Getting poked in the chest by a wand, Harry decided, was not the most comfortable thing in the world. For one, the tip was surprisingly sharp considering it had a round edge. For another, he was fairly certain that he would develop a bruise on his skin from being poked. Harry bruised and scarred easily; he always had. Madam Pomfrey once commented that this was likely due to being malnourished as a child, but Harry didn’t follow much of her prattling after she brought up the Dursleys. All he knew was that it took ages for bruises to fade and that his flesh was always sensitive in and around the area up until the very last signs of blue-black-purple-yellow markings had gone.
“What,” he snapped, looking up at Ron’s annoyed face.
“I’ve been talking for at least five minutes and I don’t think you’ve heard a damned thing since I said ‘All right, Harry?’” Ron scowled, poking Harry one more time for good measure.
Harry swatted the wand away with mild annoyance. “Sorry,” he said sullenly, rubbing at the spot on his chest for a moment. “That hurts, you know,” he added almost as an afterthought, dropping his hand to the armrest, fingers curling around the smooth oak.
“That was the point,” Ron said helpfully, shoving the wand in his back pocket and plopping down in the chair across from his best mate.
“I’ll say,” Harry said wryly, convinced that his skin was already black and blue and bruised all over.
“Don’t be such a whinging baby.” A grin ghosted on Ron’s face and Harry had an overwhelming urge to grab the nearest thing and toss it as his head.
“Ron,” he said warningly.
Ron rolled his eyes but said nothing to that, for which Harry was grateful. Okay, so maybe he was a bit of a whinging baby from time to time, but dammit he had every right to be after all the shite he’d been through and what he was expected to go through. Instead of goading him on, Ron stretched out his impossibly long legs and suppressed a yawn.
“So what was I saying, Harry?”
Oh shite. Well, that really put him on the spot. He smiled awkwardly. Sheepishly, he said slowly, “I dunno…something about a new Quaffle and lunar cycles?”
Ron snorted and Harry frowned.
“I was going on about The Quibbler and Luna, mate.” Rubbing at the back of his neck, he added, “I really like her Harry. A lot.”
“Yeah?” Harry said, suddenly very interested and definitely paying close attention.
“Yeah,” Ron confirmed, ducking his head a little. Harry figured he did it to try and hide his red ears and pink cheeks, but he wasn’t fooling Harry at all.
Biting his lower lip, Harry absently rubbed where he’d been poked again, eyes never leaving Ron’s face. “What about…you know?” He jerked his chin in the direction of the stairwell leading to the girls’ dormitories, referring to Hermione.
Ron lifted his head back up to lock gazes with Harry and his eyes clouded over for a moment -Harry could have sworn they did. “No,” Ron said purposefully, “there isn’t anything there to be ‘about’, but that’s all right.”
Part of Harry was sure that Ron was just keeping up appearances here, that he really still had feelings for Hermione and just couldn’t bring himself to admit it. But there was another part of Harry, larger still, that was relieved that Ron had just articulated that he didn’t care for her. He was relieved because this was an excuse to let go of the guilt.
Maybe he couldn’t let go of all the guilt, but he could let go of a good lot of it.
He hadn’t been listening to Ron go on, apparently, about The Quibbler and Luna Lovegood because he had been too busy thinking on Hermione. He didn’t think about things like what were they, really, or How They Were Going to Tell Ron. That stuff wasn’t a pleasant sort to dwell on. Hell, he wasn’t even sure what was going on himself. And he wasn’t daft enough to tell Ron that he was…whatever he was with Hermione…when he couldn’t even figure it out at all.
No, he didn’t think about that sort of thing at all because it gave him a headache. Rather, he thought about how his entire world turned upside down just seven days ago when Ron’d been serving a detention for hexing Malfoy’s head into a cauldron (which had been bloody brilliant as Malfoy couldn’t get the thing off for hours). He and Hermione’d played Exploding Snap while they were waiting for Ron to be done with it and a rather loud explosion’d gone off, causing Hermione to shriek and leap back, landing in a heap on Harry’s lap. And then everything went a bit blurry a bit there for Harry. He could remember her startled shriek and that she’d somehow got on his lap, but he couldn’t recall if he’d said anything about it. He couldn’t recall if he said anything or not but he sure could remember the hitch in his chest when she squirmed against him. He didn’t know what to do; he felt like he couldn’t breathe. His pulse had gone racing and he was sure his heart was about to explode right there in his chest due to her warmth and closeness.
