A/N: So, I actually wrote this back in April and never posted it anywhere. I'm not sure why. I think I sort of forgot about it. But also… it's quite smutty and direct. A few choice words slipped in. :)

Hope you enjoy it, and for those of you in America this week, happy Thanksgiving!

November, 1998

Fucking hell, he was agitated. For three straight weeks they'd been hiding out at Auror camps, forbidden from Apparating, scraping through thick woods and showering in half frozen lochs, but they'd captured fifteen former Death Eaters, and Ron had got in three solid punches during the interminable scuffle between the last group before they'd managed to tie the bastards up and drag them back to the Ministry. He hadn't shaved in over a month, his body was heavily adorned with minor injuries, and he hadn't slept in nearly two days, but fuck it. It was his first full day off in well over a month, the Hufflepuff versus Ravenclaw Quidditch match was today… and… oh, sod it, he hadn't seen Hermione properly since her birthday, and if he could convince her to escape from the stands with him during the match, he didn't care where they ended up as long as he could just be alone with her and kiss her and hold onto her and-

No point getting worked up just yet. It wasn't quite dawn, and though he was through the gates at Hogwarts, courtesy of Hagrid and his painfully early tending schedule for his newly acquired exotic creature, Ron couldn't get up to the girls' dormitory to let Hermione know. He was making his way toward the Quidditch lockers instead for a proper shower and some quiet. Honestly, the locker room benches seemed a more comfortable bed than the grotty camp ones he'd been using, not to mention exponentially better than the occasional sleeping bag on broken twigs and icy leaves.

The faintest hint of very early morning light was visible on the horizon as he opened the door to the pitch dark lockers and slipped inside. He lit two lanterns and made his way toward the showers with one of them, setting it down on the bench just outside along with one of the fluffy blue towels snatched from the top of a tall basket of fresh laundry. Ravenclaw wouldn't miss one, surely…

It was freezing, so early on a November morning, and his skin prickled madly with gooseflesh as he stripped off his boots, robes, jumpers and pants. He shivered his way over to the taps, adjusting the water to nearly scalding before stepping into a cubicle, stowing his wand atop the wall, and sighing with pleasure, leaning into aggressive warmth and billowing steam. The running water soothed his muscles and stung fresh scrapes in a way that felt oddly refreshing and alive, and he relaxed, resting his forehead against the smooth tile wall, for the first time in way too long.

For weeks, he'd been bunked up in such close quarters with his team, so close that he'd often wake to Harry's shaggy hair tickling his forehead from where the top of his bed was pushed against Ron's… or someone's feet in his face, someone's unfamiliar snores filling the room. Privacy had been a joke, but that didn't stop him imagining Hermione's naked chest in his face instead… his hands wrapping around her bare arse, the way her body felt underneath his, her hot breath in his ear, her tongue in his mouth-

Apparently, his ears were still tuned to maximum alertness, and he lifted his head at the softest thud outside. Someone else must have just come through the door. His hand twitched toward his wand-


He couldn't even respond to her for a moment, he was so stunned to hear her voice.

"Are you really here?" she tried again, clearly moving closer.

"Yeah!" he shouted through a laugh. "How the hell did you know?"

Her footsteps accelerated, approaching his shower. And, all of a sudden, she was so close.

"Harry gave me the Marauder's Map, beginning of the year…" she began a tad shakily, and he could sense her shyness to admit the truth, "and I- well. I've charmed it so it alerts me whenever you show up."

His lips curled slowly toward an awed grin.

"You- I… Fuck. That's brilliant. You're amazing. Come in here."

He immediately questioned his boldness when she didn't respond. But he could hear her moving around, was fairly certain two soft thuds were her shoes hitting the floor…

He swallowed and stared through the dark at the shower curtain, which he'd only haphazardly tugged shut, but still, he couldn't see her unless he moved closer… just a bit closer…

She suddenly yanked the curtain back, staring up at him, fully starkers and glowing in muted silhouette from the flickering lantern light behind her. He opened his mouth to see which of a thousand racing thoughts would make it out first, but she formed a complete sentence just before he could.

"You've grown a beard."

"You'd never have known if I hadn't seen you til Quidditch," he grinned, rubbing a hand across his jaw.

"You came for the match?"

"Hell no. Came for you."

She left about a quarter of a second between his words and launching herself at him, sending them both backward into the direct line of hot, rushing water. As he balanced them, he hoisted her up his chest to kiss her, feeling her feet leave the floor. Her smooth skin under his hands felt like absolute heaven, and it was jarring enough that she was even there with him, much less accepting the few short seconds between realisation and having her naked body crushed to his.

