A/N: So. First of all, hi! Second of all, I actually wrote this story a couple of years ago on my phone, but I'm an idiot and lost a bunch of notes that weren't backed up. I just finally got around to writing it again, but this time, I added about 5K+ words of smut to the end. This literally wasn't smutty the first time around. I'm not sure what this says about me...

Hope you enjoy, and see you (hopefully) soon for some WIP updates.

I Must Not Tell Lies

They arrived at the Burrow with a series of echoing cracks. Evening light glanced over the wildflower fields, illuminating overgrown plants in the garden. She followed his much larger footsteps, cloaked in his elongated shadow as they moved forward, approaching the front door.

She wasn't sure what to do now. Words seemed to fail them all, George huddling close to his parents as they moved into darkness, disappearing. Ginny lingered with Harry, pausing outside, standing close together without speaking. Percy had stayed behind at Hogwarts with Bill and Fleur, and Hermione, not feeling up to producing another plan, had let herself be led back home by the Weasleys.

Home. Home…

She could hardly bear to think of the word, knowing that it had such a fragile meaning for her now. Her parents' house might well be destroyed, if Death Eaters had come looking for her and found the place deserted. Her parents… could be anywhere. She had put it in their minds to go to Australia, but there was no telling what nine months away had done. They could have decided anything, in that amount of time. The thought of beginning that particular journey was so daunting that it gave her an immediate headache. She wanted to forget it, just for today. One more day to-

"I'll just need my clothes from your bag, when you can," she heard Ron say softly, suddenly realising she'd made it halfway up the stairs to his attic bedroom without conscious thought.

"Oh." She paused on the landing with him, once again tossed back into a whirlpool of wondering what the hell she was supposed to do now. They were quite alone here. With lanterns unlit, she could hardly make out his eyes as he paused with her, catching an odd sounding breath, as if he had forgotten to take one for a while before…

"D'you want to come up?"

She studied him closely, finding the shadows in the creases of his face quite mesmerising.

"Should I?"

He shrugged, and the lingering trance of their trek from Hogwarts til now seemed to lighten, receding to make way for something bordering on frustration.

"I might as well bring your clothes up for you?" she asked, jaw a bit tight, not sure if she really expected an answer. He glanced across her face for the briefest of moments before turning and continuing the climb upward.

She had bloody kissed him. The memory flooded her, not for the first time in as many hours. And he was going to do this now? All she wanted was to forget the way they'd been these years, for what she'd shown him yesterday to mean more than their cautious games.

She pushed down hard against her agitation, blaming the way she was feeling on starvation and lack of sleep. But it wasn't just that, was it?

She closed her eyes for a moment as they reached his door, listening to the creak of rusty hinges as he pushed through into his room. She silently followed him, arm already halfway down inside her bag by the time she'd crossed the rug.

"Here," she said, dropping his clothes to his bed. She'd actually cleaned most of them already, and she noticed him noticing, lifting his brows as he glanced down at her.

"When did you have time to wash all this?"

"This afternoon, while you were with your parents. Didn't want to disturb you."

"Wouldn't've," he mumbled, but his voice drifted quite far from her as he ran a hand through his still shower-damp hair.

They'd spent about an hour slowly putting themselves back together, before they'd returned home. She'd used the Prefect's bath, wondering why it now felt so lonely to simply be alone for a few minutes. He'd used the showers in Gryffindor Tower, and she'd had to try very hard to not think about how she'd rather have been-

"I know you probably want to get on with finding your- ...your parents. Don't feel like you have to stick around here. Harry'll stay, and Percy'll probably be here tomorrow. And Charlie's helping at Hogwarts, so-"

"You don't want me here?" she interrupted, feeling her cheeks begin to burn.

"That's not… I didn't mean it like that," but he wouldn't quite meet her eyes, and she had to question what he did mean, then.

She knew how hard the days ahead would be, but she particularly knew how hard they would be for him, losing his brother… coping, with his family, toward whatever their lives would look like from here. She couldn't perfectly imagine how that must feel, but she thought she could empathise, as well as she knew him, better than maybe he was giving her credit for, at the moment. But, that didn't stop the barrage of desperation, the part of her that had longed for this day to come for so many months, to see it through til the end and lean on the hope of what they could have, together. Now, the way he was talking… it was almost like… his visions of that future had been very, very different from her own.

She wanted to ask him if she was being dramatic, if the grim days they'd survived had struck down her own pitiful self-worth, that part of her that had once been so much stronger, when she'd had confidence in her mind, at least. But this… him… she had nothing certain, did she.

Had she ever?

The moments with him, the memories that she'd been clinging to in the worst times of her life, suddenly looked quite gray, as if she had exaggerated them all for her own purposes.

"What did you mean then?" she managed to ask, just as he moved toward the bed to pick up his pile of freshly washed clothes.

Arms around socks and pyjamas and t-shirts and denim, he cleared his throat, and she watched his Adam's apple move as he swallowed.

"Dunno," he said, in the most infuriatingly quiet voice.

And then, with nothing else left, he crossed the room to his chest of drawers, depositing his clothes in a giant heap inside the top drawer, tucking them in chaotically and shutting the drawer again, one stray sock still hanging halfway out.

"Do you need time alone?" she forced herself to ask him.

He ran a hand across his jaw and gently shook his head.

"You must be tired," he said, immediately contradicting his previous response. "I'm sure you could use Percy's room tonight. Mum'll have kept the bed made."

And that was it. She couldn't withhold her own furious emotions, rising forcefully to the surface. She blinked at him, and then, quite suddenly, with a huff of a desperate breath, she whipped around and slammed his bedroom door shut with a sharp flick of her wand. She made a second quick motion overhead, and the room vibrated slightly, silence ringing, blocking them from the rest of the house.

"Hermione, what-" she heard him begin from behind her. But she whirled around to face him again, cutting him off mid-thought.

"Am I actually delusional to have thought we could be done with all this now that we've won a bloody war?!"

Lips slightly parted, he made a vague sort of sound that resonated to her as a question, though no actual words escaped him.

As she stared across at him, she felt her eyes begin to burn, and she fiercely willed herself not to cry… a battle she promptly lost. One large, hot tear rolled free from her left eye, dripping down her cheek.

His eyes flicked down, brows furrowed as he watched it chasing its way toward her jaw.

"Maybe it is my fault," she said cryptically, not minding that he couldn't find her page right now.

"I don't underst-" he began, but she roughly brushed the back of her hand across her face, and the quick gesture stopped him in his verbal tracks, yet again.

"Of course you don't," she sighed, immediately regretting her tone of voice. He looked down at the rug between them.

"Probably not," he said gently, sniffing.

"Ron, I'm going to ask you do something that'll sound absolutely mental," she began, "but you're going to do it because it's maybe the only way we're ending this."

