Chapter 1 : A Prologue
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Hermione Granger had no idea how much trouble she was in. The morning after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley had gone missing for four hours and when they were seen walking hand-in-hand across the grass they were immediately surrounded by frantic family and friends demanding to know where they had been.
Hermione however, was more intrigued than frantic as she looked at Ginny. Her best friend with the long red hair looked different. She had a look unfamiliar to Hermione, a look that didn’t quite belong to the girl she knew. Considering the events of the last 24 hours she should have looked tired and bleary-eyed like everyone else. But she didn’t, her eyes were bright and clear, her demeanour relatively cheerful. Harry and Ginny were now explaining the reason for their absence.
“We went for a walk, that’s all.” He was a little annoyed that he was having to explain at all. For Ron that wasn’t enough,
“Four hours is a bloody long time for a walk, mate.”
“Well we… we stopped for a break.” Was Harry’s unconvincing reply. Ginny gave a little smile and there was a definite pinkish tinge to her cheeks.
“Twice.” She added quietly. As she watched, a light went on in Hermione’s head and suddenly she knew, she was certain that she knew.
Oh. My. God. She’s been… they’ve been… they’ve had sex. That’s why she looks different, taking a break indeed!
The trouble for Hermione began over the next two weeks. Every time Harry and Ginny went for a walk Hermione would enquire innocently “Will you be taking a break, today?” or if she met them coming back, “Did you stop for a break?” She hadn’t realised that Ginny knew what the questions meant and was having increasing difficulty in not responding.
One afternoon Harry and Ginny went for a walk and Ron was flying his broomstick. Hermione had spent the time in her room, reading. Feeling thirsty, she got off her bed and headed for the kitchen. Opening her bedroom door she met Ginny on the landing, “Oh hi, you’re back already. You didn’t stop for a break then?” she was totally unprepared for Ginny’s reaction. The red-headed volcano blew up.
“Right Hermione, that’s it! I’m sick and tired of your snide little remarks. If you have something to say then say it now, to my face!”
“Whoa Ginny, it’s just a joke.”
“No it’s not. It’s not a joke and it’s not funny, Hermione, you’re deliberately trying to embarrass us and I have had just about enough of it. There’s such a thing as outstaying your welcome, you know, and you’re very, very close to it.” Ginny turned her back, went into her room and slammed the door behind her, leaving Hermione open-mouthed in disbelief.
Hermione brooded in her room for the rest of the afternoon. After a perfunctory attempt at eating her evening meal she excused herself and returned to her room. Sleep would not come. Ginny’s words replayed endlessly in her head, ‘outstaying your welcome… outstaying your welcome’, again and again and again.
I have to leave, she decided. Her parent’s house was standing empty, I’ll go there for a few days. In the middle of the night she packed her belongings, wrote a note thanking Molly for all her kindness, left the Burrow and apparated to her childhood home. The house was cold so she wrapped herself in her heaviest coat and dozed on the sofa until the sun came up.
She awoke, un-refreshed, at a few minutes before nine. She was hungry, but of course, there was no food in the house. Her first priority therefore was a visit to the local supermarket. She found the stopcock and restored the water supply to the house. A splash of water on her face to freshen up and she set off to the shop.
While she was away Harry and Ginny came visiting, searching for their friend. The house was empty and they left convinced that she had not been here. Had they not restricted their search to the kitchen they would have found Hermione’s belongings in the living room.
Four days later Hermione was sitting in a coffee shop in the main shopping area of Basingstoke. She had spent the time since she had left the Burrow moping around the house getting more and more depressed, and had decided to go shopping again. She hadn’t bought anything yet, but she thought ‘that’s not really why I’m here; I just had to get out of the house.’ Her reverie was interrupted by a male voice.
“Excuse me miss, I know this will sound like a mediocre chat up line, but do I know you?” Hermione looked at the speaker. He was a good looking young man of her age, slender build, fairish hair and tall with striking grey eyes. Jeans and a T-shirt covered a body that, while slender, looked extremely fit. The arms protruding from the T-shirt showed well defined biceps and forearms. She looked at his face and felt that there was a vague familiarity, as if she should know him, but no name came to her mind.
“I don’t think so, I’m sorry.”
“Your name wouldn’t be Hermione Granger would it?”
“Yes it is,” she was amazed, “how did you know that? What’s your name?”
“Robbie Macdonald. You might remember me as Robbie Mac.” A bell went off in Hermione’s head.
“Robbie Mac. Barton Prior Junior School. Mrs. Anderson’s class, of course. We called you that to distinguish you from Robbie Jackson. He was Robbie Jack wasn’t he?”
“That’s right. So you do remember.” He seemed pleased.
