Harry Bloody-Fucking Potter. Ron was going to kill him! That was, he was going to figure out a way to get to him before all the other crazies the damn idiot seemed to attract in herds did. This was just bloody unbelievable. Dear Merlin, this was the sixth time in the past two months that he had gotten a floo that right near made his heart stop. Harry, of course, had gotten hexed, or Harry had been nearly blown up, or Harry had a broken nose, or Harry had been shot by a muggle man raping a witch in her twenties. Now, it was Harry revived after taking a deadly spell to the chest to save a six-year-old girl. He knew the St. Mungo's medical staff by first names, for God's sake, and everyone acted as if this was normal, as if any other Auror on the squad got hurt as often. Ron knew for a fact they didn't; he had bribed, schemed, and charmed until he had convinced a Ministry secretary to get him medical reports which showed average number of Auror injuries per month. Harry had them beat on serious injuries four times over.
He had found out that fair bit of information after Harry came home with only one eyebrow, laughing it up, as if having four bones healed was just another part work that fit after filing morning papers but before dinner. It had made him see red, and he hadn't spoken to Harry the entire day, much to his friend's confusion. When he finally calmed down and apologized with a greasy midnight Chinese food run, he couldn't explain to Harry why it was that he was so fired up. He didn't say it, but he guessed it had something to do with the way his chest tighted every time Harry came through the door, wondering what type of injury he would be talking about tonight or what near death experience he had run into that day. Maybe it was also a mixture of intense apprehension and worry every time he got a floo at work that made him go cold with fear that this would be the day that news of Harry's death would be announced to him by an annoying, impersonal secretary from the Ministry.
He and Harry had been best friends for the past nine years, had gone through everything together, childhood, puberty, and even the fall of the darkest wizard in magical history. After Hogwarts, they had moved in together, and Harry had been there when Hermione had eventually decided that they were just too different, that their goals had no meeting ground, and that they were better off being friends. It had hurt, a lot, and there had been a time there when Ron had found it too hard to do anything, when he only got up because Harry was there with a cup of coffee and a smile, making the best of a horrible situation. It hadn't been like he hadn't agreed with Hermione; in fact, he totally had. He had been nothing short of miserable the last two months before their relationship ended, but the idea of losing Hermione, of perhaps never seeing her again in case it got too awkward, was momentarily too much to bear.
Harry had braved the sadness, had been there for both Ron and Hermione, going in between flats with pastries that he baked in between saving lives and getting a couple of hours of rest. He had been the one that had talked them both through the moments when both had believed that they would never be friends again, that they had mucked it all up for good. Without Harry, perhaps they never would have moved to a point where it was finally okay to look each other in the eye, where Hermione would come over again regularly and Ron would only feel a twinge that went away when she started bringing up books. Not even the fact that she had a new boyfriend just as annoyingly smart as her really phased him anymore, even though he did feel the urge now and then to punch Thomas in the face when he said something to him or Harry in that fucking infuriating, condescending voice of his.
The point was, Harry had been there, had been through it all, and he damn well better be there for the rest that was to come. He had grabbed his coat as soon as his legs didn't feel like they were going to give way under him, and he had apparated to St. Mungos without even letting George know that he was taking off. Hell, it had happened so often that he had no doubt his brother knew exactly where he was going. He had been in a hurry to get there; actually, that was a fair bit of an understatement. Now, though, only steps away from Harry's room, seriously, a room reserved for Harry, he allowed himself to slow. He had no idea what he would find in there, what state his friend was going to be in, whether Harry would be unconscious, looking as vulnerable as he had been when on one occasion a group of witches dealing illegal potions had stabbed him in the abdomen during a bust gone wrong.
When he finally got enough courage to make his hand turn the silver knob, suddenly tremendously heavy in his palm, what he found inside was ten times worse. Harry Potter sat on his bed, one arm in a sling, the other handling his wand as he made bubbles come out of one end making different shapes with the flick of his wrist. The sling meant he had suffered burns of some kind that the doctors hadn't wanted to heal in case they reacted with some of their potions, which meant that they had been caused by some spell, and by the look of his wrapped ribs, they had also hit him below and on the right side of his chest. What made this worse, though, what made Ron see red, was the fact that though the great prat was so obviously seriously injured, though there was an angry red mark where the spell meant to kill him had hit, he was smiling broadly and he possitively grinned when he saw Ron walk through the door.
"Ron!" Harry called out, his eyes shining with what Ron educatedly guessed was a mixture of pain dulling potions and a serious case of insanity.
Ron did not respond but instead walked to Harry's bedside. He grabbed Harry's wand out of his hand and let it fall with a muffled thump next to Harry's thigh, and then he grabbed on to Harry's shoulders and gave him a hug that might have been far more tight than was comfortable. Harry's hand came to rest on the back of his head, and he asked, "What's wrong?" concern lacing his voice before he hugged back with just as much strength.
Ron stepped out of the embrace and looked at him, trying to gauge whether he was kidding or not. However, there was nothing on Harry's face that betrayed any sort of mockery, only some of the same usual innocent looks. Trying to keep his temper in check, Ron closed his eyes and took a deep breath, "You are an arse," and then he puched Harry on the arm that was not bandaged.
"Ouch," winced Harry laughing through the pain, "Is that any way to treat your ailing flatmate? I almost died there, buddy. You would think you would show me some kindness in my moment of weakness."
"Oh, wipe that innocent look off your face. It makes you look like you have mental disabilities. I have tried showing you kindess, but it obviously doesn't stop you from making stupid decisions; I thought that maybe if I punched you, I could actually knock some sense into you," said Ron with a firm frown.
"Have I not been hurt enough?" Harry asked dramatically.
That took the fight out of him; Ron allowed his breath to exhale and he said very quietly, "Yes, you have."
"Hey, come on. What's wrong?" Harry's eyebrows knotted, and he looked at Ron with concern.
Ron suddenly couldn't look at him, so he turned away, his eyes suddenly stinging with unshed tears, "I-"
"Hey, hey, no, come here," said Harry, grabbing on to his tense hand and pulling him closer to the bed, making him sit so Harry could hug him. "I'm okay. Look at me; I'm fine."
"But that's not enough, is it?" Ron mumbled into the side of Harry's neck, feeling like a right prat when his tears began to fall down his face. "That's not enough."
"Ron, I had to do it. The little girl would have died; I couldn't just-"
Then, Ron clung to him even more, "But what if you had died? What would I have done?"
"Ron-" but Harry was not allowed to finish his train of thought.
Hermione interrupted them and came crashing through the door, tears making free flowing trails down her cheeks, "You bloody moron!"
Then, she was hugging them both, until Ron moved to the window and stared down at the little garden by the hospital's courtyard. He wiped a hand at his face, but the tears wouldn't quit. The mediwizards had chosen this room specifically for Harry, because he was a common customer and they wanted him to be as comfortable as he could possibly be the many times that he joined them. However nice the thought was, it did nothing to make Ron feel any better. There should be no reason for Harry to have to have a room specifically set out for him in a fucking hospital decked out with all the potions usually implemented when treating serious injuries. Hell, Ron shouldn't know which potions were used to treat serious injuries. Except, he did, because he was the one that soothed them into Harry's wounds when he took him home, and he was the one that woke up in the middle of the night, frightened as all hell, and tipped toed into Harry's room just to check that he was still breathing. What made it all worse was that he knew he would be doing it again, not just this time, but the next time, and the next time, and the next time, praying each time that this would be the last time Harry risked his life, the last time he would be hurt.
When Harry was finally released, it was almost impossible for Ron to look him in the eye. Harry would have to stay home for at least three weeks, mediwizard's orders, so that his wounds could heal naturally. The only potions he was allowed to take were to dull the pain, but other than that, too little was known about the spell and no one was willing to risk making Harry's injuries any worse. That meant that Ron would be spending the majority of that time at home, pretending that he was only keeping Harry company when in reality both they, and George, knew that Ron was around to make sure that nothing went wrong and that Harry took care of himself. Most of the time, it was Ron who took care of him, though he often suspected it was because Harry let him, a peace offering letting Ron know that he really was going to be okay. As far as George went, he never said anything and had a local teenager ready to help him whenever something like this happened.
