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Trying to Resist by chiQs09

Format: Novella
Chapters: 2
Word Count: 8,379
Status: Abandoned

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Romance, AU, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing, Ron/Hermione, Harry/OC, Hermione/OC

First Published: 02/22/2009
Last Chapter: 08/10/2009
Last Updated: 08/11/2009

Summary:
For a while, life was perfect. But all good things must end and Hermione finds herself in a difficult situation. She told herself she would always be faithful to the one she loves, but what if someone is determined to break her resolve? What if that someone is a person Hermione cannot resist?



Banner by: NevillesSoulmate at TDA | Summary by Girldetective85


Chapter 1: What Goes Around, Comes Around
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(A/N: Hi readers! I've started a new novella, obviously. If you're not a great fan of femmeslash, please don't read this.
And if you are a fan, you may also want to drop by my author's account and read my other slash stories. Enjoy reading.)
:)

Disclaimer: Everything you recognise belongs to JK Rowling. I own the plot and the OCs.


Chapter One - What Goes Around, Comes Around



“We’ve been invited to Harry and Francine’s dinner party this weekend.” Ginny's muffled voice came from the closed bathroom door. It sounded like she was brushing her teeth. A minute later, she emerged from the bathroom rubbing her face with a towel. “Did you hear me? It’s this coming weekend.”

“All right,” Hermione, who was already lying on the bed with a book in her hand, not bothering to look up, replied absent-mindedly. Her bushy, untamed hair was clipped up in a loose bun; tiny curls were dangling around her ears.

Had it been three years already since Harry and Francine got married? Hermione wondered, shaking her head in disbelief. Francine was Harry’s team mate in Quidditch, who he had known only a year before their marriage. Before that, Harry was engaged to Ginny and had been dating her for four years before deciding to marry Francine instead. A decision both sides had wanted – much to Hermione’s benefit, because now Ginny was all hers.

“I met her earlier this afternoon in the pharmacy,” Ginny continued, seeming to be in a horrid mood all of a sudden by remembering Harry’s wife.

Applying a moisturising lotion on her legs and arms, Ginny added grumpily, “She was asking me to prescribe her a permanent contraception potion. Merlin, permanent!”

This caught Hermione’s attention. She looked up. “Really? I thought Harry wanted to have children someday.”

“That’s what I thought, too,” Ginny said, brushing her long, red hair in front of the full-body mirror, her back turned to Hermione. “When I was still with Harry, we used to make plans for our future. We wanted to have at least three children, and move back to Grimmauld Place as soon as our first child was born. The house was big enough for a family of five.”

“Yes, I know.” Hermione narrowed her eyes and bit down on her lower lip. She turned to the next page of her book, ignoring the euphoric tone in Ginny’s voice.

Hermione was familiar with the whole love story that concerned her two close friends, Harry and Ginny. They had moved in together at Grimmauld Place after Ginny's graduation from Hogwarts. But since she didn't want to have children at that point in her life yet, and the house seemed to be too big for her, especially if Harry, who had been a Quidditch player back then, was always at Quidditch tournaments so that Ginny had to spend days or even weeks alone in that immense house, she had asked Harry if they could move into a smaller flat in Diagon Alley. It was close to her work place anyway, the Herbal-Shop Pharmacy, where she had started her Apothecary training and had been on the payroll two years later.

Their flat was close to Hermione’s, so the two young women could see each other nearly every day even without using Apparation. Ron, who was still dating Hermione then, left her for another woman. To Hermione’s dismay, it was Ron’s ex-girlfriend from Hogwarts, Lavender Brown, with whom he only had a short and superficial relationship. When they got back together, she got pregnant shortly after Ron had left Hermione for good. According to rumours, he had been cheating on Hermione even months before they had broken up. When Ron affirmed this, the world fell apart for Hermione.

Broken and with her blazing hatred for men, she had focused all her attention on her work, and had dug a deep hole where she could escape to. Her parents and all her friends were worried sick about her, but only Ginny remained persistent, seeing her and spending time with her as often as possible to pull her out of that black hole of depression. She had given Hermione new strength, new hope, and everything necessary for recovery. And when Hermione was partly healed, she found new love as well – in Ginny, her saviour.

Feelings that went beyond friendship developed before either one of them even knew that it only needed a night in a pub and alcohol to overcome one’s inhibitions. It was totally unexpected, and neither of them had ever regretted that very fateful night two weeks before Ginny and Harry’s wedding three and a half year ago.

Being reminded of all that again, that one: Hermione was, indeed, the reason for their break up, and two: that her beloved, Ginny, had once belonged to somebody else, the more so that this somebody was Hermione’s other best friend, was like stabbing a thousand needles into her heart.

Ironically, Hermione had even taken the role of their relationship counsellor from the very beginning. She had always encouraged them to keep on fighting for their love, to talk to each other in order to understand each other, and to oversee each other’s imperfections. But it seemed like Harry and Ginny’s relationship just wasn’t meant to be.

Maybe, even if Hermione was the reason that Ginny and Harry’s relationship ended, it wasn’t completely her fault.

Hermione’s mind wandered back to Harry and his new wife, Francine. The wedded couple had moved into Grimmauld Place. Francine was more than delighted to be living in such a huge house, like she was a little girl in a candy store. According to what Hermione knew, Francine had a very meagre childhood. She and her parents lived in a small, one-bedroom flat in eastern England, in a district where they got robbed twice and lost everything they owned.

