It Takes Six

Lowlands Girl

Story Summary:
Written in honor of the H.M.S. Sixpack. In fourteen related vignettes, Harry begins to look at his five closest friends in a different light. Sixpack pairing: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Hermione, Neville/Hermione, Ron/Harry, Ron/Neville, Ginny/Hermione, Ginny/Harry, Ginny/Neville, Luna/Neville... you get the picture.

Chapter Summary:
Written in honor of the H.M.S. Sixpack. In fourteen related vignettes, Harry begins to look at his five closest friends in a different light. Sixpack pairing: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Hermione, Neville/Hermione, Ron/Harry, Ron/Neville, Ginny/Hermione, Ginny/Harry, Ginny/Neville, Luna/Neville... you get the picture.
Author's Note:
Second version here; one of my

It Takes Six

"You know," remarked Ron to Harry one day, "Luna's rather pretty."

Harry, who was carefully measuring out bubotuber pus, nearly spilled the beaker. "Er... yeah, I guess," he said, placing the beaker back down on the workbench with a little more force than usual. "That enough, you think?" he asked Ron.

"Er, yeah, I guess," said Ron, not looking at the beaker at all.

Harry, once sure that his hands had stopped shaking, picked the beaker up again and peered at the little black marks on the outside of the glass. He glanced up at the blackboard. Measure out 20 mL bubotuber pus, pour in when the potion has turned green, then stir clockwise 6 times. His potion wasn't exactly green, but it was at least yellow-ish, rather than Ron's, which was blue.

Ron's mind appeared to be elsewhere. "Hermione, too," he said.

"What about Hermione?" asked Harry, accidentally splashing the pus on the sides of the cauldron, where it immediately congealed.

"She's pretty, too."

"Pretty or not, Weasley, she is not the object of this lesson," said Professor Snape, who had snuck up behind them and been listening for who knew how long. "Ten points from Gryffindor." Snape peered down his nose at Ron's bubbling mess. "And what is this, Weasley?"

"Er... It's... it's..." Ron squinted at the blackboard through the classroom fog. "Dragnosis Draught," he read.

"Diagnosis Draught, Mr. Weasley," Snape corrected him. "A further ten points from Gryffindor. Evanesco." Ron's potion disappeared, leaving Ron with a mouth open in horror. "And detention this evening, where perhaps you will find solace in the shiny bottoms of the first-years' cauldrons."

Harry felt a pang of sympathy.


"Who was Ron talking about?" Hermione asked Harry at dinner that evening, while Ron was away at detention.

Harry wasn't sure how honest to be. "Luna," he said through a mouthful of pork.

"Hmm," said Hermione. She looked a little disappointed.

They ate in silence for a while.

"Did he--do you know--" Hermione seemed stuck for words. "Does he think I'm pretty?" she asked in one breath.

Harry saw no reason to lie. "Yes."

Hermione blinked. Her mouth twitched. Her cheeks began to flush, the red spreading up along her brow and down the sides of her face to her neck.

Harry wondered how far down the flush spread.

"Oh," Hermione finally said, in a small voice. "Well... good."

I think you're pretty, too. Harry thought, watching her glowing eyes.


In the common room that evening, Harry couldn't stop thinking about girls. This wasn't unusual for a sixteen-year-old boy, of course, but it was odd to keep thinking of the same girls--Luna, Hermione, and, for some odd reason, Ginny.

Why Ginny?

She looked so much like Ron.

He wasn't going to think about that.


Quidditch practice was especially difficult. The pureblooded witches and wizards didn't usually wear pants under their robes, especially in warm weather.

Harry knew exactly what Ginny's legs looked like.

He knew exactly what Ron's legs looked like.

For a while he avoided flying under the Chasers, but when Katie yelled at him about only flying high, and how the other Seekers were going to change their altitudes, and how he used to be such a daring Seeker, and what had gotten into him lately, he had to go back to flying low.



Harry looked around. He wondered how long he had been daydreaming in his comfortable chair by the fire. "Yeah?"

"I think Trevor's gone and hidden in your trunk," said Neville, his round face anxious. "Can you help me look for him?"

Harry levered himself out of the armchair. "Sure."

Up in the dormitory, the two of them pulled out Harry's trunk from its place by the foot of his bed. Harry unlatched it and began pulling items out, one by one.

