A/N: So, I had this idea about doing 21 different smut fics taking place in Hermione's seventh year at Hogwarts and then scrambling the order of them so they were out of sequence. I began by trying to make a list of 21 locations, with the help of some fandom friends who didn't actually know why I was asking (wildegreenlight, thank you for "stables," man! and idearlylovealaugh, I gotta say, "dungeons" was not strictly out of the picture lol), but that turned into me just writing this fic yesterday/this morning, which is basically the introduction / list making chapter of the smutty scramble fic (which might not end up being scrambled and which isn't actually going to be 21 chapters long).
Okay, so here this is and I hope you enjoy it?! It's way more dialogue heavy vs introspection heavy than I normally am, but here we are. x
27 August 1998
"Honestly, I thought about it."
"What?!" Ron sputtered over his half finished drink, setting it down atop the worn wood of a Leaky Cauldron table and staring at Hermione with wide eyes.
"It's only been four months since we were there, since the war ended. Think about that."
"But… you'd just kissed me for the first time hours before-"
"Oh, come on. You can't have any doubts anymore how long I'd wanted to, before then. I've told you." She did that thing where her tone was lofty and superior but her eyes darted, so he knew she was insecure.
"You're going on about kissing. But, just a minute ago, you said shagging."
"Well," she scoffed, "I didn't use that particular word."
"You wanted us starkers, in the Prefects' bath, four bloody months ago."
"Two years, but who's counting." She cleared her throat, and he blinked at her.
"Are you drunk?"
"No! Oh my God," she laughed, rolling her eyes.
He ran a hand through his hair and watched her take a small sip from her nearly full glass of mead.
"Is that the only place?" he prodded, feeling a little tipsy himself. "No fantasies about your favourite classrooms or the bloody library or anything else I should know about?"
She licked her bottom lip, and a light, rosy flush coloured her cheeks.
"Maybe I'm not going to tell you…" she finally said. "Anyway, you never thought about it?"
"Hell, yeah, I thought about it." He took another swig of his drink and muttered, "did more than think…"
She sat up a little bit straighter and watched him for a brief, silent moment, considering.
"Tell me one of yours."
"Quidditch changing rooms," he said without a beat. Her light flush intensified. "I'd schedule practice, so we'd have the space, but I wouldn't tell anyone on our team about it."
Her parted lips closed together in a quivering attempt not to laugh.
"And how, exactly, would you convince me to meet you?"
"Hermione," he began, pitifully, "I think I left my potions essay at the Quidditch pitch. Please come help me find it? You wouldn't want me to fail…"
She burst out laughing then, and he held out a hand to her.
"Come on," he continued. "Otherwise we'll just have to rewrite the whole thing, and I don't remember what the hell the lesson was even about now, so…"
"Stop," she giggled, swatting his hand away.
"We should make a list," he suggested, leaning back and casually crossing his arms.
He raised a brow, pointedly, and she cleared her throat before pressing on.
"You expect me to break school rules-"
"First time for everything," he interrupted, cheekily.
She shook her head and sipped her drink.
"Have you got a scrap of parchment?" she asked, sensibly.
He grinned at her and shoved his hand into his pocket, pulling out a crumpled note on which Harry had written down a time and place for practical Auror training the next day, and he ripped off the blank bottom half.
"Where is Harry, anyway?" Hermione asked as Ron smoothed the parchment out atop the table. "Wasn't he meant to meet us here?"
"You know he always gets hung up at the Ministry. He'll be here eventually. Quill?" His eyes flicked to the one stabbed through her hair, twisted on top of her head.
"Leave my hair alone," she warned. "I've got more in my bag."
She riffled through her bag and produced a pristine quill and ink pot, placing them on the table. He reached for them, hunched over the parchment, and scratched out two lines before sliding it across to her.
"Your turn," he said with a lopsided grin.
