“Yes, you are.”
Hermione glared at the smirking redhead, her hand holding her wand in preparation to hex first and warn later. However, the eager smile on his lips let her know that his heart, at least, was in the right place.
“Harry, restrain your boyfriend from his attempts to tart me up and I may allow him to remain hex free,” she cautioned finally, her eyes looking towards her other best friend, pleading with him to stop this madness.
“I’m not trying to tart you up!” Ron whined in protest, his hand shaking the skimpy fabric that he seemed to believe passed as a proper dress. “You’ll look smashing.”
“I don’t want to look smashing, especially if it requires catching a cold because my bits aren’t properly covered,” Hermione said matter-of-factly, crossing her arms over her breasts as if to protect them from the garment he was trying to force her to wear.
“Perhaps if your bits were a bit more, uh, out there, you wouldn’t be home alone all the time,” Harry suggested helpfully, flinching when she turned her Gaze of Anger and Annoyance on him. “Or maybe not.”
“Hermione-ione-ione,” Ron began in the sing song voice that she loathed, bastardizing her name until she was scowling even more, grinning like he’d discovered the cure to Crucio suffering instead of purchasing a dress that even a proper slag wouldn’t wear. Well, actually, Lavender would probably love it, she decided.
“Don’t,” she warned, brandishing her wand to emphasize her threat.
“You’ve got great tits,” he continued as if he’d not heard her or just wasn’t scared of her.
“Oh, don’t ‘Ronald’ me, you silly bint,” he scolded, still grinning like a half-wit, which was actually somewhat appropriate now that she thought about it. “I don’t even fancy girls and even I know that you’ve got great tits. They’re all nice and round and, what’s the word, Harry?”
“Perky?” Harry offered helpfully, distancing himself from Hermione’s ire and putting a chair between them. He might be an annoying prat, but he at least had self-preservation tendencies, she noticed as she glared at him.
“Right! That’s the word. They’re perky. Bet they’d fit perfect in a bloke’s hand, all plump and squishy,” Ron kept digging himself deeper and deeper. Soon, if he didn’t get off the subject of her breasts, which were actually not very large at all, she was going to forget about hexing and just curse the stubborn git. “So, see, this dress is perfect! It will let the guys see your nice tits, and you’ve got great legs, too. If I fancied cunt instead of cock, I’d so shag you, love.”
“Oh God,” Hermione shuddered, making a face as she backed away from him and the dress as he stepped closer. “Get that bloody thing away from me!”
“Hermione, really, I think you’re overreacting,” Harry said firmly, only wavering near the end when she arched a brow and silently reminded him that she was the one who taught him most of the curses and hexes he’d used during the War. “It’s, uh, just a dress. A very pretty dress, actually, you know? And you did promise that we could choose how we spent our evening together, right? I’d hate to think you’d go back on your promise.”
“Harry James Potter, you are an obnoxious prat,” she told him sharply, glaring at them both now. “When I made that promise, I had no idea you planned to tart me up like some Knockturn Alley slag and take me…actually, where are you taking me?”
“Mum’s charity auction,” Ron said innocently, batting his ginger eyelashes at her in a manner that she knew was suspicious.
“The auction?” she repeated slowly, trying to remember what she’d heard about it. She had intended to offer to help Molly, but her work at the Ministry had been keeping her busy, not to mention the fact that she’d been on assignment in Romania for nearly six months researching a variety of dragon-based illnesses and mixing potions to attempt to find cures for them. The only day she usually apparated home was Friday night, which had become the night she, Ron, and Harry always spent together to discuss their weeks and catch up in the six years since the War ended.
“Right. The auction,” Ron nodded, again attempting his ‘I’m a sweet little lamb and have no ulterior motives at all’ look.
“Charlie mentioned something about the auction weeks ago, but I really didn’t pay attention,” she said slowly, trying to recall what he had said, only remembering him grumbling and wadding up a parchment his mum had sent. “What sort of auction is it again? I highly doubt that sort of dress is appropriate at all, Ronald Weasley.”
“It’s perfect,” Harry spoke up, green eyes studying her far too intensely for her comfort level. “You say Charlie mentioned it?”
Rolling her eyes at the infliction he placed on Charlie’s name, she said, “How many times must I tell you both that there is no Charlie. There’s just Charlie. We’re friends, just friends, so stop with the voice changes.”
“My brother not good enough for you, then?” Ron asked playfully, moving closer with that dress, the scarlet looking even more vivid against his pale, freckled skin.
