Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 23 of 45

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He was on edge the entire two hour trip to Zurich. The train only stopped four times, but each time it lurched to a halt and the doors opened and new passengers climbed aboard, Ron's hand went to his wand pocket. He disliked the lack of private compartments and kept asking Hermione how much longer until they would be on the train with the sleeping car, which he was eagerly looking forward to seeing. He didn't like the uniformed man who kept asking for papers and tickets and passports. He disliked the long wait they had in Basil when the train just sat there for what felt like hours. He didn't like that they had to sit across from an old Italian man who looked them up and down with a glare when they'd taken their seats.

But for everything he disliked about traveling on the boring and crowded Muggle train there were things he was thankful for. He was grateful that after reading his newspaper the old Italian man seemed content to sleep most of the journey and not speak to them. He was grateful Hermione knew what a passport was and was able to keep track of it amidst the myriad of documents Percy had passed along to them from Kingsley. He was grateful she could navigate the Muggle train station with ease and get them onto their next train so they could continue onto Zurich. The sleeping car however was disappointing and looked nothing like Ron imagined.

"There's not room to swing a Kneazle in here!" he complained as they squeezed through the door one after another. The compartment was so narrow they could not even stand side by side.

"At least it's private," she remarked in an attempt to remain cheerful, but Ron could see even she looked a bit crestfallen by its size.

"Is that the only bed?" he asked bluntly, noting the small flat seat that looked more like a bench than a mattress. He doubted he'd even be able to fit onto it by himself.

"No, the other one comes out of the wall, see?" She leaned over the mattress and pulled a series of latches so another bench fell out of the wall.

"Right." Ron's heart fell even further when he saw they would indeed be sleeping in bunk beds just like he and Harry had all year. He turned to the door to hide his disappointment as he cast the usual protective enchantments on the door. The series of spells had become so second-nature he wondered if he'd ever enter a new place and not put them up. "I wish there was a window." He looked about the walls of the tiny room. "I like being able to look outside."

"It's dark out. You wouldn't really be able to see anything."

"I suppose." Ron still thought he'd at least like a window out to the rest of the train. He felt trapped here. The little compartment felt claustrophobic. There was so little room and nothing here to hide behind should someone enter. He was hit with a sudden urge to practice his Shield Charm. "You reckon we're safe on here, right?"

"Do you want to eat something?" Hermione proposed brightly, dropping down on the bed and reaching into the beaded bag to pull out some of the food his mum had packed.

"Erm – I guess." He didn't comment on the fact that Hermione didn't answer his question. She was surprisingly upbeat, her spirits apparently cheered by the simple fact that they were moving further East.

They sat side by side on the bottom bunk, looking over the rail maps and sharing a dinner of ham sandwiches and mustard crisps. Hermione had her legs folded up beneath her and the map of Europe spread out on her lap.

"I'm guessing we're probably right about here." She scrunched up her face and pointed to a spot in Eastern Switzerland.

"And where are we going?" He peered over her shoulder to the map in her lap.

"Do you honestly not know where we're going?" she sighed in exasperation.

"I know we'll end up in Bulgaria," he laughed. "And I know we're going to be on this train for twelve hours."

"Do you know where we get off the train?"

"Not Bulgaria."

"Do you know what country we'll be in after we get through Liechtenstein?" she quizzed.

"Not Bulgaria." He laughed again, well aware they'd be in Austria, but thoroughly enjoying getting a rise out of her. She shook her head, doing a very poor job disguising her smile, and quizzed him on his geography then, asking how many European mountain ranges he could name and what the capital of Serbia was and where the Danube River flowed. He was proving to her he did, in fact, know where the Carpathians were, when the knock sounded on the compartment door. He bristled at the sound and immediately reached for his wand.

"It's probably just a random passport check, remember." She soothed, moving a hand over his.

"I thought you said we wouldn't have any of those until we got to Hungary," he frowned.

"I said they could still happen," she sounded wearily, reaching into her bag to retrieve their passports.

"Stay here. Let me open the door." He got to his feet quickly, wiping his hands, which were greasy from the crisps, on his trousers. They'd been so relaxed in the compartment, laughing and eating their sandwiches, he'd almost forgotten about the fear that had gripped him back in Dijon and the unknown threat that might be after them. Hermione sighed as he readied his wand and shouted through the door.

"Who is it?"

"Passport, please." A thick accented voice sounded through the door.

Ron opened the door up a crack and peered through. The sight of the uniformed officer was hardly a comfort and Ron surveyed him warily.

"Here you are." Hermione suddenly appeared beside him, forcing the door open a bit wider and handing over both their passports.

"What are you doing?" Ron frowned at her, annoyed that she'd ignored his order to stay on the bed. She appeared equally annoyed and ignored his inquiry, waiting patiently until their passports were handed back to them and the door closed. "You shouldn't have done that!" he growled protectively.

"It was a routine check," she sighed.

"Will we have any more of those?" He didn't like the idea of a stranger standing that close to them. Just the physical proximity had put him on edge.

"Once we get into Hungary, yes."

"I don't like it." Ron stated.

"I can tell," Hermione smirked and settled back onto the bed. "Come back and sit." She patted the mattress. His agitation over the random check and the stranger at the door quickly melted away at the request.

"Can we have the biscuits now?" He plopped down beside her and reached across her body for the French biscuits.

