Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Harry wasn't quite sure how he had ended up shivering on the living room couch in the middle of December.
He had some sort of fuzzy recollection of climbing down the stairs and falling past the second landing, right outside Hermione's room, but it was dim and vague, and he was too sick to care. He had picked up some sort of flu the last week of term, and he had spent the whole trip to Grimmauld Place in a drugged, feverish haze.
The next three days had been full of Hermione fussing about the blankets on his bed or his temperature or what sort of medication he ought to be taking and Ron's attempts to get him to eat something.
He rather suspected that Hermione was acting so concerned because there weren't any adults around. Tonks was checking in occasionally, but her idea of intensive care was to stick her head 'round the door and ask if Harry had died yet.
Hermione, Harry supposed, rather disapproved of that particular method, and made up for it by trying to force chicken soup down his throat at every available opportunity. He was really getting sick of chicken soup.
He had been dreaming about chicken soup, he thought, absently. Chicken soup and yellow galoshes and decorating a christmas tree with walnuts. It had been a pleasant sort of dream, really, aside from not being able to figure out how to hang the walnuts. The twine hadn't been able to hold them, and they were too thick to pierce without breaking.
Suddenly, Harry thought of something.
"Hot glue!" he said, happily. "I can hang them with hot glue!"
He heard footsteps on the stairs and blinked in the sudden light.
"I thought I heard something," said Hermione, with a smile. "What's all this about hot glue?"
"I can hang the walnuts," said Harry, seriously.
"What're you doing down here?" she murmured, fetching a blanket from the back of a chair and draping it over him.
"Exploring the wild, wild west," said Harry, tilting his head back and closing his eyes at the touch of Hermione's hand on his forehead, which was cool, and—oh—lovely.
"You're burning up," Hermione said, frowning. "Are you sure you took the tylenol I gave you? Maybe I ought to try a fever-reducing potion, I suppose I could owl Madam Pomfrey—Do you want me to do a cooling charm?"
Harry shook his head.
"I'm cold," he said, shivering a little for emphasis.
"Of course you are," chided Hermione. "Wandering about at ungodly hours of the morning without a shirt on."
Harry decided not to point out that Hermione was only wearing one of Ron's old shirts, patched at the elbows and missing half the buttons, or that when she bent over, he could see a lot more skin than he was probably showing. He figured he probably shouldn't be looking at Hermione like that, anyway. She doubtlessly had thrown on the only thing she could find when she came dashing down to look after him—
He settled for whining, to distract himself from the thought of what she hadn't been wearing. "I was hot."
Hermione set her hands on her hips.
"When you're running a fever, you have to stay warm, or you'll get chilled," she began.
"I know," said Harry, putting on his best contrite face. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get out of bed, but I wanted a glass of water. I was hot. And now I'm cold. It's not fair."
He pulled the blanket closer around him sulkily, and Hermione let out her breath in a huff.
"And my face is hot," he continued, miserably. "And I'm all achy and I can't do anything and I hate being sick."
"Poor Harry," murmured Hermione, cupping his face in her hands and bending to kiss his forehead. "I'll make you a cup of tea."
"Don't want any," he said, petulantly, but Hermione disappeared into the kitchen anyway.
She returned a moment later. "Kettle's on," she said, smiling. "Anything else you'd like?"
"Your hands," murmured Harry, sinking a little further into the blankets.
"What?" said Hermione, looking at him strangely.
"On my face," he explained, flushed cheeks going even redder. "They're cold. It felt good."
"Ah," said Hermione, pushing at his shoulder with her free hand. "Move over, then."
Harry obediently moved over, and Hermione slipped beneath the blanket, tucking her legs beneath his.
"You are warm," she said, softly, reaching a hand to cup his cheek.
Harry shivered a little.
"Poor thing," she murmured, brushing the back of her hand against his forehead.
Harry leaned into the touch, and Hermione slid her free arm around his shoulder, curling close. She stroked her thumb across his cheekbone, running her fingers around the shell of his ear to trail them down his jaw. Harry bit back a startled moan as she accidentally hit a sensitive spot.
"You okay?" Hermione whispered, leaning her head on his shoulder. "Was it just your face?"
"No, now I'm hot all over," Harry managed to complain, pushing the blanket down a little.
"You're going to get chilled!" Hermione scolded, moving even closer and tugging at the blanket.
Harry suddenly found a very different reason to want the blanket in his lap.
"C-cold," he stammered, yanking it up.
