"This is wrong," Harry whispered. His fingers grasped the shoulders of Ron's robes and he held him for a few seconds before pushing him back. His best friend. Of all the people he shouldn't be kissing, his best friend was definitely at the top of the list. The stunned look on the other boy's face showed that he felt the same.
"I don't know what..." Ron stammered and took several steps back, his face reddening with each second that passed. Wide blue eyes raised to meet the green eyes that had, seconds before, been looking into his with undisguised passion. He lowered them to stare at his hands.
It was all wrong. The way they'd looked at each other, the long, fevered kiss that followed, the way Harry had felt his body responding when Ron clutched a handful of his hair. And yet, all of it felt as if it was supposed to happen somehow; the tension between them had been leading up to this.
The fight had begun over something small. Ron wasn't speaking to Hermione—again—and Harry was tired of having to shuttle between them—again. But for the first time since the three had become friends, Harry had decided to get involved. A mistake.
"You should talk to Hermione."
Ron had frowned then and dropped his school bag on the bed. "And do what? Apologize? Fat chance of that." A few beats passed. "I wasn't wrong, you know. How I deal with my sister is my business and she stuck her nose where it doesn't belong."
"She was just trying to help," Harry said in Hermione's defense. "You were so wound up about seeing Ginny with Dean—" He stopped, a vision of what they'd witnessed in the hall flashing before his eyes. "All she wanted to do was—"
"All she wanted to do was excuse what they'd been doing because she'd been up to the same things with Vicky two years ago." He spat out the name of Hermione's former boyfriend with the kind of bitter disdain Harry wouldn't have expected over something that had happened so far in the past. He didn't know why, but something about Ron's indignation bothered him.
Harry sighed. "Look, I know you're really just upset about the Quidditch thing. You don't have to take it out on everyone." Ron snorted and rolled his eyes. Harry moved closer until he was standing in front of Ron. The other boy continued to face away from him; he was leaning with both hands against the bed, his fingers gripping the sheets. "I think you'll be fine. It was just one bad practice."
"One of many," Ron corrected. "I should quit the team. You'd all be better off without me."
"Don't be an idiot."
"That's what you really think of me?" Ron's face clouded over as he raised his voice in a shout. He stood to face Harry. "The hero's stupid best friend. Can't even get off the Quidditch pitch in one piece without you."
"I was just trying to help," Harry said feebly. "If you'd stop being so damn proud—"
"That's it, innit?" Ron asked. "I don't really have anything to be proud of." He waved his hand half-heartedly at Harry. "Not like you with your legions of fans and your fancy clothes. You must feel sorry for someone like me."
"Is that what you want?" He pulled the new robes from his chest, holding the fabric taut for a moment. "You can have it. You can be famous. You can have the money. You can have whatever you want from me if it'll stop you acting like this." Then he saw it. For the briefest of moments, when Harry looked at Ron he saw a raw desire to be, to consume, to share something so basic that he felt himself drawn into and beyond the light blue eyes. Yes, they could be joined in the most elemental of ways. Then their lips touched. Their tongues. Their hearts beat in unison. For the first time Harry could remember, he lost himself. And he found himself. And he couldn't believe the sudden fire in his veins was because of Ron.
It was wrong. He just had to convince his still-racing heart of that.
"We should probably talk about it," Harry said.
Ron had retreated to the far end of his bed. His eyes shot up as Harry spoke. "I don't think that's the best idea." He glanced over to the door. A few voices could he heard in the hall. A laugh sounded before everything fell silent again. Ron cleared his throat. "I think it's best if we never bring it up again."
Normally Harry would be happy, grateful even, for the chance to ignore one of the more awkward moments of his life, but he sensed this was the kind of thing he wouldn't be able to put out of his mind until he made sense of it. That would probably be a long time from now. "Ron, I'm sorry. I didn't know...I mean, I had no idea I was actually going to do that until it happened."
"It's all right," Ron whispered. "I...you know." He'd reciprocated. In a way that had Harry wanting more, in spite of his confusion. "I think we'd better just forget it."
"What if I don't want to do that?" Harry coughed. Like the kiss, his words had been an unexpected communication of his desires. He felt his face heat as Ron watched him, his eyes searching. "What if this is more than just some strange...?" It was no accident, that much was sure. He'd meant to do it, just as much as Ron had wanted it then. If the expectant expression on the other boy's face was any indication, he still wanted it. Their thoughts were in sync again.
"If this is...something," Harry began, "Shouldn't we know for sure instead of walking away like this?"
"What are you on about?" Ron crossed his arms over his chest. "There's no way we could have something. That would be crazy."
"Crazy, yeah," Harry agreed.
But as his friend looked at him and Harry began closing the distance between them, he knew they were both the same kind of crazy. On this day, in this moment, the scenario that could never be just was. When they kissed again, there were no questions. When they locked the door, there were no protests. When they removed their clothes and took that final step, there were no regrets. Afterwards there was just the secret two best friends shared, and the private satisfaction that came from a shared memory.