She stared down at the words Prefects' bath and Quidditch changing rooms and chewed her bottom lip. He felt quite sure of what she'd write, already wondering how they'd make it work without getting her expelled-
She interrupted his plotting by neatly writing out the next line and sliding the parchment back.
"Common room? I'd've bet on the library."
"I know. Didn't want to be that predictable, did I."
"How do you get everyone in Gryffindor to clear off?" he pondered aloud.
"You'll have to come up with a good strategy, won't you."
His grin spread as he stared at her.
"How real is this?"
She shrugged and sipped her drink again.
"Right, if I come up with a plan for everything we list out-"
"Then I'll think about it."
He twirled her quill between his fingers, intrigued. A few locations flitted through his mind, and he found himself writing one he hadn't thought of in a while.
"By the lake?" she asked, peering across the table with interest.
"Yeah. This one afternoon, we were sitting under that tree we liked. You were working on something, and I fell asleep in the grass, and when I woke up, Harry had left us out there. The sun was already setting, and you just had this expression when you looked at me… I dunno."
"Reckoned you'd been watching me sleep."
"Oh." She sighed. "I'm sure I had been."
"It kept me awake that night, and I thought about it for weeks, 'cause it seemed like maybe you wouldn't have hexed me if I'd tried to kiss you…"
"I wouldn't have."
"Well, don't tell me that now!" But he smiled at her and shifted the parchment back to her side of the table.
"I think this might be cheating," she said as she wrote, quickly handing it back.
"Room of Requirement," he read off. "Yeah, I mean, it can be anything you want it to be, can't it."
"Wait," she breathed, eyes widening. "We could turn the Room of Requirement into all these other places-"
"We'd be so much less likely to get caught."
"Doesn't that ruin the fun?"
"For whom?" She narrowed her eyes at him, and he shrugged.
"I've got my next one, anyway."
As he wrote, she stood and walked
round to sit on his side of the table, leg pressing against his on the narrow bench.
"Divination classroom?!" she read off with disgust.
"Yeah," he laughed. "It's got all those pillows on the floor, and the light's really dim."
"But it's Divination."
"We're not gonna be studying the subject."
She wrinkled her nose and took the quill from his hand.
"Stables?" he read as she wrote.
"They're out of the way, and no one but Hagrid really goes there on weekends."
"Hang on, that's too practical. Weren't we doing fantasies?"
"Well." She sniffed and placed her quill gently on the table. Evidently, she wasn't planning to say anything else.
"Well?" he prompted, and she met his eyes sheepishly before sighing.
"Alright, Mum had a romance novel in our library where they… shagged in a barn."
"You read a romance novel?!"
"I skimmed it…" she corrected. "I'd read everything else a hundred times, and I was bored!"
"That settles it," he grinned. "I'm buying you a romance novel for your birthday."
"Oh, don't waste your Galleons, Ron."
"Rather I wrote it for you myself instead?" he teased.
She opened her mouth, then closed it again, as if surprised by her own thoughts.
"Well, now I'm curious…"
"You know it'd just be rubbish strung together with the filthiest things I could think of, yeah?"
"Yes. That sums up what a romance novel is, doesn't it."
"You would know," he added with barely restrained mirth.
"Oh, shut up and write your next one down."
He snatched the quill from the table and quickly added-
"Kitchens. Of course."
"Great Hall might be impossible," he explained, "but we can give the House Elves the night off."
"I like that one," she smiled, leaning into him a bit more as she took the quill to add the next line. The words Ron's bed formed in her lovely, cursive script.
"I thought you were playing it safe."
"I thought you wanted fantasies."
"Let's hear it," he urged, enthusiastically.
"It was sixth year, really," she said, tucking a fallen curl behind her ear, "toward the end of the year."
He didn't need her to elaborate on why that particular time frame was important… He'd been with Lavender til after his birthday.
"We went up to your room a few times those last couple months of term, and I… I looked around at your bed, and I started to imagine, later, that I was there with you."
"Woulda made it a much better year if you had been." He'd imagined it, too. More times than he could count.