"You've still got to tell me the terminus of the Danube!" she laughed, holding the biscuits aloft.

"The Black Sea!" Ron laughed and snatched them out of her hand. "Now give them to me!"They laughed on the bed some more and ate biscuits and finished their makeshift dinner off with the bottle of French wine Hermione had purchased back at the rail station.

They sipped the wine for the better part of an hour, passing it back and forth and somehow it made Ron feel more grown-up, especially when Hermione would talk about it and the wine tour she'd gone on with her parents years ago. She remembered an impressive amount, which Ron knew he shouldn't be surprised about. "Can you taste the black cherries?" she inquired. "You're supposed to taste cherry and..." She held the bottle up and studied the label again then rifled through her beaded bag for the slip of paper that had come with the wine. "Cherries, plum and chocolate, I think." Hermione passed the bottle to him and he tipped it back to his lips.

"All that in a wine?" Ron snorted. "I just taste wine!"

"Well, you're not supposed to drink it like an ale!" Hermione chided at the way he gulped it. "You're supposed to savour it." Ron just laughed and looked at the half empty bottle. He reckoned he had drunk most of it. Hermione took tiny dainty sips whenever she had the bottle.

"Show me how to savor it then." He passed the bottle back to her.

"Gladly." She puffed out her chest and delicately lifted the bottle to her mouth for what seemed to only be a second before lowering it. She appeared to hold the wine in her mouth a moment before swallowing and licking her plump, now deep Burgundy red lips. "It's a deep, very complex wine," she explained, sounding very sure of herself.

"Deep and complex, huh?" He turned to her and raised his eyebrows skeptically, fighting back a grin.

"You should feel it in your mouth." She handed him the bottle. "There's different stages when you taste it, see."

"Oh, yeah?"

"First is the moment it hits your lips. That's the initial impression."

"And then?"

"Then you hold it in your mouth. You're not just supposed to swallow it. You're supposed to let it roll over your tongue then so you can try to taste the flavour, the cherry and chocolate and plumb."

"And what's after that?" Ron held the bottle in the air, but was staring at her lips, which were now very red from the wine, as she spoke. He wondered if she noticed he was staring.

"The finish. That's the most important."

"What's so important about it?"

"Because the flavour should linger after you've swallowed the wine. It should stay in your mouth and leave an impression and make you want more."

Ron took one last swig from the bottle, wiping his mouth with the back of his sleeve before setting it on the rattling floor of the compartment.

"You didn't listen to anything I said, did you?" Hermione sighed wearily.

"No, I did," Ron assured, turning to her. "Honest, I did."

"You did not."

"Step one," he repeated quietly then and he moved both hands up to her face as he did. He heard her breath catch at the gentle caress and he did his best to repress a smile and remain serious. Wine tasting was deep and dark and complex, after all. He brushed her lips softly, taking first her top lip between his and then her bottom. Then he withdrew. "Step two." He moved back in now to deepen the kiss, rolling his tongue over hers just like she told him to do with the wine. Now he could taste the black cherries. "And step three." He pulled away ever-so-slowly, letting his lips linger over hers as he did. He waited a moment, licking his lips softly before opening his eyes, his face mere inches from hers and his breath warm on her face. "Did I leave an impression?" he whispered teasingly.

Then she was kissing him, her hands reaching out to grip the sides of his face desperately as if he might slide away. The pressure with which her mouth moved against his surprised him, but he grinned, pleased that his lame attempt at seduction had worked. She turned her body to his then and, with his face still gripped between her hands, pressed him forcefully back toward the mattress.

"Watch it!" He winced in pain as his head slammed into the wall in the tight confines of the bunk. "Gently!" he laughed at her urgency and rubbed his head, ruffling his hair up.

"Sorry!" She pulled away and covered her hands over her face, obviously mortified at her own clumsiness and how carried away she had gotten. "I'm so sorry!"

"S'alright," Ron tried to assure her that he was fine despite the fact that he was quite sure he'd have a lump at the back of his head tomorrow morning. "It's not your fault," he dismissed, ignoring the throbbing. "I don't really think they make these beds for tall people." He stretched out some more on the poor excuse of a bed, quite liking how cozy it felt despite its cramped confines, and hoping she would relax and join him.

This felt different from escaping to his bedroom back at the Burrow, different even from rolling around on her bed back in Henley last night. This time they were alone, completely and utterly alone. Things could happen. She probably knew that too. It was like him hitting his head had made her suddenly realise that. She'd been about to let go for a moment there, but now reality consumed her again. "Do you want to…er…" Do what? Snog? Get naked? Shag? Ron didn't even know what he was asking. He just didn't want it all to stop. "Do you want to take your shoes off?" he blurted out, "and…just…lie back." Lie back. What a pathetic twat he was. That's not what he wanted to do. He wanted her to lie back so he could do things to her. But you didn't just say things like that to Hermione Granger, even if you were her boyfriend.

He was relieved when he saw her lean over and slip off her shoes. He reckoned he should get more comfortable and do the same, so he sat up, banging his head only slightly on the low overhanging bunk.

"See?" he looked to her in assurance, massaging the top of his head, "they just don't make these for tall people. Not your fault."

