Fandom: Harry Potter
Series: Song Out of Tune
Title: Here You Come Again
Pairing: Hermione/Fleur Blaise/Padma
Rating: R (if that really)
Author: Morte206 -- email@example.com
Disclaimer: The initials on my drivers license continue to be CMF not JKR. The characters and settings are copyrighted to JKR with the exception of any original characters herein. This is an original work of fiction.
Summary: Here you come again...and there I go.
Archive: Girls Dormitory, The Realm and list archives okay. Mucho thanks to Kim at the web for harboring my flights of fancy. http://www.realmoftheshadow.com/morte206.htm
Feedback: I find that I am partial to receiving it. Feedback the good the bad and the ugly can be sent directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author's Notes: For some reason the Dolly Parton song of the same name kept going through my head when I wrote a major portion of this fic, hence the title. And the summary which is the refrain from the aforementioned song.
Thanks to my incredible beta, Blyss, without whom this might not have happened or at least not happened as well.
"Go on then you’re never going to get a better chance."
"I can’t Blaise what if…what if we’re wrong. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before remember in Vegas last summer that was mortifying."
"Mortifying, are you out of your mind? Asking a woman to dance and having her say no is not mortifying," Blaise gestured expansively as she talked, "Disappointing sure. I’ll give you that but mortifying that’s a bit much."
"What was mortifying was her boyfriend saying no for her."
"Honestly though what did he expect bringing his very hot girlfriend to a gay club."
"So you see…"
"I see nothing but you attempting to dodge the matter at hand yet again. Now we’ve spent the better part of the afternoon practically stalking her. Go in there and sit down." Blaise nudged Hermione in the direction of the entryway to the teashop where their prey was enjoying an afternoon cup of tea and a good book.
"I can’t…what’s the point anyway I’m still at Hogwarts," Hermione said this last in a plaintive tone that still bespoke of the pain of her breakup with her first girlfriend. "That hasn’t changed and"
Blaise interrupted her again. "That was the most asinine bullshit excuse I’ve ever heard for breaking up with someone but aside from that she’ll understand. She spent a year here or don’t you remember?"
"I recall that year all to well thank you," Hermione said curtly. Fourth year the Goblet of Fire, the Tri-Wizards Tournament, the Yule Ball, the fake Mad-Eye Moody she remembered all of it. Cedric all light and sunshine eager to prove himself and Hogwarts. Viktor dark and brooding the first boy to notice her, really notice her, as a girl. Fleur silver and radiant, casually cruel in that way that great beauty seems to give license to.
And Harry scared confused victorious Harry scarred beyond imagining. Yes she remembered fourth year well enough. "I remember she was stuck up beyond belief."
"You said it yourself, she dated Bill Weasley she can’t be that stuck up. Come on H. I have to use the bathroom" Blaise grabbed Hermione’s hand and pulled her towards the teashop. Hermione dug her heels in, "I’ll wait for you here", she said. "We’ll get a table have a spot of tea ourselves. I promise you don’t have to go talk to her."
Blaise rolled her eyes. "And I won’t do anything overtly embarrassing so that you’re forced to talk to her. Does that cover it?"
Their entry into the teashop was accompanied by the tinkling of bells. Fleur looked up from her book and seeing Hermione gave a small wave. "She just waved at you," Blaise hissed, "What more do you want."
"Oh just go to the bathroom. I’ll get our drinks, chai tea for you right?"
"Yes thank you. Be right back then," Blaise headed for the restroom noting as she did so that the only available table was next to Fleur’s. When she returned she found the table occupied and Hermione was instead sitting with Fleur.
"Blaise you know Fleur right," Hermione said as Blaise took the seat next to her directly across from the blonde part-Veela.
Blaise extended her hand in greeting across the table, "Of course. A pleasure to see you outside of the bank." Fleur smiled and shook her hand. "Chai tea right?" she held up her own cup. "I love it. So wonderful either way, hot or cold, particularly with a good book don’t you agree?"
