Chapter 2 : Caught by a Spider
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Harry Potter had at one point been the man of her dreams. He was exciting and adventurous. He had been into all sorts of mischief and danger and that had been alluring. She loved his heroic streak and his bold ferocity when it came to doing the right thing. She had loved Harry during her years at Hogwarts, but it was only a childish love she soon learned. After the defeat of the Dark Lord, Harry just wanted to settle down, start a family, and be an Auror in a time of peace. Ginny knew that she wanted those things too but not as soon as he had. She wanted more excitement, more adventure, so she had left to be a Hex Breaker. She had seen wondrous things, traveled the globe in both the wizard and muggle world. Along the way she had met Scott Fredrickson and fell in love despite her previous promises. It was all too easy to forget her loved ones back home when she had so much more to pay attention to where she was.
When Scott proposed and Ginny said yes, she knew she had to tell her family and Harry. It hadn’t gone as smooth as Ginny had hoped and Harry had broken all contact with her. He hadn’t shown up for her wedding and he had no intentions of ever speaking to her again from what Hermione had told her. It was understandable, Ginny guessed, but she hadn’t expected it to hurt so much. Still she ignored the feeling and went on happily with her life. Soon things with Scott had spiraled downhill and the only thing Ginny enjoyed was her work, which was just fine by her. But now she was back. Things had changed with her family and she was nervous about how her old friends would perceive her. Grabbing her coat from the coat wrack on her door, Ginny stopped pacing and decided that she couldn’t take a moment more in her stuffy room thinking to herself. She needed to be outside and she needed to talk to someone. With a resounding pop, Ginny disapparated and left her tiny room at the Burrow empty.
Flourish and Blotts was almost empty, which seemed rather a shame to the bookwormish woman dressed in a blue sundress with messy curls tied loosely in a ponytail. Hermione was doing some errands in Diagon Alley before she met the Man-Who-Lived and there was a book that she absolutely had to get her nose in. It was just a silly romance novel, she knew, but it was something new and exciting that a friend had told her about and she desperately needed something to read. If she was honest with herself, Hermione knew she had needed a book or two for a very long time. She missed the comforting smell of fresh unread pages and the way a book fit almost perfectly into her small delicate hands. She missed immersing herself in a new world, exploring characters and plot lines. She missed losing herself between the words.
After finding her book and making her purchase, Hermione decided that she might just have enough time to stop by Madame Malkin’s for a couple of new robes. She walked briskly, making the long walk from shop to shop in only a few minutes. Madame Malkin’s was empty but for the old witch and her decrepit toothless smile. Hermione exchanged polite greetings with the shop owner and then began to look at the wracks of robes around her. She made her way through the robes to the lingerie section and a deviant smile flashed across her delicate lips. She might be bookwormish, but Hermione knew a thing or two about how to please a man, especially a certain Man-Who-Lived.
The bell on the door tinkled behind her but Hermione ignored it as she eyed a gorgeous black and white corset and thong set. It was a silky kind of material, soft and slinky, perfect for what she needed. It kind of reminded her of a muggle magician Halloween costume and she briefly thought about how she would look pulling a rabbit out of a top hat while wearing it. The image made her giggle and she took the set off of its wrack. She hadn’t felt the need to be kinky in some time and she was looking forward to it. She continued to shop as two voices talked somewhere behind her.
“Honestly, I’m so nervous about seeing him again. I didn’t think I would be back, Luna. I don’t know what to do! All of us together, what was Ron thinking?” One of the voices stressed. Hermione paused for a moment then. She knew that voice from somewhere, she just couldn’t think of where.
“Well, I’m sure whatever happens, you’ll be fine Gin. You always are. And if Harry doesn’t forgive you then, well, it’s not the end of the world.” The second voice told the first softly. Hermione knew that voice too, it was Luna Lovegood. Hermione tried her hardest not to scowl. Ginny Weasley was back in town and that meant nothing but trouble if Hermione was honest with herself. Hermione turned and tried to sneak her way through the wracks, avoiding Ginny and Luna for all she was worth. She didn’t want to see the two girls that she used to call friends and she knew that they would recognize her. She turned to make sure that Luna and Ginny weren’t paying attention to the front counter and then quietly laid down her selections. Madame Malkin made her way to the counter and smiled widely showing the few teeth she had left.
