If you have any questions about the story or you just want to discuss something in it e-mail me. I'm always eager to hear what people think. Beta-ed by the AMAZING ColoraturaDesdemona, who was kind enough to invite me to my first archive at skyehawke (pending...). I hope you enjoy this!

Warning: boy on boy fornication...proceed at your own risk

It's not fair, Ron thinks hopelessly, snug in his private corner of the Gryffindor common room on a night that's exactly like all the rest. He tells himself he's not pouting, but the mirror just above the fireplace claims otherwise in a voice too shrill to ignore. So, maybe he is pouting, but he's entitled to it, isn't he?

It's not fair that he has to watch his best friend have everything handed over to him when Ron has nothing that didn't belong to someone else first. First Seeker, then Quidditch captain--watching Harry get the girl and the House points and the admiration of the school (though their peers are fickle friends at best). And Harry always gets the spells down right after Hermione, even though it takes days, even weeks, for Ron to get the hang of Professor Flitwick's assignments.

Ron gets lost in the shuffle all the time; at home, at school, on the Quidditch field. He's hardly a shining beacon of accomplishment, and it's no one's fault but his own.

It's less fair that Harry has a best friend that is such a complete arse, he adds bitterly in his head as the mirror across the room yawns ostentatiously. He ignores it and turns to the window on his left. He's propped up on a window ledge wide enough to hold two people side by side if they were small and friendly with one another, and he's gladly stretched his too long legs out to invade the length of the sill.

After all, Ron's the one with the family, right? His mother and father are alive and love him as much as two people with seven children can manage. Ron gets to avoid the nosey and unpredictable moods of his classmates and rarely has to watch his back for anything more than Malfoy's pitiful taunting (which is nothing when compared to living with five older brothers). He doesn't have to worry about a horde of murderers trying to kill him everyday. No one sees him. It's something Harry wants desperately. Harry doesn't like the fame nearly as much as he wants his freedom.

And truly, Ron doesn't begrudge Harry the good things in his life; they hardly balance out the horrors. Understanding the balance and accepting it are two different things though and Ron has never been good at avoiding jealousy.

When he was younger, Ron would get so irate about playing sidekick all the time that he blamed Harry. He'd argued with him, picking fights and accusing him of taking advantage of his fame, as if Harry had planned out his awful past and current reputation simply to make Ron look bad. He'd been young and didn't know how to cope with a world that thought so highly of material things and so little of good character. Now that he's grown up a bit, he knows where to direct his hatred.

Still, he lacks a role in their group, and not for the first time, Ron wonders why they put up with him. He learned at the beginning of his life, when he'd realized money could by allies faster than a smile, not to question friendship or motive. He doesn't believe in tempting fate. So, Ron does what he can, watching his friends grow and lending whatever support he can afford. He tries to focus on the idea that the little things can mean just as much as the big; that bringing Hermione and Harry tea during research sessions is helpful, if not blindingly brave or heroic. He always tries to pick up the room so that Harry won't have to worry about it, and he keeps up morale by being someone to laugh at (or with), always willing to be the shield between his friends and the world.

Sometimes though, it gets harder to be indifferent, especially when Fred and George just push him about being a prefect or tease him about joining the family Quidditch tradition. He doesn't understand why they can't let him be proud of that, even when those accomplishments are as hand-me-down as everything else he owns is.

He stares out over the deep blackness that lies prophetically over the grounds below, even casting out the white glare of snow. He wishes he could press his memories against the cold glass and leave them there, frozen eternally against their icy, smooth surface. He imagines the look of some future Hermione-type reading about "thought windows" in Hogwarts, A History. He imagines some innocent child, about a thousand years from now, accidentally stumbling onto his etched in thoughts and dying of fright, as if the things that run through his head could kill with the basilisk precision that almost got Ginny his second year. The things he's seen and done shouldn't be seen or done by any person—let alone a child. Keeping his thoughts to himself seems the best course of action, even in his fantasy world.

He unconsciously raises one hand, presses it to the windowpane, and blinks in disappointment. The glass is room temperature, not icy. Charmed to keep heat in the already drafty tower (and of course it is, they'd learned those charms months ago). It's more than a little jarring. The glass looks too clear and sharp to be so warm, and his fingers and palm expect a shock that doesn't come.