"Quite. See Mione I keep telling you, you should try it. She doesn’t really have much of a sweet tooth you see. Parents are dentists," Blaise shrugged eloquently, "You know how that goes."
"And just what kind do you like Hermione?"
"Well my favorite of all is this blend my parents brought back with them from a trip to Canada. They went to Victoria and stayed at the Empress Hotel. Any way they serve a high tea and the house blend is simply exquisite. Otherwise I just get an herbal tea of some sort usually. I rather like coffee to tell the truth. The Muggles have this place, Starbucks, have you heard of it?" Fleur nodded yes. "I got addicted over the summer at my parents’ house."
"I’ve heard it rather tastes like swill actually. Besides nothing beats a good Italian espresso."
"I’m afraid I must disagree. You don’t know caffeine heaven until you have had coffee from a French press."
Blaise’s retort was cut short by the vibrations of the talisman, the wizarding equivalent of a pager, which she always carried in her pocket. She took it out of her pocket, read the message and stood. "Ladies if you’ll excuse me I’m afraid I must leave you."
"Work," Hermione asked. "You need any help?"
"No it’s just a prep job. I’ll see you later at dinner. If you see Pad tell her will you." Padma and Parvati were spending the day together doing all sorts of girlie things like shopping and trying on clothes for hours, that annoyed Blaise to no end.
"Certainly." Hermione smiled up at her friend. "Perhaps I’ll try your tea," she pulled the other girl’s cup of chai tea to her.
Under the pretense of kissing Hermione goodbye Blaise whispered, "Go for it. Tell me everything." She straightened up and waved to Fleur, "I’ll have to try that French press of yours’ someday." And with that she was off leaving Hermione and Fleur alone at last.
Hermione sipped at her tea.
"You really should try the chai." She still had an accent though it had faded noticeably.
"You’re English has really improved." Smooth Hermione really smooth, she thought to herself.
"A side benefit to working at Gringotts."
"That’s right it’s been two years almost if I’m not mistaken."
"You’re not." Fleur spoke softly yet Hermione had no trouble hearing her even over the din of the street outside and the soft murmurs of conversation around them. "Have you thought about what you’ll do after Hogwarts? This is your last year is it not?"
"I’ve applied to Infinitas University. They have a dual degree program with Oxford University I’m hoping to be accepted into."
"A very famous Muggle university."
"I’m sure you’ll get in." Fleur smiled at her over the rim of her cup. "Perhaps I’ll see you at Infinitas then. I decided to go back to school myself."
"You’ve been accepted then already. You’ve heard."
"I was accepted straight away from Beaubaxtons but I took a – how do you say it – a delay in admittance to work at Gringotts and save some money."
"You mean a deferment," Fleur nodded. "Your parents won’t help you with your fees," Hermione asked indignantly.
"No they would…no that’s not right…they will," the Frenchwoman corrected herself, "and I will use my savings for living expenses. You spoke of working just now with your friend…"
"Like you I am saving money."
"So your parents won’t pay your fees? May I ask why?"
"They can…they will. It’s just they can’t pay them all. They’ve gotten a new baby you see." She’d gotten the news only the day before she had a new baby sister Claudia Louise. Her parents had paid handsomely to adopt her. "My mother has stopped working and well the money simply won’t be there. Not for everything at any rate like you I will need to cover living expenses."
"And what is it you help the necromancer with?"
"I just assist on house calls when they need another body there, another live body that is, to help with the removal."
"And have you saved much?"
"A few hundred galleons. I earned most of it over the summer and winter holiday. I’ve too much studying, NEWT exams are this year, plus I’m Head Girl so there’s all that…well it just doesn’t leave much time to work."
"Do you like it?"
"It’s okay. Really I just stand there and look somber. Blaise’s father has offered me a job after Hogwarts. I’m to be the night receptionist and caretaker at their parlor near the university. Assuming I get in of course."