He thought about the moment he’d just given into temptation and crushed his lips to hers. Even now, he didn’t know what possessed him to do it. He likely went crazy, that was the best explanation he could devise. Crazy with lust that came out of nowhere and everywhere at once. How could he not have wanted her before that very moment? He had. He’d wanted her for so very long but had never been able to admit it because he knew that Ron was mad about her and he couldn’t betray his best mate like that.
But he was selfish.
Harry was a right selfish bastard. He knew this, sort of, even if he didn’t want to admit it, really. Likely stemmed from not having a normal childhood with the Dursleys and all that. ‘Emotionally stunted’ was what he’d overheard Madam Pomfrey say about him once. Nosy cow.
Selfish, emotionally stunted, and nearly nutters from lust that hit him like the Hogwarts Express full-on, Harry took from Hermione. He took from her and he liked it. He craved it, wanted more, wanted to feel more taste more have more more more.
And to his surprise and relief, Hermione wanted him just as badly as he wanted her.
She wanted him and he wanted her so very, very badly.
During the past seven days it had been very, very difficult for the two of them to find time alone together. A kiss stolen here in the corridor behind the statue of Lachlan the Lanky just to the right of the Fat Lady’s Portrait, a kiss stolen there by the painting with the bowl of fruit doubling as a door to the kitchens, a glance stolen in Potions when Snape decides to focus his acidic attention on a student other than Harry for a moment, the brief brushing of hands against one another as they walk side by side down the corridor to the Great Hall for breakfast… Kisses and glances and touches every day, but none of the encounters were long – or satisfying enough – for Harry. He wanted more. He wanted more and it was so bloody frustrating because they just couldn’t get on together. Someone was always coming round the corner or watching them and it was driving Harry absolutely barmy.
It was funny; he’d never really thought of himself as being a randy sort of bloke before. Sure, he’d had more than a few wanks late at night in the dormitory and he never minded at all when Seamus pulled out a PlayWizard folio for the guys to take a gander at during a ‘study break.’ But now…all he could focus on was Hermione and how soft her skin was, how good her hair smelt, how it felt when her small pink tongue flicked against his…
“God,” Harry grumbled, slapping away the wand that had once again reappeared and poked him.
“I wouldn’t have to do that if you’d stop drifting off, mate.” Ron shook his head and twirled his wand idly between his fingers.
“Yeah,” Harry agreed, eyes drifting back to the staircase leading up to Hermione’s room.
“She’s not there,” Ron said off-hand, then cursed as he fumbled the wand.
“No?” Harry frowned. “Thought she was revising with Vicky and Parvati.”
Leaning over to retrieve his wand, Ron replied, “Nah, she left a while ago for the library. Said she need to look some things up but she’ll be back later on so we can go down and visit Hagrid and, er, Grawp.”
“Yeah?” questioned Harry, a plan of sorts already forming in his mind.
Grunting, Ron righted himself and nodded. “Yeah. I reckon she’s got herself a stack of about twenty books by now to stick her nose in.”
Harry laughed. That sounded like Hermione, all right.
“You’re likely right,” he concurred, rising to his feet and giving Ron a cheeky grin. “Figure I ought to go fetch her; if we let her in the library alone for too long, we’ll never see her again.”
Ron snorted again and pressed his back against the hard wood of the chair, his head lolling to one side. His eyelids fluttered shut as he yawned once more, this time not bothering to try to stave it off. “All right then,” he mumbled sleepily. “I’ll guard the squashy chair till you get back.”
Slinging his rucksack over his shoulder, Harry’s grin broadened just a little. “That’s awfully big of you, Ron,” he said. “A true mate if I ever saw one.”
“That’s me,” Ron said slowly, “big true best mate…who’s about to have a bit of a lie-in. Warn the midgets that I’ll hex their conks off if they so much as breathe on me, won’t you?”
Chuckling, Harry nodded. “Sure thing, Ron. Be back before you can even count up to fifty Acromantulas to help you nod off.”
Harry guffawed and headed for the portrait hole. He didn’t need to turn around to know that Ron was sitting up wide awake now wearing a look of pure terror on his face. Spiders. Got him every time.
Vaguely he recalled that somewhere near the portrait of the landscape just down the corridor from the library he’d gotten the brilliant idea to pull his invisibility cloak out of his rucksack and envelop himself in the gossamer fabric. It had just seemed like a good idea at the time. He’d wanted to watch Hermione in the library unobserved for some reason and the best way to go about spying on someone was being invisible, really.
He had watched her for a bit as she stood in between two great towering shelves of books, chewing on a nail thoughtfully as her eyes scanned the leather spines for the title she was looking for. Harry had even got close enough to her to inhale the scent of her hair – all clean and with the faintest hint of apple. She hadn’t noticed. Or maybe she had, as her hand had stilled briefly on the book she had started to remove from the shelf. Hermione then laughed, shook her head, and walked back to her table with book in hand.
