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Chapter 24: finding annoying habits
Chapter XXIV: finding annoying habits
“I find that as I grow older that I love most those whom I loved first.”
“I think that we need rules,” she announced as the two sat in a bistro the following morning, eating a quick brunch before they had to meet up with Luna and Ron at the church for the wedding rehearsal.
He groaned. “Why?”
“Because I’m not the sort of slag to get into the sack with a bloke before getting to the actual eating portion of the date…”
“Well I’d say we rather enjoyed our take on the ‘eating’ portion of the date,” he told her as he waggled his eyebrows at the innuendo.
She, however, didn’t appear particularly amused by the comment. “Come on Harry… I just—I want this to be real, you know? I’m not one to just jump into bed with a bloke like that. I like to think things out—rationalize them, scrutinize every little detail as I create a pro and con list in my head. Last night, I didn’t do that, I let my emotions get the best of me. I just really need this Harry, please…”
He let out a sigh as he put down his mug of coffee, focusing solely on her. “Okay then, what does this whole ‘relationship rules’ thing entail?”
She shrugged. “Well I don’t really know… I’ve never done it before. I guess we could just say some things that we thing we need to do to make this work.”
“How about routine shags to keep the spirit alive and all that?” he asked her with a wink, his eyes dancing with mirth as he grinned at her.
“Harry now’s really not the time to act like some randy, prepubescent teen.”
“What can I do if that’s the effect you have on me, love?”
She guffawed at that response as she took out a piece of parchment and a pen from her bag.
“Bloody hell, you were planning this all along?”
“Actually no, I just always keep them on me in case I need to jot something down,” she admitted with a slight blush. “Seems to have come in handy here though.”
He nodded suspiciously. “I’m sure that’s just it.”
She rolled her eyes. “Fine, if you’re going to act like a petulant five year old I’ll be the first to go, you can’t put me on a pedestal.”
His eyes furrowed in confusion as he gave her a quizzical look. “What are you talking about?”
“If you want this—us to work then I need you to be able to tell me when I’m being an annoying cow or if I’m wrong. I need you to be willing to tell me I’m a bitch because I definitely won’t be holding myself back Harry, and we don’t stand a chance if it’s one sided-”
“Hermione Granger?” a deep voice suddenly interrupted her tirade.
Hermione quickly turned around to the source of the interruption, only to almost fall back in the shock of the sight before her. “Bloody hell, Marko, Is that really you?”
“It’s good to see you Hermione, how are you?” he asked her as he pulled her out of her seat and into a tight embrace.
“I’m good, but what are you doing here? I heard you went to Chernobyl after you finished up everything back in Russia.”
Harry interrupted the pair with a loud cough, a desperate attempt to regain the attention that he had, selfishly enough, been reveling in.
“Oh how could I forget, I feel like such an idiot,” she exclaimed, as a slight blush took over her face. “Harry this is Marko, we worked together in Africa for a while. And Marko, this is Harry, my… my boyfriend,” she said the last part so quietly, so shyly that he almost had to strain himself to hear her, but he did nonetheless.
The man beamed at him, an act that Harry despised him for, it’d have been so much easier to hate him had he not done that. “You’re one lucky man then, Harry, Hermione is definitely one of a kind, take care of her, will you?”
“Um… yeah, of course,” he stumbled slightly, still a bit caught off guard by the odd situation.
“Listen, I actually should go since I’m late for a meeting with some officials from the Russian and English embassy over getting some governmental aid for this project of mine, but I’ll look you up since you promised me a fun dinner date whenever I’m in town,” he told her with a wink before pecking her on the cheek and leaving the pair with a quick wave before rushing out of the bistro.
“So that poofter’s actually your ex?” Harry asked as he took a sip of his, now cold, coffee.
Hermione’s eyes widened, her mouth forming a perfect “o” as she stared at him in shock. “Harry James Potter, how can you go around making heinous accusations like that?! He’s not a bloody poofter, you arse, I should know.”
“Bloody hell, Hermione, just trust me on this one, you’d really rather have me refer to him as one,” came his exasperated response as he rolled her eyes. Sometimes the girl was just too emotional.
“And why is that?” she sputtered in disbelief.