They eventually made it to their tiny flat in the outskirts of London, and Ron supported Harry with one arm and turned the key and pushed the door open with the other. Ron walked slowly, stopping midway to their living room to allow Harry to catch his breath. By the time he deposited Harry on the couch, Harry was soaked in sweat and though he tried to put up a brave front and smile, he had to close his eyes and rest his head back. His injuries must have been much tougher on him than Ron had previously thought, because when he tried to rouse Harry to take him to his room, he was asleep. Ron shook his head and even gave a small smile before setting down Harry's carry home bag. He knew when Harry woke up, he would give him hell for it, but Ron did it anyway. He lifted Harry as gently as he could, pausing when he had him fully in his arms to make sure he was asleep, and took him into Harry's bedroom, setting him down on his bed before walking out, making sure he left the door open in case anything was wrong.
"So, are you going to talk to me now?" Harry asked, a little peeved that ever since the morning, Ron had said nothing to him but a few short words here and there when it was time for him to take some potions. Ron hadn't even responded when Harry tried to get a rise out of him after he woke up in his own bed and gave Ron crap for having carried him to his bed as if he were a girl.
Ron paused with his fork midway to his mouth and set it back down on his plate. He looked at Harry for a moment, and then he asked, "What do you want me to say?"
"I want you to tell me why you're so pissed at me," Harry answered perhaps a little more sharply than he should have.
"I'm not mad at you," said Ron once again grabbing his fork and taking a bite of his steak. Every time that Harry got hurt, Ron went all out and bought a lot of protein and a lot of vegetables, crafting their diet into a series of dishes designed to help Harry heal faster.
Harry let his fork drop to his plate, and he glared at Ron, "If you don't tell me what's wrong, I'm not going to eat."
"Harry, don't be an idiot. You're hungry and you need it, so you can get better."
"Well, I'm not going to do it unless you answer me," Harry continued obstinately.
Ron glared right back at him and let out an angry breath, "Fine. Then fucking starve; I thought you would be more than eager to get better, so you can go right back out there and risk your life."
"Is that what's been bothering you?" Harry asked with a look on his face that told Ron just how stupid he thought he was being.
"Harry, are you daft? And don't look at me as if I'm the one with mental problems," Ron let out.
Harry took in a deep breath and explained, "Ron, it's my job."
"Yeah, well is it my job to be here every time you decide to-"
Harry's face turned an angry shade of red, "If it bothers you to take care of me, no one is asking you to be inconvenienced. I can do fine by myself, thanks."
Ron slammed his fork into his plate and stood up, "Are you fucking stupid? Of course it doesn't bother me to be here to help you. What bothers me is worrying every time I hear the fucking floo go off. What bothers me is wondering what it is this time, perhaps a dislocated collar bone, or maybe a perforated lung. What fucking bothers me, Harry, is waking up and wondering if this is the day my fucking best friend dies," then he stormed out, going to his room, but not without saying, "Finish eating and call me when you are ready to get up."
After he finished all the food on his plate, much more to please Ron than because he was hungry, especially after hearing Ron's words, Harry called out softly for his friend. Ron came out almost immediately, as if he had been waiting for Harry to call him, and came to his side. Without saying a word, he grabbed Harry gently under his unbandaged arm and helped him stand. By now, they both knew the drill: after dinner they would sit on the couch, and Ron would help Harry put on whatever potions had been assigned externally before Hermione came in through the floo. Then, they would pop in a movie in their new widescreen t.v., and they would joke until Harry got too tired or it was time for him to take a shower and then sleep.
Tonight, though, they went through their usual routine in silence. Ron was obviously still mad and probably embarrased, and Harry didn't know what to say to make it better. He was sure that if he did say anything, he would no doubt end up saying the wrong thing and Ron would just end up even more angry than he already was. Harry winced when Ron tried to get his loose shirt off him and had to bite down on his lip when it caught on the bandages. Ron moved back and looked at him for a moment before going to the bathroom, returning after a second with a pair of scissors. Without saying a word, Ron sliced the shirt open and threw it away. Returning back to the couch, he sat down facing Harry and slowly began to work the bandages off Harry, knowing with a wrenching feeling in the bottom of his stomach that this was hurting Harry much worse than he was letting on.
"Here," Ron reached out for a pain potion and handed it to Harry, helping him open it and then placing it on his lips before tilting it back.
He gave Harry a few minutes until some of the tightness around Harry's eyes relaxed and then continued. Even though the potion would help a little bit, Ron knew it took longer for it to take its full effect. He hated this part, hated causing Harry more pain than he was already in, but they had no choice. They had to change the bandages, and they had to administer the potions at a certain time. So, he focused and worked seduously making sure to cause Harry as little discomfort as he possibly could. When they were almost finished, Hermione popped in through the floo, catching Ron finishing wrapping Harry in the new, clean bandages.
"Hey, guys," Hermione greeted them.
"Hey, Hermione," Harry answered and Ron nodded at her and smiled. "What are we watching tonight?"
Hermione waved a dismissing hand and went into their kitchen, coming back a minute later with two glasses of red wine, one for her and one for Ron, "It does't matter. Whatever you both feel like watching is okay with me."
"Hey," Harry said, "That's not fair."
"Shouldn't have gotten hurt," Hermione shrugged and even Ron had to smile when he took his glass and took a healthy gulp of the ember liquid.
Hermione popped in a dvd of an old sitcom that both she and Harry loved, but which Ron absolutely hated even if he never said so, and she settled herself on the armchair. Their couch was too small for all three to fit, but it was so comfortable that even though Ron was mad at Harry, he wasn't selfless or angry enough to ask Hermione to switch with him. Next to him, Harry took his presence as a good sign as far as things went and relaxed further into his seat.
"So, how are you feeling?" Hermione asked taking a sip of her drink.
"Peachy, thanks," Harry answered her with a cheeky smile.
Hermione rolled her eyes, "Har, har, aren't you just the funniest little fellow? I'm being serious."
Harry opened his mouth to respond, but Ron beat him to the punch, "He's just fine. Preparing to go off on another adventure as soon as possible. Among the possibilities, jumping off Mount Everest and getting eaten by a herd of wild Pixies."
"Pixies don't travel in herds, Ronald," Hermione saved Harry from answering Ron's sarcastic reply. "They travel in-"
Ron yawned loudly, "That's just how much I care."
"You are so rude. I swear your mother would be apalled if she knew how little respect you have for knowledge."
"What can he say, Hermione? No one ever accused him of being smart," Harry said looking at Ron with some apprehension until the other responded with a hesitant grin.
"Hmm," Hermione pondered, "That's true. However, if they accused him of vapid stupidity, he would be charged and incarcerted faster than a whizzing snitch."
Ron laughed good naturedly and flipped Hermione off, getting a startled, "Ronald!" in response. Sure, he was mad at Harry, but he had enough sense, however improbable Hermione might have thought it, to know that he was being a tad irrational. Harry was right; it was his job. It was hard to accept, but that's what Harry did. One way or another, he would have to find a way to deal with it, and making his injured friend suffer for his shortcomings was too selfish. Even so, as the night went on, Ron gave Harry a harder time than usual but finally let up when he saw the thin sheen of sweat accumulating on Harry's forehead.
"Mione, though I find your amazing brainosity fascinating, I think it's time for you to return to your boring life. Harry, here, has to go to sleep," Ron told Hermione, getting up and taking her glass.
"Oh, alright," Hermione sighed. "I won't be able to come by tomorrow. Thomas and I are going apparating over to France to work with their Ministry on drafting an outline for fair treatments of working class species under wizarding families."
