Fandom: Harry Potter
Parings: Hermione/Ron (smarm)
Spoilers: None, really, as long as you know the characters
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter. I write this only in fun and mean no harm.
Summary: Harry, Ron, and Hermione agree to meet in Hogsmeade the December following their departure from Hogwarts to catch up.
Harry Potter drummed his fingers on the scrubbed wooden table. It had a bushel of flowers in the center and a glass of less than clear water upon it. There were two empty chairs at it which should have already been filled, a third he sat on the edge of, and a fourth that would remain empty aside, perhaps, from the coats and scarves and other protections from the freezing cold outside that would be set there to dry.
"eh-Ihshhhh!" he sneezed, pulling out a rather used and wrinkled handkerchief and wiping his nose afterwards. It had been a miserable sort of morning all around, and getting worse as the seconds tickled by. Ticked by, and his companions were not with him. "ihhhCheshhhh!" At least he had the tickle in his nose for company. When he had sat down, no one paid much attention to him. He'd been in Hogsmeade loads of times throughout his years at school, and most of the regulars at The Three Broomsticks were so used to seeing him they didn't make the usually fuss. But after he startled them all with a sneeze, most of the eyes turned his way.
He'd been receiving little bits of advice all morning, and another onslaught had come from the pub's occupants. 'Hold a sprig of mint beneath your nose to clear your sinuses' and 'Wear extra layers of clothing to make yourself sweat' and 'Lie in bed with a hot brick at your feet and a goose' and a dozen more at least. He hadn't yet followed up on anything, especially not the goose part, and hadn't begun to feel much better either. He had thought, briefly, of waltzing up to the school and asking Madam Pomfrey for some Pepperup Potion, but that felt a little awkward when he imagined it and Pepperup was more for flu and such. Sometimes the worst symptoms could be quickly toned down with the potion, but usually head colds remained as something incurable that even wizards had to manage through.
"ihh-Hetchhh! Ihhhh-Chishoooo!" he sneezed hard into the handkerchief and quickly tucked it away, embarrassed by its appearance.
"Here, it's on the house," came the thickly accented but nonetheless glittery voice of Madam Rosmerta. "Take care of that cold, Mister Potter. It's a nasty winter this year and we wouldn't want one of our best Aurors out sick for long."
Harry nodded, slightly embarrassed, and also slightly flattered. "Thank you, I will." The drink was an herbal tea which had been recommended to him by someone that morning. He didn't really expect it to help much, but it was worth a try. And it certainly sounded more plausible and admittedly enjoyable than sleeping with a goose. The first taste of it convinced him that it was a good choice. It seemed to numb the pain at the back of his throat on the way down, and warmed his chilled and aching bones considerably. He wrapped both hands around the mug and drank slowly to make it last.
"ehh-Ihhhshhh! ehhChishh!" he sneezed, his glasses slipping down the bridge of his nose from the force. As he pushed them back into place, the blurry figure in front of him became clear and recognizable. Tall. Freckles. Red bushy hair. A grand smile. "Ron!" Harry exclaimed, bolting out of his chair to embrace his friend tightly. Ron, overwhelmed, hugged back.
"Hullo Harry," he said as they pulled away, still smiling as though it might hurt his face to stop. "Hermione will be along shortly. She wanted to pick something up on the way over, if I remember right." He rubbed at the back of his neck, and his ears had got bright red. "I was a little tired and worn out this morning when she mentioned it to me."
Harry laughed and nodded casually so that the redness in Ron's ears slowly faded. "I know we just saw each other a little bit ago, but it's not really the same," said Harry, pulling out a chair for Ron and gesturing that he sit in it.
"Yeah, I know what you mean." Ronald Weasley took off his coat, hat, gloves and scarf. Harry noticed that it was still the same scarf he'd had at school with stripes of gold and maroon, even though he hated maroon. He sat down at the table for just a moment before Hermione came in.
Ron and Harry did not need to even look towards the door as it opened and her footsteps approached to recognize her. They didn't need to hear her cheerful "Hello!" or see her still bushy brown hair or feel the warmth of her hugs. They could both sense her presence. She dropped her many bags and greeted Harry with open arms.
"Hello Hermione," Harry said softly, bending his face down to bury it in her neck. Even through his stuffy nose, her scent was as always, comforting, familiar. He broke away and pulled out her chair as she and Ron embraced gently with a full kiss that Harry did not turn his eyes from. He had gotten over seeing that while they were still in school, and their wedding night had been full of so much kissing that it seemed just utterly romantic now.
Harry pulled back as Ron pushed her in like a perfect gentleman she had him trained to be. Then he collected her many bags and stowed them under the table.
The tickling sensation was back, and didn't seem to want to go away, as much as Harry rubbed a finger at his nose. Even a few sips of the hot tea didn't quench the tickle. Not wanting to pull out the crumpled ball of a handkerchief, he simply cupped a hand over nose and mouth. "ehhhChuhhh! ehhhChoo! ihhhShihhhh!" He shivered and discretely wiped his hand on his slacks with a bit of a cough. Both pairs of eyes at the table were on him, as he took his seat. "Excuse me," he mumbled, trying a reassuring smile.