He lets his hand drop back to his lap and wiggles his bum on the stone ledge. He's been sitting still for too long and his legs are numb, but he doesn't want to leave his post yet. He's waiting for Harry.

He sits, leaning against his window for almost half an hour more before Harry enters the common room alone. What he's been doing and who he's been with are questions Ron stopped asking years ago. Harry is mysteriously busy, always out to save the world from itself and always the last to ask for help, especially as the degree of danger escalates. Almost like he fancies himself expendable.

Harry looks up at Ron, stepping through the portrait and letting the door swing closed behind him. Things have been strained between them for a while, but neither knows how to fix it. They aren't supposed to be at odds. They're Harry and Ron, just like Harry's father had been with the Marauders. They are inseparable.

So why then, Ron wonders, has it been so hard to be around his best friend?

"Hullo," Harry says tentatively into the silence, and Ron clenches his jaw. Harry never does things tentatively, ever the bold Gryffindor.

"Hey, Harry. How have you been?" It's a legitimate question—after all, they haven't seen each other almost all week, save for breakfasts, which were sufficiently uncomfortable that even Hermione had fled her post as mediator, claiming to have homework to finish or books to pick up. The two boys would finish their breakfast in silence, then head to class, each taking a different route. It was stupid, Ron knew, but until he could figure out a solution, he wasn't going to press the issue. Merlin knew he'd pushed Harry far enough lately. If there was tension between them, it was only due to his frequent outbursts of anger.

"Er... fine, I think. I mean... er. Yes, fine. And you?" It was almost painful to see Harry, normally self-assured, tripping over his words.

"Good. Great."

Harry fidgets with the tattered edge of an area rug at least a century out of date and avoids looking Ron in the eyes. Ron watches like he always does. It's part of his best friend duty, right? To watch, observe and fix. Like a curious sort of doctor, or the role of a sympathetic ear, even though it's hard to be sympathetic when all of his dreams are flaunted in front of him every time they speak. Harry: Quidditch captain, school champion, poster boy for the "war to end all wars" as the Daily Prophet papers had begun calling it, apparently stolen from a Muggle name for another war. How could he honestly compare to that? How could he even trail behind and expect scraps to fall from Harry's gloriously rich feast of a life? He isn't even fit to be trailing Malfoy around these days, with the way his attitude has been. No wonder Harry is acting so timid. He probably thinks Ron is pissed about something he'd done. Little does he know.

How does a person go about telling their best friend that they can't bear to be around them? How can Ron tell Harry he isn't really jealous and avoid admitting the reasons behind his odd behavior? How can he explain that all of his snapping commands and bitter, snide remarks are just because he's tired of sharing?

It's something he figured out months ago, during the summer, actually. With time to think on such things and some distance between them, he'd felt secure enough to probe into once hidden thoughts. What he'd mistaken as simple jealous rivalry was more complicated and far less welcome. Ron wasn't jealous of Harry, he was jealous of the rest of the wizarding world, who so obviously believed they owned Harry's life. Rita Skeeter had started it with her grasping, insidious lies, and the rest of the community followed her footsteps with a vengeance. Everyone thought they knew Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. Harry was, after all, a celebrity and, therefore, public property. Ron just hadn't thought about it when they'd first become friends, too naïve to understand he'd have to share his Harry with the world.

It can be argued, under the same guiding principles, that he should be jealous of Hermione as well, but he's never minded sharing Harry with her, or, for that matter, her with Harry. They are a team, perfectly carved out pieces of a puzzle, even if Ron isn't ready to admit to a unique over-eager fondness for Harry that he doesn't have for Hermione. Well... some things can wait until next summer. For now, he is content to know that he has the companionship of the two most wonderful people he's ever known. Or at least, he had been content at first. But then the world kept trying to steal Harry away, and suddenly he was like a little child having his favorite toy taken away.

He feels abandoned sometimes, especially recently. By Harry, who drifted further away with each new tragedy. By Hermione, who had done nothing about it but watch with a sad look in the back of her eyes as protest. By the other students who thought they had any say in Harry's life and seemed to go to great lengths to interfere.