"It sounds very exciting," Ron said dryly.
Harry rolled his eyes and smiled at Hermione, "Don't listen to him, Hermione. That's great. Congratulations."
Hermione blushed under the attention and said her good byes, stepping through the fire after giving him a light hug. She looked at Ron and stuck her tongue out, before grabbing a handful of powder and fading away.
Ron shook his head and as he helped Harry up, he said, "I don't know how it happened, but that prick Thomas has made her loosen up. It makes no sense. You would think that after dating me, she would have changed more under my miraculous influence."
"Don't call Thomas that. What?" Harry asked at Ron's incredulous look, "Thomas is not that bad. I mean, yeah, he's a little condescending-"
"A little?" Ron interceded.
"-but he's good for her. They're happy, and you should be happy for them."
"I am happy for them, Harry. I just don't understand it," Ron said walking them to the small bathroom they shared.
"It's love, Ron. What's so hard to understand about that?" Harry asked in a voice filled with such subtle longing that Ron looked at him for a second too long before helping him sit on top of the toilet.
"Here," Ron handed him Harry his toothbrush, grabbing his own and brushing his teeth.
Harry moved his hand to his mouth, but paused and stared at Ron until Ron looked back at him with a questioning gaze, "Ron, I'm really sorry that I make you worry."
Ron spit the toothpaste out of his mouth and smiled at him, "Don't be sorry; you're right. It's your job. I'm sorry I said anything."
"No," Harry reached for his hand, "You were right. It's not fair of me to depend on you."
"Oh, shut up," Ron stopped him, "Don't even think about moving out. I know those words are about to leave your mouth. I don't mind taking care of you, Harry. You're my best friend. I just want you to be safe."
Harry stared for a second and then gave him a soft smile, looking up at him through his eyelashes, apparently completely charmed, "Thanks, mate."
Ron grinned, "No problem."
Two days later, Ron woke up earlier than usual and decided to make them an extra nice breakfast. He and Harry were back to normal, just as they always were, and he was more glad than he would care to admit. The truth was, Ron didn't really function well without Harry. After basically living together for nine years, it was difficult not to talk to him. It made things unnaturally awkward, and it was just so much easier to act as they usually did. As he flipped one of their omelets, he heard a light thump to his right and turned to see Harry slump into the side of their kitchen island.
Dropping the spatula, Ron hurried over to Harry's side and grabbed him in his arms, supporting his weight. He half carried half walked Harry to one of their three island chairs and sat him down, waiting patiently for Harry to catch his breath, his head resting on Ron's chest, "Thanks."
"It's okay. How are you?" asked Ron putting one of his hands on Harry's back.
"Honestly?" Harry asked him, looking up momentarily before letting his head drop against Ron's chest again, "A little more than dizzy but a fair bit less than nauscious."
"Here, hold on," Ron said, pushing him to a full sitting position, "We have to get some food into your belly." He went to the stove and returned with two plates, some pickles on Harry's, "Why didn't you just call for me to come get you?"
"I thought I could do it. Besides," Harry smiled taking his plate and the offered fork, "I smelled food."
"You like it?"
"Yeah," Harry said honestly, "It's my favorite."
Ron grinned at him and took a bite, "It is pretty good."
After a moment, Harry cleared his throat, and Ron narrowed his eyes slightly when he saw a faint blush on Harry's cheeks, "Would you mind opening the floo to the Ministry, please?"
"No, but why?" Ron asked suspiciously.
Harry looked down at his plate and concentrated hard on his food, "Just someone from work wants to visit me is all."
"Someone?" Ron asked only to have Harry nod non-commitally. "Who?"
"Who the fuck is Roger?" Ron asked, his good humor gone.
"Roger is just someone I know from work," said Harry.
"What, like a boyfriend?"
Harry blushed a brighter shade, "Not exactly; not yet."
"Not yet? Fine," Ron said, but much to Harry's confusion, he shut down completely.
Harry knew that Ron sometimes worried about him rarely going on dates but worried even more when he went on them. It left him really confused, because when he tried to please Ron by going out with someone, it was as if he displeased him eve more by going out with someone at all. Roger was more than anything another attempt at trying to figure out Ron's mixed signals. They were so darn confusing that Harry sometimes thought that Ron actually had a thing for him. Then he would berate himself for being so stupid, and he would go out and attempt it all once again. It helped nothing that every time Harry got hurt, they both allowed more contact, as if to reassure one another that everything was okay. Now, Harry was half in love with his best friend, and that it was getting harder and harder to hide it from himself.
Later in the day, as Harry readied himself for his date, Ron did his part by cleaning up their living room. When the floo went off and a tall, good looking guy walked through, Ron frowned and let out, "Who the fuck are you?"
"Oh, umm, I'm Roger," the man answered looking a little taken aback by such a rude greeting.
"Right, wait here," Ron said, walking away, then as if he thought better of his behavior, "You can sit." He walked to Harry's room and caught him trying to put on a lovely green, long sleeved shirt that brought out his eyes. Ron's eyes immediately became glued on the smooth line down Harry's muscled back, leading to two dimples just above the hem of his trousers. Tearing his eyes away, he said, "Roger's in the living room. Here, let me help you."
Harry turned around slowly and smled gratefully at him, allowing the other boy access to the front of his body so he could button up his shirt, "Thanks. How is he?"
"Yeah," Harry said, blushing, obviously pleased. "Will you please help me get over there?"
"Sure," Ron said, though he was thinking 'Yes, I very well mind, and no you shouldn't go,' and hooped his arm around Harry's waist. He didn't know what it was, really, but something about fucking Roger's handsome face made him want to throw a vase at him. In fact, if he thought about it, every guy that Harry brought home, and every girl for that matter, made him want to smash things. Allowing Harry to sit next to Roger on the couch after mumbling a shy, "Hi," Ron excused himself and retreated to his room. No matter how much he immediately disliked this Roger character, it was not fair to Harry for him to interfere. Harry deserved to be happy, but he was almost immediately positive that Roger was not the one to make Harry as happy as he deserved. All the same, he settled into his bed and relaxed, listening with distaste as Harry laughed at some compliment stupid Roger gave him.
Two hours later, Ron finally heard the distinct noises betraying Roger's exit. Deeming it safe to return outside, Ron walked out of his room in time to catch Roger giving Harry a light kiss on the cheek, his hand resting much too comfortably on the inside of Harry's thigh. The sight made Ron go red for two reasons: partly out of anger at fucking Roger's audacity and partly because that hand made him think about just how nice the inside of Harry's thighs really were. Convincing himself that he had given them enough time, Ron cleared his throat rudely, causing them to part, Harry with a furious blush, and moved into the room.
"So, you're leaving?" he asked.
Roger narrowed his eyes but nodded. He turned to Harry with a small, intimate smile and said, "I hope that I can visit you again."
Harry grinned up at him, "I would really like that, Roger."
"I would too," Roger said with a toothy grin that revealed a charming dimple.
It was so charming in fact, that Ron wanted to smack it right off his face, "Yeah, well, it was nice to meet you."
Roger nodded, "Nice to meet you too. Good bye, green eyes."
Harry blushed again and smiled at him. He waved good bye as Roger stepped inside their fireplaced and flooed away.
When he was finally gone, Ron turned to Harry and raised his eyebrows, "Green eyes?"
"It's just an inside joke," said Harry,
"Oh, so you two have inside jokes. Okay," Ron said, busying himself with a couple of Harry's potions.
Harry knew this dance. He was a well practiced player, in fact. Ron was hurt, and he was trying really valiantly not to let on just what he thought of Roger and Harry sharing inside jokes. Harry hated this, hated hurting his best friend, but he was also left extremely frustrated. He didn't know what to give Ron to make him happy. Roger was a great guy, extremely handsome complete with a six pack Harry had felt through his shirt, but Harry was willing to drop him in a second if it meant that Ron wouldn't look at him like he had done him some great hurt. Then, of course, there was the fact that Ron also had a fantastic stomach full of muscles that rippled every time he came out of the shower in just a towel.
