Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
A/N: Firstly, I must apologise about the lack of updates for Unfamiliar Spell. I've gone through a small dry spell in terms of inspiration for it, but it'll all be ok because I'm finally done with university xD for the year at least. Next stop, Switzerland for six months to study, but I'm getting ahead of myself...
This story has been inspired by the lovely and beautiful Carmela :) it was a present to make her smile to begin with, and has now turned into a two-part story. She's been a very good muse over the years, and one of the most amazing friends I could hope for... I just want to say that I love you, sweetie :) and I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.
In any case, I'm almost finished with the final part and I'll try to upload it by the weekend. And it has not been beta-ed... I've had a couple drinks tonight so I'm in no state to go through it for mistakes, but I'm pretty sure it's alright as it is... Anyway, as always, please remember to review! I hope you like it :)
Part I: Reunion
Hermione didn't get to spend time with her friends like she used to. She supposed that it was partly because they'd all gone their separate ways after Hogwarts, all living in different places and doing different things. It had been fourteen years since she had finished school, and in those fourteen years, she hadn't seen much of Harry or Ron. Both boys had since gone on to pursue careers as Aurors and, as far as she knew, they'd been quite successful at it. She had managed to get herself a job with the Department of International Magical Cooperation, and had worked in various countries throughout Europe. It was something she enjoyed immensely, indulging in her love of travel and foreign culture. But, there was something missing.
She sighed heavily as she sipped her glass of wine, gazing out the window of her hotel room at the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. She supposed that she should really get in touch with her friends, now that she was temporarily back in London. It would only be for a week, perhaps two at the most, but it was enough time to reacquaint herself with two of the only friends she'd had at Hogwarts.
Well, perhaps a third. Hermione cringed slightly at the thought of seeing her again, after such a long time. They'd parted on such strange terms, that she had no idea how Ginny would feel about seeing her again.
"Well, I suppose I'll see you soon," Hermione said, shifting uncomfortably as she watched Ginny bustle around the room, getting dressed and brushing her teeth at the same time.
"Yeah," Ginny mumbled through the toothbrush in her mouth, seeming to not want to look at Hermione. "I'm sorry, Hermione, but I've really got to go to training."
"And I've got to pack all my stuff up," the brunette said, standing up off the bed and grabbing her bathrobe, wrapping it around her body. "I'm leaving London in an hour."
Ginny nodded, pulling her shoes on quickly, before walking briskly into the bathroom to wash her mouth out. Walking back into the room, she grabbed her bag and walked to the door, looking back at Hermione one last time.
"Have a safe trip," she said softly, gazing at her sadly.
Hermione gave her a small smile and nodded, "I will. Have fun at training."
She sighed again and sipped her wine, leaning back in her chair to reach her purse, which was sitting on the bed. Opening it, she quickly found the picture of the pair of them together, laughing happily and hugging each other tightly. Hermione smiled down at the photo and ran a finger across it, wishing that she was there with her at that moment in time again.
Quite suddenly, she heard a tapping on the window, and looking up she found an owl with a letter strapped to its leg. Frowning, Hermione stood up and crossed the room to the window, opening it and letting the owl flutter into the room, landing on the bed and holding its leg out expectantly. She took the letter and watched it fly back out the window, spreading its magnificent wings wide and gliding through the sky towards its master.
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, Hermione opened the letter, realising with a small shock that it was from Harry.
I heard from a friend in your department that you were back in town for a few days, and I wanted to know if you wanted to catch up? You're welcome to come to Grimmauld Place for dinner tonight if you'd like, we'll all be there. Please come, we haven't seen you in such a long time.
Hoping to see you soon,
Hermione smiled down at the letter, noticing that his messy handwriting hadn't changed at all in the last fourteen years.
"That makes everything much easier," she muttered to herself, folding the letter up and placing it next to her on the bed. Glancing at the clock, she stood up and set about changing to get ready to see Harry and Ron.
"Hermione!" Harry exclaimed as he opened the door to Number 12 Grimmauld Place, grinning happily at her.
"Hi Harry," she said, smiling back at him and leaning in to hug and kiss him on the cheek. "How've you been?"
"Great," he replied, moving aside from the door so she could walk inside. "What about you?"
"The same," she said, smiling at him as she walked past him. "Who's coming to dinner tonight?"
"I thought we could have a family reunion, of sorts," he said, winking at her. He closed the door, before taking her hand and leading her through the house towards the living room.
"What do you mean?" she asked, feeling slightly confused.