“Well, that’s all Mrs. Weasley? Can I interest you in anything else?” The old witch spoke loudly trying to hear herself. Hermione cringed as the sound of Madame Malkin’s scratchy voice found her ears. She felt pity for the older woman but she couldn’t help but glare at her when Ginny’s excited voice sounded behind them.
“Oh my Gosh! Hermione, I missed you so much!” Hermione turned and slapped a huge smile onto her face. She felt awkward to be around her sister-in-law and Harry’s ex-lover, as, she supposed, she should. She looked at the two woman before her and her insides churned. Luna was as pretty and blonde as ever. Her long locks fell into gentle curls at the end and her blue eyes were as crystal clear as ever. Her glossy lips were in the slightest pout and her arms were folded across her chest defensively. It was the stance she usually took when Hermione was in her presence so Hermione wasn’t all that surprised when she only received a small nod in greeting.
Ginny, on the other hand, was positively glowing at Hermione. Her flaming head of hair was thrown loosely in a bun on the back of her head. She wore black and white glasses now that made her eyes paler than their usually bright blue. Freckles painted her nose and cheeks in the Weasley fashion and her grin was as wide as the black lake. Ginny was petite and slender, as good looking as Hermione remembered. She was still shorter than Hermione by a few inches though, even in her high heels, Hermione was glad to see. She hadn’t changed much from the last time Hermione saw her about a year before. She was still the silly, short-tempered, careless, impulsive woman Hermione had known for years. Ginny opened her arms and Hermione stepped into them, giving the shorter woman a stiff hug.
“Ginny you look gorgeous? Wow. I can’t believe it. What brings you here?” She swallowed nervously and kept up her smile as the woman before her answered.
“Well, I’m back for the Quidditch game, of course. And to see old friends. How are you? I haven’t heard from you in forever!” Hermione’s lips twisted in what she hoped was a playful scowl.
“Oh, don’t you dare call the kettle black! So how has America been? And how’s Scott?” She dodged easily. Ginny’s smile lowered a fraction at the mention of her husband but she quickly brushed it off. Hermione didn’t know—and there was no reason that she should know—just how little Ginny cared about Scott or how little he cared for Ginny. It was a sensitive topic, one that she hoped wouldn’t come up too often while she was in the U.K.
“It’s been good. I love my job and Scott’s been fine. He couldn’t make it and probably wouldn’t be interested in coming here anyway because he can’t go to the Quidditch Cup. But it’s no big deal. Luna and I were just catching up. I couldn’t stay holed up in the Burrow anymore. I had to just go somewhere and I needed a new set of robes anyway. What did you get?” Ginny stood on her tip-toes to look over Hermione’s shoulders and get a good look at the robes that were still laying on the counter. Hermione chuckled nervously as Ginny and Luna gaped at the naughty lingerie. She could feel the heat of a blush rushing to her cheeks and she quickly folded up the garments and shoved them in Madame Malkin’s hands to be bagged. Ginny could feel the bubble of laughter starting in her throat and Luna had the look of shock and embarrassment on her face.
“Is my brother really into that kind of thing?” Ginny snorted at her sister-in-law. “Rather cheeky isn’t it?” Hermione laughed it off nervously and was thankful Ginny didn’t find her purchase suspicious. And why should she? Hermione scolded herself, No one could possible know about me and Harry. And who’s to say that it isn’t for Ron? At least, that’s what Ginny thought. Luna regained her somewhat dazed yet stony appearance as Hermione and Ginny continued to chat. She wasn’t only shocked to see the sexy clothes Hermione had bought to surprise Ron with, she was also a bit miffed. Luna knew how loveless Hermione and Ron’s marriage was, but maybe, just maybe Hermione was desperately trying to save it. Ron swore up and down that he hadn’t been with Hermione since he and Luna got together. And she had never had doubts before. Never once had she doubted Ron until then.