When Ron finally came to sit by him on the couch, Harry halted him, his hand conveniently coming to rest on said man's well developed six pack, "He's no threat to you, Ron."
"I just don't like the look of him is all," Ron said. "But if he makes you happy, then it's fine with me."
Harry let his hand drop, "So you don't mind?"
"Why would I?" Ron asked even though he looked like he was swallowing something particularly disgusting.
"Alright then," Harry nodded, "Then I'm going to ask him to come by tomorrow."
"No, you can't," Ron thought quickly, "Tomorrow, mom is inviting the family over to have dinner over here, remember?"
"Oh, that's right," Harry said remembering belatedly the date. Mrs. Weasley had made them promise a month ago to go over by the Burrow, but since Harry had gotten hurt, it was obvious that the party would be moved into their cramped flat.
That night, when they were watching some late night t.v. before heading to bed, Harry noted with interest that Ron sat even closer to him than he usually did. It was obvious that Ron didn't notice what he was doing, but Harry found it pretty obvious, perhaps because he usually held his breath and counted the inches of distance between them on regular days. It actually made him feel pitiful to feel on the edge of his seat every time Ron shifted his weight. With a sigh, Harry allowed his head to drop to the back of the couch, and he admitted to himself, if only to himself, that he wasn't just half in love with Ron, he was full-fledged, ready to offer servitude and marriage, in love with his best friend. Looking sideways at Ron, who was laughing at something on the telly, Harry smiled thinking, 'At least it makes life more interesting.'
"Mum, give the poor bloke room to breath," Ron laughed, making his mother step back from his overwhelmed friend.
"I'm just having a good look at him, Ron. He looks a bit peaky, but nothing that a good dinner can't fix. How are you feeling, dear?" Mrs. Weasley asked Harry warmly.
"Better," Harry smiled at her and waved at George and Mr. Weasley who stepped through the floo with Ginnny following, all carrying different dishes. "Thank you for doing all of this."
"Oh, it's no problem. Too bad that Hermione and that nice chap of hers won't be joining us," she lamented going over to their cupboard and bringing out nearly all of the plates they owned.
Ron went over and helped her set them on their dining table, made longer with a little help of one of Mr. Weasley's spell, and said, "Not so sure she feels that way. She looked like she was having a good time with Thomas."
Harry shot him a warning glare and turned to Mrs. Weasley, "She and her boyfriend decided to stay in France for a mini holiday before coming back next week."
"Well, Merlin knows she deserves it," Ginny said, setting down her dish.
"She sure does," Mr. Weasley said, settling down on one of their worn chairs, "From what I hear at the Ministry, that young lady has prompted more law changes in the past year she has been working, as a student no less, than anyone in the past forty years."
"She makes us all look bad," George put in with a grin. "How did the chaps over in France hear of her, though? I mean, I love Hermione, but I would have thought that being so young, no one would have heard of her yet."
Ginny grabbed the gravy boat and said, "I know. I was talking with her the other day, after she left the shop, George, and she told me that a French Ministry official had just happened to be present at a convention where she was putting forth sort of law proposal to better working conditions for House Elves, and he had liked what she had to say. He put in a good word with the French Minister of Magic, and there you are."
"Wait, wait, wait," Ron interrupted, "What was Hermione doing at the shop, George? I don't remember her going by."
George blushed an interesting shade of red and looked down at the food he was serving on his plate, "Oh, you know..."
"No, I don't think he does," Harry said. "Why don't you tell us about it."
Ginny looked at her brother expectantly and narrowed her eyes, "Yeah, Georgy, why don't you tell us about it?"
"Georgy?" Mrs. Weasley asked, ,making sure they all had a full plate of food.
Ginny laughed, "Yeah, that's what Hermione called him when she was leaving."
"Ginny, shut up," George said taking a large bite of stuffing.
"Why should she, Georgy?" Ron asked, basking in his brother's embarrasment.
George frowned at him, "She was just kidding, so shut it. She has just been coming over the last few weeks, telling me about work and stuff. I actually think it's good for her; it makes her loosen up."
Harry raised his eyebrows and turned to look at Ron, "So it isn't Thomas who's making her calm down."
"Thomas?" George asked with a laugh, "That stuck up prick? Please."
"George!" Mrs. Weasley admonished. "Don't call him that; he's a nice boy and he treats Hermione very well."
"If you say so," George let it drop.
"So, how has work been?" Harry changed the conversation, turning his attention to Mr. Weasley and giving poor George some room to breathe.
In the end, they had a lovely evening. It was very interesting to Harry, who had never had a family, to see all the different changes they had all gone through. Since all of her children had moved out and the threat of Voldemort was no longer an issue, Mrs. Weasley had gone softer around the edges, a little plumper and more easy to laugh now than she had ever been. Mr. Weasley was losing his hair by the minute, but besides that, he remained the most unchanged of them all. Ginny, of course, had turned into a spectacular looking young woman with legs that didn't seem to end and a certain smile that happened to get a certain Dean Thomas in trouble often. After the war, George had surprised them all by coping supremely well, and though it was often when they caught him looking around the joke shop as if he expected someone to come out and surprise him, he was happy again and had even recovered his hearing with a small magical device implanted just on the inside the scar of his lost ear.
Ron had also done a fantastic job of growing up. In fact, he had grown so much that he now stood nearly a full head taller than Harry. He had filled out phenomenally, built with wide shoulders and a square chest, and a tummy so taut that it sometimes made it hard for Harry to focus. Even his face had lost the roundness of his baby fat and was now chiseled with a strong jaw and high cheekbones. It was Harry's personal opinion that Ron was actually the best looking of all his brothers, even better than Bill and Charley known to be supreme panty droppers.
"Did you have a good time?" Ron asked contentedly, taking another sip of his wine.
"Yeah," Harry answered sleepily.
They were both sitting on the couch. Ron was leaning with his back agains the couch's arm, his feet propped on Harry's lap, "I think mum needs it, you know? I figure it must be hard on her to have us all out of the house, especially with Bill and Fleur so far away and none of the rest of us lining up to give her grandchildren."
"Well, she can't really expect them this early on, can she?" Harry asked, "You're all so young, and the closest to having an actual long time relationship is Ginny with Dean."
"I would contest that," Ron said, setting his feet on the ground and sitting up, getting close to Harry's face. "You and I have lived together for two years; I would like to see Ginny beat that."
Harry caught his breath, noting how close Ron was to his face. The glint of glass caught his attention, and he exhaled with a smile, "Yeah, but I'm talking about a relationship that will actually produce tiny, little screaming machines. Come on, you're drunk and I'm tired. Let's go to bed."
Sighing, Ron looked into his glass then tipped it back, "Alright. Come on."
The last Sunday of their first week, Roger came over again. Then, he was back the next Wednesday, each time making a huge fuss about how much stronger Harry looked with Harry of course eating it all up much to Ron's distaste. It made him want to walk into the living room and subtly point out that it was because of him that Harry looked so much better and that if fucking Roger had been there to take care of Harry, he wouldn't be so surprised at how good he looked. Of course Harry looked good; he always healed fast, and he didn't need Roger of all people to tell him what a great job he was doing.
The following Thursday, tired and irritated at having to see Roger's ugly mug twice in the same week, Ron walked into the kitchen and caught sight of him kissing Harry then moving down onto Harry's throat where he bit down, making Harry give this tiny little gasp that made Ron immediately blush red. Roger started to move his dirty paw up Harry's shirt, and it just became too much for Ron. He sat his cup down heavily on the counter making them spring apart. Roger glared at him, as if asking what the hell he thought he was doing, and Ron glared right back.
Harry cleared his throat and pushed Roger gently off between his legs, "I think it would be best if we saw each other some other time. Is that okay?"