It is a futile anger at best and not one easily explained, so he keeps it as quiet as his control will allow. Keeps it pent up in his chest until, at certain times and without much provocation, it spills out in the form of ugly, hateful words.

He's almost alienated Hermione by now. He'd lost the once easy friendship of Dean and Seamus a while back. Even gentle, forgiving Neville and dreamy, unconcerned Luna avoid his abuse. Once Ron realized what he was doing, he'd taken to separating himself from them all. Now, only Harry remains at all hopeful. Only Harry dares intrude into Ron's ever expanding personal bubble. Ron tries to mind, tries work up a protest each time Harry extends the white flag, but he can't. After all these years, he can't say no.

Ron wonders, not casually, if tonight will be another one of those nights where Harry tries to understand, or if this is the night Harry finally gives up and leaves Ron to his sulking? He knows he deserves it—he's been pushing Harry towards this decision for months—but he can't will himself to want it.

Ron's attention is wrenched from his musings by a slight cough from his right where Harry now stands, watching him patiently. He'd crossed the room sometime during Ron's silent contemplation.

Harry always looks patient with him, and Ron wants to know why he of all people deserves that kind of indulgence when there are so many amazing people constantly throwing themselves at Harry. Anyone else with his behavior would have been met with looks of annoyance and, eventually, anger if they'd been aggravating Harry the way Ron had. Ron looks back, his only reply a casual blink. And then, he waits.

Harry seems to sense an oncoming battle of wills, and spreads his feet apart slightly, as if readying a battle stance.

"You can tell me anything, you know."

Ron, who had expected more silence, can only blink.

Could he? It's ridiculous to believe the inviting honesty plastered all over Harry's eager, puppy dog expression, especially when he's already made up his mind not to. But, stronger people have crumbled from that look, including Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Sirius, who are the kind of people not easily dissolved by false pretense. Harry doesn't have a fake or pretentious bone in his body. Still...

"Not this, mate. There are some things best left alone," he replies, quite against his will. His role is to play the silent partner until Harry gives up and loses his temper, not give Harry a point to argue. He isn't supposed to respond with a voice so tired and disillusioned that it seems to break something in him as it breaks something in Harry.

"But...I thought...we're best friends, aren't we? I tell you..." Harry stops himself on the lie, because they both know he doesn't always tell the whole truth, even to his best friend. Ron nods. Harry grimaces but doesn't leave and, suddenly, Ron wants to know what else Harry might say. It's the worst kind of selfish, but he wants to know how much Harry will fight to keep him. He wants to know what he's worth.

The two of them take in the view together, silence a new, if not welcome, guest. Just as Ron thinks this is how the night will end, Harry speaks and Ron is hard pressed not to listen. Everyone listens when Harry speaks, even if they don't hear what he says.

"Sometimes I wish I could just etch my thoughts into the walls and leave them for someone else to deal with." And it's not irony that Harry's words echo his so completely. They both know what thoughts Harry would like to forget. Ron grunts and doesn't move except to shift his right leg a bit more towards the window, and coincidentally, away from Harry. Harry steps forward and his belly presses against the stone inches from Ron's thigh. It's the closest they've been in three weeks. The first time Ron has allowed it. The familiarity breaks his resolve like taking a mallet to a bowl of jelly and he feels a wash of almost panic. What is his plan now? What will Harry say and what will Ron do to deflect the temptation of honesty?

"I don't know what I've done, Ron." It's a simple statement on the surface.

"It isn't you."

"Oh. Okay."

"Yes," Ron sighs, and he's full of regret. How could he ever doubt Harry? Even when he doubts their friendship, their almost instinctual bond, and himself, how could he doubt Harry? Hasn't Harry shown himself time and time again to be the one person in the world most deserving of trust? So how can Ron doubt Harry's loyalty and impatience for affection when it's written all over his face like a promise? After all, who else can give Harry what his dead parents and distant godfather can't?

When Harry backs away, Ron wants to protest almost immediately, but Harry catches the leg of his trousers in a loose fist and tugs, not trying to pull Ron anywhere in particular, just holding on.

Ron stands anyway, stretches and waits for the agonizing shots of pain through his legs to subside before leading Harry towards the stairs to the boys' dormitory. It's late and they should sleep, even though it's the holidays and they don't have classes. Harry never sleeps enough and it's something (finally) Ron can fix.