“It’s been great catching up Hermione, but Ginny didn’t you say you had a couple more shops to go to? I only have until three before I have to go to work,” Luna interrupted the two other women. Luna held her breath as Ginny began to invite Hermione to shop with them but thankfully Hermione cut her off.
“Really Ginny, I’d love to but I’m going to meet up with a business associate for Lunch in about ten minutes.” Luna exhaled slowly and thanked whatever lucky pixies flew over her head. She wanted nothing more than to be away from her lover’s wife. Hermione said a polite goodbye and then with a tinkle of the doorbell she was gone.
“What’s wrong with you?” Ginny rounded on Luna once the door was firmly shut. “You barely said one word to Hermione and she didn’t look so comfortable around you either. Is there something I should know about?” Luna briefly debated whether or not to tell Ginny but decided it wasn’t the right moment. Ginny noted the hesitation but said nothing as she waited for an answer.
“No, nothing’s going on really. We’re just not friends anymore. I barely talk to her.”
“If you’re sure,” Ginny shrugged and began looking at the wracks. “Do you think I look good in green?”
Harry ducked into a nearby alleyway as he saw the two women walk out of Madame Malkin’s. The blonde woman turned and looked at him as if she sensed him there and he held his breath. Their eyes met and for a moment it seemed like the blonde knew he was hiding from them, but Harry shook it off. It wasn’t the blonde woman that he had been avoiding in the first place. The red-head seemed oblivious and Harry exhaled as the blonde woman known as Luna Lovegood turned and said nothing to her companion. Harry didn’t know why he had tried so hard to avoid Ginny. He would have to face her sooner or later; it was inevitable. And it might have been easier to get it over with sooner rather than later. Yet he hid in that small alley like a spineless coward. His Gryffindor courage always seemed to disappear when it came to dealing with women. Facing the most evil wizard the wizarding world had ever seen? That was nothing compared to pretty eyes and sassy curves.
Harry was a nervous wreck as he made his way through the flow of shopping wizards to reach the Leaky Cauldron. He was already ten minutes late and Harry couldn’t help but feel angry at himself for hiding from Ginny. If he had been spotted by Ginny he would have been later than he was, he consoled himself, but it didn’t excuse his cowardice. He was a Gryffindor for Merlin’s sake! Where was his inner lion when he needed it? He opened the rickety door to the bar and spotted Hermione settled at a small table for two reading a brand new novel from Flourish and Blotts. Harry watched her for a few moments and reveled in how soft her skin looked and how her eyes were so keen and focused on her book. He loved everything about the woman from her creamy skin, her chocolate eyes, and her dark caramel hair, to her bookworm smarts and dry, witty humor.
Her eyes lifted from the page and her azure eyes met his emerald pair. She smiled and waved him over excitedly. As he walked to her his eyes never left her. He soaked her in and still couldn’t get enough of her. It amazed him that he could feel this way about someone and never get tired of it. She had become his everything and he had become her savior. He smiled as she stood and opened her arms for him. He almost forgot where they were as he entered her embrace and lifted her off her feet. She giggled a bit as he put her feet back on the ground and kissed her forehead. They sat down and a young waitress came over to get their order. She was a pretty girl, barely twenty with a twinkling smile and platinum blonde hair.
Hermione rolled her eyes as the waitress took a good look at Harry. Harry was the most sought after bachelor in all the wizarding world but that didn’t mean he was single. Of course, Hermione kept her mouth shut in a tightlipped smile, because to everyone else they were only two best friends meeting for lunch, not two lovers having a secret lunch date. The waitress took their orders and pranced away hoping to catch Harry’s attention. Harry laughed at Hermione’s sour expression as she huffed and crossed her arms.
“I hate it when they do that. Oh look at me! Maybe if I make my boobs big enough Harry Fricken Potter will ask me to marry him. Let’s have a go at it!” Harry laughed louder and Hermione scowled at him. “I don’t suppose you mind it then.”
“I actually find it quite amusing. They always rile you up.” Harry said between barks of laughter. Hermione narrowed her eyes and Harry grinned at her cheekily.
