It had to be Harry, didn't it. Well of course it had to be Harry. It's not like fate was going to make this easy on him. Christ, it just fucking had to be Harry. Even Malfoy would have been better. And that was seriously saying something.

"Hello Ron," Hermione said cheerfully, sitting down next to him. Of course there was Hermione, who still thought Ron liked her. That had been a load of bollocks from the start. And then there was Ginny who liked Harry, and Harry who liked Ginny, and Ginny was his sister and Hermione was his other best friend so if he did absolutely anything absolutely everything would be fucked. It just had to be Harry.

Ron just grumbled.

"Ron, are you alright?" Hermione asked.

"Just tired," he replied. Hermione gave him a look, she could tell something was up but thankfully she didn't press the matter.

The rest of the week went somewhat like this. Ron mentally cursing himself every time he accidentally caught himself staring at his green eyes best friend, or when he found himself thinking about him, his smooth pale skin, messy hair, beautiful eyes… Why did it have to be Harry? Of all the people for Ron to suddenly develop a maddening crush on, it had to be Harry. He supposed it made logical sense. They'd been best friends for years, always around each other, and his platonic feelings had morphed into something a little more, a little… different. But whether it made sense or not, it was still annoying, and a little painful, because as much as it may have happened in his dreams (another fact he didn't like to think about), it would never, and could never, happen in reality. It was nothing but a hopeless crush and it was driving him insane.

"Ron, are you even listening?" Hermione said, bringing Ron out of his reverie. He looked up at the girl who was scrutinizing him, and then to the boy, no, man, standing next to her. Because Harry had definitely grown into a man over the summer, a short man, but a man nevertheless. He pried his eyes away from Harry and looked back towards Hermione who now held an expression that could be best described by three letters: OMG.

"Umm, Hermione?" Ron asked.

"Ron!" Hermione said.

"Yeah?" Ron asked.

"I've got it! I know why you've been acting so weird!"

"Uh, why?" Ron asked, not entirely sure if he wanted to hear her answer.

"You fancy someone!"

"Wait, what?" Ron asked, though it was technically true, how could Hermione…

"Who is she?" Hermione asked eagerly, grabbing the nearest chair and pulling it next to him. Ron briefly wondered why Hermione didn't sound upset, she had been crushing on him, hadn't she? And he'd seen how torn apart she was when he'd dated Lavender but now she just sounded sort of… happy.

But there it was of course, the inevitable 'she.' Hermione still didn't get it, no one bloody did.

"Shouldn't you be upset?" Ron asked, deciding not to answer her question, "I mean, I thought you liked me." Hermione just rolled her eyes.

"Oh come on Ron," she said, "I got over you forever ago, hadn't you noticed? Besides, I wanted you to be happy, and I realized that you could never be happy with me. So it's okay, but you still haven't told me her name?"

"Yeah, well, that's where the problem is…" Ron began.

"Why, is she a Slytherin?" Hermione asked, "come on Ron, you know me and Harry would never judge you."

"It's just, oh never mind," Ron said. He stood up, heading for the boys dormitory. It was Harry who followed him.

"Ron?" Harry asked quietly, coming into the dormitory where Ron was slumped down on his bed.

"Yeah?" Ron asked, looking up at Harry. Friggin perfect angel of a man Harry Potter who also happened to be his best friend and his sister's boyfriend, why did this kind of stuff always have to happen to him?

"You know Hermione means best, right?"

"Yeah, I do," Ron said, "she just doesn't get it."

"She would if you explained it to her," Harry said, "and to me." Ron bit his lip.

"I'm not so sure if I want to explain it to her," Ron said, "or you," he added quietly, under his breath. The truth was, he did want to tell him, let it all out, but he just couldn't. It would ruin everything, and he couldn't bear to be the cause of that. At least he knew he wasn't going to break Hermione's heart, but as for Harry and Ginny… God what kind of a mess had he gotten himself into this time?

"Do you think you'll ever want to explain it to us?" Harry asked.

"Maybe someday," Ron replied, "just not now."

Harry nodded.

"Okay, but just know we're here for you no matter what, you got that mate?"

"Yeah, I got it," Ron said. Harry smiled brightly.

"Are you always this charming?" he asked, poking fun at Ron now that all the serious stuff was out of the way. Ron couldn't help but crack a small smile.

"Only with you," he replied. Harry smiled.

"Well try to cheer up some before you come back downstairs, you'll scare the first years with that grimace," Harry said. Ron smiled a little bit bigger, and so did Harry.

"Much better," Harry commented, "you should smile more often," he noted, "you have a nice smile." And with those annoyingly totally-not-helping-Ron-get-over-his-crush words, Harry left. And Ron sank into his daydreams. Harry just commented on his smile, he said he had a nice smile, Ron silently vowed to always smile whenever Harry was around. Because Harry liked his smile, Harry actually liked something about him, well, of course Harry liked lots of things about him, he was sure, but this was different. Definitely. He really wanted to squeal, but that would make him seem like a teenage girl. Ahh screw it, he was already a queer, besides, Harry just commented on his smile. He totally had squealing rights. Ron squealed.

Ron came back down to the common room a little while later, still grinning like an idiot.

"Hey Hermione," he said cheerfully, Hermione looked up from her homework at her ginger friend. She smiled, glad to see he was happy, but she was a little confused as well.

"Wow Ron, happy much?" she said.

"Yup!" Ron replied, cheerfully, "where's Harry?"

"He went down to the library," Hermione said, "so, why are you so happy all of a sudden?"

