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BIRTHDAY FIC: The New Twenty

BIRTHDAY FIC: The New Twenty

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Happy Go Lucky
Title: The New Twenty
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Ron/Hermione/Harry
Rating: PG-13
Summary: The trio turns thirty.
Author's Notes: Happy birthday, MC! I hope you have a great one. And thanks to twitchylizard for the beta read.

The New Twenty


Hermione was first, six months before Ron and nearly a year before Harry. It was a Thursday. She chose to be sensible about the entire thing, which meant she didn’t take the day off work and refused to even go in late, which forced Harry and Ron to get up at what Ron referred to as the “arse crack of dawn” and Harry called an “ungodly hour” to surprise her with breakfast in bed. It was really very sweet, she thought, while scraping the blackened bits off a piece of burnt toast (and why Harry let Ron do the toast when he burned it every time remained a mystery to her). She sipped grapefruit juice from a martini glass (Harry explained that he’d not been able to find the champagne glasses while half-asleep), and counted her blessings.

“You’ll be home at six, right?” Ron asked, kissing her good-bye.

“Yes,” she said. The guests for her “surprise” party were due a half hour prior, but she wouldn’t have let on that she knew for anything – though eventually she might gently let Ron know that he shouldn’t leave his diary lying open on the bed with “Herm. – s. party! 5:30PM” encircled in red. She’d said no to a party initially, because, frankly, she didn’t want to get stuck planning it herself. But since they’d taken the initiative, she was perfectly happy with the idea of celebrating the day with a few of her friends.

No one at work knew it was her birthday at all, much less her thirtieth, which is exactly how she’d wanted it. She’d not made friends upon entering the Department of Magical Creatures, and rising to Head of Department by twenty-nine over several members who’d been there much longer had not increased her popularity. The word “ambitious” was used frequently behind her back – and occasionally to her face – but she’d long since decided not to care. Ambition was fine, she thought, as long as you had a certain perspective. All the same, when she took herself to lunch at her favorite Diagon Alley restaurant to make her list of things she wanted to accomplish in the next decade, Change jobs was at the top. What she wanted to change to was something that would bear more thinking.

Work less on weekends went on there as well, at the request of Ron, who sometimes felt neglected, and Travel more at the request of Harry, who wanted her to come out for away games more often. Read more for pleasure, was her own. Learn to be selfish. Find out what it is to be bored. And then, almost guiltily, Have more sex. Women didn’t reach their sexual peak until their thirties after all. She’d have to burn the list now, though; her boys would never leave her alone if they found out about that one.

She startled when the waiter arrived with her salad, and flipped the paper over, lest he see that last item. Silly to be thirty and blushing about something like that, she knew, but nevertheless.

She ate slowly while reading a book she’d bought yesterday for this very purpose, not regretting a bit that she’d refused Ron and Harry’s offers to meet her for lunch. She wasn’t going to flip out, she’d decided, but turning thirty did, in the end, require some reflection. There wasn’t going to be time for that later.

She put off paying her bill and then sat for a long time, past the official end of her lunch break, swirling the last swallow of white wine remaining in her glass and tapping her pen on the side of her parchment. At last she swallowed the wine and wrote, in one swift motion, Have children. She was so busy staring down at the words that she didn’t notice right away that someone was standing in front of her. She looked up, and saw Harry staring down at her, head cocked to one side to read her list.

“Hey!” she yelped, covering it up with her hands. “I thought I told you not to come.”

“You did,” he said, with a bemused expression. He dropped down into the chair across from her. “I decided to ignore it.”

“Sometimes I like to be alone,” she informed him, and started to draw the bill towards her.

“Nope,” Harry said, snatching it up. “I’ve got it.”

Hermione shook her head, but let him pay it. “Don’t you have practice this afternoon?” she asked.

“No,” he said, “but I’ve got things to do.”

“Last minute arrangements for my surprise party?” she asked, with a raised eyebrow.

