Fandom: Harry Potter
Parings: Harry/Hermione (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.
"Now I don't want you smothering me in front of Ron," Harry said, shuffling through the foot of snow. "It's just a cold in my nose."
Her eyes flicked over to Harry and a sly smile showed on her face. "In your *head*. You had a light fever yesterday," she corrected. Her mittened hand found his gloved one and gave a squeeze. "But I won't mention it." Though if she had her way, they would have called off the meeting and Harry would still be in bed.
Harry stopped in his tracks, snow falling and resting on his shoulders and head. "Thanks..." he breathed. He raised a fist to his nose in anticipation as he drew a deep, shaking breath. "heh-ehhChhhhh!" He sniffled wetly in recovery.
"Don't know how he won't notice. You're sneezing every five minutes, Love." She gripped the doorknob of The Three Broomsticks and turned to him. "You all right?" Harry nodded and leaned over, kissing her cheek in confirmation.
They entered, shaking off snow on the welcome mat which seemed to magically dry in an instant. After a quick survey of the place, Ron did not seem to be there already. So they selected a table within sight of the door and started for it. But before they could take two steps, there was a cold wind at their back and an arm around their shoulders. "Hullo, Mates. How are you?"
"Fine," Hermione replied, twirling in place and applying a kiss to Ron's cheek. "And you?"
"Fine," Ron replied. "I'll get the drinks, shall I?" And he headed right over to Madam Rosmerta, jingling coins in his pocket and wearing a rather dreamy expression.
"What is it about her?" Hermione asked as Harry pulled a chair out from the table for her.
Harry shook his head. "Dunno. You know Ron and his mesmerizing women. Besides, I don't look at women any more now that I have you." He leaned over and touched her lips with his own. But he pulled away before he could really kiss, raising a fist to his mouth. "heh-IhhChhhh! Ihhchuhhh! Chuhh!"
"Here," Hermione fished around in her purse and pulled out a white handkerchief for him. She had been carrying them around for him for the last few days. "And blow your nose or Ron'll hear how stuffed up you are."
Harry nodded and blew his nose a few times.
"Aha! Here you are!" Ron said, putting down three mugs of butterbeer. "I also ordered some of those stuffed mushrooms you like so much, Harry."
Quickly, Harry tucked the handkerchief away before Ron could notice it. "Thanks, Ron. So, how goes the job jumping?" He took a few gulps of his butterbeer, finding it to be very soothing.
"Yes," Hermione said, drinking some of her own. "Last I heard you were working with Neville doing some planting of some sort?"
"Actually, I'm working at The Daily Profit right now as a part-time photographer and breeding nifflers on the side." He took a swig of butterbeer and grinned. "Apart from my plans to take over the world, I'm very busy." They all laughed.
Harry rubbed harshly at his nose, feeling a tickle brewing but not really wanting it to build up to a sneeze. He turned in desperation to Hermione, who had already noticed and understood. "Ron, I think that order of stuffed mushrooms is ready. Could you go pick those up for us?"
Ron narrowed his eyes. "I thought you didn't like--"
"Please, Ron?" she looked at him sweetly, and he nodded. In moments he was back across the crowded pub and out of earshot.
Harry's handkerchief came out the moment Ron's back was turned, and lifted to his nose. "heh-Ihhhhshhhhh! IhhhChuhhhh!" he sneezed, shaking weakly in his chair at the force. "ihhCheshhhh!" He blew his nose and whimpered, scooting over to lean his head on Hermione's shoulder. "I don't feel so good," he complained.
"She rubbed a hand down his back in comfort, then turned his head and kissed his warm forehead." Drink some more butterbeer, it will make you feel better. And I'll see if we can cut the meeting short." Harry needed to be back in bed.
"The food has arrived," Ron announced, putting the plate in the center of the table. The flower centerpiece hopped to the side to accommodate it. "Dig in!"
Harry didn't feel very hungry at the moment, but he didn't want Ron to think anything wrong. So he took one and nibbled at it. It actually didn't taste too bad, and he got through two as they all talked. Talked about their jobs, and their lives, and all the things they hadn't talked of since leaving Hogwarts, despite having seen each other frequently.
Harry's nose, for the most part, had been quieted by the last bit of sneezing, and a few vicious rubs were all that were needed to keep it from tickling too much. But without much warning, a severe urge to sneeze built in his nose. The rubbing did not seem to help at all this time, and he cupped his hand over nose and mouth. "heh-Ehshhhhh!" he sneezed, strong and wet, and perfectly noticeable by Ron.
"Harry?" he asked, watching his friend reluctantly pull out a handkerchief and sneeze again, into it.
"ihhhChhhhh!" he sneezed weakly. He blew his nose and looked up at Ron's concerned face. "Sorry 'bout that. It's just a ruddy head cold," he explained, draping the handkerchief over his thigh to keep it ready for later.
Ron nodded, looking sympathetic. "Remember that time in fifth year when you caught that cold and every time you sneezed, sparks would fly out of your wand?"
