Ron was surprised to learn that Harry was back on the market via the Daily Prophet, though considering the mood that Harry had come home in the night before he probably should have guessed it himself. He put the paper down and looked across the kitchen table where Harry was seriously starting to resemble a boiling goblet of goo, he could just see the steam rolling off of him.
"Um… Harry?" Ron said tentatively, "did something happen between you and…" Ron racked his brain trying to remember the name of the guy, "Tyler?" he guessed.
"It's Taylor," Harry corrected. Close enough. "And we broke-up."
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked, knowing that that's what Hermione would probably tell him to do in that situation.
Harry made a sound somewhere between a grunt and a whine.
"It's just… I feel like I'll never find someone, y'know?" Ron knew that feeling all too well, people weren't exactly falling head over heels for his tall, gangly, freckled, ginger self.
"I mean, I dated girls, and that clearly wasn't right, and then I went for guys which was at least in the right gender, and they were all quite pleasant and nice and all-over good guys but something about them just wasn't right. For me I mean. I don't even know what I'm looking for, exactly, I just know none of them are it."
"Well, um, try listing things."
"Yeah, like, list all the things you want in a relationship, I've heard it helps."
Harry scoffed, "where'd you hear that from? Hermione?"
"Yeah, she made me do it when I was complaining about my lack of a love life," Ron admitted.
"And did it help?"
"I'm still single, aren't I?" Harry chuckled a little, Ron smiled brightly, oh good, at least he was out of his melancholic gloom. They both sat in silent for a moment, staring down at the table.
"Well…" Harry began, "I suppose I'd want him to be tall. I don't know why, it's just, tall sounds nice. And… funny, I'd like that."
"Wait, you're actually doing it?" Ron noted.
"Oh shut up, besides, you suggested it," Harry said.
"No, no, it's fine, go on."
"I don't want a Prince Charming, that's for sure, I don't want him to be perfect, I think that would be annoying, I just want him to be perfect for me. Someone that can make mistakes but that can get over them and laugh about them later. And I want a guy that's more than just my boyfriend, I want him to be able to be my best friend too. I guess what I'm looking for is… is… is someone a lot like you to be honest," Harry said, not really realizing what he'd said.
"Then why don't you date me?" Ron suggested, not even realizing what he'd just said either. They both stared blankly for a moment before suddenly realizing what they'd just said and the kitchen was rapidly filled with choruses of 'I'm sorry!' 'Not what I meant' 'not like that' and the like. When they finally quieted they both stared at each other apprehensively, wondering which one was going to explode. Fortunately, neither did.
"Well… that was awkward," Harry said, biting his lip and relaxing a little now that he was sure that Ron wasn't going to explode at him.
"Yeah, yeah it was," Ron agreed.
"So… wanna go out?" Harry said, both boys blushed brightly realizing what he'd just said.
"No, not like that!" Harry squeaked, "I meant like go hang out and get some food or go somewhere or something or ugh," Harry groaned, "maybe it would be easier if I just dated you. At least I wouldn't spend every day of my life carefully stepping around you trying not to be 'too gay' for fear that you'd get all mad and leave me or something. Then we could get this all out in the open and get it over with and everything wouldn't be so bloody awkward." Ron was silent for a moment.
"I just said that out loud, didn't I?" Harry said.
"Yeah mate, you did," Ron replied.
"Crap," Harry grumbled, "I knew I should've never gotten out of bed this morning."
"Let's date then," Ron said.
"Lets date, you and me, as a couple."
"Yeah, I mean, you're right you know, it would get the tension out, I would get a better taste of what life's like for you, and you would get a taste of what another man is like and you could use that for like helping you find your perfect man or something like that, yeah, I don't even know where I'm going with this one."
"Your logic is so screwy."
"Well sorry for not being Hermione," Ron grumbled.
"Fine," Harry said, "I'll date you."
"So now what?"
"What exactly do gay couples do?"
"What normal couples do."
"Well then… what should I do?"
"I guess you should probably ask me out first, properly I mean."
"Was that last one not proper?"
"Well, no, that was more like making a deal."
"Isn't that what it's supposed to be?"
"No wonder you don't have a girlfriend," Harry said, "no, that's not what it's supposed to be like, it's supposed to be cute, and romantic, like with a bouquet of flowers."
"Okay then… give me a second." Ron leapt out of his chair and ran out of the apartment that they were sharing. He returned a few minutes later with a small bouquet of flowers."
"Did you just cut those from the garden?" Harry asked.
"Yeah, is that bad?"
"It can be."
"It's homemade?" Ron suggested. Harry chuckled, shaking his head.
"Fine, now you have to ask me out."
"So like…" Ron stood up, he crossed around the table and sat down next to Harry, holding out his bouquet of flowers to him.
"Oh, are these for me?" Harry said, taking the flowers.
"Yeah, and, um, I wanted to ask you a question, will you go out with me?"
Harry smiled, "of course I will," he said.
"Was that good?" Ron asked.
"Excellent," Harry said, "I think you're getting the hang of this."