"Careful," warned Neville. "We don't want to scare him, you know..."

Harry pulled out the next book more carefully. "I think I hear him." There was a faint croaking noise - where was it coming from?

Books, his Firebolt, parchment, inkpots, robes, and at the very bottom, his dress robes, wrapped around a book-sized mirror. Harry tossed that onto the bed, and when it landed, he heard a very loud, "CROAK!"

Neville dove for the package.

"Neville!" Harry shouted, but it was too late. Neville had ripped off the bottle-green velvet to find Trevor happily bundled up next to the broken shards of Sirius' mirror.

Harry hadn't wanted to think about the mirror, and he wasn't going to think about it now. "Sirius..." he whispered.

But Neville saw the startled horror in Harry's eyes before Harry could hide it, and, instead of running, sat back down on Harry's bed, clutched Trevor to his chest, patted the spot beside him, and said, "Tell me about him."

In a daze, Harry sat down. Their thighs brushed, but neither flinched away.

"He was a good man," Harry said, sounding as croaky as Trevor. "He always wanted... always wanted to be doing things, wanted to be at the front. Everyone thought he killed Peter Pettigrew, but he didn't--Peter was an Animagus, he was Scabbers..."

Harry talked for twelve minutes, Neville not saying a thing. Somehow, Neville's arm wound up around Harry's shoulder, and Harry's head on Neville's, leaving a patch of tears.

Ron entered the dorm.

Harry looked up, blinking.

Ron sat down on Harry's other side. Their thighs touched. Ron put his arm around Harry's shoulder and didn't say anything.

Harry felt warm, comforted, and safe. The filling of a Harry-sandwich, with two good friends as the bread.


There was going to be a Hogsmeade weekend before Christmas, and Harry wanted to buy something nice for Neville, because he'd been such a great friend, and wasn't that what friends did?

Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood in the entrance hall, waiting for Ginny. The rest of the students streamed about them, laughing and chattering, wrapped in wool and cotton and linen and velvet, a rainbow of colorful cloaks.

Ginny appeared soon enough, with two people behind her: Neville and Luna.

How was Harry going to buy Neville a present if Neville was right behind him?

"Hi," Ginny said, a little breathlessly.

"Hi," they all said back.

Harry noticed that Ron's jaws were a little slack.

"Hello," said Luna. She was wearing a wool cloak of deep red, making her hair and skin look pale and transparent.

Ron gurgled a little. Harry repressed a gurgle and said, "Hi," to her.

"I ran into Neville on my way out, so I brought him along," Ginny was saying, "and then I saw Luna by herself, and that's just not right for Christmas," she went on, "so I asked her if she wanted to come along with us." Ginny beamed. "It's nice to have all six of us together, isn't it?"

Hermione beamed back, Neville grinned shyly, Ron gurgled a little more, and Harry said, "Yeah, it's nice."


Harry had never seen the Three Broomsticks so crowded before.

The six of them found a booth that seated one-and-a-half per side near the back and squeezed in.

Harry was in the middle again, this time between Ginny and Luna. Hermione sat across from him, between Neville and Ron. Ron looked rather happy with this arrangement, because he had Hermione next to him and Luna across from him.

Ginny had gotten up almost immediately to order their drinks: five Butterbeers and a Gillywater for Luna. She returned, holding two bottles in one hand, two under one arm, and a bottle and the martini glass of Gillywater in the other hand.

"Why didn't you get a tray?" Hermione asked.

"All out," Ginny said. "Someone help me?"

Harry scooted over and reached for her hand with the two bottles, but she turned instead and proferred him the ones under her arm. He hadn't been expecting this, and so one of his two hands grabbed a breast instead of a bottle. "Sorry," he mumbled, feeling his face grow hot, and adjusted his grip to grab the other bottle.

Ginny winked at him as Neville reached up to take a bottle from her other hand.

Harry thought he might faint, because all the blood in his head had just rushed elsewhere. Thank goodness for the tablecloth, he thought, as Ginny slid in next to him.

Then Luna reached across him to snag her Gillywater, and her hair tickled his face. Harry closed his eyes, wishing he could die just then and there.

"What are you doing for Christmas?" Hermione asked.