"Well, it's been almost fifteen years since we finished school," he said, pausing at the door to the living room. He grinned again at her and opened the door, revealing a group of people standing around and chatting.
Hermione laughed as she recognised them all to be her former classmates from Hogwarts.
"Hermione!" Ron exclaimed, walking over to her and pulling her into a bear hug.
"Hi Ron," she said, laughing as he picked her up slightly.
"Merlin, we haven't seen you in three years," he said, putting her back down and stepping back slightly. "You look great."
She smiled at him, "Thanks, so do you."
"Everyone! Hermione's here!" he said, turning around to face everyone and putting an arm around Hermione.
"Well spotted, Weasley," Draco said, stepping forward to punch him lightly in the shoulder. He smiled down at Hermione, "Long time, no see, Granger."
"It's good to see you too, Draco," Hermione said, laughing softly and stepping forward to hug him as well.
She was then bombarded by greetings, and hugs, and kisses from her former schoolmates, all talking at once. It took a few minutes for Hermione to finally finish hugging everyone, before she realised that there was someone missing.
"Is Ginny coming?" she asked Parvati, looking around and frowning slightly.
"She's supposed to be," she replied, frowning as well. "I suppose she's a little late."
"Oh, okay," Hermione said softly, feeling slightly disappointed. Then she smiled, "I suppose she'll be here soon."
"She told me that she had training this afternoon," Ron said. "It probably went a little later than she thought it would, she promised me she'd come."
"Then I'm sure she'll be here soon," Parvati said, nudging Hermione gently.
"You're late," Hermione said, glancing up at the woman who had stopped to stand in front of her table.
Ginny grinned apologetically, "As usual, I'm sure."
The brunette couldn't help smiling back at her as she stood up to pull her close and hug her tightly, "I had thought that maybe you'd be on time just this once, considering the fact that I won't be here for much longer."
"Ah yes, you leave at eight o'clock tomorrow morning, right?" Ginny asked, sitting down opposite her and leaning forward to fix her with an amused expression.
"Unfortunately," Hermione said, sighing slightly.
"Do you want a drink, Hermione?" Ron asked, almost hopefully.
Hermione smiled at him and nodded, "Sure. A glass of red, if Harry has it."
"No problem," he said, smiling back at her and walking away to get the drink.
"So, he doesn't know, then," Parvati said softly, looking at Hermione seriously.
"No," Hermione muttered, sighing slightly. "I haven't spoken to anyone here since it happened, and the only reason you know is because you saw us kissing."
"And I haven't told anyone," Parvati said quickly, sipping her drink.
Hermione smiled, "I know. If you had then I would've been bombarded with owls about it. I suppose that has been difficult for a gossip columnist," she said, grinning at her.
Parvati laughed, "Yes, it really has been. But you haven't spoken to her at all?"
"No," Hermione shrugged, glancing around the room to see if anyone was listening. "I never really knew what to say. And I was so far away that I didn't think that anything I could say would change anything."
"Your work is pretty terrible for your love life," Parvati said quietly, sipping her drink again. "So, you haven't met anyone since?"
Hermione smiled sadly and shook her head, "Even if I had, I don't think it would have worked out. I mean, it's Ginny."
Parvati nodded in quiet understanding as Ron made his way back to them with Hermione's drink,
"Here you go," he said, smiling at her.
She smiled back at him and took it from him, "Thank you."
"So, how's work?" he asked.
"Oh, you know. Lots of idiotic politicians who don't want to cooperate with international standards of practice, and that sort of thing," Hermione said, smiling at him.
"At least it makes it interesting for you," he said, shrugging slightly.
"Well, you know me. As soon as I get an opportunity, I rush out of work to indulge in a little culture and history," she said, sipping her drink.
He grinned, "So, you haven't changed at all, huh?"
Hermione laughed softly, "I suppose not. How's work with you?"
"Classified," he said, winking at her.
Hermione laughed again, "Have you been watching those spy films with Harry?"
Ron laughed as well, "Yes, I have. Those muggles certainly have wild imaginations, don't they?"
"I suppose they do," she said, grinning and rolling her eyes at him.
"So, what else? Is there a Mr Granger now?" he asked.
Hermione snorted, "Oh, come on, Ron, you know what I'm like."
"Yes, married to your job," he said, smiling at her and sipping his drink. "Maybe I could take you out for dinner while you're here, then."
"Ginny!" Harry exclaimed from the other side of the room.
Hermione stopped speaking and looked over at them, biting down on her bottom lip. "Sorry, Ron, just let me go say hi to Ginny," she said, looking back at him. "We'll talk later, okay?"