She smiled at the attempt to make her feel better as he pulled his trainers off without even bothering to unlace them and hurriedly slid back onto the mattress. Hesitantly, she followed suit, squeezing in to lie beside him. For a brief moment they just sat there, crammed uncomfortably into the bunk, doing exactly as he'd suggested, just lying there.

"Where do you think we are?" he asked in an attempt at conversation, trying to figure out why this was so uncomfortable. It wasn't just the cramped confines either. This didn't feel natural anymore. It had for a moment there. She'd lunged at him after his lame attempt to charm her with the wine, kissing him in a desperate manner he hadn't felt for days. Then she'd smacked his head into the wall and it had quickly gone away. He wondered if it was because of last night and the things they had talked about. Forethought and responsibility and I want you too.

"Probably still in Austria," she replied, wincing slightly as she spoke. Ron could see she hardly looked comfortable in her current position jammed into the corner.

"Here." He moved his arm behind her head so it could provide a bit of cushioning and turned on his side to face her. "Better?"

"A bit, yes." She smiled at the effort and moved around so she rested on her side as well. Their bodies were parallel to each other now, their faces mere inches apart.

"Never been to Austria," Ron remarked dumbly. "Have you?"


"Never ridden in one of these either."

"There's not too much room, is there?" she laughed, looking down to the bottom of the mattress where his legs were jammed into the tiny bunk.

"Like I said, I don't think they make these for anybody over six foot." He looked down to the end of the bed as well, suddenly embarrassed by the rather large hole in the toe of one of his socks and the heel of the other.

She stretched her green stockinged foot out toward his then, rubbing it against him like she'd done last night beneath the table. An involuntary shiver ran through his body and he closed his eyes, wondering if he'd ever be able to express what such a small action could to do him. She had to know already.

"They're certainly not made for two," she laughed. Ron wondered whether the comment meant she had hoped to pass the night there with him or whether it was simply a remark about how small the bunk was. She had a shy, but slightly mischievous grin on her face as she worked her toe beneath the hem of his trousers and pulling it up revealing his hairy leg.

"Do you think they make larger ones?"

"Larger beds? Yes, of course!" Hermione laughed.

"I know they make larger beds!" Ron scowled, feeling much the same way he did at school when she told him something obvious he already knew. Of course, he knew they made larger beds. He was rather hoping the one in Australia was at least three times the size of this one. "I mean larger sleeping compartments."

"I don't know. I know they make some where you have to share with loads of people though."

"Share a bed with strangers?"

"No, you twit, share a room," Hermione laughed. Her foot had now worked its way so their legs were completely tangled. "There's lots of bunk beds in one room and you have to share."

"Well, that's not too bad," Ron shrugged.

"My cousin told me when she took one this German man in the bunk above her talked to himself the entire night."

"You've got a cousin?" Ron ignored the rest of her story and seized instead upon the small detail she'd revealed. Yet another thing he didn't know about her that he felt like he should.

"I've got six cousins," she spoke matter-of-factly, but there was an obvious sadness in her voice as she spoke. He wanted to ask what contingency she'd put into place to deal with her extended family, all her cousins and her aunts and uncles, when she'd sent her parents away, but he remained silent. Her foot was still caressing his lower leg and their faces were so close all it would take was a slight move of his head and he would be kissing her. If he mentioned her family then that would all change.

"Well, I'm glad you didn't get us one where we have to share with other people," he murmured then, nuzzling her neck.

"Oh, and why is that?" she replied in a tone he could only interpret as flirtatious. He still had yet to get accustomed to the sound of Hermione flirting with him.

"Because if we'd had to share I wouldn't be able to do this." He grinned and finally pressed his lips to her neck. It was another lame thing to say just like the bit with the wine, but suddenly lame things were all he seemed capable of saying.

"I think you'd do this even if we had to share," she laughed while he continued to place wet kisses along her jawline.

"You're probably right," he murmured against her skin. He hadn't shaved since the funeral and the stubble on his chin must have tickled because she giggled, her hands now at the back of his head, running through his hair gently. "Would you stop me if I did?" He lifted his head up momentarily and looked to her curiously.

"Probably not." She gave him a pleased smile and her voice was light and fluttery as she spoke. He was kissing her lower on her neck now, his long nose nuzzling against her and nudging the collar of her shirt. He felt her hand slide behind his head then and forcefully seize a fistful of his hair. He thought she was simply running her hands through it again, but then he realised she was pulling his lips off her neck. She was bringing them to hers.

She was showing him what she wanted.

His heart hammered in his chest and he felt his blood start to flow in a decidedly southward direction. It wasn't as frenetic as the way she'd grabbed him before she crashed his head into the wall. This was slow, methodical even, like she was learning how to do it all over again. This wasn't due to nervousness though, but simply because she wanted to savour it. This was what he had wanted. This was what he had craved since that first kiss back at the Burrow. They were alone. They had nowhere to be right now but here in this cramped compartment. His mum would not be calling them down to dinner, Harry would not be knocking at the door. It was just them. They weren't even there yet, but this was already Australia. This was what he'd thought about and longed for the past eight days. The past eight days had been all about getting used to each other. They'd settled into a comfortable rhythm that Ron had tried to break out of last night, but then his own grief had ruined it. The tear stains on his face had put a damper on his attempt to move past simple snogging. But not tonight. Tonight they were alone in a sleeping car somewhere across Europe and there had been no tears, only a bottle of sweet red Burgundy wine to help move them along.