Trust her to come up with a nice, safe conversational topic, Harry thought gratefully. He could kiss her.

Bad thought.

Harry crossed his legs, hoping that cutting off the blood supply might be helpful for solving his current predicament. He looked across at Neville, Hermione, and Ron, and tried to think of unsexy things. Like the three of them kissing. Neville kissing Hermione--now, that was unsexy, wasn't it?


"Gran's letting me stay at Hogwarts," Neville was saying.

"Don't you want to visit your parents?" Ginny asked, with just the right amount of gentleness.

"Yes," Neville said hesitantly, "but..."

"But sometimes you need space?" put in Hermione, with just the right amount of no-nonsenseness.

"Yeah," said Neville, looking uncomfortable.

"It's nice, staying here," Ron said. "Have you ever seen the Great Hall all decked out?"

"Yes," Neville said. "I was here for the Yule Ball fourth year, remember?"

"Oh, right," said Ron. "You went with Ginny."


"That was fun," said Ginny with a smile. "You did step on me once or twice--"


"--but it was fun."

"Thanks." Neville looked frightfully embarrassed.

"Who did you go with again, Harry?" Ginny asked.

"Huh?" Harry said intelligently, surprised. "Oh... Parvati. And Ron went with Padma."

"She didn't like it," Luna said.

"You've said that before," said Ron.

"I'd've liked it. I don't like dancing very much."

"So you've said."

"If there's another Yule Ball while we're both here, would you go with me?" Luna asked.

Even though no one else was speaking, the table fell silent. Everyone was watching Ron.

"Er... okay," said Ron. But a small smile pulled at the side of his lips.


They walked back up to the castle in pairs.

Harry had managed to buy Neville's gift, thanks to Ginny distracting him for ten minutes. He happily swung the bag containing the enchanted notebook, which organized your things-to-do list, would yell at you if you fell behind, and had an in-built alarm.

Hermione was at his side, complimenting him on the gift, while Ron and Luna walked ahead of them, Ginny and Neville ahead of them and slightly to the left.

Harry was very much aware of his hands by his sides, and of Hermione's hands by her sides, and the way they swung together, because the bag was in his left hand and Hermione was on his right. What if he just reached over and took it?

He'd faced dragons, he'd faced Voldemort. He'd faced a crying Cho in Madam Puddifoot's, which had, in fact, been worse. And Hermione was his friend.

Harry took her hand.

The impact was muffled by their mittens, but it still felt good. Hermione's fingers curled around his, and she shot him a happy look.

Just as happy as when he'd told her that Ron thought she was pretty.


There wasn't a Yule Ball, but there was a Valentine's Ball.

So Luna got her chance to not-dance with Ron.

Harry, for his part, wasn't sure who to ask: Hermione, or Ginny. Ron seemed to want him to go with Ginny--no, Ron definitely wanted Harry to go with Ginny, but that would leave Hermione going with Neville (how was that? Harry often wondered. There were lots of other guys in the school...), and he wasn't sure if that was fair.

So he talked to Hermione about it.

"Er... Hermione?"

She was working on something rather scary-looking that took up three tables in the common room, involved four different colors of inks, several quills, and at least half a dozen books the size of Colin Creevey. "Hm?" she asked.

There was nothing for it. "How would you feel about me going to the ball with Ginny?"

"That's nice," she said absently.

"Really?" he asked.

"Mm-hmm," she said, peering down a column in a thick leather-bound tome. A spider scuttled out of the binding, and Hermione absently brushed it away.

Maybe she wasn't listening. "I'm gay," Harry said to her.

"That's nice."

"I'm going to run away with Professor Snape."


"I'm not going to invite you to the wedding."


"And then we'll adopt Draco and Goyle, and perhaps Crabbe as well..."

"That's nice."

She obviously wasn't listening. How to attract her attention?

"Hermione, you're failing all your classes, Professor McGonagall sent me to fetch you so she can throw you out."

"What?" she yelped, scattering parchment everywhere.

Harry laughed out loud. "Just kidding!" he said, then backed away, because Hermione's eyes were flashing and she looked about to draw her wand. "Really, I'm just kidding... I just wanted your attention..."

She huffed. "Fine way to get my attention!"

"Well, I tried telling you that I was marrying Snape, but that didn't seem to work."