And now here he was, crouched on all fours beneath her table, getting a rather good gander at her legs.
They were nice legs.
Very nice legs, he thought.
They were long and lean – but not too lean – and, from Harry’s perspective, quite perfect. No freakishly large calves here like the ones spotty Eloise Midgen was sporting.
They were nice long, lean legs and Harry had to touch them. He just had to.
Holding his breath, he held up the hem of the cloak in one hand and reached the other one out, fingertips running lightly up the side of her calf.
She jumped in her seat and he held in a chuckle. After sitting absolutely still for a moment, he could hear the thump of a book being pulled off of a stack as it landed on the table. A flick-flick-flick noise sounded and he exhaled slowly. She must be thumbing through another book.
Exhaling slowly, he moved his hand to her other leg and repeated his actions. Her skin was so smooth, so soft and the heat of it was intoxicating. Forgetting himself and the game, his hand moved up high still until his fingers hooked in the warm crevice beneath her knee. Closing his eyes, he massaged the skin there slowly, caught up in the sensation, in the warmth..
When he felt a small hand wrap vice-like around his wrist, his heart leapt in his throat. But before he could so much as even think to say anything, he found himself eye-to-eye with Hermione Granger.
Of course, she couldn’t see him on account of the invisibility cloak, but she certainly could see his hand and the part of his arm that was sticking out from under the thin fabric. She was staring right at his face, though, her hair falling a bit into her eyes on account of the way she was leaning her face under the table.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she hissed, releasing his hand and patting at his form until her fingers found fabric. Slowly she began to pull the material towards her. Harry could feel it moving up his frame.
Without saying a word, he covered her hand.
She seemed to get his meaning and sighed, letting go of the cloak.
Harry grinned to himself, breathing a bit easier now as he righted the fabric over himself once more.
“What are you doing down there?” Hermione questioned, edging her foot forward until it bumped up against Harry’s invisible knee.
In response, his hand poked out from beneath the cloak and found its way to her knee again, curling his fingers behind it.
Hermione sat up very straight in her chair and he could see movement in the front of her Mary Janes. He smiled; her toes must have curled in response to his touch.
Interesting and very brilliant.
Wanting very much to see just what else his touch could make her do, he inched his hand up higher. Fingers slid gracefully along the underside of her thigh and the hitch he’d gotten in his chest the first time they had kissed came back with a vengeance. Time stood still. All there was of anything was this – just his skin against hers, the silkiness of it absolutely heady and making him delirious with want. He couldn’t hear anything, couldn’t think, could just feel the velvetydownywarmperfection of it all, could feel it down to his very bones and—
He heard her. She was no louder than a whisper on the wind but he had heard her. The foot she had resting slightly against his knee tilted somewhat to its side. She drug it back towards herself and Harry was sure that, were it possible, his head would have spun round in a complete circle when she lifted said foot and rubbed it along the side of her lean – and certainly not freakishly large – calf.
Oh bugger me.
Gritting his teeth, Harry inhaled and exhaled through his nose rather noisily, concentrating very hard on Hermione and her skin and not the ache he was quite definitely feeling in his groin. His hand shook a little as he shifted it to settle on the top of her thigh, gliding just beneath the hem of her wool uniform skirt.
Should I or--
He froze for a moment, heart tattooing wildly.
If she wanted him to stop, she could reach down just like she did before and—
Harry exhaled sharply, disappointed and somehow ashamed when Hermione’s hand appeared beneath the table once more. Knowing full well that she was going to move his hand away, he saved her the trouble and began to pull back of his own accord.
The damnedest thing happened.
Instead of swatting his hand away, she drew it closer. In fact, she placed it higher up on her thigh than where Harry had actually been bold enough to touch.
He blinked, stunned.
And then…he smirked.
She’s a Gryffindor, all right.
The cloak hung mid-air for a moment when Harry tossed it above his head and then spilt down around his crouched form and over the tops of her legs. He didn’t want to risk anyone seeing what was going on, even if they could, naturally, only be able to see Hermione.
He could hear her giggle slightly as the fabric settled over her and the sound had a distinct effect on his senses. Added fuel to the fire, one might say.
His hand curled in to where her legs came together, brushing over the cotton of her knickers. She shifted in her seat, her legs falling open. Harry took advantage of that, manoeuvring the slightest of degrees so that his fingers could worm beneath the elastic there. He sucked in a breath as his fingers moved against her coarse curls. A lump rose in his throat. Swallowing hard and tasting something sickly sweet in the back of his throat, he slid his hand further inside her knickers. He wasn’t sure when it happened, but he suddenly became aware that she was damp. She was damp and that was so fucking brilliant.