Hermione let him, running her fingers down his neck. Harry shuddered, and Hermione frowned again.
"I hope this fever breaks soon," she murmured, wrapping her free hand around his shoulder and stroking across his collarbone with her thumb.
Harry found that he didn't share her ambitions. Hermione slid her hand, flat-palmed, to his stomach and began tracing slow, steady circles. Harry let his head fall back against the sofa, giving up the pretense of breathing, allowing his mind to wander. If she would just move her hand a little bit lower—
They both jumped at the whistle of the teakettle, and the slam of a door. Harry heard footsteps on the stairs, and flushed guiltily when Ron came into the living room, rubbing his eyes. He blinked at them for a moment.
"Sorry, did we wake you?" said Hermione, smiling at him in a way that made Harry want to look away, except he suddenly couldn't, because that would mean looking away from Ron.
Harry couldn't quite figure out why he wanted to look at Ron, whose hair was sticking up in all sorts of directions, and whose too-large pyjama bottoms were almost falling off his hips. Perhaps that was it, then—the pale curve of his hipbone, and the light dusting of freckles across broad shoulders came together to make Harry swallow. It also might have been the tired smile Ron gave him, though Harry wasn't really sure.
His ability to think rationally hadn't been working all week, and if his brain wanted him to find Ron attractive, what the hell. He'd find Ron attractive.
"Nah, heard the kettle," said Ron, running a hand through his hair. Harry followed the movement blearily. "Still feeling rotten, mate?"
"His fever's getting worse, Ron," said Hermione, a note of concern creeping into her voice. "He's really warm, I can feel."
Ron stepped across the room to lean over Harry with a frown, barely glancing at the blanket covering them, or Hermione's arm around him.
"Are you sure we gave him enough medication?" said Ron, finally, reaching to put the back of his hand to Harry's forehead.
"I can't give him more than sixty milligrams per kilogram of weight in twenty four hours."
"I'm fine," protested Harry. "Just hot." He remembered that the blanket was there for a reason, and that having Ron, who smelled of aftershave and the soap Hermione used on their sheets, wasn't helping things any. "Sorry, cold."
"I'm worried you'll get dehydrated, is all," said Hermione, pushing a lock of hair out of Harry's face, tracing around Ron's fingers.
Ron pulled back with a smile and disappeared into the kitchen.
"I'll get the tea," he called. "Have we got any juice, love?"
"I think so," said Harry, before he could think about it.
"I'm pretty sure he was talking to me," teased Hermione, raising her voice a little. "It's in the cabinet above the sink, Ron."
Ron came back, carrying two steaming mugs of tea and a glass of pumpkin juice. Hermione pulled her hands out from under the blanket to receive her tea, and Harry resisted the urge to beg for her to put them back. He reached for the glass Ron handed him. The chilling charm made his fingers itch for a moment. Hermione looked at him over the top of her mug.
"Drink!" she said.
"It's cold," supplied Ron, helpfully, sitting on Harry's other side, and pulling the blanket so that it covered him as well. "It might help cool you off."
Harry drank, making a face at the charm, and handed the empty glass to Hermione. Ron leaned around him, a little.
"How long have you been with Harry?" he asked. "I didn't hear you go down."
"I was quiet," murmured Hermione, moving a little towards Ron.
Harry was beginning to feel a little dizzy from all the contact. He slid down against the sofa a little, and Ron moved towards him, looking a little concerned.
"Are you all right?" he said, quietly.
"You really ought to go back to bed," said Hermione. "You need to sleep."
"I'm not sleepy—" began Harry, but Ron was leaning towards him again, with a soft smile.
"So should you," murmured Ron.
Harry wondered what in the hell he was talking about, but then, Ron was close, his face inches from Harry's, and he had the strangest look in his eyes, the one he got sometimes when he was looking at Hermione, and oh—
Harry figured it out.
"Hi," he murmured, almost against Ron's mouth, and sat up a little to kiss him.
It was tentative and gentle, barely a kiss at all. Harry made a soft noise of protest, lifting his hand to pull Ron's head down. Ron suddenly deepened the kiss, and Harry opened his mouth without hesitation, coaxing Ron to kiss him, really kiss him—
Ron froze, and Harry pulled back and blinked, a little sullenly.
"You were going to do it anyway," he muttered. "Don't get mad 'cos I did it first."
"Hermione!" said Ron, sounding a little strangled. "I was going to kiss—"
"Hush," interrupted Hermione, firmly. She slid a hand to Ron's shoulder, leaning close, to whisper in his ear. "You kissed back."