"There are better ways, you know," she said, still breathing hard.

"Like what?"

Hermione turned back to her parchments and began retrieving them from the tables onto which they'd scattered. "Oh, you know," she mumbled into one of the books.

"Like what?"

"You could just... I don't know... touch my hand or something..."

Harry wondered if that was what she originally meant to say. "Anyways," he said.

"Anyway," she corrected him.

"--I wanted to ask you--" Merlin, here it went. "--if it's okay for me to take Ginny to the Valentine's Ball?"

Hermione blinked at him. Several emotions crossed her face, too fast for him to catch. "Of course it's okay!" she said. "She's your friend, you should go with her."

"But--" Harry wasn't sure how to do this. "But then you'd have to go with Neville!"

"Why would I have to go with Neville?"

That was something he'd been trying to answer, too. "I dunno," he mumbled. "We're... you know, it's just the six of us..."

Hermione's expression softened. "Harry," she said, putting a hand on his arm, making him feel deliciously shivery all over, "Why don't we just go all together, then?"

"Ron's going with Luna."

"Then the four of us."


"No, the four of us."

"Er... okay." Harry wasn't sure why, but he found Hermione's sudden embracing of the idea a little strange.

"I'll find out what Ginny's wearing and ask Neville about it, okay?"

"Great. Thanks." Harry walked away, wondering why he was jittering.


"Excited, Ron?"

"Shuddup, Dean."

"Is she wearing tall shoes?"

"Shuddup, Seamus."

"What is she wearing?"

"Shuddup--oh, sorry, Harry."

The five Gryffindor boys were dressing for the ball, all of them looking extremely self-conscious, but none more so than Ron, who wore his new navy blue dress robes, the ones Fred and George had bought him.

"I think she's wearing green, she said."

"Red looks better on her."

"Yeah." Ron finished fastening his robes. "Well?" he asked, turning around so they could see.

"Very smart," said Harry.

The robes were navy blue, with a bit of silver piping along the seams and at the cuffs. They were cut extremely well, showing off Ron's shoulders and length without making him look gangly.


"Really. How do I look?" Harry had outgrown his old dress robes, the bottle-green ones, and had suffered letting Hermione take him to Gladrag's to choose some new ones. These ones were dark red, and when Harry went to stand next to Ron at the big mirror, he rather felt like they made up a nice flag together; they'd just need a spot of white.

"Nice," said Ron, surveying the two of them in the mirror. He clapped an arm around Harry, and Harry tried not to react. "We look like the Jolly Roger... or at least two-thirds of it."

Harry laughed, and the awkward moment passed. "That's what I thought."

"What's Hermione wearing?" Ron asked, too casually. "That same blue set?"

"I don't know," said Harry. "She didn't tell me. D'you know what Ginny's wearing?" he asked, also too casually.

"No idea."

"We should have color-coordinated better," Harry commented, leaving the mirror and going over to his trunk to find a comb.


"You know...the six of us. So we'd look... I dunno... like a group."

"Who? Which six?"

Harry straightened up, the comb in his hand. "You know! Me, you, Neville--"

"Huh?" said Neville, who was struggling into his set of dark green robes. "What about me?"

Harry ignored him and continued, "--Ginny, Hermione, Luna... you know, the six of us."

Ron gave him an odd look.

"Forget it," Harry muttered, tackling his hair with the comb.


As it turned out, Hermione was wearing ivory robes with a gold bodice, Luna was wearing silver, and Ginny was wearing white with dark green floaty overlay to the skirt.

The three boys met the three girls in the entrance hall; Ron let Luna take his arm, and didn't exactly goggle. Harry hooked his arm in with Hermione's, Ginny took his other side, and Neville hesitated between Ginny and Hermione, eventually choosing to take Ginny's arm.

"I hope we fit through the door," Hermione whispered in his ear.

She looked amazing. "Er... yeah," said Harry, staring at the curve of her neck and the way her shoulders sloped away. Her robes were strapless. Harry was glad that his were rather voluminous, and shifted uncomfortably.

Ron did the same, and Harry saw that Ron's eyes were focused on Luna's waist, which was rather nice, Harry thought.

"I wonder who they brought in for the band?" Ginny asked the general air.

