Disclaimer: Belongs to JK Rowling.

On Fire


There were times when he truly despised Ron. And as his best friend he hated saying that, but it was the truth. It was beginning to happen more and more frequently, nearly every time he saw him now, he was filled with these feelings of dislike, and resentment. He felt so guilty for feeling this way, but it had been building for nearly three years, and pretty soon it was going to blow.

Each and every time Ron touched her, spoke to her, just looked at her. Harry wanted to throttle him and tell him to get the hell away from her. Harry was very thankful that she wasn't very keen on public displays of affection, if she had been, he would have been admitted to St Mungo's a long time ago.

The first time he realised he didn't have platonic feelings for her he couldn't believe it. She had nearly always been there. She was their best friend. It was in the middle of his seventh year, they had been forced to come back to Hogwarts and complete their education before they went off on the Horcrux hunt, and on to fight Voldemort. They had been up all night the pair of them, researching through dark, and frankly terrifying books, and they had fallen asleep together on the couch in the common room.

He remembers waking up and looking over at her as she rested against the other end of the chair, the rays of the early morning sun were peeking through the window, making her hair shine around her face. And he realised right then and there just how beautiful she was, he had always known that she was pretty, but looking at her then, she looked almost angelic, with a ghost of a smile over her lips as she slept. Ron bounding down the stairs wondering where he was had ruined the moment, but he never forgot how she looked, lying there.

He knew then he couldn't do anything about the way he was feeling. Aside from Ron, there was Ginny. They hadn't gotten back together after the end of his sixth year, but she hadn't moved onto another guy, so Harry didn't want to do anything till she had moved on. And the reasons he had broken it off with Ginny still stood, Hermione was in enough danger as it was, he didn't want to put an even bigger target on her head, later. He also decided after much thought, that he would let Ron have a chance, it sounds silly, but even when he is feeling envious and even jealous of Ron, he is still happy that he is happy. Not happy with whom he is with, just happy that his friend is happy. If he was with someone else, he'd been even more pleased for him.

He gave Ron twelve months after the Final Battle, a year. To get his act together, and figure out what he wanted, if he even wanted to be with her. After nearly eleven months Harry was starting to get excited, he still hadn't made any indication that he wanted to be with her, only four more weeks, and then he would have made his move. Although Ron couldn't possible have known how Harry was thinking, he waited until he had a week left on his 'deadline', and he asked Hermione out on a date.

Harry didn't want to be around while they were all lovey-dovey in the first phases of their relationship, so the morning after the date, he went away for a few weeks. He left a note on the kitchen table at Grimmauld Place early in the morning, saying that he was going on a break, and that he would be back soon.

Going away was the best and the worst decision he made. He didn't have to see Ron be all loving and attentive to her, but then everywhere he looked he saw happy couples, reminding him of the fact that he was alone, and the one he wanted was currently with his best friend.

Returning home was hard, he knew he had to go back to his responsibilities. When Hermione spotted him as he entered, she gave him a big hug, and welcomed him home. And how those two little words had stung, this was home, but the arms enveloping him weren't supposed to be around him. He may have been mistaken, but Ron seemed very possessive of her. When she sat down on the couch to hear him talk about his holiday, there had been a vacant spot on the two-seater next to her, which he went to sit in, but Ron zoomed in and stole it away from him. Of course that was completely natural for Ron to do that, she was his girlfriend now, so he would be the one to sit next to her.

Over time, the pain dulled a little, it still stung, but he was used to it by now. He was often asked when he was going to get a girlfriend, but they didn't realise he didn't want a girlfriend. He eased the ache with the many faceless brunettes he picked up in Muggle pubs, but nothing took it away completely.

And this feeling right now was the worst, standing right in front of him was a beaming Ron, with his arm around Hermione who had a small smile on her lips, and a strange look in her eyes.

"Congratulations," he choked out.

"Thanks mate," Ron said, "You will be me best man of course, if you want."

"Sure," he answered, taking a deep breath, "I'd love to," looking down at Hermione, she still was looking at him oddly, the smile was still in place, but the eyes weren't matching.

"I'll be right back," Ron said, breaking Harry's stare with Hermione, "I have to Floo the folks, I'll be just a moment."

Hermione nodded, and they watched Ron bound from the room towards the kitchen.

Hermione turned back to him, and Harry noticed that those beautiful eyes of hers were starting to cloud over, "Hey," he said quietly, "What's wrong?"

"I'm sorry," she sobbed, throwing her arms around his waist, and burrowed her head into his chest, "I'm so sorry."

"Why?" Harry asked, "You haven't done anything wrong."

"I had to say yes," she sobbed, "I didn't want to hurt either of you, but I had to…"

"Wait Hermione," Harry said, "You didn't have to say anything, and why would you hurt us, hurt me?"

Hermione broke away, turning back and wiping her eyes, while Harry run it through his mind, "You knew? All this time, you knew?"

"I suspected," she said brokenly, "I waited and waited, but you never did anything about it, so I just thought I was mistaken, so I moved on…"

"Shit…" Harry swore under his breath, turning and walking to the window, "So when Ron asked…"

"I was done waiting, I needed something, and I didn't think you were ever going to give it to me."

"One more week," Harry whispered, "Just one more week."

"What are you…" Hermione began.

"Hey," Ron said, "Why you crying?" He asked as he walked back into the room.

"Just happy," Hermione answered.

"Excuse me," Harry said, and he all but ran from the room, and upstairs to his bedroom. Shutting the door behind him quietly, and falling back against it, "Stupid, stupid idiot." He muttered as he banged his head against the door. He sank to the floor as he chest started heaving as he tried to hold the sobs in, he couldn't believe he had been so stupid.

One bloody week...seven days.