He looked up with something bordering on the tiniest of smiles, and she waited only a beat for the comment he was bound to make about her always asking him to do mental things. But if he'd been on the verge of speaking, he didn't get there in time. She shoved her arm back down inside her bag and pulled out a tiny vial, pleased with how quickly she was able to find it after so many months of hiding it underneath the more pressingly important things like medical supplies and dark magic texts...



His eyes flashed up to hers, not afraid, but taking on some unusual combination of shocked and daring.

"Where the hell did you-"

"I brewed it at home last summer. Thought we might need it. And now, we do."

"You brewed it?!" And she felt herself flush oddly at the awe in his voice, even as a second angry tear rolled free from her watery eye.

"Where else could I have gotten it?"

"We're not meant to have been able to do that til N.E.W.T.S, and even then…"

"Are you going to quit stalling and take some with me, or not?" she asked, her voice cracking a bit.

His lips parted again, and his eyes were holding her gaze quite solidly.

"You don't trust me?" he asked, with a strange sort of edge to his voice. She didn't think she really had to answer such a stupid question, but she was much too determined to backtrack now.

The truth, then… or as much of it as she could manage without the damn potion.

"With my life. But maybe not with everything else."

He shook his head slowly, lacking the ability to comprehend her implications, a flash of hurt crossing his face.

"Will you take the-"

"Go on, then," he sniffed.

She took a tiny step closer, then another. And she uncorked the bottle.

It was better this way, not to think, just to act. The quicker the vial touched her lips, the less time she'd have to let it sink in. She'd learn the truth. But would it be what she wanted? And what would he think of her own honesty?

She closed her eyes and tipped the bottle, the cool water-like liquid rolling along her tongue and down her throat.

When she opened her eyes again, he reached for the bottle himself, taking it from her hand and drinking so fast that she was sure he'd come to the same conclusion that she had - the quicker the better. When he lowered it again from his parted lips, she took it from him, corked it, and tossed it to his bed, realising her hands had betrayed her thin facade of strength, trembling slightly as she met his eyes.

He was hardly blinking, engulfed in silence. Waiting.

"How long is this supposed to-"

"Ask me something," she cut over him, sure the potion was already working, her nerves sizzling, skin cool and gooseflesh spreading.

He licked his lips, and she tried very hard not to notice.

"What's the 'everything else' you don't trust me with?"

And, to her shock, the answer rose up, as if plucked from a whirlpool of conflicting thoughts. She felt a tug somewhere distant, like she could almost resist the words if she chose to, but if she just let her lips part, exhaled out the answer…

"To be honest with how you feel about me."

His eyes might've widened a fraction, but, at the moment, truth serum wasn't enough. She'd really liked to have been able to read his mind...

"I'm so used to not saying it," and his eyes dropped her gaze. "There's always been something in the way… Harry needing us, Mum keeping us busy, trying to chuck my bloody girlfriend…"

His last phrase lit a fire underneath her skin, and a thousand questions leapt up, fighting to go first. But her nerves had abruptly settled, getting used to the potion in her bloodstream, making it quite a bit easier to imagine voicing her questions aloud.

"I don't think this bollocks is working. I don't feel any different," Ron said quietly, meeting her eyes again. But at least they were speaking properly now.

"I feel something… but we don't really know what it's supposed to feel like, exactly. I was sure I made it right, but it's possible I didn't-"

"Obviously you made it right," he said casually, and it could have been her imagination, but her temperature seemed to rise another fraction across her cheeks and down her neck, "but it's a sort of dodgy potion to start with, yeah? Doesn't work the same on everybody."

Were his hands shaking now, just a bit? And would he know the difference between his feelings on a normal day, locked up in his room with her... and one laced with truth serum?

"Let's keep talking," he said, "see if I can… if it'll make me say what you want."

What you want.

God, he did so many things for her, for reasons she'd never questioned as much as she had to now, face to face with his bright eyes, tousled hair, old t-shirt a bit tight across his chest…

She maybe loved him quite a bit more than she'd properly admitted to herself. It wasn't going to be easy to keep from showing him, if he let her. If he felt the same-

"Why'd you blow off Slughorn's party after you said you'd go with me?"

"Because you kissed Viktor Krum." She'd hardly finished the question before his answer had escaped him. His eyes went perfectly round. "Shit."

She sucked in a breath, staring at him in disbelief. Two years separated that bloody kiss from the party. Two years.

"Oh my God…" she breathed, a bit shrilly, a whole other book of questions opening before her. "What was that you said about this not working?"

"I'm sorry," he said quickly, features tightening across his face in distress. "I was never going to tell you about that. Bloody hell."

He rubbed a hand across his face, over his eyes, grimacing.

"Too late now," she said unnecessarily. "How could you even have known…"

She searched her memories for anything he could have seen or heard, but that kiss had been brief and confusing and nerve wracking, not the wonderful heart fluttering moment she'd imagined a first kiss might be. She'd never mentioned it to him, because-

"Ginny," he blurted out, almost rolling his eyes at his own response, serum now obviously in full effect. "Found her snogging Dean, we rowed about it, and she told me everyone had snogged someone, except for me."

"Oh, why…" Hermione groaned, ready to exchange a few terse words with her best female friend.

"Why'd you never tell me?" Ron asked her, before she could formulate her follow up question.

She'd never mentioned it to him, because-

"I was afraid you'd think it meant I fancied him."

"You…" he broke off to shake his head as if emerging from water, "didn't fancy him?"

"I told you how many times we were just friends?"

He ran a hand across his jaw, almost nodding, but somehow distracted with something.

"What?" she pressed.

"Why'd you forgive me for sixth year?"

It was getting quite a bit easier now, with the serum and the sun slowly setting out his window behind him, dimming the room.

"Because it wasn't entirely your fault. And because I expect I'd forgive you for almost anything."

"Almost?" and the corner of his lip just barely twitched up.

"Don't test it..."

"Already did, when I left."

He'd said it too quickly, a reminder not just floating through the air, but striking it, and she winced, a flashing series of memories running out of control.

"Ron…" she began, so softly, moving just the tiniest bit closer to him in the growing dark. "I know you well enough to know you'd never do something that didn't deserve forgiveness. So… alright - anything, then. I'd forgive you for anything."

He opened his mouth, surely to protest, so she stopped him with another question instead.

"Why'd you forgive me?"

"What are you on about?"

"Where do you want me to start? I'd rather not make a list… we'd be here all night."

"That's rubbish. I can't think of anything aside from old, stupid rows, which I was at least half to blame for, so you can forget about that."

She shook her head slowly, too many thoughts racing for the frontlines.

"What about- nevermind. Let's try something else. Why'd you want me to go to Australia?"

His eyebrows shot up under his messy fringe.

