Managed to get some free time this evening so finished this. Hope you like it.

Andrea xx

For the first time since his return to Hogwarts, Harry woke up feeling something else than empty. He almost felt cheerful. A quick peek through the curtains of his bed showed that it was still raining outside. Harry, however, did not mind at all but proceeded to get out of bed. As he looked around his dormitory he saw that he was the first one to wake up. He felt a sting of guilt in his stomach as he watched Ron's sleeping form. There was one more thing he had to do, he realised, and felt his whole body tense. How does one apologize to someone who tried to commit suicide because of you, Harry thought. He quickly exited the room and entered the bathroom where he took off his trousers before he stepped into the shower. The water was burning hot and he cherished the way his skin almost ached as a result of the heat. He thought back on yesterday's events and the conversation he had had with Snape. It was then he realised that he had been very rude, to say the least, to his professor. Snape, however, had not seemed angry at all, he thought as he went over their conversation in his head. He remembered how they had lain next to each other on the floor, holding hands for a minute or two. As he recalled this particular part he felt his stomach tingle strangely. He wondered if he should apologize to Snape but decided against it as he did not want to remind the other man of his outburst. The feeling of the hot water mixed with the scented shampoo running down his back made him shudder with pleasure. Harry decided he would send a letter of gratitude to his teacher. It was, after all, thanks to Snape that he was feeling better this morning. And it was Snape who had given him the courage to tell Hermione the truth. He realised that he would have to tell Ron straight away, or else he would put himself in a position even worse than before. He switched off the water and grabbed a towel from the pile on the shelf next to the shower.

A couple of minutes later, Harry entered the dormitory to find that everyone was still sleeping. He checked the time and found that it was half past seven, which meant that everyone would be up in a minute. It only took him two minutes to put on his uniform. He heard someone yawn and turned around to see Ron awake. He decided it was now or never.

"Ron, can I talk to you?" Harry asked quietly, trying not to wake the others up.

Ron did not even look at him but stood up and started walking towards the door.

"I know you don't want to talk to me, but there is something I need to tell you. Please will you listen to my story? Please," Harry begged softly and tried to catch Ron's eyes.

The red haired boy stopped in the middle of the room and thought for a moment before he opened his mouth.

"Wait for me in the common room," he said without even looking at his former best friend.

"Thank you so much, Ron, I can't even..." Harry began but Ron had already left the room.

It was then it occurred to Harry how much more difficult this conversation would be than the one he had had with Hermione a couple of hours earlier. He sighed loudly and made his way down to the common room where he sat down on one of the sofas by the fire place. One by one, the Gryffindor students walked through the common room, heading to the dining hall.

Ten minutes later, Ron made his way down the staircase. His face looked tired and slightly pale. He did not look at Harry, but instead walked past him. As he did so, he whispered a soft "follow me" and made a gesture with his left arm. Harry quickly got up and they left the common room together for the first time since the beginning of the term. They walked in silence, Ron slightly in front of Harry, leading the way. As they passed the great hall, Harry started to get really curious of where Ron was taking him. His curiosity disappeared, however, when he saw the portrait that led to the kitchens. He followed Ron through the portrait and into the kitchens, which were empty, to his relief. Ron sat down at one of the tables, ordered breakfast from a house elf and then looked expectantly at Harry. The raven haired boy sat down opposite to his old friend and ordered a cup of coffee from a house elf he had never seen before. He had no idea where to begin, so he decided to start at the night of the attack at the boarding school. His words were almost identical to the ones he had told Hermione the night before. After about 20 minutes or so, he was finished and took a sip of his coffee. His shoulders tensed as he waited for Ron to say something. It felt like hours passed by. He did not dare look up from the black coffee before him.

"Harry, look at me," Ron urged quietly and waited until the other boy met his eyes. "I realise how hard it must have been for you to tell me and I want to thank you for telling me."

Harry felt a large weight being lifted from his shoulders. He had expected Ron to shout, to yell or to leave the room. It was only Ron's serious face that stopped him from laughing.

"But Harry, I don't know where we go from here. I have changed a lot since you ran away. And I think you have too," Ron said with a frown on his forehead that Harry had never seen before. It was then he realised how much older and more serious Ron looked. How he spoke in a way Harry had never heard him speak before.

"But it's still me, Ron. I'm still Harry," Harry said and gave Ron a small smile.

"Harry, it's not about you. It's about me. It still hurts every time I see you," Ron said and looked down. "Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy that you are back. But you... I don't know how to say this," Ron whispered and swallowed. He rolled up his sleeves and showed the other boy his wrists. There were two big scars on each wrist, each maybe two inches long, along his veins.

Harry gasped at the sight of the scars on his friend's wrists and covered his face with his hands. He felt guiltier than he ever had before.

"I did this. I am not blaming you for what I did but I need you to know what I have gone through. I am not healed enough yet to put it all behind me," Ron said and his voice trembled a little. "When I am, I will let you know. I want you to know how sorry I am, Harry," Ron finished, stood up and left the room before Harry had a chance to say anything else.

Harry just stared at the table for a couple of minutes, not quite believing what had just happened. He had not expected Ron to act this way. This was not the cheerful Ron he had known for years. This Ron was serious, mature and sad in a way that scared Harry. The guilt weighed heavier on his shoulders than it ever had. He checked the time and found that he still had another 30 minutes before classes. As he looked into his coffee mug he found that it was full again, something which would usually have made him think of how much he loved magic, but today he just grabbed it and took two big gulps which he quickly regretted. The hot liquid burned his throat in a most uncomfortable way and he pushed the mug away from him.

A moment later the door to the kitchens opened and Snape entered the kitchens. He reached Harry's table with a few quick strides, his robes billowing behind him as usual. His face looked slightly weary as he saw his student's blank face but he quickly schooled his expression before he sat down on the chair opposite to the Gryffindor.

"Still here, I see," Snape remarked.

"How did you know I was here?" Harry asked emotionlessly.

"I was on my way to the great hall when I saw a certain Weasley leaving the kitchens, looking less than cheerful. I took a quick look into the great hall to find that you were not there, so I came here," Snape said in a composed manner and thanked the house elf who brought him his usual cup of coffee.

"I was going to send you a thank you-note for yesterday, as I thought I wasn't going to see you today. Thank you for yesterday," Harry said and nodded to his professor.

"Oh, it was nothing, I find drenched students by the lake after curfew almost every night," Snape said dryly and hoped to see the Gryffindor smile a little, but his face remained blank. "Potter, lessons start in ten minutes, you should go get your books."

"Yes, Sir," Harry replied and stood up.

"I will be in my office after half past four this afternoon, come and see me if you wish," Snape offered and looked into his student's eyes. He then turned to a house elf and asked her to bring a sandwich which she appeared with a couple of seconds later. He gestured for her to give the sandwich to his student and watched the Gryffindor look at him questioningly.

"Coffee is not going to last you until lunch, Potter," Snape snorted and watched his student accept the sandwich.

"Thank you, Sir," Harry responded and nodded to his teacher before he left the room.