On the Fifteenth of February
A Harry Potter fic by Andrew yclept Aelfwine
The characters and situations of the Harry Potter series are copyright J.K. Rowling. They may not be used or reproduced commercially without permission. The use of these characters and situations is not to be construed as challenge to said copyright. They are merely borrowed for this work of non-commercial fanfiction, from which the author derives no financial benefit.
PG-13 (mostly for language and mild sexual references); 4750 words
Het warning, femmeslash warning, poly warning, Ron having been a git warning, lack of explicit content warning, breakfast foods warning, mild AU warning, yours truly warning
Harry/Ginny/Luna, Colin Creevey/original male character/original female character, past Ron/Hermione implied, Hogwarts-era Lavender Brown/Parvati Patil implied
Someone was gently nuzzling Hermione's face. "Mmm... Harry..." she murmured. "It's about time..." Wait, there was a tongue licking her cheek. That seemed like something Luna might do, but...
She woke. Oh, I was dreaming. Just as well, really... Her cat was nuzzling her cheek. "What is it, Crooks?" she said.
He yowled softly. "Oh. You want your breakfast?" He yowled again, and hopped off her bed, headed towards the door. He paused in the doorway, looking at her. "All right, I'm coming."
He didn't lead her into the kitchen where his dishes were. Instead, he led her into the sitting room. Luna's face rested comfortably in the green flames. "Good morning, Hermione. Did you sleep well?"
She yawned. "I... yes, Luna, I did. Thank you. Did you?"
"We did, Hermione, thank you. Harry was too tired to actually have sex, but we had a lovely cuddle... it was completely non-sexual, you would have been welcome, really, but... anyhow, I thought I'd check to see if you were up, and I'm afraid Crookshanks took it upon himself to go and collect you. I tried to ask him not to wake you, but I think he thought you should be up. I'm sorry about that... it's not his fault, I simply don't speak Cat very well."
Hermione couldn't help but laugh. "Oh, Luna, thank you. But it's quite all right. It really was about time for me to wake up. I think I was having very silly dreams..." Bother, I shouldn't've said that. Now she'll want to know what I was dreaming about, and what will I say?
But Luna only grinned and winked, as if she, in fact, knew. For a disconcerting moment, Hermione wondered if her friend was, in fact, telepathic. She'd never deliberately use Legilimency on me, but strange powers crop up sometimes... don't go there. She doesn't know my fantasies. Any more than she shares them. "In any event, Hermione, since you're up... would you like to come to breakfast now?"
"I'd not want to be any trouble..."
"How many times must I say it, Hermione? You are never trouble, and you are always welcome under our roof. Harry and Ginevra are just stirring, and I've put the coffee on and started making the toast. We'd love to have you here."
"I suppose I can't say no, can I? Well, let me feed Crooks and get dressed and I'll come through."
"You certainly needn't dress on our account, Hermione. What you're wearing now is more than sufficient. You know how warm we keep the house."
"Thank you, Luna, but... I'd feel uncomfortable visiting your house in nothing but a shirt. I'll come through in a few minutes."
"As you wish, Hermione. We certainly can't have you uncomfortable. But it is a very fetching shirt. See you soon?"
"See you soon, Luna." Luna waved and disappeared from the Floo. Hermione turned towards her bedroom. I'd like my dressing gown and slippers before I step into the kitchen. It's a bit chilly, and I'd never have not stopped for them if Crooks hadn't been so insistent. She looked down at herself. "Good heavens." Her shirt only had four buttons, and the top one had evidently fallen open as she slept. The edges of her areolae were showing. And her nipples were making little tents in the thin cloth. I might as well have been topless. Was that what Luna had meant she she said the shirt was fetching? No. Of course not. Enthusiastically bisexual though she may be, she's still Luna. An innocent, in other words. Luna had never slept with anyone but Harry and Ginny, probably hadn't even ever kissed or held hands with anyone else. And she was so very honest... She only thought my shirt was a nice colour. If she'd actually meant "Hermione, I think your breasts are beautiful and I like the way your shirt shows them off,' she would have actually said that. And Hermione wasn't going to think about the strange thrill that went through her at the thought of Luna saying such a thing. She pulled on her dressing gown, belted it tight, slipped on her slippers, and went to feed her cat.
