The one thing that spooked Hermione the most at night was that there were absolutely no sounds whatsoever. No animals, no insects nothing. Those were all obvious signs that the Dementors had come through there recently. That and during the daytime she could see the visible evidence for herself of rotting or dead plant life. She never came across any animals, which meant they had probably been scared off once the Dementors had swept through.
It was mid August and she, Harry and Ron were on their third night of trekking through the rugged hills and trees in search of the next Horcrux.
On Harry's birthday, a letter had magically appeared on the desk in the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts addressed to him, along with instructions to hand deliver it. Professor McGonagall, who had replaced Dumbledore after his death had made the trip personally to Grimmauld Place to deliver the letter. It was from Dumbledore and had been written shortly before he died. Only Harry was able to read it. Whenever Hermione or Ron looked at it all they saw was a blank parchment.
Inside the letter, Dumbledore had gone into detail about where he thought Harry would find the Horcrux that he suspected to be Helga Hufflepuff's cup. There was supposed to be a cave that Tom Riddle used to hide in when he ran away from the orphanage. Dumbledore went on to express in detail how imperative it was that Harry retrieve and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, and that he was likely to face danger much greater than he ever had before. Naturally, that hadn't deterred her or Ron in the slightest from wanting to go with him. They had told him at the end of the school year that they would follow him no matter what he decided to do.
In the six years they had known each other they had always got through everything together, and that wasn't about to change now, especially since the stakes were higher than ever. The success of their mission would bring them one step closer to defeating Voldemort.
Dumbledore's letter had gone on to state that he believed once they had recovered Helga Hufflepuff's cup, they should go after the relic of Rowena Ravenclaw's before taking on Nagini, the second last Horcrux, and then Voldemort himself, the seventh and final Horcrux. Unfortunately for them, very little was known about the Ravenclaw house founder and Dumbledore had no theories as to what that Horcurx might be.
Hermione had grabbed all the information she could get her hands on about the Hogwarts founder, but so far none of it had proved useful. She had brought the books with her in case she got any free moments, but after their fourteen hour days spent walking and using the cover of the trees to avoid Death Eater patrols she was too exhausted to do much else except collapse when they set up camp for the night.
Hermione already had her wand out so when she heard the rustle of leaves. She had a choice curse in mind but was grateful her eyes worked faster than her mouth.
"Sorry," Harry whispered an apology.
"It's okay. I suppose I'm a bit jumpy," she said as Harry took a seat on the hard ground beside her, his back resting against the tree trunk as well. He was still dressed in his clothes from earlier that day as she was. This was an added precaution incase they had to leave suddenly.
"You don't need to stay on watch," Harry said, keeping his voice low so as not to wake Ron who was still sleeping in their tent. "We put up the wards, and the second anything larger than a squirrel tries to get through them the warning alarms will go off."
"I know that. I just couldn't sleep and instead of tossing and turning and waking you both up I thought I'd sit out here."
"I was awake anyways," Harry admitted. "I thought you'd come back in after bit but when you didn't I was worried."
"You said so yourself, these wards are charmed to let us know the second anyone tries to break through."
"That's not what I was talking about," said Harry, adjusting his glasses on his face. "You're worried about what we're going to find when we get to the cave tomorrow. The last time I tracked down a Horcrux I barely got out alive. This time may not be any different."
"I hate it when you talk like that. You're not going to die, Harry," she said adamantly.
"What's important is that we're able to count on each other when we're in there," he said, ignoring her comment. "I know Dumbledore said the recovery of the Horcruxes takes precedent over everything else but I'm not going to sacrifice you or Ron to do it."
"I don't mean to sound morbid but Ron and mine's lives aren't as important as yours," she said to him.
"You're wrong," Harry said, fixing her with an intense look. "I don't care about fulfilling some rubbish prophecy. If I don't have you or Ron than Voldemort might as well win."
Normally Hermione would have argued with him further, telling him that the survival of the wizarding world depended on them finding and destroying the remaining Horcruxes and that while he was not expendable, she and Ron were. If it came down to it they would sacrifice themselves so Harry could go on. Rather than do any of that, she let Harry pull her face forward for a chaste kiss.
It quickly deepened into something else entirely when she let Harry's probing tongue slip into her mouth and he pulled her closer so she was almost sitting in his lap.
