Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 30 of 45

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Besides the Leaky Cauldron, he'd only ever stayed in one hotel before and that had been the one the Ministry had paid for when his dad had won the trip to Egypt. He'd never picked one out himself. The South Bank Hotel that Hermione led them to seemed pleasant enough from the exterior, but he wondered if they were they allowed to tramp through the hotel to see the state of the rooms first before agreeing to stay there. It seemed only rational.

"It looks okay, right?" Hermione chewed on her lip uncertainly and looked to Ron for confirmation.

"You know better than me," he shrugged, peering through the glass windows. He could see several large sofas and armchairs and uniformed employees standing about, but that was about all.

"Come on." She led him by the hand through the glass door. There was nobody else in the reception area save the employees, who all turned to stare at the two of them as they entered.

The receptionist had jet black hair tied behind her head and wore thin tortoiseshell glasses. She looked to the pair skeptically as they approached the desk, which made Ron even more uncomfortable. For some reason, he felt like it should be the bloke who got the hotel room so he insisted he would take care of it, even though he'd never done it before in his life.

"Erm - we'd uh – we'd like a room, please," he stated to the young woman, hoping he'd done a decent job disguising his own nerves. Ron wondered if they looked like they'd been to three different continents in the last two days.

"Are you over 18?" the receptionist asked while smacking her gum.


"May I see your identification?"

Ron gave a loud and exasperated sigh as Hermione reached into the beaded bag to present the identification papers Kingsley had given them. The receptionist looked unimpressed by the passports.

"Right. Would you like a smoking or non-smoking room?"

"Er - non-smoking, I'd wager," Ron replied. He'd never heard of a non-smoking room before, but doubted Hermione would want the lingering smell of smoke in their room.

"River view or Park view?"

"River," Ron stated a bit more confidently, knowing she would rather look out at the river.

"And one bed or two?" The receptionist asked routinely.

Ron's mouth dropped open unsurely, struggling how to respond to the question. In the last three nights they'd gone from two beds to one bed then back to two. If he said one he would be assuming things would happen, but if he said two then it would most certainly assure that nothing would. He didn't dare look to Hermione so he just stared back at the receptionist with ever-widening eyes.

"One," Hermione spoke up suddenly. She did her best not to flush when Ron looked to her with his mouth agape.

"And how will you be paying?" The hotel employee looked thoroughly amused.

"Cash." Hermione reached into her beaded bag, ignoring Ron's gobsmacked face. "We'll need to exchange cash."

The tortoiseshelled-receptionist looked suspicious about their form of payment and even more about their lack of bags as she directed them to the lift. It took Ron nearly half the trip up to room 514 to realise what she likely thought of their reasons for getting a hotel room.

She thought they were going to sleep together.

They were going to sleep together, Ron reminded himself, thinking of the one bed Hermione had requested. But the receptionist thought they were really going to sleep together; not the way they had in the sleeper car two nights ago, but the way his whole family thought they already were. He wondered if Hermione realised that the receptionist thought they were going to shag. She had asked for the one bed, after all. She couldn't possibly be that oblivious. Ron felt his palms start to sweat.

Hermione didn't seem at all nervous as she held the key in her hand, which was a bizarre thin piece of plastic that looked nothing like a normal key. The lock was not a normal looking lock either. Somehow a thin piece of plastic that Hermione inserted into the box attached to the front door unlocked it. Ron didn't even want to begin to ask how it worked. He wondered if it had anything to do with electricity and the invisible currents Hermione had taught him about; it seemed more magical than Muggle.

She pushed the door open wide and they both took a step through the door frame and looked about their new home. There was not much to it besides a large bed and a square black television set. Ron's interest was piqued by both, but he hoped his interest in the former wasn't too obvious. It was more than twice the size of his bed back at home, with large fluffy pillows and a thick magenta bedspread.

"I think I'm going to have a shower," Hermione announced, lifting the beaded bag over her shoulder.

"You just showered this morning back at Krum's," he remarked, quite anxious to settle down onto the bed. He felt like it had been ages since he'd kissed her.

"Yes, but that was before we trekked across all of Asia and jumped into the black lagoon."

"Right." Ron laughed at the reference he didn't quite understand, but assumed was about traveling by sapsoon. That was, after all, what had ended her silence. Ron recalled all too vividly that charged moment on the floor of the Tropics. She'd looked like she had wanted to kiss him. She honestly looked like she'd wanted to do more than kiss him, but she had refrained the same way he had. He didn't know where they went from there and neither did she.

"You can practice learning how to work the television." She motioned toward the giant black box in the middle of the room.

"Electricity?" he raised his voice in question and she just smiled.

She disappeared behind the bathroom door with her beaded bag and for a moment Ron's eyes just lingered on the closed door. He'd endured this before- the thought of her disrobing and showering so close to him. That had been in the tent though. Circumstances were different then. He hadn't known then what it was like to kiss her. He hadn't known then just how arousing she could be when she tugged at his hair and whispered his name. He hadn't known what it was like to feel her beneath him, her hips rising to meet his, the heat between their bodies seeming to warm the entire room.

"Are you trying the television?" she called through the door, snapping him back to reality.

"Working on it!" Ron sprang to his feet and began searching for some kind of switch. After feeling every inch of the box, he located a button that said POWER and pushed it. He was pleased to hear the box spring to life. He pushed the other buttons at random, but all that happened was black and white fuzz and a loud roaring noise that quickly overtook the hotel room. Ron continued to hit the button that had caused it, but nothing changed. He swore very loudly and heard Hermione laugh at him from behind the door.

"Try the remote control!" she called out amid her laughter. He could hear the sound of her jeans sliding around her ankles onto the tile floor. Merlin, there was no way he was going to be able to survive this. "It's the black rectangular wand on the table. Press the button that says 'channel'," she instructed.

