Harry felt dead, both physically and emotionally. He collapsed onto the couch in his flat and rubbed his temples feebly. Auror training was kicking him in the arse, and he hadn't had any genuine fun in weeks. Living with Ron wasn't as easy as he had hoped – Ron was doing Auror training, too, but all of his free time was spent at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes with George, with the effect that Ron was infinitely grumpier, grouchier, and more tired than Harry. They had been fighting a lot, recently, and spending a lot of time apart from each other. Harry couldn't deny that he was looking forward to Hermione's Christmas break from Hogwarts. Maybe she could help to take the edge off Ron. There had been sexual frustration building in the small flat ever since Hermione left for the fall term of her seventh year. Harry and Ron had decided not to bother finishing their education, as the Ministry was willing to take them on for Auror training without the usually prerequisite N.E.W.T.S. They had, after all, spent a year hunting down and destroying Voldemort's Horcruxes, among other things.

Ron stepped through a whoosh of green flames in the dirty fireplace and plopped down next to Harry on the couch.

"You're back early," Harry noted.

Ron blinked. "It's midnight."

Harry looked around. "What? Shit. I must have fallen asleep. I don't even remember waking up. That's not good, is it?"

"Probably not." Ron stretched and yawned.

"How's George doing?"

"Good. He had a date tonight, actually."

"He had a date at midnight?"

"No, we closed at ten. I had to stay and clean everything by myself. Count the money. Restock for tomorrow. Fuck Christmas shopping."

"Sorry, mate. Ten's still pretty late for a date, though, isn't it?"


Harry sighed and tried to keep the conversation going without setting off Ron's temper. "George never really dated before, did he?"

Ron shrugged awkwardly. "I don't know. Not really, I guess."

"Who's the lucky girl? Do we know her?"

Ron ignored the question and stood up. "Want a butterbeer?"

"Sure." Harry watched Ron carefully as he went and pulled out two bottles from a kitchen cupboard. He accepted the drink and waited for Ron to sit back down, but Ron was showing no desire to move from his spot next to the coffee table. "Care to join me on the couch? We could turn on the Wireless."

"No, I just…" Ron trailed off and took a long swig of butterbeer. "Fuck, I'm exhausted," he muttered, running a hand over his face.

"You should get some sleep. We have to be back at the Ministry in," Harry checked his watch, "less than six hours."

"Bloody six o'clock training," Ron growled and downed the rest of his bottle. "It'll be nice to have a few days off for Christmas next week. George is closing the shop and everything. Proper holiday."

"And Hermione's coming this weekend," Harry reminded him, cheerfully.

"And Hermione's coming this weekend," Ron repeated, miserably. "I'm off to bed."

Before Harry could react to Ron's bizarre depression at the thought of seeing his girlfriend for the first time in months, Ron was at the door to his bedroom.

"Night," Harry mumbled, tipping his head back and gulping down butterbeer as Ron disappeared into his room.

The next day, when Harry left the ministry after twelve hours of what was essentially football practice, he followed Ron to Diagon Alley. He treated himself to an ice cream sundae and ate it while reading that morning's newspaper. When he was finished, he bought two more sundaes and headed further down the street. He opened the door to George's shop with his hip and held out the ice creams, grinning.

"Misters Weasley! I have brought you a snack."

Everyone in the store, which was quite a lot of people, turned around to look at Harry. George came pushing through the crowd, laughing.

"Hey, Harry. Thanks mate," he said, taking one of the sundaes. "You didn't have to do this. Come in. Ron's in the storage cupboard."

"Alright, I'll go give him this before it melts." Harry weaved his way through the army of customers until he reached a door behind the cash registers that had a "STAFF ONLY" sign hanging on it. He opened it and found Ron skulking in a corner, glaring down at a piece of parchment.

"Hey, mate." Harry stepped into the small closet. "I brought you some ice cream."

Ron looked up. "It's December."

