WARNING: MAJORLY REVISED TO MEET HPFF ToS, NOT ORIGINAL CHAPTER.
ALSO, BELOW IS A PIVOTAL AUTHOR'S NOTE!
Chapter XXV: Of Dates and Coincidences
She pushed him through the door with more force than he expected, or knew she was capable of and had him pinned to the wall by the doorframe within seconds as she kicked the door shut. In the deep recesses of his mind, Harry register the sound of a shocked gasp just before a loud slam was heard, but he couldn't bring himself to care as Hermione leaned her body into his, pressing and rubbing.
He kissed her in reply with jut as much force as she gave, his mind whirling as he let himself become ensconced by the moment. He kissed her, and ardently so, as he tried to put everything he thought into his actions, silently praying that they'd be translated in the way that he held her. He needed that moment to be everything that he'd been waiting for, lusting after. He desperately needed them to be what he had pictured for so long. So it was with a heavy and regretful swallow that he forced himself to pull away, and even pushed her away a smidge in an attempt to control himself.
. Just wait a second," he ordered, trying to ignore the huffy look she sent him in reply. Regardless of the tinge of fear that struck him at the sight of the murderous eyes upon him, he forced himself to continue. "Are you sure you really want this? I know… I don't want this to be because you're caught in the moment or something. I don't… I don't want you to regret this tomorrow. That… I can't deal with that, not that
She looked at him, her mouth going slightly slack at hearing the question. "Harry," she sighed, "you have got
to be kidding me!"
"No," he shook his head, not apologetic in the least. "I'm serious right now, Hermione. I want you, that's pretty clear," he said, motioning to himself, "but I don't want you to regret this I don't want to move too fast for you. I don't want to fuck this up, Hermione. I know… I know this is new for you, but I've wanted this for too long to watch it get mucked up over something as avoidable as this."
She sighed, running a hand through her hair. "God
, Harry, don't you see?!"
His forehead wrinkled a bit in bewilderment. "See what?"
Her lips fell upon his in a sweet and short kiss, one that had a deep flush enveloping her face when she pulled away and shyly bowing her head. She tugged on his shirt, fisting it in her state of nervousness. "I…I don't want you to have to doubt me ever again, Harry. I… I know I'm not like you all of the time. I know I'm not as vocal as you and I know I didn't fight as hard as you for as long as you did… but I do
love you," she said, her head finally rising with those last five words. "I…" she paused, floundering letting out a frustrated breath as she desperately grasped for words.
When she finally managed to regain her thoughts and the ability to speak, despite a terrible sense of self-consciousness over the proclamation she suddenly found herself making. "I know… I know it might be hard to believe and I get it if you doubt whether we're at the exact same place, I do
. But I'll do whatever it takes to convince you," she promised. "I'll even share my every thought. I'll tell you more… everything
, if you'd like. I do have to warn you though, I think you might be a bit terrified by what a terribly large percentage of my thoughts revolve around you."
An almost shy smile lit up his face, so awkward and reminiscent of the boy who she knew all those years ago at her early Hogwarts career. "Yeah? Really
She bit her lip, nodding slowly before fusing her lips with his again. This time there was nothing sweet about the kiss, instead it was hungry. Lips crashed against lips, pulling, tugging and devouring. There was nothing neat about it and Hermione was glad for it. It wasn't the perfect moment that was practiced for hours to create the perfect finale kiss for the end of a film, but raw, heady, and passionate.
Harry let Hermione guide him to her room as he kissed her hairline, his fingers making their way up her shirt, slowly tracing patterns into her skin as he tested the boundaries. He so desperately just wanted to rip off the vestiges of her clothing, but willed himself to retain whatever control possible. He was devoted to doing it right, regardless of how much it pained him, especially physically, to hold back.
They slowly and haphazardly stumbled through the flat, but somehow still managed to find themselves before her bed without incident.
Harry slowly wiped Callum's head with a cool cloth, trying to help him regain total consciousness.
"Thanks," Callum murmured, his lids dropping as he leaned towards the soft hand that was slowly caressing him. "I'm sorry, I know I was a total berk… don't really deserve this…"
Harry laughed. "It's fine… I've done worse."
still... it's nice of you to… you know, look after me and all."
