A/N: Ummm... At 2 AM this morning I seemed to think this was absolutely HILARIOUS. Going back and rereading it now, I realize that at 2 AM, I'm just insane. :P
Hope it makes you giggle as much as it made ME giggle, but I suppose it only will if you're reading it at 2 AM like when I wrote it. Everything is funnier at 2 AM, have you noticed? It's true, I swear. This isn't ACTUALLY funny... it's actually quite angsty, but it was apparently hilarious at 2 AM. O.o
"Ron, pass the marmalade," Harry snapped. He was in a very bad mood indeed. He had awoken half an hour ago with his head at the foot of his bed, while his feet had somehow found themselves upon his pillow. He had a headache after terror-inducing dreams of Voldemort killing him, and did not appreciate it when Ron didn't answer him. "Ron," he said again, "pass the marmalade."
Ron still ignored him. Looking up, Harry found Ron goggling strangely at Hermione, who had her nose in a book at the very opposite end of the table. Harry had an idea of what this was all about, but he didn't want to be wrong, so instead he merely tapped Ron on the shoulder. "Ron," he asked loudly. "What's up?" His friend looked at him at last. Harry saw for the first time that Ron was looking very drawn and pale now, his red hair sticking to his rather sweaty face.
"Sorry, Harry, I just…" As Hermione turned the page of her book, and tucked a strand of very curly hair behind her ear, Ron gulped and went pink, unable to speak any more.
Harry rolled his eyes. "Has this got something to do with Hermione?" he asked in an undertone, frustrated. His head was throbbing miserably now, and he was not fancying the idea of listening to Ron and Hermione bicker again, if that was where this was heading. Harry had known for a while now that, though Ron had never admitted it, he had very strong feelings for Hermione. It seemed that for the first time, as Harry watched Ron's jaw go slack, staring at her, that Ron was realizing these things as well. Perhaps that had been why Ron's snores had not driven him to sleep the night before: Ron had probably been awake all night, thinking about her. The deep bags beneath Ron's eyes gave clear evidence of this, and Harry, not in the mood to give too much encouragement—still unsure about how he would feel if his two best friends were to get into a relationship—decided to let Ron deal with it on his own.
"What…?" Ron turned his head to look at Harry. His blue eyes were shining, and he looked absolutely terrified as his ears turned a deep shade of magenta. "How did you…?" he whispered anxiously, but Harry cut him off.
"It's obvious," he said shortly. "Pass the marmalade."
Ron reached across the table and handed Harry the marmalade. As Harry began to spread it on his toast, Ron mumbled to himself. "What was that?" Harry asked. "What are you mumbling about?"
Ron only shook his head, looking green. Harry shrugged, and went back to his toast, but Ron did not stop his muttering.
"Honestly," Harry told him, exasperated. "If you're going to mumble to yourself, don't. Talk to me." He took a bite of his prepared piece of toast, and looked expectantly at Ron, who said nothing, staring at him.
Several times, Ron opened his mouth to speak, seemed to change his mind, and closed it again. At long last, he opened his jaws wide, took a deep breath, and finally spoke: "Well, Harry," he said nervously. "It is about Hermione."
"Big surprise," Harry said sarcastically. "Why is it such a big deal, then? You've had fights with her before…"
"No, no, no! You don't understand! It's not…" Ron ran shaking fingers through his hair, biting his lip. "…we haven't fought, or anything like that," he said breathlessly. "It's just… well…" He took a moment to bite at the corner of his thumbnail and look at the ceiling in terror, before continuing in a very fast whisper, all in one breath, "you see, I kinda really like Hermione, y'know, and if I want to… then… yeah, I've just got to grit my teeth and do it, yeah?" He was panting as though he had just run a mile, and Harry couldn't understand it. What was Ron talking about? Grit his teeth and do what? Was he talking about asking her out, or something?
"So…" Harry asked, trying to make sense of Ron's disjointed mutterings, "you're thinking of asking her out?"
Ron shook his head, looking sick. "No, no, y'see… well…" he took another deep breath. "You see, we kinda… told each other that we, y'know… loved each other…"
Harry choked on his recent bite of toast. Coughing, he spluttered, "You… what? When on earth was this?"
"The night you and Dumbledore went out looking for that fake horcrux, actually: it was just before we gathered together the DA to patrol the halls, and just before Snape… well… y'know."
Harry was in shock. It had taken Ron over half a year to tell him this? How come neither he nor Hermione had said anything to him about their recently confessed love? Harry was their best friend! How could they just forget to tell him something that important?
"Yeah," Ron continued hurriedly, "so anyway, we told each other that, and then, well… after Dumbledore…" he scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "Well, after that, we decided not to do anything with it, or bring it up again, because of everything that's been going on. We thought it might be a bit of a burden on you…"
"A burden?" Harry asked, incredulously. "How would it be a burden? I think it's great!" Indeed, Harry's heart felt suddenly lifted. He was elated from the state of misery he had just been in, and was grateful for it. He smiled genuinely at Ron as it dawned on him that a romance between his two friends was exactly what he could have asked for. It was beautiful, it was necessary, and it was also… brave, in Harry's opinion, to be in love in times of war like these.
His heart panged as Ginny's face swam into his head, but he pushed it out of the way to see Ron looking relieved that Harry was pleased. "Yeah, well…" Ron said, still looking awkward and shrugging.
"So," Harry asked him, pressing him further for more information, "what is it you're gritting your teeth to do? Kiss her, finally, or something?" He winked at Ron, grinning widely, ignoring the tiny images in the back of his head that were making him rather ill: they involved Ron, Hermione and a dark room, and Harry was not quite ready to think of his two friends as that active just yet.