"Y-yes," Harry frowned a bit. "I didn't really think about that. It's been… we're in this warm spell… if you don't want it–"

"Thanks," Ron said, shortly, reaching out and taking the bowl from Harry.

Harry put his hands in his pockets and leaned back against the door. "So… what are you reading?"

"Letter from Hermione."

"Oh, yeah? How is she? Did she say what time she's coming on Saturday?"

"She's coming on Friday night."

"Oh, good." Harry studied Ron's face. "Is… something wrong between you and Hermione?"

"No," Ron said, as through it were a ridiculous notion.

"Okay," Harry opened the door again. "I'm going to talk to George for a bit." Ignoring Ron's feeble protest, Harry emerged from the storage closet and shut the door behind him. "What the fuck is wrong with him?" he demanded of George, who was observing the crowd in his shop from behind the cash registers.

"Funny," George turned around, "I was going to ask you. You don't know what's stuck up his arse?"

"No idea." Harry sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Anyway, how are you?"

"Making a shit-ton of galleons, little man."

Harry looked around the store. "That's certainly true. Ron tells me you had a date last night, as well."

George smiled to himself. "That's certainly true," he echoed.

"So," Harry elbowed George in the ribs, "tell me all about her."

George smiled politely and stepped out of reach. "Er… Ron didn't tell you?"

"No. In fact, he ignored when I asked who she was."

"Yeah." George eyes Harry carefully for a moment. "Well, it's not a bird."

Harry blinked. "So… it's a bee, then?"


Harry frowned a bit. "What exactly are we… oh. Oh. Shit, George, I'm sorry!"

George laughed. "Sorry? What are you sorry for?"

"For assuming it was a girl. That was… rude and inconsiderate, yeah? I'm sorry."

"It's alright, mate. Really. Stop quoting Hermione at me. You had no way of knowing. Though I don't know why Ron wouldn't have told you."

"Me either. So," Harry moved closer and started elbowing George again, "who is he?"

George grinned and scooted away again. "Guess."

Harry raised an eyebrow. "Guess? Is it supposed to be obvious, then?"

"Frankly… yes. We've been together for nearly four years."

"Four years?!" Harry's mouth dropped open. "How in the bloody hell have I not known about this before now?"

"Well, actually, we only started telling people about a year ago. So, don't feel too bad. You've certainly had other things to occupy your time and attention. Though, I have to say, Harry, I thought that George Weasley's Love Life would hold a higher spot on your list of things to ponder. I mean, come on. I'm a man of many mysteries."

"Apparently," Harry muttered, still shocked. "Wait. Why were you on a date with him if you've been together for four years?"

George snorted. "It's romantic, Harry. You have a lot to learn, mate. And that's coming from a poof."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah. So, seriously, who is he? He went to Hogwarts?"


"And I know him?"


"I give up."

"It's bloody Lee," Ron spat, springing out from the closet behind them.

Harry stumbled backwards a bit as the door slammed against his arm. George grabbed his robes and set him upright.

"Thanks," Harry muttered, rubbing his shoulder. He looked between the two brothers standing before him, unsure what to do. Ron was looking furious, while George was looking both confused and a bit frightened. "So," Harry began, weakly, "you're… with Lee?"

"Yeah," George muttered, watching Ron stomp off into one of the clusters of customers. "I'd better go stop him before he eats someone."

Harry followed George, though did not stop and kept walking towards the door. Once back out in Diagon Alley, he wandered up and down the street for a few minutes before deciding to walk the long way home.

The next two days passed slowly, and Harry saw nothing of Ron outside of Auror training. He wasn't entirely sure if the Christmas shopping rush could be blamed for Ron's lack of appearance in their flat, though. Friday came and Harry left the Ministry and headed for Diagon Alley. He found George, positively swamped in his store, as this was the last day before Christmas that it would be open.

"Where the hell is Ron?" Harry asked, stepping behind the second cash register and gesturing customers to queue up in front of it. "Why isn't he helping you?"

"Hermione," George spat, practically shoving merchandise into a young witch's hand.