He settled onto the bed to search for the remote, blowing out a long shaky sigh. Get a grip, Weasley. They'd journeyed across three different continents in the last three days and he'd done little more than hold her hand for most of it. The last four times he had kissed her had ended with her either her pulling away or pushing him away. She couldn't possibly even be thinking about what he was thinking about. They were in Australia. She was thinking about her parents. There was no way she had been imagining what would happen if he stormed into the bathroom right now. She probably didn't ever picture his awkward freckly body naked or think about him in the shower. The last time they'd talked about this she told him she needed time.

She had asked for one bed though.

His brain kept coming back to that. She had confidently told the receptionist that she wanted one single bed for them to share. Ron looked again to the bed then back to the television. Embarrassed that Hermione would think he hadn't been clever enough to work the silly box, he attempted to concentrate on removing the black and white fuzz.

The flat rectangular wand did nothing so he returned to pressing buttons on the boxy television frame itself. First he made the noise get louder, then he managed to make the fuzz go away, but then there was just darkness. Finally, he was able to get a moving picture to appear on the box. Unfortunately, the picture was of two people kissing torridly and removing each other's clothes, which didn't help his situation at all.

Ron pressed any button he could on the flat wand, trying desperately to remove the images. He could only imagine Hermione walking in and thinking he had selected it on purpose. Frantically pressing buttons only resulted in the sound of their smacking lips and heaving breaths growing louder. Finally, the images on the screen changed and the kissing couple disappeared, but he feared they would appear again so he searched around the room, horrified that Hermione would enter the room after her shower and think he was some kind of pervert. Unfortunately, Hermione had taken the beaded bag in with her so he had nothing to occupy himself aside from what was already in the room.

On the small table in the corner, he found a menu describing all kinds of delectable food dishes that his empty stomach would love to order as well as a colourful booklet describing sights to see in Brisbane. He picked up the pamphlets, trying to read anything to distract him. Third largest city in Australia, named after a Scotsman, capital of Queensland, 14 miles from the ocean. The facts and pictures distracted him well enough and he didn't even realize Hermione had finished her shower until she spoke to him.

"The water pressure's not very good, but it's all yours," she announced as she towelled her hair. Ron dared to glance up from where he was sitting at the table across the room. Her wet hair fell down her shoulders in damp tendrils that soaked the simple long-sleeved cotton shirt she wore in places. He didn't know if he'd ever seen her look so attractive before and immediately wondered if she was wearing a bra.

"I found these." He held up the reading materials suddenly, afraid he might otherwise comment and say something stupid, like how beautiful she looked in her jogging bottoms. "I've – er – I've found all kinds of things to do here," he sputtered. "It says there's a beach in the city – right in the middle of it – I reckon we walked right by it tonight - and ferryboat rides and a koala centre," he prattled on and held open the colourful pamphlet to show her the picture of the furry grey creatures. "Ginny told me to bring one back for her."

"You can't steal a koala."

"Disillusionment charm might work on a little one," he offered with a grin. "Also there's a list with all kinds of food. Is that the service to the room you were talking about?"

Hermione nodded her head and smiled, looking pleased that he remembered. Ron watched as she towelled off her hair some more. He had a strange desire to get up and do it for her, but he remained rooted to the uncomfortable chair in the corner.

"Why are you sitting there?" Hermione took note of his far-away position in the corner and laughed.

"Dunno," he mumbled and hoped she couldn't tell he was lying as he scratched his head nervously. He hadn't sat on the bed because it seemed too forward somehow. He figured if she emerged from the bathroom and found him sitting on the bed it would seem as if he were being presumptuous, and after their conversation in the sleeper compartment and the rocky past 24 hours, that was the last thing he wanted. "I reckon you paid for the whole room so…we might as well use the whole room, right?" Ron hoped she realised he was referring to the chair and was not in any way implying that they should use the bed for anything other than sleeping.

"I suppose." She looked to him curiously and his stomach did a somersault as he watched her turn down the bed. His eyes fixed on the crisp white sheets. They were going to sleep in there together. The two of them, Hermione and him, beneath the sheets. "If you tell me what you want to eat, I can order it while you have a wash."

"Right." Ron stood up abruptly and tried not to stare too hard at her. He wondered when turning down a bed had become so alluring. He supposed a cold shower would be exactly what he needed. He ought to just have a wank in the shower and be done with it so he wasn't wound so tight and turned on by everything she did.

"Where are you goingg?" Hermione laughed absurdly as he walked stiffly across the room.

"To have a shower?" he replied unsurely.

"Don't you want something to change into?" She laughed and reached into her beaded bag to pull out his rucksack.

"Right. Yeah. Thanks." Ron returned to take the rucksack from her outstretched hands and shuffled back to the loo.

"You all right?" Hermione looked to him quizzically.

"Fine. Just – a shower'll be good, yeah?" he stammered and then disappeared behind the door. He shut it so hard he worried Hermione might think he was angry. Leaning against the back side of the door, he let out a loud groan. He wasn't going to make it. Two days, three days, however long they'd be in this hotel room together, he would not make it. They should have asked for separate beds. Hell, they should have asked for separate rooms. There was no way he was going to make it through tonight without somehow fucking things up.

"Ron?" Hermione called his name through the door then and he leapt away from it at the sound of her voice. Bloody hell, why wouldn't she leave him alone? "You haven't told me what you want for supper."

"Um…" He tried to recall the menu he'd stared at for ten minutes. All he'd been thinking about for those ten minutes had been Hermione in the shower. "Cheeseburger!" he spat out the first food he could think of. Had there even been a cheeseburger on the menu? Yes, there had. It had all kinds of ridiculous things on it that sounded like the kinds of things his brothers used to make for him and force him to eat. "Yeah, I'll have a cheeseburger."

"Do you want chips?"

"Yeah." He wondered how she was being so cool. She'd clearly thought nothing of the fact that she'd asked for just one bed. Maybe she just expected he'd sleep on the floor or the chair and she'd take the bed.