Twenty minutes later, dressed in a pair of jeans and a light jumper that she'd had since Hogwarts, Hermione stepped through the Floo into Grimmauld Place. "Hullo?" she called, looking both ways.
"Hullo, Hermione," Ginny said, and hugged her.
"Ginny? Where did you come from?"
"Ottery St. Catchpole, of course," said Luna, adding herself to the hug.
"Err... I actually meant that in the sense of 'why didn't I see Ginny?'"
Ginny blushed. "We were playing hide-and-go-seek."
"Is that a--" Hermione bit off the word "euphemism."
"Oh. I thought Muggles did play that game," Luna said. "Was I wrong? Harry seemed to think so, but I know he doesn't know a lot of things about the Muggle world, because of the Dursleys, so..."
"Oh, no, Muggles do play it," Hermione said. "I... thought you said something else."
"Found you," Harry said. "Not that you seem to be hiding."
"Well, Hermione showed up," Ginny said, "and we sort of forgot about the game."
"Ah. Well, that's understandable," Harry said.
"Speaking of 'understandable,' Harry," Luna said, "it would be only polite if you were to join us hugging her hullo."
"You don't have to..." Hermione said automatically. And her heart sank as Harry stopped in mid reach.
"Do you not want him to?" Luna said.
"Umm, no. I'd like you to hug me, Harry. But I don't want to force you to hug me."
"You're not forcing me at all," he said, and put his arms around the three of them.
Oh dear, Hermione thought, I hope this isn't addictive. Ginny-and-Luna hugs were wonderful. Harry hugs were wonderful. Ginny-and-Luna-and-Harry hugs were... there weren't words for it.
It wasn't that Harry was big enough to hold all three of them as if they were little girls. He'd scarce grown a fraction of an inch since Seventh-Year-that-wasn't, and hadn't grown very much even in Sixth Year. In fact, he was about the same height as Hermione herself. Luna's late growth spurt during her own Seventh Year had left her almost an inch taller. Ginny had grown to five foot three in her own Third Year, and after that not a bit; but for the solid muscle she'd put on from sparring with Harry, she might've been the same girl Hermione remembered from Sixth Year. Wait, that's not true. Her breasts are a bit fuller.
That wasn't a good thing to think about. One night when she'd complained about the noise, Fourth Year or Fifth, Parvati and Lavender had suggested that, rather than rant about Silencing Charms, Hermione should slip down to the next younger year's dormitory, collect Ginny, and make some noise of her own. She watches you almost as much as she watches Potter. Just promise her some stories about him that her brother won't tell, and you'll have her. Hell, you could probably have her and Potter both, if you weren't such a prude, Hermione.
She wasn't going to think about it. Loving Ron had been a mistake and a disaster. She wasn't going to risk it again. She wasn't going to lose her other best friend, her best best friend and his kind, sweet, beautiful fiancées. Even if she weren't afraid of harming them, disrupting the strangely pure relationship between the threesome, the risk of losing their friendship would be simply too great to take the chance.
Their friendship was enough. It would have to be. And at least it meant she could have hugs, sometimes.
They broke apart slowly, and Luna said "Well, I reckon it's time for breakfast. Unless Hermione would like to join us playing hide-and-go-seek?"
"That's all right, thank you," Hermione said. As if on cue, Ginny's stomach growled.
Luna caught hold of Hermione's hand and led her into the kitchen. "Come along, all," she said, "for breakfast awaits. A scone for you, my grumbling-middled Ginevra, and one for you, my lovely friend Hermione. And one for you, my decidedly masculine Harry, and none for me as I've had one already, and don't want to spoil my breakfast."
Hermione nibbled her scone. "What's in these, Luna?"
"Garam masala, and cinnamon chips, and just a spoonful of Snorkack cream," Luna said.
"Snorkack cream? Luna, surely you'd not eat a myth--I mean, a very rare creature."
"Well," Harry said, "it turns out they're not so rare, after--oof." Ginny elbowed him lightly in the gut.
"Snorkack cream," Ginny said, "is a liqueur made on an Unplottable island between Gotland and the Swedish mainland. Some say it's named because the scent of it is the best lure for Snorkacks in all the world. Others that it's because after a night of drinking it you'll feel as if you'd been kicked in the head by an entire herd of them."