“Oh come on, how else am I supposed to let you talk to other blokes without thinking about the fact that they’re staring down your shirt when you wear those sexy little v-neck tops of yours.—Oi, seriously, don't laugh at me, they really do look far too good on that sexy humanitarian body of yours, you bloody minx,” he rambled.
“You’re an idiot.”
“It’s called a defense mechanism love.”
“You’re an idiot,” she repeated, giggling slightly, despite herself.
“And yet you love me for it.”
“Please, don’t remind me of that fact right now; I’m trying to forget it for the sake of whatever little sanity I have left.”
“Why does she have to be here?” Hermione groaned as she paused at the entrance of the church where the rehearsal was taking place.
Harry grinned. “Are you by any chance jealous?”
“God no, it’s more along the lines of the fact that she called me a slag and I tend to be a bit spiteful towards anyone who makes any derogatory towards me. Ugh, I just want to hex her!”
“Given that she’s Ron’s sister I really wouldn’t advise you to do that,” he told her, lightly squeezing the petite hand that was in his. “Besides, you already won without doing her any bodily harm.”
“Oh, really, and how’d I manage that victory?” she asked him doubtfully.
“Why you have me, of course,” he winked at her.
She rolled her eyes. “Please, your ego’s large enough as it is from everyone worshipping you for being the bloody Boy-Who-Lived, I’m not about to coddle you any more by saying you’re a prize.”
He just chuckled in response before tugging at her hand and pulling her further into the church.
“Oh Harry, I’m so glad to see that you were able to come!” a voice suddenly exclaimed in an unnaturally squeaky and pathetic show of excitement at his arrival—or at least that’s how Hermione later described it to him as.
“Hey Ginny, how are you?” he asked her with a forced smile as he tried to hold back a grimace from the pain he felt when Hermione dragged her nails into his hand, apparently using it as her personal stress relief toy. He was quickly beginning to find just how preposterous the whole “you make sacrifices for those you love” philosophy actually was.
“Hello Ginny,” Hermione’s voice interrupted with a distinct undertone of distaste to it.
“Oh… Hermione, I’m surprised to see you here.”
“I’m in the wedding,” came Hermione’s deadpanned reply.
“Oh, right, of course. You know, that was just so kind of Luna to try to make you a member of the wedding party so you’d feel more comfortable after being away for so long, without any communication no less.”
“Which is why she made me the bloody maid of honor and not just a bride’s maid,” he heard Hermione mutter, barely suppressing an almost guttural growl as she glared at the redhead.
Ginny, however, continued to rattle on despite Hermione’s obvious annoyance. “And then there’s Harry who was sweet enough to help you come here when you forgot how to get around England after all this time. You really are just too kind love,” she squealed as she seductively ran a hand down his arm.
At that point Harry could have sworn he was bleeding from how deeply Hermione was digging her nails into his hand, he was just thankful that she hadn’t throttled Ginny yet, last thing Ron and Luna needed was a cat fight.
“Actually, Hermione here was the one that showed me the way—seems as if I’ve taken one too many blows to the head and had far too many concussions to even remember something so simple as the address of a bloody church,” came his smooth response as he prayed that it’d at least somewhat sate Hermione’s temper as he really didn’t want to have to visit her at Azkaban after she murdered the girl.
He interrupted her. “Listen Ginny, we should really get going as your brother and that lovely fiancée of his are waiting for us so we can start the rehearsal. In fact, aren’t you supposed to be with them as well?”
“Well, actually, I was put in charge of the book the guests have to sign.”
At that response Harry heard Hermione snort lightly in an incredibly unfeminine and slightly degrading manner. He could practically see the small victory party going on in her head as she internally mocked Ginny with various and, surely, large and sophisticated words that few could ever comprehend when combined in the manner she could.
She was surely a crazy and spiteful bitch—some things just never changed. That temper of hers was still as violent as it was the day he had first met her.
“Right, well we’ll just get going then,” he said as he pulled Hermione towards the stairs that led to the bride’s quarters. As soon as they climbed the stairs he immediately pulled her into a small alcove, ignoring all the confused protests on her part.
“Do me a favor, and just try to get though this, play nice. Hell, if you can do that much I’ll even read Hogwarts: a History,” he begged her.