Roger turned from glaring at Ron and looked at Harry with surprise, then he schooled his features, "Yeah, that would be fine. How is tomorrow? I was thinking that maybe, if you're strong enough, I could take you out to dinner."
"He can't," Ron put in rudely. "We have to go to the hospital tomorrow."
"What? Are you okay?" Roger's hand moved to rest gently on Harry's chest.
"No, no, I'm fine," Harry smiled taking his hand in his, "I just have to go in for a check up. How about next week; that way I have a little more time to get stronger."
"If you want," Roger proposed, "I could come by tomorrow and go with you to the hospital; I really wouldn't mind."
Fucking Roger! "No, he doesn't need you to come by, actually," Ron said. "I'm taking him."
"I know you are," he returned coldly. "I just that Harry would like my company."
"That's really sweet of you," said Harry, "But Ron's right. You just go on with your day; I know tomorrow is going to be especially busy at the office. I'll see you next week; I promise."
Roger nodded and leaned in for a kiss that went on too long in Ron's opinion, before he moved back and said, "I'll see you next week then."
When he was gone, Harry turned and glared at Ron, "What the fuck is your problem?"
"What are you talking about?" Ron asked bringing out some milk from the fridge.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about. Why are you being so rude to Roger? He has been nothing but nice, coming here to keep me company when he had no reason to. I would think that after all the whining you do about me not going out on dates that you would be happy that I actually have a very handsome, good looking bloke who actually wants to come and be with me for me, without any cameras or any publicity."
"He's not that handsome," Ron said petulantly taking a sip of his milk.
Harry exhaled an exasperated breath, "That's not the point, Ron. He likes me, and I like him. He makes me laugh, and he thinks that I'm smart and charming. Please don't mess this up for me."
"You are smart and charming. You don't need some guy to tell you that," Ron said pushing himself off the counter and coming into the living room.
"Ron, stop being so thick. You know what I mean. I just want to be happy, and Roger makes me happy. I don't get many chances like this. Don't you think that I deserve to actually-"
"Fine," Ron barked out. "Fine, then be happy with Roger. Hell, if he's so great, why don't you just ask him to take you to the damn hospital tomorrow?"
"Ron, Ron, come back here. Please," Harry called out as Ron retreated into his bedroom letting the door slam.
What bothered Ron was that he wasn't so sure that Roger was as innocent as Harry seemed to think. The mangy idiot had practically pawed Harry for Merlin's sake; the way he looked at Harry was disgusting, as if he knew Harry much better than he actually did and as if he wanted to find out just what was below those clothes. It pissed Ron off; it especially pissed him off because ever since the previous week, after having caught Roger for the first time in between Harry's legs, he had been having extremely vivid dreams of Harry wrapping his naked legs around his waist, arching his back as Ron ran his fingers down his muscled belly. In his dreams, Harry blushed a fantastic shade of red and gave these wanton little moans, because his hands grabbed his arse and then wrapped around his...
Ron closed his eyes and banged his head against the back of his door. God damn it! He hadn't been able to look Harry in the eyes all week, because every time he did all he saw was his vision of those same eyes staring back at him cloudy with lust. Every time he helped Harry into the shower, all he could think about was what exactly it was that he had to do to get Harry to moan the way he moaned in his dreams. It was pathetic, because even if he could accept that he was having wet dreams about his best friend, and even if he could accept that he was becoming obsessed with the way Harry's back curved, it made no fucking difference, because all Harry would talk about was Roger and how hansome he was, or how funny, or how...fuck, fuck, fuck it!
Ron hit his head against his door again. Even if this lastest bout of insanity was simply a product of brotherly jealousy, Ron was damned if it was Roger who was going to be with Harry. In fact, it didn't matter who else it was, just not Roger. Except, even as he thought about it, he knew it was a lie. Of course it mattered who Harry ended up with, because no one could treat Harry as good as he deserved. Hell, Ron wasn't even sure that he could treat Harry as good as he deserved, but if anyone could do it, then it certainly was him, because he knew Harry the most, and he had been with Harry the longest, and he loved Harry...
That thought stopped him. In fact, that thought made him possitively quiver, because it was one thing to be lusting after a bloke whom he dared anyone to call ugly, but it was another thing completely to be in love with said man. Yet, even as he tried to deny it to himself, he knew it was no use. It was like an itch; once you realized it was there, it would not let you forget about it. So, great. Apparently, he was in love with his best friend who had just yelled at him to leave his boyfriend alone. Perfect.
"Okay, Harry, could you please stretch your arm out for me?" Mediwizard Augustine asked Harry. "There, good job. You too, Mr. Weasley. You have really learned how to take care of our patient. This has to be the fastest recovery I have seen for an injury this bad in a long time."
"So, am I good to go back to work?" Harry asked.
Md. Augustine laughed and answered with a question, "Can you walk more than twenty minutes without getting tired?"
Harry looked down, so Ron answered for him, "He's still weak, and he's not going back to work."
"Right you are, Mr. Weasley," said Md. Augustine. "In fact, I'm going to add another week to your recovery time."
"What?" Harry interceded. "I'm fine."
"No, you're not, and you know that, so please don't fight me. I let the Ministry know and they're fine with it."
"What am I supposed to do for another two weeks. I mean, Ron, you're going to have to go back to work-"
"No, I don't," Ron said in a tone of voice that betrayed how ridiculous he found that thought. "Honestly, Harry, why do you even try anymore? You know I'm going to stick this out with you, so shut up. Thank you, doctor. Are any of his potions going to change?"
"Well, seeing the state he's in, he won't need bandages anymore. I think that I'm going to give you a new prescription for a set of potions that you'll just have to help him soothe onto his wounds. I still don't want you using your arm too much, Harry. Best let it rest up. If you want my advice, for whatever it's worth, I would suggest you go on a holiday, the both of you. It would give you a good chance to relax and get better," the doctor suggested smiling at them one last time before heading out of the room to find a nurse that would bring them Harry's new potions.
Harry smilled at Sherry, the plump middle-aged nurse who always attended him, and positively glowed when she informed them that the doctor had ordered that they should start takin short fifteen minute walks. They were meant to help Harry slowly regain his strength, especially now that he looked so much better.
"See, Ron, I am getting better," Harry said when they were finally outside the hospital walls.
Harry had convinced Ron to go get lunch near the hospital, so he could get in the walk so shortly promised to him. He was tired of not being allowed to move, even if he did get more tired than usual, and that look of expectation did Ron in, "Yeah, yeah. Where do you want to go eat?"
"Hmm, that's a good question. What are you in the mood for?" Harry asked, grabbing a hold of Ron's arm for a little added support.
"Anything, really. If you want we can head over to Suzie's for some late brunch," said Ron referring to Harry's favorite restaurant, found after spending so much time near the hospital.
Harry smiled up at him, "That sounds great."
About a five minute walk away from the restaurant, Ron saw something that made his stomach churn, "You know what? I think I would rather go home and make some breakfast. What do you say? You already got your walk in."
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked with a confused grin, "You never turn down food."
"And I'm not," Ron responded turning them around, "I just feel like cooking something rather than trying something new and having it be rotten."
"But you love trying new things," Harry said turning them back around. "Oh."
Ron bit his lip, looking down at Harry with worry. Across the street from them, on an outside table, Roger was having lunch with a woman in whose throat his tongue was currently excavating, "Come on, let's go, Harry."
"No, no," Harry stopped him, then he took in a deep breath and pushed forward, "We never agreed to being exclusive. It's fine."
"No, it's most definitely not fine," Ron said turning them around. "He's an arse."
"No, he's not, Ron. He's a very nice man, and he has every right to find hapinness, just like you and me," Harry blushed, hearing his own words. Then, in a hurry, "But maybe you're right. We should go home."