"Sure," he said softly, sighing slightly as she walked away.
Ginny's back was to Hermione as she made her way towards her and Harry, and she suddenly noticed the huge butterflies that were flying around in her stomach. She took a deep breath and placed a hand on Ginny's bare shoulder, entirely unprepared for the jolt of electricity that seemed to run through her body as she touched her skin.
"No way, Hermione," Ginny said, giggling as she leaned back in her chair, nursing her glass of wine. "I seem to remember that you were the one who suggested stealing all of Trelawney's crystal balls and hiding them in Filch's office."
"As if I thought you'd go through with it," Hermione replied, grinning at her. "How on earth did you get those damn balls all the way down to Filch's office?"
"Oh, Hermione, don't you remember 'swish and flick'?"
Hermione snorted, "Christ, every time your brother does that charm, even now, he screws it up in some small way, and then wonders why things go flying at his head."
Ginny laughed and reached across the table to hold Hermione's hand gently. The brunette smiled as she looked down at their hands, feeling a strange warm, tingling sensation spreading from where their skin was touching, right through her body, and down to her toes.
"I missed you," Ginny said softly, the grin fading slightly to form a small smile.
The redhead turned around and smiled widely, pulling the brunette in for a tight hug. Hermione sighed happily and relaxed into the hug, the butterflies seeming to double in number as her breasts were pressed firmly up against Ginny's.
"I missed you so much," Ginny murmured to her ear, making her shiver as she felt her warm breath on her neck.
"I missed you too," Hermione murmured back, resisting the urge to pull back and kiss her lips gently.
Ginny finally let go of her and moved back slightly, looking her up and down and smiling, "You look incredible, Hermione."
"So do you," Hermione said, smiling back at her. "I can't believe it's been three years."
"I know," Ginny said, gazing at her and chewing down on her bottom lip. "We've been too busy."
"We have," Hermione said softly, gazing back at her.
"Alright, it's time for dinner, guys," Harry said loudly from behind Ginny. "Now that Miss Weasley has graced us with her presence," he said, grinning at her.
Ginny laughed and slapped his arm, "Oh, shut up, Harry. Like you're never late."
Dinner was a slightly frustrating affair for Hermione. She had wanted to sit next to Ginny, so they could catch up and chat, but Harry had seated her in between himself and Ron, across the table from Ginny. She sighed slightly as she sat there, half listening to Ron ramble on about something, and half trying to listen to what Ginny was saying to Luna across the table.
Despite the fact that she would have liked to sit with Ginny, she did have a good time. It felt really nice to catch up with Ron and Harry, and everyone else at the table. By the time they'd gotten halfway through the dinner, a lively political debate had arisen, involving Ron and Draco vehemently defending their points of view.
"Come on, Weasley," Draco sneered at him, "When has this government ever not been corrupt? I ought to know better than any of you, my father..."
"Yes, yes, we know, your father benefitted hugely from the Fudge regime," Harry sighed heavily.
"Not only that, but the following government was controlled by Voldemort," Draco said, smirking in triumph at Ron. "And the current government is still following the form of Fudge's. They're all incompetent bureaucrats, wanting to get as big a slice as they possibly can."
"You don't work for this government, Draco," Hermione said thoughtfully, leaning forward to look at him down the other end of the table. "The Ministry of Magic hasn't had a spotless record, but they are trying to better themselves. It's just going to take time."
"Come on, Hermione. It's been fifteen years since the War. I know people who've been a part of the government since Fudge's time, and are still taking kickbacks."
Draco grinned, "An investigative journalist never reveals his sources."
Hermione snorted, "So, you're working on some sort of exposé?"
"Keep an eye on the papers over the next couple of weeks, I promise there'll be something worth reading soon."
Hermione laughed softly, "Alright. I'm sure we'll all be very interested to find out who these perpetrators are."
"Just be glad that the government doesn't control the media anymore," Ron grumbled, pushing his food around his plate with his fork. "It's nowhere near as bad as it used to be."
"Ron, the point is that corruption is unacceptable in any form of government," Draco said, shrugging slightly. "If we let it continue, we'll end up with another Fudge in government, or someone like Voldemort could take control of it again."
"That's a little farfetched," Neville said, frowning at him.
"No, it's not," Hermione said, sighing. "That's how we ended up with Voldemort controlling the government. We didn't do or say anything when it first appeared while Fudge was in power, and that allowed Voldemort an opening."
"Thank you, Hermione," Draco said, grinning at her.
