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Chapter 32 : Relief of a Woman
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Chapter Thirty-Two: Relief of a Woman
Sirius could feel her slip under the sheets beside him. The rustle of fabric roused him from sleep and the mix of vanilla and peppermint that clouded his senses could be no one else. He rolled over on his side, her tear stained face catching him off guard. His fingers brushed away the wisps of hair that were clinging to her face, then he slipped his hand between the clinched fists held tightly to her chin. “What’s happened?” he asked softly, trying to keep his voice steady.
“I just can’t do it anymore,” she choked the words out, her emotions tumbling out of control. “I don’t want to be alone.”
“Draco’s back,” Sirius guessed, trying to ignore the warmth of her body next to his but when she nodded, she moved her body closer to his, burying her face in his chest. He could feel the softness of her skin, the slight dampness of her hair, letting him know she had just come from the shower. Her clothes were still damp and he realized she had come to him in a rush, without thought. That she had somehow found a way to trust him so much made Sirius ill, knowing his body was betraying her with each move closer to him that she made. He tried to move away but she was too quick for him.
“No,” she whispered softly, pulling him back to her without raising her face from his chest. “I won’t let you do it.”
“Hermione—" He didn’t want to explain to her what her closeness was doing to him. He didn’t want to have to admit that weakness to her. She’d been here before…she should understand.
“Be embarrassed all you like, Sirius,” she murmured, “I’m not letting you push me away that easy.”
So, she did understand. The thought made Sirius smile and his tension depart. “I can’t be objective about Draco, you know that.”
“I know,” she took a deep steadying breath then rolled onto her back, an exasperated sigh escaping her lips. “Damn, Sirius, why does everything have to be so complicated?”
“It’s not,” he chuckled. “You just think too damn much.”
She turned back to him, watching him closely as he stared at the ceiling in a pathetic attempt to calm himself. She had run from Draco, sent him away without a second thought. But nothing could have prepared her for this. She didn’t know why she had run to Sirius’ room…she’d foolishly stepped out of the shower, yanked on her clothes and ran to him without so much as a hesitation. But now, with him lying so close to her, his every breath tugging the sheets they shared, she suddenly realized why she had come. She wasn’t running from Draco but to Sirius and the thought terrified her.
With sudden nerve she hadn’t felt since their first night together, she moved closer to him, resting her arms on either side of his chest. “You’re right. I do.”
She leaned toward him, her body resting lightly on his bare chest as she pressed her lips into his. She continued to kiss him, waiting for him to show her some sign of reprocity. She had almost given up when she felt him move. Just a slight move, an educated move that caused her hands to slip from underneath her and cause her body to crash heavily into his. She let out a gasp as she felt the rigid muscles of his chest press into hers. His hands held her face in place, though, his lips pressing into hers with a depth she’d never felt in her life. It wasn’t that he was more experienced…it was more as if he knew what she wanted and longed for mere seconds before she even thought it herself. She could barely think of where she wanted his hands and they were already there, she could wish his lips to be on her neck and they would already have arrived. The lack of control caused her heart to race, and her senses to go into overload. With each of his moves that she tried to anticipate, she found herself being surprised at every turn. That she seemed to be unable to predict him infuriated her and she couldn’t help but laugh, a loud gut wrenching laugh that tickled her toes.
Embarrassed and afraid she had offended him, Hermione clutched her hand to her mouth, a look akin to terror crossing her face. But, when she lifted her eyes to his, she was met with only an amused smile that, for the first time since she’d really known him, reached all the way to his eyes. No dark shadows, no hidden meanings, just pure unhindered happiness. “You are impossible,” she rolled away from him with a laugh.
“I infuriate you, don’t I?” He asked, refusing to let her off so easily. Rolling onto his side, he let his hand slid under the covers, his fingers tracing lightly against her curve at her waist.
“Yes,” she tried to sound mean but his light touches were in all the places she wanted them to be and it came out more as a plea. His hand gripped tightly around her breast, his mouth biting hard against the flesh on her neck.
“Good,” he murmured as he shifted his weight onto her body, causing a gasp of passion to escape her lips, “you are so much more fun when you hate me.”
He didn’t pause to let her say anything…afraid she might say words he wasn’t willing to hear. He hesitated in his movements to allow her the chance to take control but, in a brief moment of unmasked emotion, he realized what she really wanted was what he was offering—a few hours where she didn’t have to think about anything and even if she tried it would accomplish nothing—so he obliged. He managed to make her laugh and cry in the same breaths, moan for more and yell stop at the same time and the pure, honest laughter he’d forgotten even existed made him physically weak.
Sirius lay on the edge of the bed, his breathing slowly returning to normal after hours spent tormenting Hermione. Her clothes lay in shreds across the room, her naked body lying on top of the covers as if she hadn’t a care in the world. His senses were returning to normal, though, and the madness of what he had just done was starting to tear at him. He could feel Hermione moving closer to him, her hands slipping under the sheets to caress his chest and he couldn’t help but chuckle. “No, my dear, I’m spent.”