Ron stopped him and looked into his eyes, "Harry, someone that deserves you wouldn't even think of anyone else," then he wrapped his arms around his best friend and side apparated them home.
Later that day, though, after having Harry sulk alone in the living room staring blankly at the t.v. for hours, Ron decided that it rather irked him to have Harry so concentrated on a bloke who couldn't fucking keep his tongue in his own mouth. In fact, it right near pissed him off. Sure, Harry probably had like the guy, but he hadn't known him for that long. What did they have together? Just a few days here and there spent in each other's company and swapped spit. That last thought made him irrationally angry; after all, Roger wasn't that good looking. In fact, Ron was just as tall as him if not taller, and he was in much better shape than the other man. If Harry was going to be feeling sorry about the whole situation, he should be feeling sorry for someone that actually mattered. As he convinced himself further and further of this truth, it became increasingly annoying to think that at this very moment Harry was thinking about someone that wasn't him. So, he decided to take a shower to cool off...he just conveniently forgot to carry with him a towel or any clothes.
When he finished showering, he stepped out of the tub and walked out of the bathroom without hesitance, leaving a pool of water on the floor as it trailed down his body. He could see from the hallway that Harry was still sitting in front of the t.v. flipping mindlessly through the many channels, not really focusing on what he saw. Making sure to make plenty of noise, Ron opened the door of the hallway closet with all of their towels and, even though he could see them clearly, he called out, "Harry, do we have any more clean towels?"
Harry turned to respond but his words dies in his throat, "Yeah, they're in the..."
He had to blink twice to make sure his wishful thinking hadn't gotten the better of him. In front of his eyes, a naked, dear God, a naked Ron Weasley was standing facing him with complete disregard for Harry's mental and physical health, or propriety. Harry felt his breath hitch as one of Ron's hand trailed down his smooth stomach, where the water was running in trails down the lines of his six pack, right down to his... oh God. Harry stood up, not realizing what he was doing and walked over to where Ron stood. His eyes trailed down all over Ron's naked body until he realized what he was doing and blushed, looking up only because the fear Ron would tell him he didn't want to be his friend anymore was greater than the fear that Ron would punch him in the face. What he found there, though, was something completely different. There was contentment in that look, as if he had won some personal battle, and that look, that cocky look, was nearly Harry's undoing.
"Why do you do this to me?" Harry asked taking his trembling hand and running it down Ron's muscled stomach. He bit his lip and reached past him to grab a towel which he took and placed in the other man's hands before walking into his room without another look back.
Ron felt something in his chest break out in triumph, because although Harry was walking away from him without a backwards glance, there had been nothing about the look he had given him that spoke remotely of Roger. There had been nothing except admiration, and, there, lust. Harry wanted him, and Ron was not going to rest until he made him forget that he had ever even met fucking Roger, or anyone else for that matter. His hand trailed down to his erection, and he stroked himself once with a full grin.
A few minutes later, just a second after he had finished slipping on some sweatpants, Harry banged the door open into his room and pushed a pamphlet at his chest. With a confused look, Ron took it and asked, "What is this?"
"That was going to be a surprise," Harry said rapidly, looking flushed, "We're going to Portugal for two weeks. I just confirmed with the hotel, and we're good to go."
"Wait, what?" Ron asked, flipping through the pictures that showed white beached sands with couples walking down hand in hand.
Harry nodded and pointed at the pamphlet, "It was meant to be for a couple months for now, in the winter, but I figure now is as good time as any. Pack. We're leaving in two hours."
"Harry, wait," Ron called out, but Harry had already walked out the door. He followed him to his room and leaned on the doorway, smiling when he caught the way Harry's eyes trailed again and again to look at his naked chest, "Why are we in such a hurry? Why can't we just call them back and tell them that we'll go in a couple of days, or next week?"
Harry paused the manic pace at which he was throwing his clothes into his suitcase and closed his eyes, knowing he was about to pull a cheap shot, "Because I'm hurt, and the doctor said this would be good. Don't you want me to get better?"
And just like that, Ron felt like a royal arse. He lost his grin and nodded, "Of course. I'll go pack now."
What kind of friend was he? Here he was obsessed with making Harry forget about Roger when he was still hurt. Of course Harry was right; his health came first. If he couldn't put Harry's health before trying to seduce him, then what type of husband was he going to be? Because, honestly, there was no way that anyone else was ever going to touch his Harry. Besides, he was in love with him. Promising and giving him forever meant nothing but signing an official paper that held him up to what he already planned. Sure, he had never really imagined that he would be making Harry moan underneath him before, but he was adapting surprisingly quickly to the idea, if his renewed erection was anything to go by. He was in love with his best friend, and when he took him down the isle and promised to take care of him til death come, it would come belatedly, because that promise had started nine years ago when they had met aboard the train bound for Hogwarts.
"Alright, I'm ready," Ron said, looking flushed after basically sprinting around his room trying to get all of his belonging stuffed into his bag.
"Good," Harry said, not looking at him. Then, as if on second thought, he looked up and laughed, "You might want to think about putting on a shirt there, mate."
Ron looked down, surprised, and cursed, "Damn it!"
"Here," Harry turned for a second and bent down, pulling out a shirt out of his bag. When he turned around, he could have sworn he had just missed Ron staring at him bum. Shaking his head at his own stupidity, he continued, "You can wear mine."
Ron had in fact been staring at Harry's bum; he had decided that it was particularly well crafted, perhaps the best crafted of all bums in the world. It was odd. Now that he knew he was hot for Harry, it was like he was going extra time trying to drink in everything he had been missing. Harry was spectacularly, smashingly good looking. His eyes were beautiful and his lips were inviting, and...Ron bit his own lip and blushed, "Thanks."
"No need to be embarrased; I know how messy your bag must be," Harry smiled throwing him the shirt.
"Yeah," Ron laughed, deciding right now was probably not the time to tell him what exactly it was that was making him blush.
The next thing he knew, Ron was side apparating with Harry and they were swept up in a hurried welcome by the owner of the hotel, then pictures with the staff, and finally they were shown to their room. Much to both of their surprise, they had been given a luxury suite with a set of double beds and an amazing bed. The fact that Harry Potter was Harry Potter still mattered to the rest of the world, and Ron was sure that it always would.
"Well, this is beautiful," Ron said looking around at their room. Everything was a startling shade of white, very modern, with the furniture made of dark cherry wood. Their beds were comfortable enough were it not for the fact that really, they were just a bit too far apart.
"Just wait until you see the beach," Harry said, grinning at Ron with an excited glint in his eyes that made Ron laugh. It wasn't often that he got to see Harry get excited this way; when it happened, though, it was good. It was really good.
Ron stood up and walked over to the window and looked down a couple of floors at the sparse crowd sunning themselves in the dying sunlight, "I'm afraid we're not going to get to see it today."
"No, I'm afraid not," Harry joined him by the window, unwilling to let what happened earlier mess with their good time.
Then, Ron turned around, and he got close to Harry. "Thanks for bringing me, Harry," he whispered and leaned forward to kiss his cheek.
Harry blushed and nodded, moving away, because really, he was only human, "No problem."
Three days into their vacation, Ron was getting just a little upset that Harry always found an excuse for them never to be alone. They would rise early and then they would go on the many activities that Harry signed them up for. Then, Harry would get tired, and he would go back to the room to have a nap while Ron took that time to excercise. Though their adventures had been fun, they were also extremely frustrating, because it was Ron's plan to be getting emotionally closer with Harry, and he couldn't very well peak his interest if they didn't spend any time by themselves. So, he decided to do something about it.
"So, Harry, I can't go on the one p.m. activity today," Ron said casually while they dressed to head down to the hotel pool.
"Oh?" Harry paused while putting on his shirt, "Why not?"
Ron's eyes trailed down Harry's chest inconspicuously before he answered, "I have to exercise. I'm getting a little soft around the middle."
