by Schuyler

They're laying outside on the deck, watching the moon rise and fall over the water. Hermione takes a deep breath, tastes the sting of salt on her tongue, and lays back on her deck chair. When the back of Ron's hand slides up the outside of her thigh, she lets her head turn slowly to look at him. There is no danger here, no reason to rush. "Hmm?"

He shakes his head leisurely from side to side, still staring at the moon, and strokes his hand back down again. "Nothing." And Hermione watches him while he lays there, thinks the way his hair, darker now and shorter, looks soft enough to run her fingers through, and then she does, gently, and his eyes shut. "Is Harry asleep?" She rolls her head back the other way and Harry is smiling at her, but his eyelids are dropping fast. It's past midnight and they're outside on the deck of their beachside suite still in their bathing costumes.

She stands up and tugs on their hands once before letting them drop. "All right, bedtime." She can feel Harry looking at her. She knows he likes her white costume. And now that the sun has turned her legs a deep honey color, she quite fancies it too. His eyes travel up and down her body and she, pleasantly swimmy from the after-dinner Butterbeers, gives him the once over too.

Ron bumps into her from behind, his body aligning with hers, but his head towering over hers . "Come on, Harry." Two years ago, his voice would have sounded whiny and pleading, but now it's deeper and smoother and every word sounds like an invitation that's already been accepted. He reaches out and takes Harry's wrist and pulls him up beside them. Two years ago, Ron's grasp would have been easy enough to shake off, but now there are muscles behind the suggestion, lean ones that he got from running away and running towards and fighting off.

Harry pushes up his glasses to rub at his eyes, and Hermione plucks them from his head and pushes him towards the door. He smiles and lets himself be prodded into her bedroom, where he falls onto the bed, face down, arms flung out. Hermione sits beside him, lays his glasses on the night table, and yawns before saying, "I feel like we should at least put our pajamas on."

"Why?" Ron asks, "I'm comfortable. But if you want to, feel free." To be honest, Hermione's not sure she could ever move another muscle ever again, so when Ron pulls down the covers on her bed, she can't help but crawl underneath and just lay there, absolutely still.

The suite has two bedrooms and Harry insisted Hermione take the bigger one, with the attached bath. Ron's been on the fold-out couch the last two nights and now he looks at her bed with an unashamed longing. It looks plush and soft, and it is. "Get in, Ron. I'm not going to make you stand there all night," Hermione murmurs, her eyes already drifting shut.

Ron slides in and mutters happily to himself. Hermione rolls over so that he's tight against her back. She scissors her legs between the cool sheets and in the nylon suit, it feels like being naked. Ron's warm where their skin touches.

Harry hasn't said anything, so he might be asleep. He's also not moving, so he might be dead. Hermione prods him with her toe and he groans. "I'm going, I'm going."

"Come bunk in with us." Ron says, tugging the sheets back in front of Hermione. Harry pauses a minute, probably gathering up the will to move, then he drags himself laboriously up and lets Hermione twist and tug the blankets over him. Ron's arms are safe and secure around her, his chin hooked over her shoulder. He's staring at Harry, she knows he is, Harry's staring at Ron too. Hermione reaches out for Harry, slides across the tiny space, and kisses his shoulder, presses her lips more softly to a new freckle there, raised by the sun. Ron's hand spreads across her stomach and when she pulls back, Harry's eyes are half-closed and he's smiling. Hermione laughs.

"Have you ... ever?" Harry asks and Ron and Hermione both reply, "No." "Have you?" Ron asks and Harry quickly shakes his head, to which Ron whispers, "Good." "Never could find the time, eh, Harry?" Hermione asks, half-joking. "Never found the right someone."

Harry rolls onto his back and takes Hermione with him, the girl in her white suit straddled over his thigh. When Ron kisses Harry, it starts a tremor that rolls through all three of them and Hermione's the one to moan, low and sweet, the first one to make a sound. When Hermione is under Ron, he whispers, "Fuckin' finally," and when Harry and Ron are twisted together under her sheets, she says the same thing.


Hermione's hair falls down to the small of her back in dark, neat curls and Ron can see her clearly in the moonlight. She's running up ahead, carrying three towels, but Harry's walking slowly beside Ron, carrying the picnic basket.