And for the first time all day, Ron wasn't thinking about who might be after them. He wasn't thinking about how he should be thinking about his dead brother. He was thinking about Hermione and how her entire mouth, down to the ridges of her gums, tasted like red wine and how he now had a whole new appreciation for the drink. He was thinking about the way she was pressed against the blue fabric walls of the compartment, the way his thigh was nestled between her legs and how she seemed to enjoy the closeness, almost crave it. Her body was moving slowly against him in the same rhythm as her mouth and Ron pressed even closer to her so there was practically no space between them. They began rocking, sliding together on the tiny mattress, hip to hip and mouth to mouth. Every time his mouth strayed from hers to suck softly at the delicate skin below her ear or drop wet kisses all along her throat she'd seize his hair and bring his mouth back up to hers. She simply didn't want him to stop kissing her. It was an exhilarating thought, that she didn't want his mouth to ever leave hers. He wondered if she wanted to do this for the entire eleven hour train ride.

Now her leg was hooking around his body, moving around the leg he had nestled against her bits. He felt her weight shift onto him then and he dropped onto his back. The rest of her body followed. She was getting on top of him.

Here came the Wrackspurts.

"Oh, fuck," Ron groaned as he felt her settle over him, his pants suddenly feeling incredibly tight.

"What?" She asked from her position atop him. Ron was grateful she hadn't seemed to hear the utterance.

"Nothing," he dismissed, trying hard to look her in the eye and not stare down her shirt. She was offering him the perfect view. Ron wondered if it was intentional. She'd had the top button of her blouse undone all day, but another seemed to have popped open in the last hour. Either that or she'd unfastened it when he hadn't been looking. Either way, he could see clearly down her shirt in her current position. He could see the swells of her breast, the valley between them, even the color of her bra.

His view was abruptly cut off then because she started kissing him again, in that slow tender, perfect way. The movements of her mouth were almost lazy. He wondered if it was the wine or if it was the knowledge that they had eleven more hours in the sleeper car and didn't need to rush anything. Her shirt had ridden up slightly and there was an expanse of exposed skin between the top of her jeans and the bottom of her shirt. He sunk his fingertips greedily into the flesh on her hipbones and his smile only broadened when she didn't withdraw. This was like last night in her bedroom, except his nose wasn't runny and his face wasn't wet with tears. This was like last night except it was Hermione who was atop him, Hermione who had initiated things, Hermione who wanted him just as much as he wanted her.

He felt a sharp intake of air against him as his hands slid beneath her shirt, but he didn't bother asking if it was okay. Those days were behind them. He knew how to read the reactions of her body. When her skin broke into gooseflesh or she took in a sharp breath, he knew it was a good thing. He knew she could read the reactions of his body quite easily too and he was thrilled to see her respond to the hardness he knew she could feel.

I want you too. He heard her honest words from last night again in his head. Not when you're hiding and not when you're upset. He reckoned they were both hiding now. Hiding from what might be after them, hiding from the rest of the world. This tiny compartment seemed like it was made for hiding though and this felt good. It felt right.

He pulled his hands out from beneath her shirt then, withdrawing so abruptly she pulled her lips off his and frowned. Ron laughed softly at how put out she looked, her bottom lip sticking out like that of a petulant child's. But then his fingers started working the buttons of her blouse. She looked down, watching him with her eyes a bit wide as he worked to remove her shirt. For a brief moment, he thought she might swat his hands away or scold him.

Instead, she just watched his long fingers work deftly over each button, dimples forming on her cheeks, which he noticed were a bit pink, as she smiled at him. She didn't look shy or embarrassed. The smile on her face was more like the look she'd given the first time she'd intentionally broken a school rule, the smile when they were planning D.A meetings right under Umbridge's nose. He imagined his cheeks were probably the same color too, but wasn't sure whether it was because of how hot and stuffy the compartment was or because of what they were doing.

They just stared at each other for a moment after he unfastened the final button. Her blouse hung open like a curtain Ron was suddenly nervous to part. He'd touched her before, up in his bedroom five days ago and then again yesterday. That had been over her shirt though and his mum had been right downstairs and he'd known things couldn't go much further than touching. He could make a right mess of things here, especially after their conversation last night about forethought and responsibility. If he parted her shirt and did what he wanted, he was quite confident he'd end up with a pillow in his lap again or worse.

Hermione propped herself up on her hands, leaning over him so the curls of her hair hung down and brushed his face. She gave a tentative smile. It was a strange sort of moment, the kind he never could have imagined twelve months ago. This whole situation was just surreal, he and Hermione travelling alone across Europe, the way she had been moving against him, the fact that he'd just unbuttoned her shirt, the fact that she was still smiling at him and it seemed like she actually wanted him to touch her.

Tentatively, he slid his hands to her ribcage so he parted the curtain hiding her breasts from view. For some reason, he thought of how embarrassed she'd been only a few days ago when her bra and knickers had fallen all over the floor when they were unpacking. He studied the plain white bra, wondering if she had wanted this to happen this morning when she'd gotten dressed and if she'd chosen her undergarments knowing he would see them.