“Charlie is plenty good enough, for someone else,” she explained for what had to be the twentieth time in the past six weeks. Ever since Ron and Harry had come to the Colony to visit for a weekend, they seemed to have it in their very small and not fully developed brains that she and Charlie wanted to shag. Or, as Harry had said with a sappy look in his eyes and a very dopey grin on his lips, they were meant to be together and wanted their first child named after him. Well, the very idea was ludicrous. While Charlie was very attractive in his own way, he was just Charlie.
“Someone else named Hermione Jane ‘I’m a stubborn bint’ Granger,” Ron snorted before exchanging a look with Harry.
Immediately alert, she tightened her grip on her wand, noticing that Harry had moved closer as well. “One more step, boys, and you’ll not have to worry about liking cock ever again.”
“Hermione, darling dearest friend of mine,” Harry began in the tone that always made her give in, even tossing in the puppy dog eyes that made her heart want to just make him happy, “Charlie is right fit. He’s plenty smart, likes animals, you two seem to be able to have conversations easily, and I bet he’s a brilliant shag. What more do you want?”
“Yeah, what he said,” Ron nodded, pausing for a moment and grimacing. “Wait. I mean, not that I’ve thought about shagging Charlie because, well, he’s my favorite brother but not my favorite brother, not like that.”
“What more do I want?” Hermione asked, laughing as she shook her head. A wicked smile crossed her lips as she gave them her best innocent look. “I want someone who wants me so desperately he can’t even wait until we’re in bed to slide inside me. I want rough hands ripping my knickers as he thrusts into me, making me moan and come as the door rubbing against my back. I want someone who looks at me and thinks ‘sexy’ and not ‘sisterly’.”
“Hermione!” Ron and Harry both flinched, covering their ears and humming until she stopped talking.
“That was mean!” Ron muttered, giving her a cross look. “Bad mental place. You and sex…fuck. No, don’t want to think about that.”
“Yet you can discuss my breasts and legs and obviously plan for me to wear that ‘shag me now’ dress?” she asked incredulously.
“Well, yeah,” he shrugged. “Not like I thought far enough ahead to think about ripped knickers and, God, that was just not on, Hermione.”
“Actually, you know, Charlie was looking at you like he was fighting the impulse to rip clothes and, uh, shag you rotten,” Harry recalled, nudging Ron as if to remind him of some imagined heated gazes. They failed to understand the concept of platonic friendship. And they definitely failed to see that Charlie treated her like a younger sister every time they were together. Once she got over the embarrassment of her best friends attempting to play matchmaker between her and the far too sexy for her own good dragon keeper, she’d share the story with him and give him a laugh.
“He does like things a bit rough,” Ron nodded, brightening suddenly. “See? It is perfect. Why don’t you just snog him and see what happens? I thought you were a daring Gryffindor, after all. Won’t even wear this gorgeous dress that I took hours finding so you’d be all pretty for our night out.”
“If I wear that blasted dress and go to the bloody auction, will you both Shut Up about me and Charlie?” she asked tightly, fully aware of their evil schemes. Realizing what she said, she hastily added, “Not that there is a Charlie and me or, well, not like that and, even if I wanted, he doesn’t…I mean. Bugger it. Give me that stupid dress!”
Taking it from Ron, who was smiling a bit too smugly for her liking, she ‘hmphed’ at them both before retreating to the toilet. Stripping off her comfortable linen trousers and pale jumper, she looked at the red dress. “Red. Of all things,” she muttered, glad it at least wasn’t black, which really did nothing for her hair or pale skin.
“I’m going to kill you, Ronald Weasley, and Harry, too,” she yelled through the door as she realized the dress wouldn’t allow her to wear a bra. It actually wasn’t that skanky when she put it on, but there was so little material and it barely covered her properly. She felt almost naked, the smooth silk caressing bare skin, entirely too sensual for a silly auction.
“You know you love us,” Harry replied, far more confident now that there was a door protecting him from her wand.
“We got something else for you, Hermione-ione-ione,” Ron called out, his smirk obvious in his words. “It’s in the linen cabinet.”
“If you call me that wretched name one more time, I’m going to go back to the Colony and forget I ever knew an insufferable git named Ronald Weasley,” she warned firmly before opening the linen cabinet. Her eyes widened as she took in the sexy knickers, wondering how on Earth people thought that little bit of cloth was adequate to cover one’s bits. Stockings and a garter set were beneath the skimpy knickers, though she noticed they’d not gotten her a bra.
“Harry chose the stockings so blame him if you don’t like them,” Ron said defensively. “But the knickers were my choice.”
“As if I wouldn’t have known that without you telling me,” she muttered, staring at the sexy undergarments before looking at the plain cotton knickers she was wearing, a pale blue with a hint of lace at the top, somehow knowing they didn’t quite compliment the tarty dress. She was only wearing the sexy garments because she’d promised they could choose her clothes, she told herself weakly, not believing it for a second.