He cursed himself for being a big enough fool to imagine Hermione would want to do anything with him after little more than a week together, especially since they'd done little but hold hands for most of their trip around the world. It was that damn conversation about Lavender that did it, the one she'd just apologized for. The next day they'd been at Krum's and then she'd been mad at him, or disappointed, or whatever she had said. And now they were here, and all he could think about was the last time they'd really kissed. They'd been alone, completely alone, in the sleeper car. He let the pleasant memories about what had happened on the train fill his thoughts while he tossed one off in the shower.

The weak shower felt more like standing in the rain, but that was all right with Ron. He was hardly washing anyway. He was simply standing there and thinking about Hermione and wondering what she had done in the shower. He wondered if she thought about these things too and if she ever touched herself the way he wanted to touch her. Ron braced his hands up against the shower tile. Merlin's saggy left bollock, what was wrong with him? They were in Australia. She was thinking about her parents. He hadn't been like this back at the Burrow. Well, he had. He'd been thinking about Hermione that way for years, but it had never been like this. All it had taken was those one stupid word from Hermione and he could think of little else.

Once he stepped out of the shower, he took his time pulling on his pyjamas and readying himself to face Hermione. For some reason, all he could think about as he got dressed was their conversation on the train about pyjamas and how intrigued she had sounded when she learned he was just sleeping in boxer shorts. He wondered what she would say if he were to tell her sometimes on warm nights back at the Burrow he went to bed starkers. He reckoned she wouldn't be so intrigued by the flannel trousers he was wearing now.

Ron looked in the mirror at his wet mop of hair. He'd just pulled a vest on over his head and his hair looked a bit like Harry's, sticking up in odd directions. He attempted to towel it off and smooth it down a bit so he didn't look quite so wild when he re-entered the bedroom. He recalled his mum fussing at him back at the Burrow about how long his hair had gotten. Hermione had remarked later that she liked it in this shaggy state, curling about his ears and hanging low on his forehead. Perhaps he'd keep it like this.

Her hair had gotten long as well in the last year, trailing further down her back than he could ever remember. That's the first thing he saw when he finally emerged from the bathroom- the wet tendrils of her hair soaking the back of her shirt. It wasn't nearly as wild when it was wet, but it certainly looked longer than ever. She was seated on the bed with her back to him and a giant map of the city stretched across the bed. There was also a notepad and a giant book of names and numbers, which was larger than their History of Magic textbook, opened up beside her. There didn't appear to be any place for him on the bed so he rifled through his rucksack awkwardly and shuffled toward the table in the corner again.

"I've just…got to find my…" He wracked his brain for something he had packed days ago, but he couldn't remember any of the items in his rucksack. "Jumper." He pulled out a thick woolly sweater. "For tomorrow…in case it gets cold." She either didn't pick up on his blubbering nervousness or was just too engrossed in the maps in front of her because she just nodded her head at his yammering.

"Come sit," she invited, scooting aside papers to make room for him. "I'm making a list of dental practices. After we go to the Ministry, I thought we'd start by going round to the ones on this side of the river."


"I thought we could start looking tomorrow."

"Great." Ron wondered what that meant they would do tonight.

"And I ordered dinner. It should be up soon."

"Great." Ron doubted he was capable of saying any other word. "Can I kiss you?" The inquiry burst from him suddenly, as uncouth as anything he'd probably ever said in his life. It felt like a strange request after over a week of kissing her whenever he wanted and rolling around on his bed back at the Burrow, but he felt strange about doing it now.


"Can I kiss you?" he asked again, feeling quite embarrassed. He was sure she'd heard him fine the first time.

"You don't have to ask!" she laughed, looking thoroughly amused by the request.

"Well, I just thought…you know, both times when we were on the train –you didn't really want to - and then – well, before that it was back at your house in Henley and you stopped me and – and then when I kissed you last night at Krum's - well, we just haven't really…since then -" he stammered, realising he was making it painfully obvious that he still kept track of each and every time they kissed.

"Yes, well, those were all - I just -" she stammered to try to explain all the other kisses. "Last night I wanted to talk about things," she explained why she'd pursed her lips together mid-kiss and shoved him away.

"And... we talked about things, right?" he inquired uncomfortably.

"Of course we did," she laughed.

"So can I kiss you now?"

"Of course."

Despite her assurance, he was suddenly nervous for some reason and felt very much like he had right before the first time he'd leaned across the bed and kissed her up in his bedroom. He felt like he was going back in time ten days. He knew what to do this time, he tried to remind himself. He knew she liked when he would slide a hand behind her head and weave his fingers into her thick hair. He angled his head toward her and parted his lips, but just as they were about to come into contact with hers she pulled away from him.

That marked five times in a row she'd withdrawn from a kiss. Five. He blew out a loud sigh that made no attempt to disguise his frustration, and withdrew his hands and ran them through his hair. She quickly tried to stammer an explanation.

"Sorry! I just – I – I - "

"What?" Ron frowned at her nervous stumbling.

"Nothing." Hermione took in a deep breath and gave him a tight-lipped smile, which seemed a bit unnatural. "It's nothing."

"You sure?" His voice was a low rumble as he moved his hand back behind her head, tangling it in her wet hair again. There was something much more intimate about the question and the way he was touching her that he knew even Hermione could pick up on. She simply nodded her head, and this time when he moved in to cover her mouth with his she didn't withdraw.

There was a nervous hesitation, a controlled restraint, to the manner in which he kissed her though, like if he dared to get too vigorous then she would know what had been on his mind since the lift. She seemed as equally hesitant, and Ron was reminded of that afternoon after he'd stormed away from the lunch table back at the Burrow. That was the first time they'd really had a proper snog. He'd been so angry with his mum for saying he couldn't go to Australia that he'd run off, and he was embarrassed now when he thought back to his reaction. His poor mum had just wanted to keep him home. This situation was probably the exact thing she'd been nervous about.

"Is this okay?" he asked unsurely, regressing back to that very afternoon when they'd both asked every few minutes if what they were doing was alright.

"Of course."


"Aside from your choice in television," Hermione remarked with a laugh, nodding in the direction of the bloody box Ron hadn't been able to work. The couple that was kissing torridly and undressing each other had returned on the screen and were now rolling around beneath a cotton sheet on a bed much like the one he and Hermione were on.

