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Story Notes:
Rome is a lovely city, full of history and people.

They have been there once before, two years ago when they were searching for Rowena Ravenclaw’s hand mirror, but they didn’t explore the city. They had traveled many places throughout Europe during their Horcrux Hunt, as Ron likes to call it these days when it’s just the three of them. They can laugh and share smiles now that the war is finally over; those words causing them to become more moody and despondent just a few months ago.

After Voldemort was destroyed and the three of them were finally released from St. Mungos, they had hidden at Hogwarts to get away from everyone. Minerva plans to reopen the school now that the world is rebuilding and they stayed for a few weeks to recover from everything. They are physically healed, as much as they will ever be. Harry has strands of white throughout his messy black hair now and a scar on his shoulder to match the faint one on his forehead. Ron walks with a slight limp and his chest is covered with a dozen faint scars that she still sometimes sees covered in blood. As for her, a scar on her jaw that curls down her throat and a burn on her calf are her physical mementos from the war.

They are not emotionally healed, not yet, but they are getting there with every day that passes. They need more time for that, for the nightmares to stop and to not see each other in pain from being cursed or covered in blood during the worst of the battles. This trip was Ron’s idea; the best he’s had, she decides. They had been in their private suite of rooms at Hogwarts for three weeks, slowly coming to terms with the fact it was actually all over, trying to move on from what had basically been their life for years, and Ron had declared that they needed something more.

It was a hesitant suggestion, to travel and just let the ‘real world’ go on without them for awhile. They had earned this escape, Harry had decided as he’d lazily stroked Hermione’s leg, running his fingertips over the burn that would never fade. They had agreed, told Minerva they were going away for a bit, owled Molly and a few trusted others, and then left Hogwarts.

Rome is their first stop. Harry remembers her interest in the history of the city and Ron’s fondness for the food. They have a room in a Muggle hotel registered to Billius and Jane James, but no one mentions the fact there are three of them and only one large bed. They explore the city during the day, doing their best to act like normal twenty year-olds on a summer holiday. It becomes easier with every passing day. At night, they go out to eat and sometimes go dancing then they return to their room and fall asleep in a tangle of limbs after making love.

They heal each other in ways St. Mungos never could. Their friendship is stronger than ever, a connection between the three of them that never wavers. It has grown into something more, become a love and intimacy that no one else would ever truly understand. The twins don’t even joke about it, respecting that they have been through Hell and survived because of their love for one another.

Ron is alive because she and Harry refused to let him give up, to let him die, to let him leave them, just as she and Harry both fought desperately for life at various times during the war because of this love they’ve been fortunate enough to find. For that, there are no playful leers or remarks about kinky sex games. There is only a silent admiration for the two people who love their brother enough to never leave him behind. Very few know the true nature of their relationship, the validity behind the rumors that have plagued them since they were far too young to understand what was developing. It’s no one’s business but their own, after all.

Hermione leans against Harry and makes a funny face at Ron as he snaps their photograph. The stone beneath her is cool despite the summer heat and she enjoys the contrast as she brushes a kiss against Harry’s jaw. He grins at her, looking better than he has in years. She pushes his spectacles back up his nose and they share a gentle kiss before they look at Ron and smile.

He walks to them, kissing them both before he sits beside Harry. Harry clasps their hands in his, their fingers entwining until it seems as if there is just one. She tenses when a man rushes by, his dark robe a costume of some sort but a reminder of the past that will never be truly forgotten. She does not relax until he is out of sight and she hears Harry’s sigh before he kisses the scar on her jaw, Ron’s finger stroking her palm as the tension fades.

Next they’ll go to Athens, they decide. It’s another city rich in history and anonymity so it sounds perfect. In a week, Harry suggests as he leans his head on Ron’s shoulder and pulls Hermione against his side. She agrees, mentioning a few ruins that she’d still like to explore, smiling at the groans that follow her words. A week, Ron confirms, discussing several more restaurants he’s discovered in the guide book Hermione makes them read.

They laugh as he plans the rest of their stay around lunch and dinner. Their hands are still joined as everything else around them fades until it is just them, together, the way it was meant to be. They don’t speak words of love, such things unnecessary when it’s evident in every touch, look, and smile. Instead, they smile as they take a moment out of life and enjoy the beautiful summer afternoon in Rome.

The End