She smiled back at him, "I don't think it's quite as bad as you're making out, though."
He shrugged, "I'll take what I can get."
"Alright, a change of subject," Harry said quickly, clapping his hands together. "How's training going, Ginny?"
The redhead smiled, glancing at Hermione, "Not bad. We're just gearing up for the season at the moment, so it's not as rough as it'll get."
Harry grinned, "Fair enough. How's that guy you were seeing?"
Hermione raised an eyebrow and looked at Ginny confusedly, who had blushed and was avoiding eye contact with her.
"Oh, we broke up," she said quickly.
Harry frowned, "That's too bad, I liked him."
"Turns out she doesn't," Parvati said, glancing at Hermione from the other end of the table.
Harry raised an eyebrow at Parvati, "Alright. Well, I suppose another change of subject, then."
Conversation gradually broke out across the table, while Hermione sat in silence, eating slowly so as to not raise any suspicion. She hadn't expected Ginny to wait around for her, of course. It had been three years since it happened. Ginny had every right to find someone else, someone who lived in England, at least. She looked up from her food to find Ginny gazing at her with a strange look on her face. Hermione gave her a small smile, trying to let her know that she was okay with whatever had happened since she'd been gone.
"I really should get back to my room, Ginny," Hermione said, glancing at her watch and noticing that she should have been in bed half an hour before.
"Well, I'm coming over, then," Ginny said firmly, straightening up and beckoning the waiter over.
Hermione smiled, "Gin..."
"Hermione, I haven't seen you in too long," Ginny said, cutting across her, pulling out her purse and paying for dinner. She smiled at the waiter and thanked him, standing up and looking at Hermione expectantly. "Come on, let's go."
Hermione smiled and shrugged in defeat, "Alright, let's go."
"So, Hermione," Ron said, breaking her train of thought and nudging her gently.
"Yeah?" Hermione asked, looking back at him and regaining her composure.
"Do you think I could take you out for dinner while you're here?" he asked hopefully.
Hermione sighed and smiled at him, taking his hand in hers, "Sure, I'd like to go to dinner with you." She glanced sideways at Ginny, who was now staring down at her plate.
He grinned widely at her, "Great! How about this Friday night?"
Hermione smiled again and nodded, "Sounds good."
The rest of dinner went by without any more political arguments or awkward silences, though Hermione felt as though her chest was about to explode every time she looked at Ginny. She kept reminding herself that it was okay, that she and Ginny had never promised anything, and that she really should be happy that Ginny had moved on. But every time she looked up at the beautiful redhead, she could see something in those eyes, something that told her otherwise.
Once she had finished her dinner, Hermione excused herself to the bathroom, glancing at Ginny as she stood up. She walked through the house, upstairs to the bathroom, and once inside, closed the door and leaned against it heavily.
"Calm down, you silly girl," she muttered to herself, rubbing her eyes tiredly. "She's over you, and it's okay. It was three years ago."
Hermione sighed heavily and walked to the basin, turning the tap on and splashing some water up on her face. Leaning heavily on the basin, she gazed at herself in the mirror and frowned.
"I'm fine," she muttered, straightening back up and wiping her face on a hand towel hanging next to the mirror.
"I wish you didn't have to go back tomorrow," Ginny said softly as they sat together on the balcony, both drinking more alcohol, and letting their hands touch gently.
"I know," Hermione said, sighing as she looked down at their hands, feeling that warm sensation run through her body again. "But it can't be helped."
"You could always quit," Ginny suggested, grinning slightly as she pulled Hermione's hand closer, setting her glass down on the floor and running the fingers of her other hand across her knuckles.
Hermione laughed softly, watching Ginny's movements intently, "And you could always leave the Harpies."
The redhead's grin widened as she looked up at the brunette, "We could run away together and live in some remote place, without any contact with the outside world."
Hermione smiled and squeezed her hand gently, "We can dream."
Making sure that her make-up wasn't ruined, she turned around and walked to the door, opening it and coming face to face with Parvati.
"Are you okay?" she asked, looking at her concernedly.
Hermione smiled and nodded, "I'm fine. I should've expected that she'd move on."
Parvati sighed, "I'm sorry. I should've told you."
"No, it's fine," Hermione said quickly. "Really, it's okay. I suppose now I'll be able to move on properly."
"Well, if you're sure," she said, sighing slightly. "Come on, let's go back down. Harry wants to serve dessert."
"Ready for the most amazing dessert you've ever tasted?" Harry asked as Hermione sat down next to him.