"Oh," Hermione said. "Well, it tastes very nice, at least in these scones."
"Thank you," Luna said. "You're welcome to take a glass of it with your breakfast as well. Daddy and I had a guide in Sweden one summer who always did. I tried it once, myself, but I have to confess it left me walking in circles half the day."
"That's all right, thank you," Hermione said. "I'll be fine with tea."
"If you're sure," Luna said. "We also have milk, Butterbeer, ginger beer, mild ale, coffee, vinegar, and ink. Not that I'd recommend either of the last two, but we do have them."
Does Lewis Carroll write her dialogue? Hermione thought.
"We've wine, Firewhiskey, Scotch, and brandy as well," Ginny said.
Luna laughed. "My darling funny Ginevra, no one drinks those with their breakfast."
Hermione was tempted to ask who drank vinegar or ink with theirs, but decided against it. After all, she might have an answer.
Ginny pulled her over to the table as soon as they stepped inside the kitchen. "Here, sit down, you're the guest, my dear."
"Isn't there anything I can do to help?"
"I've found it's better to stay out of their way."
"Well, if you're sure. But I wish I could help, somehow."
"I usually do the better part of the washing up. I'd love to have you help me with that, although you certainly don't have to. But as for cooking... well, it's a fine thing to watch them dance. You'll see."
And yes, Hermione had to admit, Luna and Harry cooking together was something like a dance. Or perhaps a friendly sparring match between practitioners of some obscure Wizarding martial art that involved eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, spices, butter, and pork products.
"How would you like your eggs, Hermione?"
"I'll take whatever would be the least trouble for you, Harry."
Harry, meanwhile, was whisking something with his left hand and charming another simmering pot with the wand in his right. "Whatever you please, Hermione. I remember you took them poached, back at Hogwarts."
"I... that would be lovely, Harry. If you're sure it's not too much bother." He remembers how I took my eggs?
"Of course it's not," he said.
"I should like mine poached as well, please," Luna said.
"I don't want to force you all..." Hermione said.
"To prove she's not forcing us," Ginny said, "I'll take mine fried, please, Harry."
"As you wish."
Breakfast was... almost ridiculously pleasant. It was like breakfast at the Burrow before that last bitter evening with Ron, but without Molly Weasley describing every wedding she'd ever seen and casually mentioning that yet another acquaintance or distant relation had finally tied the knot. It was like breakfast at home, but without her father reading the latest very important article or column in The Guardian out loud and at full length, with no regard for whether she and her mother already were conversing about something else entirely.
It certainly wasn't what she'd thought breakfast at home with Ron would be, once they were finally settled and domesticated. The best she'd ever dared hope for there was that Ron would someday learn to finish chewing and swallowing before talking. Him remembering that she was only a casual spectator of Quidditch, not a die-hard Cannons fan who'd learnt an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game at her father's knee, that had never been more than an idle dream, even in her most idealistic moments.
It was simply a nice, friendly, pleasant breakfast shared by four dear friends. Ginny and Harry and Luna didn't treat her as an honoured guest, but as if she were a regular and welcome presence at their table. Almost as if I were part of their family. A sister, of course.
Breakfast turned into a long chat over tea. Somehow the subject strayed onto old friends and acquaintances from Hogwarts. "Did you hear?" Luna said. "Colin Creevy has an exhibit of photographs in a Muggle gallery in SoHo."
"Good on him," Hermione said. "There doesn't seem to be much call for art photography in the Wizarding World, does there?"
"Oh, I don't know," Luna said. "My daddy had some beautiful volumes, all full of pictures of girls posed in tableaux vivants. Some of them were recent, but some of them went all the way back to when Ernest Normand first experimented with daguerreotypes and potions. Such lovely girls, and such beautiful costumes, what there was of them, and such wonderfully sweet and tender poses... I don't know why he kept them locked away in that drawer in his bedroom, the hidden one with the locks. I wonder if my mother had liked them, and it made him sad to see them, but he couldn't bear to give them a--Hermione, my dear, are you all right?"
"I'm fine, thank you, dear Luna. I only swallowed a bit of tea the wrong way."
