Author: savepureness *
Rating: I’d say R, to be on the safe side.
Ship(s): Ron/Hermione, Harry/Hermione, mentions of Harry/Pansy.
Warning(s): Oral sex!
Author Note(s): Two years post the trio’s graduation from Hogwarts, Harry is a heartbroken Auror-in-training, Ron and Hermione have an uneasy relationship, and when there’s whisky involved they all lose their heads.
Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to J.K. Rowling, who was so kind to set a perfect playground for us amateurs; I thank her. There’s no profit I’m making out of writing this, no profit other than my giftee’s eventual pleasure.
oh, it’s a pity,
you already have a wife.
(tanya stephens: it’s a pity)
Harry Potter decided it was high time he packed his things. The deadline for clearing the apartment was in two days, he remembered. It was his intention to be the first one to leave. His – he had to start thinking of her as “former” – fiancée was supposed to come back later on, the same day. He wanted to avoid another confrontation; he’d had enough of those.
Quickly, he began collecting his belongings. He started with the restroom, picking up two or three tubes and a stray towel; he decided to leave the kitchen alone. It was pristine, and not because any of its (soon to be “former”, as well) inhabitants was obsessed with cleaning; it was pristine because neither of them could cook. Thank Merlin for magic, or whoever invented it. Harry took a deep breathed and tackled his study. It was a small room. He had only used it for the long nights spent in the sole company of thick books. Nobody warned him that training to be an Auror was not always going to be a lot of fun. More was the pity, but he got used to it, to licking his fingers to turn the dusty pages easier, and then spitting the aftertaste, a disgusted look on his face. Pansy used to bring him coffee, after midnight; it washed the bitterness.
He chased away the thoughts of Pansy. After all there had been other things besides studying that had happened in the narrow room. Taking another deep breath, Harry shut his old, battered trunk, thinking the backpack should be enough for the small details forgotten in the bedroom. That was the room he had been trying to avoid.
“Oi! Since when have you turned so tactless?”
“Since I’ve been living with this bundle of ingratitude!”
It felt as if all three of them were back at Hogwarts again. Harry thought that he had missed their occasional harmless quarrels; by the looks on his friends’ faces, they were thinking exactly the same.
“Guess you’re slowly turning into an old fart, then”, he snickered.
His old buddy, his crony, his all-but-brother Ron Weasley had indeed gained some weight. One could easily see there was a certain plumpness gene running in the family, mostly visible in those who did nothing all day; just like Ron.
“Quite a belly you’ve got, eh?”
“It’s not!” Ron was almost furious, protective hands clasped on his small, round belly. “I’ve barely gained…”
“You’re fine”, whispered Hermione, hugging him silently from behind and placing a quick kiss on his cheek. “Now Harry. Unlike my lazy boyfriend here, you look pretty malnourished; what was the Parkinson bit – um – girl, doing to you?”
“You know, the usual. Slavery. Working after-hours. S&M and all that.”
“Harry!” Ron was scandalized.
“Just because you’re not into it…”
“What, and you are?”
Hermione blushed ever so slightly, but refused to answer. She turned on her heels and went straight to the kitchen. Soon the air filled with the delicious smell of fried bacon and eggs.
“She was a nice girl”, said Harry in a tiny voice. “We just weren’t – it wasn’t right.”
“See, Hermione, told you so, S&M is nothing but trouble!”
“So, are you planning on staying… how long?”
Harry glanced at Ron over his breakfast.
“If Hermione were here, she’d correct your topic.”
“Maybe, but she’s not. She’s off to the Ministry, of course. Every day she wakes up at 6, heads off at 7, and comes back Merlin knows when. I swear this internship is more important to her than I am!”
Ron scratched his ginger head, sitting down awkwardly. He pulled his mug closer and cradled it in his hands. Harry noticed he looked disheveled, and not for having just woken up. His cheeks were almost hollow, unshaved, and that made a great contrast with the belly he had boasted with a couple of days before.
“Honestly? You don’t look very well.”
“Neither do you, mate. Neither do you.”
“I have an excuse”, retorted Harry. He felt he didn’t; Pansy didn’t leave him. They – he – decided it was for the best if they just – “Pansy…” – ended it. “There are times when I miss her, that’s all.”
“You’re lucky, then. I miss Hermione all the time.”
There are times when old friends, parted for a while, feel like they’ve never been away, like their lives just keep going on from the moment they left them, and walked on separate paths. It was one of those moments.
“We’ll make it through”, Ron went on, in spite of himself. “We’ll make it through.”