"I couldn't get that sodding box to work!" Ron explained and he hoped his voice didn't sound as squeaky to her as it did to him.

"A likely story," Hermione teased. Ron laughed, but had to wonder if she really thought he'd chosen the suggestive images on purpose. "You just press the channel button here," she explained kindly and demonstrated so that now what played on the screen was an automobile race and then a man standing on a beach and then two gentleman sitting on opposite sides of a desk.

"I tried that and it didn't work," he maintained, feeling foolish. They laughed for a while then, turning both their bodies to stare at the television and the characters talking on screen. Ron was entertained by the images and the conversation, which was funny, but it felt very much like they were watching it merely to avoid talking. It was like his listening to Neville talk about his Mimbulus Mimbletonia at the end of Sixth Year just to avoid having to look at Harry and Ginny snogging in the corner.

He knew she wanted him to kiss her again. He didn't know how to explain that the reason he was so hesitant is because he felt things change on the Tropics floor. He felt something change between them. He'd confessed how long he'd wanted her, not just hinted at it but really spelled it out, and now he was worried that he was going to eff things up. He was afraid that if he started kissing her things would end up like they had back in Henley or on the train car. He'd end up with a pillow in his lap or worse. Suddenly, he recalled her own hesitation when he'd moved in to kiss her the first time.

"Why did you stop me before?"


"Just before when you pulled away," he reminded her. "Why'd you do that?"

"Why? I don't know…I just…I don't know," she stammered. It wasn't like Hermione to be so ineloquent and Ron gave her a look that let her know. "It's nothing."

"It's something," he replied knowingly.

"It's nothing. Really." Ron desperately wanted to press her for answers, but doing so would only make her press him, and he didn't really want to talk about why he was so nervous either so he relented.

"Okay," he conceded, even though he knew something was amiss.

Nevertheless, he leaned over to capture her lips in his again.

This time she yielded to the soft strength of his mouth and moved both her arms up around him. The vest he wore exposed more of his skin than at any time they'd embraced and she could feel his muscled back and the bare skin of his shoulders. She hadn't touched him like this since that first night in the sleeper car, but there was a nervous halting and hesitant quality to the way she moved her hands, like she wasn't entirely sure where to put them all of a sudden. He wanted to move his own hands over them and remind her what they'd been doing the last time they'd done this, but he felt like they were starting all over again. After all their conversations, about Lavender and about Krum, after everything he'd just told her on the floor of the Tropics, this was different somehow. They both weren't wearing much aside from their pyjamas. He wasn't even sure she was wearing a bra, and he reckoned that had something to do with it, but there was more to the hesitation.

"You alright?" he asked warily, noting the oddly controlled way her mouth was still moving. She didn't offer a vocal response, just a nod of the head. "You sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. It's good," she assured breathlessly. "Just kiss me."

"Okay." Ron nodded his head obediently and his mouth moved over hers with a bit more vigour. He tangled one hand up in her wet hair, angling her head back, and the tender action seemed to encourage her because her jaw pushed against his mouth with increasing force. Her hands gripped him a bit tighter and they began to fall back into the familiar rhythm they'd spent nearly two weeks developing. He couldn't disguise the groan that sounded from his throat at the feel of her hands running over him in an increasingly possessive manner. This was the result of two days without a snog. This was how two days of drunken rows and heartfelt confessions culminated. He slid his hips down the bed and slowly lowered his body so he was lying down, carefully keeping his hand behind her head and guiding her down so she was lying beside him as well.

This was Australia.

They were snogging like they had only twice before now, except this time their behaviour had nothing to do with his grief or a bottle of wine. This was just because they wanted each other. They'd wanted each other for years. They'd waited all this time for each other and now they both knew it. They kissed with an increasing desperation that mimicked the snogging they did in the sleeper car. Except now they had an extra large bed to stretch out on and there literally were no secrets left before them. He'd laid himself bare before her on the Tropics floor. Now he reckoned it was time to lay themselves bare in other ways.

She gasped as he ran one hand up and down her leg, his fingers kneading her thigh suggestively. Boldly, he reached around and squeezed the flesh of her perfect arse. He was grabbing Hermione's arse, not just touching, not just grazing, but grabbing her arse, and fuck if she didn't seem to like it. In fact, her only response was to push even closer to him, increasing the friction between them. His hand slid around her hips then, slipping beneath her shirt, eager to feel more.

Feeling certain he was about to lose all control and chivalrous restraint, especially with her mouth working over his the way it was and her tongue teasing him, he pushed her shirt up her body, bunching it around her chest like a swimming costume. He dragged his mouth away from her and she looked confused for a moment, but then his eyes fixed on the pale expanse of skin he'd just revealed. Without giving it a moment's thought, he slid down the bed and pressed his lips to the smooth skin of her stomach.

It was bold, he knew, but he'd genuinely lost the ability to think about anything besides how much he wanted her. He kissed her again, just above her navel, and this time he moved both of his big hands to either side of her waist. He felt her suck in a breath at the action, and when he kissed her again she shuddered beneath him like she'd just been hit with a shocking hex. He smiled, quite pleased with himself, though a bit unsure what to do next. He reckoned this was just like kissing the skin on her neck so he did the same thing. He could feel her eyes following him while his tongue swirled over the soft skin that he knew no lips or tongue had ever felt before. It was the most sensual thing he'd ever done and he could feel the muscles beneath him jump with every kiss and nip and flick of his tongue.

He wasn't sure what to think when she suddenly grabbed his face in her hands. He thought maybe he'd gone too far south, but when he halted and sat up to look at her, all he saw was her pulling the long-sleeved shirt up over her head.

Fuck, she was getting undressed.

Ron tried not to look so surprised, but he knew his eyes were wide as he stared at the pale pink bra she was wearing. It was different from the one he'd seen on the train and he tried hard not to stare as he looked to her breasts beneath the cups. They sat up on the bed then, he in his vest and she now in just her bra, and he wondered if he was supposed to say or do something. He was mesmerized by the sight of her and what she'd just done.

