Title: The World Can Wait
Author: Keira Marcos
Fandom: Harry Potter
Challenge: Fluff Bingo (Snuggling in Bed)
Relationship: Harry Potter/Hermione Granger
Word Count: 1394 (complete)
Summary: Hermione has a question about Harry’s decision to live in Rome.
His bedroom door opened and Harry shifted his covers around as he sat up. “Something wrong?”
Hermione shifted on her feet in the doorway. “Can we talk?”
“Sure,” Harry said and motioned her forward.
She gave a little shiver as she crawled onto the bed, so he flipped his covers open and silently gave his dick a lecture as she gratefully shimmied under them. Hermione curled up against him, and he found himself lying back down.
Hermione took a deep breath but said nothing.
“It’d be weird and totally out of the norm for us, but if I need to do all the talking in this, I really should’ve had more notice,” Harry said dryly.
Hermione laughed a little and pressed closer, so he pulled the blanket up to cover her. “I…are you really going to Rome?”
“Yeah, I am,” Harry murmured. “It’s a great opportunity, and I worked hard for the recognition. Is this about Ron? He’s already made it clear that he thinks I’m stupid for going, but that’s just jealousy talking. It’s been a long damn time since I let his inferiority complex guilt me into doing anything.”
She sighed. “He had plans for us and doesn’t know how to handle the fact that we’re not falling into line.”
“He blames me for you breaking up with him, you know,” Harry said.
She huffed. “Break up? Gah, Harry, we kissed once, and he acted like we’d gotten married right then and there. He tried to tell me to leave my parents in Australia. I promised them that I wouldn’t leave them memory charmed if I survived and he acted like that promise didn’t matter because they didn’t even remember me.”
“I overheard Molly tell him that it would be easier to keep you in the magical world in your proper place if your parents weren’t around to tempt you with ridiculous Muggle things.”
“I honestly can’t stand her,” Hermione said crossly. “I saw her yesterday, and she called me a slag under her breath when she walked past me!”
Harry snorted, and she poked him in the stomach. He caught her hand and kissed her palm. “Sorry.”
“No, I mean it’s kind of funny,” Hermione said. “But she’s ridiculous because she’s acting like I ruined Ron’s life by not actually dating him after the war.”
“He’s going nowhere fast, and his family knows it,” Harry said. “I imagine they all honestly expected you to marry him and keep him on focused the rest of his life. You dragged him through Hogwarts, so it why not make a career of it?”
“That is an absolute nightmare,” Hermione muttered. “But, yes, I imagine that is exactly what they all expected. No one in that whole family actually cares about what either one of us wants—it’s all about what Ginny and Ron want which I guess is fine because we’re not family.”
That had never been more clear to Harry than the day he’d told Ginny that they were never, ever getting back together. He hadn’t been welcome to speak to a single Weasley after that conversation. Even Fred and George had given him the cold shoulder, and he hadn’t been all that surprised to be contacted by the bank with an offer to buy out his investment in the business.
“She blamed me,” Harry murmured.
“What?” Hermione questioned.
“Ginny blamed me for Percy’s death,” Harry explained. “She said I owed her and her whole family for Percy’s death during the final battle. The war went on too long, and he wouldn’t have died if I’d done what I was supposed to do earlier.”
“How did she expect you to repay them?” Hermione questioned.
“I was to marry her and share my family’s wealth with them all in atonement. Moreover, she said I should just give her parents all the money I inherited from Sirius because I didn’t deserve it. I told her to go fuck herself.”
Hermione gasped. “Harry.”
“Well, that wasn’t all that I said, but that was my parting shot. There’s no telling what she told her family as a result and I honestly don’t care. Ron showed us who he was years ago and we really should’ve believed him.”
“Right.” Hermione exhaled noisily. “I want to go with you.”
“To Rome?” He questioned.
“To wherever you go,” she admitted and lifted her head to meet his gaze.
Harry cupped the back of her head, curling his fingers into her unbound hair. “Mi.”
“You’re all I’ve got,” she admitted.
“Your parents…” Harry trailed off as she shook her head.
“They hate it here and plan to go back to Australia as soon as possible,” Hermione admitted and took a deep breath. “They demanded I come with them and give up my wand. They said that magic had caused them nothing but grief but I can’t…I can’t give up my magic, Harry. I love them, but that feels like it would ruin me.”
“I get it,” Harry murmured and let his fingers trail through her hair. “I’m sure the ICW would make room for you and would’ve probably offered you a position already if they knew you’d be interested.”
Her cheeks flushed. “They offered months ago, but I said no because you were here…”
“What?” Harry asked. “Hermione, please don’t ever hold yourself back for me or anyone, really. You deserve better.”
Her eyes dampened with tears, and she took a deep breath. “You’re so thick, Harry Potter.”
He started to protest, but she pressed her mouth against his, and Harry realized they’d been having two very different conversations. He kissed back because he might be an idiot, but he wasn’t a fool. Underneath the sudden and intense lust, was a sense of welcome and home that he barely understood but knew instantly he’d never want to part with.
They parted, and Hermione took a deep breath. “I…”
“I haven’t been paying attention, have I?” He questioned, and she huffed a little. “In my defense, you’ve been telling me what I need to know since I was eleven.” He grinned when she frowned at him. “Seriously, though.”
“I…I didn’t want to pressure you or ruin our friendship, but it’s always been you, Harry, and I guess I’m tired of waiting for you to notice me or to make it clear it was never going to happen.” She rested against his chest and sighed. “Unrequited love is the worst.”
“Well, for the record it is utterly requited,” Harry murmured and rubbed her back gently as she relaxed against him. “Ron acted like he was entitled to you because we were friends, and I never wanted for you to look at me and see that bullshit in me, too.”
“I never would,” Hermione said. “You rarely believe yourself entitled to a damn thing, Harry, and it makes me want to hunt down your aunt and murder her.”
“Petunia Dursley will pay for her crimes eventually,” Harry said. “There is no peace in the afterlife for people like her. I knew that the moment I realized that Dumbledore hadn’t moved on to his next great adventure. He was lingering there in that sort of limbo because he was being punished and I’ll never know if I truly had to die to get rid of the horcrux or if I was even a horcrux at all. He certainly did everything to make me believe I was and Snape hammered that home for me.”
Hermione huffed. “I want to hire a necromancer to resurrect them so I can torture them.”
“Rude and illegal,” Harry said wryly. “Let’s just go to Rome and live a big magical life. There’s nothing left in Britain for either of us, and we deserve better anyway.”
“Let’s pack and leave today,” Hermione suggested. “We could spend the summer on the beach before your training program starts and I’ll register for classes at the International Academy of Magic.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Harry murmured but pulled her closer when she made a move to leave the bed. “In a little bit, let’s just be here together for a moment. The world can wait.”