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Chapter 1
Without her

The smell of minced pies and turkey created the ambiance in the burrow as the Weasleys prepared for their annual Christmas dinner.  The fire was blazing and the entire Weasley family and Harry were laughing at the dinner table about old times in school.  Each Weasley was in there best robes and Molly was bustling around in the kitchen as she added the final touches to her Christmas dinner. A now 22 year Harry sat in between Fleur and Ron staring at an empty seat opposite him feeling alone even though he was surrounded by friends. He had become a quiddich star after deciding that he had dueled enough evil wizards in his time. He was now seeker for the London Ravens and hoping to be scouted by the chudley cannons next season. Of course Ron was leading the conversation at the moment about his remarkable quiddich run in Hogwarts but Harry was focused on the empty seat in front of him and felt the warm Weasley house to be cold without her sitting there. Harry was single although he had a series of one night stands he never found himself capable of loving anyone after the war, not even Ginny. It was in that space of time when the war ended he realized he needed Ginny but didn’t want her. Ginny and Harry had moved in with each other in a flat in muggle London 2 weeks after the fall of lord Voldemort but quickly began arguing over the attention Harry was receiving from girls and his willingness to kiss them if they asked. He didn’t no why he did it came to a point that he found himself enjoying the pain he caused Ginny so he ended their relationship and she moved back to the burrow to Molly’s dismay. Ginny had never really gotten over Harry but never failed to mention every time she had a new boyfriend and would describe his willingness to commit to her in detail at any chance she got.  

“ Harry how did the Ravens do last season ? I haven’t had time to watch a game since Angela started on this baby craze. I find myself checking to make to make sure she’s not gone and sold the house to buy a gold crib more often now then anything “said George Everybody at the table listened intently for Harrys reply as none of the Weasleys were pleased when Harry turned down his first offer to play for the chuddly cannons. He knew that at the time the cannons only wanted him for his fame and the instant fan club that comes with it so he politely declined there offer and started out like any other player in the division 2 league.

“Not too bad George actually, we came 2nd in the division two league and Thompson mentioned that the chudley cannons scouts were interested in me so im hoping to be picked up there next season” said Harry his eyes floating around the table as the Weasleys smiled at eachother noticeably happy that Harry would be a chuddly cannons player and they could trade there London Ravens jerseys for chudly cannons 

“ Well done mate” announced Ron from the other end of the table trying to peak in to the kitchen “ Mum when are we going to have dinner? Im starving!”

“Any minuite now Ronald have patience. Hermione’s not even here yet” Molly called from the kitchen and you could here the pots and pans flying around. 

“Harry now that Fred and I have taken the company national were interested in sponsoring a division 2 team and we were wondering what is your rough estimate on spectators for division 2 matches” said George as Fred drew out a pen and paper from his pocket.  Harry looked from twin to twin confused to see them acting serious and was relieved when Molly flicked her wand and the pen and paper flew from the table directly to the fire.

“Where is Hermione anyway?” asked Ginny glancing at her watch “It’s not like her to be late”

“Well Gin when your travelling across the great Irish sea in that weather your allowed to be athleast 20 minuites late” said Bill as he spoon fed his youngest child Penelope.

“More like hours” came Hermiones voice from the fire place. A very flustered Hermione appeared from the fire place and tripped over herself falling directly onto Harrys who had turned around to greet Hermione.  She quickly stabled herself with a little help from Harry and smiled at him.


“HERMIONE!” and before anyway could even glance at Hermione again the Weasley matron had rushed forward to engulf her in a hug. All eyes at the table drifted to the tuft of brown curly hair until finally mrs Weasley drew back and took a moment to look at Hermione.  “ You look lovely dear you’ve certainly grown up” she said a little bit teary eyed.   Harry had to admit Hermione did look lovely, she was wearing a white woolen dress, and barely any make up her hair was not as bushy as it was when she was in Hogwarts but less controlled then the last time he had seen her. She had in neatly tied up in a lace of curls and her fringe swept back neatly.

“Dinner smells lovely mrs Weasley” said Hermione glancing around for an empty seat at the table. She spotted the empty seat opposite Harry and made her way towards it greeting each Weasley with a quick hug.

“About time Hermione , Im starving” Ron said licking his lips as a plate of food floated in from the kitchen onto the table before each person at the table.

“Ronald I swear someday you will realize that we eat to live not eat to live” scowled Hermione as she took her seat opposite Harry.

“Hermione I can feel the chemistry between us already” said George winking at her from her left and Harry seen Angelina nudge him in the ribs.

