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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.) :)

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