Snatched back from her reverie, Hermione shook away the pity that suddenly overwhelmed her; she took a deep breath, “Did you accept the invitation?”

Ginny got into the bed beside her, moving closer to cuddle with her. “I told her that I’d ask you first,” she grinned. “Though I'm curious to see how they’ve done up the place. It was only plainly furnished when Harry and I left it.”

“Then I think we should go,” Hermione offered, kissing Ginny on the forehead.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, why not? I'm curious to see the place too,” Hermione said enthusiastically, her attention back on her book. “Francine’s mum is an interior designer, so I’ve heard. Maybe she helped her daughter with the decoration.”

“Yeah, and her dad’s a well-known architect,” Ginny remembered. “Do you compare that with Magitect in this world? I read in one of your Muggle magazines that those kind of jobs are well-paid in the Muggle world. Is that true?”

“It depends,” Hermione answered, “If you have your own business, then you could have a high income. Like my parents; both are dentists and have their own clinic.”

“If Francine’s a rich prissy then why did they live, according to her, in a one-bedroom flat in a grungy district?” Ginny furrowed her brows in confusion, looking thoughtful.

“Her parents were still teenagers when her mum was pregnant with Francine. Her mum stopped studying until Francine was three years, then went back to school for several years to get a higher degree. It must have taken another few years until she had established with her husband their own company,” Hermione answered in her know-it-all voice, earning a meaningful look from Ginny. Noticing the sceptical glare, Hermione added quickly, “Oh c’mon, Francine is an open book and almost friends with everyone. She told me about it.”

“I seem to be the only one who’s immune of her charm,” Ginny groaned, pulling the blanket over her shoulder.

Hermione assumed that the reason Ginny wasn’t getting along with Harry’s wife was because of Francine’s free-spirited nature, like she was a small child in a teenager body, merely living an adult life.

“What did you prescribe her, then?” Hermione asked, re-directing the subject back to the main topic, that Francine wanted to have a permanent contraception potion.

Ginny turned her head back to Hermione, sighing in exasperation. “I had to convince Francine to take a semi-permanent birth control potion instead. She’s still too young to decide that she doesn’t want to have children at all. Permanent contraception potions are irreversible, I informed her. I suggested Mugio ortus 350, a potion of 30 to 35 mcg of estrogen plus progestin. You have to retake the potion every six months for its effect.”

“What did she say about it?”

“She said she’s taking a similar potion, Infirmus ortus ML, which she got prescribed by another Apothecary in Devon. But she skipped her menstrual period once and was afraid she was pregnant. She went to a Gynaecologist Healer, but he confirmed that she wasn’t,” Ginny explained far off. She turned to her side to place a hand on Hermione’s belly under the blanket. “I’m not in the mood to talk about her,” she mumbled.

“And because she skipped her period once, she wants a permanent contraception now?” Hermione asked incredulously, disregarding Ginny’s request.

“She got scared,” Ginny said flatly, “It’s natural that she reacts like that.”

“But she hadn't talked with Harry about it, or had she?”

Ginny pulled a face. “Do you really think she’d talk to me about Harry?” She moved closer to Hermione, and purred, “Now, put away your book and cuddle with me.”

Hermione didn’t need to be told twice when Ginny straddled her legs and roamed a hand in her inner thigh. Hermione switched off the light on her bedside table, placed the book on it, and leaned back. Ginny moved on top of her, while removing one piece of clothes after the other.

“Did you change your mind, actually?” Hermione said with a husky voice, when Ginny nibbled on her earlobe. Her head tilted to the side to expose more of her neck, and let out a soft moan.

“About what?” Ginny pinned Hermione’s arms to her sides without much effort, grinning down at her.

Ginny’s long hair was tickling Hermione’s face. “Don’t you still want to have children?” Hermione whispered.

Even though it was dark, with only the light of the moon shining through the curtains, Hermione could sense Ginny’s furrowed eyebrows and the confused facial expression. Two heartbeats later, then Ginny finally spoke, “Why do you ask?”

“I was only curious.”

There was a bigger gap between their bodies when Ginny pushed herself up, as though she was going to make press-ups, looking down at Hermione like she said something insane.

Ginny seemed to be struggling for the right words. “Of course I do want to have children. But it’s currently not possible,” she said. Moving down and rolling on the side to cover her naked chest with the blanket, she looked at Hermione.

“Why is it currently not possible?” Hermione asked, propping on her elbow.

“Sweetheart, in case you haven’t notice, we’re both females,” teased Ginny, earning a playful punch from Hermione.

Giggling, Ginny snuggled up to Hermione, and gave her a gentle kiss on her chin, then one on her lips. “I've always wanted to adopt a Chinese baby. They're adorable.”

“Be serious.” Hermione frowned. “You sound like you're talking about having a new puppy.”

“Don’t be upset,” Ginny snickered. “You were asking me if I’ve changed my mind and want children now. You weren't asking me if I want to have one with you.”

Biting on her lower lip, Hermione dared to ask the inevitable question that had been burning her tongue since she got together with Ginny, and since she saw Ron with his baby, “Do you want to have a baby with me… at all?”