"Weird Sisters again?" suggested Neville, who, of all of them, didn't look horribly discomfited surrounded by three beautiful girls.

"The Hobgoblins," said Luna in a dreamy voice. "So bad about Stubby, isn't it?"

Ron shot her an angry look, but she simply smiled placidly. "You must miss him, Harry," she said, tilting her head to one side, causing a sheet of hair to cascade away from her body.

There was an uncomfortable silence.

Fortunately, Professor McGonagall opened the doors to the Great Hall at that moment, and the students surged to enter.

The six of them hung back a bit, waiting for the crush to pass. Harry spotted Parvati and Padma Patil on the arms of two tall Ravenclaw boys he didn't know very well. Seamus Finnigan was with Lavender Brown, and Dean Thomas had paired up with Eloise Midgen, whose acne was indeed loads better lately. Cho Chang, clinging to Michael Corner, shot Harry and Hermione a nasty look before sweeping past them into the hall.

They did, in fact, fit through the door. Harry wondered how it appeared to everyone else: three girls looking like they were made out of silver and gold, and three boys in solid colors, all of whom, in Harry's opinion, looked rather impressive.


By the time Harry had his dance with Luna, he was very, very confused.

His dance with Hermione had seemed special and close. They'd swayed to the slow music, bodies almost touching, hands entwined.

His dance with Ginny had seemed special and close. They'd swayed to the slow music, bodies almost touching, hands entwined.

And now he was dancing with Luna, to the slow music, bodies almost touching, hands entwined.

She smelled amazing, like fresh flowers or expensive soap, and her dirty blond hair looked instead like it was shot with gold. Luna smiled up at him knowingly, her protuberant eyes laughing with shared secrets.

"I know," she said to him at one point.

"Know what?" he asked, flustered.

She merely smiled.


Harry made his way over to the table where the others had congregated, grabbing a glass of punch on the way. He downed it in one gulp, hoping vaguely that it was spiked.

Actually, judging by the way Ron was acting, it was definitely spiked.

Harry took another glass and sat down between Neville and Hermione. "'Sup?" he asked.

"Nothin' much," said Ginny, her voice slurring a bit. "Just talking about... stuff."

Harry felt a buzz of alcohol hitting his brain. What was in this stuff? "You look 'mazing," he said to Ginny.

She giggled. "Thanks," she said. "So do you."

"You really do," said Ron, with the attitude of someone making a grave pronouncement. "Sssimply smasshhing." He made a grab for his goblet of punch, missed by only a few inches, and got it on the second try. "I propose a toast," he said, then hiccupped.

The others raised their glasses, Hermione's weaving just a little bit more than Ron's.

"A toast," he repeated, "to Harry Potter, the Boy Who Dressed Well."

"To Harry," said the others solemnly.

Harry downed his glass, then saw with delight that there was a pitcher on their table. He refilled his glass.

"I love these bottomless pitcher things," said Ginny with a sniff.

"I propose a toast," Harry said, raising his glass, "to us, to the six of us."

They looked at him.

"We fought Voldemort--" (Ron hicced) "--we fought those Death Eaters, and we're all alive. We're the coolest people at Hogwarts, I think." Harry looked somberly around at his friends. He wasn't nearly drunk enough for what he really wanted to do.

"I like it!" said Neville forcefully. "I like it!"

"Me, too!" echoed the others.

"Then, a toast!" said Harry. "What shall we call ourselves?"

"Aren't we Dumbledore's Army?" asked Ginny, blinking as though she couldn't quite focus.

"No, that's everyone," said Hermione, speaking quickly. "We need a new name, one that's just the six of us..."

"Peas in a pod?" suggested Ron.

"No, no," said Hermione at once, swallowing and pointing a wobbly finger at him. "That's stupid, Ron. We need something that tells everyone who we are..."

"Birds of a Feather?" said Neville.

"No," said several people, including Harry.

"Sixpack," said Luna, who of all of them appeared to be the only one still sober.

"I like it," said Ginny.

"Me, too," said Ron and Neville.

But Hermione and Harry were overcome with the giggles.

"What?" asked Ginny forcefully. "What's so funny?"

"Sixpack," chortled Hermione.

"Beer," added Harry with a snort.

"Just... Muggle stuff," Hermione said, getting control of herself. "Sixpack it is, then!"