"I've been in a worse state; even learned from personal experience and Hermione how to take care of hopeless drunks," Harry grinned. "But, mate, I've never seen you like this before… what the hell happened?"
"I'ono," Callum shrugged. "I guess I was lonely."
"That's not exactly a hard thing to fix," Harry said, dropping the cloth onto the coffee table and taking a seat on the chair across from Cal.
"You don't get it, do you?" Callum asked, groaning a bit as he raised himself to sitting position so he could properly look at Harry.
"Clearly not," Harry muttered, not at all resentful so much as befuddled. "You might not want to get up, you'll get a hell of a headache and that urge to upchuck'll probably be ten times stonger."
Callum growled a bit, ignoring Harry's last words as his nostrils flared in frustration over the fact that he'd actually have to voice his feelings. "I'm not good with friendship, Potter… I have tons of acquaintances, but not many people who I actually enjoy talking to. The past two and a half months have been crap for me… I kind of really missed having you to talk to, even if you're a sober pansy."
This body slightly jumped back in surprise, and he couldn't help but cock his head to the side as he tried to come up with an even halfway decent reply. Ultimately, he decided that the prat approach might be best—after all, it seemed to work for Ron—and so Harry chuckled. "That was heartwarming, truly… you've given my heart palpitations!"
"Shut up, you fucker."
"Well, if it's any consolation, I kind of really missed you, too, mate," Harry grinned.
Callum, however, simply rolled his eyes. "Well of course you did, I'm fucking amazing, how could you not?"
Harry snorted, shaking his head in disbelief. "Of course."
Hermione's lashes rapidly fluttered as she slowly stretched.
"Morning," Harry's hoarse voice greeted her from the doorway, causing her to cock a questioning eyebrow as she pulled her body up so she could properly look at him.
She couldn't help the intense rouge that soon covered her body at the sight of him totally and unabashedly naked with solely a spatula in his hand. Slowly, her hazy mind managed to register the sound of what she believed to be bacon in the frying pan.
to be unsanitary," she dryly noted.
Harry sent her a careless shrug as he sent her a self-satisfied smirk upon seeing her flush. "Maybe
," he drawled, his voice purposefully deep and hot
, touching her to the core. "But that doesn't mean you're not enjoying the view nevertheless," and with those parting words he turned and made his way back towards the breakfast he was preparing.
Hermione couldn't help, but bite her lip at the sight she was left with upon his exit, letting herself fall back onto the bed as she felt all control leave her. "Mmm
," she cried pitifully, her eyes tightly closed. "He'll probably be the death of me," she resentfully grumbled to herself as she clutched at the sheets around her, twisting them in anguish.
With another drawn out moan she forced herself to regain consciousness, slowly taking in her settings with confusion. Tilting her head to the side, she looked around the room she was in trying somehow reconfigure everything as she moved to the drawers, pulling out a large t-shirt and boxers and putting them on.
"Harry?" she asked from across the flat as she took her time walking from the bedroom to the kitchen.
Finally dressed, she reached the doorway when she asked, "how come we're in your flat
Harry shrugged. "I figured Ron might not enjoy returning to the sounds of us so between rounds one and tow I apparated us back, you just didn't notice. Your living situation is awkward."
Hermione shrugged as she hopped up onto the counter. "I don't think so," she defiantly retorted.
"Whatever, we're still going to spend nights at my place, not yours. That's a bit too much like a threesome for my tastes, in all honesty," he admitted with a bit of a tint to his cheeks.
Hermione let out a light giggle as he gaze moved to the pan he was prepping their breakfast in. She'd been wrong, it hadn't been bacon, but crepes…
Her eyes widened in recognition of her favorite desert. "Really?" she squealed.
Harry chuckled. "I thought you might appreciate it," he informed her as he took the finished crepe off the pan and placed it atop a large pile of them. "Come on," he motioned with his head towards the dining room. "I've already set up the table, let's go eat."
"But, Harry…" she stopped him, taking the food for him. "Seriously, please just get dressed… I'll set the table for us."
He chuckled, shaking his head a bit at her words. "Makes you nervous then?"
"Not quite," she bit her lip, and met his gaze as she replied, willing herself not to let her voice shake or face turn any brighter as she spoke. "More like it makes me want something else and I think I'd need some actual sustenance for that."
