A/N: Please note this story is slash, with a Harry/Ron pairing. Also, this story is rated M (or R) for sexual content (mostly talking about it. Boys—whatcha gonna do with them?). Ron's a fun, generally light narrator, but there are also heavy situations throughout the story, including a brief non-consensual situation in a later chapter (not between Harry and Ron). So…you are warned!
This story is dedicated to the Harry and Ron Livejournal Community, where I have shamelessly lurked for years.
The Abysmal Dating Life of Harry Potter (as told by Ron Weasley)
The First Date (1/4)
You'd think that after the war people would stop trying to hurt Harry so much.
You'd be wrong.
The first months after were tough enough with fans demanding he autograph anything they shoved under his nose and middle-aged women trying to pull him into a snog or reporters running around after him with dict-a-quills while the poor lad just wanted an ice cream. Or I wanted an ice cream. Whatever. So really, he didn't need the crazies shouting things like "Wipe out dirty blood!" or "Long live the Dark Lord!" and firing curses at him in the streets.
At first, it was just the Voldemort supporters that still needed rounding up, but after that, it was every crazy from every corner of the earth! Apparently, since Harry had taken down one evil dictator, some idea had spread among the less-successful evildoers that it was time to apply for Voldemort's old job. Whoever killed Harry would be the new supreme evil overlord or something. Guess it was supposed to prove they were more capable than the last guy in office. Like a typing test…but evil.
We joked about it to keep Harry smiling, but really, it was hard for me to pretend any bit of it was funny. I told everyone he'd turned hermit because of the masses of women that went into heat when he entered a bar, but it wasn't true. Well, they did do that for a while, but the fangirls backed off pretty damn quickly after someone collapsed a roof of a café onto Harry, nearly killing him and eight others. The cover of TIME TURNED—the wizarding world's "current issues" magazine, as I had to explain to Harry—featured this bloody awful picture of Hermione and me clawing through the rubble and uncovering Harry's hand. We recognized it from the faint scars that still read, "I must not tell lies," and Hermione clasped it and cried while I frantically unburied the rest of him. The photo still gets circulated now and again as a symbol for whatever spin the media wants to discuss at the moment and every time it makes mum burst into tears. Hermione can't even look at it. I can deal with it okay…except for the one time nobody will let me forget when I tore up every one of those damn magazines at a newsstand in Diagon Alley, ignoring the cries of the squat bloke who worked there. It wasn't completely my fault. George was there; he should have stopped me instead of pointing out that second batch.
After Harry recovered from that, he was hit with the Cruciatus five times and nicked with other nasty curses thirteen. I got hit with a few myself, as did Hermione, and that's when Harry decided he'd better wait out the storm. The fangirls were fine with that move. They apparently didn't worship Harry enough to step into crossfire for him.
Every time Hermione squeezed lunch with me into her insane schedule, all she talked about was how lonely she thought Harry was. I always argued through mouthfuls of food that he had us, but I mainly did it because arguing with Hermione was my most trustworthy form of stress relief. It was mean, but watching her realize again and again that logic wasn't a weapon that was effective on me, was oddly relaxing. Nostalgia, I suppose.
Because really, I knew she was probably right. Harry couldn't have the casual social life the rest of us took for granted. Like how I went out for a pint almost every day after practice with my teammates from the Chudley Cannons. Harry and I made the team together, but then the threats poured in. Harry quit right away, adamant he wouldn't put a stadium full of people at danger just so he could play. I turned in my broom too, until Harry whirled right back around, grabbed the broom out of the team manager's hands and told me that if I quit because of him, he'd move out. He tried coming out with us once after a practice, but I think hearing our self-congratulating toasts made him feel even more left out. He never came again, anyway.
The Aurors wouldn't take him either despite his overwhelming qualifications. He may have defeated the darkest wizard in half a century, but he was apparently too much of a risk. As the wizard in charge of hiring explained when Harry tried to turn in his application, Harry would be a target, his partners would be targets, the whole ministry would be a target…like it wasn't already. And if he got injured in the line of duty, it would explode across the media, and the department didn't need that sort of press. What utter rot.