He could see the pale tops of her breasts as they hung down in their white satin cups and his lips found hers in the same moment his hand moved over the fabric to touch her. Boldly, he stretched out his hand so his fingertips reached over the cup. She felt perfect beneath his hand and he desperately wanted to feel more, to feel her. He wondered what she'd do if he just pushed it aside and slipped his fingers beneath. This was Hermione, after all, careful Hermione who always had a plan, Hermione who was always deliberate and thorough and slow, Hermione who to his knowledge had never really been with a bloke like this before. Today he'd seen a different Hermione though, a reckless Hermione who didn't think things through, who didn't care about making sense and who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying how it felt to move against him the way she was. He'd always thought Hermione was pretty enough, she'd suddenly become beautiful through his eyes the last few years, but this was the first time he'd ever really thought of her as being fucking sexy as all hell.

When he kissed her again she started moving against him. He wondered if she was even aware of the way her hips were moving. It was the same way she'd been moving against his thigh when she'd been pinned to the wall before, the same way they'd moved together up in her bedroom before she'd forced him off of her, the same way they'd moved up in his bedroom when she'd insisted they take a break and talk about Quidditch. Feeling her now, Hermione Granger, moving like this against him made him want to forget whatever she'd said about forethought and responsibility. He wanted, right now, nothing more than to tear off the layers and see what it would feel like to have her move like this when he was actually inside her. It was the first time he'd really thought about it, not just as a fantasy when he was having a wank in the shower, but as something that could really happen between them. He and Hermione could have sex right here in this train car.

His thumb grazed beneath the inner edge of the bra cup, getting a brief feel of the smooth skin that lay beneath. He heard a sound low in her throat at the action that instinctively caused his fingers to tighten and squeeze. They could have sex in this compartment. She was grinding against his cock and he had his hands on her tits. They had ten and a half hours alone in here and things certainly seemed to be moving in that direction.

Her mouth was moving more urgently now, losing the slow and lazy feel from earlier. Their breathing was becoming more ragged and desperate. Ron raised his knee and attempted to nudge her legs further apart so she could get more comfortable against him. They didn't talk. There were no words exchanged, just gasps, grunts and nearly inaudible moans that sounded over the loud clatter of the train beneath them. She let out a breathy cry as her hips now pressed against him, sliding over the bulge that had made her so nervous last night in a rhythm that almost seemed beyond her control. He pulled his lips off hers and opened his eyes to look up at her then, to assure himself this was really Hermione and he hadn't simply fallen asleep and let his fantasies get carried away.

He was harder than he could ever remember and all he could think about was what could happen if he just shed a few more layers. Wanting more, he slid his hands around her ribcage to her back, reveling in the feel of so much bare skin. He could feel the arch of her shoulder blades, the dip in the small of her back, the tiny mole on her shoulder. His long hands wrapped around her and he gripped her to him tightly, trying to come to terms with the fact that two straps and a small clasp were all that really kept her hidden from him.

He knew how to do this. He'd been flummoxed the first time he'd blindly tried to take off Lavender's bra, but he'd gotten quite good at it in the months they'd dated. He could even do it with one hand. Ron's hand rested over the hook and eye fastening and he felt Hermione's breath quicken against him, but she said nothing so his hands quickly began working just like when he'd unbuttoned her blouse. He was taking off Hermione Granger's bra. She hesitated and for a moment Ron thought she was going to take it off for him. Instead, he felt her pull away from him quite suddenly.

"No!" He heard the frustrated words sound in his own head, and didn't realise until he saw Hermione's horrified face as she climbed off him that he'd actually said them out loud. His face grew hot. How daft was he to shout that out loud.

She looked a bit rattled at the way he'd yelled, pulling her legs up beneath her and her open blouse across her body modestly. Ron raised himself to a sitting position, finding it difficult to disguise his disappointment that she was covering herself up.

"Sorry," he apologised for his outcry, "I just - I mean – what's wrong – why'd you – was that not good?" he stammered, quite sure she'd been enjoying everything up until the moment he'd tried to take off her bra. "Hermione?"

"It was good." Her reply was quiet and she was tucking her hair behind her ears nervously.

"Sorry, I yelled. I didn't even - I'm not like angry – or anything," he stammered uncomfortably. "I just…" He shifted on the bed, hoping she couldn't see his erection, knowing that would only make this worse. "It was good and you were, y'know, kissing me so it seemed like you were…erm – enjoying it, y'know?"

"I was," she admitted quietly.

"Then what's…why'd you…" he struggled with how to ask why she hadn't let him take her bra off without sounding like a randy perv.

"Did you and Lavender…" At the mention of his ex, Ron felt a sudden heavy feeling in his gut. "Did you ever…you know…"


"You know." Hermione looked thoroughly embarrassed as she said the words and she wouldn't lift her eyes to him. Ron had an idea what she was referring to, but there was a lot he could file under the heading of 'you know'. They'd just 'you knowed' right here on the cot, but at the same time they hadn't even come close to 'you knowing'.


"Did you have…sex?" she squeaked, barely able to get the words out.

"No!" His horrified reply was immediate.

"You were with her for four months, Ron." Hermione looked to him accusingly. "I'm not stupid."

"And I wouldn't lie to you!" he affirmed, slightly put off by the implication. "I mean we did…stuff, yeah, but-"

"What kind of stuff?" Ron couldn't help but notice she began buttoning her blouse back up when she asked the words. He felt his arousal fade.