Luna stood up and stepped round the table. "Are you sure, my dear? Your face is a bit red. I know a few massage and acupressure techniques that might help you. If you'd like to come in the sitting room and take off your shirt and jumper, I'd be glad to see what I could do."
"Err, that's all right."
"I certainly wouldn't object, Hermione," Ginny said, a fierce grin on her face. "Harry and I trust you. We'd have no fear of your taking advantage of our Luna. Although I suppose I could chaperone you, if you insisted..."
"And of course I trust you," Harry said. "How could I not?"
"Thank you so very much," Hermione managed to sputter at last,
"but I'm well, truly. Um... would you like to go to see Colin's photographs?"
"I am curious to see what he's done," Luna said. "I wonder if they're all Muggle photographs or not. And are the girls as lovely as the ones in my father's books? They're none of them as pretty as you or Ginevra, of course, but it would be interesting to look. Harry, Ginevra, my darlings, would you like to go to see them?"
Hermione's brain shut down for just an instant. Luna thinks I'm pretty? Luna thinks I'm to be mentioned in the same breath as Ginny? Because Ginny was gorgeous, of course, with her coppery hair and her sweetly open face and her perfect balance of muscles and curves. The Weasleys were a good-looking family; she had to admit that part of why she'd stayed so long with Ron was feeling flattered that such a handsome man actually wanted her. Harry was more handsome than Ron, of course, but she'd never been able to get his attention; in retrospect, that was probably inevitable, with Ginny for her competition, even before Luna had joined in their relationship.
With that thought, reason reasserted itself. Even now, grown past adolescent awkwardness and taking full advantage of carefully chosen clothing, Madam Sleekeasy's hair potion, and just a hint of makeup, Hermione knew that she would never be a great beauty, not to compare with Ginny's athletic attractiveness or Luna's sylphlike slender grace. Luna is such a dear sweet person. She wants to make me believe I'm beautiful, so I'll be more confident when it comes time to look for a new boyfriend. I wish I could tell her that she needn't worry so. I have a very good notion of how I stack up against gorgeous girls like her and Ginny. I'm glad they're off the market, at least.
She wasn't even going to think for an idle second about how much she sometimes wished she herself had slept most nights in Harry's arms since shortly after the end of the war. Be grateful that you care too much for them to feel jealous, she told herself. It would have been Hell on Earth if Harry had ended up with a jealous bint like Pansy Parkinson, or with the sort of sweetly dull hausfrau that Romilda Vane had become since leaving school halfway through her Sixth Year to marry Ernie McMillan.
"Knowing Colin," Ginny said, "I'm not sure they'd be girls."
"I'm reasonably sure he likes both," Luna said. "I saw him with Lisa Turpin in Madam Puddifoots', one Hogsmeade weekend in our Seventh Year."
"Couldn't she have been a beard?" Hermione said, and instantly regretted it.
"I don't think so," Luna said. "There was this boy with them; he had red hair almost like a Weasley's and a face a bit like Viktor Krum's. I think he was visiting from Durmstrang, but they all seemed very taken with each other. I was too occupied with Harry and Ginevra to pay them much heed, but I definitely noticed all of them holding hands and rubbing feet under the table." I suppose I should be sad that she's not nearly as innocent as I thought, but I'm glad I don't have to explain the concepts of homophobia and being in the closet to her.
"Actually," Harry said, "I think they're mostly still-life. Fleur told me Colin's become particularly well known for his photographs of flowers and fruit. And ancient statuary as well, I think."
"That sounds nice," Ginny said. "I'd like to go."
"And I'm game," Harry said. "It sounds interesting." Hermione wasn't even going to think about what Ron would have said if she or anyone else had suggested in his presence that visiting an art gallery to see photographs of flowers and fruit might be a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Showered and dressed for a day out, the four of them gathered an hour later in the front foyer of Grimmauld Place. "Will we take the Tube?" Harry said. "I imagine that might be easier than the Floo, or trying to find a clear Apparition point in SoHo."
"You still don't like the Floo, do you, Harry?" Hermione said.
"Oh, I like it fine," Harry said. "However, it still doesn't seem to like me."