Harry nodded, back, laughing. "I nearly set the hangings of my bed on fire!"
"You did set Malfoy on fire!" Ron returned, laughing as well. "Even if it was just a small spark. Remember him running around, flailing his arms, calling for someone to put him out?"
"And Crabbe and Goyle just stood there, looking confused. So Hermione pushed him down to the ground and dumped a cauldron of water over him?"
She had been looking serious ever since Ron's realization of Harry's state, but now Hermione grinned. "That was rather fun. Especially seeing helpless little Malfoy on his back, wriggling in terror."
Ron had more ammunition. "Oh! Remember the mud-throwing at the shrieking shack, Harry? Or the incredible bouncing ferret!" The three dissolved into much laughter at the expense of their childhood enemy.
Harry's sneezes didn't stay back for long, though. Soon they were coming more frequently and numerously. "hehh-Ihhshhh! ehhChhhhh! ihhhChuhhhh!" He went through a few handkerchiefs, supplied by Hermione though she did so without smothering him. Ron took the lead in the discussion, pausing to allow Harry to sneeze but never focusing on him afterwards to embarrass him. Madam Rosmerta came by and gave Harry a mug of hot tea on the house, and he grinned dreamily in thank you despite his earlier comments to Hermione.
"We were over at your brothers' store last week," Hermione told Ron. "They say 'Hi'. Apparently there's been a holiday rush this year like no other, huge lots of customers packing in to by sweets and Christmas gifts."
Ron nodded. "I'm not surprised, now that You-Know-Who's finally gone. People want to celebrate the season. Nifflers have been going like mad as well. I haven't been over to Fred and George's store in ages, though. Maybe I should stop by next week and give them a hand."
Hermione smiled. "They'd like that. They could probably use the help, too."
"ihh-hehshhhh! ihhChuhhh!" Harry sneezed. He had been listening with great interest, but hadn't been saying very much. His head was filled with congestion and swimming with a mix of fever and the cold remedy Hermione had gave him just before they left which hadn't really worked so well. If anything, it made his nose run and tickle and sneeze even more. Or maybe it was just his cold getting worse.
He found himself scooting closer to Hermione, until he was again leaning on her for support. And warmth as much as support. She was a comfort as much as a companion and he felt very lucky to have her.
"Harry, what do you think?"
Harry's eyes shot open at the sound of his, and he realized he had nodded off for a few seconds. His head pounded, body stiff with aches. And his nose tickled madly. He barely had time to raise the handkerchief let alone answer his friends or warn them. "heh-IHHshhhh! ihhCheshhhh!" He paused, wiping his nose clean. "heh-Ihhhhshhhh! Ehchhuhhh!" He blew his nose and shook his head. "I'b sorry," he apologized. "I did't catch that."
"You caught something," Ron said, looking sympathetic still. "You're not looking very well at all, Harry."
"It's okay," he insisted, rubbing at his nose. "I'b fide..." But he wasn't fine. He was sneezey. The whole place knew that by now. The famous Harry Potter, sneezing his head off. Harry was only grateful that Ron wasn't taking any pictures of this for The Daily Profit. "heh-Ihhshuhhhh! ihhChuhhh! Heh-Chishhh! hehChuhhhh!" He drew another breath, waiting, expecting. The last sneeze was close but elusive. It commanded his breath, made his body tense, and made his nostrils twitch. He tried drawing it out with deep breaths and tickley sniffles Finally, he sighed and resolved that it would not come out.
Frustrated after another blow of his nose, Harry took off his glasses and put his head down on the table on a bent arm. "I'b really edjoyig this add all, but I thidk I'd better go hobe," he snuffled. Ron and Hermione agreed at once and though it was Hermione who provided the soothing agreement verbally, it was Ron who helped him up and supported him as they started to leave. Hermione replaced his glasses with another soft kiss on the lips, then led the way out. "You dod't have to cobe with be," he said stuffily as they walked. "Fidish your driks add fidish talkig. I dod't... bide... Sniff, sniff!"
"We don't mind, either," Ron said, patting his arm as they continued to walk.
The sneeze came at last, sudden, unexpected. He sneezed freely "IHHHHChhhhh!" Swaying on the spot with Ron to support him on one side and Hermione holding a handkerchief up to his nose for him. He blew gently and felt much better, the urge to sneeze backing back down. "Thaks," he whispered through heavy congestion, and felt a pat on his back and a kiss on his cheek.
"Let's get you home. We can talk more there," Ron said softly. "Where you can feel sick in your own bed." Harry nodded approvingly.
"And where I can smother you," Hermione added. Harry looked at her a moment, then nodded at that as well. Before starting Hogwarts, he had never dreamed of having such friends but now he could not imagine his life without either of them.
"Just a warning... but it is a bit of a mess..." said Harry sheepishly, and Hermione sighed and hit him playfully.
Hermione supported him on his other side, and Harry put his arms around both their backs in a thankful hug. Slowly, they made their way across the room and walked out into the snow.