"Well," she sniffed, "anyway, it'll be tough if someone else is in your bed this year…"
He laughed and shook his head, picturing kicking some poor bloke out of his bed in the middle of the night.
"Maybe we'll make an exception and just snog in the sixth year dormitory," he suggested.
"You say that like we won't be making exceptions for half of these…"
"Only half?" he asked, hopefully.
"Come on, what's your next one?"
He ducked to lightly kiss her temple before taking the quill from her, and he caught the corner of her mouth twitching up afterward. He jotted down Hogsmeade boat and watched her expression change again.
"Are you joking? Inside the boat?!"
"I'm trying to be creative," he grinned.
"It's definitely that…" She pressed her lips together in deep thought. "What if it tips over?"
"Then we'll be in the water. We'll just update the list to 'in the lake.'"
She closed her eyes and laughed and leaned her head against his shoulder, and he wished Harry would hurry the hell up so he could take her back to his room at Grimmauld Place…
"I've got a more sensible one," she said, picking up the quill and adding Astronomy Tower.
"Oh, that's good."
"How many couples did we find snogging there on rounds?"
"Loads. But-" and he paused to take a large gulp of his drink before continuing, "-you know I never have."
She narrowed her eyes up at him.
"Honestly," he added.
"Why not?" she asked tersely, and he regretted this topic, but his mildly intoxicated brain had thought it a positive thing to have not done, ignoring the fact that he'd be calling attention to the fact that he had, just not there.
"Dunno. Never wanted to? Never thought about it?"
"Never thought about it?" she echoed.
"I did think about it… with you," he amended honestly.
"We could have taken a lot more advantage of being Prefects together..." she said, veering the topic a bit.
"You would have chucked some poor sods out of the tower so we could snog there instead?" he teased, glad for the subject shift.
"Are you trying to make me change my mind about this list thing?"
"Shit. No, let's keep going. What's next?"
"It's your turn," she smiled.
He held the quill in thought for a moment, slid the end of it between his lips, and caught Hermione's eyes on his mouth.
"Sorry," he said distractedly, dropping it to the table.
"Harry has ten minutes before I give up waiting and go home with you," she said quietly, still staring at his mouth.
He focused on her more fully again, abandoning his musings for another location in favour of roaming his gaze across her soft features, lovely eyes, and parted lips.
"Make it five minutes," he amended, leaning in so close that the tip of his nose almost touched hers. He felt her body move more dramatically with each inhale, and then she gripped his shirt in her fist in a way that felt involuntary.
He gave up waiting and closed the gap between them to kiss her, noises from the pub around them fading distantly. He forgot nearly everything not contained in that moment, in the way she felt and the tiny vibrations of a moan he could feel rather than hear.
When, at last, they separated to breathe, she kept her eyes closed for an extra moment and gently pushed him back. He slumped slightly against the wooden back of the bench, and ran a hand across his jaw.
"Who do you think's holding him up?" Hermione asked in an impatient yet airy tone of voice, and he suspected the mead might be influencing her more than she'd let on.
"He'd gone to the Department of Magical Games and Sports when I shoved off, so who knows."
She took a deep breath and sighed it out before picking up the quill and handing it to Ron again.
"Wasn't I already?" he answered cheekily, earning him a jab in the ribs which he squirmed away from. But he took the quill from her, leaned forward, paused just long enough to recall the specific greenhouse number, and wrote.
"Greenhouse three?" she read off, confused.
"That's the one, yeah?"
"The one what?"
"Where you asked me out the first time."
Her eyes widened, and she turned to stare up at him. She stammered for words for a moment, then laughed grimly and shook her head.
"Then you did know what I meant?"
"Nah. I mean… reckon I did at first, then talked myself out of it, then realised later what a prat I'd been."
She seemed to be on the verge of saying a lot more but thought better of it.
"Alright then," she said instead, with a brief smile. "Greenhouse three."
Her fingers brushed his as she took the quill from him.