"Figures the moment I shut my eyes the two of you'd sneak off to snog," said Ron, running a hand through his sleep tousled hair. Like her and Harry he was fully dressed, except his clothes were even more badly rumpled.
"If you weren't snoring so loudly we would have done it in the tent," Harry returned.
"You know, if I was a Death Eater you'd both be dead right now," Ron said, all traces of humour gone from his voice.
"Come off it, Ron. I would have been prepared," said Harry.
"Prepared? I completely snuck up on the both of you."
"He's right, Harry. We were careless," Hermione said, regretting how easily she had allowed herself to become distracted with Harry.
"Since when did you turn into Moody?" Harry directed his question at Ron.
"Sod off," said Ron.
"Stop. It's too late to be fighting and if there are Death Eaters out here they'll hear you," Hermione intervened. She supposed after having no one but each other for company for going on four days, they were bound to get on each other's case a little but they had avoided any fights so far. Even she and Ron had done their best to let cool heads prevail and not bicker over every little thing.
"Are you coming back to bed?" Ron asked her.
She wondered briefly why he wasn't looking at Harry as well when it hit her. Harry had probably woken Ron before he'd come out to check on her.
"You're not going to make Ron miss any more sleep than he already has, are you? Because you know how grumpy he can be in the morning," Harry said wryly.
"And you're usually so charming," said a sarcastic Ron.
After that, Harry helped Hermione to her feet and the three of them walked the very short distance back to their tent.
It was nothing like the tent they had slept in during the summer of fourth year when they'd gone to see the Quidditch World Cup. Ron had actually thought she was joking when she said they'd be sleeping in a muggle tent and that there would be no kitchen or other furniture. It would just be them and the sleeping bag she'd enlarged to fit the three of them inside, along with their rucksacks and few other necessary items they had brought with them.
She snuggled into the sleeping bag with the boys but wasn't tired. She could feel Harry turn on his side and Ron remain laying on his back on her other side. She felt Ron's hand slide over hers inside the sleeping bag.
He turned so he could look at her. "What's wrong?"
Though there were many times when Ron could be the most insensitive and insufferable git in the world, she loved him for those faults as much as she did when he was being caring and perceptive.
"It's nothing," she said, giving his hand a small squeeze. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Okay," he said, not pressing her further.
"I didn't say I wanted to do that either," she said, feeling his hand creeping up underneath her top.
"I don't see you stopping me," he said, sounding rather smug as his hands lightly cupped the underside of her breasts.
"Ron," she breathed. It was part moan, part warning. "Harry's trying to sleep," she said, grasping for any excuse she could.
"No, I'm not," said Harry. He turned over so he was spooned against her. His hand joined Ron's underneath her top.
"What happened to that 'being prepared' speech you gave five minutes ago?" Hermione said, fighting to stay rational which was becoming increasingly difficult as the boys were each kneading a breast in their hand.
"That was before I had my hand up your shirt," Ron responded.
She could hear Harry chuckling behind her, his breath warm on her neck.
"Honestly, Ron, this isn't a vacation. This is serious."
"I know it's serious," he said, jerking his arm out from underneath her shirt. "I also know that once we reach that cave we might never " Ron stopped and corrected himself. He couldn't even consider the possibility of something happening to either of them. " it may be a long time before we're together like this again," he finished.
The impact of Ron's statement hit her harder than any of her own thoughts could because it was evidence that she wasn't the only one thinking that there was a chance they wouldn't make it through this. Harry talked about dying all the time, but it was something altogether different to hear Ron talk that way.
She caressed Ron's face and let herself settle back against Harry, remembering that despite everything that was going on their relationship was still very much new. It had been hard to find time alone at Grimmauld Place except at night, and even though she and Ginny had their own rooms she still had to be careful about sneaking across the hall to the boys' room.
The strange thing was it hadn't been that much of an adjustment to be involved with Harry and Ron on a level that went well beyond friendship. Hermione supposed it was because the three of them naturally shared a strong bond that this was the next logical step.
After Dumbledore's funeral, the three of them became as close as they had ever been. It was almost as if with the Headmaster's death the tiny rift that seemed to indicate they were growing apart had sealed itself. That didn't mean she and Ron didn't row they just tried to keep it down to a few times a day for the sake of Harry's sanity. Harry was still distant to the point of broodish sometimes but he had always been like that and Hermione doubted that would change now that the three of them were together.