Ginny took another deep breath. “Hermione,” her voice quavered, “this all comes unexpected to me, you know, and to be honest, I’ve never given much thought to it. This is all new to me, being with a another woman, and—”

“It isn’t that it has just happened to you,” Hermione interrupted, her voice raising an octave. “And you are my first, too. Big deal! We can work it out together as a family. We've been together for three years...”

“Three years are not enough to make such a life-altering decision, and you, being the rational of us, should know that.” Ginny had got a point there.

Hermione sighed. What had just come over her? She leaned her head back and stared up at the ceiling. This place, which she had been sharing with Ginny for three years now, felt suddenly cold and empty.

Hermione rolled on her side to be face to face with her lover, just in the same moment when Ginny wiped away a tear from the corner of her eye. Hermione’s heart broke in two. Stroking softly Ginny’s cheek, she said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pressure you with that. I didn’t mean let’s have a baby right away. If you’re really not ready for it, then I completely understand.”

“Just give me time,” Ginny said, kissing Hermione’s palm. “I can’t even take care of a Pygmy Puff, not to mention a real baby.”

This made Hermione laugh. “I love you,” she said softly.

“I love you, too,” Ginny responded. “Now, where were we?” With a smirk on her face, she trailed down kisses Hermione’s body, until she disappeared under the blanket. Everything she could now think of was the pure pleasure Ginny gave her.

---


Hermione and Ginny left their flat earlier that Saturday afternoon to get a bottle of sec wine for Harry, and only on Hermione’s demand they got champagne for Francine, too, in the supermarket before the stores closed. When they arrived at Grimmauld Place, Francine opened the door and greeted her visitors with a welcoming embrace and gave each a kiss on the cheek. Hermione noticed in a side glance that Ginny wiped the spot with the back of her hand and screwed up her face when Francine turned away.

They hardly recognised Harry in his formal attire when he descended the stairs to greet his friends. He was wearing a white long sleeved shirt with khaki slacks, emphasising his emerald eyes; his tousled hair was reaching to his ears. Since he worked at the Ministry, his outfit style changed as well. With his new glasses he even appeared more mature now.

Hermione knew that Harry had quit his job as a Quidditch player shortly before he got married, and was recruited by Minister Shacklebolt to improve the Ministry and become an Auror. Hermione had seen him rarely, because of their conflicting work schedules. Francine took over Harry’s job as Quidditch Captain, but she made sure she never stayed for too long away from her husband.

Hermione’s eyes wandered to the woman sitting next to Harry on the long couch, in the wedded couple’s living room. Her auburn hair had gotten even curlier and shinier than the last time Hermione saw her. If Hermione thought it was possible, Francine was getting prettier with each day. And “pretty” seemed to be an offending understatement. In addition to that, Francine appeared younger than she actually was. Her complexion, a perfect ivory, and despite the fact that she was an athlete, a Quidditch Beater, was nearly flawless. Her chocolate brown eyes were focused on Ron’s bent head.

Yes, Ron!

Ron and his new girlfriend had been invited to the dinner party as well, but he had cancelled a day before Francine invited Ginny and Hermione. Then something unexpected happened: his girlfriend broke up with him and left him. He went to Grimmauld Place to talk with his best mate and was surprised when he found Hermione and Ginny there.

He had greeted each one with a half-hearted hello then had dropped onto the sofa with a long-suffering sigh. His face was white, and eyes blood-shot. He started explaining what had happened.

Even though Francine didn’t know Ron very well, or only because of Harry, she showed compassion and comforted him with advices on how to fix a broken heart as though she was used to being ditched.

Hermione furrowed her brows when Francine supplied, once again, the disconsolate Ron with another wise piece of advice. She sounded genuinely concerned, but, unfortunately, Hermione couldn’t imagine that Francine, who rocked men’s worlds with her beauty, knew the feeling of being heart broken. She could get whoever she wanted with just a smile. And now she was married to the man of her dreams.

Ginny, Hermione, and even Harry exchanged the same, meaningful look, confirming Hermione’s bafflement. Hermione was certain Harry would ask his wife later on about this subject.

With an arm on Francine’s backrest, Harry was talking and comforting Ron as well when he had the chance to, like Ron was a little boy who lost his dearest pet.

“There are other fish in the sea,” Harry said jovially. It was a lame and overused statement, and didn’t help poor Ron.

Ginny sighed, talking in the way her mother would do in this situation. “She’ll realise her mistake and come back to you,” she told him, placing herself on the armrest of the sofa where Hermione was sitting. Hermione took her lover’s hand and kissed it gently. She looked up at Ginny and told herself, not only now, but every day, how lucky she was to be with this person.

Ginny had matured over the years. Her red hair had grown longer too, like she was in a competition with Francine, who got the shiniest and reddest hair in the group. Ginny’s hair was a tad lighter than Francine’s, and without being biased, Hermione thought that Ginny’s hair was most beautiful. Her skin was ivory too, covered with tiny, blush freckles that Hermione loved to kiss when they were in private.

Ron’s cursing pulled Hermione out of her flight of fancy. “That bitch won’t come back to me,” he murmured through clenched teeth, filling his glass with Firewhiskey and emptying it with one swig. “She went to Bulgaria with that pimple faced, fat-arsed, and filthy goggle-eyed dope.”

Hermione, despite of her talkative nature but who hadn’t said a word because Francine did most of the talking, said in a raised tone, “Would you kindly keep your curses to yourself?” She took a bottle of Butterbeer and filled Ginny’s glass with it, too, to divert everyone's sudden attention on her. “You very well know how much I detest cursing.”