She smiled and raised an eyebrow at him, "Harry, you're a good cook, but I don't know if you're quite that good."
He laughed, "Alright, I bought dessert, but you'll enjoy it. Could you come help me with the plates?"
"Sure," she said, standing back up and following him into the kitchen.
"It's this incredible apple crumble," he said, walking to the counter and opening a large white box to show her.
"If you're serving it with cream, then I'm sure I'll be quite satisfied," Hermione said, winking at him.
"As you wish, milady," he said, winking back at her. "Could you get me some bowls from the cupboard?"
Hermione retrieved the bowls while Harry took a knife and began cutting the apple crumble into pieces, and serving them as she handed him the plates.
"So, I heard Ron asking you to dinner," he said, looking sideways at her.
"Oh, yeah," she said, feeling slightly uncomfortable.
"Do you think something'll come of it?" he asked, walking across to another cupboard to find the cream.
Hermione sighed and shrugged, "I don't know. I mean, I'm not even sure if it's a good idea, I'm only here for a week or two."
Harry nodded and walked back over to her with the cream in hand, "I understand that. But he's been burning to ask you out for ages now. Ever since it didn't work out with Lavender a few years ago."
"Is that why she's not here tonight?" Hermione asked, frowning slightly.
"You know how Ron is after breakups. Besides, she got engaged a month or two ago, so I'm sure he really doesn't want to see her."
Hermione nodded and remained silent, staring down at the ground thoughtfully.
"You do like him, don't you?" he asked, lumping large portions of cream onto the slices of apple crumble.
Hermione immediately wanted to say no, but she kept her mouth shut, shifting her body weight from side to side.
Harry raised an eyebrow at her, "Hermione?"
Hermione sighed, "Look, I used to. But I got so sick and tired of waiting for him to make a move that I just didn't bother anymore. And I've been working out of the country for so long that I don't think that it would be a good idea to start anything with anyone here. I do have to go back to work soon."
Harry nodded, "I know. Look, just go to dinner with him. If you don't feel that spark anymore, then you can just tell him. He won't take it very well, but it's best to tell him sooner, rather than later."
Hermione nodded as well, "Alright. But..."
"Hey, it'll do you some good to go out on a date," he said, finishing serving the cream and turning to face her, smiling at her. "You haven't done that in so long."
"Three years," Hermione said softly, sighing slightly.
"See? Either way, you'll get to spend some time with a friend who you haven't seen in a long time."
Hermione smiled, "Thanks, Harry."
He grinned, "My pleasure. Now, come on, I want you guys to taste this."
She smiled and picked up some bowls, following him back into the dining room. Once they all had their dessert, she sat back down next to Ron and Harry, picking up her spoon and taking a bite.
"How is it?" Harry asked.
She grinned, "It's pretty amazing Harry. Well done."
"I'm pretty good at buying stuff," he said, winking at her.
She laughed and continued eating, making sure that she avoided looking in Ginny's direction.
"Where do you want to go this Friday?" Ron asked suddenly, taking a huge bite of his dessert.
"Oh," Hermione said, swallowing quickly and feeling slightly nervous. "I'm not sure. Wherever you'd like to go, I suppose."
"Well, why don't I meet you at your hotel and we can walk down to one of the restaurants along the street there?"
"Sure," she said, smiling at him.
He smiled back at her, "Great!"
Hermione turned her head back down to look at her dessert, feeling incredibly awkward. Ron seemed so excited about the date, and she was nowhere near reciprocating his feelings. She sighed and looked around the rest of the room. Everyone else was chatting happily, talking about work, their social lives, and whatever else interested them. She suddenly felt very alone. Perhaps she'd spent far too much time out of the country, and away from her friends. She really did miss them; she missed hanging out with Harry and Ron, and she missed Draco's wild conspiracy theories about the government. She even missed reading Parvati's trashy gossip column each week.
And, there was Ginny.
"Don't you miss it?" Ginny asked, standing up suddenly and walking to the edge of the balcony, gazing out over London.
Hermione shrugged, standing up to walk over to her, and leaning forward on the railing, "I do, sometimes. There's so much more to the world than London, though."
Ginny smiled and nudged the brunette gently, "I'm here."
Hermione laughed softly and nodded, "Yes, you are. And you always provide me with a very good reason to come back."
Ginny smiled and leaned down on the railing too, looking directly at Hermione, "It's strange, though. You could be gone for years at a time, and when you come back, it's like we just pick up from exactly where we left off in our last conversation."
"That's the sign of a very deep connection," Hermione said, grinning and winking at her.