"I didn't say-" he started, forehead creased with confusion. "I thought you'd want to get them, your parents. At Shell Cottage, you said-"

"I said I wanted them back, that I wanted things to be the way they were before. I wasn't being rational, anyway. But that's not what I'm asking you. You wanted me to… leave you."

He froze, looking completely lost.

"Never said anything like that, I…"

"Just today, Ron! You said your family would all be here, and I shouldn't feel like I needed to stay with you!"

He blinked at her.

"Well, unless you plan to ditch me in Australia, I don't see how you going means you're leaving me."

A full ten seconds passed before she could release a single word response.


"Yeah, I see why you made me take the sodding potion now… I'm shit at explaining stuff to you."

"Potion doesn't seem to have made you less confusing!"

She felt a layer of something light and bubbly beneath the jumble of his half-explained words, but she wouldn't let it take over just yet.

"Right," he said, closing his eyes for a second. When he opened them again, he almost smiled. "I can feel it now, the potion. Wouldn't be hard to resist it, actually…"


"S'not what I'm doing, though. I want you to…" he half-shrugged and licked his bottom lip, "know everything."

She watched his face change a few times, from thoughtful to nervous to determined.

"I talked it over with Harry, that night at Shell Cottage, after you told me how you were feeling about your parents. I thought Harry might want to go with us, to get them, but he said we should go alone, which was a bit of a relief, actually, 'cause I wanted… I imagined if the war was over, I'd be shot of excuses. So if we went off to Australia alone, I could tell you…" He broke off, just in time, looking a little strained with holding something back. "Don't wanna say that part yet, but I will, probably tonight."

He chewed a bit of dry skin flaking off his bottom lip, and her eyes dropped to his mouth, letting the words he'd already said sink in.

"I thought you knew I'd be there. Unless you want to go alone-"

"Please come with me," she interrupted in a small voice, eyes meeting his again.

She couldn't have confused his smile then. He nodded, brushing his fringe back from his forehead.

"When you said Harry would be here, and Percy… you meant they'd look after your family while you were gone, with me?"


She sighed, a breathy laugh escaping through her nose.

"You could have bloody said that."

"Sorry," he grinned. "Told you, I'm shit at this. You should know that by now."

"From now on, just assume I know nothing-"

"Well, there's the problem, because I mostly assume you know everything."

She smiled, that familiar flush returning to her cheeks.

"Not about you- ...about this."

"Reckon you probably know more than you think you do."

If that was true, then-

She couldn't do that yet. There was still so much to say.

Wasn't there?

Or was there just the one thing, really, the truth about how much she loved him? And did he love her, too? And was that enough to forget the rest? It certainly was for her. And he couldn't even remember what he was supposed to forgive her for… so maybe-

"If you could do anything you wanted to, right now, what would you do?" she asked carefully, watching his lips part.

"That's- I'd… I don't think I should answer that one."

"Why not?"

"S'like jumping to the end of a book without… context."

"Context?" she almost laughed.

"Just don't think I should say I want to-" He cut himself off abruptly, a little startled. "Look, why don't you try answering that first?"

She opened her mouth, convinced he was overreacting.

"Well, we've been awake for a long time, and my back hurts… getting in bed would-" her gaze darted to his bed, and she shut her eyes tight. "Not… I didn't mean... that…"

She grimaced and opened her eyes again to find him staring at her, and her heart surely shouldn't be pounding this hard.

"I would've meant that."

She held her breath for several seconds, unable to look away from him.

He cleared his throat, voice still low and scratchy when he spoke again.

"See, not easy to answer that one…"

"Do you want to kiss me again?"

The words had left her in a rush, and she wasn't as afraid as she thought she'd be to have them hang there between them.

"Course I do."

"What else do you want?" Hearing her own voice, she knew she was pushing pretty far. She was giving him the most difficult role in this.

But then…

There were nights, in the tent, when she swore he wanted her the way she wanted him. He'd look at her this particular way that made her feel almost naked. And she hadn't minded. There'd be a dim lantern outside, glancing through the tent flap on Harry's night watch, and they'd keep silent… in the dark and close together.

Once, he'd had an arm around her for almost an hour when they'd been sharing a blanket on a particularly cold night, sitting on the sofa while she read two books at the same time, darting her eyes back and forth between them. He'd taken to holding one of them open for her. But it hadn't been long before he'd drifted off to sleep. And she'd lingered far too long, looking him over… running her eyes slowly down from spikes of ginger hair against his pale forehead to the freckles across the bridge of his nose… copper stubble peppering his jaw and cheeks… the hollows of his neck and collarbones, contrasting tendons and Adam's apple. But his breathing changed, somewhere in the middle, and she'd panicked later, wondering if he'd known what she'd been doing.

But it might have been nothing… if she'd not caught him doing the same thing, several days later, when she'd fallen asleep in a chair with him sprawled on the floor in front of her, sorting out her notes for her. She'd woken to find him quite still, slightly shiny eyes lost in gazing at her hand, her fingers dangling over the arm of her chair. He'd jolted a bit when he'd seen she was awake. And they hadn't spoken, but she'd wondered why she'd had to convince herself he hadn't actually been near tears…

"You really want to do this," he asked, "right now?"

"Yes," she said simply, barely audible.

"Always imagined I'd have to start by asking you to promise to stay friends if… if this didn't go well. But… I reckon that's what stopped me doing it before, 'cause that's so bloody unrealistic."

"I'll always be your friend," she said in a faraway sort of voice, as if she'd slipped into a dream and would wake tomorrow to find things just the same as they always were.

"Don't worry about that," he said, more to himself than to her. "But I need to just…" He trailed off, gathering his thoughts. "Harry said you… you were bloody upset when I was gone… when I left. Cried a lot. Thought he didn't understand it was more how much you hated me for doing it than 'cause you missed me. Dunno why I think about it so much, but I started wondering more-"

"It was both. More the second one than the first."

"More the second-… really?"

She nodded, words slipping from her mind, unreachable.

"Okay," he said slowly, voice gravelly again. "I was never supposed to say sorry for that again. I know I promised after Malfoy Manor. But I am sorry. I'll always be sorry. You know that."

She nodded again, noticing that her feet had gone a bit numb, anticipation building almost unbearably around her.

"But… I think not long before I left, I'd… I'd let myself think about us… together. Really together. Not that I hadn't before. But in the tent… There was no one else around. No teachers, no family… The locket- that's another load of bollocks to finish explaining. I didn't say everything to you at Shell Cottage. But that's not… not the point right now."

He rubbed a hand across his jaw again, and she contemplated how many more times she could watch him do that before she broke down and snogged him, before he'd gotten to the point.

"What I'm saying… fuckin' hell, this is a lot. I think Veritaserum only works well if you've just got one secret to tell, not several years of pretending you don't fancy your best friend…"

She managed a smile then, trembling slightly with awe at his words, and the ones yet to be said.

"Got too many thoughts in the wrong order…"

"I don't have anywhere to be," she said quietly, still smiling as he met her eyes and grinned back.

