyes, he spoke it, against every ounce of better judgment he possessed...
When he opened his eyes again, she was simply blinking up at him, shocked speechless.
"You... You..." she tried, failing to form the next word...
But suddenly, she was paying far too much attention to the book in his hands, and he could literally FEEL her attempted nonverbal accio.
"No, you don't!" he shouted, repeating every shield charm he knew inside his own head at a frantically random pace.
"Ron!" she whined, and instead of knocking him off course, she'd served to fuel the fire. Because she couldn't possibly be MORE sexy, could she? And buggering hell, if she COULD...
He opened his mouth to speak, cheeks blazing, but she beat him to it.
"You get to say one more thing, so choose carefully!" she shouted, and he was sure he'd heard the dishes rattling in the kitchen sink, all the way through the half-shut door...
"Okay, then, tell me! Tell me why you've been acting as though I'm poisonous!" he bellowed back. If he was going to play her way, he was going for the kill. "It's not as if I haven't given it a go, trying to talk to you!"
He watched her expression turn from angry and annoyed to shocked and startled... Perfect.
"But, blimey," he continued, "I don't claim to be one hundred percent confident that you feel any of what I feel!"
Oh, he was either saying something very right or very wrong, judging by the way she was blinking too quickly, eyes glistening too brightly, cheeks fading from hot red to light pink, as if he was literally shouting the blood from her face...
"So, it's still a chance, isn't it," he pressed on, encouraged, "for me to go for it. And I'm being as brave as I bloody well can be without making an arse of myself!"
Her jaw dropped and her next words threatened to tumble out, but he knew what she was going to say as surely as if she'd actually said it already.
"-and I KNOW you kissed me," he shouted, effectively blocking her from interrupting.
The blood in her veins clearly made a u-turn, cheeks rushing from pink back to an even darker shade of red than before. His face figured it may as well catch up, temperature rising until he was near scorching...
"-but what the fuck does that matter now we survived and you're avoiding me like I'm a sodding blast-ended skrewt?"
She might have given his comparison a quarter of a grin, but he couldn't be sure because before it could register, she was screaming again...
See? He COULD tell.
"Yes, you are!"
He watched her hair frazzle before his eyes as she breathed sharply in and out.
"I'm not avoiding you, you prat!"
Her voice echoed off his eardrums, and there was a solid ten seconds of nothing but ringing before the room fell silent enough for anyone to bother speaking again.
"I'm trying not to...to..." Hermione stammered, "to do it again!"
He furrowed his brow as she viciously avoided eye contact with him following her... admission? Well, he certainly had no effing clue what she was actually admitting!
"...to do what again?" he finally managed to ask.
She growled. Actually GROWLED out her frustration, untwisting her arms from across her chest and literally bouncing on her heels. He was sure he'd absolutely never seen her this riled up. And it was doing completely mental things to his gentlemanly ability to refrain from ripping various articles of his and/or her clothing from their bodies...
Completely inappropriate. He shook himself as she shouted-
"To jump on you!"
Right. So, she'd gone barmy. Or he'd completely lost his original train of thought.
He shoved a hand into his hair to tug painfully, intentionally, as he tried to snap back to some semblance of a point.
"Okay, wait," he heaved. "Just... just hang on."
He found her eyes on him again and they blinked at each other.
"I think I've got..." he started. "Yes, I have an idea."
"What?" she prodded eagerly.
"For the next-" He shifted Hermione's book to his left hand to lift his right wrist, inspecting his watch. "-hour, we do and say whatever we want and if the other person doesn't like it, we get an undo."
She raised her eyebrows half-skeptically.
"Right." He nodded. This sounded rather brilliant, actually. " So, nothing we do or say has to matter. Because bloody hell, we have to get past this, don't you agree? I can't go on not knowing if I'm allowed to... to hold your sodding hand or not-"
"-or if I..." He came to a screeching halt as he realized she'd spoken. She'd... given him... permission? "Oh." Was it really possible to blush this thoroughly? "Well, thanks..." As shyly as he could ever remember, he grinned at her. "See! Not so hard. So go on, then. Let's figure this mess out."
He was allowed... to hold her hand!
Not at ALL the signal he'd been reading from her, cascading off of her in waves, actually!
So there was only one conclusion, at this point, to be drawn, now that he'd presented this new idea of unrestrained honesty...
He was a goddamn genius.
A/N Part 2: Now that you've read it, what's the verdict? Shall I continue posting what I have of this, which is a lot, even though I can't yet post the SS update? I know I've had some people say that they want me to post whatever I have, and then some seem to just want updates to the in-progress stories like SS and With Me. What's your vote? Either way, writing things like this doesn't take away from SS time, it only serves as a place to dump the stuff that can't make it into those stories, or to work on something creative while I don't have access to my in progress story files.
But. Whatever you would like, I shall deliver. And thank you all very much for reading this! It was (and still is) SO much fun to write.