Harry's footsteps are louder than his as they ascend, and have always been. Ron, who grew up in a full house, knows better than most how to mask his movements. He knows how to laugh silently, and how to cry without sobbing. He knows how to sneak to the kitchen at home without letting the floorboards creek and how to wank without waking his brothers. Harry has never had those opportunities and it's a comfort of sorts to know the golden boy missed out on something fundamental. Never mind that he's been making up for lost time. His footsteps are now nearly as silent as Ron's after five years of practice.

They reach their room and it's no surprise they're alone. It's two days before Christmas and the others have already left. Dean is in Bermuda, visiting an aunt and Seamus is with him, having decided to take a vacation from vacationing with his family. Neville is with his grandma again and in two days he will go to see his parents as he always does. It's another thing to be grateful to avoid and he makes sure to wallow in guilt like a proper martyr.

At any rate, the room is too still without the noise of their friends to keep it alive and Ron thinks it's all too much like a tomb. He goes to the window and throws it open despite the flakes of snow falling to the ground below and wetting the water-stained window ledge. Harry won't complain and Ron needs the fresh air to breathe.

They change into their pajamas and say their goodnights, and all is silent, like the pause between breaths stretched eternally through the space between their beds. Ron falls asleep and dreams of flying.

Waking up in the tower is no longer a new experience. It's not unusual, even, to wake suddenly in the middle of the night to suspicious, obvious silence. After all, they are boys and have certain physical needs to attend to. But tonight, the purposeful stillness seems strange and Ron knows he's being watched.

He looks over to Harry's bed, and the glint of moonlight reflects off twin circles of glass. Harry is watching him but it's too dark to tell why, so he says "Harry?' with a desperation he hardly recognizes in his voice.

"Are we as damaged as I think?" is all that Harry asks and then rolls out of his bed to join Ron in his sleep-mussed pile. This, too, is not unusual; once Harry'd had a taste of friendly affection, he'd realized touch was the perfect form of comfort after a long, tiring round of nightmares. Since first year, Harry always found excuses to touch and be touched. He'd also learned quickly enough that Ron wouldn't say no.

Harry's question is disturbingly vague, but Ron does his best to answer.

"No more than the rest, I suppose. We've just seen more. Lost more." Like our childhood and our friends, he doesn't say. The night gives him the privilege and courage to forget why he's been so angry lately.

Harry lies down on the pillow next to Ron and exhales softly. His left hand lands idly bent against Ron's naked ribs and their underwear-clad hips brush together as he shifts to get comfortable. He sighs again.

"I'm tired of being sad all the time. I'm tired of fighting for approval and of being chased." Ron knows all this but it's different to hear the words. He "hm"s a reply and Harry's hand twitches on his side, which clenches in response.

"But I'm not tired of this yet," he continues, sounding more sure of himself, like his own words are working to convince himself as well. It's a peace offering if Ron's ever heard one. Harry's watching him sternly now, a less threatening version of McGonagall's usual look, and his breath washes over Ron's face. It feels comforting. Good. Normal.

"If you died, I'd miss you most of all." He says it so much like a pledge that it's almost possible to hear his heart breaking, as he so obviously remembers the deaths he's already suffered. His parents. Cedric. Sirius, who may not be dead, but is so far away.

It's dark, so Harry doesn't notice the sudden glassy-eyed stare that gentles Ron's face, for which Ron is grateful, because, really, he hates embarrassing himself in front of Harry most of all.

"You'd never let me die," Ron replies unsteadily. Harry swallows loudly and shakes his head so enthusiastically that the bed quivers and bits of dust fleck down from the top of the canopy.

"There are things I'd like to tell you, but I don't know how."

Ron silently agrees. He hopes the kiss isn't too out of line.

Ron's never kissed anyone before, but more importantly, he's never kissed Harry before. He doesn't know if he should be hesitant or bold. Soft or hard. Where to put his lips. Should he try to cover Harry's mouth or just his lower lip? He doesn't know if he should be doing this at all, except that Harry doesn't seem to mind and if Harry's okay, then so is he.