"Nevermind, anyway. I'm ripping off a plaster, so…"

Unsure of his meaning at first, her lips parted with an unformed question. But she wouldn't need it.

"I knew I loved you before last year, but it really sank in when were we alone so much and I- I wanted you pretty much every second of every day."

Her breathing changed first - a stuttering inhale, puffs of half-held exhales between her lips.

"Bloody Harry," he continued. "I'd have told him to shove off if we weren't maybe gonna die all the time."

She pressed her lips together, forgetting to breathe entirely as she stifled a grin.

"But… that's it, really," he said softly. "I think if you asked me again what I'd do right now if I could do anything, the answer'd be easier for you to guess…"

"What do you want-" she started, taking him literally in posing the question again, but he laughed over her.

"Still don't wanna be specific!"

She gave up caring about it, anyway, because she was virtually consumed with something else.

"You love me?"

"Been alternating between thinking it's way too fucking obvious and hoping like hell that you've got no bloody idea for the last two years at least."

"So have I."

His face instantly morphed from leading the conversation to suddenly being completely at its mercy. The sun was low enough out the window behind him now that shadows engulfed his features, eyes dark, puffy beneath them from lack of sleep and crying… But she didn't need to see more clearly. Every part of him told her what his eyes might have done only halfway, before now. And it seemed that now, knowing that her suspicions had not just been hopeful longing, generated from magnified emotions, it was easier to know him for sure, more than she realised she ever had. So maybe he was right. She knew more than she ever thought she did.

A breath blew loudly between his lips, and she wanted to be so much closer.

"God," he sighed. "I think I could tell you whatever you want now, potion or no."

She smiled, took a step closer.

"You really-" he started, but she took another step closer.

"I keep wanting to ask you the same thing, but we're past that now, don't you think?" she said softly, noting the higher pitch of her own voice, the way the words wavered a bit with returning nerves… and not the ones that frustrated and held her back. These were brilliant.

She was too focused on his face to see his hand reaching toward hers until his long fingers were sliding along her palm. A ripple of gooseflesh returned, shooting up both of her arms.

"What was that..." he began, in a shaky sort of voice, "you said earlier about kissing again?"

"Asked if you wanted to," she whispered.

"And I said yeah."

Their fingers laced together, and it was his turn to move toward her, forcing her to tilt her head back as he towered over her, reaching his unoccupied left hand up to tremble briefly against the side of her neck before he rested his warm palm completely to her cool skin. She let out a breathy sound that she'd probably have been embarrassed to hear herself make if she wasn't so distracted by the faint, swirling scent of her Amortentia…

She pushed up to her toes as he ducked his head, and their noses pressed together before his fingers tangled in her hair. And she tilted her head, his hand still holding her left as she reached up between their bodies to grab a fistful of the front of his shirt with her right hand, leaning into his body as he released a deep, throaty sound against her mouth.

If she'd thought their first kiss was incredible, she'd been setting the bar too low, as impossible as that seemed. Here, now, with silence around them, alone…

He dropped her hand, wrapped his arm around her, and pressed his palm to her back, forcing her to tilt her head further as she opened her mouth against his, receiving another low, rumbling sound from him in response. She needed to be closer, but her hand between their bodies was making it difficult, so she dropped his shirt, reached up, and wrapped both arms around his neck, on the absolute tips of her toes now as she felt his tongue along her bottom lip. She stopped breathing, the whole front of her body now tight against his. His hand was completely lost in her hair, and when she exhaled again through her nose, an airy sort of moan escaped her, sending a shiver through his body that she felt so specifically in answer to her. She did this to him.

She felt the tears too late, tasting salt as they rolled down the creases of her face.

He pulled back from her, and she instantly regretted not being quick enough to stop him.

"Ermyn-" he started.

"I'm fine," she said breathlessly, arms still tight around his neck. "More than, actually."

She watched him swallow, hand moving out from the back of her neck to smooth her hair away from her cheek.

He ducked his face, and she thought he might be kissing her again, until he went in an unpredictable direction, burying his face in tangled curls, pressing his cheek to hers and drying her face a bit in the process. He breathed against her ear, and she shivered head to toe.

"I'm too tall," he said, voice low and scratchy, but so close that she could hear him quite clearly.

"No, I love it," she argued as he pulled back from her again.

"Gonna have a sore neck all the time if we-"

"All the time?" she teased, already inching her face closer.

"Yeah," he laughed, just before she kissed him again.

And, once more, it was different… somehow more urgent this time. She slipped her fingers briefly down the collar of his shirt in the back, wanting to get so much closer than she could rationalise. But as his body pressed into hers, she felt everything it was doing to him, thinking how unfair it was that she had nothing quite like that for herself to prove to him… She blushed deep and slid her lips against his, tugging his bottom lip between her teeth.

"Sorry," he muttered into her mouth, backing away slightly as he obviously realised what she could feel.

"Not supposed to do that anymore," she said, running her fingers up his neck and into his hair. She'd imagined touching his hair so many times before, and it stopped her words in their tracks to be doing it now. She swallowed, trying to focus on what she needed to say, his backlit shoulders casting her in deep shadow. "We want the same things, remember?"

He laughed, disbelieving.

"Not sure you know… 'cause if that's true, then you're saying you want to rip my clothes off and-" he stopped short, almost choking on his sentence.

"We want the same things," she said again, stomach flipping.

The hand that was still pressed to her back suddenly gripped her shirt in a tight fist, tugging it halfway up in one motion, exposing her skin to the cool air of his room.

"Fuck, Hermione…"

"Please don't stop now."

She knew he wouldn't lead her where she didn't want to go, but she also knew she wanted to go a lot further than he'd probably assume. In fact, she was hesitant to even admit it to herself. Though she certainly wasn't hesitant about actually doing it…

She dropped her arms from his neck and stepped back, toeing off her shoes. He watched her, frozen, for several seconds, before he copied her, toeing off his own boots and waiting.

"Can I stay here, tonight?" She really only needed this one more thing, to be sure. If he wanted to go slow, she'd leave. But if-

"Yeah," he said in that rough voice she was getting way too used to. "Sod Percy's."

It took her a few stretched moments to figure out what he meant, finally recalling his offer to her earlier of Percy's bedroom. He hadn't wanted her to go at all, had he… he'd just wanted to give her whatever she wanted. She blinked rapidly for a moment, heaving a few uneven breaths as he started to close the gap between them again. But though she really did love his height, it wasn't going to work well for long. So, she tugged his hand, stepping backwards toward his bed.

"Gonna be fucking impossible to chuck me after this," he warned, grinning slightly at the end of his sentence.

"Me too," she agreed, waves of disbelief still sweeping over her every few seconds.