"Are there really any doubts," Fleur said with just a hint of laughter in her voice.
/ / / / / /
"Why did you break up with Bill?"
Four cups of tea later it was dark outside and almost time for Hermione to return to Hogwarts.
"Because I like him."
"Then I don’t understand."
"Bill deserves to be with someone, with a woman, who can and will return all his passion and intensity. He is a wonderful man, a generous lover any woman…Tell me why don’t you date Ronald?"
Hermione caught and held the other girl’s gaze. She brought her teacup up to her lips but did not drink. "Because I like him," she said in a low voice before drinking the last of her tea.
"I think perhaps we do understand each other."
They were silent after that gazes locked taking each other in. Fleur finished her tea. The clink of her cup as she set it on the saucer breaking the thick silence that lay between them. "Thank you for the company. I’ve had a lovely time." She flicked the piece of paper sticking out from between the pages of her book, which had long since been set aside in favor of the girl across from her. "I’ll have to remember to buy that book you were telling me about. Jacqueline Carey," Hermione shivered to hear the French pronunciation, "that is her name right?"
"Yes." Hermione glanced at the clock on the wall then jumped up out of her chair. "Oh dear look at the time I’d best hurry. I’ve only half an hour to get back to Hogwarts."
"You could apparate."
"You can’t apparate onto the Hogwarts grounds it’s…"
"I’ve read Hogwarts a History Hermione. You could apparate someplace just outside the gates as I recall."
"True but it doesn’t matter any way as I don’t have my license to apparate yet."
"I thought you were seventeen," Fleur seemed taken aback at the idea that Hermione might be younger than she supposed even.
"I am but I," Hermione’s voice dropped to a mere whisper, "Don’t tell anyone but I failed the exam. I did splendidly on the written portion of course but…well it was just like the Muggle driving exams I got nervous and failed that one too last summer. They said I could try again in three months time."
"It took my friend Bernard-Luc three times to get his license. I could take you if you’d like."
"No that’s okay if I go now I’ll be fine."
"Well I’ll walk with you then." Fleur stood and shrugged into her jacket. "It’s dark out you shouldn’t…"
"I’m sure I’ll run into some others," she looked out the shop’s front window, "there’s Neville. I’ll just catch up with him."
Fleur’s hand on her wrist stopped Hermione. "I’m not ready for the evening to end."
A small soft "Oh" came from somewhere deep inside the Gryffindor. She looked down at her wrist, Fleur’s delicate fingers wrapped around it, her gaze traveled up to meet hazel eyes once again.
"Just a little more time," Fleur released Hermione’s wrist. "Please". Her voice, Hermione felt it as a caress, silken tones cresting over her like warm water.
Hermione’s answering smile dazzled the blond girl and she felt her chest constrict to see it. "I’d like that."
They hurried, walking so quickly that talking fell by the wayside in favor of breathing, but they arrived at the Hogwarts gates with five minutes to spare.
"Well this is my stop," Hermione joked awkwardly. In the darkness she tentatively reached out for Fleur’s hand smiling to feel the other girl quickly clasp her hand and begin stroking the back of it with her thumb. "Thank you for walking me."
"It’s my ple…" Fleur caught herself suddenly wary of revealing her pleasure in the afternoon though her thumb did not stop its soft stroking. "Safety in figures as Bill always says."
"Safety in numbers," Hermione corrected her gently.
"Yes that." In the distance the bell tower began to toll the hour.
"I have to go."
"I had a lovely time."
"Me too," Hermione dropped Fleur’s hand reluctantly. "Owl me. Tell me what you think of the book."
As the last bell tone rang out Hermione passed through the gates that led to the Hogwarts grounds. She turned in time to see Fleur, silver blonde radiance reflecting the moonlight so that she glowed like a beacon to Hermione, apparate home. Humming to herself the Head Girl began the short walk from the gates to the castle.