Leaning in closer to her, he flipped her skirt up with his free hand and inhaled deeply. She smelled tangy almost and so very Hermione that it drove him mad. Completely intoxicated, he pressed his cheek against her knickers just above the spot where his fingers were carefully and cautiously exploring.
“God,” he whispered, inclining his head just so and pressing a wanton kiss against her knickers. She shivered as he did so and flick-flick-flick went a few more pages.
He nearly wanted to laugh; he could only imagine the effort it was taking her to keep a straight face and feign working on her studies. But laughing wasn’t nearly the number one item on his list of things to do just then. It likely wasn’t even in the top ten.
The number one thing he wanted to do just then was to experience Hermione.
And experience he would.
Lower, lower, lower still his fingers drifted until he felt her sex, thumb brushing over a tiny, hard nub.
He inhaled, filling his lungs so full he nearly passed out. He was touching Hermione. He was touching Hermione in the library. He was touching Hermione in the library and she liked it. He didn’t have to ask if she did; her breathing had grown ragged and her hips jerked forward, grinding her mound against his hand. One and then two fingers slid inside, moving faster and faster while his thumb moved in small circles clockwise and counter-clockwise but he still wasn’t close enough to her, not enough to satisfy him and everything was so warm and wet and strong and—
And then Hermione’s wool skirt was being pushed down atop his hand and she was scooting her chair back, which forced him to withdraw his hand.
He was afraid to move, afraid to get out from beneath that table, afraid that he’d just gone and fucked everything up. Maybe he’d imagined the past seven days.
What had he done?
Shite. Shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have done that--
“Harry,” Hermione whispered, pushing her chair in, “follow me.”
But talking, Harry thought, could be saved for later.
For now, he was more than content to wile away the time running his hands all over her body. It was a very good way to spend his time.
She was mewing beneath him, rubbing her foot against the back of his arse as he leaned down and ran his mouth over her jaw and down the smooth column of her throat to the base of her neck. Always wanting and needing more, his hand slid down Hermione’s side, curling onto her hip and then sliding down to cup her bum, her skirt bunching up around his wrist. But then that wasn’t enough; it couldn’t possibly have been enough to feel her through her knickers, not when he’s actually touched her only minutes ago in the library.
Pulling back from her abruptly, Harry sank to his knees, groaning as her fingers raked through his hair and twisted it around her slim digits.
One hand held her skirt up while the other rolled her knickers down over her hips, shoving them down her thighs. He kissed the spot just behind her knee that he’d been enamoured with earlier, then trailed his lips up the inside of her thigh until his mouth hovering over her centre, breath warm against her flesh as he exhaled and then inhaled her scent. Somewhere in the back of his mind he dimly realised that once they did this things would never be the same again between them. And he found that he was all right with this. More than all right. Hermione had been his best friend for so long, just because they were taking things to a next level would not change that basic fact.
Pushing the thoughts and doubts and fears aside, he went ahead and did the very thing he had been dying to do from the very moment he had pressed his lips against her cotton knickers in the library that day. He put his mouth on her. He put his mouth on her, lips moving against her folds and it was so fucking fantastic that little starbursts of white bloomed in the blackness of his closed eyes. Her fingers tightened in his hair and he ran his tongue over her folds, fingers parting her and then he sucked and nibbled and worshiped her with his mouth, with all that he was. At first he was worried that he wasn’t doing it right, but Hermione’s body language quickly reassured him; she was writhing beneath his mouth, arching her hips against him and pulling on his hair almost painfully. Harry didn’t let up until she gasped and shuddered and he felt her spilling into his mouth. Lapping up the warm juices, he brushed his fingers against a hip, rubbing them in a small, slow circle before then sitting up on his knees a bit and pressing a kiss low on her belly.
Climbing to his feet, his mouth claimed hers and he could feel her soft lips part, giving into him. Their tongues tangled together and he felt his cock strain painfully against his trousers at the though that she was tasting herself on him. They moaned together, swallowing one another’s sound. Her chest was pressed firmly up against his; he could feel her nipples pebble-hard through his shirt.
“Want to touch you,” he whispered.
“No,” she whispered back, lipping his earlobe and sliding a hand down his chest. “It’s my turn.”
“It is?” Harry questioned, his voice breaking a little.
“Yes, Harry,” Hermione said firmly, fiddling with his belt, “it is.”
He barely had time to compute this before she had managed to undo his zip and shove his trousers and pants halfway down his hips, her hand brushing against his straining erection tentatively.