Ron froze again, and Harry looked at him for a moment, taking in the flush on his cheeks and the way he kept darting glances at Hermione. Doubt crept into his mind.
"Did I do something wrong?" he said, a little plaintively, feeling very small. "I didn't mean to—"
"It's fine, Harry," soothed Hermione, moving closer to nuzzle along his shoulder reassuringly, shooting Ron a dirty look.
"We've talked about this. You were awfully keen on it before," she hissed. "Don't you dare upset him because you've changed your mind."
Harry wondered, briefly, what they had talked about, and who Hermione didn't want upset. He tilted his head a little, to allow her better access to his neck, because if she was doing it when Ron was watching, it had to be okay, and it felt—oh—incredible.
Ron glanced at Hermione again, and then sighed, in a resigned sort of way, rolling his eyes with a smile that made Harry's stomach flip.
"Awfully demanding, you are," he murmured, leaning around Harry to kiss Hermione, who smiled against his mouth.
"Awfully," she agreed, twining her hand in his. "Think we can put him to sleep?"
Ron turned to look at him, meeting his eyes. Harry shivered, again, and Hermione curled a little closer.
"Harry?" Ron asked, tentatively, reaching a hand up to rest against Harry's cheek. "Did you mean to kiss me?"
Harry felt that Ron deserved a smart response, after—after pulling back, but he was too close for Harry to think clearly, so Harry merely nodded.
"Would you like to do it again?"
Hermione made a soft noise, and Harry nodded again. Ron tilted Harry's chin up and kissed him, carefully, a delicate balance of not-giving-too-much and giving-just-enough. He deepened the kiss until Harry was moaning into his mouth, pulling back with a gentle nip to Harry's bottom lip.
"I think Hermione wants a turn," murmured Ron, against his mouth. "Is that all right?"
Harry didn't even have time to nod before Hermione had brought her mouth down on his.
Harry thought it was a little funny that although they had learned off one another, the way they kissed was completely different. Where Ron was hesitant and careful, Hermione was bold and certain, and where Ron asked, and Hermione took. He let her keep control of the kiss, and as if to reward him, she slid into his lap, knees on either side of his thighs. Ron steadied Hermione's hips with broad, firm hands, reaching one up to pull her hair from where it was falling across Harry's face.
Harry slid his hands up to undo the buttons of Hermione's shirt, but Ron caught his hands with a soft laugh. Harry made a soft, disappointed noise into Hermione's mouth—he liked the way she felt, all subtle curves and soft skin.
"Plenty of time for that later," whispered Ron. "Let us take care of you."
Something nagged at the back of Harry's mind—he wasn't sure if there was time later. He pulled back a little, but Hermione caught his face in her hands, searching his gaze.
"It's okay," she said, as if reading his mind. "We've thought about this. Us."
Us, thought Harry, a little dimly. It was all right, then, if this was an Us thing. Most everything was, anyway, in the end.
He nodded once again and closed his eyes in tacit permission. Ron reached around Hermione to pull his glasses off, setting them on the end table, and Harry met his mouth over Hermione's shoulder. He tasted of tea and far too much sugar.
Hermione moaned, softly—a sound that made Harry's hips buck—and slid her hands to his shoulders, running her thumbs across his clavicles, mimicking her earlier action. He pulled back from Ron, panting, and opened his eyes to watch Hermione as she bent her head and licked—licked—along his shoulder, stopping to dip her tongue into the hollow of his throat. She slid down to press open-mouthed kisses to his stomach, nudging his legs apart so she could kneel on the floor between them.
"Okay?" murmured Ron.
"Yeah," replied Harry, voice rough. "It's—I—"
"I know," said Hermione, gently, pushing the blanket to the floor to rest her head on Harry's thigh.
He blushed, and she hummed a little, obviously amused. Ron had stretched out on the couch, and he reached for Harry's shoulder.
"If you move, we'll all fit," he suggested, pulling.
Harry moved, waited for the room to stop spinning, and settled back against Ron, letting his head fall against Ron's shoulder so Harry could look up at him. Ron slid an arm around his waist, warm and solid behind him.
Hermione climbed onto the couch again, running her hands across his stomach for a moment before sliding her fingers into the waistband of his pyjama bottoms, glancing at Harry for a moment until he realized that she was asking permission and nodded.