"I know we've already got the changing rooms down, but…"
He watched her add Quidditch pitch to the list, and a cacophony of butterflies flitted around inside his stomach.
"On the pitch," she said, "so, it's different."
"You sure you haven't written down my number one fantasy? Reckon I was saving the best for last."
"How many times did I watch you from the stands at games and tryouts? Honestly…" She sniffed and gently set the quill down. "I don't have to be obsessed with Quidditch to think about… you know, being there alone with you." The warm flush that had been prettily colouring her cheeks for a while now deepened to an undeniable blush.
"Bloody hell, are we really doing this?"
"It would be… sort of thrilling, wouldn't it."
"Go on," she insisted, deflecting embarrassment, "have you got another one?"
"Only one left, innit."
He wrote quickly and sat back as she read.
"Didn't think you'd be the one to add the library," she teased.
"What were you just saying about watching me play Quidditch? Books are your Quidditch, yeah?"
"You honestly thought about it… in the library?"
"Course I did. Shocked you never caught me."
"Dunno, staring at you, faking not to know something so you'd explain it again?"
"Oh. I did catch on to that last bit." She looped her arm through his and gently chewed her bottom lip, and he was doing it again - staring…
"Hang on. There's actually one more place to add, only I've got no bloody idea how we'd do it." With her arm still linked to his, he awkwardly scratched Hermione's bed at the bottom of their scrap of parchment, and she shook her head as she read it.
"There's no way, Ron."
"We've got nearly a year to work it out."
"You've slid down those stairs before yourself, and do you really think Dumbledore or McGonagall would've allowed for a loophole?"
"Might've done… You know how Dumbledore was always hiding clever little riddles in everything he did, yeah? All I'm saying is I wouldn't be surprised if this was the same. What if there was an emergency and someone had to get up there?"
"I'd rather not have you figure out how to get into my room because of an emergency…"
"No. But what I meant is there might be a way to sort it out if-"
"Revising already, Hermione?" Harry said, startling them both where he now stood across the table, peering down at the ink pot, quill and parchment between them.
"What took you so long?" Ron asked, attempting to deflect attention from Hermione guiltily grabbing the parchment scrap and hiding it under her hands in her lap. But Harry ignored the question and glanced suspiciously between the two of them.
"I don't even want to know," he decided, lifting a hand in surrender. "Going to get a drink."
The moment Harry was out of earshot, Hermione released a held breath.
"It's not like we wrote 'places to shag' in giant letters across the top of the page," Ron said, reasonably. "He wouldn't know what it was for."
She quickly covered her red face and muffled her nervous laughter with her palms, and he grinned at her.
"You'd better keep the list though," he said, nudging her with his shoulder. "You know I'm likely to leave it out in the open somewhere and have to answer questions."
She uncovered her face to compose herself, got up to replace the quill, ink and note inside her bag, and rejoined Ron on his side of the table just as Harry returned. She very unnaturally attempted to look natural as he surveyed them again.
"I'm afraid we're both a little drunk," Ron covered for them. "S'what happens when you get stood up for half an hour by your best mate."
"Oi, recuse me next time, git!" Harry countered. "Hamish MacFarlan dropped in to spread the news that his grandson is being recruited to the Magpies, and for some reason this seemed like an appropriate time to force me to retell every play of every game we ever won for Gryffindor since 1991."
Ron grimaced, and Hermione rested her head on his shoulder.
"Who's Hamish MacFarlan?" she asked.
"Former head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports after he retired as Captain from the Montrose Magpies-"
"-and you've put Hermione to sleep," Ron joked.
"If either of you knew half as much about any other subject as you know about Quidditch-" she started.
"-then we'd know too much about something else," Harry finished with a grin.
"You're faking it anyway," Ron said.
"Faking what?" She lifted her head from his shoulder to look at him, and his lips twitched, sensing she'd figured out what he was going to say just before he said it.
"How little you care about Quidditch."