She had a weakness for pretty lingerie, even if no one had seen it since her break-up with Seamus three years ago. Though, he’d never really noticed since that particular relationship had been more about sex than anything else. He’d been in the auror program, of all things, and she worked at the Ministry so they’d run into one another occasionally, resulting in a nice release of tension back at his flat. It had lasted for a few months before she realized she’d never want more than just a shag with him, which wasn’t fair to either of them, and they’d parted amicably. In fact, she’d just received an invitation to a marriage ceremony for him and Dean a couple of weeks ago so it seemed she’d have never quite had what it took to make him happy, which made her glad she’d called things off before she’d started to care.
It was three years of celibacy that had her lusting after Charlie like a wanton slag, she was sure. Not that she lusted after him. Of course not. He was just Charlie. Charlie with the broad shoulders, firm arse, large hands, full bottom lip that begged to be nibbled, and muscular arms. Just 'not much taller than her so her body fit perfect against his, tattoos on his hip and back that had her fingers itching to trace the vivid colors, warm green eyes that always seemed to be looking directly into her soul when he concentrated his gaze on her, able to spend hours discussing creatures’ rights and potions and never prove a boring companion' Charlie.
Groaning, she ran her hand through her hair. Okay. Maybe there was just a smidgeon of lust. But it was entirely one-sided, unfortunately. He’d confirmed her suspicions that he’d never consider shagging her, much less possibly having a relationship with her, shortly after she arrived at the Colony. He’d grinned good-naturedly, his smile yet another thing she found attractive about him, introducing her to one of his co-workers as ‘my kid brother’s little friend’ before having the audacity to ruffle her hair like she was some ten year-old. She’d decided then and there that lusty infatuations were pointless to dwell upon.
They’d become friends, right good friends, actually, and, though the lust was still there in moments when she could look at him unobserved, she was relatively satisfied that things would never not be platonic between them. Somewhat satisfied. Frustrated and annoyed but glad they were at least friends.
Running a brush through her hair, she left it down, hoping it would help conceal the fact that her breasts might very well topple from this skimpy dress at any moment. Walking back into their sitting room, she saw Ron shoot Harry a smug smile, rolling her eyes at their immature behavior. “Does this meet with your approval, Master Weasley?”
“Ooooh…always thought you’d be a kinky one, Hermione,” Ron leered playfully as he stood up. Walking to her, his smile became sincere as he hugged her. “You look gorgeous, love.”
“How’s that thing stay put?” Harry asked with a teasing grin, sliding his glasses up his nose before teasing the edge of her bodice with his finger. She slapped his hand away, trying to glare before finally laughing.
“Fine. You both win. I’m tarted up now so can we go?”
“Not a tart,” Ron objected, slapping her arse on his way to their bedroom. “Classy and gorgeous. All the straight blokes will want to play with your tits cause I’ve heard they find them rather like toys. Do they?”
“Seamus seemed to enjoy playing with them,” she said dryly, giving Harry a ‘stop him before I forget my promise and hex him silly’ look.
“Ron, what time are we supposed to be there?” Harry spoke up, saving his lover from a hexing like a dutiful boyfriend. She smirked slightly at the knowledge the Man Who Faced the Dark Lord and Won was rather scared of her.
“Leaving now, pet,” Ron said as he walked back into the room. They shared a kiss, gentle and romantic, making her eyes unknowingly flash with envy and jealousy over the love they’ve found with one another while she is left with only her books and an infatuation for someone she’ll never have. Looking at Hermione, his smile softened, their eyes meeting for a moment, and she knows that he knows she’s lonely and just wants to be loved like he and Harry. “Ready?”
When he held out his hand, she looked from him to Harry, hesitant, uncertain why she was suddenly nervous. Picking up Harry’s glass, she took a drink of Firewhisky, blanching as the awful liquid coursed down her throat. Stepping to them, she took each of their hands in hers, squeezing tightly, letting them know silently what she could never find to put into words. Love you both. My family, my brothers, annoying prats but still mine.
“Ready,” she said far more confidently than she felt. As Ron removed the bag holding the Portkey from his pocket, she suddenly realized she had no idea where they were going. “What sort of auction is this, by the way? I don’t have many galleons with me. Do I need to run to Gringotts or something?”
“Don’t worry, love. We plan to buy you something really special for your birthday,” Harry told her with a warm smile, automatically earning her suspicion as it was three months until her birthday. “I have a feeling we’ll find exactly what you want.”
Before she could question him any further, definitely not liking the ‘I’m being mischievous and plotting even more evil schemes’ gleam in his eyes, Ron touched the Portkey, and they were gone.
End part 1