Harry's lips are chapped from playing Quidditch in the snow earlier and cold from the open window. The inside edges of them are slicked with saliva, which is also unexpectedly chilly, but he shouldn't be surprised because Harry's been breathing through them.

Harry's breath tastes like sleepy boy, which is to say, not exactly good, but they'd both brushed their teeth earlier, so it's easy to ignore. He hadn't expected Harry to taste sweet anyway.

Ron doesn't try anything fancy; doesn't try to stick his tongue in Harry's open mouth; doesn't twirl it or use his teeth. He feels awkward enough without fucking up a simple kiss as well.

He wonders if Harry will get bored if they kiss like this for much longer and the thought worries him enough that he pulls away. He doesn't want Harry to be bored with him.

Ron pushes himself up on his knees then sits back on his heels, surveying the damage done. Harry might not have had the heart to push him away and it seems all too likely Ron missed the mark again. Maybe this kind of physical affection is more than Harry could want from him.

Both of their lips are puffy red, and Ron can feel his pulse racing through his. It's hard to tell what Harry's thinking.

He hasn't moved since Ron started kissing him, except to tense slightly and push his arms down into Ron's bedding. He isn't shivering with lust, or crying out with orgasmic bliss. On the plus side, he's also not yelling or beating the shit out of him, so Ron takes a moment to enjoy the swollen stain of Harry's mouth and the slight flare of his nostrils.

Harry's chest rises rhythmically, only slightly faster than usual and he looks up at Ron through the shield of darkness, probably trying to figure out how their conversation had lead to Ron putting the moves on him. Ron wishes he could explain.

Harry opens his mouth and Ron is captivated.

"Did you mean that?" Harry asks blankly, something guarded in his voice. Ron abruptly realizes he doesn't know what conversation he's in.

In what world could that kiss have been interpreted as anything other than enthusiastic boy groping?

"Of course," Ron responds matter-of-factly then thinks of all the people who would use Harry for their own gain. He thinks he understands Harry's caution. After all, he'd had no reason to expect the kiss. It's one thing to bump shoulders and lay on the same bed, but quite another to lock lips. Implications.

"Since when?"

"For a while."

"So the past few months? Were they..."

"No. Not because of you...or. Well. Not because of anything you've done. And not because of this."

Ron puts two shaking fingers against Harry's spit slicked lips and presses briefly feeling for the moan he wants to taste before drawing them away again, listening to Harry's hitching sigh. He feels a little embarrassed about how much he wants to just keep touching those lips; Harry's skin. He knows he's not acting like himself—he's not supposed to be the sure one, the serious one, the one with intention—but Harry is one of the few people he can be serious in front of. The one person that doesn't mind Ron's pensive side and isn't surprised.

"You're still not going to tell me why you've been so upset."

It's not a question and Ron doesn't bother to reply.

Harry sighs dejectedly then takes off his glasses and sets them on the floor. When he rolls onto his back again, Ron can't resist tumbling forward and pressing their lips together. This time it's more like what he'd expected and just as terrifying, even though he knows for a fact that Harry isn't any more experienced.

He's leaning over Harry's stomach, one arm on either side of Harry's ribcage, still keeping most of their bodies from touching. The only contact is his left forearm where it's digging into Harry's torso and their mouths moving slickly.

Ron thinks wistfully of daydreams and wet dreams where this had been considerably sexier and a hell of a lot less awkward, but Harry's mouth is enthusiastic against his own and his tongue keeps darting out like he's trying to lick something from his lower lip.

Ron shudders and opens his mouth experimentally.

Harry pauses, then sticks his tongue out a bit further, slipping it between Ron's parted lips and pressing the tip behind Ron's front teeth. The feeling isn't mind numbingly blissful, but it's new and exciting. He licks the underside of Harry's tongue, which is creeping steadily down the ridge on the roof of his mouth, and flicks against smooth veins and the smoother, thin membrane of tissue at the base. Harry's tongue pulls back, startled, but quickly resumes advancing until both are rubbing deliciously together. It is kind of blissful.

Ron's elbows are shaking.

Ron sighs when Harry wraps his hand tightly around his left elbow to steady him. His arm is still crushed against Harry's ribs in a way he's positive must be painful. Harry's making quiet noises into his mouth that sound anything but pained.

