AU. Seeing Harry in the grip of chronic insomnia, Hermione, Ginny, and Luna get permission from McGonagall, Dumbledore, and Flitwick to attempt their own form of cure.
A Harry Potter fanfic
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.
So, this is a piece of gratuitously sappy fanfic I've had sitting on my hard drive for years and finally managed to sort of finish. Figured I might as well do something with it, so here it is.
Alternate Universe warning. Femmeslash warning. Het warning. Poly warning. Sap warning. Strange Wizarding Customs warning. Weasley Clock warning. Weasley Jumper warning. Yours truly warning. Present tense warning.
Harry/Hermione/Ginny/Luna; hints of Séamus/Dean and Ron/Parvati/Lavender
He can't sleep. He lies still and counts sheep and hippogriffs and broomsticks until the sheep sprout wings and wooden foreshafts and the broomsticks wool and beaks and the hippogriffs have straw tails and make daft "baaaa"ing noises. He sits up and scribbles words on a parchment with a quill. He reads Hogwarts, A History until he knows it better than Hermione. But he doesn't sleep.
He arranges with Dobby to have coffee at every meal, penitentially black, bitter and strong. In classes he is distracted and irritable. There are potions that give energy, but after a while they're no more effective than the coffee.
He goes to the Room of Requirement for a punching bag. When his hands ache and the bag looks as if it's been through a war, he lays himself down on a thick featherbed while an enchanted harp plays soft music. For naught.
He drifts off sometimes for a few moments, more often on the couch in the Gryffindor Common Room than in bed, but even there he finds no rest, as dreams of basilisks and Snape, green flashes in the night and Sirius falling take him as soon as his eyes close.
On the third evening of this state of affairs, or perhaps the fifth or the seventh, he's in the common room, scratching away with a quill at some meaningless Defense Against the Dark Arts essay. He knows far more Dark Arts than he should, and he knows defense against them. The seven ways of soothing a discomfited Flobberworm aren't properly part of either field of study.
Ginny waves her hand in front of his face "Harry! Earth to Harry!"
"It's time to go to bed."
"It doesn't work.. I can't sleep."
"Yes, you can. You just haven't been going about it properly."
She shakes her head. "Harry James Potter, you silly, silly boy. Come. To. Bed. Now." And she takes him by the hand and all but drags him to the stairs.
"Those are the stairs to the girls' dormitories. I can't..."
"A girl can always bring you up. The Founders were careful, not paranoid." And the stairs don't go slick and throw him as hand in hand he climbs the stairs with Ginny. Up past the girls' dormitories, there's another flight of stairs.
"Come along, Harry, we're nearly home," she says.
"We've all been terribly worried for you, Harry. So Hermione asked Madam Pomfrey..."
"I'm fine. She needn't have asked."
"Don't be a prat, Harry." Ginny taps him lightly on the side of his skull with her fist. "Most lads would kill to have a girl like Hermione worried for them."
Harry thinks of bushy hair and buckteeth and hugs, and how Hermione's kisses might feel on his lips instead of his cheek. Stop that, he says to himself. Harry isn't terribly versed in the rules that govern relations between boys and girls, but Hermione's one of his two best friends, and, girl or not, he suspects you're not supposed to fancy your best friend. Besides, Ron's sister has got his hand, and he feels like kissing her as well, and he's quite certain you're not supposed to fancy two girls at once. "I suppose you're right," he says. "We're lucky blokes, your brother and I."
"Harry," Ginny says, "do me a favour? Don't talk about Ron right now. I don't want to think of how I'm going to explain this to him."
"Explain what?" She smiles like a freckled Mona Lisa.
She takes pity at last. "My sharing a bed with Hermione, Luna, and you."
Harry isn't terribly versed in the rules, but he knows some things are beyond the pale. Like wondering what one of your two best friends and your other best friend's sister would look like, kissing, or wrapped about Luna Lovegood in the Prefects' Bath, none of them covered by anything more than damp streaming hair and soap bubbles. That doesn't mean he hasn't wondered, repeatedly. Ginny's nine words hit him like a load of bricks and knock him sideways to reality.
"So," Ginny says, "we asked McGonagall and Flitwick and Dumbledore, and they said we could try it, so long as there was a Bundling Charm on the room, and no sneaking out... you're not listening, are you, Harry?"
"Of course I..." she glares, and he finds he'd rather face Voldemort than Ginny's glare. "Sorry."
"One would think a boy would be somewhat interested in the prospect of sharing a bed with three beautiful girls. Unless he were like Malfoy the ferret, of course... Harry, it's not that horrible, is it?"
He doesn't know if he should be more concerned about fainting from all the blood in his body rushing from his brain to... other organs, his eyes drying out from opening too wide, or his heart stopping from sheer shock. "Ah, no, it isn't horrible, but... this is a joke, isn't it? I mean, there's no way McGonagall would..."
