A/N: Hello, how is everybody going? It's been a blissful summer here in New Zealand, I took the last two months off in a little beach town working and living like a backpacker. It was great, and I come back now with plenty of ideas for a story! This was inspired by events that have actually happened over the summer, both to me and to people I had met.
I own nothing but the plotline.
A shoe flew past Sirius' face, followed closely by a book. It was not the first time he'd dodged items thrown at his face, but he knew he didn't deserve it this time.
"Hermione, even headhunters shine a red laser before they fire. Why the ballistics?" he asked the brunette who was packing her things in a frenzy. Boxes floated about the room, all filled with items. A purring Crookshanks sat on the bed, stretched out on a rust-coloured cardigan. Obviously he couldn't be less interested in what was going on around him.
"Fleur's mother is coming to stay with her and Bill to visit the children. She said she's already missed their birth and wasn't about to miss another chance to spend time with them," Hermione explained. She chucked a folded pile of clothes into one of the boxes, charming it to sort itself out and to seal itself closed. "So where will you stay?" Sirius asked.
To be perfectly honest, Hermione had no clue. She had just spent the summer living at Shell Cottage with Bill and Fleur, working on a paper for the Muggle Relations department for the Ministry. She gave up her flat in the city and just took off to the warm beachside town Bill and Fleur were living in for some much needed peace and quiet. They took her in, giving her room and board in exchange for babysitting and housekeeping while they both went to work. It had been a blissful summer, writing or researching around looking after the children from the crack of dawn to mid-afternoon when their parents would come home and she could go for a swim in the ocean or work on her tan.
But now that she'd finished her paper and Fleur's mother was coming to stay, se knew she couldn't impose on Bill and Fleur's generosity any longer. Now she was packing her things like a crazy person but still didn't know where on earth she was going to stay.
"Probably a hostel in town?" she absentmindedly replied, appraising a blue skirt for the charity bag she had set up in the corner. Sirius had to step in. There was no way he was going to let her stay among strangers in a hostel when he had rooms that were echoing in silence at 12 Grimmauld Place.
"No you aren't. I've more than enough room at home and I'm sure Kreacher will appreciate cooking for two people instead of just one," Sirius said, taking the skirt from Hermione to try and get her attention before she threw something else at him.
"Wouldn't a lady living at yours cramp your freewheeling ways?" she asked, finally looking up from what she was doing and reaching for the skirt.
Even Sirius was surprised at the blush that unexpectedly crept up his face. Yes, he was far from living like a monk but he thought he had been more well-mannered about that. "I wouldn't call it freewheeling," he mumbled.
"Debauched. Loose. Immoral. I have a heap of words for that, but let's just pick one for today yeah?" Hermione grinned.
The blush on his ears intensified. "Do you want to stay with me or not?" He asked.
Hermione sat back and thought about it for a moment. Living with Sirius meant shacking up with one of the Wizarding world's most eligible bachelors. After two and a half months of living a G-rated life, she wondered if she could survive the shift to Sirius' more adult lifestyle. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad; she certainly had been living like a rather studious nun – she could use the shake up.
"If you're sure Kreacher wouldn't mind the intrusion…"she began.
"He'll be more than happy to have you there. As will I, by the way," Sirius added as an afterthought.
Hermione had caved. She desperately needed a place to stay, and well, it would be nice to have company that stood taller than her kneecaps.
"Um, Kreacher just barely skims the tops of yours but I can see what you mean," Sirius chuckled.
"Oh gods did I say that out loud?" Hermioned gasped. Sirius' laugh became an all-out guffaw. "Somehow I think you need to start finding people to listen to you. The poor kids must think you're out of your tree, you talking to yourself like that."
"It's not as bad as that," Hermione said, ducking her head down in embarrassment. But maybe Sirius was right, she needed company that could at least talk coherently back to her.
"So have I got a flatmate then?" Sirius grinned. Hermione threw her hands up. "Why not? It'll be a nice change in scenery I guess," she said.
"Brilliant. So why don't I Apparate these…" Sirius began, waving his wand at some of the packed boxes and disappearing them. "…back home, and you can follow with the rest. I'll get Kreacher to start unpacking these for you."
"Hang on, what about rent? And ground rules? Sirius!" Hermione said, blocking another stack of boxes his wand was pointed at.
Sirius had the gall to snicker at her. "You're such a Muggle sometimes. We'll sort out 'rent' when we get there. And as for ground rules, you can think of some as you're packing. I only have two," he said.
Cocking her hip out and crossing her arms in front of her, Hermione said, "Go on then."
"First, keep monthly time to yourself and that includes getting rid of all proof that it actually exists. And second, if you're walking around in your undercrackers you had better be walking into my bedroom," Sirius said, dead serious about them both.
"Sorry, what now?" Hermione asked, not sure if she heard him correctly. "I'm not joking. I can't take you seriouslyl if I see you in your underwear." Sirius explained, shrugging one shoulder
"How does that even begin to make sense?" she asked, still confused. Sirius coloured again. "Look at it this way. Save for a very happily-attached Ginny, you're probably the only female friend I have who isn't Luna or Tonks. And I don't sleep with my friends or see them as a possible lay. So if I see you walking about in your underwear…"
"It kind of blurs the line," she finished. "That's fair. I am way above friends with benefits," she said, after a moment's thought.
And there was the lie of the year. Her stomach had jumped when he mentioned walking around in her unmentionables. Spending the entire summer living with three well-meaning but verbally challenged children and his baby brained parents must be starting to fray at her nerves because the image he had conjured up had her insides humming. She had always had a crush on Sirius, from the moment she had seen him again after her graduation from Hogwarts. Now she was going to live with him, right after he outlined a clear boundary that was so damned tempting to cross.
Not above friends with benefits my ass, Hermione snorted to herself. This sure could get interesting.
"My clothes stay on, and the only inkling you'll have of that time of the month is when I'll start breaking a chocolate bar into my muesli. Sounds fair," she huffed back at him, feigning total indifference.
"And to be fair to me, I get to wait until you are well and moved in before you tell me your ground rules," Sirius smiled, moving to Apparate more boxes home.
Hermione just smiled, brushing his teasing off. "Deal. I'll see you at home roomie."