Harry rubs his thumb in the hollow of Ron's elbow, eliciting a startled grunt and full-bodied shudder, then pushes hard against the joint. Ron's left elbow gives out and suddenly half his weight is pressed sideways across Harry's body and his arm is no longer crushing any bones. He folds his other elbow to keep his unsupported side propped up and doesn't stop kissing.

Every time he breathes inwards through his nose, he gasps in a bit of exhaled air, which is warm and moist and inviting. Ron kisses the corner of Harry's mouth sloppily then impulsively begins downward, common sense abandoned in favor of lustier pursuits. Harry has a fascinating neck.

Ron lets his teeth graze tentatively over the thin skin of Harry's throat. It feels like a bite that changed its mind, and what's worse, it makes Harry shift awkwardly uncomfortable beneath him. Ron stops but doesn't dare look at Harry's face.

The steps of foreplay he'd read from Bill's books, hidden under the floorboard in his closet, are proving less than useful. He wants to cause a reaction. He wants to watch Harry's pulse jump, make his hips twitch upwards, enjoy the flex of his abdomen, but Harry remains silent and mostly still, save for the audible grind of his jaw and kiss-quickened breathing.

Ron begins to pull away, trying to think of an apology. He'd moved to quickly. Should have stuck with kissing and not gone for the vampire approach, which he's sure most people wouldn't enjoy. Probably. Or, he thinks miserably, maybe it's just his technique.

He's moved back all of four centimeters when Harry's hand slides itself around his neck and pulls his mouth back down, letting out a choked sound that could be Ron's name. When Ron's surprise makes him bite down less than gently, Harry yelps softly and his hips jerk up, dislodging Ron a few more inches onto the bed. Harry's pulse leaps under his tongue and Ron's follows a second behind. Yes, he thinks. Yes!

He knows there's no going back after this; not when Harry apparently wants this too.

He mouths at the bite mark for several moments, gathering his courage, then leans away, ignoring the way Harry's hand tightens threateningly on the back of his neck before releasing him. Ron puts as much distance between them as he can given the limited area of his bed and watches Harry's face.

Harry blinks myopically back at him.

In his dreams, he'd never imagined Harry without his glasses, but it lends an air of vulnerability to Harry that he doesn't normally display, and Harry had willingly removed them. Ron swallows pitifully. There's a small but growing damp spot on the crotch of Harry's y-fronts and he wonders dreamily when Harry had gotten hard.

"I can...er. I mean...I could. That is...do you want me to..." Ron stutters, already reaching his hand towards the almost transparent cotton of Harry's pants with jealous regard. Harry nods jerkily and pushes himself up to rest against the headboard.

At the first hesitant touch of Ron's long fingers, Harry's knees fan out wantonly, though he is obviously too preoccupied with watching the proceedings to notice. Ron's fingers curl with anticipation. It makes his short nails scrape against the length of Harry's prick and Harry jerks, sliding spinelessly down the headboard a few inches.

"Ron," he gasps out.

He's fisting the rumpled sheets rhythmically.

It's odd, Ron decides, touching another boy like this. Backwards from what it would be if it were his cock. He feels like he should be in a better position to make this good, but he can't take his eyes of the flex and twitch of Harry's thighs and abs.

He can feel the easy slide of foreskin catching against Harry's pants and they moan together when he starts stroking tentatively. His mouth waters.

"What does it feel like?" He hates himself the minute the words come out of his mouth—he knows it's a stupid question. It feels good, you idiot, he expects Harry to say. Harry doesn't say anything for bit though, and the room is filled with their panting and the sound of his calluses catching and scraping on the cotton he hasn't had the guts to remove yet. Ron knows he should probably try doing something different with his hand; he should take of Harry's pants at least. Harry doesn't complain.

"It feels...oh! I can't. Can't. Fuck...don't stop. Just."

Ron has to kiss him now because he can count on one hand the number of times he's heard Harry swear and most of them were during life threatening situations, but now Harry's speechless and cursing and it's all because Ron's palming his sticky erection through thin fabric like an inexperienced moron. Ron groans and shoves his tongue further into Harry's mouth. He feels like he could do anything and Harry would just beg for more.

