It is Sunday afternoon; a rare occasion where all three of them are home at once, and it's just them. It doesn't happen often enough, Hermione knows, and after what they've been through in the past few years she appreciates the luxury of being safe, warm, and with nothing hanging over her head other than the breakfast dishes in the sink. They need the chance, once in a while, to simply be. So that's what they're doing today.
Ron lounges on the thick rug in front of the fire, which is crackling merrily. It's not cold enough to need one, but Harry, who always liked the smell and the warmth, insisted. She thinks it reminds him of Hogwarts; it makes her think of winter evenings spent in the Gryffindor common room, trying to make the two of them concentrate on their homework.
He's currently sitting on the sofa, a battered old thing which they picked up for a song from a muggle junk shop. It's possibly the ugliest thing she's ever seen, but Hermione refuses to let them get rid of it, because it was the first proper thing they ever bought together. She lies in Harry's lap trying to read in the fading afternoon light whilst he idly traces the fleur de lys pattern of the fabric with his finger. It's very distracting; her mind keeps trying to focus on the subtle shift of his muscles as his arm moves instead of the contents of her book, a rather dry treatise on centaur-human relations.
Ron lazily turns; evenly roasting himself, as he always claims. He's gazing at the two of them now, his head raised up by one hand.
"Mione," he starts, his voice low and relaxed, "you ever wonder what'll happen?"
"Happen?" She might be clever, but she's no mind reader, and Ron's mind has always been particularly oblique to her.
"When we tell people. About us. 'Cos, you know, your parents are muggles, and you're the only girl." His question has an air of the studied to it, suggesting this has been on his mind for a while. When Harry joins in, she knows it has.
"Don't you ever worry? That we'll tell everyone, and they'll hate us for it? And spoil everything?" She has to laugh at this; it's such a ridiculous idea. Harry knows this, and has the grace to blush, his cheeks reddening but at the same time a timid smile starting on his face. It's a smile that always appears when he realises again that, finally, he has found a home in the two of them. It's such a beautiful smile that Ron and Hermione find themselves competing to see who can trigger it first.
Still laughing slightly, Hermione sits up. "Are you really that worried?" She actually has a good idea where this is leading; she knows both of them too well not to.
It's Ron who answers her. "Well, we're so – well, happy, together. And I can't help thinking that not everyone will accept us. Not that that'd make a difference to how I feel, but still," he beams at her, a ridiculously joyous smile that she can't help but return, "I – we – can't help wondering if you're going to be ok if your parents can't accept this – us."
Ah. There we go. She'd thought that was it. It's not that she isn't slightly worried, but there's no need to get all worked up about it.
"You mean that, because they're muggles, they might be less open minded?" It's Ron's turn to blush this time.
"Well, p'raps not when you put it like that…"
She laughs again, rolling her eyes at their paranoia. "No fear of that. To be honest Ron, I think you've more to worry about with your mum. Ginny might be ok about us, but when Molly finds out she might have something to say about Harry becoming a member of her family through her baby boy rather than her baby girl."
"You mean, you've told your parents?" Harry asks indignantly. Hermione rolls her eyes; he's always been paranoid about personal things, but she decided long ago that the best way to deal with Harrywhen he's like this is to laugh at him.
"No, silly. I agreed to us telling everyone together, and I meant it. No, I have – past experience of them being open minded." She blushes slightly, hoping that they won't notice and will let it pass. Ron, of course, does not.
"What do you mean, 'past experience', Mione?" There's a playful tone in his voice now, and he's grinning at her again. "I'm thinking there's a story here." She's about to protest, when Harry, ever the hero, leaps in to defend her.
"There really isn't, Ron." Harry says, taking her by surprise.
She looks up at him in shock. How does he know? She wonders. She never told a soul…
"Lavender." He doesn't need to hear her ask the question; they know each other better than that. And with Harry's single word answer, she understands completely.
"Hey! None of that!" Ron, always slightly resentful at being left out of anything – probably because he was the last to find out anything for most of his childhood – moves closer to them. "Tell me! I'll start tickling!" he threatens, and it's a serious threat – he's the only one of the three of them who isn't ticklish, and so, Hermione feels, has a distinctly unfair advantage.
"Alright, alright. I – I had Parvati to stay for a couple of weeks at the end... After everything." She hesitates, unwilling to name what she hopes will be the worst year of their lives. Those months hold so many horrific memories for all of them, they rarely speak of them.
Characteristically, Harry ignores the omissions and laughs, if somewhat halfheartedly, at her discomfort. It makes her smile, reassures her that some day the past will no longer haunt them so doggedly as it does now.
"What she's not telling you is that for three short weeks, her and Parvati were an item."
Ron's eyes widen in shock.
"What! You – and – but – you – she's a girl!"
She rolls her eyes again. This is precisely why she hadn't told him. Ah well, probably better he hear it from her and Harry than Lavender, who is still a notorious gossip.
"And Harry's a boy. Your point?" Ron flushes again slightly at this, whilst Harry grins at his friend's discomfort. "Look, I'm allowed to experiment, right? Besides, I've made my decision."
"You have?" Harry's eyes light up, and there's that smile again, that heart wrenchingly beautiful smile.
"Course I have." She smiles, first at him, then at Ron.
The three of them sit, lost in their own thoughts. They don't need to say anything, and the comfortable silence between them speaks volumes.
They sit there, simply being, the three of them. Together.