The redhead laughed and nodded, "Very true."
The brunette sighed heavily and nudged Ginny slightly, "I do miss you, probably much more than I care to admit."
"I miss you too," Ginny replied softly, turning her head to look at Hermione again.
Hermione smiled at her, leaning in to kiss her cheek gently. As she moved back, she found Ginny looking at her intently, her eyes seeming to flash slightly. They maintained eye-contact for what felt like an age, before Ginny moved a little closer, their noses touching ever so slightly. Hermione didn't say anything, merely watching her move closer and closer, suddenly very aware of the unspoken sexual tension that seemed to swarm around them.
As their lips touched for the first time, she felt that tension stretched to breaking point, and could have sworn that Ginny's lips had shocked her into realising just how much she'd wanted to kiss her.
She sighed slightly as she raised her eyes to the beautiful redhead across the table, watching her speak animatedly with Neville about the upcoming Quidditch season. She was smiling and gesturing with her hands, her eyes sparkling as she spoke about the thing she loved most. Hermione couldn't help smiling as well as she watched her, not caring about the longing, frustrated feeling that began to well up in her chest. If Ginny had moved on, then good for her. She deserved someone who would love her and take care of her. Hermione could do the same. She could date, and it wasn't as though there was a shortage of people who wanted to go out with her. After all, Ron had just asked her out.
She frowned down at her dessert. She didn't really want to go out on a date with Ron, though.
"Hey, Harry," she heard Ginny say, breaking her train of thought. She looked up at her, to see her inspecting her spoon thoughtfully, which had a large helping of apple crumble and cream piled onto it.
"This is pretty incredible," she said, grinning at him.
He laughed, "Yeah, I told you so."
Hermione bit down hard on her bottom lip as she watched Ginny raise her spoon to her mouth, licking it clean with a look of ecstasy on her face. The last time she'd seen Ginny look so excited was that night. Her mind was suddenly filled with memories of their bodies intertwined together, their sweat and saliva mingling as they made love, the way Ginny sounded as she said Hermione's name over, and over. She felt her breath catch in her throat as the redheaded beauty licked her lips clean of the cream that clung to them, only serving to remind her of what else she had licked that night.
"Huh?" she said, looking around in the direction the voice was coming from quickly, trying desperately to regain her composure.
Harry grinned at her, "Are you finished?"
"Oh, yes," she said in relief, pushing her bowl towards him. "Thank you."
"No problem," he said, smiling down at her. "Why don't you and the others go back into the living room? Ron, could you light a fire for me?"
Ron nodded, scooping the last of his dessert up and gobbling it down quickly, standing up and walking into the living room.
"Alright, all of you, into the living room so I can clean all of this up quickly," Harry said loudly, breaking everyone's conversations up.
"Actually, I need to head off," Neville said, standing up.
"I should go as well," Parvati said, throwing an apologetic look at Hermione. "I've got to finish writing my column for tomorrow."
"I have to do some writing too," Draco said, stretching slightly, before standing up. "But it was fun. Hermione, I enjoyed your support," he said, winking at her.
Hermione laughed and rolled her eyes at him, "I enjoyed arguing and agreeing with you at the same time."
"Well, maybe I'll see you before you leave," he suggested, walking around the table to sit down in Harry's chair.
Hermione smiled and leaned forward, hugging him, "Definitely, I want to hear who you think is really behind all these conspiracy theories."
"Hey, not conspiracy theories, facts," he said firmly, grinning at her. "I'll owl you about seeing you before you leave."
"Alright, I'll see you soon, then."
One by one, each guest began to leave, all saying goodbye to Hermione, and that they should see each other before she left again. Hermione smiled at everyone and said she would, knowing all the while that it probably wouldn't happen. Soon, she and Ginny were left sitting at the table alone, with Ron in the living room, and Harry in the kitchen.
"Well, that was a little overwhelming," Hermione said, breaking the awkward silence that permeated the air.
Ginny gave her a warm smile, "You did great. And you don't have to see them, if you don't really want to."
"Well, I'd like to see Draco at least. He always has something interesting to talk about."
Ginny laughed softly, "Fifteen years ago, you would've hexed yourself for saying something like that."
Hermione smiled at her and shrugged, "He managed to learn from his mistakes. And I think he's trying to make up for them, he's really hell-bent on taking corruption down."
"Ah, yes, I thought it best not to get involved in that conversation," Ginny said, smiling down at the table cloth. "Ron didn't really hold his own against him, did he?"