/ / / / /
"Ron can I borrow Pig," Hermione held up a small scroll, "Its just a little note."
"Really. Who to?"
"Who…a boyfriend," he said with a wink. Since she’d come out to him the month before he enjoyed teasing her this way.
"Nevermind I’ll just go to the owlry."
"I didn’t say you couldn’t. I was just curious. This morning you get a package by owl post and this afternoon you want to send a thank you note. Really you can’t blame a fellow for being curious. Can you Harry?" Harry grunted in agreement too caught up in the game of Wizards chess Seamus and Ginny were playing to actually speak. "Pig’s upstairs I’ll get him for you in a moment."
Hermione read over her note while Ron fetched Pigwidgeon.
Thank you for the books. Lunch would be lovely.
It had been a week since that day with Fleur and to Hermione’s disappointment she hadn’t heard from the other girl. Then this morning at breakfast an owl dropped a small package in front of her. She’d unwrapped it eagerly to find two paperback books and a note written in a flowing hand.
I keep thinking of you.
Join me for lunch next Hogsmeade weekend.
She heard echoes of Fleur’s voice as she read the note yet again. "Has anyone got a quill I might use?" A third year passed her one, she sat at a table to add a single line to her own note to Fleur, I think of you as well.
Thus began a regular correspondence long rambling letters, two three times weekly, in which they spoke of the books they’d read or wanted to read, music, school, work and family; anything and everything except their attraction. Of that they did not write as if by silent mutual accord they had decided to wait till they would see each other again.
/ / / / / /
"Relax you look fantastic," Blaise said plucking at stray piece of lint out of Hermione’s hair. "Accio rose" – a perfect red rose drifted over to where they were standing – "Here you go. I’ve put a minor stasis spell on it so it should last about a month. That way you can give her another next month when you see her."
"Assuming there is one," Hermione mumbled.
"I assure you next month will come," Blaise said wryly.
"You know what I mean."
"Yes but I’ve confidence that there will be."
"You need the speech?"
"I do. I really do." Blaise smiled down at her best friend if a pep talk was what Hermione needed then a pep talk was what Blaise would give her. But before she could begin extolling Hermione’s virtues a knock on the door interrupted them. Hermione crossed her room opening the door to find a second year Hufflepuff hand raised ready to knock again. "Travis right," the boy nodded, "What can I do for you Travis?"
"You’ve a," he cleared his throat embarrassed at his voice breaking, "You’ve a visitor at the gatehouse."
"A visitor," she turned to Blaise in confusion then looked at the timepiece on her bedside table. "It…she’s…we were supposed to meet in town."
"Eager is good," Blaise drawled. Hermione turned to Travis, "Who is it do you know?"
"No Mr. Filch just grabbed me as I was walking by and sent me to fetch you. Oh and he gave me this," he held out a folded piece of paper, which Hermione took. She thanked him then and closed the door. Glancing down at the note in her hand she blanched recognizing her ex-girlfriend’s handwriting instantly. Shelagh.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Huh?" Hermione blushed she hadn’t meant to speak aloud.
"Did I hear correctly," Blaise made to snatch the note out of Hermione’s hand but caught herself at the last moment. "Is that note from Shelagh?"
"It…it is," Hermione stammered as she opened the note. She read it once then brushed past Blaise to the fireplace and threw it in.
"Well what does it say?"
"Walking and talking."
"Walking and talking, that’s it. What does that mean?"
"It’s the name of the video we were watching the first time we kissed."
"Cute," Blaise sneered. "Are you going down then." Hermione cocked an eyebrow at her friend’s words. "That is not what I meant, pervert."
"I suppose I should see what she wants."
"We’re supposed to leave for Hogsmeade in a half an hour."
"I am well aware of the time. Come on lets go see what she wants."
"I’ll meet you at the gatehouse then, I have to pick up Padma."
"Okay then," Hermione checked herself in the mirror before following Blaise out the door into the hall. "I’ll leave word at the gate if we decide to walk ahead."