“Damnit! Damnit!” said Ron, grasping handfuls of his red hair, disregarding Hermione’s complaints. “My life’s a complete disaster. I have to fight for my son because Lavender wants to take him away from me, and since we aren’t married, I have no rights on him at all. So Lavender’s taking Colbert into her custody. And now my new batshit girlfriend leaves me all of a sudden! Frick!” He messaged his temples. “I didn't deserve this frigging life,” he whined.

Hermione grumbled and shot a glare at Ron’s bent head, swallowing the angry retort on her tongue. Just this time, out of respect, because Ron didn’t feel well emotionally, she calmed down herself. She hadn’t heard about Lavender Brown, Ron’s former girlfriend, for ages. Ron had stopped mentioning her name to his friends and family when their son turned six months old.

They didn’t last long, as Hermione had predicted at Harry and Francine’s wedding. He had enjoyed his being single since then, took care of his son, and only eight months ago, he met his sister-in-law, Fleur’s, cousin, Antoinette, a beautiful eighteen year old Veela and fell head over heels in love with her. Antoinette was on a visit to Fleur’s at Shell Cottage to finally meet her husband, Bill, and their daughter, Victoire Weasley.

“You’ve only dated her for...how long? Five months?” Harry inquired, interrupting the building tension in the room.

Eight months,” Ron corrected, grumpily, taking another shot of Firewhiskey. “’Love isn’t measured on the number of years you’ve spent together’, isn’t that what you’ve told me after ditching my sister and before marrying your wife?”

“Don’t you start on us, Ronald Weasley,” Ginny warned, “it’s not our fault your teeny Veela prissy left you the way you usually do to other women.”

He raised his head, eyebrow drawn together to snap at his sister, but when he noticed her fiery eyes, his angry expression deflated, and he apologised for his rude behaviour.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, dropping his head. “It’s just... I can’t handle this. Not for the second time. And I thought it was going to be different with her.”

The part ‘for the second time’ earned a raised eyebrow from Hermione. She didn’t remember that Ron had been this devastated when he and Lavender had broken up. In the contrary, he was rather relieved when he ended it with that nagging and obsessive woman.

Before Hermione could ponder more on this thought, Ginny spoke again. “It’s all right,” Ginny said with a reassuring smile, “you’ll get over her, you’ll see. Your eight months relationship with Antoinette was nothing compared to the thirty months you had with Hermione plus the twelve years of friendship, and yet you seemed to have moved on quickly from the latter.”

Hermione pinched Ginny, and gave her a dirty look. That she was being reminded of her past relationship with Ron, and comparing it with a relationship that seemed to have meant more to him, was tactless.

Ron shifted a glance to Hermione, and then back at his sister, he said, “It’s not only my fault the relationship with Hermione had ended, you know? And even though it did, she is still here because we’re still friends. But Antoinette is gone...forever.”

“It’s not only your fault?” Hermione asked incredulously, blinking. He was talking about her as though she wasn’t in the room. “You mean because I wasn’t ready to sleep with you, it’s my own fault, we split up? Merlin, I didn’t feel like I was ready to engage to such—”

“For Merlin’s sake, you were eighteen, turning nineteen! I gave you enough time,” Ron snapped, cutting her off. “Antoinette is eighteen and...”

Hermione cut him off before he went too far, before he could compare her again with one of his ex girlfriends. And why was it all about sex again? “I can’t believe that sexual pleasure means more to you than unconditional love,” she cried, flabbergasted. She couldn’t believe she had this kind of conversation with him again. “I shouldn’t be at all surprised if she ditched you because of your incapability to carnally satisfy a woman!” The words were out before Hermione even knew it. She clasped her hands to her mouth, tears shooting to her eyes. “I didn’t mean to say that.”

When the meaning of her words reached Ron, his face blanched. That was below the belt. “So you go run to a woman?” he retorted, disgusted. “To my bloody sister, to have her go down on you, and—”

“RON!” Ginny cried, her face as scarlet as her hair. Harry swallowed hard, and Francine flinched, looking quite uncomfortable.

“I’ve got to go,” Ron said curtly, “I’ve got to pick up Cole from Mum.” He got up and left without a backwards glance. Another minute later, they heard the front door slamming, followed by the loud crack of the Disapparating noise outside the house.

“We’ll leave now too,” Ginny announced after another minute of awkward silence. She was talking to Harry and furtively looking at Francine, as though it was hurtful to look at her for too long. “I have to brew some potions for two clients for tomorrow.”

“Why don’t you stay?” Harry asked, “Dinner’s served in a few minutes. I’ll talk to Ron tomorrow. Sorry about that, Hermione. He had a stressful week, with Lavender wearing him out. Cole only sees him two days a week, and now his new girlfriend ditched him. That was too much for him.” He threw Hermione an apologetic smile.

“You don’t have to excuse my brother’s rude behaviour,” Ginny said, when Hermione remained speechless. “By the way, Harry, I love what you’ve done with this house. I love the new decoration.”

Grateful that Ginny changed the subject, Hermione looked around the room now too. She needed distraction. The walls didn’t look plain and gritty anymore as they did in Hermione’s memory. There were paintings everywhere, and the walls were cream-white and at the bottom burgundy. In the living room, where they had stayed for almost an hour, listening to Ron’s heart shattering story, was a massive stone corner fireplace where on either sides were built-in cabinets along the walls. These custom cabinets included ample bookcases, glass-front storage cabinets and closed cupboards beneath.