"Just….stuff." He scratched his head uncomfortably, quite confident this was a question he shouldn't answer.

"What did she let you do?" Hermione pressed inquisitively.

"I don't know." He tried to deflect the inquiry.

"Yes, you do!" Hermione laughed. Ron couldn't help but think she sounded oddly desperate to know.

"I don't want to talk about this with you," he protested weakly. The thought of talking about what he'd done with his ex-girlfriend with Hermione after what they'd just been doing seemed wrong somehow.

"Why not?"

"Because it's weird!"

"So you did do more than just kiss her?"

"Yeah, I mean no, I mean - not much," he stammered sheepishly after a long pause.

"But you did do more?"

"I don't know, I guess, yeah."

"McLaggen snogged me in the coatroom at Slughorn's party," she confessed suddenly, seeming to sense that this would be an eye for an eye scenario. "He grabbed my bum twice and tried to put his hand down my dress." Ron felt a familiar jealousy flare up inside him at the revelation that McLaggen had been so forward with her. "I almost let him." He stared at her long and hard, quite sure she was telling him the truth, but thoroughly surprised at her last confession.

"We did…stuff," Ron admitted, sticking to the same vague term to describe what activities he and Lavender had engaged in, feeling suddenly guilty when compared to the relatively innocent interactions Hermione had just described with McLaggen.

"Yes, but like what?" she pressed.

"Why does it matter?"

"Why won't you tell me?" Ron could hear her getting upset. He was beginning to think this was an argument he'd lose no matter what.

"Because I don't think it matters!" he continued their circular argument.

"I'm your girlfriend, I want to know." She finished buttoning herself up and her voice began to take on that familiar bossy tone he'd grown up hearing. He couldn't win here. She'd get this out of him and he'd end up being the effing creep that had nearly shagged Lavender Brown in an empty classroom after Quidditch practice.

"Why?" he growled. "I didn't care about her at all. Fuck, Hermione half the time it was your tits I was thinking about!"

"Half the time you were doing what?" she asked quietly, not even commenting on his crass comment or vulgar language. She was not looking at him anymore. Her eyes were peering over the side of the mattress where she'd kicked off her shoes and the nearly empty bottle of wine was still resting on the floor. Her arms were crossed over her body and he could see her nostrils flaring slightly.

"I didn't have sex with her," Ron affirmed, lowering his voice and trying to calm down

"You came close though," she said the words in a knowing way that told him she already knew the answer. "Has she seen you without your pants?" Ron didn't respond, but his silence seemed to be confirmation enough for Hermione. He couldn't help but think her eyes looked a bit moist as she blinked three times in rapid succession. He wasn't sure why the news was so upsetting to her, but he couldn't help but be struck by the feeling she was about to burst into tears.

"It's not that exciting really, me without pants," Ron tried dumbly for some humour. "Bit scary really." Hermione didn't smile though and Ron couldn't help but think she looked a bit like he had after Ginny told him about Krum. She didn't look angry or particularly jealous. She looked sad, like she'd been deprived of something she'd thought ought to be hers.

"Do you want me to do…stuff?" Hermione finally peered up at him and asked meekly what Ron wagered was the real reason for the entire interrogation about his activity with Lavender. He worried for a moment if this was another one of those times in a relationship he wasn't supposed to tell the truth either, but he couldn't make himself lie to Hermione.

"Yeah." He gave an honest shrug. "I mean, of course, but…"


"But I mean only if you want to." He scratched his head uncomfortably.

There was silence for a moment and Ron couldn't tell if it was the comfortable or uncomfortable type. Had he screwed up by telling her he wanted to do stuff with her? She had to know already. What exactly was he supposed to do now? Would it be wrong to kiss her now after the conversation that had just taken place? Why was she smiling? Had he said the right thing this time? Somehow he felt like he'd said all the wrong things. Buggering fuck, you weren't supposed to talk about what your ex-girlfriend did with your current girlfriend. You weren't supposed to tell them you wanted to do the same kind of things with them.

It wouldn't be the same with Hermione though. With Lavender it might as well have been any girl tugging on his cock or letting him have a feel. He was quite sure he'd even groaned Hermione's name on more than one occasion when they'd been together.

"It's hard to believe it's only been eight days, isn't it?" she asked quietly then. The muscles in Ron's face tightened and Hermione quickly seemed to realize what else could be measured eight days ago. "I just mean since we…you know…"

"I know what you meant," he mumbled, finding it hard to grasp that over a week had passed since literally everything happened.

"I do want to do…stuff, y'know," she informed quietly then. "It's just that - I've just barely gotten used to snogging you. I'm still not convinced I'm not complete rubbish at it."

"Believe me, you're not rubbish," Ron laughed.

"You're just randy." She gave a tight-lipped smile.

"You're not rubbish," he stated firmly and his eyes held hers for a moment before she looked away.

"I'm sorry."

"About what?" Ron laughed, glad their earlier argument seemed to have faded away.

"About making you…you know, like last night in my room – when you were…" She flushed considerably at the words and her eyes darted to his crotch briefly. The quick realization of where her eyes were resting combined with her nervousness indicated exactly what she was referring to. She was talking about his erection.