"Sounds good." They went their separate ways, Blaise to the Ravenclaw common room and Hermione to the gatehouse.
Hermione was halfway to the gatehouse when she remembered the rose. She ran back to her room to fetch it and hurriedly made her way to the gatehouse. She arrived breathless and flushed from her efforts to find her ex-lover nervously pacing the small room where she waited for Hermione.
"Shelagh", the young woman whirled around at the sound of her name.
"Hermione." She made to hug her stopping only when she saw Hermione tense and take a small, almost imperceptible, step back. "Hi, you look…wow…you look great."
"Thanks," Hermione said warily. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I’m in town for the weekend with my sister Moira. She got married last year, remember I told you when we saw each other in December. We’re looking at houses."
"That’s right, how is Moira?"
"Is that for me?" Hermione looked down at the rose in her hand. "No…No it’s not."
The silence was thick and awkward, outside the bells rang out the hour and a steady stream of students could be seen walking to where Mr. Filch stood checking names off the list of students with permission to go to Hogsmeade.
"Why are you here Shelagh?"
"I was wrong. I want to try again."
"That’s why you’re here."
"Now you decide you made a mistake. Now…"
"It was good with us Hermione you know it was…you know it was. I made a mistake…you were right…I was scared and stupid."
"What’s changed. I’m still here at Hogwarts, I’m still five years younger than you", Shelagh interrupted her.
"This summer it was good, winter holidays"
"You know what the mistake was, this last summer and Christmas…Merlin knows Christmas was a mistake. After the summer you’d have thought I’d have caught on. Twice Shelagh, twice you used the same weak excuse," Hermione snorted ruefully. "So yes fucking you over the winter holidays was a big mistake. But not as big a mistake as it would be to let myself believe you." Shelagh attempted to speak but Hermione continued heedlessly. "Besides which what makes you think I haven’t moved on?"
Hermione twirled the rose in her fingers, was she really over her ex, had she indeed moved on; the answer came easily enough along with the memory of Fleur’s fingertips on her wrist. She brought the rose up to her face, breathing deeply of its delicate subtle scent she smiled serenely. "It took a while but yes."
"I thought at Christmas…"
"Maybe I would have." Hermione shrugged. "In fact I probably would have if you’d asked but…." She held up the rose.
"So someone here then," Shelagh muttered. Her features, normally sunny and pleasant, clouded over with disappointment. "Serves me right I suppose."
"She doesn’t go to school here. She works at Gringotts."
"In Diagon Alley, a witch then of course."
"Stop that’s not fair. You know I never had a problem with your being a Squib, that was always you."
"But it’s got to be easier right. She can be here at the drop of a hat, just a wave of her wand right and poof here she is," Shelagh snapped her fingers in demonstration.
"That was also your issue. There was nothing stopping you from taking the train here to see me once a month."
"I wanted to see you more than that, is that so wrong?"
"No but what could I do. I don’t make the rules here and," Hermione squeezed the bridge of her nose, "forget it I’m not getting into it again. You made your choice not once but twice and now I’ve made mine. Fleur…"
"That snotty blond, who was going out with your friend’s brother," Shelagh cut in. They’d been to the cinema one afternoon, when they’d first started dating two summers back, and run into Bill and Fleur on their way out.
"She’s not snotty," indignation made Hermione’s voice rise.
"I seem to recall you saying otherwise."
"Well I was wrong."
"No you weren’t," Hermione whirled around recognizing the voice instantly.
"Fleur," just saying her name made Hermione smile something that was not lost on Shelagh. Fleur bridged the small distance between them. Standing before the bushy haired girl she ran her fingers down Hermione’s bare arm eliciting a shiver from the younger girl whose voice faltered, "I thought we were…."
"I was anxious to see you," Fleur said softly. Hermione smiled and held out the rose. Fleur took it with a shy smile.
"Hermione," Shelagh murmured.