"Look, George, go take a break. I can handle it for 15 minutes."

George turned his head, looking desperate. "Are you sure?"

"Yes," Harry laughed. "I worked here all summer, remember? I think I can hold down the fort for 15 minutes. Seriously, George. Go take a break."

"Thank you!" George grabbed Harry's head and planted a wet kiss on his cheek before rushing up to his flat.

Harry found himself blushing slightly as he turned to help the next customer.

When he finally made it back home, well past midnight, he was welcomed by the rhythmic squeaking of bedsprings coming from Ron's room. Harry moved straight for the firewhisky. He was angry, and bitter. Why were Ron and Hermione fucking? Ron seemed to have been positively dreading her return. What had changed?

As Harry downed a shot, there were muffled shouts, a few more squeaks of the mattress, and then silence. He put down his glass and shivered as his throat burned. After a few minutes of listening to the sound of nothing coming from Ron's room, Harry finally retreated to his bed.

Harry woke up the next morning when his bed sank under him. He rolled over and looked up at Hermione's blurry face.

"What… 'mione?" Harry groaned and planted his face back into his pillow.

"Morning, Harry," Hermione giggled.

Harry sighed and pushed himself up into a sitting position. "Hi. Not that I'm not happy to see you or anything, but why are you on my bed?"

Hermione smiled and leaned forward slightly to hug him. "Just wanted to say hi. I didn't see you last night."

"Yeah, well…" Harry fought the urge to say something rude.

"I have a message for you," she said, tentatively.

"From who?"


"Oh," he said, pointedly. "Well?"

Hermione bit her lip. "She says that if you want to see her over break… she'll be at the Burrow… and… she'll be m-more than happy to see you."

Harry sighed and ran a hand over his face. "Okay. Well, thanks for the message."

Hermione looked at him carefully, and he felt his insides squirming under her gaze. "Why don't you want to see her, Harry?"

"I do," Harry lied. "It's just… hard. I don't want to be… tempted. I don't want a long-distance relationship. She knows all this."

"So you'll be with her after she finishes school?" she asked, angrily.

Harry made an ambiguous movement with his head and flung back the covers on his bed. "I'm going to get dressed, now that you've woken me up and all." He waited for her to move, but she didn't.

"What's happened to you and Ron?" she asked, sadly.

"What do you mean?"

"You don't want to be with Ginny anymore. Ron barely seems to want to be with me. What happened?"

"Auror training," Harry said, pathetically. "It's draining as hell, Hermione. You have no idea what it's like."

"Apparently not," she sighed, standing. "Well, I've made some breakfast if you want."

"Thank you," he said, quietly, as she left his room and shut the door. He flung himself back down on his bed and growled a sigh. What had happened to him and Ron?

When he finally emerged from his room, he found Hermione at the sink, washing dishes by hand, with Ron standing behind her, his arms wrapped around her middle and his lips attached to her neck. Harry cleared his throat and Ron backed away from Hermione, looking frustrated. He grunted a greeting at Harry and sat himself on the couch, scowling. Hermione craned her head around, looking equally frustrated, and nodded at the table.

"There's still some food left for you, Harry."

"Thanks," he muttered, sitting down and helping himself to some toast.

The day was long and awkward. Ron and Hermione went out for lunch, and then insisted on bringing Harry along for dinner. No one was in a very good mood, and there was very little talking during the meals. When they returned home, Harry was about to suggest that he turn in early, to catch up on sleep, when Hermione pulled out the bottle of firewhisky he had opened the night before.

"Who's up for a drinking game?" she asked, sounding cheerier than she had all day.

Harry blinked. "A drinking game? Seriously? You? Hermione?" He stepped closed and eyed her suspiciously. "Who are you?"

Hermione rolled her eyes and found three shot glasses in the cupboard. "I'm Hermione and I've just lived through my first N.E.W.T. semester. You'd be surprised at how much partying goes on during the weekends in seventh year dormitories. Everyone is stressed. I think it would… be fun. Maybe it'll help. I know you two are stressed from training. Come on, let's play. Who's got a deck of cards?"