All of Harry’s trophies and medals, articles, and so on, from his Quidditch time were displayed in them, while Francine’s were adding to the collection. The L-shape couch and the three sofas were matching the white and burgundy decoration, in black leather with a glass table at the centre.

Hermione hadn’t seen the entire house yet. But judging only from what she’d seen thus far, the living room and the grand entry hall, she could tell the rest of the house looked just as amazing .

“Please stay,” Francine pleaded, stepping forward. “I’ve spent the whole afternoon cooking, and you can’t just leave without tasting it.”

Hermione heard Ginny mumble something that sounded like, ‘Ever heard of magic? That'd have saved time!’ and gave Harry’s wife an artificial smile.

“Sure, we’ll stay,” Hermione said, disregarding the displeased look that Ginny threw at her.

“I’d like to see the rest of the house, Harry,” Ginny requested, enthusiastic, acting like nothing awkward had happened. She hooked her arm under his, dragging him away as though being in Francine's presence for another minute was going to kill her.

“Like to join our grand tour, too, Hermione?” Harry asked over his shoulder.

Shaking her head, and smiling, Hermione watched the former couple walk to the back of the room, and heard their voices dying away when they disappeared behind a door.





(A/N: Thanks to my beta DarkRose on the HPFF forums.) :)

Chapter 2: All That Glitters Is Not Gold
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(A/N: Sorry for updating just now, but I had a busy life last year. Anyway, now here is the update. I'm thanking harrypotterfreak1414 for going through the chapter. I've revised it a bit, so if you find any mistakes, even if it's just a punctuation error, please let me know. Thank you.) :)




“They went to Harry’s study room.”

Francine’s gentle voice snapped Hermione out of her reverie. She didn’t realise she was still staring dejectedly at the closed door, where a short moment ago Harry and Ginny had both disappeared into. “While I will show you the kitchen,” Francine offered, flashing her pearl white teeth, and dragging Hermione on her arm.

They walked through the living room and further to the kitchen, which was practically just the continuation of the dining room. The kitchen was large with marble tiles, and a cooking station at the centre. Hermione recognised the many Muggle appliances that Francine must have bought, and wondered if the younger witch used magic at all.

“I feel it’s easier cooking in the Muggle way,” Francine said, shrugging, as though she read Hermione’s mind. “Do you think Ron’s fine? He seemed really upset when he left. He’s always been so cheerful and funny…but now... Poor Ron.”

Hermione had almost forgotten about Ron and their awful fight earlier. What a great friend she was! “Yes, I hope he didn’t get Splinched, though,” she replied, shaking her head in worry for him. “Number one rule of Apparation: You should never Apparate if you’re creating a mood associated with resentment or anger, or have drunken alcoholic beverages.”

“I’ll tell Harry to check on him later,” Francine offered, washing some carrots under the faucet.

“Your kitchen looks wonderful, by the way.” Hermione pushed away all thoughts of Ron to look around the room. She was amazed at the decorations only a devoted housewife would buy, and took the exotic kitchen in with wide eyes. “It was simply decorated when I’ve been here the last time, like…three or four years ago? There were many magical appliances though, and there was this stone oven right over there. Was it okay to Harry to have you change this house completely? I mean, after all, this was the only thing he inherited from his godfather.”

Francine bit on her lower lip, and threw a fleeting look towards the door. “Actually, it was Harry’s idea to have everything changed. He said he wants to have a new start and nothing should remind him of his past relationship,” she said in a low voice. She didn’t mention Ginny’s name on purpose like it was a taboo. “Since, coming from a small apartment, I had problems adjusting to such an immense place like this, he allowed me to re-decorate everything, to make myself feel more comfortable. He said I can have everything my heart desires, as long as that makes me happy.”

“He loves you,” Hermione stated, meaning it.

Francine strode to the boiling pot and threw chopped potatoes in it. Her voice sounded less enthusiastic than usual, rather gloomy. “He’s buying my affection, you know? He doesn’t realise he already owns it.”

“Why don’t you tell him that?”

“I did!” Francine exclaimed, eyes welling up with tears. “Yes, I-I did.” It seemed as though she had been holding these tears for so long, and was now relieved that she could talk to someone about her sorrows. “I told him so many times. I feel like I’ll always be overshadowed by his ex. I mean, blimey, was it coincidence that he picked me of all the girls who swooned for him, the Quidditch star, Harry Potter, me—an athlete, a brown-eyed redhead similar-looking to his perfect ex girlfriend? C’mon!” She was chopping the vegetables as though the carrots were the fingers on Ginny Weasley’s perfect hands.

With a wave of compassion, Hermione walked to her, and pulled her into her arms. Francine started sobbing instantly. “Harry loves you,” she repeated again, stroking Francine’s back. “He chose you for who you are and not to whom you are similar. Maybe Harry just clings to red-haired women, like others would go for blonde or brunette,” Hermione said soothingly into the younger witch’s hair, inhaling deeply her sweet, luscious scent.

“You think that’s all? I don't buy that,” Francine asked, unconvinced, and wiping her eyes dry.

Hermione nodded and pulled away reluctantly. “You’re beautiful,” she said, too late to realise she said it aloud. “I—I mean, I think that’s the reason why Harry is in love with you. And because you’re a nice, charming and generous person.”

