Harry plunged drunkenly through the surface of the Pensieve and plummeted into the Room of Requirement.

It was during the Battle of Hogwarts, he realized from the shouting, and the explosions elsewhere in the castle that made the hammocks and hangings tremble. Slowly, through the haze of alcohol, he decided that there had been a mistake- Hedwig had been killed months before. He'd been sure the label on the small green bottle had born her name, in Ron's idiosyncratic scrawling capital letters; though the firewhisky had made them blur more than slightly.

In a moment of reckless, inebriated nostalgia Harry had wanted to see what memory of his lost owl Ron had thought worth bottling. The party could miss him for a while. After all, the party hadn't really noticed when, somewhat uncomfortable around so many people, he'd left the living room to go wandering aimlessly through his house.

Except for Ron of course, who had lifted his head and caught Harry's eye as he slipped out of the door. But Ron almost didn't count because they always had those moments, their eyes meeting every moment they met or parted to assure each other that still nothing was amiss, that no-one they loved or cared about was being held prisoner, crucio'd, stalked, threatened, killed, or about to have to sacrifice themselves for The Greater Good.

It took some getting used to, being The Boy Who Just Kept On Living.

"Are you sure you want to live here?" Mrs. Weasley had asked kindly, when Harry had returned to Grimmauld Place with her, Ron, Hermione, and George.

"Sirius wanted me to have this house," Harry had replied simply. He'd felt the warmth of Ron's gaze on the back of his head for a moment before his friend continued, as though for him, "And it's a wicked place, really. Now Hermione's put that Superior Silencing Charm on Mrs. Black, anyway." Harry turned to see Ron and Hermione exchange a smile, and they all glanced at the portrait. Mrs. Black had continued to resist all attempts at removal, but since realizing that she looked rather ridiculous shouting when she couldn't be heard, had taken to merely glaring at everyone icily.

Harry had moved into Sirius' room, of course. Ron had initially wanted Regulus' room, for no other reason than "Our doors will be facing each other, it'll be well good." He'd backtracked after one night, though, claiming that he "couldn't stop thinking about stuff"; the other two had accepted this without comment. Regulus's room became used for storage, and Ron moved into the room on the floor below that Hermione hadn't wanted.

In the darker corners of his psyche, Harry had wondered if the maneuver hadn't simply been an elaborate ploy to give Ron easy access to Hermione's room without looking as though he'd abandoned his position as Best Mate Extraordinaire. Something in him roiled and burned at that thought, wanted to deny it and the complex, contradictory feelings that rose in its wake.

But in the light he saw them relate to each other only as good friends; sometimes he caught them exchanging glances that seemed to have meaning he couldn't discern, but if those had been glances of love and/or lust, he would have known- and Ron would have told him. Ron had told him everything that happened with Lavender Brown. True, he'd made it sound like he was reporting on an experiment that he was taking part in, one which he wasn't really sure of but was nevertheless attempting to be enthusiastic about; but report on it he had.

Harry had been left privately hoping that his experiences (assuming that he would have some, at an unconfirmed future date) would be very different from Ron's descriptions. He'd been expecting to be interested, even vicariously aroused, by his friend's escapades. Instead he'd been faintly disgusted by most of it.

The parts where Ron talked about how he'd felt- that had been okay. That had been fine, actually. And the first time Ron had whispered, with an awed giggle, in the dark cave made by the curtains of Harry's bed: "I was so turned on!" oh, Harry had felt his cock jump and all the hairs on the back of his neck prickle upright.

That was years ago, now, and it still makes me tingle a bit, Harry mused distractedly as he tried to get his bearings. The door of the Room suddenly burst open, and Harry jumped backwards out of the way before remembering that he was in one of Ron's memories, and fell over in a heap before remembering that he was also still quite drunk.

That explains the lack of terror, Harry thought. He felt quite detached from the experience of watching Ron, Hermione and himself have a conversation with Ginny, Tonks and Mrs. Longbottom, whom he hadn't even noticed at the other end of the Room. Ron and Hermione were clutching armfuls of large, curved, dirty yellow objects, and Ron's broomstick was wedged awkwardly under one elbow.

I suppose, he thought as he pushed himself determinedly upright, having been convinced I was going to die through the whole thing for real, I can't quite manage it again for a memory. What I really want is a bacon sandwich. There goes Mrs. Longbottom, off to help Neville. There goes Tonks, off to- Don't think about that.

Why the bloody hell did Ron bottle this memory?

He watched as Ginny left too, wandering if he'd ever really felt as intensely for her as he'd told himself he did. It was hard to know, so long after. The firewhisky wasn't helping there either. He turned his attention back to Hermione and Ron, who had been saying something about house-elves, just as two armfuls of basilisk fangs and a broomstick clattered to the floor and-

Merlin's fucking pants, what are they doing?

Harry fought back heaving nausea at the sight of Hermione probing Ron's tonsils with her tongue.

I don't remember this happening!

"Is this the moment?" Harry heard his past self asking weakly. It looked like they were both fighting back heaving nausea, actually. Hermione gripped Ron more tightly and they swayed on the spot. Harry swayed in sympathy as he watched the stunned look on what he could see of his best friend's face, then crumpled to his knees as his past self yelled "OI! There's a war going on here!" in a voice filled with hurt and confusion.

There bloody well is now, thought Harry from the floor. Hermione can't have him. Why didn't I realize that before?

Why don't I remember this?