George offered him a spot at the shop, doing anything he wanted, but Harry refused. Not only wouldn't he risk putting George in any kind of danger, but he claimed to have no skills to offer and didn't want to accept money for nothing, despite the fact that he'd given Fred and George money for nothing to start the bloody thing in the first place. Harry could really be thick git about things sometimes.
So he couldn't get a job and therefore had no coworkers to spend time with during the day. Our friends, though, did have jobs and went out and dated.
So mostly Harry spent his time in our flat alone, lonely. The rest of the time, he had me.
"Hey, get me a lager?" Harry called from the living room of our flat. He must've heard me crack open the refrigerator door…or just knew me and knew the odds were good I was rummaging around for a drink or a snack of some sort. I already had a bottle for myself tucked under my arm along with a bag of crisps and the package of sliced cheese.
My face tightened and I shoved the bottle back into the fridge. Harry chuckled in the next room, knowing that had cost him his drink.
I should never have told Harry that story, but dating was one of those things you have to talk about with your best mate or you're not really best mates. So yeah, I stepped up, made the conversation happen. It's the kind of bloke I am. Friendship's important to me and I'll put in my share of the effort even when I know it can't be returned in kind.
Plus, I was too disturbed not to tell someone and I sure as hell wasn't going to tell Hermione.
My first date after Hogwarts. Hermione had moved on pretty quickly, of course, to guys more interested in academics than me. We'd been through the war together in a way no one else could understand, but it only took a couple weeks of her asking me in exasperated tones how it was possible for me to not care about spell theory after all we'd been through and me asking her in exasperated tones how it was possible for her to not care about Quidditch after all we'd been through to make us realize that we functioned best with Harry…
Whoa, not like that! Like friends! The three of us. Me and her just didn't work on our own for long. Me and Harry alone, yeah. Harry and her alone, sure. Her and me? Only when we were talking about taking care of Harry. Otherwise I just liked to annoy her. I couldn't help that it was so funny watching her fingers clench as she contemplated strangling me. No one else had the ability to make her lose her mind like I did. It was a gift.
So yeah, my first date in the real world was a Cannons fan who told me I looked sexy in elbow pads. I took her to dinner. Then she invited me to her place. We had some wine on her couch and she rubbed her thumb over my knuckles and asked me how "open" I was.
I figured she meant open to having sex. I was definitely open to that. I got far enough with Lavender to really get my imagination going, but never made it all the way. I wasn't with Hermione very long, but frankly, I never wanted to have sex with her. She was an attractive girl and all, but I always had this terrible fear that halfway through she'd pull out Sex, a History and say, "No, Ron. See, on page 113, it clearly states that the thrusts should start much slower, then increase in pace at the properly spaced intervals. This is why I bought you that study organizer!"
So I said something about being quite open if she were also open, but if she was not open, I could be closed, or slightly ajar. Because I wanted to have sex, but I was a good guy; I could wait if she needed time.
She didn't need time, apparently. She pulled me into the bedroom with this sultry looking up through her eyelashes move and I stumbled after, my heart pounding away happily in my chest.
I was going to have sex.
I tried to yank my shirt off, but it got stuck around my head because I'd dressed all nice in a button up and, like a prat, forgot to unbutton it. What can I say? I was excited. Anyone would have been! Obviously, I was bloody embarrassed by the time I managed to wrestle it off, ready to laugh at myself, but faltered when I found her standing on the bed in her stilettos. Her shirt hung open revealing a red corset and her hand was wrapped around the handle of a huge leather whip. I'd dreamt of many versions of this moment and, well, I'd never categorize myself as wholesome by any means, but this was just out of my poor imagination's league.
She cracked the whip and I jumped back, clutching my shirt to my chest with a white knuckled grip.
"On your knees, wench!"
So I made my excuses about an early practice, real subtle and all so as not to be rude, and tore out of there as fast as my legs could take me. I burst through our floo, Harry took one look at my spooked face, and the moment his eyebrows knitted in question I blurted out the whole story.