"Harry, are you all right?" Hermione asked, leaning forward in concern. Ron signaled Madam Rosmerta for two hot butterbeers.
Harry nodded, sniffling slightly. "I think it's just a cold in my nose." His cheeks flushed red, and he hid it by lifting the mug to his mouth with both hands.
It was Ron rather than Hermione who reached across the table and pressed the back of his hand against Harry's forehead. "You don't have a fever..." He sat back down in his seat, looking a little worried.
A soft smile crossed his face. He missed this part of Ron. He missed every part of Ron. First finding jobs and places to live, then the wedding, then the honeymoon. He hadn't seen very much of either of them. "I'm all right, really. It's just a little cold." Harry rubbed his nose and sniffled wetly. "Don't mind... it..." His breathing hitched and he turned to the side, both hands up to his mouth and nose in praying style. "hehhh-Itchhhh! ehhChhhh!" He sniffed again and wiped his nose against the back of his hand.
Hermione shuffled in her seat and pulled a small, lace, lavender handkerchief out for Harry. Ron laughed, pushing her arm away. "Herm, Harry doesn't want to use *that*. Here, take this," he said, offering over his own clean, pressed, white and neatly folded. Obviously, Hermione had had her part in this handkerchief as well. Harry took it thankfully and blew his nose lightly.
"We brought pictures from the trip," Hermione said, picking up one of the bags she had brought in with her. "They're... somewhere..." She picked up one bag and rummaged through it, then went to the next.
Ron rolled his eyes. "How much did you buy, Love?" he asked, reaching down and running his hand over the handles to count the number of packages.
"We can afford it," she replied, giving him a look, then a kiss on the cheek. She looked up at Harry. "His whole life he complains he doesn't have money and now he's still tight with it," she joked, poking Ron in the side to keep him away from her purchases. "Don't go looking. These are Christmas presents and there's one for you someone in here, too... but I'm still trying to find those pictures..." She went through three more bags before she found the small pack of pictures. "Aha!" And she slid them across the table to Harry.
Harry flipped the pack open. "For a month-long trip, you only took a roll of pictures?" He grinned and looked from one of his friends to the other. "Too busy doing things you couldn't take pictures of?"
Ron draped an arm around Hermione's shoulders and pulled her onto his lap, which was difficult as a sea of bags spread between their chairs. He wrapped his arms around her, linking his hands with hers. "You can only guess," he laughed.
Harry went through the pictures one by one, wondering if every inch of the French Riviera was this gorgeous, or just the spots they had taken pictures of. There were brilliant sunsets over waters. There were rainbows and flocks of birds and sandy beaches which seemed to go on forever. Some of the pictures showed Ron carefully applying sunscreen to himself, or Hermione sitting peacefully at the end of a pier, or the occasional one of both of them, hands linked, waving to the camera. Harry sniffled and pushed the pictures away with one hand, while the other brought a handkerchief to his face. "ihhHetchhhh! ehhhChuhhhh!" He blew his nose and rubbed at his nostrils, which still tickled, despite the release just moments before. "They're lovely," he mumbled beneath the cloth, though his sentiment was true, his cold was starting to take him over a bit more. They had had this meeting planned for ages, even before leaving Hogwarts. And now he was just wishing to be back in his bed under the covers.
Ron and Hermione's drinks were brought over, as well as an order of stuffed mushrooms which had looked appetizing on the appetizer list when Harry had ordered them, but now he felt a little sick to look at them. He motioned for the others to start eating, however.
"Aren't you hungry, Harry?" Hermione asked, looking concerned and taking back the photos.
He shook his head. "No, but you go ahead and eat. You both look ravenous."
"You should eat something at least, Harry," she pushed. "Did you even have breakfast?"
He shook his head again, looking down at the remainder of his warm tea. Somehow it seemed so much more inviting when it was hot. "It's not even noon yet, it isn't that bad."
Ron raised his eyebrows. "Still, you should eat." He fed the last bite of one stuffed mushroom to Hermione, who giggled. "Want me to feed you one, too?" he joked, holding it up.
Again, Harry shook his head. "I'm just feeling a little sick, is all." He rubbed at the bottom of his nose. "heh...ihhhCheshhh! ihhhChooo!" He muffled them into the handkerchief, very glad to have it. When he lifted his head, he found Ron had scooted his chair next to his on one side and Hermione on the other. Ignoring them for a moment, he downed the rest of the tea.
"Bless you, Harry," Hermione said, pushing his glasses up his nose for him. "Maybe we should finish our little reunion back at your flat?"
"I'd like to see it," Ron agreed. "Haven't seen it since you've unpacked." He pulled Harry to his feet and slipped his hand into Harry's. "Show us?"
Hermione stood as well, taking Harry's other hand. "Please?"
Harry smiled and nodded. "I've got to warn you, it's a bit of a mess..." He dropped both hands to hold them up to his face. "heh... ihhChuhhh! ehhhChuhhh!" They laughed and put their many layers back on. Ron and Hermione put their arms around him warmly. Ron tossed a few coins onto the table and the three walked out into the snow.