"Was I interrupting anything?"
"Yes," Shelagh bit out through gritted teeth.
"Nothing important." Hermione’s words, so casually and unintentionally cruel, made Shelagh flinch. Fleur looked back and forth between the Gryffindor and her friend, seeing the other girl’s stricken look at Hermione’s words she said, "Perhaps I’ll wait for you outside".
"Gee would you that would be nice." Hermione shot her ex-lover a look of that could have cut through steel.
"I’ll be out in a moment. We’re almost done here." Hermione watched Fleur as she walked admiring the way she moved, the fluidity of her body, and the long shimmering curtain of her hair like an undulating wave on her back. She returned her attention to the woman who’d broken her heart little less than a year ago. "You have something else to say?"
"I…look I was wrong. I made a mistake. I love you. I’ve always loved you. I’ve changed and I just want a chance to prove that to you. Whatever I have to do, whatever you want me to do I’ll do it. Just give me a chance. That’s all I’m asking."
"You broke my heart. You, in essence, told me that I wasn’t worth waiting for. I loved you. I lived for your letters and for the off chance to see you. And you told me I wasn’t worth it, wasn’t worth waiting for."
"I was wrong. And I was scared."
"Scared of what? Being alone, not getting a bit whenever you wanted it what, what was it you were so afraid of?"
"Yes, no. I don’t know all of it, okay. I was scared for your safety here. I know you say it’s safe and you’re friends with Harry Potter but that’s just it. You’re friends with Harry Potter, who somehow always manages to drag you into his mess and how am I supposed to protect you from that; help you with that. I can’t, I’m not magic I just know about magic," she finished dejectedly.
Hermione felt herself soften somewhat, perhaps she should reconsider. Then she heard it, Fleur laughing outside with Blaise and her heart thumped loudly, painfully in her chest. Yes the French beauty could be arrogant and haughty, she’d admitted as much just now and in her letters, but Hermione had come to know her well enough from their correspondence and their occasional conversations at the Weasleys to know that this was mostly a defensive mechanism. The woman she’d gotten to know this past month was someone she wanted to know better. More even, than she had ever wanted this moment, Shelagh begging for another chance. "I’m sorry you felt that way. I never needed you to protect me", she kissed the other girl on the cheek, "But I love that you wanted to". Suddenly Shelagh’s lips were on hers’ and they were kissing, deeply passionately. The kiss ended and they stood arms around each other, foreheads touching, breathing raggedly.
"Please, baby. It was good you know it was", Shelagh whispered. Hermione was silent. "Sweetheart, Mi…."
"No. I can’t do this." Hermione walked to the window, she could see Blaise, her arms around Padma, talking to Fleur and glancing nervously at the front door of the gatehouse. "I won’t do it."
"I have to go now."
"Can I see you next month?’
"I’d rather not. I rather like to think I’ll already have plans." She was standing at the door, her hand on the knob. "I’d like it if you wrote though."
"I’ll do that then."
"Would you like to walk with us to the village?"
"No thank you. I have Moira’s car just outside the gate. I could give you lot a lift if you’d like."
"No…No I think we’ll walk." She opened the door, "Goodbye Shelagh", and slipped out closing the door behind her with a small click.
They were about half way to Hogsmeade when Shelagh honked as she drove past the foursome. Blaise and Padma walked, hand in hand, a few paces behind Hermione and Fleur their shoulders occasionally brushing but otherwise not touching.
"So that is your ex-lover."
"Is everything all right?"
"Yes." They walked on in silence for a few minutes before Hermione spoke again. "She wants to get back together."
"Do you?" Fleur stumbled and Hermione automatically reached out to steady her, sliding her hand down the blond girl’s arm to twine their fingers together as she did so. "No, not in the least," Hermione said giving Fleur’s hand a gentle squeeze.
Fleur smiled and reaching up caressed Hermione’s cheek with the rose she’d given her earlier. "Good. I’m so pleased to see you."