The kitchen was drenched in darkness; and hot. Hermione squinted. She couldn’t see a thing. She couldn’t find the switch on the wall. Her wand was upstairs, and she was still half-asleep, too lazy to climb the stairs and fetch it down.
“Harry? Are you in there?” Her voice melted into a throaty whisper. “If you are, say –“
There was a quick swish, and then a trembling light traveled to the counter and stilled its shiver. Slowly, Hermione could make her friend’s features, first blurry contours; his face appeared worried, worn out. She stepped in the kitchen and sat directly on the counter, not worrying about her outfit: Harry had seen her in pajamas too many times before.
“It’s over, you know”, he broke the silence, his voice unsteady. Hermione’s eyes, adjusting to the darkness, spied the glass between Harry’s fingers. There was a sip of whisky still lying on the bottom. “Yet she won’t let go. She’s taunting me. I cannot sleep.”
“Are you ever going to tell me what happened?”
Harry gave her a nod. He drank the last sip of whisky. And he told Hermione everything he could think of at 3 a.m.; how it had started, and how nice it used to be; how surprised he had been to discover that there were Slytherins with souls, who were actually capable of love; how good the – he smiled – sex was; and how everything changed when Pansy’s father had stepped in.
By 4.30 a.m. Hermione had drunk two glasses of whisky herself. The bottle was almost done for, so they decided to finish it off, splitting up the last drops.
“To you”, Harry said, and he staggered to the counter, putting an arm around Hermione’s waist. He lost his balance and his head fell forward, leaning against her breasts; she exhaled quickly, surprised. “You smell… like… R-R-Ron”, he managed to articulate.
“I’m wearing one of his old t-shirts”, answered Hermione, quietly.
Suddenly, she dug her fingers in Harry’s hair, messing it. She could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks, pulsing in her temples. “Forgive me”, she whispered; she leaned on, feeling for his mouth; the candle had burnt half an hour earlier. Her fingers found his lips. They traced their contour. Harry opened his mouth and poked his tongue out, teasing. He sucked hard at Hermione’s index finger, and then his hands were on her breasts, under Ron’s t-shirt; he felt her nipples going rock-hard under his caress.
“You should forgive me.” The words came out muffled, for he urgently pressed his mouth over one of Hermione’s nipples, tasting it; it had a vaguely salty taste; he loved it. He rolled his tongue over it till he felt her fingers crushing his ears, and squeezed the other nipple in response. Hermione stifled a moan in her throat.
Under the cover of blurry darkness, Harry groped under the long t-shirt, eager fingers pulling at Hermione’s panties; fingers that had been dipped in whisky – their touch burned. He kneeled. Hermione pushed and pulled at his hair, her eyes closed, circles of red light dancing within the shelter of her eyelids. When Harry’s tongue reached her, licking ever so slightly, she curled her fists and dug her nails sharply in her own flesh; her back arched; Harry’s tongue followed the shape of her folds, then began circling the very core of her desire.
Hermione bit her tongue till she tasted fresh blood.
They never said a thing, yet they were certain that Ron knew something; suspected something.
He kept being unemployed, his girth kept growing, Hermione kept being absent, and Harry kept trying to persuade himself that he was getting over Pansy. He took up cooking in the house, in the spare moments allowed by his otherwise intensive study. It wasn’t long till he started being absent as well: finally, after months of reading thick books and getting nothing but a sore bottom in exchange, the Aurors-to-be were being called in for the “real” deal.
Harry had to check in every morning at the Ministry. He’d often meet Hermione in the lift; on the hall; outside, sipping from a huge cardboard glass filled with tea. They smiled to each other, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes longing.
“You should leave him, Hermione.”
It came out of nowhere. He wasn’t even sure he had really uttered the words. And it was such a fine day outside, late September, no rain but a constant falling of multicolored leaves. One of them, a rusty one, landed on Hermione’s shoulder. Harry took it; Hermione flinched.
“He’s not so helpless anymore – I even think that, if you could let him go –“
“I’d do what, Harry? Start something with you?” She looked away, pursing her lips. “He loves you, Harry, he trusts you, and you’re everything he’s ever wanted to be. Don’t take that away from him. And I – I love you too. I always did.”
Hermione kept silent. She slowly turned to Harry; her hazel eyes were watery; her chest heaved.
“Never ask me this question again. I do love Ron, too.”
Once upon a time, there were three friends who didn’t know that they could keep each other’s love if they learned how to fully share it.