“You’re shaking,” she murmured, her hands tightening around his biceps. She knew he wanted her to get under the covers, or at least put on clothes, but she wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction. He had called her on too many things the last few months to allow him to get away from her so easily.
“I’m fine,” he assured her, taking her hand off his chest and kissing it lightly. He tried to pull the sheet up around her but she deftly avoided his movements. He had to admire her persistence and finally gave up. His eyes wandered her body, the soft marks he’d left on her body giving him a vague sense of pride. He laughed inwardly at his foolishness and wondered how, even for a brief moment, he could have been jealous of a boy half his age. The thought made him grimace…what the hell was he doing?
“Ah, I knew it would come,” she whispered, moving him and letting her lips slid along the ripples in his chest.
“What?” he tried to shirk away but couldn’t bring himself to move too far from her touches. He had missed her more than he counted on.
“That guilt you carry with you. I wondered how long it would take to surface.” She smiled genuinely, and then stretched up to place a soft, tender kiss on his lips. “I do thank you for keeping in check this long.”
“I was born guilty,” he offered.
Hermione stretched lazily, reveling in the feel of the burgundy silk sheets slipping against her bare skin. The soft caresses of the sheets caused her to reach for Sirius but she wasn’t surprised to find him missing. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, a soft orange red light in the corner of the room caught her attention. It brightened and then waned and Hermione smiled.
“Smoking can kill you,” she murmured just to let him know she was awake.
“I’ve died twice, Hermione, and neither was for such a mundane occurrence as my health.”
Even in the darkness, Hermione could feel his eyes on her. Circling on her stomach, she moved to lay her head at the end of the bed, so she could see him better. Propping her face up on her hands, she tilted her head at him quizzically. His broad chest gleamed under the few moonbeams that snaked through the heavy curtains. He was sitting leisurely, his trousers on and zipped but still unbuttoned, one leg propped up on the nearby writing table. She couldn’t recall ever seeing him more relaxed or at ease with his surroundings. “You’re dressed. Are you going somewhere?”
“Not at all.”
Hermione frowned. She’d never been with someone who would get out of bed and get himself dressed knowing full well he would be back in bed with her shortly. Slipping out from underneath the sheets, she padded to him and climbed into his lap. “Is there a reason you’re dressed, then?”
Sirius chuckled. “Would you have walked across the room naked to ask me something if I wasn’t?”
“And just what does that mean?” Hermione ruffled.
“Nothing so devilishly clever as your mind might imagine,” he answered, wrapping his arm around her waist to prevent her from moving. “Rarely is a woman so relieved of her inhibitions as when a man is safely concealed.”
“Come back to bed, Sirius,” she murmured, dropping her head to rest on his shoulder. “You’ve avoided me long enough already.”
“Careful, I might assume you’ve been missing me during my self imposed abstinence.”
“You’d assume correctly, then,” she whispered and could feel his body tense in her arms.
He crushed out his cigarette. “No, I think I’ll go find food.” He kissed her head but made no effort to move her off his lap.
“You’d trade time with me for something as basic as food?” she asked in mock offense. “How horribly crude.”
He laughed. “Yes, well, you’re an irritating conversationalist after sex and besides, I’m starving.”
Hermione punched him playfully in the chest and conjured him a tin of pumpkin pasties. “Next excuse for deserting me?”
He had reached in a grabbed a handful before he realized what she’d done. He hesitated a moment, his hand still hanging in the container as his eyes met hers. Realization of what she’d done flooded through her and she jumped from his lap, the tin clattering to the floor. Sirius rushed after her as she yanked on one of his shirts, not bothering to take the time to button it.
“I have to go,” She managed, trying to brush past him. He refused to let her by though, his body easily blocking her path. “No, please, Sirius, not now. Let me go.”
But he refused. Cupping her face in his, his kissed her tenderly, all thoughts of leaving her now forgotten. He could feel her tension melt away with his kiss and could taste the salt of her tears on his lips. Her hands slipped instinctively around his neck, pulling him closer to her as the memories of why she had stopped doing magic washed over her. With sudden comprehension of her reliance on him and what it meant, she pulled inches away from.
“Sirius, this isn’t…” she fought for the words. “This is different. It’s not just…”
Slipping his hand into hers, he led her to the edge of the bed, knowing what he was about to do was wrong but somehow knowing that nothing else felt right. He kissed her gently, his voice warm on her face. “At least we’re clear on that,” he murmured before slipping off her shirt and laying her gently back on the bed.
His hands stroked her hair consolingly, waiting patiently for her breathing and the wild thumping in her chest to dissipate. When she seemed to have calmed, he pulled her tightly in his arms, his voice a tiny whisper. “Will you tell me why you chose not to do magic?”
Hermione didn’t miss the questioning in his voice, as if he almost didn’t feel he had a right to ask. She clung tightly to him, the memories washing over her as if nothing else in the world existed.
“Ginny,” she whispered quietly. “It’s my fault. Everything that happened with Ginny.”
Hermione’s broken sobs were punctuated by tiny bits of her story, Sirius never stopping her but never prodding her on either. As if he didn’t care how long it took, as if they had all the time in the world for her to get through this single solitary blackness that had blanketed her for so many years.
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