“Stop being such a Wanker!” Hermione laughed as she picked up her spoon and threw it at him. It hit him square in the chest and Harry smiled and stuck his tongue out. They laughed for a few more minutes until their food came out. Hermione ate her turkey sandwich quietly as Harry ate his deluxe hamburger hungrily.
“How do you eat so fast?” Hermione asked genuinely interested. Harry struggled not to laugh at the silly question and spew his food everywhere. He loved that Hermione made him smile and laugh without even trying. He swallowed his food and began to answer her question when the waitress came over to their table.
“Is everything alright here?” she asked Harry excitedly with a giggle. Hermione rolled her eyes and sighed.
“Yes we’re perfectly fine thank you,” Hermione answered with a curt nod. The waitress turned her attention to Hermione and glared before turning back to Harry.
“You’re Harry Potter right?” she asked him with a hopeful smile.
“No, you have the wrong person, sorry.” The waitresses smile faltered as she realized she was being lied to and whatever hope of having an autograph signed was crushed.
“Oh, well I’m sorry for interrupting,” she sniffed before storming away from the table. Hermione smiled gratefully at Harry and he returned it.
“Thanks. She was really starting to bug me.” Hermione shook her head and turned her attention to her unfinished meal. Harry watched as her face twisted in thought. Her lips were pursed and her eyes narrowed slightly. Her lightly freckled nose wrinkled and Harry knew instantly that something was bothering her. He found it odd how he picked up the little details about her that no one seemed to notice.
“So what’s up?” Harry asked her putting on his serious face. Hermione raise her eyebrow at him and shook her head. “Come on, I know something’s bothering you. You have that look. Now spill,” Harry demanded as Hermione shifted in her seat. She bit her bottom lip and her eyes searched his. The nervous signs, Harry noted decisively. She wasn’t sure how he would take whatever she had to tell him. Harry’s mind ran through every possibility in the few moments that Hermione stayed silent. If she was nervous to tell him then it was something he wouldn’t be happy about. He would have felt proud of being able to read her so well but he was too worried about what she had to say. He took a deep breath and looked Hermione straight in the eyes. Hermione scowled and sighed in resignation. Whatever it was, she had decided to tell him.
“I saw Ginny in Madame Malkin’s before we met for lunch. She’s back in town.” Harry nodded and Hermione was surprised that he was taking the news of Ginny so well.
“Ron told me earlier that she was coming back for the Quidditch cup but he never told me she was already here.”
“Oh,” was all Hermione could say. It bothered her that Harry and Ron were still really close friends. She never wanted to come between their friendship but now that she was it made the guilt even harder to deal with. A part of her wished that she had never married Ron but she couldn’t bring herself to leave him. They had been through too much and Ron had always been there for her. It was an awkward situation for her altogether and she couldn’t imagine what it was like for Harry who talked to Ron almost every day at the Ministry. Hermione scowled at herself. Harry had made sacrifices for her, big sacrifices. So why was it so hard to deal with the discomfort? She could sacrifice her comfort for Harry and she would, she decided. No more complaining about it, she told herself silently.
“She’s going to be there at dinner Sunday.” Harry reminded Hermione. He had a frown on his lips and Hermione wanted nothing more than to make him smile.
“Hey, don’t think about it. Sunday will come whether we want it to or not. We just have to enjoy whatever time we have before hand and then forget about it afterwards. Let’s go,” she said as she dropped some coins on the table to pay for their lunch. Harry smiled at Hermione and she glowed under his gaze. He leaned in close to her ear and she could feel his breath tickle the crook of her neck where it met her slender shoulder.
“That’s why I love you,” he whispered and Hermione giggled as his breath tickled her. The family dinner was only a few days away but neither Harry or Hermione wanted to think about it. They both walked out laughing and smiling not noticing the light blue eyes that followed them out the door.
A/N: Now this is the part where i start reminding you to review and all that jazz. XD I can't waste my time writing this if no one likes it =[ So tell me if you do and don't be afraid to tell me if you don't like it either. i use reviews to Improve my writing, not boost my ego. So you know that tiny little box just below? Type a few words in there and your done! =D simple as pie and it helps me out a lot.
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