Ron dug around for cards while Hermione explained the rules; they would take turns blowing cards off the top of the bottle, and whoever blew the stack over, had to take a shot. At last, Ron found a full deck of cards and they sat themselves around the coffee table. Hermione laid the cards on top of the firewhisky bottle, balanced them, and then, with obvious expertise, gently blew one card off the top of the deck. Ron knelt up, looked at the deck of cards with defiance in his eyes, and blew. Nothing happened. Frowning slightly, he used a bit more force. About 10 cards shifted slightly. He continued blowing, starting to laugh, until he had knocked the cards off the bottle. They continued around the circle until Hermione had masterfully blown off the second-to-last card. Harry stared at the final card, smiling slightly. He puffed on it, it fell, and he filled one of the shot glasses.

"To de-stressing!" He called before downing the shot. He coughed slightly as Hermione put the stack back on the bottle.

The game continued slowly, and over an hour later Harry and Ron were both definitely drunk. Hermione, who had been tricked into losing the fourth game by Ron shoving her nose against the deck, had started tripping up after that first shot, but still seemed to be only tipsy. Harry was now squaring his shoulders, ready to start a new round. He took a deep breath, pressed his lips together, and –

"Don't fuck it up, Harry!" Ron teased.

Harry laughed and the gust of air knocked the whole deck off the bottle in one go.

"Your fault," Harry glared at Ron as he reached for his shot glass, which Hermione filled. He downed it quickly and put the stack back on. Shoving his fingers in his ears, he blew gently and a few cards slid off the pile and onto the table. "I'm done," he suddenly declared, sitting down on the floor with no grace at all.

"Done?" Hermione asked.

"Yeah. With the game. S'boring. Lesjus – just – let's just drink." He giggled and poured himself another shot, slopping some firewhisky onto the table.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "You're a lightweight, Harry."

"Hey, I'm buffing up," Harry protested, rolling back his t-shirt sleeve and flexing for her. She looked slightly impressed. Ron looked awkward. "S'alright, Ron," Harry said, crawling over to him, interpreting his expression as jealousy. "You're fit, too, mate. Look." He forced Ron to raise his arm and show off his defined bicep. "See, look. S'nice."

Ron looked up at Harry. Hermione watched them staring at each other for a while before downing another shot.

"Want one," Ron muttered, finally pulling out of Harry's grip. He poured himself a shot and drank it clumsily. He sat back down and then proceeded to start glancing at Harry every other second. He seemed entirely unable to stop himself. Harry seemed oblivious.

"This was a good idea, 'Mione," Harry declared, crawling around the table and sitting next to her. He wrapped his arms around her in a sideways hug and kissed her hair. "I f-feel relaxed. Thanks, thanks, really."

"Yes," Ron moved around to her other side and mirrored Harry's actions. "You're the best girlfriend ever."

Hermione smiled weakly and tried to shrug out of their grips. "Er, thanks, guys. I'm glad you're… having a good time. Come one, let go, Ron–"

As she turned her head, Ron caught her lips in a kiss. She turned slightly towards him, forgetting about Harry. Ron moved his hands to hold Hermione's head in place and kissed her thoroughly. Harry stayed where he was, watching them with a vague, indefinable sense of curiosity and jealousy. He wondered what it would be like to have someone to kiss so furiously; he and Ginny had only kissed like that the one time. He wondered what it would be like to kiss Hermione's soft lips, or Ron's pouty ones.

The idea flooded his senses he couldn't shake it off. He wanted to kiss Ron. He wanted it more than anything. Something in his mind had grasped the wondering notion of Ron's lips and was refusing to let go. He watched Ron and Hermione kissing for a moment before forcing himself to drop his arms and move away.

"Harry!" Hermione gasped, breaking away from Ron. "Shit. I'm sorry. I forgot – I wasn't – Ron – I – shit. I'm sorry."