Their kisses are messier now; Harry's tongue more active in his mouth and Ron can't resist rubbing his own erection against the bed, pumping his hips restlessly. The friction is unbelievable. He's going to come just from rubbing on his sheets like he used to when he first discovered his prick could get hard. He's not embarrassed enough to stop, especially when one of Harry's hands slips down to the base of his spine in encouragement. His pants are damp and the only lube is his own precome and the slip of his foreskin but it'll be enough to get him off if he doesn't stop soon.

Ron licks his lips and catches Harry's too.

Harry twists his hips adamantly, desperately against Ron's palm, moving faster each time. His face is flushed and slightly damp. His arms are flexing, head thrown back, and his stomach clenches without notice. He looks edible, lick-able. Unbearably shag-able. Ron thinks he's developing a mild oral fixation. He sucks on Harry's tongue and suddenly Harry's ripping his hand away and shoving hard against Ron's shoulders. Ron falls back against the sheets without resistance, empty palm aching, and heart thumping with confusion. He wants to keep sucking Harry's tongue. He can't help the way his hips keep twitching up against nothing.

"What...Harry?" But Harry's already folded himself up onto his knees and begun scrambling up the length of Ron's body, looking too hungry for it to have been a surprise.

"Let me..." His hands clutch gracelessly at Ron's pants and slide beneath the fabric, then tugging them under Ron's bollocks.

Harry rubs the thumb of his other hand in the hollow of Ron's hip, sliding in the sheen of sweat there and tickling through the curly auburn hairs. They catch in Harry's short nails, which scratch absently, making him squirm. Harry is still preoccupied with Ron's cock. He's fingering the spongy tip and smearing the droplets of precome under the foreskin. Ron jerks and grabs for any part of Harry he can reach, ending up with one hand on Harry's bicep and the other on the inside of Harry's thigh which trembles under his sweaty palm.

Soon they are jerking each other off. Mutual masturbation, Ron remembers hazily, still thinking of Bill's old books. Harry feels so hot against him, desperate to be closer, glassy-eyed concentration warping his handsome face. Nothing has ever felt this good, this right, this normal. He feels like Harry is his for the first time in nearly five years and he doesn't have to worry about sharing anymore. Harry is fixated on him and Ron's never felt more possessed. He may have started this encounter, but Harry took control of it. Harry wants it.

"Ah...ahh...hnnn." is all that Ron can say. Harry doesn't say anything with his mouth, but his palm slides faster, pushing Ron's prick into his stomach and Ron knows he's getting close by the way Harry's panting washes harshly against the skin of his cheek. They are tangled up together and each thrust, poorly timed, throws them off rhythm. It hardly matters.

Ron tightens his fist around Harry through the cotton y-fronts he still hasn't ripped off and feels a violent jerk, then throb. The cotton gets hotter and slicker. Harry's just come. Harry's just come in his pants and all over Ron's palm. Harry just fucked his hand.

Ron whimpers and thrusts so high off the bed that he pushes a stunned, shuddering Harry off to the side, and then he's coming and it's too late to miss the press of Harry's palm. Too late to apologize for lacking manners and for not riding out Harry's orgasm before falling into his own.

Flushing, he rolls as quickly as he can onto Harry's twitching thighs and licks a few splatters from Harry's chest before placing his mouth wickedly on the waning, cotton covered hard-on. Harry yelps and squirms when Ron tongues him through the y-fronts and finally has to push Ron's head away. He's probably sensitive after just coming, but Ron can't stop himself from licking one more time. He pulls off and eases onto his back, settling against Harry's side. He'll probably be embarrassed at his own audacity later, but for now, his mouth tingles and his lips haven't lost the feeling of Harry's softening cock jumping against his tongue.

He runs his tongue over his teeth and relishes the taste of Harry in his mouth, the smell of him in his nose. He's glad they'd ended up doing this on his bed and vows not to change the sheets for at least a couple nights.

"Ron." Harry pants out.

"Harry." Ron grins.

"You're a git." Harry's hand is resting against his ribs again, but this time his knuckles graze delicate patterns against the skin and Ron's too sated to react with anything more than a satisfied grunt.

"Only sometimes," Ron denies without feeling. He really is a git. He could have had this a long time ago, judging by how easy Harry had been "convinced" to participate. He'd only ever imagined himself doing the touching, with Harry allowing it out of pity. He'd never dared think Harry would touch him back or that he'd need it nearly as much as Ron.