He blinked at her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Right,” she said. “Ron really shouldn’t leave his diary lying around. Or he should learn to write in code. But don’t tell him I know.”

“Know what?” Harry replied, even as he rolled his eyes. The two of them went out into the street, and he followed her when she turned toward the Ministry. He slipped his hand into hers as they walked, something he rarely did in public as she was officially with Ron and had been for years. She looked up at him, and he smiled back at her, so utterly and completely her Harry that it made unexpectedly blush. On the steps of the Ministry, he kissed her on the cheek and turned away.

She finished up early at work, but dawdled, wanting to give everyone enough time to get into place. At last she floo'd home, and didn't have to fake her shock, since Fred and George set off several safe but raucous Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes No Fire Firecrackers just as she arrived. Life was strange, Hermione thought, while shouting at them that if they wrecked her house she’d turn them into identical twin goats. In the end, the more it changed, the more it seemed to just stay the same. Whether was that frightening or comforting – that, she didn’t quite know.

*~*~*


Ron’s birthday saw them snowed in, in their relatively new Edinburgh apartment that had been a direct result of Hermione’s slightly manic post-birthday general life shakeup. It would have been cozy and romantic if any of them had remembered to go grocery shopping before the storm hit. As it was, they were stuck eating condiments and frosting out of a can for three days because the Floo lines across Britain had frozen solid and no owls could get through. Ron himself had decided to think of the whole thing as an adventure – though he did groan out loud when he woke the morning of his birthday to find that it was still snowing.

He poked his nose out from beneath the covers and promptly dove back under. “Sweet Merlin,” he said. “Are there any three people in Britain colder than we are right now?”

“I think the pipes are frozen,” said Harry, who also had the covers pulled up over his head. “Happy birthday, by the way.”

“Yes, happy birthday,” Hermione added, muffled, from the other side of Harry. “I suppose this means we have to get up and make you breakfast.”

“No,” Harry said, at the same time Ron said, “Yes.” Harry heaved a huge sigh, and made both the others squeal by throwing the covers back. “Fine then.” Hermione made him find her dressing gown and slippers before she’d consent to setting so much as a toe out of bed, but finally the two of them proceeded grumbling out of the bedroom to the kitchen.

Ron promptly moved over into the center, thus claiming the warmest part of the bed for himself. It was his prerogative as birthday boy, after all, and this nonsense had to be good for something. The party they’d planned had been postponed, of course, and his birthday dinner would probably consist of ketchup unless the weather let up enough for them to go grocery shopping. On the other hand, at least the three of them were all together. Hermione was, in fact, probably the most relaxed Ron had seen her in ages. And there was very little chance of anyone barging in on them unexpectedly, which definitely had its advantages.

He was just ruminating pleasantly on the aforementioned advantages when Hermione and Harry appeared again, floating a tray along in front of them. It settled, hovering, over his lap, and the two of them climbed back into bed on either side of him, Hermione not bothering to remove her dressing gown or slippers.

“No eggs,” Harry said apologetically. “Or bacon. Or toast.”

“Or sausage or tomatoes,” Hermione added, sipping at her mug of tea.

It was, in fact, the last of some stale digestive biscuits, dipped in the chocolate frosting once intended for his cake. The tea was strong, but there was no milk. Ron surveyed the tray in bemusement and remarked, “I really hope the storm let up soon.”

“Me too,” Harry said, stealing a biscuit. “We’re almost out of frosting.”

“On the other hand, that means I would have to go back to work.” Hermione frowned at her feet, buried beneath about five layers of blankets.

Ron and Harry exchanged a look over her head. This sort of un-Hermione-like remark was becoming more and more common. It boded . . . well, Ron wasn’t really sure what, but he didn’t like the idea of Hermione being dissatisfied with her life. Hermione was always supposed to know what she was about. It was just How It Was. He was pretty sure she wouldn’t do anything until she had a plan of some kind, but, as Harry had pointed out once during one of their furtive discussions of the matter, maybe what Hermione really need was to act without a plan for once in her life. Ron agreed – he just wanted to know what that meant for him and Harry.