Tentatively, he reached for her waist first. There were certainly other places he'd rather grab, but he sensed the frailty of the moment. The way the past few days had gone, he knew very well he could either make a right mess of things here or proceed slowly and with caution. So he tried for a kiss, his other hand weaving itself in her hair, still damp from the shower. She reached for him with both hands in reply, her thumbs resting against his jaw and her fingers wrapped around his neck, and they collapsed back to the bed.

This was Australia. This was fucking brilliant.

Their kisses were softer now, not quite so desperate. There was no sharp intake of breath, no nervous hesitation. He was calmer now, not nearly as greedy, but touching her in an almost reverent manner. He felt ridges on her arms and bumps that, without looking, he knew were scar tissue. He realised there was a lot more to this moment than just the fact that she was in her bra. It was the first time in weeks she hadn't bothered covering her arms in front of him. His hand ran across the bandage she'd kept wrapped around her left forearm and he could feel her withdraw from his touch at the action. So he left her arms and wrapped them around her body then, eager for this to continue, revelling in the feel of the small of her back as she edged her body even closer toward his. His hands moved up her back then, over the straps of her bra and she didn't withdraw, not even when he pushed them down her arms so he could touch the bare skin of her shoulder.

He didn't hear the knock at first. When he did take notice of it, he thought it was the television.

"That'll be the food," Hermione informed, but made no effort to get up.

"Can't they just leave it in the corridor?" The words were hot and breathy on her cheek as he traced his way up from her neck back to her mouth. He was desperate for her to stay and for this moment to last. He was comforted only by the fact that she looked no more pleased by the interruption than he had.

"It'll get cold out in the hall."

"It'll get cold?" Ron laughed in disbelief. "Are you a witch or not?"

"I am, but I'm also hungry!" she laughed. "Unless you're telling me that squid and jellyfish filled you up!" She reminded him of their meal back in Thailand and began to wriggle out from beneath him. Only when she grasped his chin between her fingers and gave him the briefest, most fleeting of kisses, did he let her go. There was a promise in the way she kissed him. They would continue this. She wanted to continue this.

"I am really hungry," he admitted finally and relented, allowing her to climb off the bed.

Knotting his fingers behind his head, he watched her pull her shirt back on, smoothing out her clothes and running a hand through her hair like she had back at the Burrow every time they went downstairs to see his family. As if the person delivering the food was going to judge her based on how wrinkled her clothes were and what she might have been doing. Ron peeked through the open door to see who had in fact brought the food up. The idea of food coming straight to their door seemed almost magical. Ron half expected it to be brought by a house elf and he was disappointed to see it delivered by a uniformed member of the hotel staff.

Despite how badly he wanted to continue what they'd started on the bed, his growling stomach took over as soon as he smelled the food. The cheeseburger was enormous and he loved that it came with a side of chips larger than the burger itself, which was saying something as Ron thought he'd need to dislocate his jaw just to eat it. She had ordered a club sandwich that rivalled his burger in size and came with a cucumber salad. They ate it right there on the bed atop the maps of Brisbane and the paper and parchment full of telephone numbers she had already written down.

If not for those very maps, Ron could almost forget the reason they were here in the first place. Everything about being in this hotel room felt like a dream. Hermione laughed at his burger, which was unlike anything he'd ever eaten back in England. It had everything on it but the kitchen sink: pickled beets, a grilled pineapple ring, even an egg fried sunny-side up. She refused to take a bite of the monstrous burger, not even when he insisted it was delicious.

"I wish I'd thought to order dessert," he murmured thoughtfully as he watched an image of chocolate dance across the television screen. "There was a chocolate sponge cake on the dinner menu that looked really good."

"The Lamimgton?"

"Yeah, that was it! With the coconut all around and the raspberry jam in the middle." Ron's mouth watered just thinking about it.

"It's a good thing I ordered it then," Hermione laughed and reached over the edge of the bed, suddenly producing a white paper box that she had apparently hidden.

"You are the best, Hermione! Truly the best!" Ron leaned over the bed to place a sloppy wet kiss on her cheek as he eagerly opened the box and found the coconut encrusted cake inside. "Merlin, I love you."


The words hung in the air for the briefest of moments. He had to say something else, anything else to fill this empty silence.

"And this cake! I love this cake and I haven't even eaten it yet." He clambered for a clean fork, hoping she would somehow forget the declaration.

"Right." She looked thoroughly amused at his excitement over the dessert and not at all annoyed or disappointed at his rush to forget the other words he'd spoken. "Chocolate and jam," she laughed, "two of your favourite things in the world."

Besides you, Ron almost blurted out. He'd take Hermione over chocolate and jam any day of the week. He wondered if she knew that. There was an almost knowing look in her eyes at her last words. He handed her a fork, inviting her chivalrously to take the first bite. She laughed softly to herself and he couldn't figure out whether she was laughing because he was so eager to eat the cake or because he was clearly so eager for her to forget what he'd just said.

He speared a large piece and shoved it into his mouth, wondering why he couldn't have just said thank you. Now he'd gone and blurted it out like an idiot and she clearly wasn't there with him or she would have said it back. She would have said something. He watched her as she carved a small piece of chocolate sponge cake with her fork and delicately brought it to her mouth.

"It's good," she spoke calmly and just like that the words seemed to be forgotten.

She gave him another tutorial about working the television while he finished the cake, emphasizing his need to point the wand at the television. She assured him once he learned to use it that he would love it, but Ron wasn't so sure. He attempted to practice while they ate, but he kept mixing up the buttons that made it louder and the buttons that changed the picture. The picture they'd settled on now was about little furry creatures called Tasmanian Devils that Ron thought were so ill-tempered they ought to be the mascot of Slytherin House. He was intrigued by the products for sale on the television, too.