She dropped his hand at the same moment that he lowered his head to hers, capturing her lips stacked between his and sliding both hands up the sides of her neck to her face. Probably unconsciously, he swiped his thumb across her cheek, and she slid her mouth from his lips to his jaw, dragging toward his ear as his knees bent, pressing the backs of her legs to his bed as he groaned out a few slurred curses.

She tugged him closer as she dropped down to his mattress, and he had to let go of her to press his hands to the bed to keep from crushing her. She shifted up toward his headboard as he crawled over her, but she remained halfway sitting for a moment, angling her face toward his, wrapping a hand around the back of his neck. He kissed the corner of her mouth, lips parted, and her eyes fluttered shut, reaching for his side and finding his shirt billowing down instead of the warmth of his body she had expected. But rather than pressing up against cotton, she opened her eyes and dropped her hand to the bottom hem of his shirt, tips of her fingers brushing the hot skin of his abdomen.

He hissed something that sounded suspiciously like a garbled version of her name before he leaned forward, into her touch. She dropped to her back, naturally parting her legs and bending her knees up to pull him down on top of her, her other hand finding its way under his shirt as well, both palms against his sides.

He ducked his head to her neck, sucking a sensitive spot as she gasped. Feeling everything he was doing to her, she became suddenly overwhelmed with a thought she wanted to banish as quickly as it had arrived. But it lodged there, angry and insistent, and she shook beneath him with her effort to push it back.

He turned his face until his long nose brushed behind her ear, eyes seeking hers.

"Okay?" he asked hoarsely.

"I don't-" she started, very much wishing she could stamp out the lingering draw of Veritaserum, long enough to prove to him that she was fine. Because she was, really. And if she ruined everything with a bloody ridiculous, selfish question… She could resist the potion, but she wasn't sure she could convince him.

"S'wrong?" His brows knitted with concern, and he moved just that tiny fraction away from her, that involuntary response of his body to unspoken questions he hadn't heard answered.

"Oh, God…" she moaned, "please, please don't answer this - I don't want to know - but we're supposed to be honest now. Wh-when you kissed my neck, it felt… I just wondered how you knew what you were doing, and then I remembered…"

He shook his head slowly, confused.

"Remembered what?"

"You… h-had a girlfriend, before."

He blinked, then quickly caught her meaning, eyebrows shooting up before he shook his head again, once.

"We passed anything I ever did with her at least ten minutes ago."

"Really?" Her voice came out so embarrassingly tiny, but she couldn't be bothered. She'd been so afraid she'd lost every first with him, when he'd hardly done anything at all.

"Reckoned you knew that."

"Remember," she began, all old fears freshly dispelled, "you're supposed to assume I know nothing."

"Right. To be clear, I would never have let it go that far with her, 'cause I bloody knew I loved you then, even though I was a stubborn, jealous prat about it."

"Thank you," she almost whispered, and his slightly swollen lips turned up into a smile as she absently rubbed her inner thigh against his hip, denims suddenly feeling much too restrictive. "You know," she continued, feeling rather brave, "I've thought about you like this a lot… in my bed at Hogwarts or... at home - here, even, at holidays.."

"Shit, Hermione…"

He'd been doing such a good job holding his body up on his hands, but he was threatened with being knocked unsteady as his arms shook.

"Did you?" she asked, because she really just wanted to hear him say it in his beautiful voice.

"Hell yes, all the time. In bed, in the shower, in the Quidditch lockers, the library-"

"The library?" she laughed, sliding her hands around from his bare sides to his back.

"Yeah," he grinned. "The restricted section."

She pressed harder against his back, forcing him closer.

"Don't have to imagine anymore," she grinned in return, as the tip of his nose touched hers.

"I'm sure I'm loads better at this in my imagination," and his lips almost brushed hers as he spoke.

"Doubt it," and she closed the remaining distance by lifting her head an inch off his pillow, his upper lip sliding between hers as he sighed and lowered himself to his forearms, forcing her body to sink into his mattress with his weight on top of her.

Her body was on fire, nerves tingling as she felt so many sensations at once. The truth was that he could touch her any way he wanted, and she was confident it would be the most amazing thing ever. Nothing she'd ever seen or heard or felt had ever compared to what he did to her… and they'd barely touched more than a few brief hugs, hardly let themselves look at each other with a fraction of the intensity she felt inside… before today.

Their tongues met, and her nails dug into his shoulderblades. He dragged his right arm down, fingers skipping along her side, and she arched her back, pressing her chest to his, heart beating faster as she felt his erection against her inner thigh.

She could feel his heart, too, pounding through thin layers of clothing. Too many layers.

He lightly bit her bottom lip, and she gathered his shirt in her fists, pulling it up his back. He left her lips then to slide down her body so slowly, open mouth dragging kisses down her neck to her collarbone as his shirt bunched at his shoulders.

"Ron…" she breathed, tugging his shirt insistently, but simultaneously tilting her neck back to give him better access.

He lifted his head and licked his lips, his every movement sending a small shock of pleasure between her legs. He pushed up on his hands, then, back onto his knees, kneeling between her legs as her hands dropped from his back, watching with parted lips as he grasped the bottom of his shirt with both hands, arching and turning cotton inside out over his exposed body, disappearing for a moment as he tugged the shirt over his head, throwing it randomly over the edge of his bed without aiming for anything. His hair stood on end, clumps of messy ginger angled in every possible direction. But God, she couldn't believe how perfect-

Her hands slid up his now-bare chest, independent of direction from her. He froze, eyes darting down to watch her fingers on his pale, freckled skin. She felt a bit out of control of her own actions, squeezing him between her thighs as he breathed erratically through his mouth.

Eyes running down his naked torso, she realised how low his jeans had tugged from sitting up on his knees. He'd not put on a belt after his shower earlier, apparently, and though it was now quite dark in his room, she could easily make out a smattering of ginger hairs-

She completely lost her train of thought as his hands cautiously slipped up under the bottom of her shirt, warm palms covering her stomach. It occurred to her quite suddenly that she wasn't wearing a bra. She hadn't bothered to put one on after her bath. She'd been tired, then, as impossible as it now seemed to even think about sleep at a time like this… But this predicament was going to give her half the time to get used to being physically exposed to him. Her breathing came a bit harder and more rapid. He glanced up to her lips, noticing.

"Okay?" he asked, echoing his concern from earlier.

She wondered for a second if she should tell him what she'd just been thinking, but it seemed unnecessary considering where she assumed they both wanted this to go, so she smiled, lightly dragging her nails down his chest to the waistband of his jeans.

"Very," she added, in case he needed any further encouragement.

His hands slid just the tiniest bit further over her ribs, but it was evidently just enough for him to discover exactly what had just been on her mind anyway. He froze, fingertips just barely touching the bottom swell of her breasts. Without fully knowing what she was doing, she shifted down, suddenly desperate for him to be touching her properly. Her movement forced his hands higher, and he swore under his breath.