"You don't have to apologise! That's not your fault," Ron laughed. He wondered how she'd react if he told her that was hardly a new problem and that she'd been doing that to him since she'd turned thirteen and sprouted breasts.

"Yes, it is." She looked thoroughly unconvinced and gave him a dubious glare.

"It's not," he replied immediately with a laugh. "Well, I mean…it's because of you, yeah," he admitted, "but you say it like it's a bad thing."

"Well, I feel badly that I…I get you - " She tried to look away from his crotch, but failed miserably. Ron wanted to laugh at her discomfort. "You know, excited."

"Why does that make you feel badly?" he chuckled again. She didn't seem to appreciate his laughter.

"I – I just thought I read that - " she stammered

"You read?" Ron looked to her incredulously. "You read a book about - "

"No, I said I thought I heard," she quickly corrected.

"No, you said read!" he insisted



"Heard!" She looked thoroughly mortified as she uttered her final rebuttal. Ron relented, content with the knowledge that he had heard her correctly. Hermione had read some kind of book on male arousal. "Anyway, I heard that if you don't…you know, finish, it's a bit…well painful."

"Nah, it feels good mostly." Ron shrugged dismissively. "Most blokes that say it hurts are just trying to get…well, you know."

"So it doesn't hurt you?"

"It's not that bad. Just goes away after a while," he managed a laugh and waved dismissively at his crotch. "I can take care of it on my own if it doesn't."

"I feel bad that I get you...excited and then we don't anything." Hermione looked guilty.

"Hermione, you could be dressed like Neville's grandmother and covered in stinksap and I'd still…be excited," he laughed at his use of her rather innocent euphemism, gazing at her from across the bed. She blushed furiously and looked away from his increasingly ardent gaze.

"I reckon we should try to get some sleep," she spoke suddenly, but her eyes were still staring at his crotch.

"Yeah, long day tomorrow, right?" He tried to hide his disappointment as he looked at his wristwatch. Aside from the uncomfortable conversation about Lavender, he found he quite liked talking about this with her. This was two nights in a row they had. He didn't think he'd ever enjoyed talking about something so much. These conversations meant she thought about it all, too. He didn't feel like such a randy effing creep anymore.

He picked up the flimsy excuse for a pillow the train provided, grumbling about how uncomfortable it looked.

"You know you can make it bigger?" she laughed.

"No, I missed the pillow charm in Flitwick's class," Ron replied caustically and handed her the pillow. He felt silly as she did a simple engorgio charm and handed it back to him.

"Right." He took the fluffed up pillow and placed it at top of the cot where she'd accidentally knocked his head into the wall. If he didn't taken into account his drunken night on the couch, this would be the first night they would spend together since he'd slept by her bedside at Bill and Fleur's and he was unsure what the actual arrangements would be. He desperately wanted her to remain on the bottom bunk with him, but he wasn't about to suggest it and look like a complete prat. After their conversation and what had transpired on her bed yesterday, asking her to spend the night with him seemed a bit presumptuous. Realistically, he didn't even think the two of them could fit comfortably in the tiny space in any position other than the one they'd just been in and he doubted she would choose to pass the night like that. "So do you want to be on top?" he asked and as soon as he saw her mortified expression he quickly clarified. "Sleep on top – the bunk, I mean." He reckoned he should probably be a gentleman and take the top bunk, but he liked the idea of being closer to the door should anyone enter. The top bunk somehow seemed safer.

"If I can get up there." Hermione frowned and looked up at the tall bunk. "I don't see a ladder."

"I can help you up," Ron offered with a shrug. "D-do you want to – erm - change into your pajamas?" he stammered nervously then and looked to the door. "I can leave."

"I – I can change when I'm…up top," she faltered, indicating she had no idea how to navigate this situation any more than he did.

"Okay," he mumbled, his mind wandering at the mere thought of her changing. They both got to their feet then and looked at the bunk, which was only slightly taller than Ron. He held out his hand to help give her a leg up, but even with his assistance her climb onto the bunk was anything but graceful.

Hermione's lack of athleticism was something that Ron had always found endearing. He'd tried to teach her how to skip stones and throw a Quaffle countless times over the years, but she was no Cho Chang. She managed to throw one leg over, but clambered unsuccessfully to swing the other one over. Tentatively, he raised his hands up to push her over the side. He didn't mean to grab at her the way he did, but he know she could feel his fingers pressing into her, gripping her bum as he helped her into the bunk. He hoped she didn't think he was just trying to grab her arse.

He handed her the beaded bag and tried to ignore the sound of buttons unfastening and jeans sliding down her legs. Folding his arms behind his head, he tried hard not to picture her changing in his head above him. Funny, how different things were now. This should feel familiar. Sure, it had usually been on the other side of a tent flap, but she had changed before him countless times over the past year. Then, they had so much else to worry about. He had been able to temporarily push aside the lingering thoughts that accompanied the sound of her bra being unhooked and pulled over her shoulders. Ron closed his eyes and let out a breath through his nose that was probably much too loud.

"Ron?" Hermione's voice sounded from above him. "Do you want your pyjamas as well?"

"Erm, no, I'm all right."

"Don't be silly," she dismissed with a laugh, "I'm sure I can find them in here."

"I'm fine, I just – I'll sleep in my shorts."

"Just your shorts?" Her interest sounded piqued. "Nothing else?"