“Like that?” she asked in a low voice, her breath tickling his ear.
All he could get out was a muffled moan in response. Fortunately for Harry, Hermione got the message. She ran her fingers over his length, cupping his balls as though testing their weight, pinching and rolling the skin between her fingers. His mouth gaped open but no sound came out save for one small, fleeting squeak when she grabbed the base of his cock and squeezed. Harry lost all ability to think coherently then and there, thrusting his hips against her hand, driving himself further into her fist as she pumped him in a rhythm that made him see red.
Red red red and then—
She stilled her motions and the red disappeared. He was disappointed but a little relieved at the same time, for if she continued her ministrations like that he might not have lasted much longer.
“Wh-what?” he asked finally, breaking the near-silence that permeated the air, save for the sounds of their laboured breathing.
Ducking her head into the crook of his neck, she mumbled, “My hand was tired.”
“Oh,” Harry said stupidly, then began to laugh.
Sounding rather mortified, Hermione questioned, “What’s so funny?” She lifted her head up and looked him right in the eyes, bristling a little. “You asked,” she said pointedly.
“Yeah,” Harry agreed, cupping one of her breasts and kneading her through her layers of clothing, “I did. And I’m not laughing at you, Hermione. I could never laugh at you.”
“Then why?” she snapped, pushing his hand away. He could see an embarrassed flush in her cheeks and felt badly.
“Because,” he said calmly, “it’s normal. Mine gets tired from that, too.”
“Oh,” Hermione breathed, taking that in. “Oh.”
Then she, too, laughed, taking hold of his hand and placing it back on her breast. “Sorry, I thought—well…”
“You thought you did something wrong and I was laughing at you?” Harry finished, pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth.
“Well, yes,” she admitted. “I did. It isn’t like I’ve done anything like this before, Harry.”
“I haven’t either!” he said, perhaps a bit more forcefully than needed.
“I think,” Hermione said slowly, “that we’re talking far too much about this, Harry.”
He blinked and stared at her, taking in the mischievous glint in her eyes. And then he grinned.
“You’re right,” he agreed in a low rumble, taking one of her hands and arranging it so that it was holding up her skirt, “as always.”
And with that, he hooked the leg she’d wrapped around him when they’d first engaged in their snogging session about his waist, her heel digging into his backside as he took hold of her by the waist and pulled her against him firmly.
Screwing his eyes shut, he positioned himself a hair-breadth away from her centre, working on the nerve to propel himself forward when he felt her hands press down on his shoulders. Unsure of what that meant, he opened his eyes and peered down at her with care.
“What?” he asked in an undertone, concerned by the odd expression on her face.
“I--” she started, then shook her head. “I can’t say it.”
“Say what?” Harry questioned, confused now and getting a little worried.
“I…oh…are you going to fit?” she finally got out, her face flaming red.
Harry bit his lip, eyes roaming over her face. He knew logically that he would and he was sure that Hermione knew this but, well, it was all rather scary.
Nodding slowly, he leaned his forehead against her own, green eyes searching hers. “We fit, Hermione.”
“Okay,” she said a bit shakily, then screwed her mouth up in annoyance. “I’m sorry, I’m just--”
“You’re just you,” Harry interjected. “And I want you.”
Not waiting for a reaction, he guided himself into her. Hermione’s hands groped at his shoulders, her hips rising to meet his, pushing him further inside. A low growl rumbled in his throat and he pulled back with extreme effort, laying kisses all about her lips, her nose, her eyelids, her jaw before slamming himself against her once more. They rose and fell together, bodies rocking, hands roaming, voices moaning and crying out…
And when it was all over, they sank to the floor bonelessly and Harry was amazed at how right and natural it all felt to have her in his arms like that.
“Harry,” Hermione whispered throatily, fiddling with her skirt a bit so she wasn’t lying on an uncomfortable lump of wool.
“Yeah?” he returned hoarsely, wrapping his arms around her waist, pressing his cheek against her hair.
“We have to tell Ron now.”
“I don’t know how to do it and I always know how to do everything and--”
Hearing the worry in her voice, Harry frowned. They did have to tell Ron now. Absolutely. Harry was dreading it, but he wasn’t about to hide something this big from Ron, now that it was very clear that he and Hermione were a something. “We’ll find a way. He’ll understand. He’s our best mate.”
“Our very best mate,” Hermione corrected, brushing her lips along his jawline.
“The best,” Harry agreed. “The very best a person could ask for.”
Harry thought back to Ron drifting off in the common room and smiled a smile that Hermione obviously couldn’t see and then repeated Ron’s sleepy words quietly to himself.
“Big true best mate.”