"That a promise for later then?" he asked her with a sly smile.
Hermione grinned, wrapping her arms around Harry's neck, awarding him a peck on the lips. "So long as you get dressed before the food gets cold, love."
"I'll be right back then," he promised, leaning down to award her with a hasty kiss as he lightly squeezed her waist before shuffling towards his room.
In the end Hermione learned that they were hot, delicious
crepes that left her mouth watering and filled her senses with an unparallel foodie satisfaction.
"I called Callum earlier, while you were still sleeping, and he said he may be able to get a hold of some more information on Natalia," Harry offhandedly mentioned as he smothered a crepe with nutella, rolled it, and handed it to Hermione.
"I don't know, I still think that we should continue looking into Helen," Hermione argued as she took a bite of the nutella filled crepe that he had prepared for the two of them for breakfast.
"Hermione, she dumped her daughter for galleons," he argued as he moved to refill her tea.
"I know, but she clearly felt guilty about it… it could be a means of easing her conscience. She betrayed her daughter and most likely played a large motivational factor in her sense of abandonment and desire to… to… you know," she motioned with a grimace. "Can you think of a greater means of avenging Andrea than that?"
"I don't know, it all seems a bit extreme to me."
"Well you've seen the murder scenes, that's raw emotion there, Harry. Just ask Suskind…"
Harry shrugged and Hermione couldn't help, but frown at the careless action. "Yeah, but given everything that we know about Natalia, too, she seems like the perfect candidate."
"Yeah, sure… that is if she really does have dissocial personality disorder."
Harry's brow furrowed. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"I don't know," Hermione admitted. "It's just something that Suskind mentioned that's been bothering me."
"What did he say?"
"The way that he described someone with this disorder… well I mean it's like a Hannibal Lector in the making or something…" she winced after the depiction escaped her lips. "That was a horrid description, I know… but, truth is, I don't even know what to make of it, in all honesty. But when I asked him why they'd ever be released from an asylum and he said that with wizarding regulations they wouldn't be unless they were misdiagnosed and then properly treated. So why would Natalia ever be released then? It makes no sense, and that's what has me doubting it. I don't want to jump on her just because she may be a bit… well, not right
," she tried to be as careful as possible, but had to wince at how terribly she had failed. She truly was terrible when it came to euphemisms.
"You couldn't have explained that any worse," Harry had to chortle.
"I know," she nodded, her tone miserable.
Harry sent her a small sympathetic smile. "Listen, I won't let go of the mother a possibility, but, Hermione, I think you're wrong here. I trust you, so I'll follow up on it, but I've worked with people, and I just don't feel the same way you do about her."
She nodded, smiling. "Still, thank you I really appreciate it."
"Care to show me how much you appreciate me for it?" Harry asked with a wink and roughish grin.
She couldn't help the red that colored her face after hearing his question and the heat that crept through her body at the sound of his voice. "Maybe later, but right now I'm enjoying a pretty fantastic crepe," she replied with a smile, before grabbing another crepe and a knife.
"You know… you were right."
Callum stiffened, his brows rising farther than he had ever believed to be humanly possible. "About what?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "You know… about my moving forward and all that shite…" he shyly admitted, hating that he felt a bit of heat hitting his cheeks as he spoke.
Callum sent him a self-satisfied smirk. "Well I
am pretty fucking genius, in case you've yet to realize."
"Honestly, though… I even talked to Andersen about it."
Callum's eyes bulged. "You did?"
"Yeah," Harry nodded, scratching his neck as he ducked his head a bit. "He agreed with you… thought you were an arse for how you said it, but that at least you got the point across to me… finally."
"I'm sorry though, I
was an insensitive jerk," Callum apologized, mouth slanted in a regretful look.
Harry simply shrugged in reply. "You were just being honest… and, like I said, you were right. You may have been a total prat, but you were on point."
Callum paused, calculating. "So… what does this mean for you then?"
"I think that maybe it's time to just give up on the idea of Hermione."
"Hermione thinks that it's the mother," Harry informed Buckley as he lay on the couch in his boss's office, carelessly tossing a memento quaffle from Buckley's display case.
"And what do you think?"