"So can you buy them through the television, then?" Ron inquired as he lay back and stuffed his face with chips while watching an advertisement. Most of the products for sale seemed to be food. He liked the current advertisement, which was for a delectable looking combination of chocolate biscuits and cream.

"No, you can't buy them through it." Hermione shook her head in amusement. "They just tell you what to buy on the telly."

"Telly," Ron repeated, committing the word to memory. "Well, I want to buy some of those Tim-Tams." His mouth watered just looking at the delicious biscuits.

"We'll get some tomorrow then." Ron couldn't help but think Hermione looked and sounded more content than she had in a long time at the mention of tomorrow. "You know, your dad will be quite jealous of all the Muggle things you've seen," she remarked in a sudden change of conversation. Talking about his parents felt strange as they sat there on the bed in the hotel room they shared, eating dinner alone. Hermione seemed to read his thoughts. "I'm sure they're worried about you," she reminded him. "We were supposed to be here three days ago."

He turned to look at her then, her head on the pillow beside him, a content smile on her face and a hint of chocolate still at the corner of her mouth.

He did love her. He knew he did. He thought about the confession over dinner they were both pretending had never happened. Maybe she wasn't pretending. Maybe this is all that loving somebody meant. She knew it. He knew it. He reckoned they both had for a while. It didn't really matter if he said it or not. It wasn't some shocking declaration and nothing would change. Maybe that's all she was trying to show him.

"Well, we're here at last," he stated happily. He wondered if Hermione knew he was referring to them as much as he was their location. She gave him a shy tight-lipped smile that answered his question.

"Yes, we're here at last."

As the unavoidability of sleep drew nearer, Ron found it more and more difficult to act normal. His careless utterance seemed to have been forgotten, but pretending like they shared a hotel room every day and lying on the bed he knew they would be sharing sleep in was a nearly impossible task. It was so different from the sleeper car. This wouldn't be like her passing the night beside him in her clothes or taking a nap together in Gryffindor Tower. They were going to sleep together in this hotel room every night they were here. She wanted to sleep together. She'd requested it. He kept hearing that one word she'd said downstairs at the desk.


One bed.

He recalled how they'd been on the bed before the food had arrived. Her hips had risen to meet his. She'd enjoyed the contact, had seemed to crave it. He recalled her words over the past three days when they'd talked about 'it'. They'd had so many conversations now it was difficult to keep track. He supposed that was a good thing, but her actions and her words often didn't align, and it was all so bloody confusing. She talked about forethought and responsibility one night and the next night confessed to wanting to do 'stuff', but then admitted she needed 'time'. Her words were so ineloquent and vague. She knew ten synonyms for every word and never left things so unclear. He recalled how hesitant she had been tonight, pulling away from him three times before finally relaxing and never offering an explanation. He wondered if it was possible she was thinking the same things he was. He knew there was only one way to find an answer, but his courage left him suddenly as he watched her tiny frame slide beneath the covers.

"Do you…" The words died in his throat so he took in another breath. "Do you want me to sleep in the bed?"

"Well, where else would you sleep?" Hermione laughed absurdly.

"I dunno. I could sleep…you know, just… atop the covers if you like..." For some reason, the act of slipping beneath the sheets seemed much more intimate than anything they'd ever done and he felt like he needed to hear her say it. Despite all that had been said on the floor of the Tropics, their conversation in the sleeper car and the way she'd withdrawn was still fresh in his mind.

"That's silly," she dismissed simply.

"Well, so…you want me to sleep in the bed next to you?"

"No, Ron, I want you to sleep on the floor by yourself." Hermione rolled her eyes at him, but still didn't say what she wanted.

He wondered if she was even thinking about this the way he was, or if she even realised the sexual nature and implication of sharing a bed. He wondered how to go about reminding her that there were parts of him that tended to do things of their own accord, especially when he was asleep.

She just looked to him expectantly from the other side of the wide bed. Tentatively, he peeled back the covers and climbed beneath the sheets. It was bigger than any bed he'd ever slept in before, even with Hermione at the other end of it. He pulled the crisp hotel sheet around his midsection. Every time they had lain together on his bed back at the Burrow, they were nestled comfortably against each other. Her legs were usually entwined in his, her arm thrown around his body, her lips sometimes pressed to his neck. But then they were wearing heavy denim jeans and it was more than just a few thin layers of cotton that separated her bits from his.

"You can come closer," she invited again, but Ron could hear that her voice sounded as small and unsure as he was.

"Do you want me to?" He didn't mean for his voice to come out like a whisper. He didn't mean to sound so uncertain. This just felt huge, bigger than a kiss, or than anything they would or could ever actually say or do to one another. And Hermione didn't say anything, she just nodded her head.

His eyes held hers with a strange confidence that the rest of him was lacking as he slowly inched toward her.

He thought about his confession back in the Wet Tropics and the words she'd uttered to him.

It's always been you.

She was breathing loudly, taking in great steadying breaths like she needed to calm herself to grasp the reality of what they were doing. His breaths weren't as loud as hers, but he definitely needed to steady himself and think clearly. Everything was different now. Every action between them felt more charged than ever before.

They were on their sides now facing each other, their faces so close he could have easily kissed her. He moved a hand to her shoulder, softly caressing her arm until he held her hand in his.

"Is this - ?" he began to ask, but she cut him off.

"It's all right," she assured. "Better than all right," she echoed his words the first time they'd had a proper snog back at the Burrow.

"And you want to?"

"Want to what?"

"Well, sleep together." What a tit he was. He couldn't even say it like a man, couldn't ask her the way he'd wanted all night.

"Yes, that's what one does in a bed," she laughed and she moved a hand to his cheek. Her fingertips slid down his jawline then, resting just under his chin.

"And you…just want to sleep then?" he tried not to sound so crestfallen.

"Well." At the bottom of the bed her cold feet reached out and touched his long hairy legs. He jumped initially at the touch, but then she was weaving her tiny legs in between his in an action more dangerous than she probably realised. "Maybe do a bit more than sleep -"

But Ron was kissing her before she could elaborate.

