Diagon Alley was spinning. Lamplight flickered off the cobblestones which rippled beneath her feet in ceaseless waves, lurching her this way and that. The windows in the buildings were dark and laughter ricocheted down the empty street. The whole place seemed smaller without the throngs of people bustling about. Like a stage version of the real place.
“To Professor Granger!” Ronald’s voice echoed in her ears. The words only hit her in retrospect and she laughed belatedly as Ron swung his arm around her shoulders.
Harry followed on the other side. “The best fr-ucking Charms perfessor Hogwarts ever saw!”
“Don’t say that in front erv Filius!” Hermione giggled.
“Oooo Filius!” laughed Ginny, dancing out in front of the trio and walking backwards, her arms up in the air. “Your pal, Filiurs! You’re ditching us fer yer new friends Minerva and Pomoner and… and Severerus! HAHAHA!”
They stumbled along, hindering each other more than they were helping, Hermione bowing beneath the weight of the two boys. She laughed until she fell into hysterics; her sides aching; unable to breathe.
“Guys!” Ginny was shouting. Hermione had the vague impression the girl was jumping up and down. Then small hands were on her shoulders, a blur of red in her face. The cobblestones were hard beneath her arse and the impact only made the girls laugh louder. “Come on, come on,” Ginny was saying as she pulled on Hermione’s hands, trying to help her to her feet. Firm hands appeared beneath her arms, lifting her bodily into the air. Hermione leaned back against Ron’s broad, warm, comfortable chest and sighed.
“Come onnnnnn!” Ginny whined, stomping back over to them. “Look!”
“Oh! Yeah!” said Harry.
Hermione wasn’t paying attention to them. All she cared about was the feel of Ron’s hand in hers and the way his face had turned bright red with too much Ogden’s Old. They followed their friends through an open doorway, beneath a purple lamp.
It was dark and smoky inside and the heavy scent of incense filled their lungs. Harry and Ginny were up at the counter, talking to a woman in veils and eyeliner to shame Trelawney, and a grin which verged on manic, her crooked teeth bared.
“You won’t forget me?” said Ron, pulling on Hermione’s hands until she was pressed against him, staring into his pale blue eyes. All four of them. With their faintly red, unfocused bleariness.
“Course not, Ron,” she whispered, “‘cause you’re gonna visit me allther time!”
“Guys!” Ginny squealed, grabbing their hands. “We’re going to see our futures!”
Hermione looked past her at the woman behind the counter, with her templed hands and greedy eyes. She scoffed. “ Divination? Really, Gin, you can’t be seriours.”
The woman’s grin dropped into a scowl of intense dislike. “You doubt the divine gift, girl?”
“Girl?! GIRL?!” Hermione was so incensed, she nearly lost her balance. “I’ll have you know... I’M to be the newest perfessor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry!”
The woman laughed. “Ah,” she said, “so you think you are above the touch of Fate.”
Hermione rolled her eyes, scoffing. “I think… I think people who believe in Fate... are the only sorts o’ fools foolish enough to pay money for some alleyway... quack ’s predictable… predictions! ”
“Oh, okay, ‘Mione,” Harry was saying. “We’d better go.” They were trying to pull her out into the street.
“”No!” she snapped, throwing their arms off and stumbling toward the counter. “It’s tha truth. Someone’s gotter say it. You... ‘re a pretender and a con. ”
“Okay, ‘Mione, let’s go, huh?”
“Fate finds even the most certain nonbeliever,” said the woman. “You will face surprises very soon.”
“Hermione snorted. “HA! Yeah, brilliant perdiction! ‘S’the best you got?”
“No, my dear. I’m going to spoil them for you.” The woman’s eyes sparkled a moment before she lunged across the desk, grabbing Hermione’s head at the temples, her fingers snagging on the tangled curls. Hermione’s eyes flew wide as she struggled to pull away; her knees buckling beneath her as the woman chanted in a low, quick voice, glaring right into her eyes. “I will make you see it for yourself; spoil the best surprise. You will accept your Fate, but ‘til you do you’ll feel the pain of the Gift you so disdain.”
Three sets of hands pulled on Hermione’s arms, dragging her weightlessly across the floor and out of the little shop. The woman’s cackling laughter chased after them down the street. “Happy dreams, Hermione Granger!”
The four friends stumbled inside 12 Grimmauld, Ginny chasing Harry up the stairs. Ron wrapped his arms around Hermione’s waist, pulling her to him for a sloppy kiss.
“Mmmm,” he hummed, taking her hand and leading her up the stairs. They collapsed onto her bed without breaking away from each other and Ron eagerly began to remove his clothes. He was inside of her before she’d even taken off her top; his hot breath fanning across her neck, his movements soon becoming frantic. She gasped for him to hear, twining a hand in his hair while the other wrapped around his back.
He came with a curse, squeezing his eyes shut as he froze inside her.
They stretched out beside each other, Ron’s heavy breathing the only sound. And soon it evened out and morphed into the broken rhythm of drunken snores. Hermione stared at the darkness and thought about the fortune-teller: her crazed eyes, her angry words. Had it been a simple threat? Or something more? At the time, it had seemed like nothing more than an offended woman’s anger. But something about it was bothering Hermione. Something didn’t feel quite right.
It was late when her worries faded enough from her mind that she was able to succumb to the oblivion of sleep.
Pale light flickered and shifted beyond the veil of her shuttered eyelashes. Her eyes fluttered open and she blinked against the light. The sheets were so soft and smelled so clean. She relished the feel of them against her naked skin as she stretched her aching limbs. Her head was perfectly clear, but her body felt sore, as if she’d been back to the gym instead of out to the pub till dawn.
Warm summer air filtered through the open window, playing with the sheer cream curtains hanging open all around her four-poster bed.
She jolted upright, her sheets falling from her naked breasts. This wasn’t her room at 12 Grimmauld. It was a pretty room, simply decorated and full of light. Pale blue sky peeked in through the enormous windows, which were opened wide to admit the breeze and the sounds of the birds outside. There was a wardrobe and a desk and a bookshelf full of titles familiar to her. A door stood ajar at the other end of the room and she could hear the faint sound of a shower running
Ron . Hermione relaxed. Ron would know what was going on.
Just as she thought his name, the water shut off, and in a moment, the door swung open. But it wasn’t Ron who stepped into the room, dripping wet, a towel wrapped around his waist. No. The pale figure who appeared, sparse black hair plastered to a thin, faintly muscled torso, was none other than Professor Snape.
Hermione gasped, yanking the sheets up over her breasts. How had he gotten here? Or had she somehow intruded on him? Were these his quarters and she had somehow Apparated here?
The movement must have caught his eye because he glanced up at her, a warm smile spreading across his face. “Finally up, are you?” he said in a gently chiding voice, his tone deep and arrogant. He crossed to her in a few short strides. “Did I wear you out last night?” And before she knew what was happening, his mouth was on hers, his lips surprisingly soft, his kiss surprisingly tender.
She gasped in surprise and bolted up in the bed, her intake of breath resounding in the dark, quiet bedchamber of 12 Grimmauld.
Just a little plot bunny. Do you like it so far?