"You're not wearing…" he trailed off.

Quite abruptly, she became consumed with the need to move faster. So, rather than wait for him to go the rest of the way, she dropped her arms to the bed and pushed up onto her elbows. She squeaked as his knuckles accidentally brushed her hardened nipples before his hands dropped out of her shirt. Shivering slightly, she scooted back to sit up in front of him, ripping her shirt off over her head so fast that she couldn't have had time to second guess herself.

His eyes dropped almost immediately to her chest, and she was reasonably sure he wasn't breathing.

She didn't know what she expected, exactly, but it certainly wasn't going to work to sit in ringing silence. So she threw herself forward to clasp both arms around his neck again, noses bumping before he lost his balance and toppled backward as her weight flattened him to the opposite end of the bed, his shoulders coming dangerously close to resting completely off the bottom edge of the mattress. He scrambled to straighten his legs, her knees sliding between his thighs.

"Fuck," he breathed, wincing suddenly with pleasure as his arms flew around her waist. "You- you're…" He quickly closed and opened his eyes again. His hands moved up the bare skin of her back, and the entire front of her chest was vibrating with new feeling, skin to skin with him.

She wasn't sure whose heartbeat was whose, but she felt them both hammering at slightly different speeds against her ribs. She reached up to touch his face, cupping his stubbly cheeks in her hands as he sighed through a grin, lifting his head as she lowered hers to kiss him again.

His hands moved up and down her back, erupting her skin in delightful chills. She shifted her hips on top of him, and he groaned low and deep, moving so quickly, gripping her tight on top of him as he rolled to the right, flipping them so he was pressing her down underneath his body again. He dragged his kisses down her neck once more, but this time, he didn't stop at her collarbone. She sucked in a heaving breath as her back arched, his tongue flicking over her tingling skin. And then, she felt his gaze on her as he stopped, hot breath between her breasts.

But before she could feel too self-conscious, he slid a hand up her stomach again… fingers curving over her breast until he covered her completely. Her nipple poked into his palm, and she reached up to cover his hand with her own, holding him there as an involuntary, breathy whimper slipped out of her mouth.

He scrambled back to sit up on his knees, between her legs, covering her chest completely as his second hand moved to join the first.

"Fucking… amazing…"

Her hand slid to his wrist, and his eyes trailed up her neck, lips, finding her eyes.

This was a brand new look, no longer holding back desire. Yet… she could find it hiding in memories, small glances that she'd convinced herself meant nothing.

A smile slowly formed, just as he moved his hands, smoothing outward across her chest to uncover her nipples… dragging fingertips back over puckered skin. She pressed her head hard into the mattress, so close to the bottom edge of the bed that she could almost drop her head entirely off to hang down if she shifted only slightly. She clung to his wrist, white knuckles gripping him as he suddenly removed his hands from her chest altogether. And as if clearing away a fog, she blinked and sought his eyes again, confused, as her hand loosened its hold and dropped from his wrist.

His hands moved to grip her waist, tugging and sliding her a few inches away from the edge of the bed… but forcing her thighs tighter around him… pinning his erection against the restrictive confines of their jeans.

Maybe he hadn't considered this outcome, because his hands gripped more forcefully, fingers digging into her hips as a rumble of unformed words tried to escape him.

"Take them off," she instructed, reaching for her own jeans button, watching his eyes flick back down over her chest before arriving at her waistband.

He shuddered out a moan, hands suddenly trembling where they held her.

She wanted him now more than she'd thought possible before today. And of course she knew why… in all the daydreams she'd had, he'd never been actually there, half naked and staring at her like she was the most wonderful sight he'd ever seen. He'd never touched her with his perfect hands, awakening nerves beneath her skin with the tips of his long fingers.

"Please," she added, for emphasis, as his hands released her hips and he shifted slightly between her legs.

But then his eyes met hers, and she hadn't expected him to crawl over her, angling his face as his hair fell into his eyes, kissing her lips so softly. It was over almost immediately, and she blinked, dazed, as he sat back up between her legs again.

And then, he was working her button free. His warm knuckles brushed against her skin as he managed it, moving for the zipper next. Her stomach sucked in as she breathed, heaving slightly with her exhale as he shifted backward to hook his fingers in the waist of her jeans, to pull them down over her hips. She lifted her arse a bit to help, watching him swallow as his eyes burned into each inch of newly exposed skin.

Suddenly, she couldn't remember what her knickers looked like, and it seemed vitally important to know. At the same moment, he'd reached as far as he could tug her jeans from his position.

"Bugger." He bent and lifted her left leg over his lap, joining her right leg on the other side as he knelt next to her… then thought better of it and slid off his bed, standing by the side and reaching over her.

She pushed up to her elbows and looked down her own body. White. She'd worn plain white knickers today. She really could have done a lot of more interesting things with her wardrobe…

But now that he was out of the way, he completely rid her of her jeans in two seconds, tossing them to the floor to join both of their shirts. His gaze roamed down her body, and the war she'd been playing with self-consciousness was slowly drifting in the wrong direction.

"Come here," she requested in a tiny voice.

He leaned closer, ready to follow her instructions, but she suddenly sat up, almost smashing into him.

"Wait!" and her hands flew together at his jeans button.

"Shit!" He stood up straight, his flat stomach sucking in just a bit with surprise.

She stared, hard, knowing her face was glowing with a deep blush as she unfastened his button and worked the zip down.

She was undressing him. Ron. Her best friend. Literally the only person who came to mind when she'd touch herself…

She sent frantic signals to her hands not to shake.

Black. He was wearing black boxers. At least that was a significant level up from her damn plain white. Though she realised he could be wearing almost anything and she'd still find him absurdly attractive.

On top of the fact that she didn't expect either of them to go on wearing anything for more than another minute.

As she paused her undressing, watching his jeans hang precariously on his hips, he grabbed both of her hands in his and tilted his head slightly back, closing his eyes. She'd never actually seen a naked man before in person, so she'd not been totally aware of… perspective. Though she'd seen enough diagrams, studying. She'd expected male anatomy to be a bit more… well more, in person. And she had to say she'd been right. In fact, maybe she'd underestimated-

He groaned, and she realised how close her face was to his thinly clothed election.

So, that's what she was doing to him.

It somehow turned her on more than she already was, which had seemed quite impossible before now. She wiggled her hands out of his grasp and slid his jeans off his hips, letting them drop to his ankles.

He was moving in half a second, kicking denim away, crawling back over her, into bed. And then, everything was too frantic to notice each movement separately… each touch as his hands traveled up and down her body, his lips on her jaw, her mouth, her neck… his body dragging down hers to attach his teeth to a taut nipple.

She gasped and grabbed his hair in a tight fist. He bit down harder, accidentally.

"Sorry," he muttered against her skin in a gravelly, entirely too sexy voice.

