Epilogue: A New Ending
The crisp winter wind blew Harry's bright orange robes around his legs as he strode towards Ron.
"Show-off," Ron said.
Harry shifted his broom from his right to his left hand. He placed his free hand on Ron's bicep and squeezed. "Who? Me?" he replied, smirking.
"Three minutes and forty-two seconds," Ron said proudly. "It's your first game and you break the league record for catching the Snitch. Yeah - you - show-off."
"Nah." Harry nodded at a team-mate, who patted him on the back on his way to the changing rooms. "I just don't want to be late."
"Late? We've got four bloody hours before –"
Harry leaned in and rested his hand on Ron's lower back. "I think we can find something to do with the spare time," he whispered in Ron's ear.
Ron shivered at both the light breath that grazed his ear and at the suggestion of what was to come.
"Four hours? You've got a lot of faith in my stamina."
A few more Cannons approached Harry, slapping him on the back and shaking his hand. Harry grinned, looking happier than Ron had seen him – at least while fully clothed – in ages.
"Well, I know how hungry you get right after," Harry said when his Quidditch mates had wandered away. "I reckoned on a long lunch after a few hours of shagging."
"Considerate, you are," Ron said. "Breaking a league record to ensure that my appetite has been satisfied."
Harry waggled his eyebrows. "Both appetites."
"Tease. You still have to –" Ron never finished his sentence. Harry had griped his arm tighter and he swirled through blackness until they landed in their newly refurbished bedroom that was a combination of what had been a few weeks ago their individual bedrooms.
An hour later, they both lay on their sides, facing one another and grinning like idiots. Harry tangled their legs together and took Ron's arm, placing it over his waist. They stayed there silent, except for their heavy breathing; Ron felt beads of sweat dripping down the side of his face.
Past Harry's shoulder, Ron looked at the pictures on the table next to their bed. The picture of Harry and Ron at the Quidditch World Cup sat next to the picture of Harry and Ron from Thanksgiving in America. Many times, Ron had caught Harry staring at the picture and each time Harry would ask to see a scene or two from that period of his life. Little by little Ron had shared his memories, except for the purely intimate times that they'd shared. Harry had insisted that he didn't want to see them having sex or their first kiss.
Ron closed his eyes and a moment later a loud snore startled him. Harry laughed and Ron realized that it had been his own snore that woke him.
"We've got plenty of time," Harry said, "if you want to sleep for a bit."
"No," Ron said, brushing the fringe away from Harry's eyes.
Ron grinned. "Yeah."
"Hermione left us stew and fresh bread."
"Awfully sweet girl that Hermione."
"I reckon she felt guilty that she was missing my first game."
Ron rolled his eyes. "But you told her that it was okay. She had to be at the conference," Ron made quotation marks with his fingers, "in Venice first thing this morning."
"Do you think she'll move there with Giovanni?"
"Dunno," Harry said. "She's mentioned moving out. I told her she didn't have to."
"She thinks she's going to walk in and catch us shagging in the kitchen."
Harry raised his eyebrows. "Can you blame her? She did catch you giving me a blowjob in the sitting room."
"She told us she was working late!"
Harry chuckled and gave Ron a kiss filled with serious intent. "Speaking of moving," he said as he extracted himself from their brand new extra-large bed. "Fancy a shower?"
Feeling a renewed vigour, Ron jumped up and followed Harry into the bathroom.
"Do you think they're late?" Ron asked, easily looking over the heads of the people in front of them.
"The Arrivals board said their plane –"
"There they are!" Ron interrupted and let go of Harry's had to wave frantically until Jim spotted him and waved back.
"Ronnie!" Shawn called out, waving both his arms in the air. "Harry!"
Ron looked at Harry, who looked nervous, but curious. Ron squeezed Harry's hand gently. "You all right?"
"Remember Shawn knows that you don't remember, but he's a bit –" Ron didn't have a chance to finish because Shawn had lunged at him, hugging him around his chest.
"Ronnie, I've missed you!"
Ron pulled his arm out from between them and put it around Shawn, patting him on the back. "I missed you too," he answered, honestly.
When Shawn let go, Ron got a good look at the light blue t-shirt he was wearing. It had 'sex kitten' written across the chest in silver letters. Harry was looking at it as well and smiling, clearly amused.
"Hi ya, Harry," Shawn said cheerfully. "Jim told me that you don't remember me, but we were best friends, I can assure you."
"I thought I was your best friend," Ron said, faking a pout.
"You're my best best friend, Ronnie!"
Jim approached and stood behind Shawn. "Hi, Ron," he said and offered his hand. "It's good to see you," Ron said, taking Jim's hand and shaking it fondly.
"Hi, Jim," Harry said, speaking for the first time. Jim greeted Harry and shook his hand as well.
Ron noted that Harry looked pale. He reached out for him and held his forearm firmly. The weeks after Ron had informed Harry of his relationship with Jim had been rough. Understandably, Harry had felt exposed and violated and it had taken days before he would open up and talk to Ron about it. Ron's memories of their friends from New Hope, all of which he'd accompanied Harry into, had helped immensely. Jim's caring for Harry had been obvious and when Jim had contacted them to tell Ron that they'd found and arrested Jake, Harry had asked to talk to Jim to thank him. They had struck up a conversation and Harry even shared the information about his change in career. He didn't explain Quidditch during that phone call, but when Jim had rung them a few weeks later, Harry had answered and went into great detail about the game.