Luna sighed. "Harry, the Floo does love you, just as it loves all of us. It simply hasn't got a very good notion of how to show its love for you. Or perhaps it thinks you enjoy being spun about as if you were on a Muggle rollercoaster?" Harry sighed, and hugged her. Over his shoulder, Luna winked at Hermione.
Hermione wasn't sure why she did it. Was it a way of making up for all the years she'd thought Luna mad, when she rolled her eyes at the girl's charming and whimsical statements rather than realising that Luna's loony persona was one third a shield, one third a result of seeing things that others truly couldn't, and one third a way of cheering and diverting her friends? Was it trying to make up for all the times in her life when she'd not hugged anyone? Was it simply because Luna was a dear and wonderful person, Harry was a dear and wonderful person, and hugging Luna between the two of them was a lovely thing?
It didn't really matter. Before she'd even begun to think it through, she stepped behind Luna and hugged her. Sweet Christ, she thought, seconds later, what will Ginny think? But the redhead, to Hermione's surprise, grinned at them, and stood there for a long moment simply watching. I've seen her watch Harry and Luna just like that, Hermione thought. No, that can't be. It must be more like watching Harry armwrestle with George, or play tag with little Victoire and Teddy. That's got to be it.
Then Ginny came over and hugged the three of them, and Hermione didn't care anymore what Ginny's precise emotions might be. All that mattered was that she didn't mind Hermione hugging her fiancée and fiancé, and that it was really nice to be hugged by her and by them.
Fifteen minutes later they were in a car on the Underground. Random people-watching, Hermione had long ago learnt, was an interesting way of passing the time in the Tube. Harry, Ginny, and Luna-watching, she now discovered, was even more interesting. Ginny blended in nearly as well as Harry and Hermione. One might not have mistaken Harry for the Muggle equivalent of his actual position--if nothing else, he was too young and wore his hair too long for a staff-grade Army officer or a senior police official--but he moved and behaved as if he did something very responsible and significant, and Ginny, for her part, looked a believable wife or girlfriend for Harry-as-a-Muggle.
Luna, on the other hand, was Luna. She was always moving, except when she was dead still, watching some odd bit of wildlife that none of the Muggles could see at all and which Hermione herself could only perceive through Luna's gaze and body language. She evidently had perfect balance, and could stand unbraced even when the train was coming to a stop and she had one hand on Harry's arm and the other round Ginny's shoulders.
Hermione almost reminded her that Muggles didn't, as a general rule, approve of romantic relationships between more than two people. But that would be useless, or worse. I can just imagine it. 'Very well, then, Hermione, we'll pretend that you're my fiancée and Harry and Ginny are simply our very good friends.' And before I could say another word, Luna'd have her arms round me and her tongue in my mouth. And she wasn't going to think about that image for another instant.
But, much to her surprise, hardly anyone seemed to notice anything out of the ordinary, and the few who did attend seemed entirely sympathetic. Two grey-haired grandmothers whom Hermione would have expected to make loud remarks about young people today having no shame smiled rather wistfully instead. I suppose Luna's charisma even works on Muggles, Hermione thought to herself. Although I expect they think she's Ginny's harmless-yet-slightly-mental sister, and it's wonderful how kind and patient Harry is with her, and won't he make a fine father?
The gallery was a block away from the tube station. It was a mostly Muggle neighbourhood, but every so often Hermione noticed some sign of Wizarding inhabitants, such as the man wearing a kilt and a Sex Pistols t shirt under an open three-quarter-length fur coat, walking a cat on a leash.
Most of Colin's show was Muggle photography, black and white with a few luminous colour shots. Still-life predominated, as Harry'd said, but there were some stunning street scenes, in cities from London to Lhasa, and a fair number of portraits. Most of the subjects were children and old age pensioners, sitting formally in chairs or more casually with pets or the tools of hobbies or crafts. However, a handful depicted couples, of all ages, genders, and orientations, in a range of states of dress. He's got a real gift, Colin has, Hermione thought. The emotions are so strong that one almost doesn't notice which ones are clothed and which aren't. She tried to remember if any of Colin's old snaps of Harry had shown the same gift, but couldn't--her sense of Harry had apparently overwhelmed all else, at least in her memories. Especially that one of the two of us in the library... I used to look at it for hours, during Third Year, wondering if I might catch us--no, them--kissing, just as I'd been wishing I were brave enough to do.