Charlie's dead. There's a war on, and lots of people are dead, and it's been a month since he got the news, but Charlie's still dead. Ron's working harder than ever. They train, the three of them, every waking moment when they aren't in class, the few classes that are still taught. There's a battle brewing, and it's going to be the last, the Ministry's making sure of that. New potions, special wards, and combination spells tied to Harry's own magic. No one ever asked Ron and Hermione to stay behind. No one ever would dare.

Hermione reaches the water's edge first and reaches for the hem of her sweater. Ron surrounds them all with an Obscuro charm without thinking about it. It's still a bit shocking, to say the least, how immodest Know-It-All Granger is around the two of them. "Come in!" she calls back, "Come on!" Hermione had been practicing this spell for days, starting a bit of pepper sprinkled in a fishbowl of water, pushing the pepper down and away until there was a spot of clear water in the center. She wanted them to swim in the one evening off they'd been granted. They hadn't been swimming since Brighton. She was working her way up to a fishbowl clouded with flour when Dumbledore told her to stop, told her he would take care of it, and she should rest. She should play.

She stands there, naked and beckoning at them for another moment before she dives down into the water with hardly a splash. Ron sits on the grass near the edge and watches her. There are Aurors out in a boat, Aurors in the tower, Aurors in the woods, protecting the castle. Protecting them. There isn't much them left. More than half of the students have been called home by nervous parents or pressed into service. And it's hard sometimes to understand why Arithmancy or Herbology is important now. There hasn't been a Quidditch match all year.

Harry sits down beside him, close enough that Ron can feel him there, and for that he is eternally grateful. He wants this to be over. Everybody wants this to be over.

Hermione comes trudging up out of the water, wraps herself in the nearest towel, and sits on Harry's other side, close enough to get him wet. "I'm sorry. Thought the swim would do us all good. Remind us of Brighton." She sounds misty-eyed every time she mentions their vacation, but Hermione Granger does not get misty-eyed.

"Nah," Harry says, "better we just spend the time together." He falls to his back in the damp grass, and Ron glances back at Hermione, whose brow furrows. She looks worried all the time now; Ron wonders if he does too. The hair falls back from Harry's forehead and there is the scar. It's red all the time now, vivid like it's been painted on. It burns Ron's fingers when he touches it. He runs cool fingertips across it anyway and Harry's eyes drift closed. "Next year, we should go back to Brighton." There's a smile on Hermione's face as she looks down at Harry, and she's already bending to kiss him.


They waited for Hermione on the steps of the house for almost an hour. Ron had come home for lunch and didn't go back to the office again. They only let her in to change her clothes and drop her books before they went down to the river. Ron is laughing and standing up in the boat, shifting his weight to rock it from side to side. Hermione is keening and tugging at his pants, hissing at him to sit down.

Across the river, an older couple is looking over at them and smiling, thinking God-only-knows-what. They probably look like students, out for a good time. Only Hermione's a student, at the new Wizarding university in Oxford. Ron's working for the Ministry, cleaning up four years of war. Harry doesn't do a damned thing.

He putters around their house, he reads novels, he's learning French, he's building a cabinet in the backyard. He's not doing anything at all. He doesn't think he'd like to be Hermione, with the way the other wizards in Oxford look at her, as though she should know everything because she rode into the last battle beside Harry Potter, or Ron, who comes home and turns off the lights and falls into Harry's arms because he's had to hear about another terrible thing. But he does what he can for them, making late-night sandwiches when Hermione's studying, or trying, futilely, to stop Ron from bothering her. He doesn't think she minds, really. And at a reasonable hour, they all get into bed together, usually with Harry in the middle. When he wakes up screaming and crying and shaking, there are two pairs of arms around him and two voices whispering in the dark, reminding him that the danger's gone now, that he doesn't have to worry now.

Hermione shoves at Ron and he falls onto Harry, Harry tipping backwards from his bench and propping himself up with his hands. The boat tips dangerously. If anyone ends up in the water, Harry thinks it will probably be Hermione. The innocent always get hurt.

Ron smiles down at him and squirms just so. "Ron Weasley," Hermione hisses, "if you don't get up this instant, I swear I'll do something really awful to you."

"Like what, Hermione?" Ron's still looking down at Harry in a way that implies much more than two boys should be doing in a boat at four o'clock in the afternoon. "Perform a little magic out here where half of Oxford can see you?" He squirms again.

Hermione reaches over and grabs his belt for show, it's the wand up her sleeve that lifts him up and over the side. Harry sits up and Hermione is laughing, they're all laughing.. They reach over to haul Ron out of the water, soaking sweater and all, and he thinks, "This is my life now."


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style