A/N: This is for all my fellow Harmony shippers. With Book 7 only days away, part of me is still holding out the hope that JKR will pull a fast one on us, but until that happens the rest of me can only hope she'll include a scene similar to this.
"To Ron and Hermione."
Harry knew he hadn't heard these distinct words, but he imagined they had been spoken, or something to their effect, judging by the congratulatory cheers suddenly exploding from the ground floor of Grimmauld Place. He imagined the happy couple's shining faces, every glass in the room raised in celebration of their newfound romance. Ron and Hermione's unexpected engagement had come as a surprise, but a surprise that was extremely well received. By most.
For Harry it was different. He was happy for his friends, of course, but there was also the uncertainty of what their relationship would mean for him. There was no way things could stay the same. Ron and Hermione would be spending much more time together, that was certain, but did that mean they would be spending less time with him? Perhaps they would suddenly find his company infinitely less appealing in comparison to each other. Perhaps they would decide that accompanying him on his search for Voldemort's Horcruxes posed too great a risk to their future. Or perhaps, worst of all, they would forget him completely, too lost in each other to care about anyone else.
Harry's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of two approaching pairs of feet, followed by the clicking of the doorknob and the entrance of Ron and Hermione themselves. They were joined lightly at the hand, their fingers brushing as they walked, and they were laughing. Harry realized now that he had never noticed what beautiful people his two best friends were.
Ron, the brother Harry had never had, Ron was handsome and proud. His broad shoulders sat atop a tall frame; he was lanky and his nose rather long, but in a pleasant way. The freckles dotting his face were nothing short of charming, and his warm smile was enough to melt the coldest of hearts. He carried a self-assurance now that Harry had never seen before. Forever walking in Harry's shadow, Ron had never had the smoothest stride, but it was clear now that he had found a way to step into the light, thanks to the girl at his side.
Hermione. The female leg of their trio, Hermione was brilliant and beautiful. Her golden curls fell softly around her shoulders, her smile lighting up every inch of her pretty face. Harry sometimes felt that the answers to life were hidden in her intelligent eyes. She moved with grace, unhindered by the mountain of tomes that usually accompanied her wherever she went. She was positively glowing with happiness, and Harry thought she had never looked so lovely.
Harry watched as they entered the room together. Once inside, Ron closed the door behind him and leaned back against it, his gentle grip on Hermione's hand stopping her in her tracks. She turned to face him. Their laughter faded into silence. He drew her closer and she did not resist, her brown eyes staring up at him. He was going to kiss her. Her free hand had found the front of his sweater, and he was already leaning in. Harry could not let his mouth reach its destination.
He shifted on the bed, making sure the mattress creaked loudly enough to interrupt them, but quietly enough to disguise the fact that interrupting them had been his main objective. He had expected them to erupt into a flurry of motion and sound, hastening to apologize and recover from the embarrassing incident that would have been, but instead they simply turned and looked at him, seeing him for the first time since they came in. A slight brush of red appeared across Ron's face, but Hermione's smile only widened. Nothing was spoiling her happiness today, least of all the presence of her best friend.
"Harry," she said brightly, as she and Ron moved away from the door. They were still holding hands, apparently unwilling to relinquish that small contact. "We were wondering where you'd gone. Ron's mum just sent us up here to find that old photo album of us at school."
"It's over there," Harry told her, nodding towards a table in the back corner of the room. Ron quickly darted over and grabbed it before returning to Hermione's side, and a heavy silence descended on the three of them. Ron was still looking uncomfortable about what had happened by the door, Hermione was studying Harry critically, and Harry couldn't find a single thing to say to either of them. He was a horrible person. He couldn't even muster a "congratulations" for his best friends at their engagement party.
Finally, Hermione spoke. "Ron, why don't you go back downstairs," she said, whispering close to his ear. "I'll be down in a minute." Ron agreed somewhat grudgingly, reluctant to leave Hermione but glad of an opportunity to escape the atmosphere that was growing more and more uncomfortable. He muttered a quick "see you, mate" to Harry and left.
Hermione crossed to Harry's bed and sat down beside him, the mattress dipping slightly under her weight. She looked at him for a moment, clearly finding the silence far less bothersome than Ron had. Harry felt her eyes on him, but could not bring himself to meet them.
"So, how are you?" she finally asked. Harry found her question odd and wondered what she was doing, but he answered anyway.
"Okay," he lied, wishing he had allowed a little less apathy to leak into his voice. Hermione seemed to accept this reply, however, and did not pursue the subject when he failed to elaborate. They sat in silence.
