A/N: Uh, I dunno, my brain jumped off a diving board with this one today. I had a file in my Google Drive just titled "angsty tent lust" with like two sentences in it and no other context or information, and then I've been listening to nonstop Yoste lately, particularly his new song "You Can't Fix Me," and that somehow inspired this even though the lyrics don't match it at all, but then he has an EP called "try to be okay," so here we are... and that was just a very bad run-on sentence.
Okay, angsty tent lust. *hits play*
(And I apologize in advance for the fade to black... I thought it was better here to leave some to the imagination.)
They had been close before of course. They'd breathed the same air under the Invisibility Cloak. He'd held her when she'd sobbed over losing her parents to Australia. He'd held her hand whilst she slept on the sofa cushions at Grimmauld Place. But this was different. Here - in a tent that smelled faintly of cat and mildew and wool, but more importantly was beginning to smell intoxicatingly like him - he slept with his shirt off, and she had touched so much of his bare skin now that it was a miracle, and only due to how afraid she was about his splinching, that he hadn't noticed how badly she wanted him.
She could have cursed herself for it, really, for how deep and raw and real it was here, how much she'd made it so inside her own head and heart.
She doubted he'd complain if she crawled into bed with him. The reality of her confidence in this thought nearly made her blind with the desire to do it. She shivered in the not-so-cold, several feet around her illuminated by a bluebell flame, and she resigned to pull back his blankets on the pretext of checking his injury again when her night watch was over.
If he moved first, she'd follow. Yet this had always been so, and damn him for taking so long. Or maybe there it was, the house of cards collapsing. Maybe he didn't want her at all, and everything she'd felt lately was her own doing, her own aching heart (and body) wanting to drown in his warmth and… Ron-ness.
She couldn't last out here like this. The desperation to do something, anything, was overtaking them all in so many different ways, and at least this - this craving - had to find a match point, the end of the line. If he moved first-
She sighed heavily, listening to Harry awakening inside the tent and shuffling out behind her.
"Morning," he said in what might have passed for sleepy sarcasm. It was just past four o'clock, black as pitch and near silent, save the occasional brush of wind through the trees.
"Will you be alright?" she asked as she stood to brush dried leaves from her jeans, inspecting Harry's eyes behind his glasses for signs that he'd be able to stay awake past dawn out here, alone. She sought and found what she was looking for, perhaps somewhat in desperation, fearing that she could not stay here with him just now. Not now.
He nodded dismissively, yawning.
"Go on in and get some sleep."
As if she could. As if it would ever be so easy in a stifling tent with her half naked best friend a bunk away. But she went.
And she did what she'd grown oddly accustomed to, stripping her clothes off to the sounds of Ron's gentle snores, secure in knowing he couldn't see her, and what the hell did it matter even if he-
In retrospect, she'd missed it, the deafening silence around them. He'd been awake. She'd missed it. And now she was standing a metre away in her bra and knickers, frozen.
"I'm sorry," she shuddered, staring at the canvas wall, feeling his razor sharp gaze on her. The moment he saw her clearly was electrifying.
"Are you- fuck. Sorry, sorry."
"Didn't know you were awake," she muttered, half to herself. And why, oh why, wasn't she moving to dress again?
"Should be used to it, I reckon," he said somewhat hoarsely, and she could tell he was now looking fully away. "Sharing a bedroom, after all…"
Used to it. Used to-
She couldn't even breathe to ask the question, but it sure as bloody hell sounded like he was admitting he'd seen her undressing before.
If, just then, she'd been forced to answer if she'd wanted this, if one tiny part of her had always hoped he'd catch her and light a spark… Merlin, she'd be lying to say no. Was she honestly this desperate?
"R'you okay?" he slurred.
"Y-Yes, I was just… It's-it's good you're awake, honestly. I need to check your arm."
It was nearly as easy to go to him just as she was as it would have been to find her clothes and dress whilst he listened, and yes, it was an excuse, and no, she didn't give a damn just then. She went with her heart in her throat, shaking, and knelt by his bed. He couldn't have seen her there anyway, below the chest. His own bare upper body was only half concealed by a tousled blanket. He turned to look up at her face, and the way the distant light of night reflected in the perfect blue of his eyes made her feel nearly drunk with fiercely warring emotions.
"Let's have a look," she said, adopting the most authoritative tone she could and reaching for his arm. She pulled the blanket back to his waist, lingering fingertips on smooth, freckled skin, uncontrollably drawn to the warmth of his body.
