by Victoria P.

"Why? Why her?" Hermione asks, burying her tearstained face in Ginny's chest. Ginny says nothing, though she knows the answer.

It is simply that Luna was there -- ready, willing and able -- and Ron is a sixteen-year-old boy whose brain lives in his prick most of the time, unable to resist Luna's odd brand of vague flattery and apparent ignorance of appropriate physical boundaries.

She strokes Hermione's hair and makes soft crooning noises of the type her mother used to soothe her with. Hermione's hair looks all angry and snarled like a dried hedge, but it's much softer than it appears and smells faintly of citrus from the Muggle conditioner she uses to try to control it. Ginny buries her face in the cloud of hair and inhales, thinking the scent and softness alone are worth whatever Hermione pays, even if it doesn't work as advertised. She wonders if Ron misses this while he's kissing Luna. Wonders how Ron can think or touch anyone else when Hermione looks so vulnerable, so in need of being held.

Ginny's breath hitches as Hermione's lips brush against the curve of her breast. She knows it's an accident, a simple happenstance based on their positions, and she wishes she didn't have these feelings, because then this would be nothing more than one friend comforting another. But she does, and heat rushes in her veins.

Ginny finds it amusing that she's managed to get over her crush on Harry only to fall for Hermione. She knows Ron well enough to know he thinks of Hermione as his, even though they haven't done more than kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas.

She drops a kiss on Hermione's hair, still murmuring nonsense syllables. Hermione looks up at her, eyes swollen, nose raw, lips red and chapped. She's beautiful, Ginny thinks, even though no one who saw her like this would ever say so.

Hermione chokes back a sob, her crying coming to an end. Ginny pushes damp hair off her forehead, presses her lips to the soft, warm skin there. Hermione stills, eyelids fluttering closed, and Ginny kisses them softly, tasting salt on the delicate skin still wet with tears. Hermione breathes in wet gasps, the last echoes of her sobs dying out under Ginny's lips.

Ginny slides her mouth over the bridge of Hermione's nose and Hermione opens her eyes. Brown-ringed pupils in bloodshot white stare at Ginny, breath catching as Ginny kisses her mouth.

Her lips are soft, wet, salty. She gasps again, and Ginny slips her tongue into Hermione's mouth, hands coming up to cup her cheeks. Ginny brushes her thumbs over soft skin as she kisses Hermione, who tastes unexpectedly of oranges. Ginny was expecting mint, because Hermione is addicted to string mints, daughter of dentists that she is. But lately she's been eating oranges as snacks, and as Ginny slides her tongue along Hermione's, she's tasting sunshine, imagining a warm place where it's never dark, a place where the shadows hold no terror.

Hermione pulls back, eyes wide and startled, before leaning in and kissing her, ink-stained fingers hands tangling in her hair. It hurts a little, but the pain is worth it as Hermione pushes her down onto the bed, mouth fierce and hungry.

They're both panting when they break apart, and Ginny whimpers a little; she can't help it, and she knows it makes boys crazy.

Hermione stares at her, and Ginny can see the confusion in her eyes, even as she can see the way Hermione's nipples are peaked, pressing against the fabric of her bra and blouse; her hair is wilder than usual and her lips are wet and swollen. Ginny has to take a deep breath and look away as she feels wetness and the sharp ache of desire between her thighs.

Hermione's hands trail over her face, and Ginny sucks a thumb into her mouth, licking at the soft pad of her finger, feeling the dull edge of her nail, always trimmed neatly and painted with pale pink polish, Hermione's one truly girlish affectation.

Ginny imagines those delicate hands sliding over her breasts and belly, tangling in the dark, humid curls between her legs. She wants that for herself, so badly she's trembling from it.

She doesn't ask; she reaches up and pulls Hermione down to her again, tangles their legs and rolls them so she's on top, childhood wrestling matches with Ron and the twins having taught her a thing or two about leverage.

She kisses Hermione hard, thrusting her tongue into her mouth, wrenching a throaty moan from her and beginning to unbutton her blouse with shaky fingers. The soft cotton falls away, and Ginny can't wait, she pushes one cup down and licks at the taut nipple, berry brown, ripe and sweet and so good against her tongue.

Hermione gasps again and arches, hands anchoring themselves in Ginny's hair, and Ginny has to smile. She doesn't care if Hermione's thinking of Ron; Ron's not the one making her moan and squirm.

She moves to the other breast, trailing her tongue along the soft lace edge of the bra before pushing it out of the way. She uses her teeth this time, gently but enough to sting before laving the nipple with her tongue. Hermione moans again, and Ginny presses kisses over her heart, one hand skating over belly and hips before sliding up under Hermione's skirt, tracing the secret, silky skin of her thighs with greedy fingers.

Ginny brushes against the wet cotton of Hermione's panties, smiling at the sound of her sharp gasp, then slips her fingers beneath the elastic. Slick, hot, wet. Ginny marvels in it, the sensation of touching someone else the way she's touched herself. Hermione sucks in a shuddering breath and then clamps her hand on Ginny's wrist.

"Stop." Hermione's breathing is ragged, but her voice is strong.

Ginny growls, a sound she's heard her brothers make all too often, but stops. She meets Hermione's gaze squarely, feeling no shame.

"I--" Hermione shakes her head as if to clear it. "Ginny, why?"

Again, there's only one answer she can give, and it's not the one she's dying to say. Hermione's fingers tighten when she doesn't respond right away, and Ginny wonders if she'll have a bruise there. She thinks she will, and that pleases her.

"Because I'm here," she says finally. She doesn't say, "And Ron isn't." She doesn't have to.

"I think you should go," Hermione says, turning away, flushing in embarrassment as she fixes her bra and buttons her blouse, covering up the marks Ginny's made with her teeth on that pale, tender flesh.

Ginny nods, smoothing a hand over her hair as she rises from the bed.

She's at the door when Hermione says, "Thank you, I think."

Ginny turns back with a grin. "Any time."

Back in her own room, Ginny raises her hand to her face, breathes in Hermione's scent as she comes, her other hand between her legs.

She was there, and she'll be there again for Hermione, until Ron decides to be there himself.


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