"Harry, she cast the Bundling Charm herself."
"And she wished us pleasant dreams."
"And she said if she were seventeen again, she'd think about joining us."
No McGonagall fantasies, Harry thinks. No wondering what she looked like at seventeen. No wondering how long is her hair when she lets it down... "Thanks, but no thanks."
Ginny giggles. "Obviously you've never seen a photograph of the 1942 Gryffindor Quidditch side."
They're at the end of the stairs, right outside a closed oaken door. Harry has a pretty good idea of what lies inside; he's trying very hard not to think about details such as "will they be dressed?" and "if so, in what?"
"Ginny, this is really kind of you, but... there's something that happens to a fellow, and he can't help it, but it's bloody awkward..."
She looks downward, and he blushes. "Well, at least one part of you isn't waffling," she says. "What happens to us... it's less obvious, but believe me... well, the Bundling Charm will take care of it. Maybe it's not so bad a thing. It'd be hard to sleep, otherwise."
"Right." He can't think about sleep right now. His sense of smell seems to have sharpened to near-werewolf levels, and Ginny's scent is driving him mad. Sweet soap and raspberry nettle shampoo and the trace of sweat from this afternoon's quidditch practice and something rich and musky.
Ginny throws her arms about him and kisses him. "There, Harry Potter. I love you. We love you. And we won't let you burn yourself away to nothing. Remember that. And that there won't always be a Bundling Charm." His stomach is bouncing from his throat to his feet and back again, and the less that he thinks about other organs the better. He wants to kneel at Ginny's feet and throw his arms about her waist, to pull down her knickers and press his lips between her thighs, to hold her in his arms from behind as Hermione makes her scream, to kiss her and taste Luna on her lips...
The door opens. "Come inside," Hermione says, "Luna's already falling asleep." She lays a hand on his shoulder, and takes Ginny's hand in hers to gently tug them inside. The pressure goes away as he crosses the threshold. He'd still like to make love to them, but the thought of actually doing it seems far, far away. He notices that Hermione's red and white striped nightshirt has only three buttons and shows more of her cleavage than he's ever seen before, but the sight inspires only a sense of appreciation. He suspects he'd feel much the same if she wore nothing at all, and that thought is simply a vague and pleasant notion, much like the thought of taking his Firebolt out for a peaceful flight over an open meadow in spring.
The room is small and comfortable looking, with a single large bed taking up one end. At the other, a couch and a pair of stuffed chairs cluster with a low oval table. A set of curtains indicate a window, and a second door suggests a bath.
Luna is sprawled across the couch, gently snoring. She wears a pink dressing gown with plump little fuzzy winged horses on; beneath the hem the legs of her pyjamas are Hunting Stewart tartan. She looks so lovely that Harry could sit beside her and watch her sleep for hours.
Ginny shakes Luna's shoulder. "Wake up," she says. "Harry's here."
"Ginny? Did you feed the Snorkacks before you came..." her eyes open. "Hullo, Harry."
"Hullo, Luna." He sits beside her and she hugs him.
"Harry," she says, "I'm so glad to see you."
"Glad to see you," he says.
Ginny and Hermione hug them both from behind. "Come to bed," Hermione whispers in Harry's ear.
"Please?" Ginny says. She's taken off her robe and is wearing a t-shirt promoting some band called the Uncanny Gleemen, so long and so faded that it must once have been Bill's. She nuzzles Luna's cheek.
Hermione's brought a set of his pyjamas. He's so tired he almost forgets to duck into the bath before he takes off his clothes. Something falls from the sleeve of the pyjama shirt as he thrusts his arm through. The scrap of paper reads:
Hermione wouldn't tell, but I expect I know why she wanted these. G'night, you lucky bloke.
PS: We lads want details! Even Séamus and Dean.
PPS: If my sister's one of them, strike that.
PPPS: If that last is the case, don't you dare write to Penthouse Forum.
PPPPS: Do you think that if I stayed up for a week McGonagall would let Lavender and Parvati take me to bed?
He shreds Ron's note and flushes it down the toilet, hoping Moaning Myrtle doesn't read it.
In bed, Ginny winds up in Harry's arms, Luna snuggled against her back, Hermione against Harry's. For a moment Harry wonders how he's going to sleep with the unfamiliar sensation of so many bodies touching his. Then the warmth and the soft sounds of their breath draw him in.
All the next day he wonders if last night will happen again tonight. It does. Except tonight Hermione sleeps in his arms, and Luna holds him from behind, and Ginny clings to Hermione until morning.