“Thank you, Hermione,” Francine said with an unconvinced smile. “It means a lot to me…coming from you.”
Then she closed the gap again between them, leaned forward and … in the last second extended her hand to grab the potholder from behind Hermione. Their bodies were so close that Hermione could feel Francine's well-formed chest against hers.
The sadness on Francine’s face faded into triumph as a sheepish smile formed on her face. “Isn’t that irony of faith, how we two keep on ending up in the kitchen while Harry and Ginny are in another room…together?” Francine whispered, her mouth moved close to Hermione’s ear, purring, “And do you remember what we did once, long time ago, when we were alone in the kitchen?”

Trying to block away the memories she had never shared to Ginny, or anyone else, Hermione gasped. She remembered. She remembered when she had been broken, when she had felt miserable about the situation that she was going to lose the one she loved to someone else, and that she couldn’t do anything about it. It was when Harry and Ginny had their bridal shower, a month before their wedding. It was the worse feeling Hermione had had after losing Ron. Maybe even worse.

Francine, who had shared the same anguished feelings as Hermione, and the only person who had understood her in that fateful moment, had consoled her in a way that would forever be unforgettable. They had shared a passionate kiss.

“I do,” Hermione said in shallow gasps, bringing her mind back to the present, “but it’s not going to happen again.”

Francine giggled slightly, ruefully, and backed away. She turned to the pot on the stove to stir its content with a wave of her wand. That must be the only time she was using magic while cooking.
“Relax, Hermione. I was only kidding.” Then her giggle changed to an impish smirk, and with her head tilted to the side, she told her with a wink, “I’d never seduce you to do anything you wouldn’t enjoy.”

---


The lilac liquid was starting to bubble when Ginny added a pinch of dragon horn powder. She stirred it five times counter-clockwise, and one time clockwise, and cooked it over medium heat.

On her list of orders, Ginny read two more names of customers that she had to get done this day; a hair-growing herbal essence for an old woman named Mrs. Heather Walsh for ten o’clock this morning, and a semi-permanent birth control potion for Mrs. Francine Potter, the sloppy second baffoon.

Ginny drew a little devil face with horns on the O of ‘Potter’, and smiled to herself about her infantile behaviour, when the bell from the antechamber made Ginny jump. She took off her rubber gloves, removed her dirty apron, and went to the counter. “Good morning,” she greeted the customer.

It was a young woman with a ponytail and a white cap that partly hid her face. She was dressed in an obviously expensive Quidditch jacket, light thistle-coloured, with thin pink stripes along the waist. And blazing on the chest was the badge of the Quiberon Quafflepunchers, a popular Quidditch team in Quiberon, France. She wore matching sport pants and leather rubber shoes.

The Quiberon Quafflepunchers were known for their Hawkskead Attacking Formation; also, they had won several games in the last year. Their robes were usually shocking-pink, but noticing the woman’s blazing red hair, Ginny figured, that pink wouldn’t match her hair colour.

Not that Ginny checked out other women, for she knew the only woman she had been attracted to was Hermione, but right this moment she was stunned by this woman’s physical appearance. She was exuding so much confidence and poise as if she owns the place, until Ginny recognised who it was, her face fell and she started to gag.

“Oh, you!” Ginny hissed under her breath, not caring about her rudeness and being unprofessional. The few people in the store looking for specific potions, even the other women with their children, were staring at the new customer with half-agape mouth at her gorgeousness.

“Your potion isn’t brewed yet, though I am working on it,” Ginny said by grasping a bunch of herbals from a nearby drawer to indicate that she was busy.

“Hi, Ginny, nice to see you, too,” the fabulous stunning room-stopping young woman said, smiling. “I’m not here for that potion, actually.”

Ginny added another word to her crossword puzzle on top of her clipboard, giving the impression to Francine that she was occupied with work, and therefore had no time for pleasantries. “And why did you grace me with your presence?” asked Ginny coldly.

“Well, there’s something I wanted to ask you. I need professional consultation,” Francine, stepping to the counter while releasing her bun, brushed through her silky, long, red hair, completely unaware to Ginny’s aversion towards her. “I was thinking of a chestnut colour or gold-brown. What do you think?” she asked Ginny by batting her extended eyelashes.

Ginny stared at her for a moment as though Francine had completely lost her mind, and was simultaneously irritated by this woman’s eyes. “You want to dye your hair? Why?”

“Well, to surprise Harry with a new hair colour, of course.” She made Ginny feel stupid for even asking the question, but ignored it.

Ginny walked towards a shelf of little phials with powdery contents in varied colours. “You choose one from here. These are only testers. I’ll get the code of the colour and order the ingredients because I don’t have them all in my stock room, and brew the potion for you.”

Harry’s wife walked gracefully towards the shelf Ginny had referred to, and brushed her long fingers along the labels. Ginny eyed her sceptically. “Not that it’s any of my business why you want to do this, but…I’m curious. Does Harry not like the colour of your hair anymore? What’s wrong with red?”

Francine turned to her, an elfin smile on her face. “I just want to experiment with something new.” She ran her hand through the length of her hair. “It looks so ordinary, you know?”

“Ordinary,” Ginny mumbled, raising an eyebrow. She brushed her palm inconspicuously over her own ordinary red hair that was pulled up under a hairnet. “Whatever you want.” With a frown she took her clipboard again and added a devil’s tail on the O of ‘Potter’.