Harry could very well vouch that what Ron had said was utterly false, but he couldn't very well go on and tell him how he found his abs lick worthy, "Oh, alright then. I don't really want to go by myself, though. That will be no fun."
"Why don't you sit by the beach, or go swimming, and wait while I run?" Ron asked as innocently as he could.
Resurfacing from his baggy shirt, Harry considered his proposition and then nodded, "Alright. I don't think I'll be able to swim, but I can read a book or something."
Ron did a slow blink and then said, "Wow, Hermione would be proud of you," only to get a laugh out of Harry in response.
Harry wasn't laughing now, though. He had been too worn out to go swimming, so he had brought a book down and was now pretending to read while he watched Ron run up and down the beach, without a shirt, looking deliciously sweaty. Every few minutes, Harry's eyes would drift up from his book, admiring the way Ron's muscled back flexed as he ran away and how his stomach didn't move a centimeter when he ran back. It honestly was not fair, because it was making it bloody near impossible for Harry to concentrate on what he was sure would be a very good book. As it was, he couldn't exactly say what it was about. Whatever exercises Ron got up to while Harry was working, they were definitely working for him. 'Indeed', Harry thought while he watched utter perfection run up and down in front of him as if to parade just how much better looking he was than Harry.
In fact, Harry had always thought Ron better looking than him, even when they were younger. While in school, it was obvious by Ron's lanky built that he was going to be tall, and though he had gone through an awkward phase, it was always apparent that he was built manly, even if you had to use a lot of imagination. Back then, Harry had felt a vague kind of small jealousy at the other's looks, sure that they were going to get a lovely bird to fall for him, not knowing that the bird was going to be him one day. Harry hadn't actually started to think of Ron lustfully, however, until after he had split from Hermione.
It had all begun with him taking care of both of his best friends while they fretted about what the break up meant for their relationship. It had caught Harry by surprise, upon talking with a disconsolate Ron, and then an even more disconsololate Hermione, that neither was torn up about actually not being together. They were both simply afraid that because they were no longer going out, they would never be able to move back into friend territory. Harry had to smile through it all, because honestly, they were both being complete prats. That was like saying that after learning how to breath, one was suddenly going to decide to go off oxygen. It just wasn't done.
So, he started working on Hermione first, knowing that common sense would actually work on her and then made his way up to Ron. It had been on the night when he had convinced Ron that all three would always be friends that his feelings really started. Ron had started crying and had actually wrapped his legs around Harry's waist, crying into the crook of his neck. Ron had been so afraid that he had mucked up all three of their friendships for good that finally believing Harry's words, he had broken down and asked for comfort. It was with extreme surprise that Harry noted just how tall Ron was, and how wide his shoulders were, and how tight his tummy felt against Harry's. Then, he pulled back and saw Ron's baby blues and he was gone. That was all it took, and then it was as if his eyes had been finally opened. Obviously Ron was the most handsome, desirable individual in the world. Obviously, he would never go for Harry.
Harry had actually gotten his feelings under control, had convinced himself that he was setting himself up for failure and heartbreak when he got seriously hurt for the first time. Ron had been there within minutes of being notified. He had come into Harry's hospital room and handled him as if he were the most fragile thing in the world; he had taken Harry home and done everything for him, everything in his power to help Harry get better. Then, he started allowing contact, had initiated contact, going to hug Harry when he almost fell down, or lying next to him, their sides touching, while Harry recounted how scared he had been when that first spell had hit him and left him feeling as if he couldn't breathe. It had carried on from there, with Ron being more sweet and kind then he had ever been, making Harry fall in love with him one gentle touch at a time.
"Woo, that was tough," Ron said sounding out of breath, letting himself drop in the sand next to Harry's chair.
"You looked fine to me," Harry said, and then he blushed.
Ron laughed and said, "Well, good, because there were several points there when I thought I was just going to keel over and die, to be honest. Do you want to go grab a drink?"
"Sure," Harry answered, taking Ron's offered helping hand. As the were walking away, he found it odd how close they had been when Ron pulled him up and even more so how close Ron was walking to him, their hands brushing as they made their way inside.
Three days later, while they were having a late outside dinner on the beach, an activity provided by the hotel, Harry found himself blushing under the attention of their good looking waiter. The young man was extremely fit, a muggle with blond hair and really bright teeth, and he obviously thought Harry was his for the taking. Across the table, Ron was practically growling, contemplating how many different ways he could punch the waiter, Bobby, on the face by 'accident.' The fork in his fist bent under the pressure of his hand when he saw fucking Bobby reach out to put Harry's hair behind his ear.
"Thank you, Bobby, but I don't think we're paying you to caress Harry here," Ron said through gritted teeth.
"Oh, so Harry is your name?" Bobby asked in accented English.
"Yes," Ron responded for him, "Now back off."
Taken aback by the force carried in Ron's voice, the waiter stepped away and looked between both of them. Then, as if he understood, he nodded and excused himself.
"Ron, why are you being so rude to him?" Harry asked, irritated by Ron's behavior.
"Because he was looking at you like he was going to eat you with a pair chopsticks."
"Don't be ridiculous!"
"I am not being ridiculous, but if you think so, why don't I just leave you so you can enjoy dinner with that bleach headed idiot," Ron said and threw his napkin down, walking away.
Sure, he was aware that he was being an immature prat, but that didn't change the fact that his blood was seething inside his veins with anger. Harry was supposed to be looking at him with that interested look in his eye; now effing Bobby was taken the attention that Ron had been working so hard to get. It was not fair and it pissed him off. He wanted Harry for himself, and...damn it!
"Ron," Harry grabbed after his hand, "Why are you being such a prat?"
Then Ron couldn't help it; he was too angry, too hurt, so he hung on to Harry's hand and spun him around, pulling him up agains the wall of the bar where their food was being prepared. Then, he showed him why, without stopping to think, drunk with the need to finally show him, Ron dipped down and pressed his lips against Harry's, massaging them until he was allowed access into Harry's mouth. "That's why," and then he walked away, leaving Harry with a confused look and a hand to his bright red lips.
The next day, Harry was doing a dandy job of not bringing up what happened the previous night. He had come in extra late, obviously not wanting to talk to Ron, and climbed into bed. Ron knew he had probably mucked it all up, that he had probably rushed it all and now had no chance, but in case he was wrong, he gave Harry room to think and pretended to be asleep. He was in no way prepared to stop trying. In fact, that kiss was all he could think about, was all he dreamed about, and it was the reason why he was staring at Harry from across the room, not letting his gaze waver.
Eventually, Harry couldn't take it anymore, and he brushed a nervous hand to the back of his neck, "Well, what activities do you feel like doing today?"
But, there, Ron saw it. Harry always did the same thing when wanted something really bad but thought there was no way in hell he was going to get it; his eyes shifted to the left and then he looked down. Throwing his shirt on the floor, Ron walked over to Harry and grabbed his hand, his other going around Harry's waist. He pressed their foreheads together and walked them back until they hit the bed and pushed forward, making Harry lose his footing. When they had stopped bouncing, Ron put his knee between Harry's leg, successfully pinning him down, and kissed him, long and slow, making sure that in no way Harry thought this was some sort of fluke or a mistake.
When he pulled back, he looked at Harry's scared eyes and he smiled, "I love you."
Then, in the silence, "I love you too."
By the time their vacation was finished, Ron had Harry nearly convinced that he hadn't lost his mind. That week and a half, they spent every moment together, always touching, and it made Ron wonder what an idiot he had been for thinking that a life where he wasn't allowed to kiss Harry Potter was any life at all. While they were there, Harry got healthy again, and Ron liked to believe that it was in part all the happiness they shared that made him get better extra quickly. As with all good things, though, ('Well,' Ron thought, 'Except Harry and I'), their vacation too came to an end and they were forced to return to real life.