As for himself, he thought, munching his way through his pile of biscuits, which he magnanimously chose to share, he was choosing not be alarmed by the passage of time. He was satisfied with his work at Gringotts, even if it wasn’t the exciting life he’d once envisioned for himself. The war had provided him with enough excitement for the rest of his life, he thought, and he didn’t feel the need to go seeking out more. And at the end of his day he got to come home to the two people who meant most to him in the whole world. He thought that in itself made him luckier than most people could ever hope to be, especially considering that five years ago, on a truly miserable twenty-fifth birthday, he’d thought himself in danger of losing both of them. He and Hermione had been such a train wreck on their own, and they’d all known that Harry was in love with Hermione – or, well, they’d all assumed that he was in love with Hermione. Hermione, being Hermione, had figured the truth out first, and then it was just a matter of badgering himself and Harry into seeing it for themselves.

“Okay, boys,” Hermione said, swallowing the last of her tea. “I’m going to go take a shower – alone,” she added, forestalling Ron’s hopeful look.

“The pipes are frozen,” Harry reminded her.

“That’s what this is for,” she replied, waving her wand. She ignored their protests and disappeared into the bathroom, closing the door firmly behind her.

Harry scooted over and flung his arm across Ron’s chest. “Happy birthday,” he mumbled into his shoulder.

“Thanks,” Ron said. “You’re the only one now.”

“Yup,” Harry said, “the only one yet to join the ranks of the elderly.”

Ron whapped him on the side of the head with a pillow. “I’ll show you elderly,” he said, grabbing for Harry’s hip with his free hand.

“Better wait till Hermione gets back,” Harry warned him. “You know how she gets when she thinks we’ve been shagging without her.”

“True,” Ron conceded. He twisted Harry’s arms over his head instead, straddling his hips just a little higher than either of them would have liked. “So, how long before Hermione quits her job?” he asked after a moment of silent grappling.

“I thought she’d do it before now,” Harry grunted. “You’re not going to go starkers on me too, are you?”

“Nah,” Ron said, giving in and letting Harry roll him over. “Too much work,” he added, sprawled and panting beneath Harry.

“Good,” Harry said, leaning down to kiss him.

“Frankly,” Ron said, when Harry let him up for air, “I think this house can only handle one breakdown at a time.” He could hear Hermione in the bathroom, bustling around and doing whatever woman things she did in there. Even after nineteen years there were things about her that remained mysterious – or maybe that was just Ron’s general bafflement with the entire female gender. Harry wasn’t the least bit mysterious.

“You’re right, I reckon,” Harry said, appearing rather relieved.

He grinned up at Harry, in what he hoped was a reassuring way. “Besides, I like my life just fine the way it is.”

Harry smiled back. “Good. Me too,” he said. And then, as The Rules happily did not preclude snogging between two parties when the third wasn’t present, he leaned down for a kiss.

*~*~*


Harry’s birthday in late July spiraled completely out of his control. Except for those closest to him, his requests for “nothing big, please” were summarily ignored by all of wizarding Britain. In the end he’d given up, since they all seemed so bent on a party, and who was he to spoil their fun by refusing to be their excuse to celebrate?

The big bash was held at Hogwarts, of course, though he’d been informed by the Prophet in a reluctant (i.e. coerced by force) interview that there were hundreds of smaller parties being thrown in his honor all across Britain and probably the continent as well. Harry had hired the band – mostly because he feared that McGonagall might actually bring in bagpipes if left to her own devices, and Merlin only knew what musical horror Scrimgeour would come up with – but the Ministry had paid for the rest. They hadn’t scrimped either, Harry thought, sipping at his champagne flute while surveying the dance floor. He might even be able to enjoy it, now that his toast was behind him and the dancing had started. Not that he liked dancing, per se, but he liked watching Ron and Hermione out there, whirling about. Who would have ever guessed all those years ago at the Yule Ball that Ron was actually decent when he wasn’t terrified?