“I do now. It’s good to see you again, Robbie. How did you recognise me?”
“Well you’ve changed of course, but not as much as all that. Anyway they say that a man never forgets the first girl he falls in love with.”
“Oh come on, Robbie, we were nine years old.” A sudden heat came to her cheeks.
“I know. But you still broke my heart when you left. Does that mean that you don’t remember the kiss?”
“What kiss?” asked Hermione.
“Year five Nativity Play. Under the mistletoe, my first ever kiss.” Hermione blushed. She did remember.
“Yes I do remember,” She said, “the mistletoe was probably full of Nargles.”
“Full of what?” Robbie asked. Dammit, thought Hermione, why did I say that.
“Nargles. It’s a boarding school joke. You wouldn’t understand.”
“Where did you go anyway?”
“I went off to a small school up north.” She knew that if she told him about Hogwarts that not only would he not believe her, but maybe even call an ambulance to take her away.
“Can I join you while we have our coffee, or are you in a hurry?” He pointed at the empty chair next to her.
“No I’m not. Sit down. So what are you doing these days?”
“I’m in the Royal Marines. I joined three years ago. What about you?”
“I… er… I’m taking a gap year,” she said thanking her lucky stars for the phrase she’d seen in the paper she had bought that morning. “I’m thinking of being a teacher.”
“Listen Hermione, I’ve got two weeks leave left. Can I take you out for a drink this evening, or are you busy?” Her first instinct was to say no but for some reason it came out as,
“Er… yes alright, where shall I meet you?” What are you doing! Are you out of your mind! She thought to herself.
“How about right here, shall we say seven o’clock?”
“Great, but if you’ll excuse me now, I need to go shopping again.” She stood up and said, “See you at seven then.” She left the coffee shop feeling better than she had for days, but still wondering why she had said yes in the first place.
They had had a couple of drinks at a nearby bar and then gone for a meal and a bottle of wine at a local pub. They had talked of old school friends; Robbie still knew one or two of them. He had told her of his career plans in the military. She had disliked being less than truthful about her schooling and plans and when he had asked her if she had a boyfriend she had said no. Hermione found the evening highly enjoyable but when Robbie had offered to escort her home, she had demurred and insisted that she would get a taxi. He had asked for her mobile phone number and had been disbelieving at first when she said that she did not have a phone, apparently it was almost written in law that everybody must have a mobile phone. Robbie had already noticed her smile. She’s more than beautiful when she smiles, he thought.
The taxi arrived and Hermione had thanked him for a super evening, he had taken her by the hand and before she knew it he had leaned forward and kissed her gently on the lips. He passed her a piece of paper with his phone number on it, and told her to get a phone and call him. Then he had kissed her again, lingering a bit longer this time. She was amazed that she had not backed away; her eyes closed and had been on the verge of responding when the sound of the taxi driver clearing his throat had stopped the wild gyrations in her tummy. She had gone straight to bed. Attempting to read had proved futile, she could not concentrate. Laying down and closing her eyes all she could see was Robbie’s face coming closer and the sensation of that second kiss. She bought a mobile phone the next day.
“So can I take you home tonight?” It was two days later. Their second date. Hermione had again, thoroughly enjoyed herself. It seemed that every minute in Robbie’s company was a delight not to be missed. And those eyes… those captivating, mesmerising eyes…
“Yes you can, lets get a cab.” During the taxi ride, Hermione suddenly felt very nervous. What do I do if he wants to…, she thought or, which was worse, what do I do if I want to… Oh Merlin, help.
She made some coffee and as she poured he came and stood behind her, put his hands on her shoulders. She turned and as he kissed her she responded in spite of herself. It seemed like a lifetime later when she pushed him away gently,
“That was nice, and no mistletoe full of niggles either.” he said. There was that smile again, and those eyes.
“Yes it was nice, and its Nargles, not niggles. Grab your coffee and let’s go and sit down.” She led the way. He sat beside her in the lounge and as she looked at him a new thought entered her head. ‘He’s not Ron.’ Try as she might, she couldn’t look away from his eyes. Something must have shown in her face because Robbie said,
“Is something the matter? He asked, “I didn’t offend you by kissing you did I?”
“No, not at all,” she decided to come clean, “It’s just that… well, I wasn’t exactly truthful the other night when you asked me if I had a boyfriend. There is someone but we ran into some difficulties, and we’re not seeing each other at the moment. I’m sorry Robbie. I should have been honest with you.”
“I see.” He paused, Hermione felt uncomfortable in the silence. He spoke again, “Listen, I’m not going to ask what difficulties, that’s none of my business, but is there any hope that they are insurmountable, because Hermione, I’m very attracted to you. I think we could be very special.” She looked into those eyes and something happened to her. She remembered the first date just two days before. The kisses by the taxi, especially the second one, and the way it had made her feel. Suddenly she wanted that feeling again. Badly. Her heart began to pound.