Hermione shrugged again, "Not really, but he's optimistic. Optimism sometimes blinds you to the worse qualities of certain things."
"Speaking of which," Ginny said, leaning forward to lean her forearms on the table. "I was wondering..."
"Hey guys, the fire's lit," Ron said, walking back into the dining room.
Hermione cringed slightly in annoyance at his terrible timing, resisting the urge to tell him to go away. Ginny merely smiled at her brother,
"Took you a little while."
"Harry's got those match thingies, I wanted to see if I could light it like a muggle," he said, shrugging at her.
"Did you succeed?"
"Yeah!" he said, grinning at his sister. "Come see."
Hermione and Ginny stood up, and followed him into the living room, greeted by a roaring fire.
"Well done, Ron," Hermione said, sitting down on the couch.
"Thanks!" he said, grinning at her as he plonked himself down next to her.
"So, what are we doing now?" Ginny asked, sitting down on Hermione's other side.
"I'm not sure, Harry said that he wanted to go through something, but I'm not sure what," Ron said, frowning slightly. "I'll go get him." He stood back up and walked out of the room, leaving Hermione feeling slightly awkward again.
"So," she said, shifting slightly on the couch. "How's life?"
Ginny smiled, "Fine. You?"
"Fine, too," Hermione said, fidgeting with the hem of her dress. "Harry mentioned that you had a boyfriend?"
Ginny bit her lip and nodded, "Yes, but..."
"Okay, girls!" Ron exclaimed, walking back into the living room, followed by Harry.
Hermione grit her teeth and tried not to glare at him, wishing she could just grab Ginny's hand and find some privacy with her.
"I wanted to go through something with you guys," Harry said, walking over to the bookcase and pulling out a folder.
"What is it?" Ginny asked, sitting forward and frowning slightly.
Harry grinned as he walked back to them, handing the folder to Ginny. She opened it and laughed,
"You want to go through old photos?"
He nodded, "We're never all together like this, I thought it'd be fun."
"It will be," Hermione said, smiling as she inched a little closer to Ginny, so she could see the photos properly.
"A lot of them were taken by Colin Creevy," Harry said, sitting down opposite them.
"Oh yeah, he used to run around with his camera, taking photos of everything," Ginny said, smiling down at the photos.
"What year was this one taken?" Hermione asked, pointing at one of them.
"Third year," Ron said, leaning across her to look at it. "Just after we went back to school."
Hermione smiled, gazing down at the three of them, all laughing and hugging each other.
"So, where are the photos of me?" Ginny asked, turning the page.
"A little self-obsessed, are we?" Harry asked, smiling at her.
She grinned, "I do like looking at myself."
"They're a little further in," Harry said, leaning forward and turning the page again.
"Here's one of you and Hermione," Ron said, still leaning across Hermione.
Hermione sighed slightly as she shifted uncomfortably underneath his weight, looking down at the photo. She and Ginny were standing at the edge of the Lake, giggling as they splashed each other with water.
"That's a good photo," Ginny said, smiling down at it. "Right before you guys finished."
Hermione nodded, watching as the photo version of Ginny tackled her down into the water, both girls in stitches with laughter. She glanced at Ginny, to find that she was looking back at her. The redhead gave her a small smile, before looking back down at the folder, and turning the page again.
The four of them sat there for a while, reminiscing and reliving the moments at which the photos were taken. It was well past eleven o'clock by the time they finally closed the folder, and Harry put it away.
"Does anyone want another drink?" he asked, looking back at them.
"I wouldn't say no to another glass of red," Hermione said, smiling up at him.
"The same," she replied, sitting up slightly and stretching. "I think I might go out the back to get some fresh air, alright?"
"Can I come with?" Hermione asked.
Ginny smiled and nodded, "Sure."
"I'll help Harry get the drinks, then. We can sit out the back," Ron said, standing up and following Harry into the kitchen.
"Come on," Ginny said, standing up and taking Hermione's hand, helping her up and then pulling her in the direction of the back door.
Once they were outside, Ginny closed the door, whipping out her wand to lock it securely. Hermione watched her do so with a raised eyebrow,
"What're you doing?"
"We need to talk," she said quietly, turning around to look at her seriously.
"Why're you going out with my brother?" she cut across her quickly, taking a step towards her.
Hermione frowned, "What?"
"Why're you going out with my brother?" she repeated, chewing down on her bottom lip.
"Am I not allowed to go out with him?" Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow at her.
"Hermione, you know..."
"Yes I do," Hermione cut across her this time, feeling slightly irritated. "But you've clearly moved on, why shouldn't I?"