"We've got a surprise for you, Ronnie!" Shawn said, looking around. "Where's…?"
"Right here," Jim said, rolling his eyes, and holding up a small green crate. "She came back a few days after you left," he explained to Ron.
Ron squinted and looked inside the crate. A ball of orange fur moved. "Ginger!" She lifted her head lazily and looked at him. She appeared dazed and when she opened her mouth only a small mew came out. "What's wrong with her?"
"Nothing," Jim said, handing the crate to Ron. "We had to drug her for the plane ride. She'll be fine. It's okay, right? That we brought her to you."
"It's more than okay!" Ron said excitedly. "But is it just a visit or can she stay?"
"She's yours," Jim said, smiling. "Michael sold the house and moved to Boston."
Harry leaned down and looked into the crate. "Hello, Ginger."
He stood up and Shawn pointed at Harry's sweatshirt. "The Chudley Cannons – what's that?"
Ron opened his mouth to save Harry, but Harry answered confidently. "Rugby team."
Shawn's eyes-widened. "Rugby? There's a gay rugby league back home. Not my thing – getting dirty and all, but the players are hot!" He said it all very fast, took a breath, and then began talking before anyone else could. "Is that what happened to your memory? You got tackled too hard or something and hit your head."
Harry laughed, but Jim looked horrified. "Shawn," he hissed. "You promised not to –"
"It's okay," Harry said, grabbing the handle of a pink suitcase that Ron assumed was Shawn's. "Might as well get it out of the way now."
"Good ol' sensible, Harry," Shawn said and linked his arm with Harry. Ron watched for signs that it was too much for Harry, but Harry was smiling and seemed to be growing more comfortable. "Don't get jealous," Shawn said to Jim and stood on tip-toes to kiss him, much to Ron's surprise, right on the lips.
Shawn twirled Harry around, took a smaller suitcase that matched the one in Harry's hand, and they began to walk through the terminal towards the outside doors, the pink suitcases trailing behind them.
"You sneak," Ron said, elbowing Jim in the arm. "You and Shawn?"
A blush broke out on Jim's cheeks. "Yeah."
"When did that happen?"
"Right after you left. I… I thought about some things and what you said at Shawn's house about anyone would be lucky to have him. I was… well, he's over-the-top as you know and I worried about what other people would…"
"S'kay. I get it." Ron smiled "I'm happy for you."
"Yeah." Jim reached for his bag at the same time as Ron, but he waved Ron off and threw it over his shoulder. "Looks like you and Harry are getting along okay too."
"Brilliant, actually." Ron saw Shawn and Harry standing by the door. Shawn's hands gestured wildly along with the story he was telling. Harry was nodding for Shawn and smiling at Ron as he approached. "You didn't tell Shawn about the magic stuff – did you?"
Jim shook his head. "Never. I love him, but –"
"You love him?" Ron said, dragging out the word love and batting his eyelashes.
The blush still lingering on Jim's cheeks darkened. He tried to keep his face stern, but it was hard to hide the smile that was trying to creep through. "Shut up. As I was saying, Shawn's got a big mouth. He can't keep a secret to save his life."
"Come on," Shawn yelled out anxiously and as soon as Ron and Jim were close, he grabbed both their wrists and yanked them forward. "Where are we going first? They've rented hotel rooms in Central London for us to stay at and Harry said we can take the Tube there. The Tube – isn't that cool, Jim? I want to see everything we only have a few days and –"
"Take a deep breath, Shawn," Jim said. Shawn beamed at Jim as he inhaled and exhaled loudly. Ron thought their differences would be good for the other.
"Neither of you have ever been to London?" Harry asked.
"Nope," they said together.
"We've got a lot to show you then," Harry said and reached for Ron's hand.
They made their way through the crowd. Shawn kept stopping to take pictures and Jim had to drag him by the arm several times to keep him moving. Harry led them into the crowded Tube station and handed them all tickets he had brought days ago. They chatted and joked as they waited for their train. Ron watched Harry sneak looks at Jim and by the time they entered the train, he was relieved when Harry and him were separated from Jim and Shawn in the crowd of people.
Harry looked at Jim past Ron's shoulder and then at Ron. He smiled up at Ron, and Ron smiled back despite the jealously flaring up inside of him.
"I don't know what I saw in him," Harry said. "You're much better looking."
"Nah. Really?" Ron turned to look at Jim and caught Jim and Shawn exchanging a chaste kiss. "He's a fit bloke."
Harry shrugged. "Maybe, but he's got nothing on you." He slid his hand up the silver pole and covered Ron's that was holding on to it. "I thought maybe when I saw him…" He shook his head and got that faraway look in his eyes.
"You thought you'd remember?"
"You haven't remembered anything else. Or have you?"
"No, not exactly."
"What does 'not exactly' mean?"
"I don't remember here," Harry said, pointing to his head. Then he pointed to his heart. "But I remember it here."
"It's why I don't want to see some of your memories. Like our first kiss. You told me about it and when I think about it and try to envision it, I feel…" Ron put his hand against Harry's chest. "Yeah, right there. I remember right there."