"Harry!" said a once familiar voice. "I'm honoured! Absolutely delighted!"
"Hello, Colin," Harry said. "This is a splendid show. Simply brilliant work."
"Thank you so very much," Colin said. He wore a bespoke suit in dark grey, with a plum-coloured silk shirt and a soft tie in a geometric pattern. There were three golden hoops and a cabochon onyx stud in his right ear--otherwise he might have passed for a solicitor or a corporate executive. "Lovely to see you as well, Hermione, Ginny, Luna."
"It's good to see you, Colin," Hermione said.
"Likewise," Ginny said.
"A pleasure," Luna said. "I especially liked your picture of Leticia Prewett and her ladyfriend. I'd be curious to see the other version."
Colin laughed. "I've not entirely abandoned other forms. There's a few here. But first, may I introduce someone?" He turned about and touched another man's sleeve. "Hans? I'd like you to met some of my old schoolmates. Harry, Ginny, Luna, and Hermione, this is Hans Von Richtofen. Hans, these are Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Hermione Granger."
"So, you're that Harry. I am honoured. And I can see why you'd be the spark that ignited our Colin's interest in portraiture." He was a little shorter than Colin and discreetly muscled in the way that Hit Wizards often were. They looked to share a tailor, although Hans' suit was in a dove grey that looked well with his dark hair, which he wore cropped short in front of his ears, but long and plaited behind. "And you're that Miss Granger, aren't you? I saw you speak at a conference, once. Very impressed with your work on Wizarding abolitionists and the rum trade." His English was fluent, with a slight German accent.
"Thank you," Hermione said. He seemed harmless enough, but something set her slightly on edge. "Pleased to meet you."
"Come along, all of you," Colin said, leading them towards the back of the gallery, where the Notice-Me-Not charms were.
Hans contrived to lag behind the group, next to Hermione. "Please don't bristle at me, Miss Granger," he said quietly. "I am just as taken as is your friend." He gestured with his right hand, so the three rings on his finger caught the light.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to..."
"Not at all," he said. "It is difficult not to be... protective. Especially when one has only just begun courting one's beloved ones."
I should explain that I'm not, Hermione thought. But it would have been far too complicated, especially here in a gallery full of both Wizards and Muggles. "My friends call me Hermione," she said.
"And mine call me Hans. You might have met our fiancée," he said. "Alicia De Vries? She's had some contact with your office, I think."
"She has," Hermione said. "I'm very impressed with her work in introducing MRI technology to St. Mungo's."
"Oh, lovely," Luna said. "I do like what you've done here, Colin." She was pointing to a Wizarding photograph of Ginny's cousin and her girlfriend--who as best Hermione could recall was an American Quodpot star--apparently taken during the same sitting which had produced the Muggle photograph Luna'd admired earlier. In the Muggle picture, it had been obvious that the two women were unclothed, but their pose had concealed any body parts that would have been covered by a bikini.
In this particular Wizarding picture, their movements tended to compromise their modesty. However, they weren't kissing or caressing each other--instead, they were trying to put freckles on each others' faces with Muggle markers, laughing and giggling and playfully wrestling. "I liked working with them," Colin said. "I'm afraid that some people, and not always the ones you'd expect, have the idea that I want to do something like a Playwizard or Playwitch shoot, but Letty and Barbara understood what we were about from the beginning."
"Yes," Hans said. "In some cases I'm afraid a chaperone is needed to protect the photographer, rather than the subjects. Not that Alicia and I mind being there, but it does get tiresome."
They made idle chitchat for a while longer. Just before they left, Colin said "I'm actually planning on doing a series of larger groups, next. Is there any chance that you four might be willing to sit for me?"
"That would be lovely," Luna said.
Hermione didn't know what to say. "Umm... I'm not..."
"Oh, I don't think all of Colin's photographs are of lovers," Ginny said. "We'd not want to make you uncomfortable, of course, but it might be nice. In fact, it would definitely be brilliant."
"You're a very dear friend, Hermione," Harry said. "We'd be honoured if you would join us."
"And it doesn't have to be in the nude," Luna said, "although that would, of course, be delightful."
"Well, perhaps. If you'd truly like me to..." Hermione said.
"Of course we would," Luna said.