"To the Sixpack," said Harry, raising his glass. The others followed suit. "Until death do us part," he added, and downed his glass.

The band struck up a fast tune.

"Let's dance," said Ginny, rising a little unsteadily. Hermione reached out to help her balance, and they shared a glance that made Harry wonder.

The newly-dubbed Sixpack made their way to the dance floor, where circles of students moved not quite in time to the music. They found a clear space and began dancing.

Harry had never really danced in a group before, and found it somehow liberating. He didn't have to do that much all the time, but if he wanted to, he could take the center and attract attention.

He laughed with the others as Ron moved into the center, his gangly limbs waving everywhere, and began a kind of gyrating movement with his pelvis that had Harry hypnotized. Like a pretzel being made, but graceful. He'd never thought of Ron's body quite like that, and found he didn't shy away from it.

Ron reached out a long arm and, without appearing to move from the center of the circle, brought Hermione in with him. They gyrated against each other, leaving Harry with a dry mouth. He glanced beside him and saw Ginny's eyes glazed over a bit--her gaze was fixed on Hermione's shoulders. Harry saw that Neville, too, looked flushed and was breathing hard.

Ron bowed out of the circle, leaving Hermione in the middle. Harry was entranced by her movements, by her swaying, by the shape that her robes made over the curve of her stomach, and was startled when she touched his hand and pulled him into the middle with an extremely frank look of desire that nearly flattened him.

"Just come with me," she said in his ear as they drew close.

Harry wished she hadn't quite used that terminology.

The movement was slightly different; the band had modulated into a slightly slower beat, but infectious nonetheless. Harry found his shoulders and hips moving and discovered that Hermione's body was soft in the most surprising places.

And then, too soon, she had left the circle, and Harry knew he had to tug someone in with him. His eyes swept the five friends. Luna, or Ginny?


He shimmied over to her, feeling the glare of the lights, the pulsating of the magical speakers, and watched her eyebrows rise as his pelvis tilted towards her.

She giggled, smirked, then reached out to grab his hands. In a lightning movement, she had pushed herself up against his body, behind against front, and he'd never done this before... it was sheer heaven, arms wrapped around her waist, pelvis against hips. He glanced up at Ron, realizing that this was Ron's sister he was doing the bump and grind with, but Ron wasn't watching his sister, he was watching Harry.

When it was Harry's turn to bow out, Harry moved to be next to Ron. He wasn't surprised when, a few seconds later, he realized that their hands were entwined. He looked beside him and, though Ron appeared to be thoroughly sozzled, saw that underneath the glaze of alcohol there was a well of desire.

Grateful for the dim lighting, Harry, on the pretense of changing his rhythm, scooched a little closer so their hips touched.

In the middle of the circle, Ginny had chosen Neville, and Neville's round face was smiling happily as he swayed, watching Ginny with her arms over her head, lost in a trance of rhythm and pulse. He took her by the waist as Harry had, but then twirled her around, took one hand in his, placed the other on her back, and did a quick tango, the circle parting to let them through.

Ginny pulled away from Neville with an elaborate curtsey and a flirtatious smile, and backed into the circle to stand next to Hermione. Hermione turned her head to look at Ginny with what appeared to be admiration; a moment later, their hands were entwined.

Neville then scanned the circle, and his eyes landed on the only girl not yet danced with, Luna. Luna's protuberant eyes softened with open affection as she let Neville take her hands and pull her close to him. Luna caught Harry's eyes, and the smile curving her lips made Harry wish he was in Neville's place.

"I thought Luna didn't like to dance," he commented in Ron's ear, and had the satisfaction of feeling Ron shudder as Harry's breath misted his ear.

Ron shrugged.


He wasn't sure who suggested it, but they wound up much later in the Room of Requirement, with sobriety remedies, lots of pillows, a comfy fire and hearth, and an extremely large bathtub filled with lots and lots of bubbles.

He realized much, much later that the term "Sextuplet" might have been more appropriate than "Sixpack."


Author notes: Thought it was fluffy? Smutty? Want more sixpack action? want the R-rated version of section XIV? (check out the Livejournal Community for discussion and cookies that aren't allowed on FA.) Review... It's good for the post count, it's good for the soul!