"Um, a shirt – I'll - I'll wear a shirt." He stammered again, unsure why he was suddenly so nervous.

"Do you usually just sleep in your shorts?" Ron couldn't help but think she sounded the slightest bit intrigued.

"Um…sometimes." He was grateful she couldn't see how red his face was. "When it's hot out."

"It is a bit warm in here, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it's 'cause there's no sodding windows," he grumbled, looking around the tiny compartment. "How do I get the lights out again?" He cursed himself for leaving the deluminator in his jeans pocket.

"That switch by the door." He could hear Hermione giggle at his lack of knowledge about Muggle things. She'd tried to give him a brief lesson about electronics at her house in Henley yesterday, but he'd gotten confused when she began talking about atoms and invisible force fields.

"Right. Eleck-trick -city." He wondered if she could tell that he was smiling.

"Electricity," she corrected for the umpteenth time, "and you'd better get used to it."

"Tell me how it works again?" he asked as he lowered the switch and the lights immediately went out. He was eager for something to talk about that could get his mind off Hermione in the bunk above and make his erection go down.

"You really want to know?" she called out from the darkness above him, sounding equally amused. "Last time I tried to explain it you kept interrupting and saying it sounded like magic."

"It does sound like magic."

"It's not magic. It's science."

"Can it be both?"

"I suppose," he shrugged then settled into the bed cozily, "so how does it work?"

"Well, you know how sometimes when you rub two things together they stick together? Like when a balloon sticks to your head? That's electricity. It's a force that makes your hair stand up when you do that."

"So how does that turn on the lights?"

"It creates a current."

"Like a current of water?"

"No, an invisible current. There's this invisible charge between them. Charges that are the same repel each other and charges that are opposite attract."

"So…" He looked up at the faint outline of the bottom of her bunk above him, wondering if it was the darkness and the fact that he couldn't see her that made him say what he was about to say or maybe just the wine. "So then…we're like electricity?"

"Pardon?" she laughed.

"You know, one thing…attracted to another, an invisible charge. Opposites that attract," he murmured thoughtfully, "we're electricity."

"I suppose we are," she replied softly. For nearly a minute they sat there in the dark. Ron licked his lips uncertainly, wondering if he should say more.

"We can't turn off the lights though," he attempted a joke to break the silence.

"But we might be able to turn them on," she added. Ron's laugh came out more like a sputter. He was so surprised to hear such a suggestive comment come from Hermione. Perhaps the darkness emboldened her too. "Electricity," she repeated and laughed to herself. "We're not that opposite, are we?"

"Like chalk and cheese!" Ron laughed. "You're not exactly a Quidditch fan."

"I still enjoy watching a match though," she replied defensively, "and I said I'd root for the Cannons." Ron was reminded of the Chudley hat he'd given her that she'd packed away yesterday.

"You know what I mean."

"I suppose you don't really take your studies too seriously."

"And you aren't nearly as found of sweets as I am."

"That's only because my parents don't like me to eat them," she corrected. "I think we're more alike than you realize." Ron couldn't help but think she seemed somehow uneasy at the thought they were complete opposites. Ron didn't mind. He wouldn't like it if Hermione was exactly like him. It would be boring if she liked everything he liked. That would be like dating Harry. He liked the fact that she challenged him and made him learn new things and do things differently.

"Electricity," Hermione repeated the word to herself. Ron could just picture her smiling above him.

He grinned up at her in the darkness, pleased with himself that he could make her smile after such a long day. Maybe he didn't dislike the tiny compartment so much after all.

"Hermione?" he inquired then.


"Did you want to go to Milan?"


"Earlier today, in the train station, you looked - well, you looked as if you wanted to go to Milan." He recalled how her face had fallen when the young ticket agent had told them how much quicker the train to Zurich was. He could tell by her silence that she was surprised by the query.

"Oh, that. It's nothing, really." Her attempt to dismiss the matter fell on deaf ears.


"I've just never been to Italy," she admitted quietly. "I know it's silly and it's not the reason we're on the train in the first place and we wouldn't even have gotten to see anything." She strung her words together rather quickly, like Ron knew she did when she was embarrassed. "I just…I've never been to Italy."

"We'll go," he replied immediately without even thinking.

"What?" she laughed.

"Not now, but…sometime," he mumbled, trying to act casual, like he invited her on holiday in Italy all the time. "We'll go to Italy."

She said nothing, but he heard her give a pleased sigh and turn over in her bed. It was a pleasant thing to imagine. Maybe they'd travel by rail again in a slightly larger sleeping car so they could share the bedThey'd stop at all the cities they passed through. He'd buy her things. They wouldn't have to worry if there were people after them.

He could hear the tracks rattling beneath them and every now and then the train would lurch slightly. He wondered if she was listening to the tracks as well and if she was listening to him shift in his bed and thinking about him beneath her the same way he was thinking about her above him.

Then without a word, as if to answer him, her hand dropped down from the top bunk.

She dangled it loosely over the side, but he knew she was reaching for him and his hand immediately flew up to hers. Her fingers closed around his instinctively and he thought back to that night in Grimmauld Place when he'd first taken her hand and how wonderful it had first felt. He knew he couldn't hold it forever tonight, but he would as long as he could.

"Goodnight, Ron."

"Goodnight, Hermione."


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 23 of 45

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