"Oh, God, Ron… do it again."

He lifted his head long enough to raise an eyebrow at her before moving to the other side.

And she was so lost in feeling everything, that she hardly noticed his hand roaming past her hip until his fingers were between her legs, over soaked cotton.

"Jesus…" His fingers moved against her.

"Your fault," she breathed, heart suddenly pounding again.

She caught his overwhelmed grin as he lifted his body away from hers enough to hook a finger in the waist of her knickers. He glanced up, lips parted to ask permission.

"Please," she echoed from before. "You can… do whatever you want, Ron. Don't need to ask."

She'd given him a lifetime of Christmases in two sentences, by the look that crossed his face.

His muscles tensed, and her eyes were drawn achingly to biceps and the veins along the back of his hand. He rolled off her, toward the wall, and she lifted her arse again as he pulled her knickers down her thighs.

"God… you're so…" but his words faded as she kicked her knickers free of her legs and reached for him. He rolled back on top of her, sinking between her legs as she bent her knees up again.

Skin. So much skin. Her wetness pressed to his abdomen, and a jolt of pleasure shot down through her so forcefully that she wondered if he'd even have to touch her…

His hand slid between her legs again, and she regretted ever considering such a thing.

He obviously didn't know what he was doing, but she hardly knew herself. She knew how to do this to herself, by herself, but it wasn't even in the same league with him here, his body warming her skin, sweat forming at his temples, his fingers on her…

One slid slowly into her, a wave of tremors running from his face down to his legs as he evidently comprehended what he was doing.

His thumb moved accidentally, over her swollen, nerve-filled flesh.

"Ohhh, doitagain," she slurred, surely inaudible.

"Like this?" he asked, somehow having heard her. He brushed his thumb over her, and she angled her hips to press harder, his finger all the way inside her now.

"Ohh," she breathed, arching her back. "That's… oh, God."

"Shit, Hermione," he shook, erratic breathing over her as she reached down to hold his hand in place, hardly conscious of what she was doing.

"Show you…" she muttered, pressing his hand into her and moving against him.

"What… oh fuck."

He gripped her thigh with his unoccupied hand, ducking his head to watch as his hair fell over his eyes.

She moved his hand as much as she could with his finger still inside her, forcing his palm in rhythm with the building nerves rolling beneath her skin. It took a couple of minutes of mounting intensity before she could feel it…

"Don't... stop…" she instructed, unnecessarily. He had given no indication that he would ever stop… especially considering her hand was grinding his against her, and he probably couldn't have escaped anyway.

But something changed, and she couldn't be sure he'd done it on purpose, or if maybe just the fact of having him here during the most intimate thing she could imagine had heightened all sensations past a formerly hazy upper limit…

Her unoccupied hand flew to his other hand where it was still glued to her thigh. She gripped his fingers in a vice and tugged until she'd pressed his palm to her breast. He squeezed once, dragged his fingers across her nipple, and she screamed.

Her body coursed with spasms, arms going slack and dropping away from both of his hands. She clamped her legs shut, knees bent up, trapping his hand. And she closed her eyes, breath slowing, tingling with mounting embarrassment.

His slightly sweaty chest flattened to her shins, and he braced himself by pressing his free left palm to the mattress by her hip.

"Holy… fucking… shit…" he panted raggedly.

She opened her eyes, shifted her legs a bit… He swallowed as his gaze flicked down, finally reclaiming his right hand from between her thighs.

"Can you still feel the potion?" he asked, still breathing unevenly.

She blinked slowly, skin suddenly quite cool in the open air.

"Don't know…" She searched for the feeling she'd had before, when it had first started working, but all she could find was flushing shyness to be lying naked in his bed. "Don't think so."

"That wasn't the first time you've done that…" he didn't quite ask, "was it."

Horror struck her, wondering what he could possibly mean.

"What?! What do you think I've been-"

"To yourself," he clarified quickly.


Her cheeks warmed considerably as the corner of his mouth twitched up into a lopsided grin.

"Wasn't," she affirmed. "Always thought of you, you know… once I figured out how to… um…"

"Yeah?" he asked shakily, but he shifted his weight to crawl up the narrow space between the bed and the wall, not needing her response.

"It's your turn," she said quickly, breath coming uneven through her parted lips again.

He laughed, resting on his side, back to the wall.

"That wasn't my turn, just now?"

"You know what I mean," she said, quickly sitting up, before she could let a self-conscious wave overtake her. And she reached for the elastic of his pants.

His eyebrows shot up, but she rid him of his last remaining garment much faster than he had with her before.

"Oh," was all he could get out, eyes raking hotly down her body. Surely it was too dark to make out all the details, but she let herself be distracted by his incredibly aroused state rather than worry incessantly about how she looked to him starkers. Honestly, he'd just had his hand on her-

"I've never…" she started, a new worry surfacing. "Obviously, I don't really know what I'm doing."

"You don't need to," he said in that low, rumbly voice.

She slid one knee between his legs and flattened him to the bed with a palm to his chest before she leaned over him, lowering her mouth to his, mimicking his first move from earlier. But as she slid a hand up his neck, deepening their kiss, she felt his bare thigh move between her legs, and he groaned against her.

She broke away to sit halfway up again, reaching down. His eyes slowly slid open, comprehending what she was about to do.

She wrapped her small hand around velvety skin.

"Bloody... fuuuck…"

She ducked and captured his nipple between her teeth. He grabbed a fistful of sheet with his left hand and a fistful of her arse with his right.

"Ohmygod- wait, Hermione. S'not gonna take - shiiiiit! - long…"

She froze, lifted her head from his chest… Wet warmth trickled down her knuckles.

"That was... fast…" she pointed out, first startled and then smiling as he grimaced, closing his eyes.

She suddenly couldn't believe what she'd just done. He'd really wanted her. He made her laugh, made her feel safe, gave her his heart without trying… and she'd done something with him now that she never wanted to do with another person for the rest of her life. She was going to love every part of him much more than she could comprehend.

"Told you I already had most of my turn…" he said, eyes still closed as he half-grinned up at her.

"Was it really that, um… interesting to do that to me?" she managed to ask, words tumbling out against his collarbone as she let go of him.

"Interesting," he repeated with disbelief, blinking his eyes open to stare at her. "The hottest fucking thing I've ever seen… or imagined… or thought was possible… or-"

"Ron," she laughed, shifting off of him to search for her bag, finding it off the side of his bed and reaching inside for her wand.

She licked her bottom lip as she turned back to face him, aiming for his crotch.

"Hermione?" His eyebrows shot up.

She sent a wordless cleansing charm his way and reached back into her bag again.

"Oh. Good thing I trust you," he laughed, brows relaxing again.

"Do you need a break, or…" she trailed off, clearing her throat as she removed a vial of a bluish liquid from her bag.

"Break?" he echoed.