They were tentative kisses at first, like they had been earlier. He kissed every part of her face and neck. Because this was Hermione and they were in Australia and this wasn't just a snog. They were in bed together and this was everything he wanted to tell her, but still didn't know how. Her pyjamas were thin and he could feel the outline of her knickers through them when he felt her bum. He thought about her words about needing time and then their confession on the floor of the Tropics. It's always been you. I want you too. One bed.

Her hands were tangled in his hair, fingers running over his scalp, pressing his mouth harder against hers. She liked this, embracing beneath the covers in the dark, their legs tangled up at the end of the bed. She liked how he was touching her the same way he had earlier. So, without giving it much more thought, his greedy hand travelled up her leg and rested between her thighs.

She was surprisingly warm and her cotton pyjamas did little to disguise the heat he could feel there. For a moment he did nothing but just take in the feel of her. He didn't even move his hand at all, for fear she would withdraw. As it was, her mouth continued to move over his his and she pressed her knees together, trapping his hand against her for a moment. She enjoyed it. Ron felt his heart beating out of his chest and his blood begin to flow southward. She liked where he was touching her. He moved his fingers then, clumsily pressing into her, but as soon as he did her hand was on his chest pushing him back and he knew he was stupid to actually presume Hermione Granger would want to have sex with him after ten days of snogging.

"Look, I know you want to -" she began to speak, running her hands through her hair.

"It's fine." He blew out a long weary breath as he said the words.

"It's just – it's only been ten days, you know?"

"It's been a lot longer than ten days," he countered, "and you know it has."

"This is just happening really fast," she admitted what even Ron couldn't deny. Things had happened fast. Perhaps the physical part wasn't moving as fast as he'd like, but everything else was. The conversations that they had contained words he doubted he'd ever say to anyone. "Being with you – it makes me feel… " There was a long pause as she struggled for the right words, and Ron wracked his brain imagining what she might say.

Amazing. Magical. Scandalous. Randy. Dirty. Wet.

"It makes me feel a way I've never felt and it's...scary."

"Scary?" Ron frowned at the odd choice of words.

"It makes me want…things I've never really wanted before."

"What kind of things?" he pressed.

"I think you know," she hinted with a shy smile that pleased Ron to see, especially after her comment about being scared by the things he made her feel.

"I think I want to hear it." He tried to repeat the game they'd played with each other all week and she grinned, recognising what he was trying to do.

"Things my parents would not approve of," she replied tastefully, her legs reaching out and brushing his.

"I reckon mine wouldn't approve either," Ron grinned.

"I just...sometimes it's what I want -"

"You do want to?"

"- but sometimes it's not -"

"So you don't want to?"

"I just think, until all of me wants it all the time -"

"You have to want to all the time?"

"Stop!" she laughed in annoyance at his constant questions and the teasing nature of the last inquiry. Ron laughed too, and when he moved his hand onto her stomach he loved feeling it shake with laughter. He loved that they could laugh about this. He loved that they could talk about it. He loved that he could touch her like he was. This was the part that had happened so quickly in ten days. He didn't know much about relationships, but he was confident talking like this was good. "I just mean, until I don't feel scared and I don't feel all...we shouldn't."

He wanted to tell her he thought she was making it more confusing than it needed to be, but he reckoned that wasn't the right thing to say. He didn't know what the right thing to say was. He didn't like what she was telling him, but he couldn't very well tell her that. He wasn't sure if this was where he was supposed to say something, like how he'd wait until she was ready or he was okay just kissing her for the next year. Ten days had felt like torture, and he doubted he could make it another year. Still, he wondered if there wasn't a part of him that was as confused as Hermione.

He remembered back when he was little overhearing his mum refer to Charlie getting in trouble for having carnal knowledge of a Hogwarts classmate. He'd been curious what it meant to have carnal knowledge and he'd asked his brothers, but they'd refused to answer so he had looked it up in the dictionary. The book had said something about crude bodily pleasures and appetites, which had confused Ron even more at the time. For some reason, that definition was all he could think about now.

Crude bodily pleasures and appetites.

The definition made him feel funny. He looked to Hermione's breasts beneath her blue pyjamas and thought about the feel of her warmth under his fingers. He certainly had an appetite for Hermione and the things he sometimes thought about doing with her were definitely crude. But that wasn't all he wanted. Part of him actually delighted in just kissing her for hours. Then part of him reckoned he'd like to shag her brains out like his brother had teased. Still, another part of him was a bit terrified by the thought. Being together like that was serious.

"So until then?" he inquired, wondering what exactly this conversation meant for their relationship.

"Until then we can keep know..." She hinted as her foot rubbed against him. Ron wanted just to nod his head and agree, but he had no idea what she was referring to. So, since honesty seemed to be the trend of the night, he came clean.

"I don't," he admitted with a shake of the head, tired of the vague words and confident they would just get him into trouble. "I don't know what any of it means."

"Okay," Hermione said the word slowly, looking thoroughly surprised by the level of frustration in his voice. "What do you want me to say?"

"I mean, like, what does 'wanting to do stuff' mean? Or - or 'needing time'," he referenced the conversation on the sleeper car. "I don't know what you mean when you say any of that."

"What do you need, like a list of things we can do?" Ron could now hear the frustration in her voice rising now too.

"I just need you to- "

"Do you need like an actual list with explicit details?" she laughed mockingly.

"I just need you to tell me what you want!" he fired, unsure why he was suddenly raising his voice.

"Well, I don't know!"

"Well, I don't know if you don't know!" he cried back.

And now they were fighting. Was this a fight? Were they fighting in their pyjamas alone beneath the covers in a hotel bed? He wasn't even sure. Relationships were confusing. One minute they were laughing and then they were kissing, and then they were talking, and suddenly now they were like this. He wasn't even sure what like this meant. He thought about Harry's confession about their trip. Harry had called him brave for taking a trip to the other side of the world alone with Hermione. Suddenly, he understood his friend's view. He couldn't just leave the hotel room or avoid this awkward conversation. They couldn't be distracted by searching for Horcruxes or by Portkeys or by anything else. They were lying in bed together and they were talking about this.