Truthfully, I couldn't get too annoyed when Harry got a laugh out of it. I figured it reminded him that dating wasn't just dinner and tender lovemaking for the rest of us, which was exactly what Harry dreamed it was, being Harry. Harry's dating life was bad. Like, worse than unknowingly trying to lose your virginity to a dominatrix bad.
Like me finding him in a pool of his own blood in the loo at a charity ball bad.
He'd met his date in the bookshop and blushed every time me, Seamus, Dean or Neville mentioned the possibility of him finally getting shagged. He liked her, thought she was friendly (not even in the eyebrow waggling way Seamus suggested). They'd grabbed coffee and she hadn't asked what it had been like with Voldemort. Instead, she'd asked him to tell her about films. Harry hadn't actually been to the cinema (effing Dursleys), but he got all excited to take her to one if their night at the ball went well.
And then, at the ball, she followed him into the loo and stabbed him seven times before slitting her own wrists.
I knew where he'd gone because on his way there, he'd clapped his hand on my shoulder and, with a genuinely happy grin, told me it was going great. After a few minutes, I decided to go tease him more about his date. I was a little tipsy off the free alcohol and figured I should go make Harry's face go red with some off-color jokes. The hall was quiet but grand. I passed a mirror in the hall and caught a glimpse of myself in the nice dress robes I could finally afford to buy being on a Quidditch team and I thought to myself that even though I'd complained about the whole thing, I was really glad Hermione had made us come.
I pushed open the bathroom door, half my champagne sloshing out of my glass, expecting to find Harry washing up, and instead found blood. Dark red slashed across the white porcelain sinks, splattered on the mirrors, and spreading fast over the elegant marble floor. Harry was crumpled on his side at the foot of one of the stalls, his glasses severely crooked, an arm splayed across the floor toward me, completely limp. There was a smear of sticky crimson staining his pale cheek that almost looked like the remnants of a kiss. His date was curled up in the corner, streaks of red dripping down her beautiful purple dress. She seemed so peaceful and still, like a little girl. It was as if she had nestled herself in that corner and fallen asleep.
I didn't know yet what had happened. My mind went straight to the wannabe dark lords, though I didn't even think to put myself on guard. My champagne glass shattered on the floor as I dove toward Harry. I ripped off my jacket, ready to use it to stop the bleeding, but when I turned him onto his back, I found not one wound to worry about but seven. I didn't even know where to put my shaking hands, afraid that I'd press on one and force blood out another. I didn't know the right healing spells though Hermione always suggested we learn them and I wanted to kill myself for not having listened to her with Harry's face so white and his every breath making a gurgling sound I still hear in my worst nightmares. I draped my jacket over his blood-soaked torso and screamed again and again until a couple men stuck their heads in. One went for help, the other ran to the girl. I waited for him to tell me what to do, but he just stared at me with wide eyes and I finally understood he was waiting for my instruction.
When the healers came in carrying bags of equipment and, in clipped tones, asked what had happened, I tried to wave them over to Harry first and choked out that they were attacked. The other man corrected me, saying she'd attacked him. I looked over, confused, as he pointed to the knife still resting in her limp hand. I stared, feeling this rising flood of horror fill my body until I couldn't breathe. I thought of how I'd teased Harry about this girl, elbowed him playfully and made lewd comments. I thought about how he'd blushed and called me and the other blokes pervs while he poured over his Muggle newspaper's film listings. And the most paralyzing thought was that I might never be able to tease him again.
That's when I was filled with such murderous rage that my shoulders began to shake, then my hands. I wanted to scream at her and throttle her and demand to know why, why she had done this to the guy who had filled with delight at the thought of buying her popcorn.
But I couldn't do anything to her. She was already dead, as the other man explained to the healers, and she'd tried her best to take Harry with her.
I don't remember exactly what I did to have to be wrestled from the bathroom. I remember starting to scream, then fighting against hands gripping my arms and seeing from a distance the healers descend on Harry, then I was somewhere near this huge vase on a table with a tablecloth and Hermione was in hysterics, shrieking, "Ron! Where's Harry? Ron! What happened to Harry?" And I remember not knowing what she was talking about or why she fell to her knees, her head in her hands, sobbing while her date raced over and pulled her into his arms.
