A/N: Oooooh, dear! I'm so sorry for not updating! This blasted computer broke down! Hmph. Anyway, off to the hopefully-long chapter:)
Ron noticed after a while, that he and Hermione were the only people in the Common Room. Everyone else had already gone to bed.
They had discussed the letter, of course. Little whispers emerging from the corners of their mouths so that no one else would hear, a bit pressured by the realization that it could be their fault if Harry got hurt by this person. But now they could talk normally. No one was in the Common Room anyway, and they were too much far into the conversation for anyone who would probably walk in to know what they were talking about.
"…about his feelings―"
As Ron said this, Harry entered the Common Room.
In a flash of panic, Hermione said, "Hiya, Harry!" a wee bit too heartily.
"We were… uhh… we just ―" Ron began quickly, shifting around to stealthily hide the parchment.
"Doing homework!" Hermione intoned, grinning.
"Yes! Yes! Doing… doing homework!" Ron said in a voice that was not his own.
Harry looked at his two friends uncertainly. "Uhm… right."
"Right! So… uhm…" Ron began again, not learning from his previous mistake. "C'mon and join us―!"
Ron stopped before he could get any emotion to punctuate his sentence as Hermione quickly kicked his foot, sending him a 'we-need-to-talk-about-other-things-first-send-him-away' look.
Ron, seeing this and getting a bit scared, quickly fumbled around for an excuse. "…I mean… uhm… we're done, actually! So… uhm…" he glanced at Hermione and saw her giving him a 'come-on-think-of-an-excuse' look. "And… uh… don't you feel a bit hungry? Why don't you get some―"
Hermione kicked him again, sending him a glare this time.
"I mean, we'll get something to eat! You're probably not hungry, anyway, right? So… uhm…" he said. "We'll… we'll go now!" Ron grabbed Hermione, who gave a Harry a small apologetic grin, and dragged her to the portrait hole.
Harry was left alone to ponder his best friends' strange actions.
Probably on crack or something…
As they stepped out of the portrait hole, Ron began massaging his foot. "You can right out kick, you know…" he muttered.
"Well, you deserved it!" Hermione said huffily. "You kept on making stupid excuses!"
"Well, excuse me for trying to help!"
Hermione sighed. "This is not going to get us anywhere."
"Glad you noticed."
"Oh, honestly, Ronald." Hermione said, a twinkle in her eye.
Ron grinned fully. He patted on the space beside him. "C'mon." he said. "Best to discuss the matter at hand now. Everyone's already gone to bed, anyways."
"But what if Filch comes?" Hermione asked.
"Well, we could easily say that we're patrolling the halls, seeing as we're Prefects and all." said Ron, who was happy to think of a good thing coming out of his being a Prefect other than serving as a joke to Fred and George.
"Yes, you're right, I guess." said Hermione, nodding. "So, where were we?"
Ron paused. "You were saying something about feelings―"
"Oh right." Hermione cut in. "Well, on the positive hand, this guy seems to have serious feelings for―"
"Hang on," Ron said, frowning. "How do we know it's a guy?"
"Well, of course it is. If it was a girl, would she ask for Harry's sexual preference? He's hardly seemed gay in the whole time we've known him." Hermione said matter-of-factly. "And since that points to him as a guy, and he's asking how to court Harry, then that means Harry's replied to him already, and said he's gay, since he's obviously hopeful."
"Oh…" said Ron, blushing a little from realizing that his best friend was gay. "That does make sense." And after a pause he added, "Why didn't he tell us, though? I mean, I imagine by now he'd know that we'd accept him, no matter what. And we don't keep secrets, now, do we?"
"Well, I'm sure Harry knew this," Hermione said reassuringly.
"So why didn't he tell us? If I were gay I'd've told you guys." Ron scowled. "But I'm not, of course." He added quickly, blushing again.
"He just wasn't ready." Hermione said matter-of-factly. "Anyway, we have to respect him…" She saw the troubled look on Ron's face. You don't have a problem with this, do you?"