“It would have been easier for me if I hadn’t met you, Robbie. I’m very attracted to you too, and even sitting here now I’m dying for you to kiss me. But that’s not going to help me with my problem.” Robbie took her hand in one of his and put his other behind her head, and solved the problem for her.
“It may not help,” he said softly, “but it can’t hurt, can it?” With a gentle pressure he pulled her head forward, as their lips met Hermione slid her arms around his neck. Long seconds later she broke the kiss and buried her face in his neck. His hand lifted her chin and their lips met again, she was on the verge of pulling away when his tongue flicked against hers. The fluttering in her tummy graduated into full blown somersaults and her resistance crumbled.
She did not know how long they spent with their lips locked together. They finally came up for air. Hermione leaned back a little and looked into his face; those eyes were asking her the question. He could almost see her thinking. Her chin pushed forward a little and she was softly chewing her bottom lip. Her eyes must have given him the answer he wanted. He pulled her to him again and they kissed once more. His free hand gently but briefly caressed her breast and moved to the buttons of her blouse.
Her head was yelling ‘Stop it, stop it now!’ This time her body screamed back, ‘Shut up. This is my time, and you’re not going to ruin it.’ His hand was inside her blouse; she reached down and pulled it free of the waistband of her skirt. With more freedom his hand reached behind her and unfastened her bra. Her body responded, her stomach was gyrating, almost to the point of a sublime nausea, and then something deeper in her groin was responding too.
Her decision was made. She pushed him away and without speaking she stood, took his hand and led him upstairs to her parent’s bedroom. Her mind was suddenly clear. I’m going to do this, she thought feeling a sense of disbelief. I’m really going to do this.
Five minutes later she seemed to tingle everywhere he touched her. She felt his hand on her thigh and her skirt began to slide up. She disentangled herself and stood up.
“Sorry Hermione, is something the matter?” He wondered if he had scared her and she had changed her mind.
“What is it?”
“All these clothes, they’re getting in the way.” She started to undress; Robbie got up and did the same.
Several hours later Hermione walked into Robbie’s arms and held him in a tight embrace. “Tonight has been unbelievable,” she said, “I never knew it could be like this. I mean this good. I’ve never had an experience like it. What have you done to me, Robbie? I’m not normally like this. I don’t understand it and it’s scaring me a little.”
“Whatever it is, you have done the same to me, Hermione. I can only say that it has been the most… I mean, I’ve never felt such emotions before. So different to anything I can remember. To say it was my pleasure would be the understatement of the year. Can I come back tomorrow night?”
“You’re not going are you? Please stay Robbie. I… I want to go to sleep with you, wake up with you in the morning. I’ll never sleep if you go. Please?”
“Okay Hermione, I’ll stay. Let’s have a cup of coffee and then go to bed.” She smiled happily,
“I’d better go have a shower first.”
“You do that, I’ll go and make the coffee and bring it back.” Hermione had a very quick shower, dried herself with her wand and climbed into bed, not bothering to put on a nightdress, just a pair of black panties. He’s seen everything I have up close, so what is the point. she thought. Robbie came back with the coffee, put the cups on the bedside tables and leaned down to kiss her softly. She could still taste herself on his lips.
“I’ll go and clean up too, won’t be long.” He wasn’t. He showered and climbed naked into bed beside Hermione and put his arm around her shoulders. Her head fell on his shoulder. She spoke almost without thinking,
“Robbie, I think I love you.”
“Oh Hermione, be careful. You can’t make a statement like that based on one night of sex like we’ve just had. I could say I love you too based on tonight. But what about tomorrow. If it was really true, you wouldn’t have said ‘I think’. Those two words alone tell me you are not sure. Tell me again when and if you are sure, and I promise you I’ll be very happy.”
“I’m sorry, you are right of course” she suddenly felt very deflated. He must have sensed the change; he took her chin and lifted her face, looked into her eyes and kissed her.
“Please don’t be sad sweetheart, it doesn’t suit you. You’re beautiful when you smile Hermione. Tonight was just the beginning, tonight it was sex, but tomorrow night it might be Scrabble and we’ll be fighting like cat and dog over whether a word is valid.”
“That’s true, bet I know more words than you.” she said with a smile. She was beautiful when she smiled. They turned out their lights and in the dark Hermione snuggled into Robbie’s arms. She kissed his cheek,
“Goodnight Robbie.” He kissed her forehead,
“G’night Hermione, sleep well sweetheart.” Her tummy flipped at that last word and she slipped easily into a deep, dreamless sleep.