He felt frantic and dizzy, like she'd slip away if he didn't hold on tight enough. Her soft, beautiful lips slid between his and he swiped them with his warm tongue, inviting hers to meet his. She gripped him tighter around the neck, and he turned them to his right, shaking as he pressed her back against the slick tile wall, allowing her feet to lightly rest on the floor again.

"Ron," she gasped between kisses, "haven't seen you in so long."

"Bloody mental," he agreed readily, brushing his nose past hers and crushing her mouth at a new angle. She suddenly flinched, and he blinked open his eyes through streams of water to catch her grinning adorably.

"Your beard tickled my nose."

He chuckled delightfully and scruffed his hairy jaw across her cheek, making her squirm against him and laugh, tugging his ears to bring him back to her lips. His grin faded as her right foot climbed up the back of his leg, and he reached down to clutch her thigh in his large hand, fingertips digging into soft flesh.

"You're done with the mission?" she muttered against his mouth, nibbling his lower lip.

"Mm. Got fifteen of 'em," he breathlessly replied, eyes tightly shut again.

"Knew you would." She moaned deeply as his hand slid further up her leg. "How did you get in here?"

"Hagrid." His open mouth collided with hers, and he nearly forgot what they were talking about until his next words rolled out, low and raspy. "He was at the Ministry last night. Papers for importing some barmy creature from Africa."

"Hagrid… following rules?" she whispered, sceptically. He pressed his forehead to hers, blocking the flow of water into his eyes, and he opened them to smile at her.

"Nah. He let me in today, yeah?" Her eyes were still closed, but her parted lips curled up into a smile to match his. She bit her lower lip, then dug her nails into the back of his neck as his hand wrapped around her arse. "Bloody missed you."

"So much." She cracked open her eyes, forehead lightly creased with longing and anxiety, and he wanted nothing more than to erase it. But she tilted her head again to kiss him before he could speak, squishing their noses together so he had to hold his breath until he cupped her face in his free hand and gasped between their joined mouths.

He was so painfully hard against her hip already, and the slightest movement caused him to grind into her, and she desperately pressed higher up on the toes of her left foot, stretching against the wall behind her. He had a flash of gripping her arse and lifting her again so he could part her legs around his waist and- ...but he stopped himself and pulled back, watching her drugged expression turn confused as she fully opened her eyes this time to watch him drop to his knees in front of her. Her fists clenched in his hair, and he was frozen for a moment, mesmerised by her hardened nipples, soft curving flesh, stomach stretching and chest heaving with panting breaths as she anticipated him. He finally leaned forward and clamped a perfect nipple gently between his teeth, bracing himself with his left palm on the wall to her right as she gasped.

That light, sweet taste of her skin was still achingly present and familiar, though coated in rushing rivers of water from the shower, and he ran his tongue over her breast, ribs, bellybutton, sitting back on his feet as his hands glided, trembling, down her smooth sides. She arched against the wall as he dipped his nose into the wet curls between her legs.

"Can I-" he started to mumble, as he reached for her ankle, but she answered by lifting her leg up over his shoulder.

He clutched her thigh and closed his eyes, running his tongue up her centre, feeling her blindly reach for his free hand, finding each other and joining together, fingers lacing as she shuddered and sighed his name. His mouth closed over her as a growl rolled from the back of his throat, water pounding his upper back. He sucked her firmly once, twice… her body sank a few inches down the wall, and he sadly accepted that he couldn't do much more without breaking his neck.

She tugged his arm as if reading his mind, and he gently moved her leg back off his shoulder and balanced to stand, letting go of her hand to cup her face in both of his and kiss her neck as his body slid up the front of hers, her soft breasts contrasting the taut muscles of his own chest. He almost choked as he suddenly felt her small hand wrap securely around his cock, dragging up velvety skin… and back down. He dropped a hand between her legs and mirrored her motions by sliding a finger halfway inside her.

A familiar groove of looping thoughts clicked on, and he was suddenly shocked speechless all over that she wanted him, that she'd chosen him, that she - bloody hell - loved him.

"How long can you stay?" she squeaked out, as they simultaneously let go of each other. He gripped her arse in both hands and lifted her up the wall. She gasped but her legs fiercely wrapped around his waist, squeezing him almost violently closer.

"All day," he breathed, and she rested her elbows on his shoulders and smiled, staring so lovingly into his eyes, inches away. He could hardly believe he was with her. "At least til someone chucks me out," he grinned back.

"I love you so much," she slurred, as his erection strained up between her legs.

"Hermione. Oh God, I fucking love you." The end of his sentence was cut off slightly by her open mouth, her tongue sliding between his swollen lips in mimicry of how he filled her, much lower, bracing his knees on the wall and tensing his muscles to hold both her weight and his overflowing emotions.