Harry had gone back to work and had thankfully not been hurt, though he did come home on several ocassions shaken, relating to Ron how he had been accosted by Roger even though he knew Harry was no longer interested. Though it annoyed him, Ron let it go in favor of taking Harry into his arms and sharing a midnight movie or some late night Chinese food. They hadn't told anyone about their relationship yet, having both agreed that they would wait until it was stable enough that the shock wouldn't affect them. Hermione, though, already knew. She had popped in through the floo and caught them kissing. She had said a little, "Oh," then went on to grab Harry's Chinese take out, and exclaimed, "This is my favorite! Anyway, today was the worst. Thomas and I broke up, and the prat..."
So, obviously, she didn't think there was anything wrong with it, which made it ten times better, because Ron really wanted someone to know about them. He was too happy to want to keep it hidden. He was positive that nothing would ever come between them, but on one Saturday afternoon, coming home from the shop, he was forced to acknowledge that sometimes bad things happened no mattered what he wanted.
"It's none of your business why I don't want you in my life anymore, Roger. You just need to go home now," Harry was saying, keeping a safe distance from the other man. When Ron came in through the fireplace, Harry caught Ron's eyes and motioned for him to join him.
"How did you get in here?" Ron asked.
"We forgot to seal it after he came here the last time," Harry answered instead, keeping a weary eye on Roger's disheveled appearance. The man was obviously drunk, and the face he had previously found handsome was contorted with anger.
"I don't understand, Potter. You liked me; I know you did. Why the fuck don't you want to be with me anymore?"
Ron stepped up and put his arms around Harry's waist, "Because he's with me."
"Ron," Harry said in a cautionary tone.
"What the fuck do you have to offer? You two cent-"
"Hey, don't talk to him that way," Harry stopped him. "You were the one that was making out with girls while you were telling me that I was all you could think about."
The wind seemed to go out of Roger's sails, "I might have a problem with women, but it didn't mean that-"
"You also told me you didn't drink," Harry said coldly.
"Fuck you! I am not an alcaholic," Roger yelled.
Ron stepped forward, putting distance between Roger and Harry, "No one said you were, mate, but if you're bringing it up, what are we supposed to believe?"
Then, Ron saw it, on the inside of Roger's robes. He was carrying a knife. This man was obviously bitter and had more problems than either he or Harry were prepared to solve. He did know one thing, though, Roger didn't know that he was going to show up, which meant that he had expected Harry to be alone. Without thinking twice about it, Ron pulled out his wand and spelled him into the fireplace, running and throwing a fistful of powder in then shouting, "Diagon Alley."
"Ron," Harry hurried to him. "We have to close it off."
Ron was ahead of him. He spelled the fireplace shut and then turned and grabbed Harry into his arms. This had been too much; Harry was obviously shook, had obviously never taken Roger for a creep. He took Harry's face in his own and offered the only comfort he could. He kissed him. And then Ron apparated them onto Harry's bed, because he wasn't sure what the hell that idiot intended to do with that knife, but he never wanted to find out. He felt feverish, as if he had almost lost the thing that most mattered to him, and so he kissed Harry, hard. He had him moaning under him, and he grinded his hips to Harry's as he unbuttoned his shirt and threw it on the ground. Still working his hips against his lover's, he took a moment to drink in the incredibly erotic sight below him. Harry was squirming deliciously, his head thrown back, the muscles of his stomach contracting as he moved his hips against Ron's, bringing their aching erections into contact.
With a growl deep from his throat, Ron paused to take off his own shirt and then dipped his head, kissing his way down to the waistband of Harry's pants. He kissed him there, makig sure to leave a mark and then unbuttoned them quickly, taking with them Harry's boxers and his socks. Without missing a beat, he got his own off and then he stopped. Harry opened his eyes and what Ron saw there made his erection jump, making him harder than he had thought was possible. Harry's eyes were hazy with lust, just like in his dreams, except that they were real and they were waiting for him to make a move, practically begging him to lean down and take Harry's red, bruised lips and merge them with his own.
Unable to resist, Ron allowed his body to drop onto Harry's, hissing in unison with Harry's moan when the hot flesh of their erections meet. He wanted nothing more than to devour the man he loved, but Harry deserved much better than that. So, Ron slowed the movement of his hips and laced Harry's hands with his own, and he kissed him, so mind blowingly slow that for a moment he was able to forget that he had him pinned naked and moaning beneath him. Then, Harry shifted slightly, and he crashed back into reality. Still, he put pressure on Harry's hips, stopping him from moving and continued to kiss him with as much patience as he had done just a second ago.
When Ron moved from his lips over to his ear and then down his neck, Harry's breath hitched as he felt him bite down just above his collar bone. The slowness of Ron's movement had Harry going wild, and it took a moment for him to realize what exactly it was that Ron was doing, until it hit him. Ron was making love to him, to him, Harry James Potter. Everything about his movements was unhurried, but the way he held his lower body was tense, as if it was taking great self control to kiss his way gently down Harry's belly, down to his penis. Harry threw his head back in pleasure and moaned loudly when Ron took him in his lips, just the head at first and then all of him. It seemed to go on forever, and Harry was coated in a fine sheet of sweat when Ron finally came up for air and kissed him deeply, the taste of his pre-cum mingling on both of their tongues.
Ron reached down and lifted Harry's legs, making them wrap around the upper part of his waist. He grabbed his wand and muttered a spell so low that Harry could not understand what he said through the steady haze of pleasure afforded to him by Ron's steady hand on his penis. When he felt something cool deep within him, though, Harry knew what Ron had just done and arched his hips in pleasure, relishing in the hungry look Ron gave him. He opened his legs wider, allowing Ron room to come back down to him, kissing him, while at the same time slowly, so slowly, sliding his erection deep into Harry. Amidst the mixed signals of pleasure and pain, Harry moaned out loud, thankful for Ron's lack of movement as he allowed Harry time to get used to the intrusion. Then he shifted slightly, without meaning to, and Harry gave out such a moan that it put his imagination to shame. He did it again, harder this time, and Harry gifted him with moans a thousand times more wanton and needier than any of those in his dreams.
"I love you, Harry James Potter," Ron breathed out, thrusting forward making Harry throw his head back.
He continued pushing forward, slamming into Harry's back walls, basking in both the pleasure he felt from their physical contact and the visual Harry presented him with. His legs were spread wide apart, inviting him forwards, and his back was arched. His cheeks were flushed a beautiful shade of pink and his lips were slightly parted. His eyes were shut, as if he what he was experiencing was too much, but they sprang open when Ron thrusted particularly hard and he opened his mouth, "I love- ooouuuhhh," he moaned as Ron slammed into him, "I love you too."
Ron had never thought that four little words would make him feel as if he was on top of the world, as if he held the key to happiness and knew the secret to every possible mystery, but they did. They made something in his chest break out and roar with triumph, so he bent down and kissed Harry with fervor, thrusting his wet tongue into Harry's mouth in time with his penis. He grabbed Harry's erection with one hand and with his other he laced his fingers with Harry's. He took particular pleasure in noting how Harry fisted the sheets of his bed, hoping for some leverage. He took it upon himself to make Harry breath out more of those amazing noises that were driving him slowly crazy, so he pushed forward hard, again and again, until Harry was a mess of pleasure and beauty beneath him, until he drove them both to the edge of oblivion, until Harry exploded in his hand with a wanton little moan and he came inside his lover as his muscles tightened around him.
Breathing heavily, still flushed with the high of their activities, Harry grabbed a hold of Ron's face and kissed him. When he pulled back, he whispered, "I've been waiting for this my whole life."
Ron pulled out of him with one last moan that sent a look of pure lust into Harry's eyes and he settled down next to him on the bed, "Well, I'm not going anywhere."
Harry smiled and placed his head on top of Ron's chest, linking their fingers, sleepy and feeling boneless with pleasure. Ron's next words made his breath hitch, "Marry me."
Then, he was up looking into Ron's eyes, and in the silence, "Yes."