Ginny sighed heavily and took another step towards her, maintaining eye contact with her very carefully, "No."
"I haven't moved on."
Hermione felt her stomach jolt as the words left Ginny's mouth, feeling a wave of emotions descend upon her. She felt angry that she hadn't said anything before now, felt annoyed that she'd just sat there when Ron had asked her out, and felt incredibly frustrated that she had said yes.
"Then why on earth didn't you say anything?" she asked, glaring at the redhead.
"Come on, Hermione, we've hardly been able to say a word to each other tonight without someone interrupting us," Ginny said, throwing a scowl towards the house behind her.
Hermione groaned and turned away from Ginny, walking to the railing of the veranda and leaning on it, "Ginny, I really don't..."
"You can't fucking tell me that you don't feel the same way," Ginny snapped, walking up behind her and pulling her to face her. "I tried to get over you, but no one ever came close to making me forget about you."
"Why didn't you come and tell me that, then?" Hermione asked, glaring at her. "Why didn't you...?"
"I never knew where you were exactly, and it's not like you ever owled me," Ginny said, glaring back at her. "And I have my own goddamned life here in England."
"So, this is my fault? You knew what you were getting yourself into when you came up to my room that night," Hermione snapped.
"Yeah, I did," Ginny replied, grinding her teeth. "And it's been three years and I'm still not over you. We only had one night together, and I'm still not over you."
"No, why the hell didn't you owl me? I'm always in the same goddamn place, doing the same goddamn thing every day. You're the one who went away, Hermione, how can you even think that I didn't want to contact you, or continue what we started? How do you think it makes me feel to know that you could've contacted me, but didn't?" Ginny was starting to get very red in the face as her voice raised in volume, and all Hermione could do was stand there and glare back at her.
Why the hell didn't she contact Ginny? Why didn't she send a simple owl, or floo, or apparate back to London to at least see her once?
"Three years, Hermione," Ginny said softly, still glaring at her. "Three years, and you didn't do anything."
Hermione couldn't take it anymore. The redhead looked absolutely stunning while angry, and it was making that spot in between her legs begin to ache for attention. She suddenly lunged at Ginny, grabbing her head and pulling her close, kissing her hard, and biting down on her bottom lip. Ginny moaned loudly as she opened her mouth to kiss her, their tongues touching and fighting, kissing with as much passion as they'd argued with. They moved back to the railing, Ginny picking her up and placing her on it, her hands quickly moving past the hem of Hermione's skirt, and starting to rub her though her panties.
Hermione clutched at Ginny's shoulders, her moans muffled by her mouth, rocking her hips back and forth against Ginny's fingers.
Quite suddenly, they heard Harry call out, "Girls? Did you lock the door?"
They stopped their movements abruptly, both women breathing hard, Ginny's hand still beneath Hermione's skirt.
"Are you guys okay?" Ron asked from behind the door.
"We're fine," Hermione called back, hoping that she didn't sound quite so breathless. "Harry, I think the house still has a little of Sirius's mother's spirit in it, the door just locked itself behind us and we don't have our wands."
"Alright, stand back, then."
Ginny sighed slightly as she stepped away from Hermione, letting her stand up and move away from the door. There was a small pop, and the door swung open, revealing a confused Harry.
"That was much easier than I expected," he said, frowning at the door.
"Listen, Harry, I'm really sorry, but I should be off," Hermione said, pushing past him and Ron, and beginning to make her way back through the house.
"Hermione!" Harry called after her, throwing a confused look at Ginny, and turning around to follow her. "Hey, is everything okay?"
"Everything's fine," she said quickly, walking briskly towards the front door. "It's just late, is all. I'm tired."
"Hermione, stop walking," Harry said firmly, grabbing her shoulder and trying to slow her down.
Hermione shrugged his hand off, coming to the front door and grabbing her cloak, "No, I need to go."
"Will you at least say good bye to us?" Ron asked, having followed them back through the house.
Hermione sighed heavily, noticing that Ginny hadn't followed them. "I promise I'll see you guys before I go, I just need to get back to my room, okay?"
"Alright," Harry said, frowning at her. "Well, owl us, then."
"I will, 'night," Hermione said, throwing her cloak around her shoulders, opening the front door and walking out onto the street.
She grit her teeth against the tears that she knew were bound to come as she walked away from Number 12 Grimmauld Place as fast as she possibly could. As soon as she came to the first alleyway, she walked down it, making sure that no one was around before disapparating.
To be continued...