harry potter. harry/hermione. for anythingbutgrey. (only six minutes late!) i'm afraid this has very little (if anything) to do with your prompt. Still, after all these years, she appreciates the way Harry rings the doorbell. r. 1300 words.
Still, after all these years, she appreciates the way Harry rings the doorbell, the way he walks to her house and knocks if it isn't working (often, it is not working) and waits at her door, foot tapping impatiently against the top step. She feels always that familiar tinge of anticipation as she turns the handle though it always Harry on the other side; all other people who cross that door have a pair of keys and visitors pop up in fireplaces.
This ritual of greeting him in the cold air outside is a shared privilege. Harry's body feels cold against her, he brings in the feel of snow and ice and she shivers as their cheeks collide, bare freezing skin.
"Cake?" he asks, when they break apart, points to her side of her face that is still coated with flour and touches his own cheek, finger tips coming away white; they are each half moons of white powder and Hermione laughs, a rare soft strain.
"I thought I'd try something different," she explains. Harry shrugs off his coat, shaking snow onto the carpets. She has not seen him for a while; three months, give or take, which is long in a relationship like theirs. She waits for him to step into the light, for his face to come into focus, the lines growing deeper in his cheeks. He looks up, looks older, unshaven. Harry is usually quite careful about that sort of thing, meticulous. Harry, unshaven will recall always those dangerous weeks in the tent of aching hearts and pressed palms.
"One of Molly's recipes?"
"No, its from a book - but I'm afraid it isn't turning out well," she says, twisting her mouth to the side.
"Want me to help?"
Her eyebrows go up.
"Harry Potter bakes?"
"You don't know everything about me," he teases, lightly but it sticks in her throat. Three months and he comes home for Christmas; they stand together in her kitchen on the 23rd. In two days, they will eat dinner here, her family and his. The room will be full with richer smells, food, perfume and wine and the sound of children, hers and his. Harry steps over the threshold and presses a hand to the curve of her waist as he leans over her to survey the mess of dough that she has been mixing. She can feel his breath rise and fall in his chest as the length of him aligns against the length of her.
"That," he admits, mouth close to her ear, "Does not look - particularly good."
"Salvageable?" she asks, turning her cheek to the side. His lips catch the curve of bone, open against it. His hands on his waist, pull and tug; he twists her around in his arms.
"Is that a challenge?" he asks.
Her fingers play with his collar, merging layers of flour and snow still sitting there.
He grins, releases her and the sleeves roll up. She props herself up on the counter, legs swinging. She watches him move in her kitchen, occupy space and time, the tense line of his wrist as he stirs. When he is away, she thinks about him and her brain, so turned to him, brings back a man so real that she starts between the fantasy and the reality; he is here and he is back and in a few hours he will be gone again. They live in these moments of forgotten time; under her shirt, she still wears the little hourglass. Sometimes, her fingers close around it and wonder.
Harry catches her gaze, meets it and holds. He grins without breaking away, grins still at her as he pours the mixture into the pan and with a dramatic flourish, quick bow presents it to her before slipping it into the oven.
He drops the mittens on the counter behind her, steps quietly (no fuss) into the space between her legs.
"The proof of the pudding, Mr. Potter," she says, sternly, "Is in the eating."
He grins, reaches down between them to press his fingers against her, "Is that right?"
"Mmm, absolutely," she mumbles, losing words, losing thought against his mouth; they press and he presses her, her body leaning into the marble. Her back arches and his follows the cover, moulding into her. His hands grasp either side of her waist, lift her higher against the counter so she can wriggle out of her trousers, the fabric making a satisfying plop as it falls to the floor and his soon follow. This business of undress is a mastered art between them; they fuck still like teenagers but their knowledge of each others bodies is old hand, instinctual. She knows his shirt will always be unbuttoned halfway between his jumper, that the third button on this grey one has been missing for years and doesn't waste time searching for it which she moves to undo them.
He is cold and hot all over, still chilled extremities digging into her flesh as his body, warm and blazing moves against her own. They break against each other like tides, Harry fists one hand in her hair and curses into her collarbone and that noise, the muffled moan pushes her over the edge. She has been thinking about months; it was growing autumn when he left, dropping dark leaves and it is white and winter now, in the warm, bright kitchen and the room drops out of sight, her thread of thoughts breaks; she comes undone.
It feels like a million years in between this time and the last; Harry, gasping, presses his forehead against hers. It feels like yesterday, months swallowed into their mouths. She touches his cheek as they catch breaths and there is only the soft whirring of a kitchen's sounds, the quickness of their breaths and nothing else. Her house is empty of sound, empty with the anticipation of noise.
Two days and they will sit in this same room, the quiet ones amidst a riot of voices. She knows, already that he will wear a blue shirt, a red tie that his wife picked out last week. A Christmas present that she was consulted on. She knows already that Ginny will wear yellow and the light at their crowded table will gather around her like fireflies to a flame. She can picture the discarded wrapping paper, the stains of wine and chocolate over her mother's ivory tablecloth. She pictures and she stays still, there in the cage of Harry's arms, the cage of his body as it traps hers into the space between him and the counter. They are too old now to squirm or play at guilt; they have played this game of repetition for far too long.
"Going to wait for Ron?" she asks, shifting into him, so that his hand at her hip settles instead into the curve of her waist.
"Going to wait for that cake."
She rolls her eyes, mutters "greedy bastard" without any severity.
Even indoors, pressed together, their bare bodies grow cold. She would like to slip out of her skin and share his, to tuck herself into the gaps between his ribs, the bones cracking against her own as they push together and then apart. Arrangements are not possible in either of their worlds. Human geography is firm like that, inflexible and her own weak body shivers with need; she shoves away from him, moves to gather her clothes off the floor.
Under her clothes, she can still feel the touch of his hands. It sits on her skin like a whisper.