"I don't know," Harry muttered. "I don't want to jump into things too soon, get too focused on just one person… I'm afraid of missing something. None of it quite fits yet so I'm too hesitant to choose a route, I guess."
"Can't fault caution," Buckley admitted.
Harry blew out a deep breath. "I just don't know what to do at this point, it feels like it's been years that we've been after whoever this is."
"Harry, it's only been a few months, just let it go. No one faults you for not being able to solve this n ten minutes or less. You have an amazing track record, don't fret, and your other cases are being handled well."
"No," Harry shook his head. "That's not it. It just… it feels like we're at a perpetual dead end. With Hermione's findings we could do a trace on these spell combinations on anyone's wand, but the ministry doesn't want that, especially on such a public case. So I need to find other pieces of evidence to bring someone in so that we can get a warrant for the trace, and… and it's all just so convoluted and messy."
Harry laughed. "Yeah… it does."
"But listen to me, Harry. You're doing your job, and fantastically so don't fee guilty about anything. Shit happens, it's life. Move on and get over it, grow a pair," he tersely ordered. "Now
, care to tell me about these rumors I've heard about you and Granger?"
Harry's expression immediately turned pained upon hearing that question. "So you heard about that, huh?"
"Yes," Buckley replied, his tone curt. "Potter, you very well know how unacceptable I find this."
Harry let out an audible sigh as he pushed himself up off the chesterfield and into a sitting position so that he could face his boss. "I know it's kind of against regulation?"
"Kind of? Try totally," Buckley sputtered, utterly aghast. "I did this as a favor to you, I specifically requested that she be your partner and you go… and… and do this
. You royally fuck up," Buckley lambasted. "You know, if this were anyone else, Harry, I'd pull you two apart immediately. Regrettably, you two have actually made great strides in the case so I can't just dismantle the duo just yet, but, Harry, from now on you're never to work with her again."
"No buts," Buckley stopped him with a resolute shake of his head. "I'd trust you with my life, Harry, but I can't trust you not to get distracted, not if this is serious, and that's just not something we can afford. I'm letting it slide here, but even you have to see what a liability this is, Harry. You can't wholly focus on the case like this and you and I both know that that's not a risk you'd ever take in the right frame of mind."
Harry let out a disgruntled grunt with a begrudging nod.
"Good," Buckley said with a satisfied nod. "Now, care to tell me how the fuck you two ended up dating? I thought that she was with your best mate…"
"Well… she was when the case first started…"
"Well fuck me," his eyes widened. "You schtupped your best mate's girl?!"
"'Ey! It wasn't like that, not entirely. It was quite a bit after
the case got under way. They officially ended, forever mind you, before I ever made a move… and I also talked to Ron before really doing anything."
," Buckley let out a teasing hum, very well aware of how much the doubt would pester Harry.
"Wow… that's big… huge even."
"Yeah," Harry nodded with a deep sigh. "It just… it seems like the right thing to do. I mean I keep on dwelling over her, but let's be honest here, I'm probably never going to make a move. The only logical step would be to let go, to try to move on and be happy."
"Are you sure you want to do this?... don't you want to maybe consider… I don't know, going after her? Don't you think you'd be happier?"
"Maybe, but I know I won't do it either. What else am I supposed to do?"
Callum shrugged, pinching the bridge of his nose as he let his head fall back. "I dunno," he muttered, "but all of this is giving me a head ache."
Harry slapped his legs as he hauled his body up and made his way towards Cal, slowly pulling his friend up, ignoring the groans and threats that followed, and helping him into his guest room.
"You need me to wake you at any time?" he asked Cal as he pushed the heavy body off of his shoulder and onto the bed.
"No," Callum grumbled. "You don't have to do this… I can just go home."
"And probably splinch yourself while apparating."
"Please," Cal carelessly waved his hands while lying in the bed. "I'm used to apparating while pissed, it's one of my few talents."
Harry snorted, shaking his head as he pulled off Callum's shoes and rolled his body onto the middle of the bed so he'd be sure he wouldn't have to wake up in the middle of the night to a string of curses from the room across him when Cal would, undoubtedly, manage to roll off of the bed. "Mate, just stay the night here."
"Fine," he drawled. "If it means so much to you, I guess I have no other choice… it's the honorable thing to do and all."
"Of course, I humbly thank you for your charity!"