"Don't know how it works for you, I guess."

"Oh," he said in a suddenly scratchy voice. "Yeahhh… I'm pretty much good in a couple of seconds… You're naked. In my bed."

"So are you," she shivered.

"That's… the potion-"


"Where'd you get that?" and he sat halfway up on his elbows.

But he smiled before she could speak.

"Brewed it last summer," they said in unison. She grinned almost shyly at him.

"Fucking brilliant…"

Her cheeks burned as he shook his head.

"You had this with us for ten months, and I was too big a tosser to tell you I wanted you."

"And how many times did I tell you? Anyway, I didn't think we'd really… just wanted to be prepared."

She uncorked the vial and tipped the full contents into her mouth, swallowing the slightly syrupy liquid and clearing her throat as she recorked it. He took the bottle from her, reached a long arm over the edge of the bed to set it on the floor, and returned his full attention to her completely naked body.

His warm hand covered her thigh, and her eyes dropped to stare at his freckled skin in contrast with her own monotone complexion.

"I love your hands," she said in a small voice. "And your arms…" Her eyes roamed up his forearm, following the swirl of scars from fifth year. "And y-your shoulders… and neck…" Her hand moved as if by itself to trail the tips of two fingers along his jaw to his chin, walking up to his bottom lip. "And your-"

He cut her off by closing the gap and kissing her, trapping her fingers between their lips. She moved her hand out of the way and pushed her fists against the bed to shift her body to face him completely, sitting on her knees. But his hands went to her bare sides, fingertips running so lightly over her skin that it almost tickled. She shivered and lifted a hand to push against his chest. He fell backward to the bed, arm muscles tensing as he gripped her around the waist, only losing contact with her lips for a moment before she parted her legs, knees digging into the mattress on either side of him, clutching his beautiful face in her hands and opening her mouth to his, tongues meeting.

Her sweat-damp chest brushed over his, nipples hardening almost painfully. She pushed up onto her hands and drew back from his mouth, opening her eyes to find his. With space between their chests now, he let go of her waist, reaching up to pinch her nipples between thumbs and forefingers.

She gasped and arched into him, hips angling back so his erection pulsed way too close between her legs- but not close enough.

"You don't want to wait…" she had to ask, strained, "do you?"

"God, no."

A tiny laugh escaped her, higher pitched than she'd intended, but his grin was worth it.

"Fuck, I love you… Potion's gone," he clarified. "That was all me."

Her eyes welled instantly with tears, and she laughed again.

"I love you, too."

"Brilliant," and his arm went around her waist again, prompting her to consider how bloody strong he was as he flipped them, pinning her to the bed.

He bent and kissed her ear, her jaw joint… she wrapped her left leg around his waist.

"Hang on. This is s'posed to hurt you, innit?" he asked, suddenly apprehensive as he lifted his head and braced himself on his forearms.

"I don't mind," she breathed, eyes darting between his.

"I bloody mind…"

"I'll get used to it. It'll get better every time."

"Every time?" He lifted a brow and the corner of his lip at the same time. She couldn't help grinning back.

"Use your fingers again first," she suggested, listening to the ragged breath she elicited from him at her request.

He dropped a hand between them and easily slid a finger inside her again. The arm holding him up shook as he lowered his head to her neck, swearing nonsensically into her skin.

"Another," she breathed, and he obeyed immediately, working in a second finger as she held her breath.

He moved slowly, and though it was slightly uncomfortable at first, she felt a deeper desperation for more, pleasure branching through her.

"Please..." she heard herself shudder, locking her leg more securely around him and contradicting her own wishes by making it impossible for him to change position.

"Hand," he managed through a shaky groan, gliding his open mouth up the side of her neck.

"Sorry," she whispered, loosening her hold on him as he drew his fingers back out of her and shifted. His mouth moved to her cheek, further... lips against the side of her nose.

She felt him grab ahold of himself, positioning over her. She tried to help by reaching down to touch him, half holding his hand.

He shifted higher, touching his forehead to hers.

"Okay?" he mumbled adorably.

"Okay," she shivered.

He pushed so, so slowly into her, and she clawed at his shoulders, sensations furiously warring.

"S'fucking tiiight," he hissed against her mouth.

"Faster," she moaned, losing what little grip she had left on control. And, not waiting for him to do it himself, she arched her back and forced him the rest of the way into her.

His fist clenched in her thick hair as she squeezed her eyes shut, adjusting.

His movements became instantly erratic, and she lifted her right foot off the bed to wrap around his waist with her left. She dug a heel into his arse, and he exhaled hotly against the side of her nose.

"Bloody… best… thing…" he managed as one hand brushed down her side to her thigh. "You... okay?"

"Brilliant. Keep going," she sighed softly, feeling the most bizarre combination of pain and pleasure.

His fringe fell into her eyes, so she closed them, wrapped a hand around the back of his neck as he moved inside her… once, twice…

"Goddamnit-" He ducked his face off hers, burying his nose in the curls bunched at her shoulder.

And then, he began to shake. The pressure of his body on hers intensified as he released what remained of his control.

"Ermynee…" His low voice echoed so close, lips brushing her ear through her hair.

Her legs relaxed, untangling from around him as he gathered himself enough to slide to the left, off of her, flattening mostly to his stomach in the space between her body and the wall. Head still toward her, he blinked through his jagged fringe.

Her whole body was on fire for a few moments, the pounding of her heart the only thing she could hear. But, as her pulse slowed, she suddenly felt a bit chilly, yet… oddly satisfied.

"Well…" he said, clearing his throat, "bloody good thing you prepared."


"Best day of my life… cause you illegally made a bunch of ruddy potions from probably stolen ingredients."

"Definitely stolen," she grinned, blushing. "And in case you didn't know… best day of my life, too." She lifted a hand to brush a few stray strands of ginger off his forehead.

"Hermione," he said, suddenly serious as he lifted his head and draped his arm gently across her stomach, "y'know I would've told you everything soon anyway."


"Wouldn't've got to Australia before telling you."



She studied his perfect face, delighted in the distance between nervousness at being caught staring and this new feeling of contentment… honesty. She could look for as long as she wanted.

He flattened his hand to her stomach and cleared his throat again.

"Cold?" he asked.

"A bit."

He rolled to his side and reached down, finding his tangled blanket and tugging it free from underneath them. She turned to her side, facing him, and he tucked his bent elbow beneath her head as she settled close to him again. He pulled the blanket over them, still twisted at his calves, but it covered her to her shoulders, and she moved just a bit closer, touching the tip of her nose to his.

"What do we do now?" she whispered, his room at last so silent and dark… and she was comforted more now than she remembered ever being before.

"Sleep?" he suggested, blinking slowly as he smiled. "And then-"

A whole new life circled them, knowing they'd be together, he loved her. Nothing else seemed to matter.

"Anything we want."