"Did you see Fred and George's new upgraded fireworks downstairs?" Hermione tried again. "They're really good. Fred told me they developed them especially for the occasion." Harry had only stayed downstairs long enough to have a butterbeer and a quick chat with Lupin before retreating to his bedroom, so this topic didn't carry them very far. Harry glanced at Hermione quickly, feeling bad about his complete and total lack of things to say, before returning his gaze to the floor.
"I'm sorry we just sort of sprang all this on you," Hermione admitted suddenly, finally seeming to edge closer to what she had originally meant to say. "We wanted to tell you first, Harry, we really did, but Ron thought that his parents also deserved to know before anyone else, and then that made me think about my parents, and in the end we just decided it would be best to tell everyone at the same time."
Harry nodded, remembering the shock he had received three nights ago when Ron and Hermione stood up and announced their engagement to the entire Order of the Phoenix. They were grinning like idiots as Hermione revealed her ring-adorned left hand, which she had kept carefully hidden under the table throughout the meeting. Members of the Order had showered them with congratulations. Everyone had been waiting for this to happen. Remus smiled proudly at his former students, his arm draped around a beaming Tonks, and Mr. Weasley gazed joyfully at his son and future daughter with a hint of moisture in his eyes. Fred and George gave whooping cries of triumph, forsaking a chance to tease their little brother for once in their lives. Ginny let out a girlish squeal and smiled as widely as Ron and Hermione themselves. Mrs. Weasley was in absolute hysterics. She had burst into tears of happiness and embraced them both fiercely, before almost immediately beginning to organize her plans for the party that was currently in full swing several floors below Harry and Hermione's feet.
Harry suddenly heard a quiet sniffling sound and looked up to see that Hermione was crying. Hadn't she been grinning madly just moments ago? Holding Ron's hand and preparing to kiss him? Harry stared dumbly at her for a moment. He always hated seeing Hermione cry, and at this moment he was particularly ill-equipped to handle it.
"I know why you're up here, Harry," she interrupted, looking at him with her red-rimmed eyes and tears streaming down her face. "And to tell you the truth, I feel the same way. I don't want things to change between us."
"Then why are you with Ron?" The moment he said it he wished he could take it back. It sounded far too accusatory, like she and Ron were together for the sole purpose of hurting Harry.
"Because we couldn't keep lying to each other anymore," she answered easily, like she had been prepared for him to react this way. "We couldn't keep lying to ourselves. There's too much at stake now to let stupid things get in the way." She paused and looked at Harry. "We're in love," she whispered, with such emotion in her teary eyes that Harry suddenly understood. Sometimes things really were that simple.
"I'm so sorry, Harry," she continued, her tears coming anew. "I know what this is doing to you. I hate that you're unhappy, and if I could have it both ways I would, but I can't. This was the last thing Ron and I wanted when we got engaged." Her sincerity made Harry realize how utterly stupid he was being about this whole thing.
He shushed her gently and embraced her, holding her close enough to feel her body shaking with the intensity of her emotions. She let out a desperate sob into his shoulder, her hands curling in his jacket, and he combed his fingers through her hair and spoke soothingly in her ear. "Hermione," he said, "you have nothing to be sorry for. I've been stupid these past few days, and you said yourself that you can't let stupid things get in the way." She managed a small laugh, muffled in his clothes. "It's not up to me what you and Ron do with your lives. If you're in love, then nothing I do or feel should stop you from being together. Besides, you two are my best friends. If I can't be happy for you, then I don't deserve to know you."
Hermione was silent for a long time, her face pressed into Harry's shoulder as she waited for her tears to subside. Harry waited with her, stroking her hair patiently. He allowed his hand to slide down and rest comfortably in the small of her back when she finally took a deep breath and shifted her head to talk more easily. She exhaled a long, slow sigh.
"Harry," she said, tugging one of his arms down from around her and lacing her fingers together with his. "I want you to know something, and I may never get another chance to tell you, so remember what I'm about to say. You're my best friend, Harry. You were the first real friend I ever had, and I couldn't have asked for a better one. I can't even begin to thank you for everything you've given me. I love you more than you know, and no matter what happens between me and Ron, I will never stop loving you." She lifted her head and met his gaze, her eyes reinforcing her words. "My relationship with Ron is going to change things, but it will never change the fact that you are my best friend."
Harry gave her a little smile and wiped a drying tear from her cheek. There were no words to follow what she had said. He felt infinitely reassured, and she laid her head back down on his shoulder and they sat together in silence, taking comfort in each other's closeness.
Ron found them there nearly a quarter of an hour later. He joined his fiancée and best friend on the bed, and together the three of them laughed and reminisced, forgetting the boisterous crowd waiting downstairs to congratulate the future Mr. and Mrs. Ron Weasley, forgetting the trials that awaited them in the months to come, forgetting everything but each other, and a special love that nothing would ever change.