By the fourth day he's accepted the situation. His pyjamas and toothbrush and a few sets of clothes live in a drawer in their room's single dresser. There are three other drawers, and he wonders if it's always had four drawers, or if the dresser expands and contracts to match the number of occupants. He doesn't recall seeing a dresser at all, that first night, but he was so tired he might have missed an Erumpent in the corner.
The seventh night, there's a bit of a problem.
They've gone up early, and are all sitting on the couch. Hermione's reading Flamel's Pillars of Transmutation, in the archaic Dee translation rather than the modern Wheatcliff that McGonagall assigns to her N.E.W.T. level classes.. Ginny's got a Brother Cadfael mystery; she's reading through the series, and keeps pestering Harry and Hermione with questions about the last time plague hit London and the current state of the art in Muggle seigecraft. Luna has a sketchpad and a stick of graphite and is drawing little cartoons of Snape and McGonagall snogging and a fanged and winged cow chasing a broomstick-riding girl who looks suspiciously like Cho Chang.
As for Harry, he's pretending to read his assignment for History of Magic, but in reality he's too busy watching his friends to make much progress. The Bundling Charm smothers lust, and its effects seem to linger even after they've left the room--if they didn't, he suspects, the four of them would be dragging each other off to the nearest broom closet or secret passageway several times daily--but it's as if all the energy is transmuted straight into raw affection. If Hermione and Ginny sat any closer together one would be in the other's lap, and Hermione's non-book-holding arm is draped round his own shoulder. Luna's hooked her left knee over his right thigh, and with her right foot she's stroking Ginny's calf.
The clock strikes, and Hermione yawns. "Time to go to bed," she says, and gets up to change.
"What?" she says a moment later. "Where are they?" Everyone turns to look at her. She's got her drawer pulled all the way open, and is staring inside in disbelief. "My nightclothes," she says. "They're gone."
"Have a look in my drawer," Ginny says. "The elf might've misplaced them."
"They don't do that," Hermione says, but she opens the drawer below hers all the same. "Err, Ginny? Not only are mine not there, but yours are gone as well." She checks the other two. "And Harry's, and Luna's."
"Mine used to disappear all the time," Luna says. "I always thought it was my housemates, but..."--she tilts back her head, staring at the ceiling for a moment--"Perhaps there's a cult of feral house elves who think everyone should sleep in the altogether?"
Ginny giggles. And snorts, and cackles, and guffaws like Hagrid after a bit too much Firewhisky. Luna's face goes still, as if she's struggling not to cry. Ginny sees her expression and stops laughing at once. "Oh, Luna, my darling," she says, "I'm sorry. I never..." She seizes Luna in her arms and kisses her, on the lips and cheeks and nose and eyes, with a depth of affection that Harry's never seen before, not in all the Muggle mags and Wizarding broadsheets of girls with girls and girls with boys and girls with girls and boys all together at once that he's swapped for or been given and hidden in the false bottom of his trunk.
Hermione sits down and puts both her arms about him. "Pretty, aren't they?" she says.
"Harry," she says, "will you kiss me?"
"Yes." He doesn't know how to begin.
"Silly, silly, silly Harry," Hermione giggles. "Like this." She presses him gently back against the couch, kneeling with her knees on either side of his own. This has been Harry's fantasy, or one of them, for ages, and he knows in the back of his mind that he should be uncomfortably hard.
The thought fades from his mind in a few moments. Kissing Hermione is... wonderful, no matter what physical effect it has or hasn't. He loses himself in the sweet scent of her, in the taste and feel of her lips and tongue, in the warmth of her body against his.
Luna and Ginny applaud, and he realises they've been watching for some little while. "Let's to bed," Hermione says. "We can snuggle all we want there."
"What will we sleep in?" Harry says. "Our underwear?"
"Don't be silly," Ginny says. "Our bare skin's fine."
She's right. It feels too strange to strip off right in front of the girls, but they all turn their backs on each other. And when he turns about, all of them are nude.
He's slightly embarassed by the downward glances, but he has to admit that his own eyes dropped as well. There's a moment when the air tingles with awkwardness, and then they all four hug each other at once. And after that nothing matters, except that they're together, and sleep is sweet and easy in each others' arms.
He wakes, feeling a soft cool breeze tickling his face. "Good morning, Harry!"
He opens his eyes. "Myrtle?" She's floating just above the covers.
"You're scandalising Sir Nicolas, Harry," she says brightly. "The Fat Friar said it's nothing that hasn't happened two dozen times before, but Sir Nicolas called the Friar an "overpardoning Pelagian" and went off to haunt Dumbledore for letting McGonagall turn Gryffindor into a house of moral turpitude. I never knew he was so severe." Her eyes are dark for a moment. "Perhaps that's why he'd never kiss me."
"But... we only slept. There's a Bundling Charm. And..."