"S'fine, 'Mione, really." Harry's eyes flitted between her and Ron. She was looking flushed and guilty, while Ron was looking perhaps a little bit disgusted. "Think I'll go to bed, now," Harry said, starting to stand.

"Join us?"

Harry turned around. Hermione was staring at Ron, a confused, shocked, and slightly hurt expression hanging on her face. Ron was staring up at Harry, clearly not embarrassed by what he had just suggested.

"Excuse me?" Harry asked, weakly. His heart was racing and his head was screaming at him to go snog Ron's brains out, but his body was frozen.

"Ron, I think Harry wants–"

"Let 'Arry decided what he wants," Ron said, wobbly standing up.

"I want to go to bed," Harry said, slowly and with difficulty.

Ron's face fell. "Oh. Alright. Just thought you were… night, then." He sat back down and his mouth immediately fell upon Hermione's.

Harry woke up the next morning with particularly sticky sheets.

"Fuck," he mumbled, rolling out of bed and reaching for wand to clean up the mess. He hadn't done that in a while.

Once he and his sheets were clean again, he lay back down and contemplated Ron. Why had Ron offered to let Harry join in with him and Hermione? And why had he, Harry, been so greatly tempted by the offer?

He came up with no answers, and his growling stomach finally compelled him to leave his room. Not bothering to change out of the clothes he had worn the day before and slept in, Harry opened his bedroom door and glanced nervously out into his flat. Hermione and Ron were sitting at the table, silently eating sandwiches. He stepped out of his room and sat down with them, taking the last sandwich off the plate.

"Can I have this?"

"Of course," Hermione said. Harry looked over at her as he ate. She was clearly devastated about something, but doing her best to put on a happy face. Slowly, cautiously, Harry let his eyes wander to Ron. The firewhisky's effects had worn off, and Ron was in as bad a mood as ever. He looked dangerously furious, and was eating his sandwich with a blind rage that was leaving bits of lettuce everywhere.

Harry ate in resigned silence, wondering if things between the three of them had finally disintegrated so far as to be unfixable.

"I think I'll go see George today," Hermione said, making a brave attempt at conversation. "Check up on him… make sure he's not… too lonely for the holiday, you know."

Harry stared at his feet. Hermione didn't know either. Why had Ron never mentioned it?

"He's fine," Ron grunted through his last mouthful.

"I – I know he is," she said, in a small voice. "But holidays are hard, and–"

"He's fine," Ron repeated, and Harry felt a cold breeze sweep through the room.

"You're heartless, Ron," Hermione said, through clenched teeth. There were tears in her eyes. "He lost his twin, and you think he'll just be fine during his first Christmas alone?"

"He's not alone!" Ron roared, slamming his hands down on the table. "He's with Lee!" Shoving his chair away from the table, Ron stood and stormed out of the flat.

Hermione covered her face with her hands and sobbed. Harry scooted his chair over and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

"Shh, Hermione. It's okay. He'll come back. He's just stressed… training… the shop… no sleep…" Harry trailed off his list of explanations for his best friend's moodiness, lamely. He knew there was no excuse for Ron's behavior. Ron was hurting everyone around him. Harry had been grudgingly okay with it when he thought he was the only one affected by Ron's attitude, but after seeing how he was treating George and Hermione, he knew that it was unacceptable.

"No," Hermione said, sharply, wiping her eyes. "It's not okay. He's truly heartless. He, he… George needs family, not just… not just Lee!" Hermione rambled, trying to control her breathing.

Harry sighed. "Lee… I think Lee might be George's f-family, now. They've been together for four years. Apparently."

Hermione blinked up at him. "Together? For four years?"

He nodded. "Yeah. I just found out a few days ago. George said they only began telling people a year ago. So, I guess… I mean, it kind of makes sense. George was never the one chasing after girls, was he?"

Hermione gave a shuddering sigh. "Why didn't Ron tell me? Tell you?"