All that combined with the impact of Ron's words made her realize she wanted at least one last positive memory to take with her before they made it to the cave. After that, everything would be uncertain and they should make the most of the time they had now.
She kissed Ron hard on the mouth to show him that she wanted this too, before turning her head and doing the same with Harry.
"It is a bit cramped in here," she admitted, sitting up so Harry could remove her top.
Harry unzipped the sleeping bag the rest of the way and threw back the top cover so it wouldn't be in the way.
"If you had just gotten a normal wizarding tent this place would be a hell of a lot bigger," Ron said as he undid the clasp on her bra so she could lie down again. "Not to mention we'd have a bed too."
"A bed isn't important," said Harry as he and Ron removed each other's shirts. "We have done it on the floor before," he reminded them, cupping Hermione's breasts that were now freed from her bra.
"We could do it outside if you think you can be quiet," said Ron.
"Me?" Hermione cried with as much indignation as she could muster while Ron's hand had slipped inside her unbuttoned jeans and was stroking her through her knickers.
"You two aren't going to start fighting are you?" Harry said, cutting off anything else Hermione was going to say.
"Well, it does make the shagging better when Hermione's all hot and bothered," said Ron and slid his hand inside her knickers.
"You're incorrigible," she said, her breathing shallow.
"That's amazing how you can still use big words like that when Harry's touching your breasts and I'm rubbing your pussy," said Ron.
After Ron slipped one finger inside her cunt, any words became impossible for Hermione. She kept bucking her hips towards the finger Ron was pumping in and out of her.
Harry gave each of her breasts a loving kiss before moving down lower so he could remove her jeans completely followed by her knickers. Then his hand joined Ron's on her pussy, so that when Ron slid a second finger inside her Harry was there pinching and rubbing her clit. While they were both driving her into a maddened frenzy, Harry and Ron exchanged a hot and needy open mouth kiss, keeping their fingers working through Hermione's folds the entire time.
Hermione's hips were constantly arching off the sleeping bag as what the boys were doing to her was both wonderful and frustrating. She could feel their hands separately down there, knowing Ron's was the one that was speedily sliding his fingers in and out of her and Harry's rough hand was lazily teasing her clit and moving over her curls.
The combined efforts of both of them pleasuring her quickly became too much. When Ron inserted a third finger into her opening, she cried out and climaxed all over his and Harry's hands.
Harry and Ron had been hard before but it was nothing compared to the state they were in now from watching Hermione's naked body, flushed and glistening with perspiration as she rode out the powerful orgasm they were able to give her.
Now that they had taken care of her, Harry and Ron removed the remainder of their clothes before snuggling up beside her. They placed their hand over top of each other's on her hip.
This time Hermione was facing Harry and she couldn't get over how different his appearance was when he was carefree and not preoccupied with the weight of at least a dozen different things he thought were his responsibility.
"You look like you're expecting something," she said, grinning impishly at him. She could feel Ron's mouth moving over the back of her neck and shoulders.
"No, not really. If you don't want to, Ron and I can always take care of each other," Harry said, grinning back at her.
"You could watch," suggested Ron.
"As much as I'd enjoy that, I'd much rather be an active participant," she said and brushed her hand over Harry's erection, who let out a low growl.
"We were hoping you'd say that," Harry croaked as she gripped his shaft.
"Are we going outside then?" Ron said, gently pushing Hermione onto her back.
"That would be a little weird," she said, letting go of Harry's cock.
"As opposed to the three of us shagging inside this tiny muggle tent?" Ron said, eyebrows raised.
"It is hot in here," said Harry.
A more accurate description might have been stifling. The tent obviously hadn't been designed with sex in mind. She and the boys were sweating and it had little to do with the summer heat.
"We're not going very far," Ron said to her. "And we'll bring our wands with us just in case. But if anyone does get through those wards they'll be too shocked to do anything," he added jokingly.
"I don't know why I let you two talk me into these things," she commented and stood up. The tent was just high enough for her to stand at full height, while both Harry and Ron were forced to stoop over. That was just another one of the many things Ron hated about their tent.
"It's impossible for us to talk you into anything," said Harry, as he and Ron followed her outside. "You never do anything you don't want to," he said snaking his arms around her waist and pulling her close to him."
"Harry's right. You're the one who likes bossing us around, remember? Not the other way around," said Ron, pressing up against Hermione from behind.