"Harry said I had a nice smile," Ron replied, without thinking, not noticing the young female of a similar complexion and hair color to his hovering nearby, "anyway, I gotta go!" Ron said, standing up and heading for the portrait hole.

"Wait, Ron, where?" Hermione called after him.

"Library!" Ron replied, as he flat out skipped out of the common room, not caring how lame he looked. He was halfway to the library when he was intercepted.

"Oh hi Ginny," Ron said cheerfully, clearly not noticing the look in her eyes, "how are you?"

"You stay away from my boyfriend," Ginny practically growled. Ron's smile fell.

"What?"

"You heard me," Ginny said, her voice filled with malice, "you stay, the fuck, away, from my boyfriend."

"But… I… I wasn't…" Ron stuttered.

"Oh save it," Ginny growled, "I don't need your excuses, it's too late for them now. Don't think I haven't seen the way you look at him, or how you brighten up a little every time he's around. Or your little 'Harry said I had a nice smile' bull shit back in the common room. Yeah, I know exactly what's going on here Ronald Weasley, and unless you want me to tell the whole school what gender you prefer to jack off to, you will stay away from my boyfriend, got it?" Ron was silent, his mouth tried to form words but his brain just couldn't process it fast enough. Ginny smirked, taking his silence as a yes.

"Good," she said, her voice so cold icicles were already forming around it's edges. Ginny turned on her heel and left, heading for the library. Ron just stood where he was, and cried. He didn't care who saw him, or what they thought, he just couldn't.

It was hopeless, it was all hopeless. And Ron was tired of hoping. It could never happen. Ever. Harry liked girls, he didn't want Ron, he wanted Ginny. It was all wrong, all so horribly fucking wrong. He was wrong, a disgrace, an abomination. He shouldn't have even been born, he was nothing but a fucking faggot.

"Good God Weasley, are you crying?" the familiar voice broke Ron away from his mental self-destruction.

"What do you want Pansy?" he tried to growl, but it came out as more of a whimper.

"Sorry," Pansy said, speaking the one word Ron thought he would never hear her say.

"What, you're not going to gloat, tell me how much of a baby I am?" Ron sniffled.

"No I just… I don't like seeing people cry." Ron scoffed a little.

"Why not? You make them cry all the time?"

"Yeah, I make them cry, but I don't stay to watch them cry, I've got this little, uh… problem. You know, when I see people crying I kinda of, uhh… start to cry too…" Pansy trailed off, looking a little nervous.

"You have sympathy tears, don't you?" Ron said.

"Do you have to say it so loud?" Pansy asked.

"What? No one's around to hear," Ron replied.

"But still, the walls have ears you know."

"I thought it was corn…" Ron grumbled.

"Does it matter? Corn, walls, there's still something around to be listening."

"Paranoid much?"

"You've never been to my house."

"No, I can proudly say I haven't," Ron replied.

"Well whatever," Pansy said, shrugging it off, "now it's your turn."

"My turn for what?" Ron asked.

"Your turn to spill, I told you my secret, now you gotta even the score."

"Oh, right, that…" Ron trailed off, not quite sure how to put it into words. "Well, the thing is, I like someone," he began, not really sure why he was telling Pansy Parkinson of all people about this. But then again, Pansy had revealed something fatally incriminating about herself, so he supposed it would make them even.

"Is it someone you shouldn't be liking?" Pansy asked.

"Yeah, you could say that, the thing is… it's a bloke."

"Oh…" understanding dawned across Pansy's pale features. Neither one said anything for a moment, Ron was just waiting for Pansy to suddenly turn on him and start calling him a faggot and then spread the news all over the school. But she didn't.

"So, which one is it then?" Pansy asked.

"Huh?"

"Well, which one? You said you liked a bloke, but you never said which one. Which house is he in? Probably Gryffindor, God I hope it's not Longbottom. If it is I am going to have to comment on your serious lack of taste in men," Pansy commented.

"Harry," Ron said quietly.

"No, I'm Pansy, remember? But anyway, since it's definitely not Longbottom then… wait, Harry?"

"No, I'm Ron, remember?"

"No, I mean, Harry's the one, Harry Potter, he's the bloke you fancy." Ron's blush gave him away.

"Have you told him yet?"

"What? Tell him? Of course not, he'll hate me!"

"Doubt it," Pansy replied.

"Besides, my sister just bloody threatened me telling me to stay away from her boyfriend."

"Screw her," Pansy commented dryly, "not literally of course. I could though."

"That is one mental image I did not want in my head."

"What? She is a hot piece of ass."

"I seriously do not appreciate you calling my sister a hot piece of ass," Ron said, "you're a girl anyway."

"You're a boy," Pansy replied, calmly, "'sides she's the one who just threatened you," she said, shrugging.

"She's still my sister," Ron retorted.

"Yeah, but she's not my sister so it's okay." Ron groaned, rolling his eyes.

"But seriously, you should tell him."

"And totally ruin our friendship, hell no!"

"I doubt it will come to that, and he's not going to hate you. I mean, he faced Voldemort for crying out loud, I seriously doubt a little bit of faggotry is going to scare him off."

"Faggotry isn't even a word."

"Don't care," Pansy replied, "tell him."

"Or what?"

"I will."

"You wouldn't!"

"Would!"

"Nuh-uh!"

"Come on Weasley, you know me better than this, I definitely would."

"Fine, so maybe you would."

Pansy smirked, "guess you'd better tell him then," she said mockingly, as she turned and headed back for the Slytherin dorms. And Ron stood there, his mind still not quite processing what was possibly the strangest encounter he'd ever had with the Slytherin. And hopefully ever would have.