"No idea. He told me George had a date the other night, but wouldn't say anything else about it, so I went and asked George. That's when he told me. I can't really see why Ron would have bothered telling me about George's date if he didn't want me finding out about Lee, though. He had to have known I would have gone and pestered George about the details."

Without warning, Hermione started crying all over again. Harry tightened his grip on her shoulders, uselessly

"Hermione?" Harry cautioned a few minutes later, when she seemed to have gained control over her breathing again.

"Two things only a man cannot hide," Hermione whispered, hoarsely, "that he is drunk, and that he is in love."

Harry blinked. "Did – you – did you just quote something?" he asked, exasperated. "You're all distraught, and you just quoted something?"

Hermione managed a small smile and repeated her quote. "I've been… I've been blind. I've been stupid. I've been foolish. I saw this coming. I knew it was happening. I could see it right in front of me." She seemed to be talking more to herself than to Harry. "I was so stupid, believing his heartless lies, listening to his bullshit promises. I told myself he wouldn't lead me on even though I knew he was." She huffed angrily, shrugging off Harry's arm.

"Who are you talking about?" Harry asked, warily.

"Ron!" she spat. "Ron, the… the… git!" She sighed deeply and shook her head. "He's such a stupid boy! He's helpless. Hopeless! Completely clueless."

"Did… something happen?" Harry asked, getting a bit concerned.

Hermione looked over as though she had only just realized Harry was there. He was surprised to see a look of fierce determination cross her face. "Not yet," she said, threateningly, as she stood.

"Uh," Harry followed her to the fireplace, "where are you going?"

"To find that git and talk some sense into him," she proclaimed, scooping a handful of Floo powder out of the bowl on the mantle. She tossed it into the fireplace before Harry could stop her. "Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes!"

Harry blinked as she disappeared behind green flames. "Okay," he said, slowly. "Never playing a drinking game with the two of them, ever again."

Ron didn't return to the flat until the next afternoon. Harry was dusting the inside of the kitchen cupboards when he heard the familiar whoosh of fire behind him.

"Hey," he said, cautiously, turning around to great Ron.

Ron looked at him for a moment, then cracked a smile. "Are you dusting? What are you, a housewife? A Muggle housewife?"

Harry scowled and dropped the feather duster. "I was bored. And, frankly, confused and pissed off and worried. Where's Hermione and where the hell have the two of you been?"

Ron rocked back and forth on his heels, looking slightly guilty. "We've… we've been talking."

"Uh huh," Harry gestured for Ron to continue.

"And… well, she went home to her parents for Christmas, so… that's where she is."

Harry blinked. "Did you break up?"


"Why did you break up?"

Ron motioned for Harry to sit with him on the couch. "I reckon I'm an idiot for doing what I'm about to do, but Hermione threatened to jinx me, and, hey, I was put in Gryffindor for a reason, right?"

Harry sat down and said nothing. He didn't want to loose Hermione as a friend if she and Ron had fought. And since when was Ron back to being a nice, reasonable human being?

"So, do it, then," Harry said, blankly. He looked at Ron and felt his heart nearly shudder to a death-rendering stop. Ron was staring into Harry's eyes, looking nervous, downright terrified, and vulnerable as hell. Harry gulped. "Ron?" It came out as a whisper.

Ron was trying his best to pull confidence from Harry's confusion. "I have something to tell you," he said, in a quiet, though crystal clear, voice. Harry nodded, feebly. "I'm in love with you."

Harry's mind went perfectly blank for one blissful moment, then kicked into overdrive. Ron was in love with him? Was Ron gay? Was this what Hermione had been so upset about? Had Hermione known? How had Hermione known? Was this why Ron hadn't told anyone about George and Lee? Was this why Ron had been so moody about Hermione coming to visit? Was this why sexual frustration had been coming off Ron in heated waves for months? How long had this been going on? Why hadn't Harry ever noticed?

"Harry?" Ron asked, uncertainty etched across his tired features.

