A/N: Just a little something to put you all in the holiday spirit. Not my best work by far, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione wanted to wish you all well :-).
If the Fates Allow
He told himself that he always appreciated them, but it was only now - now after his soul had been saved and his nemesis defeated - that he began to realize just how many choices they had made with him in mind. His head began to spin under the influence of the Muggle eggnog the Grangers had sent to the Burrow and the weight of his own ignorance. He played with the loose string on the cuff of his brand new Weasley jumper and forced himself to ask a question he should have thought to ask a long time ago.
"Why did your mum send me a jumper first year?" Harry blurted, his breath forming a cloud in the cold December air. He shivered as soon as the words left his mouth.
"What?" Ron asked from his far left. The cold must have gotten to him as soon as he spoke as well for he shifted closer to him, further sandwiching their third companion between them.
Hermione sighed, presumably at the additional warmth all the shifting had provided. She made a few short jerky movements and managed to link each of her arms with one of the boys'. Harry tried not to cling to her, firmly believing that her move towards him was just for symmetry's sake- but their close proximity and the added warmth (strangely radiating from his chest rather than his arm) made that difficult.
"First year. Your mum sent me presents - including a homemade jumper. Why? I had met her once and never even introduced myself to her," Harry clarified.
"She must have had extra yarn left over and wanted to do something nice for The-Boy-Who-Lived," Ron said with a shrug.
"You're lying," Harry insisted. "Don't you remember - the twins even said that mine must have been knit first because it was nicer than theirs." Harry regretted his outburst immediately. He swore somehow that even with Hermione sitting between them he could feel Ron swallow a lump in his throat at the mention of the one Weasley brother who could not attend the festivities this year. "I'm sorry," he mumbled, furious at himself.
"Don't be," Ron replied gruffly. "We can't go around ignoring everything he ever did or said." Ron swallowed audibly again, and Hermione tilted her head towards his shoulder. Harry briefly considered leaving them alone, but he was far too comfortable now that she was close enough to keep him warm and her ridiculous hair was further from his face.
Neither gentleman seemed willing to continue the conversation, so Hermione spoke for them.
"Harry's asking whether you wrote to your mum to tell her that he wasn't expecting Christmas presents," she said gently. Harry's face burned with embarrassment at her bare-bones translation of exactly what he was getting at. He hoped he could blame the reaction on the combination of bitter cold and alcohol.
"I know what he's asking," Ron mumbled in reply.
"You did, didn't you?" she asked.
"'course I did," Ron admitted. "How could I not have?" Hermione gave a strangled sort of sob at his admission, burying her face further into his shoulder. Harry figured things couldn't get any more awkward than they already were, so he went ahead with his next question.
"Were you supposed to go to Romania with them, too?"
"Who are you, the ghost of Christmas past?" Ron asked, and Harry smiled at the allusion. Hermione had instigated a double date in her parents' sitting room the night before. Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny had crowded around the Grangers' television and watched a very old version of A Christmas Carol. Harry and Hermione had been quite surprised to learn that this tale was not as Muggle as they thought it was.
"I'll take that as a yes," Harry answered, and Ron didn't contradict him.
"Why are you bringing up that Christmas anyway? It was what, 7 years ago now?" Ron protested.
"I dunno," Harry mumbled, embarrassed by his own sentimentality.
"Why don't we talk about a different Christmas, then," Hermione interrupted, grasping at the straws of a dying conversation. It didn't help; it was almost as if the three of them realized all at once that Christmas hadn't exactly been a point of happiness for several years now.
"How about fourth year?" Harry suggested, finally, a grin growing on his still-warm cheeks. "How'd you enjoy that one, Ron? I know Hermione had a fabulous time," Harry teased, doing his best to elbow her through the bulky layers they both wore. She blushed, but laughed off the good-natured ribbing.
"Or sixth year!" Hermione continued, clearly enjoying the game Harry initiated. "Ron, Harry tells me you received some beautiful jewelry that year."
"How about second year, Hermione?" Ron countered. "Maybe it wouldn't be so bloody freezing out here if you had a nice layer of fur."
"Oh, I'd be toasty," she admitted, "but I'd wager a guess that you'd be quite unhappy if I were a different species."
"Unless he's into that kind of thing," came a voice from behind them.
"Ginny!" Hermione exclaimed, scandalized.
"What?" Ginny asked from the kitchen doorway. "Someone had to say it. Harry was thinking the same thing." Harry shuddered.
"They disgust me enough as it is; can we not bring bestiality into the mix?" he whined, putting a gloved hand over his eyes as if blocking out the light would also hide anything unsightly his imagination might conjure up.
"Oh that note, I'm going back inside," Hermione squeaked, as she practically vaulted off her spot on the picnic bench.
"I don't know why you three are out here anyway," Ginny said with a shiver. "It's freezing- and you're missing Mum and Fleur's annual argument over the wireless station."
"Wouldn't want to miss that!" Harry replied, laughing as Ron following a still-blushing Hermione as she barreled past Ginny through the back door. He approached Ginny quickly, engulfing the redhead in a warm embrace.
"You all right?" she asked as she wrapped her arms around his cloak-covered shoulders.
"I am now," he answered, pulling her even closer.
"What a charmer," she answered, rolling her eyes and smirking at him. "What were you three doing out here?"
"Just enjoying each other's company," Harry said. Ginny pulled a face, and he laughed. "What? They're good for me."
"If you say so," she replied with a laugh, dragging him back toward the warmth of the Burrow's kitchen.
"They are," Harry insisted, with a fervent wish to whoever granted those sorts of things that Ron and Hermione would continue to be there for him for years to come.
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now