"What do we do next?"
"You take me out on a date."
"Where do you want to go then?"
Harry shrugged, "anywhere sounds fine."
"How about pizza?"
"So not romantic."
"But you said anywhere!"
"And by anywhere I meant only romantic places that I like, have you ever even gone on a date?"
"Oh shut up, you know my dating experiences have been less than spectacular."
"And now we know why." Ron shot him a glare, Harry giggled, "oh I'm just messing with you," Harry said, "and I'm sure you were quite an excellent date and it was just the other half that fell short."
"Humph," Ron said, "I don't know if I want to date you anymore," Ron said.
"Oh no, he doesn't love me, I'll just go to my room and cry my eyes out," Harry said.
"Well I hope you do," Ron said.
"Fine then, I won't."
"Then I hope you don't."
"In which case I will."
They both stared for a moment before bursting into laughter.
"C'mon Ron," Harry said laughing, grabbing him by the hand and pulling him up, "let's go get some pizza."
"Pizza? Sounds delicious, where'd you get that idea?"
"I believe some ginger told me."
"Must be quite a brilliant ginger."
"Oh he is," Harry replied, and he dragged him out of the apartment.
The two boys had successfully been "dating" for one week now, and Ron had even managed to take Harry someplace romantic one of those days, but he had completely ruined it by being unable to pay the bill, but Harry had just laughed and covered the tab, telling Ron that he could pay him back for it later.
Currently they were both walking home from their fourth date (ice cream) when Harry abruptly stopped.
"Harry?" Ron asked, "what is it?"
"You're holding my hand," Harry noted suddenly.
"Yeah… and…" Ron looked down at their fingers, which he himself had intertwined only a few minutes earlier.
"It's just that, I mean, we never talked…"
"Just spit it out, Harry," Ron said.
"We never talked about how we were going to deal with the physical aspects of a relationship."
"What do you mean by 'physical aspects'?"
"Oh, you know, like this, holding hands, hugging, cuddling… kissing."
"We can talk about it now, why, is there a problem?"
"No, it's just that, it's weird, holding the hand of someone that I'm not even dating."
"But we are, aren't we?" Ron said.
"Yes, but it's not actually like it's real or anything, it's just a big joke," Harry said. Ron let go of his Harry's hand.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize you felt that way."
"Well, it's what we both agreed on, wasn't it?" Harry asked, a bit confused by the hurt in Ron's voice.
"Never mind," Ron said, turning and continuing to head toward their apartment, Harry tagging along behind him.
"Ron, what is it? Did I say something wrong? Do something? Ron please tell me I didn't mean…"
"Just never mind," Ron shot back.
"I just… I'm sorry."
"Don't be, you did nothing wrong." They had reached their building and Ron began to quickly ascend the steps.
"Then tell me what's the matter? I want to help you!"
They had reached their floor.
"It's nothing Harry, honestly," Ron said, unlocking their apartment and stepping inside, Harry came in after him, closing the door.
"Please Ron, I can tell…" Ron shut him up by kissing him roughly on the lips. When they broke apart both boys were stunned by what had just happened.
It was Ron that spoke first.
"I know it was all just a joke," he said quietly, "us dating I mean, but it's just that somewhere along the road, I don't know when or how, it stopped being that for me, and it was real, and I really was together with you, and to be honest, I liked it. I'm sorry you don't feel that way, for some reason I thought you had too but I guess I was wrong."
And Harry slapped him.
"Ron you big fucking idiot," Harry growled, and then he kissed him. "You don't think that I didn't want it to be real too? Of course I did! I just made such a big show of talking about how it was fake because I thought that was what you wanted. And that you didn't really want to date me and didn't even see me in that way at all. You remember when I said the person I wanted to date was a lot like you? That's because the person I wanted to date was you! And that's why none of my relationships worked because I never wanted them I wanted you!"
Ron was stunned by Harry's outburst.
"You mean, really?"
"Ron I've been in love with you since seventh year, are you really that thick? I thought after all of this time, and then even going out with me, that you might have finally gotten a clue."
"Sorry," Ron said, "I didn't realize."
"I noticed." Harry grumbled, crossing his arms across his chest.
"But did you really have to slap me?"
"Can I at least hug you?" Harry eyed him for a moment, "sure," he grumbled.
Ron wrapped his arms around Harry, pulling him closer to him, he could feel Harry relaxing a bit.
"I really am sorry you know," Ron said.
"Oh just forget about it," Harry said, wrapping his arms around Ron's neck.
"We sure are a dysfunctional couple, aren't we?"
"Yeah, we sure are."
"So, wanna go out?"
"For real this time?" Harry asked, looking up at Ron's face.
"For real this time," Ron assured him. Harry smiled before leaning forward and kissing him on the lips.
"I would love to," he said, and the let himself curl up back into Ron's arms.
A/N: Day-um, it's been awhile. Anyway, I just have to say the best part about this story is the part where I learned how to spell bouquet. That is all. And don't forget to review, you know how much I love it when you do!