Her eyes widened in a delighted surprise. “Really?”
He sighed. “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it. But seriously, Hermione, you shouldn’t waste your energy on her, she’s really not worth it.”
Hermione stared up at him in a state of utter bafflement. “How can you just say that when you were with her for so long?”
“Because—because she was the girl that I needed back then, that escape from all the shit that was going on around us, but that’s all she ever was. That’s really that there is to her, a bubbly girl without much below the surface. She’s sweet at times, she really can be, but you—you’re so much more than her,” he told her with a small, pained, smile as he lightly touched a hand to her cheek.
“Worst you’ll ever get from her are a few petty and rather unimaginative insults—well actually it’ll probably be far more than a few when she finally learns about us, but that’s really besides the point. Plus, it’s kind of better for me if it didn’t bother you as much as my hand kind of likes getting circulation to it when you’re not holding it in that bloody vice grip,” he teased her with a playful wink.
She laughed. “And here I thought you liked holding hands with me and doing all those cliché couple-y things.”
“Why do you think I let you do it despite the pain?” he retorted before giving her a chaste kiss and pulling her towards the bride’s room.
“Oh my, Harry, I just realized… I’ve cursed dozens of times—we’re in a church! I’m going to go to hell!” she suddenly moaned as he led her to the room.
The only response she ever received form Harry on that note was a loud chuckle.
Protect whatever manhood you have left by calling Hermione on her shit (Hermione, I even put it in laymen’s terms for you Harry!)
Don’t question Harry’s manhood (Harry)
Don’t ridicule Harry (Harry, you broke this rule with that first comment of yours by the way)
Daily shags—preferably more than once a day (Harry)
Always greet one another with a nice “welcoming snog” (Harry)
Don’t make a mockery of Hermione’s ideas (Hermione)
Don’t look for an apartment—stay with Harry (Harry)
Harry then has to promise to treat Hermione to one of his amazing dinners once a week (Hermione)
Hermione must then promise to a nice little “thank you” after wards (Harry)
No more talking to ex’s (Harry)
No more stupid requests (Hermione, you’ve reached your quota for them love.)
Hermione has to be less controlling with these bloody lists of hers (Harry)
Harry has to learn the difference between what is and what is not possible (Hermione)
No mocking of the pro and con lists (Hermione, I kind of intend on using them a lot so you better get used to them unless you want to spend the night in the guest room love.)
He never would have dreamed of mocking it (Harry)
No sucking up (Hermione)
Hermione has to stop being so bitchy (Harry)
She turned to him, eyes wide as a small smile tugged at her lips. “You—you’re actually listening to what I said?”
Harry shrugged. “Figure this list must mean a lot to you, even if I do plan on mocking it profusely,” he admitted with a sheepish grin. “Besides, it’s not exactly the hardest rule to follow.”
“Like I said, love, there’s really nothing to be thankful for, otherwise I would have called upon that favor you owe me in my own way.”
She let out a laugh as she playfully slapped his arm. “Still, it means a lot to me.”
“Well then go on, be as over emotional as you’d like. I’ll just be at the pub, girls on the verge of tears, happy or not, have always slightly scared me.”
She chuckled, latching on to his arm as he teased her by pretending to leave the library. She turned him to face her and pulled him towards her, quickly bringing his face to hers-
“What?” she asked, giving him a quizzical look as she tried to comprehend why the hell a randy twenty something year old would turn down a chance for a snog session—and, admittedly, possibly more.
“There’s just one thing that I have to do,” he told her as he grabbed the list off of the table and quickly scrawled something onto it.
She laughed as she read his chicken scratch over the shoulder, watching as he crossed out the entire list before simply writing “no list” just below it.
He turned to face her again, smiling at her a bit guiltily. “We don’t really need it. Just take a chance with me, let it go, and just stop over analyzing it all. I promise that I’ll do whatever I can do to make it worth it.”
She stood there staring at him with an expression that he couldn’t quite place, and the fact that he wasn’t capable of doing that much while he was an Auror deeply unsettled him. “Hermione?”
“I think you just did.”
“I just did what?”
“Made it worth it,” she admitted with a nervous smile.