"I just told you!" Hermione laughed.

"No, you didn't." Ron shook his head and tried to speak more calmly. "You said this is all happening fast, and I get that. Then you say you're scared of being together and that's, you know, awful because I don't want to make you feel that way. But then sometimes you obviously like it." Ron saw her avert her eyes from his momentarily at the accurate statement. "And I don't know what you want." Hermione was silent. Ron was fairly certain it was probably because she didn't know what she wanted either. "I just don't want to fuck this up," he finally confessed.

There was a long pause before Hermione finally spoke.

"I just want it to feel natural."


"You know." Ron didn't bother mentioning the notable fact that neither of them still seemed able to openly say what they were referring to. He figured that was probably important, but kept his mouth shut. "I want being with you like that to feel like kissing you. You know, like it's the most natural thing in the world, and I don't want to have to even... think about it or be nervous or scared or – or anything. I just want it to feel... right."

"And it doesn't feel right?" He let out a loud sigh and scratched his head then. He tried to be calm and patient and not the randy git he knew he was being, and to ignore the troublesome notion that anything they did beyond kissing still didn't feel completely right to her.

"Sometimes it does and sometimes...there's just a lot of other stuff," she sighed and ran a hand through her hair. Ron was slightly comforted by the fact that she at least seemed frustrated with herself and her own idiosyncrasies.

"I reckon there is a lot of other...stuff in my head," he admitted, thinking about the train ride and the nightmares and his brother and her parents and all the stuff that had just caught up with him on the park bench. He thought about the fact that neither of them could even actually say what it was they might both want.

"So...we should wait, right?" Hermione looked to him uncertainly for confirmation. "Until all that other stuff isn't there?"

The first thing Ron wanted to say was that those things would always be there, but he bit his tongue. He knew he would live to regret whatever words he spoke next. If he said no and told her how he reckoned that other stuff would always be there, he looked like a randy git. If he said yes, it meant agreeing to wait an indeterminable, seemingly impossible amount of time to be with her. He still wasn't sure what waiting meant and whether he'd still be able touch her or carry on like they had been. That's what he desperately wanted to know and what she still hadn't answered.

"I guess, yeah." He hoped his reply didn't sound as glum to her as it did to him.

"And we're okay?" she asked quietly then after a long pause. "About…you know…this?"


"And you're not angry?"

"Angry?" Ron was horrified by the thought that she could somehow translate his eagerness to do more as impatience or anger with her. "I could never be angry with you over this." His words echoed about the empty room, seeming to offer her the assurance she needed. "I…" The words were there. They were so close. He didn't know why he still couldn't just say them properly. He'd told her twice already, blurted the words out before he even realised he was saying them. When he actually thought about telling her and reminded himself that he had already confessed his love over homework and chocolate cake, he felt his throat constrict though.

Hermione just smiled as his voice trailed away. He was confident she had known what he was about to say, but she was letting him off the hook for the third time today. He wanted to say something to her then, anything to let her know how deeply he cared for her, and how much he loved her even if he was too much of a bloody coward to tell her the way she deserved.

She turned over then before he could say anything and the abrupt action surprised him. Before he could open up his mouth to object to her leaving, he realised she was just turning over to nestle against him. She snuggled up so her whole body was flush with his, her backside now pressed against him. He could feel her warmth and he was sure she could feel his heart beating against her back. It was a kind of perfection Ron could never have imagined. Two bodies curled up so they fit into each other's nooks and comfy places.

He thought about the first night in Gryffindor Tower ten days ago when he'd been so disgruntled at his mum's sleeping arrangements. He thought about Ginny's teasing comments five days ago at his brother's funeral about how he couldn't stay the night on the camp bed with Hermione. He thought of all those nights in the tent this year when he'd thought about just crawling into Hermione's sleeping bag. This was what he'd wanted, what he'd longed for for so long. To fall asleep together, not because he was too pissed to take care of himself, not just because they could or because they had to, but because they wanted to- because she wanted him there against her just as much as he did.

He nuzzled close to her, his breath warming the back of her neck, and the action caused her to inch backwards, edging even closer to him as she let out a contented sigh. The sound reminded him of the first time he'd kissed her up in his bedroom. It gave him the courage he needed to drape an arm around her waist and snug her body even closer to his. They were nestled so close together now. He could feel her arse against his crotch and he desperately hoped his own body wouldn't betray him and ruin the moment. Despite his nerves and his attempts not to press into her bum, the intimacy of the position itself felt unbelievably natural. They fit together in a way that made him wonder why they hadn't lain like this earlier.

He felt like he ought to say something now and he suddenly recalled her words to him earlier today on the floor of the Tropics.

"I do trust you," he mumbled against the skin of her neck. "I reckon I trust you more than anyone in the whole world. You have to know that."

She didn't respond, but he felt her take in a deep breath. He wondered if he should say something more, but she seemed to enjoy the silence and simply gave another contented sigh. This was a kind of closeness he didn't know was possible to experience, feeling her chest rise and fall beneath his hand, his face buried in the curls of her hair.

A few weeks ago he had watched her sleep at Shell Cottage. Her body had still been sore and bruised and broken from her torture. Their future had been uncertain then, nearly hopeless, and there had been nothing pleasant and peaceful about sleeping beside her. He'd been able to do little more than sit in a chair, watch her eyes close and listen to her ragged breathing as she drifted off to sleep. That sound alone had been a comfort, the rising and falling of her chest a painful reminder of how close he'd come to losing her.

Tonight, she was nestled securely in his arms and he could actually feel each breath against him. He thought about a life of falling asleep next to Hermione. Not marriage and babies and other equally terrifying thoughts, but a lifetime of just this, the two of them together. For the first time, he realised what everybody already seemed to back in Gryffindor Tower two weeks ago.

They had their whole lives ahead of them. This was just the start.


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 30 of 45

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