"Harry…" said Hermione. "Being gay."
Harry shook his head and made his way upstairs. What was that with Ron and Hermione? They were undoubtedly doing something when he had come in. But what?
It didn't look like they were snogging or anything…Harry pondered, starting to dress into his pajamas. And besides, why would they keep their relationship from me if they had one? No… Harry thought. No, that's not it…
But Harry would've liked their reason to be that, actually. It was better than pondering what they were hiding. He felt a bit uncertain thinking that they were hiding something. After all, they were best friends.
He felt a twinge of guilt at this, something he would've later denied. He knew he was also keeping some things from Ron and Hermione. Like the fact that he'd already replied, for one.
Lying down, he looked at the bed beside him, for all his years in Hogwarts, his best friend had occupied that space. But right now he was in the kitchens with Hermione, probably milking the moment for what it was worth. He could just imagine Hermione's scowl while she watched Ron pig out.
Suddenly feeling a little hungry himself, Harry lifted himself up and made his way to his trunk, sneaking out his Invisibility Cloak and, making his way down the stairs, put it on himself.
As he snuck around to the portrait hole, he heard voices outside. Pausing, he put his ear to the portrait.
He heard Hermione's voice say "You don't have a problem with this… do you?" Harry knew they were talking seriously about something, and didn't want to overhear. This was none of his business.
He heard Ron asking what he might have a problem with.
He vaguely recalled that time in the Leaky Cauldron when he overheard Mr. and Mrs. Weasley talking in angry voices. Of course, he heard his name that night, so he had an excu―
"Harry…" he heard Hermione say.
What? Harry thought, confused. Why would Ron have a problem with me?
Harry's eyes widened.
Oh god. He thought. They know. They know I've kept something.
In his panic, he quickly ran back upstairs, his eyes welling with tears and regret.
They know I'm gay. He thought helplessly. And they know I've tried to hide it. And they know I didn't tell them. He knew his friends enough to know that they'd have figured out everything he didn't do. And now Ron's going to hate me. He's going to think I'm a freak. And that I'm a really bad friend. Oh no.
The shorter his thoughts formed, the more panicky he grew. And the more panicky he grew, the more he jumped to conclusions.
No… No, no, no. Please, no.
From all the Quidditch work, and the homework he tried to squeeze in between meals and the knowledge that his bestfriend might hate him in the morning was too much for Harry to bear, and he fell into a reluctant sleep, silently troubled, his dreams full of Ron and Hermione turning from him.
There was silence. Ron looked as if he was concentrating very hard. Much like what he looked like when he was pulling off a rather quick save of the Quaffle.
"Of course not." He said firmly.
Hermione smiled. "Good. So, anyway," she continued. "This guy obviously has serious feeling for Harry, and he sounds really loyal. And he's obviously polite enough to ask for our permission―"
"Yes, that's the part that makes me think, actually," said Ron. "Why's he asking for our opinion on the matter? I highly doubt he would give up on Harry just because we say no."
"Well, I guess he thinks we'll say yes then…" said Hermione, putting her arms around her knees.
"And what about the information about Harry he's asking for?" Ron recalled, blatantly not wanting to talk about their answer yet.
"I expect he's asking only for what Harry looks for in a person," Hermione bit her lip. "Like, what he wants. Not really much as his biography; I doubt that's what he's looking for. He wouldn't need us for that. He could just easily go to the library."
"…So what does Harry look for in a guy?" said Ron, looking perplexed at the mere thought of it. "I mean, like you said, it's not as if we've known the whole time."
"And the only person we've know Harry to fancy is Cho." Hermione added.
Ron put his head to his knees. "This is going to be a long night."
Mwahaha. No Draco in this chapter. :( awwwwwww. Oh well. Lots of him in the next chapter:) Review please :) Constructive criticism is valued, but flames will be laughed at.