Hermione eased them down over his hips, moving to pull them off entirely. She eased herself down onto her stomach, pressing a kiss to the back of Harry's knee. He moaned a little, and Ron laughed, a soft sound Harry could feel.
"Like that, do you?" Ron asked with a grin, drawing a hand up to tilt Harry towards him for another kiss.
For every time Hermione kissed him, Ron did too—soft, teasing kisses that made Harry want to beg. He probably would have, if Hermione hadn't chosen the moment that he opened his mouth to brush her fingers over his erection. He gasped and arched into the touch almost involuntarily, but Hermione moved her hand back to his hip with a playful grin.
"Hey!" he said, wondering why in the hell she would do such a thing. "Tha's not—not fair."
"Don't tease, love," murmured Ron, reaching his hand down to push a lock of her hair off of her forehead, cupping her cheek. "I don't think he's in the mood."
"Oh!" exclaimed Hermione, looking at Harry. "Sorry, Harry. I didn't think."
Ron snorted. "There's a first."
Harry relaxed then, without thinking about it, because if Ron was teasing Hermione then this was normal, and normal was okay.
Ron slid his hands to Harry's hips, pushing him down a little, as Hermione curled her hand around his cock, leaning to trace her tongue around Ron's fingers. Harry caught his breath for a moment, but before he could even think about remembering how to breathe again, Hermione had slid down a little more and was—oh—using her tongue.
Delicate licks, too light to relieve the aching tension, and the soft, careful stroke of her fingers across the head of his cock—
Harry moaned, and Ron made a low noise in the back of his throat. Hermione pulled back to laugh, a little breathlessly.
"Kiss him," she managed, bending her head once more to take Harry in her mouth.
Harry arched into the contact until Ron pushed him back down, and Hermione made an impatient noise that nearly made Harry come, because—oh, god—he could feel her. Ron quickly moved to kiss Harry again, and Harry was suddenly very glad, because Hermione did something with her tongue that had him moaning into Ron's mouth.
"Oh," he said, arching again. "Oh, god, Hermione—"
"Come for her," murmured Ron, kissing Harry again.
Hermione hummed a little, and oh—it had been so long since anyone had done that—
Harry arched, and Ron let him, sliding his hands to Harry's stomach. It only took a moment more before Harry cried out and came. Ron made soft, reassuring noises that Harry hadn't known Ron was capable of making. Hermione slid up to kiss Ron, trapping Harry firmly between them, and he watched for a moment as they kissed, Hermione's hand against Ron's face, Ron's eyes meeting hers.
Harry was surprised to find that he understood everything they were saying to each other with glances and touches instead of words—Hermione's hand said I'm proud of you and Ron's darted glances at Harry seemed to say You'll always be welcome here.
Hermione pulled away from Ron and smiled at Harry for a moment before kissing his forehead. He fought the urge to close his eyes and sleep.
"Sorry," he said, when his eyes fluttered shut for the second time. "M'sleepy, I guess."
They both laughed a little, at that, and Hermione slid off him to stand up, straightening her shirt.
"Told you," she stage whispered, conspiratorially, to Ron.
"You're crashing, mate," agreed Ron, grinning a little. "Think you can manage the stairs?"
Harry thought for a moment, and shook his head, too tired to be ashamed.
Ron and Hermione glanced at each other for a moment.
"Can you?" Hermione said, doubtfully. "He's probably awfully heavy."
In answer, Harry found himself being lifted.
"Light as a feather," said Ron, cheerfully. "We're obviously not feeding him enough."
"T'much chick'n soup," muttered Harry, turning his head against Ron's chest.
Hermione laughed, and Harry closed his eyes. Just for a minute, I'll open them in a minute—
When he woke up, he was being put carefully into Hermione's enormous bed, and someone was pulling blessedly cool sheets up over him.
"Do you want us to stay, Harry?" asked Hermione, hesitantly.
He was too tired to respond, so he settled for grabbing her shirtsleeve and tugging a little. She slid into bed beside him, and somehow, Ron was on his other side, an arm flung over his waist. Hermione tucked herself against him, pulling the blankets up. Ron was out instantly, breathing deepening. Harry closed his eyes, catching the last of Hermione's fond smile, but something was missing, and it kept him from falling asleep.
"Glasses," he mumbled, finally figuring out what it was. "M'ne, where are m'glasses?"
"They'll be there in the morning," murmured Hermione, sleepily.
"You?" he asked, hesitantly.
"We'll be here too, Harry," she said, wrapping her arm around him, next to Ron's. "Go to sleep."
And so he did.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.