Callum, mouth muffled by the pillow that was momentarily swallowing his face as he turned to lie on his stomach, replied, "ne rien."
"Hey, love, I've got new files for you," Harry announced as he let himself into Hermione's office, ignoring the protests of her snippety interns who claimed she was busy with other work and not be disturbed.
Hermione raised her head, tired eyes falling upon Harry. "Is it something really important because I actually have a ton of work to do here and it's pretty crucial."
Harry shrugged. "You can decide for yourself. Callum was able to get some files on Natlia."
Hermione's eyes widened as she eagerly reached across her desk and snatched the file from Harry's weak grasp on it. "How'd he manage that?" she asked as she flipped the file open, immediately taking the information in.
"Apparently there's an overly flirtatious and easy strumpet for a secretary there," Harry informed her with a knowing glance.
Hermione frowned. "While I'll admit that she did look overly eager to pull down your pants, I do
doubt that she's actually a harlot… hmm
Harry's brow furrowed. "What's with the humming?" he asked as he let himself fall onto her office's chesterfield and pulled another copy of the file out of his leather messenger bag.
"There aren't any details on why she was released here… I can't find any notes that give any hints as to why she may have been released…"
"Well… I guess I can call Cal and ask him to look into it, see if he can get more of her file, would that be better?"
Hermione raised her head to send him the sweetest smile she could muster. "Please
With a small chuckle and a shake of his head, Harry pulled his WiziCell out of his pocket, dialing.
"Cal's House of Pain, Jack the Whipper speaking."
"That's just disturbing," Harry groaned in reply to the perplexing greeting he received.
"I thought you might at least appreciate it a bit. What do you need?"
Harry, affronted, asked in a hurt tone, "who says I need anything?"
"You're calling me during the work day, and not near enough to the end to mean that you want to go out and grab some dinner with your oh so very lonely mate. So what is it?"
"Um… well Hermione thanks you for the file, and—"
"Did she actually say that or are you assuming that she would?" Cal cut in.
"The second," Harry amusedly answered, looking over at Hermione, whose whole attention was focused on the texts before her.
"Right," Callum noted and Harry could just imagine the smug grim marring the man's face. "Well in payment for whatever this is I expect to meet her, I want to see if she actually deserves you or is just another stuck up snot who is stringing you along."
Harry's jaw went slightly slack from shock over the statement, or more so the fact that it was said in such close proximity to Hermione, and he had to stop to recompose himself before he could even bring himself to properly reply. "She's not—"
"I don't care," Callum stopped Harry's defensive argument. "Deal or no deal?"
"Well of course it's a deal, you berk."
"Good, so what do you need?"
"Well, Hermione was reading the file and she noticed that something was missing, and—"
"Harry?" a feminine voice interrupted his conversation, but Harry ignored it.
"I was hoping that maybe—"
"Harry, um… this is actually quite pivotal…" Hermione meekly tried again.
"Yeah?" came Harry's distracted reply as he pointed to his phone, signaling for her to hurry up with whatever it was that she had to say since he was in the middle of a call with Callum.
"Well there's something really
important that you might want to know about Andrea's mother…"
Hello all, I hope you enjoyed the chapter! I would just like to also take the time to leave a rather crucial Author's Note. I am currently considering the possibility of quitting posting at HPFF and should I definitely decide upon this then you would have no means of being made aware since with ToS I am not allowed to post a chapter devoted to an author's note. Please, if you have ay questions, problems, or thoughts on this matter feel free to contact me by PM through the HPFF forums or on my meet the author page and I will IMMEDIATELY REPLY, since those are the only places I can get alerts from as I will be checking my HPFF page less from now on.
NOW ONTO THE FUN AND UNIMPORTANT STUFF!...
I was actually planning on taking a week long break from this story as I focused on my finals, but I have been receiving a ton of reviews from a reader who just started this story a few days ago and they were so kind and inspiring that I immediately felt the compulsion to finish this story ASAP in thanks!!!
Anyway, this was my first ever sex scene so please do me the favor of reviewing because I am incredibly insecure about it at the moment… I never thought I'd actually end up writing one, honestly. I doubt I'll ever delve into this again, I have a feeling it's absolutely horrid!
Again, many thanks to my incredible beta Searcey!