"Don't mind him, Harry. I saw McGonagall cast the Charm. And I'd surely have seen if anything had happened despite." Her grin lights up half the room, and for the first time he realises that Myrtle in life must have been rather pretty. "And had I seen, my only regret would've been not being able to join in."
Hermione stirs and nuzzles his cheek. "Give us a kiss, Harry, if you must be--oh, good morning, Myrtle. What's brought you here?"
"I'm only flirting with your boyfriend, 'Mione. But now you're awake, I'll be delighted to flirt with you as well."
Hermione colours sweetly. "I think I'm taken. Thrice over."
"Oh alas, woe is me. I'll be forced to flirt with all the rest of you as well. A fate worse than death, surely."
Luna sleeps on peacefully beside him, but Ginny rolls over and buries her face in Hermione's shoulder. "It's surely not morning yet," she mumbles.
"Half-past-six of the ante meridian clock, my dear Ginevra," Myrtle says.
"And it's Saturday. Let me sleep."
"I would, only I thought you might like to know that the poor old owl that always brings your post and your brothers' is tapping on the window, and he might catch cold if he has to wait much longer."
"Oh, sweet Christ crucified," Ginny says, sitting bolt upright, "my family's found out! There'll be Howlers, and threats to Harry, and..."
Luna opens her eyes. "Ginevra, darling, your parents will be delighted. They've always thought you a good match for Harry."
"But I don't think they thought you and Hermione were a good match for us as well, Luna."
"I'm sure they'll come round." Luna sits up in bed and hugs her.
Hermione joins in the clinch, and Harry's about to add himself when Myrtle coughs and says "The poor owl's waiting." He reaches for his wand on the bedside table and charms the window open. There's no use in putting it off any longer.
Errol's got both a letter, addressed to Ginny from her brother Bill, and a package, addressed to Luna from Mrs. Weasley. He sits on the bed foot for a moment after laying down the post, looking bemused, before he wings his way out the window again. Harry closes the window behind him and hugs Ginny from behind, completing the triangle surrounding her.
There's a long moment more of Ginny-hugging before, finally, she says "All right, I can face it. It's not a Howler, so I suppose it can't be so bad."
She breaks the seal of Bill's letter, and for a long moment there is silence. At last she shakes her head and drops the letter on the duvet. "Apparently there are three new hands on the clock at home. My brother sends his congratulations and asks when we're posting the banns."
Luna's package proves to be one of Mrs. Weasley's jumpers, in soft brown wool with a large L on the breast. "She's adopting you," Ginny says. "Oh heavens, she's saying..."
"Yes," Luna says. "I'd put it on, but it might itch with nothing beneath."
"We'll all wear our jumpers down to breakfast," Ginny says. "But for now, let's stay as we are."
"If it weren't for the Charm," Hermione says, "I think I'd have other ideas for using up the next few hours. But as it is... could we sleep a little longer?"
"I think so," Luna says. "Although I am awfully excited. I never thought I'd be this lucky. I wonder what we'll wear for the wedding? My family always are married in the nude, but I don't know what your families' customs are. And... maybe now we're engaged Professor McGonagall will take off the Bundling Charm! Huzzah! Let's go to ask her right now!"
Harry moves his mouth, but can't get any sounds out. For that matter, he can't think of what he should say, even if he could figure out how to say it. "Luna, darling," Hermione says, stroking Luna's hair, "she's probably still asleep. I don't think waking her up early on a Saturday morning is the best way to get her to take the Charm off. Especially when Harry hasn't even given us rings yet, or..." she trails off, realising that Luna is already asleep, slumped on her shoulder and gently snoring.
"So," Harry says at last, "we're engaged."
"I suppose we are," Ginny says. "I'm sorry, Harry. I never knew the clock would do that. And I know you've not had a chance to ask our parents, or even... If you want out, I understand. I mean, you never asked..."
"Shush, Gin," he says. "I did ask. I suppose I didn't realise I was asking, but sometimes my instincts are smarter than I am. And I, for one, am grateful for it."
"Just like when you caught the Rememberall, Harry?" Hermione says.
"I suppose so," he says. "But you're all much lovelier than Oliver Wood."
"Thank you, I think," Ginny says. "I note you didn't say anything about my brothers. Or Katie, Alicia, and Angelina..."
"You're lovelier than them as well," he says. "Although... the Twins are pretty dishy, now that you mention it."
Ginny moves to tickle him. "Quiet, my darlings," Hermione says. "Our Luna's sleeping." She presses a kiss to the Ravenclaw's brow.
"But you heard what he said, Hermione..."
"Revenge is best served cold, my Ginny," Hermione says. "Or, in this case... very warm, once things are properly legalised and a certain Charm is no longer in the picture."
"I'm afraid," Harry says. "Very afraid. And I look forward to being outright terrified."