"You," Harry frowned, "you… you're not… joking? Or lying?"

"N-no… I'm – I'm not joking or lying. I'm just t-telling you that… how I feel."

"I'm… confused. What about Hermione?"

"She went home to her parents." Ron heaved a long sigh. "She was pretty upset, I'm not going to lie. She didn't send a flock of birds at me, though, which I guess is an improvement. She said she saw it coming, somehow. I didn't even see it coming. But, I guess that's what Hermione's for… noticing things… and then forcing you to deal with them."

"Forcing you to deal with them?"

"Like I said," Ron smiled slightly, "she threatened to jinx me if I didn't talk to you." When Harry said nothing, Ron continued, staring down at his hands. "She seems to be under the impression that you're… inlovewithmetoo."

Harry blinked. Somehow, his brain, in all of its panicked questioning, had managed to skip over the fact that Ron had just confessed his love for him, for Harry. How exactly did Harry feel about Ron? He had certainly wanted to kiss his friend a few nights ago, but hadn't he been smashed? He had been hurt by Ron's moody mistreatment of him, but hadn't that just been because they were friends? Any friend would have been upset by Ron's actions. But hadn't Ron also been intruding on Harry's fantasies about wild red hair, bright blue eyes, and long, freckled, skinny limbs? Hadn't Harry felt a stab of jealousy when he had seen Ron and Hermione together? Wasn't Ron the person Harry cared for most? Hadn't he been most upset by Ron's recent attitude because he missed being with his best friend, because he needed that strength and comfort and humor, because he liked it when their forearms brushed together as they both reached to turn on the Wireless, or pick up a bottle of butterbeer?

"Fuck," Ron muttered, pulling Harry out of his whirling thoughts. He put his head in his hands. "She told me to do it. She said you felt the same. She's never been wrong. You fucking hate me. This is the worst Christmas Eve ever. Fuck."

Harry flung himself on Ron, crawling on his lap and shoving his hands away from his face, nearly knocking out teeth as he plastered their lips together. Ron let out a desperate, joyous sound as he put his hands on Harry's head and held their faces together. Harry slid his tongue into Ron's mouth and held Ron's hips tightly, digging his fingers into Ron's skin, even through a thick layer of denim.

"Fuck," Ron repeated, pulling away and gasping for air.

"Fuck," Harry agreed, resting his forehead against Ron's. "I do – I mean, I love you, too. I love you. I'm sorry it took me a while."

Ron smiled and ran his fingers longingly through Harry's wild, black hair. "That's okay. I'm sorry I've been such a git, lately. I was just… upset, I guess. That I couldn't have you. That I had gotten myself into this mess in the first place."

"Is Hermione going to be okay?"

"Yeah, I think so. She said she wanted some time to think and be with her family. But she alsosaid she would stop by here at some point before going back to Hogwarts. She's a smart girl, that Hermione." Ron licked his lips, a bit sadly. "She made a hell of a sacrifice."

Harry smirked. "You're that good of a boyfriend, are you?"

Ron rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean."

"I do." Harry rolled off Ron's lap. "We owe her."

"We owe her a lot."

Harry pondered this for a moment, then stood. "Well, there's nothing we can do at the moment. Care to join me in my room?"

Ron's face brightened as he jumped off the couch. "Of course."

Harry held out his hand, which Ron took. "This is a bit weird, though. I have to say. Kissing a bloke. Kissing my best mate."

Ron's grin faltered slightly. "You – you don't like… we don't have to–"

Harry shut him up with a kiss. "Of course I like it, moron. I mean, it's just different. And new. It's a fantasy I never let myself indulge in…. never thought it would happen. Wanted it. Thought it was impossible…" His voice grew softer as his hands ran over Ron's sweater, exploring the muscles beneath the fabric.



"Me, too. Thought it was impossible. Wanted it. Wanted you. Want you," Ron breathed the last part as he pressed his lips on Harry's and walked Harry, backwards, into a bedroom.