"No, actually…" Ron said thoughtfully, tapping his bottom lip in deep wonder, his brow furrowed. "No…"
"I think," said Ron, straightening up, "that I'm just gonna do it, okay? I've just got to get myself together and do it, right?"
"Uh…" said Harry. He didn't know what it was, but still wanted to encourage his friend all the same. "Right," he said nervously, not sure what the consequences of his agreement would be.
Ron nodded once, as though to finalize it. "Good," he said. "I'll do it."
And so, without warning, Ron stood, walked to the place where Hermione sat, still dissolved in the pages of her heavy tome, and took a seat near her, a couple of chairs away. Harry watched with bated breath as Ron's ears went purple again. He didn't know what his best friend was about to do, but hoped Ron at least had the guts to do it, whatever it was.
"Hermione?" Ron tried tentatively, with what seemed a great effort.
She looked up at him, her eyes squinted from having been staring at the tiny writing in her book. "What is it, Ron?" she asked. Harry noticed, for the first time, that her eyes seemed soft as she looked at Ron, and he saw the corners of her lips twitch as Ron scratched his scalp, evidently terrified.
"Uh…" Ron paused, swallowed, shook his head, and began again with a deep breath, saying each word carefully and slowly so as to not slur them at all. "Actually, Hermione, I wanted to ask you something. It's going to sound very weird, I know, but…"
"What, Ron?" Hermione asked impatiently, looking away from him to fold down the corner of her page, and put the book down. Harry watched her look up at Ron again, leaning back in her chair, glaring at him with her eyebrows raised suspiciously, and he found himself in great awe of his best friend for not having run away already, out of fear. Hermione was a very intimidating person, Harry knew, so being in love with her must be nerve-wracking.
"Hermione, I think we should get married," Ron said plainly.
"What?" Harry gasped loudly from where he sat. Of all the things he had been expecting, this was not it. He stared in confusion at his friends. Was Ron out of his bloody mind?
Hermione, however, seemed to have simply gone blank. Her face was devoid of any expression he recognized on her, though her eyebrows were creased slightly, as though she were thinking. Indeed, had Harry known Legilimency, he was sure his headache would have returned in attempting to weed through Hermione's complicated thought process. She seemed to be thoroughly contemplating this, as though it were not an unexpected question, or as if it were a simple math equation.
After a very long time, Hermione shrugged, said, "Okay then," and picked up her book again. The only difference in her appearance from before this much unexpected pronouncement had been made was that now her book was upside down, her face a deep shade of red, and her mouth twisting, trying desperately not to smile.
"Okay?" Ron questioned, as though hardly believing it. Harry himself was feeling light-headed, and could hardly even begin understand what Ron or Hermione must be thinking. He didn't quite comprehend what had just happened, and already felt his headache coming back to him, slicing through the back of his skull, as Hermione nodded, blushing still harder, and Ron grinned foolishly, saying, "Okay then… great!" He stood, and made his way back over to Harry, who knew he must look shocked.
Ron was grinning from ear to ear. "Well," he said to Harry, looking suddenly extremely confident and elated, "That was quite a good breakfast, wasn't it? I think I'm gonna go have a fly on my Cleansweep… See you later, Harry!" And at that, he left, leaving Harry alone and stunned in his seat.
On any other occasion, Harry might have gone to then join Hermione so he would not be alone, but Hermione was currently giggling at her upside down book, her eyes clenched tight, her bottom lip turning white as she bit it so hard, and her knees were bouncing up and down as her toes tapped fast-paced on the floor, clearly giddy to the point of revulsion. It was a state of Hermione that Harry had never seen before, and, still shocked, he didn't really care when she suddenly stood, knocking her chair backwards, giggled some more, and waked off, running her fingers uncharacteristically through her tangled hair.
"I think… I'm going to go back to sleep," he told his unfinished plate of toast. It didn't answer, not to his surprise. He was so shocked by the sudden engagement of his friends that he was becoming slightly delirious, and found his way back to bed with difficulty, tripping over his own feet, still confused.
Harry fell asleep again with surprising ease, despite the fact that it was ten in the morning, and found himself suddenly dreaming of a sickeningly giggly Hermione dressed in all white, offering her arm to Ron, who was dressed in a blinding neon orange muggle suit. The two of them were walking down the isle. Harry was following them. He was Hermione's maid of honor, and Ginny was Ron's best man, though he knew these were odd choices for the couple to make. He was a man, not a maid, he told himself furiously, while Ginny sniggered at him from behind her hands as Dean Thomas danced wildly against her. Though she was ignoring him, Harry felt a spasm of jealousy and leapt forward at them, and when he awoke, sweating, an hour later, he found himself quite alone in his bed.
His headache had only gotten worse, and when Ron entered, looking curiously at him as he pretended to still be asleep, he wondered why everyone's love life was doing so well, and his was crap.
He decided it had something to do with the fact that he was the Chosen One, but still, he was jealous of Ron's and Hermione's bravery, as well as Tonks' and Lupin's. Stabs of guilt made him whimper, drawing his covers up to his chin as he thought again of Ginny.
"Harry, I know you're awake," came Ron's voice.
Harry's eyes snapped open, but he didn't say anything, letting Ron speak to him.
"You don't have to get up again, but I just want you to know that… I'm very happy. You'll be happy too, once you get used to it. You will be, I know it, once you get over the initial shock and then… maybe you can get over yourself and get back together with my bloody sister, so you can both be happy again." He left.
How was it, Harry wondered, that everyone seemed to know what was best for him but him?
Pummeling his pillow, he turned over, and lay there the entire day, wallowing in his very muddled thoughts and letting rather terrifying images of Ron and Hermione doing unspeakable things wash over him, and make him mope even more.