"Yeah. Only sometimes," Harry acquiesces. "How long have you wanted this?"

"Too long. I...I should have said something."

"It would have saved us a lot of arguing I guess, but I have a feeling you weren't just being an ass because you wanted to jerk me off."

Ron chuckles and shakes his head but realizes Harry can't see him in the dark and without his glasses. He sighs, knowing he's going to confess and dreading how pathetic it's going to sound.

"No, not just because of that, though I have to admit, it made it harder to avoid you."

"You don't have to avoid me, Ron. I can take the truth and Hermione misses you. We were worried."

"Yeah, well, she split quickly enough once I went off my rocker, didn't she?"

Harry shifts next to him and Ron can tell he's annoyed.

"She thought it was her fault," Harry admonishes. "If you'd just tell us when something's wrong instead of biting our heads off, you wouldn't have to avoid us."

"Are you sure you want to know, Harry? It isn't very flattering to either of us and you're not going to understand." He inches his body away from Harry so that they aren't touching anymore, already anticipating what Harry's reaction will be, but Harry doesn't let him go far before rolling to cover Ron's body with his own. Harry is heavier with built-up muscle and holds him down easily; not that Ron struggles much. Harry's staring at his face and it's the longest they've made eye contact in weeks. It's the first time tonight.

"I said I did." Harry won't beg him.

"I was jealous." Ron says finally after deliberating on the best way to get it out into the open. As quickly as possible, he decides.

"That much I guessed, though Hermione thought for sure you were upset because she's been necking Dean in the Astronomy tower."

Ron barks out a laugh. "Hardly."

Harry smirks sharply. "I told her as much. So. What were you jealous of?"

Ron groans bitterly and closes his eyes against Harry's gentle honesty. It's too much to see after all the hurtful things he's said recently.

"The world."

"That's a pretty big group there, Ron. You sure you can't narrow it down any?" Ron opens his eyes again, brows furrowing with irritation. This was not the afterglow he'd imagined. He pushes Harry off of him and sits up with his knees pulled to his chest, looking off into the dark of their room, somewhere in the direction of Neville's bed.

"I was upset."

"Obviously."

"No! I've been upset. About you. About how people treat you. How they think they can act like your friend just because they read the Daily Prophet. Everyone thinks they know you, but they haven't got a clue!" He's already flushed from their earlier exertion, but he can feel his face darken and the red spreads down his chest. He must look like a startled tomato. His red hair is hanging in damp clumps over his forehead. He must be quite the catch.

"I...Ron. I. I can't help it," Harry stammers, begging Ron to understand. It's always been a sore point between them and Ron thinks guiltily of how he'd treated Harry before the first Tri-Wizard Tournament task their fourth year. He doesn't ever want to repeat those days of separation, though he knows he got close to it this time. It's time he pulled his head out of his arse.

"I know you can't. The same way I can't help but be jealous. I just don't want to share my best friend with the general populous, and after that fantastic hand job, I don't think I'll be changing my mind." It's nice to hear Harry laugh and the jiggling of the mattress feels soothing. It's like before, when he hadn't been so angry. Now that he can think again, he realizes the anger had vanished somewhere between their first kiss and his orgasm. It's a heady relief.

"You know that friendship has to go both ways, right? Just because they all act like my friends, doesn't mean I feel the same. It bothers me too. I don't like feeling like I have to spread my loyalty. I'd rather just concentrate on the important people. Like Hermione. Like you." Earnest words from the most trustworthy boy on the planet are more than enough to convince Ron. It's time to redeem this sap fest though, because even at his most pensive, talking about his feelings makes him want to squirm in the not good way.

"Yeah, but Hermione doesn't give you blowjobs."

"Not that you know of," Harry points out helpfully.

Harry laughs at the stricken look on Ron's face and earns a solid punch to the nearest thigh.

Harry's grin tastes as good as it looks.

Ron doesn't know how Harry figured it all out or what brought them here of all places, sweaty and sated on Ron's bed, but he won't think about it too hard. Ron knows that he won't get lost in the shuffle anymore. At least not with the people who count.