Her gaze traced a pattern around the makeshift sling he wore, that familiar sting of regret that he'd been so badly hurt and she could make it feel like her fault. But if she was being honest, he no longer required her help - his skin had returned from molten, fever-warmth to comfortingly typical body heat.
Her hand smoothed down across his stomach, almost without realising it, until-
"Wait, Hermione." He grasped her wrist and she barely held back a gasp. "I, uh…" A deep flush coloured his face and neck, obvious even in the dark. "It's bloody h-hot in here, innit, and I- I sleep starkers, sometimes."
She could feel the hammer of her heart inside her chest, every strong thump intensified by her fingertips still touching the bare skin of his hip.
"You… you do?" she half-whispered, sounding inconceivably ridiculous to her own ears. He half-smiled, embarrassed, but it was her, and the most incredible thing she'd ever known for sure was how much himself he was when he was with her.
It meant something. It had to.
"Yeah." He shrugged against his pillow with his good shoulder. "Don't you?"
She gently shoved his side and laughed… until she felt her thin cotton bra-clad breasts press against his bare arm, watching him notice.
Everything drew back in to half-awkward, half-bold unreality, and she was staring at him. So close. Oh, she could climb into bed with him now, and he wouldn't-
"Don't you just-" she started, unable to gather the words, "aren't you just-"
"Yeah," he answered roughly, deliriously. Feverishly, must have been, and she'd missed that, too, because he couldn't know what she'd meant. Could he?
"Wh-what?" she shook. She needed him to say it, an answer to the question she could only ask with a single word.
"M'fine. Doesn't hurt. So, I don't give a shit… if you don't."
She shouldn't have understood what he'd meant, either, but somehow she did. And if that wasn't the most direct invitation she was going to get to crawl into bed with him naked, she didn't know what would have been.
She shook her head because she couldn't speak.
There was the tiniest flicker of a moment when she thought she must have confused him at last because a cloud of doubt passed across his gorgeous face before she sat up enough to slide under the blanket sideways. His hand went automatically to her lower back to hold her there, and her bare leg crossed over his own, warmth enveloping her as he tugged the blanket across to fully cover them both.
And then she was there, half on top of him and feeling everything. It should have shocked her, perhaps, but knowing he wanted her now in any fraction of the way she'd wanted him was more than anything she could possibly fear. She could even feel his heart beating madly against her own chest, and he was breathing hotly through parted lips that she wanted to kiss more than she wanted to go on breathing for herself.
She lowered her head to his good shoulder instead, a shaking hand sliding over the warm silk of his skin as he did the same back to her, her forehead pressing up against his stubbly jaw.
She didn't notice she was crying until a wet streak of salty tears had made their way to the groove at his collarbone.
"You think we'll die tomorrow?" he half-whispered, in such a deep, scratchy voice.
"What? Why would we?" she shivered back, at once desperate to see his face and terrified to move.
"Dunno. Never thought we'd be doing this."
"Sometimes," he admitted.
Her own heart beat to match his. Sometimes. Sometimes.
She caught a breath to ask… "This isn't too warm, with me?"
She swallowed, one hand resting over his wonderfully bony knuckles.
"Then wh-why do you really sleep starkers?" she asked, face burning.
"Why do you take off your clothes by my bed?"
The directness of his evidently rhetorical question completely shocked her, enough that she lifted her face an inch to see his shadowy features again.
"I won't be able to sleep like this," she whispered.
"No." He cleared his throat. "Were we… meant to sleep?"
"No," she heard herself answer.
His hand on her back spread wide to cover so much of her, and it was only in this new context that she fully appreciated how long his fingers were, how perfect. Her own hand moved up his arm, accidentally grazing his injury and quickly moving back.
"Wouldn't've mattered if it did hurt, y'know…" he muttered, on the point of nearly incomprehensible, but she recalled his assurance that he wasn't in pain before the encrypted invitation for her to join him here, and it all made way too much sense.
"If… if you can, please tell me what to do. I don't-"
"Neither do I."
She could never have known how much unbidden relief would fill her at those three words.
When they woke in their own beds, the world felt cautious and strange, the brazen light of day blinding her ability to see him - to see them - as they had been in the dark, as two people who felt more than lust and sadness-seeking-comfort.
She was too in love with him. Too deep, too all-encompassing. She could never see clearly again, she knew, through the fog of a million nights she wished they could have, a lifetime that grew in the small hours and fought stark reality by dawn.
A sense of dread washed through her, his tousled head of flaming hair like a bright, warning light as he sat up slowly, eyes half open and living in buried truth again.
Maybe he'd been right, she conceded. Maybe they would die today.