Dunce, she thought.

“I think bronze would suit me,” Francine said after a moment, holding up a phial labelled with ‘bronze’. “What do you think?”

Ginny took her wand and dipped the tip of it into the phial. “We can try to see how it looks. Don’t worry, it will be temporary. It’s for customers to try directly the colour in their hair.”

“Like you’d said—testers,” Francine commented. Ginny rolled her eyes.

A swing of her wand and Francine had suddenly bronze coloured hair. Ginny realised how it suited her perfectly, accentuating the different shades of her caramel-brown eyes and her flawless skin, and simultaneously cursed the creator of the human species who had gifted Francine with these genes.

Francine would probably even look like a runway model even if she had green hair with yellow highlights, or if she were completely bald at all. Like a light bulb had been switched on in her head, Ginny had an idea. A destructive, vicious, and totally mean idea. Would Harry still love Francine even if she were bald? It could happen like an accident—acidic ingredients mixed together and ruin the flawless scalp of Mrs. Potter.

Nah.

Ginny repressed a groan to compose herself and keep her professional competence. The idea was degrading her to the same level of an infantile, vengeful and silly bint, who detested the marvellous wife of her former fiancé. Even though Ginny didn’t love Harry anymore, she still couldn’t lay off her detestation for the young woman Harry had cheated with on Ginny over three years ago.

But who did she actually begrudge? Harry or Francine?

And, after all, Ginny had cheated on Harry, too.

‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’, Ginny remembered the quote Hermione once cited to her. For heavens, of all people, Ginny was the last ‘to cast a stone’.

“Ginny?” Francine’s voice pulled her back to reality. Ginny didn’t realise that she had been staring at the young, now bronze-haired witch in front of her. “How do I look?”

Nodding towards the mirror behind Francine, Ginny coughed in her hand, feeling embarrassed. “Check yourself. Do you like it? I’m not a hair stylist, but I think it flatters your complexion. You should just straighten your hair and trim the tip,” Ginny advised sincerely; she felt like justifying her previous evil plan of ruining her ex fiancé’s wife’s beauty on purpose. “You shouldn’t change your appearance just for your husband, you know? Or any other person for that matter. You should accept and like yourself…”

…With all your bewildering perfection and goddamn sex-appeal, Ginny added resentfully in her thought.

“Thank you, Ginny,” Francine said, sounding sincere.

Francine, admiring herself in the mirror and brushing her hand through her shiny, wavy hair, tilted her head to the side. “Even though I look awful? My hair’s a mess, and too dry with spliss,” she said after a moment. Ginny groaned inwardly.

The bell of the front door rang again, signalising that a new customer had entered. Saved by the bell, she thought. Ginny turned around to greet whoever saved her from the annoyingly self deprecating woman Harry was married to, when she realised that it was Hermione who came in.

“Oh, hi my love,” Ginny beamed. She leaned over the counter to give Hermione a peck on her lips. “Glad to see you.”

“Hello, Ginny,” Hermione greeted, adoration woven in her voice. How many times had Ginny asked herself if she really deserved someone so wonderful like Hermione? “Just finish your work, I’ll be waiting.”

“Hi, Hermione,” Francine said, and Hermione looked as though she didn’t recognise her.

“Oh…hi,” Hermione replied, “Francine? Goodness, what…oh, your hair.”

“Yeah, I thought of completely changing my hair style and all. What do you think of this colour?” Francine posed like a model, smiled, and let her hair flutter by tilting her head to the right angle of the light.

Merlin, that friggin’ bloody bint is flirting with my girlfriend, Ginny thought, indignant.

For a short, agonising moment, Hermione seemed stunned. “Well, you look…nice,” she finally said. “The colour looks nice on you.”

“Oh-kay,” Ginny grunted, slamming her clipboard on the counter. What a wonder-freakin’-ful day to kill Mrs. Francine Potter, she figured. She removed the colour of Francine’s hair by a wave of her wand, and didn’t care if she accidentally hit the woman’s nice head with it. “If you want to order this colour, I can get it brewed by tomorrow.”

“I’ll think about it,” Francine said, re-adjusting her cap on her head. Then her attention was suddenly on Hermione. “How are you doing, by the way? I do hope that you will visit Harry and me again and join us to another dinner party at our place. We had a great time last Saturday, hadn’t we? Especially Harry, he was delighted to see the two of you.”

“We will definitely repeat the dinner. Right, Ginny?” Hermione said without breaking eye contact with Francine.

“Yeah,” Ginny grumbled. “By the way, Hermione, I still have to get some orders done before this afternoon, so I won’t be able to have lunch with you. Luna is ill, so there’ll most probably be just my assistant and myself to run the shop today. Two orders have been sent to me this morning. I’m extremely sorry, love.”

“Oh, don’t be,” Hermione said sympathetically.

The backdoor opened, and Ginny’s assistant came to view. He was a gangly, blemish-faced teenager boy in the age of eighteen. Easy-going, tactless sometimes, but very hard-working. He wore an untidy apron over his simple shirt and washed-out jeans, and in his hand he carried a small box wrapped in pink and white flowered paper.