Hermione was helpless to do anything but moan in response. What was she going to do anyways deny that Ron was right? She was a nag and beyond bossy, but she wasn't as bad as she used to be though she was sure Ron and Harry would disagree.
While she was thinking about that, the boys had maneuvered her over to a tree. Harry was in front of and Ron remained behind her.
"All right, Harry?" Ron said to Harry, who was leaning back against the tree.
"Oh yeah, I'm fine. I just have this tree bark digging into my arse," he said sarcastically.
"You're the one who wanted to do it out here," Hermione said, pressing a kiss to Harry's chest.
"You'll be fine," said Ron, who was already spreading Hermione's arse cheeks and getting her ready for him. Then he used his wand that he'd brought with him to do a lubrication charm.
"That's easy for you to say," Harry muttered, but he stopped complaining after that. He was sure Ron would have changed positions with him if he were that uncomfortable, but what Harry wanted right now was to bury his cock into Hermione's pussy and he wouldn't be able to do that if he changed with Ron. If he could handle the throbbing pain of his scar, he could take a little discomfort against his backside if it meant being inside Hermione.
She was still wet from before that all Harry had do was shift his body a little and he was able to sink into her with a groan. It wasn't long before Hermione was being propelled onto his cock from the force of Ron thrusting into her from behind.
As their hips rocked together, Harry lowered his head and took one of Hermione's breasts into his mouth.
"Harry," she moaned loudly, momentarily forgetting that they were trying to be as quiet as possible. But really, how could they expect that of her when they were shagging her from both ends and Harry was eagerly sucking her breasts using his teeth to tease her nipples.
As much as Ron enjoyed shagging front ways with Hermione, there was something about fucking her from behind that was so incredibly hot. It was probably because he'd never figured studious and bookish Hermione, who was such a stickler for the rules, would have such a different personality when it came to sex and basically let him and Harry do whatever they wanted within reason of course, but she hadn't said no to anything yet.
With one hand tightly gripping Hermione's hip to help control the depth at which he was thrusting into her, Ron fisted his free hand in Harry's unruly hair as he suckled Hermione's breasts.
For Hermione, the experience of having both Harry and Ron inside her at the same time was something she would never get used to. It was hard to believe that two months ago she had scoffed at the rumours that she, Harry and Ron really did do everything together.
Harry took her breast out of his mouth and pressed his lips to hers in a kiss that they didn't hold for more than a few seconds because they were both breathing so hard. Then Ron leaned over her shoulder, crushing his lips against hers before Harry joined in. Hands became tangled in hair as the three of them were panting and frantically kissing each other.
The intensity of it all was characteristic of when they were together. It was their years of close friendship that did it and allowed them to connect on the most intimate of levels.
It was Hermione who came first and brought the boys to orgasm with her. She clenched her muscles around Ron and Harry's twitching cocks and it didn't take long before they were pounding into her with renewed force as they were cumming inside her.
By this point, none of them were concerned about being quiet and Ron could barely hear his cries of pleasure over Harry and Hermione's. When Hermione stopped shuddering against him, she stepped forward, letting his dick slide out of her arse as she fell forward against Harry's chest.
"I think we should move back to the tent now," Harry panted.
There was no argument from Ron or Hermione, and the three of them stumbled back into the small tent and collapsed on top of the open sleeping bag.
Hermione was content just to lay there snuggled between them when she saw Harry's back and gasped. "Harry, your back's all cut up," she said in alarm.
"It's not that bad," he said dismissively.
Hermione only just resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She didn't know what it was about Harry and Ron not wanting to admit when they were in pain. She supposed it was a male trait in general.
She grabbed her wand and performed a healing charm on his back, watching the tiny scrapes and cuts grow smaller and then disappear altogether.
"Thanks," he said in appreciation.
"I guess Ron and I were a little rough," she said with a seductive grin.
"Oh yeah, Harry really looks like he minded," Ron said, grinning as well.
"It was well worth it," Harry said, lying back down.
"Not to ruin this or anything, but shouldn't we get dressed?" Hermione said to them. There was a reason they were sleeping in their regular clothes after all.
"Yeah, we should," Harry said reluctantly.
But none of them made any move to leave their comfortable arrangement of lying nestled together in the sleeping bag.
With the knowledge of what they would be facing tomorrow, Hermione didn't mention getting dressed again.