The music ended and the dancers spilled off the floor. Harry edged off to the side, so as not to be inundated by well wishers, but managed to catch Ron and Hermione’s eyes.

“Whew,” Hermione said, dragging Ron over by the hand. “This is quite the party. Are you sure you don’t want to dance, Harry?”

He shook his head. “If I danced with you, then I’d have to dance with every woman here. No, thank you.”

“Maybe later, in private?” she suggested, smiling.

“Maybe,” he said cagily.

“Hasn’t been so bad tonight, has it, mate?” Ron asked. He snagged a champagne flute off a passing tray and took an appreciative sip. “Better than we would have done on our own anyway.”

“It’s not been as bad as I expected,” Harry admitted. “Though I’ve never met half the people here before in my life.” He glanced around and took a half step backwards, a bit further into the shadows. Lucky for him the Great Hall was held up by huge stone pillars that cast equally huge shadows when lit by torchlight. “So far only five people have cornered me to hint that it’s about time I give up this Quidditch nonsense and go into politics where I can actually make something of my life.”

“Yes, waste it in a quagmire of frustration and inefficiency,” Hermione said dryly. She’d had quite a bit to drink, Harry judged. “Don’t listen to them for a minute.” She scowled around generally, just daring anyone to come over and try it.

“Did you tell them the Cannons just renewed your contract with a 10% increase and a huge bonus?” Ron asked.

“No,” Harry said, smiling. “That would have felt a bit tacky.”

“As if cornering you at your own party wasn’t?” Ron returned with raised eyebrows.

Harry shrugged. “Anyway, it was in the Quidditch section of the Prophet. It’s not like they don’t all know what I make already.”

Hermione waved this away. “It’s not actually about the money. It’s embarrassing to the Ministry that you don’t work for them. They don’t want to have to beg, so they’re hoping to make you feel guilty, or beholden to them. Or something similar, I’m sure.”

“Ah,” Harry said, rather hollowly. He looked around, and set his half-drunk glass of champagne down abruptly. All of the sudden just being in the same room with the Minister and his minions made Harry feel like someone was holding a pillow over his face. He had the sense that it was just a matter of time before they successfully maneuvered him into just the position they wanted, and when they did it wouldn’t be with anything he was expecting. It’d be disguised, sneaky – like a thirtieth birthday party he didn’t even really want. He could just hear Scrimgeour’s voice in his head, less oily than Fudge’s but no more pleasant: “And what have you done for us lately, Mr. Potter, and after that nice expensive birthday party we threw you? Friendship runs both ways, you know.”

Harry shuddered. The other two looked at him questioningly. “I’m done here,” he muttered. “Can I meet you two outside?” He thought that on his own he could probably make it to the room behind the High Table, and from there escape out onto the grounds. If the three of them attempted to make a break for it together, though, they’d never make it.

“Sure,” they said, looking rather bewildered. Ron swallowed the last of his champagne and added lightly, “I think it’s time for more private celebrations anyway, don’t you?”

Hermione, who had definitely had too much to drink, Harry decided, winked at them both rather lasciviously. “I think so.”

“Good,” Harry said, glad that neither of them seemed to want to stay longer. He wasn’t really in the mood at the moment, actually, but they’d take care of that quickly enough, and then he could forget about all of this. It was times like these that he seriously considered buying an island for just the three of them and perhaps the occasional invited guest.

The three of them split up. Harry waited until the band had begun a new set and most people were dancing, and then, with a quiet word in Lupin’s ear so he wouldn’t worry, he made his escape.

He met the others out on the road to Hogsmeade, and the two of them fell into step beside him, one on either side. After a few paces they looped their arms together by mutual, silent agreement, and stayed that way until they reached the Apparition point. Even then, Harry stood for a moment holding both their arms, and decided not to let them go. Ever.

The three of them drew a collective breath and disappeared.
  • whee, Stacyfic! I love this, I love how well the three of them all fit together.

    Thank you!!! <3
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