Her mousy cries of pleasure made him feel so much stronger, and he quite easily supported her at first as he thrust tightly in and out of her, forcing her back up the wall. His body was still coursing with remnants of adrenaline from the finale of his mission, mingled with exhilaration at seeing her well before he'd expected to, but those things only served to heighten the pleasure he felt as she clenched tight around him.

After mere seconds, however, he would have retracted his formerly confident attitude, and he truly had to focus hard to keep her body steady in his arms.

"Don't drop me," she breathed just as he pulled back from her lips, but she was instantly grinning cheekily. He clamped her arse tighter in his hands, and she raised a brow.

"Harder than it looks," he laughed, but her ankles encouraged him deeper inside her again, and he swallowed, attaching his mouth to her jaw. "I've got you," he muttered to her soft skin.

They'd never done this before, and fuck, it was sexy. But he was also clenching his biceps to keep his arms from shaking. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, given their position), there was far too much pent up from weeks without her, and he quickly wrapped most of his right forearm under her arse so he could touch her face again and still support her. He gazed into her eyes, thinking of the first time he'd stared at her like this while buried inside her, and he'd had a recently specific obsession with touching her cheek in his dreams. The tips of his fingers danced over delicate skin, through rolling droplets of water, pushing soaked, frizzy tendrils of her hair back.

So softly, in contrast with every other kiss and touch so far that morning, she parted her lips over his, hardly moving, just resting there, eyes still open and blurred. He almost instantly lost his final fragments of control and came, pulsing inside her, listening to the sounds of her soft, moaning voice under rushing water as she joined him.

For several seconds, he shook against her, bodies stuck together, collapsed against the wall, her arms still tightly holding him round the neck. But when he felt them slip a tiny bit down, her legs slackening around his waist, he gathered all his remaining strength to pull back out of her and support her until her feet safely landed on the floor.

He pressed a palm to the tile over her shoulder as he tried to breathe normally again, staring down at her, his own shadow casting her into deeper darkness.

"You're so beautiful," he said softly, half-drunkenly, and he watched her eyes shyly dart away from his.

"Stop that," she said in that slightly higher pitch her voice always took on afterward. "You can't shag me against a wall and then tell me that two seconds later."

"Why not?"

"You're not thinking straight." She chewed her bottom lip, and the strength he'd felt before had now completely vanished in a haze of lust and love.

"Rubbish. I've always thought you were. You know that now."

He sensed her on the verge of protesting stubbornly again, but something shifted, and she quietly gazed back up at him.

"You're the only person I ever wanted to think that."

"Dunno why," he sighed, smiling, "but better not question it."

"Too many reasons." He could just make out her heavily flushed cheeks, even in the dark. "Sometimes... I honestly don't think I can wait for the year to end so we can really be together."

"Me either." His voice was suddenly raw and hoarse, and he didn't know what else to say, so he just stared back with not so distant visions of their future floating through his mind.

"You're stronger than I realised," she teased after a moment, and he shook his head.

"Dunno if I could do that again right now."

"I almost suggested using your wand, but-"

"Already was." His lips twitched and she rolled her eyes.

"Oh, shut up."

Their eyes found each other again and they stared in beautiful silence for several seconds before she lightly cleared her throat.

"Want to skip Quidditch with me?" She reached up to run her fingers through his beard.

"Can we go to the library?" he smiled, twisting a long strand of her hair around his index finger.

"Who are you?" she laughed lightly, shaking her head.

"The library's dark," he grinned back, blinking slowly, "and no one'll be there during Quidditch. Unless I can talk you into taking a nap on the Common Room sofa…" Exhaustion was creeping in, and what he really wanted to do was entertain fantasies of sneaking away and Apparating back to his bed at Grimmauld Place with her.

"We've got all day, haven't we? It's still early."

"Mm, yeah, true." She rested her hand on his chest as he inhaled. "Reckon we should scarper before Ravenclaw finds us."

She nodded her agreement, and he quickly slathered soap over his skin and hair, rinsed off and followed her out to the bench where he'd left his towel by the lantern. Shivering, she crossed her arms over her body. He draped the towel around her shoulders and tugged her closer with it so they were partially wrapped up together. She dropped her cheek to his chest, circled his waist with both arms, and he rubbed her back through thick terrycloth. Unsurprisingly, the feeling of being encased with her naked body was fairly effective at waking him up again.

"Maybe the Room of Requirement's a better idea," he muttered to the top of her head, grinning.

"You can't say library and then take it back," she warned, voice muffled against his chest as he laughed and hugged her tighter.