To be honest, I'm glad I was in some sort of shock for that time, because otherwise I don't know I would have survived the next five hours of sitting in a stark hospital waiting room with healers telling us the healing wasn't going well and to expect the worst.
We found out that her family had been supporters of Voldemort and they'd been killed fighting in the final battle. Hermione explained it to Harry when he finally woke up in his private room in St. Mungo's. He was pale and stared out the window as Hermione spoke and I sat stiffly on his other side. He'd liked her.
And people said he was lucky. "Harry Potter's so lucky. He survives everything." The way I looked at it, lucky people probably didn't have so much they needed to survive through. They definitely didn't have the one girl they'd worked up the courage to ask out try to murder them on the first date.
I took him to the cinema after that, by the way. Seamus immediately jumped on that one in his usual thoughtless way and, with a jovial smirk, asked if I was Harry's replacement date now. I glared and said I thought Harry deserved to see a film.
Seamus nodded and didn't mention it again. When he saw Harry, he understood why the rest of us were so grim. Harry had stopped smiling since the incident. We were worried that Harry's date might have managed to kill a part of him after all.
"I'm dying," I wheezed. Harry needed to know this as my caretaker. He needed to feel much sorrier for me than he currently was.
Harry pulled my blinds closed, dampening the bright midday sun. "You're a wuss is what you are."
I made sure my next cough was extra nasty sounding. "You're mean," I muttered. I weakly stretched out an arm toward a glass of water on the nightstand. "My mum's always nice to me when I'm sick."
"Yes, and look what she's turned you into." Harry grabbed my water glass, then put an arm behind my shoulders and helped me sit up to drink it. The water burned my sore throat.
Once my head was settled back on the pillow, I looked to him with achy eyes. "Tell me I'm a brave solider."
Harry laughed and smacked me with the pillow I'd irritably thrown off the bed. I stared. Harry had laughed. For the first time since his date-gone-wrong. I felt the crazy urge to jump up and hug him. He was back. I had my friend back.
"Ow," I said, instead of attacking him with mushy touchy-feely rubbish. Best pretend a moment of monumental importance hadn't just happened. Chuckles tore at my throat, "that actually hurt, you prat. I'm all sore."
"Sorry." He did sound a little sorry as he dropped the pillow, so I gave it to him. He sat down on the edge of my bed. "Hey, Ron?"
"Hey, Harry?" I teased.
"Thanks for putting up with me for the past couple months. I know I haven't been all that pleasant to hang out with."
I shifted up on my pillows with a wince. "You were nearly murdered. Really, it's understandable."
Harry frowned. "I've been nearly murdered plenty of times and I didn't get like this."
"I think being nearly murdered a lot is the sort of thing that builds up," I said wisely.
Harry's eyes fell to his knees. "It was just such a waste. Everyone she loved was gone and she was so desperate not to be alone that she…" He swallowed. "It just makes me think, what if I'd lost you and Hermione? I wouldn't have been okay."
I reached out and grabbed his hand, despite my hand being manky from hours of blowing my nose. "Hey, mate, we're not going anywhere."
Harry smiled, communicating his thanks wordlessly. "Good. Because the way you're acting, I thought this cold was going to be the end of you."
I groaned and let my head fall back against my pillows. "Why can't I have some bird watching after me with big boobs and maybe a little nurse's uniform? She'd feel sorry for me and when she went to feel my forehead, I'd get a face full of cleavage."
Harry rolled his eyes and stood. "Sorry to break it to you, mate, but you look pretty disgusting. Your nose is red and drippy and the rest of you's the color of oatmeal. Don't think you'd be all that enticing to the girls right now."
I pouted. "See? You're mean!"
Harry shrugged. "No worries. You'll be back in action soon. I'll make you some chicken soup and in a few days, you'll be right back out there at the bars, chatting up Cannon's groupies."
"Okay," I said sleepily. "And you should come with me to celebrate."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Celebrate you getting laid? I don't think you want me involved in that celebration." His eyes went wide and his cheeks went red. He laughed nervously. "Right. I'm going to go start on that soup. You sleep."
He hurried out before I could figure out why he'd got so twitchy.
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