“Nice legs, when do they open?” grinned Fred from the other side and Hermione playfully smacked him on the arm. Harry felt a green monster building inside him. He felt a leg brush his under the table and Hermione smiled at him reassuringly.

“Fred and George Weasley dish duty “ yelped Mrs Weasley and Ginny stifled a laugh.

“Its fine Mrs Weasley there only joking” said Hermione “Besides they’ll be finding a sexual harassment papers on their desks on Monday morning” The table erupted in laughter as the twins faces plunged into fear.

“How are things in Dublin Hermione? Has the ministry got itself sorted yet?” asked Charlie.

“Everything’s great actually the law system has been cleaned up and they’ve requested I stay another year to see that it remains that way” Hermione replied cheerily.  Harry could feel Hermiones eyes focusing on him and waiting for a reaction but he focused on his plate of food like it was the most interesting thing in the room and vowed not to look up until Hermiones gaze had shifted. The Weasleys erupted into conversation about the British ministry and Shacklebolts current law system. Harry never would have imagined he would have listened to the Weasleys discuss the government at dinner but he defiantly never would have imagined his current feelings and relationship with the woman sitting opposite him.     

Dinner flew by with casual conversation and pulling of Christmas crackers. Everybody was happy and content and looked rather excited to begin exchanging gifts. Molly passed around her knitted jumpers and George and Fred handed out vouchers for the joke shop scribbling down the address of their main office on Hermiones as a joke.  Ron’s face flushed when Bill announced his gift to Ron was a mistle toe being placed over him and Fleur who carefully planted a soft kiss on Ron’s lips. Harry spent most of the night chatting with Bill and Charlie about quiddich and couldn’t help but glance toward Hermione trying to catch her attention. After a long night of fun and laughter the Weasleys began heading their separate ways until it was just Molly, Arthur, Hermione and Harry sipping whiskey by the fire. Ginny had headed off to visit Dean at his parents

“ Hermione dear would you like to stay for the night?” asked Mrs Weasley
picking up the gift wrappings from the floor. 

“Well ive already made arrangements to stay with a friend of mine in a London but it was very nice of you to offer” answered Hermione and Harry couldn’t help but chuckle at the image before him. “Im sorry I cant stay Mrs Weasley I promise next time I visit ill stay for longer” said Hermione smiling apologetically.

“Now now dear ive told you before to call me Molly and your looking very skinny your not trying one of those muggle diets now are you dear. Wait here and ill wrap up a plate for you” said Molly ushering Hermione onto the couch beside Harry and bustling off into the kitchen. Arthur quickly followed when Molly snapped her fingers and Hermione turned to Harry smiling. He instantly felt his face grow hotter when he looked at her. She was more beautiful than ever. Her cheeks tinged red from the blazing heat of the fire and the affect of the champagne she was drinking.

Harry nodded and looked at the clock. “You no what Molly I think ill take Hermione home now if you don’t mind? It’s getting very late and I want to see to it that she gets home safely”

“Harry dear that’s so sweet of you to offer” replied Molly handing Hermione a plate of leftovers. She wrapped her arms around her and smiled at her “next time I see you I want you to be a little sturdier. You’re a young woman now you’ve got to eat properly”

“Of course Mrs Weasley I mean Molly goodnight and thank you for dinner” smiled Hermione. Harry took Hermiones delicate hand and lead her to door of the burrow. He closed the door behind him after saying goodbye to Molly and Arthur and the two walked hand in hand toward the gate.

“You no holding hands wasn’t part of the deal Mr Potter” grinned Hermione as they strolled. She shrunk the plate of leftovers and put it in her purse using wandless magic.

“I just couldn’t help myself Miss Granger you’ve been making me feel like a teenage boy all night” Harry replied swinging their hands. Hermione stopped when they reached the gate and put her hands around his neck. He  pulled her in closer and touched his forehead of hers gently.

“It’s just sex, right Harry?” she asked looking down at the ground. He could feel her warm breath against his face. He was unsure of what him and Hermione where. He loved being with her as a friend and he loved being with her as a lover but he had lost sight of the line which drew the two apart and was unsure of where they stood now. At the beginning it was of course strictly just sex but now he found himself feeling the urge to hold her hand and cuddle her on the couch but he knew that if he took it any further they would have fun for a couple of weeks but eventually he would screw it up by shagging someone else and he couldn’t bare to do that to Hermione. He loved her as a friend.

“Its’ just sex” he sighed and he could feel her embarassment. The only thing he could think to do was to kiss her so he took slowly pulled her body closer to his by wrapping his hands around her small waist and kissing her neck softly. She placed her two arms on his shoulders and gently pushed him back.

" What if I want more?" she said befor dissaparating with a pop leaving Harry confused and speechless.

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