“Ms. Ginny, this just arrived. They’re from Mrs. Egan with best regards ‘cause your anti-aging potion seemed to have caused miracles on her crinkled face,” the boy croaked, grinning from ear to ear. “Prob’ly toffees again. Yummy. Oh, hi, Ms. Hermione.”

“Thank you, Kirk,” Ginny drawled. “Put them on the counter. You can have some in your break time.”

“Great, thanks a lot, Ms. Ginny,” Kirk said, beaming. He was about to disappear in the backroom again, until his eyes met one of Ginny’s companions, he froze on his spot. Ginny knew at once who the pubescent boy had spotted, and groaned inwardly. Kirk’s mouth fell in awe that he didn’t even have the decency to hide his astonishment.

“F-F-Francine P-Potter? Here? A Quafflepuncher!” Kirk squealed, clutching his chest as if preventing a heart attack. “I’d never have dreamed of meeting a Quiberon Quafflepuncher in person in my entire life. Holy Skrewt!”

“Hi, Kirk,” Francine said in a lovely voice. “Nice to meet you.”

“Hmmhmm,“ Kirk responded, his grin stretching wider than was humanly possible.

Hermione giggled behind her hand, seeming to be amused.

“C-can…I…a-autograph,” Kirk stammered without getting his sentence right.

Kirk,” Ginny huffed, stemming her fists on her hips. “I don’t pay you for ogling my customers. Will you be so kind and get back to work?”

“Y-yeah, yes, Ma’am.” When he turned around he bumped against the door frame, not watching his way.

“Amusing boy this Kirk,” Hermione giggled again. Propping her elbows on the counter, she glanced back to Francine. “Please enlighten me, how does it feel like being a celebrated and successful Quidditch player? I know I have asked this Harry before, too, or my first boyfriend, Viktor Krum. But I don’t have any famous female friends.”

“That almost sounds like you think I am that famous. But that’s not true, Hermione. People recognise me not because I’m a Quidditch player, but because I’m Harry Potter’s wife,” Francine explained. “I’d rather not want people to recognise me, to be honest.”

“Ah, that explains why you couldn’t be more conspicuous by wearing your Quidditch outfit, with a shiny badge emblazing the famous symbol of your team?” Ginny mocked in theatrical surprise. “While a twenty-five carat diamond ring was stuck to your ring finger that only a wealthy Potter can afford.”

“Ginny,” Hermione warned. “Be nice.”

To Ginny’s own bafflement, Francine started to laugh. “I’m wearing this outfit because I’ll be leaving for training this afternoon. It’s all going to be stressful because I have an interview with a reporter and a photo shooting for the Quidditch magazine then, which, by the way, requires this outfit since, as a captain, I’m representing my team,” Francine explained in one breath. She dropped her head to her hand. “And about the ring…well, it’s my wedding band, and I can’t put it off.”

“Ginny was only teasing you.” Hermione threw Ginny a look, which Ginny countered by pulling a disgusted face. “Speaking of, you didn’t mention you were leaving for training when we were at your dinner party,” added Hermione to divert the conversation to a lighter topic. “How long are you going to be away?”

“Two weeks, maybe,” Francine said. Then her face lit up. “But, hey, why don’t you join me for breakfast now? It seems like since Ginny…I mean…if you don’t mind.”

Hermione threw Ginny an expectant look. “I’m not sure…well, Ginny, is that okay? But I could stay, of course. I don’t have meetings this morning, so I could stay with you.”

Ginny bit her lower lip, tempted to crash their plan for a breakfast together, but she couldn’t. Hermione was only friends with Francine. There was nothing wrong with it. Nothing to worry about.

“No, just go, have fun,” Ginny said, forcing herself to smile. “I’m going to be busy all day, and it will only bore you to death if you’d stay here. Really.”

Hermione walked around the counter to pull Ginny into a hug, and then she leaned her forehead against Ginny’s. “That’s nice of you. But promise me to knock off work earlier this evening. Okay? I love you.” She kissed Ginny’s cheek.

Just to taunt Francine, Ginny’s favourite habit to do, she pulled Hermione back into her arms to steal another kiss—a long, passionate and fervent kiss.

Merlin, Ginny,” Hermione giggled like a teenager, her cheeks flushing. “You’re at work. What would your customers say?”

Ginny glanced around briefly. “No one’s even looking.”

“I am someone,” Francine said, hustling nervously.

“As I’ve said, no one’s looking,” Ginny repeated.

“Really, girls. Get a room or something,” Francine said. “That’s gross.”

“If you’ve ever kissed Hermione before, you wouldn’t say that,” Ginny snapped, draping her arms provocatively around her girlfriend’s shoulders. She was being obnoxious; she was aware of that. She couldn’t change that if it came to Francine Potter.

“I know what you mean.” Francine found the audacity to smirk, which Ginny found irritating.

“I think we need to get going, Francine,” Hermione said, perturbed all of a sudden. She kissed Ginny quickly, and moved around the counter to drag harshly the younger woman along with her. “Tiffany’s pancakes are the best, and if we want to get a vacant table there, we need to hurry. Are you coming?”

“Bye, Ginny,” Francine said over her shoulder, the smirk on her face never leaving. “I’ll see you in two weeks.”




(A/N: So, what do you think? Can you see why Francine wants to dye her hair? It has a more significant meaning, of course. lol. Why Ginny detests her? Do you still remember what Hermione's greatest wish was? >Read first chapter. :)

Anywhoo... Thanks for reading...)



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