A/N: Hello loyal readers! I hope you are all exceptionally well. You may be pleased to know that the next chapter is WRITTEN, yes, you read that correctly. It's done and dusted. I will make sure it gets to you in a much more reasonable time frame.
Thank you for staying with me and staying with 'Unbroken'; writing this feels like coming home.
"What are you doing here?" Harry demanded as he watched Will finally disappear around the corner. Silently, he spelled the wall in front of him transparent so he could watch Will walk down to his car, get in it, and drive away. With a sigh, he cast the spell to turn it solid again.
"I… I…" Charlie took a deep breath. "I'm here to see you," he said. "I thought we were friends?"
Harry arched an eyebrow sharply. They hadn't seen each other in ages.
"We're friends," he said cautiously. "And ex- lovers. There are boundaries."
Charlie nodded. "Of course. Is that – is that your boyfriend?"
"Yeah. His name is Will. He's a Muggle."
"That must be interesting."
"Not really. I grew up as a Muggle, we have plenty in common."
"I didn't mean it like that," Charlie said with a sigh. "Can I come in?" He hadn't really wanted to hold this conversation on the doorstep.
Harry hesitated long enough for Charlie to notice, then held the door open. They went through to the kitchen where he set the kettle on to boil, then sat down at the table, kicking one ankle over his knee so their feet wouldn't accidentally touch under the table.
"Patrick and I broke up," Charlie blurted, all on a rush.
Harry stood, and made the tea.
He set two mugs on the table, sat down, stood again, went to the cupboard and found the biscuit tin, and returned to his seat with it.
"I can't do this, Charlie," he said. "I can't. I'm sorry. I'm sorry you and Patrick didn't work out, but you wouldn't break up with him for me, so I can't break up with Will for you."
"I didn't want that." It was a lie. Charlie wanted that more than anything else he could think of.
"Okay," Harry said. "I really am sorry."
Charlie nodded and rose, his tea left untouched on the table. He headed for the door rather than the Floo, making Harry wonder how he'd travelled to the flat.
"I have to ask," Charlie said, hesitating with his hand on the door frame. "It'll probably haunt me, but… if things were different?"
It took nearly all of Harry's self control to not fling himself forward into Charlie's arms. "If things were different," he repeated. "Yeah. But they're not."
With a sad smile Charlie turned, and left.
Several hours later there was another knock at the door and Harry studiously ignored it. A few moments later the knocking turned into flat out thumping, then two people started arguing in the hallway. Harry had a pretty good idea of who those two people might be.
So he was unsurprised when Hermione let herself in.
"Crossing a bloody line," Ron snapped as she stormed through the flat and found him lying flat out on his back on his bed, surrounded by possessions he'd mindlessly, wandlessly summoned and banished, and a bottle of whiskey that was two-thirds empty.
"Really, Harry? Jack Daniels?"
"All the rockstars drink it," Harry slurred, not looking at it.
"You're not a rock star," she said drily.
"But he is a hero."
"Shut up, Ron."
There was a few moments of silence, when Harry imaged the two of them glaring at each other. Then the unexpected.
The bed shifted and his two best friends enclosed him, one from either side. Hermione tucked her head under his chin and wrapped her arm around his waist; Ron put the bottle of whiskey on the bedside table and laid down on his side, propping his head up on his hand.
Harry tried very hard not to cry.
"You still love him, don't you?" Hermione asked.
It took a while for Harry to feel strong enough to answer.
"Yeah," he croaked. "Yeah. More than the whole world."
"He loves you too," Ron said. "That sounds weird because, you know, he's my brother and all that. But fuck, Harry. I've never seen him like that before."
"Like he did when he came over a few hours ago."
Silently, Harry became aware of the hot tears sliding down his cheeks. "I don't know what to do."
"Then wait until you do," Hermione said sensibly, squeezing him tighter.
That night, for the first time in a long time, the three of them slept in the same bed. Harry had once thought there was nothing that would ever make him feel like he needed that again. He had thought that he would never hurt like this again. Being wrong sucked.