Rating:  NC-17
Pairing: Harry/Ron, Harry/OC
Genre:  Coming out, First Time, Angst
Word count: ~9000
Original posting: Dec 10, 2006
Summary:  Post War. They’re 18. Harry decides that it’s time to come out to his closest friends and gets a little help from a new friend.  Of course it’s Ron that he’s holding a torch for.

Author Notes:  This is a stand alone and I really enjoyed writing it despite the fact that it took me several months.  Don’t be afraid of the OC – he’s just passing through and lending a helping hand (so to speak) to our boys.

Art  by the fabulous Really Corking


 
Nothing Left Between

     by  Rickey_A


Saturday night, Harry sat at the bar nursing his third beer. He’d been offered about a dozen and turned them all down. Plenty of guys had showed interest in him, but not one had piqued his. He watched the dancers and the various groups of men drinking and chatting each other up. There was a corner table not too far from him where four men were obviously just friends hanging out. One of them kept looking his way every so often. He wasn’t ogling; his eyes were kind and it was more like he was checking up on him. Harry was beginning to think coming to the bar had been a colossally stupid idea. He was standing up to leave, when he noticed the man with kind eyes right behind him.
 
“You okay?” the man asked with far more concern than a typical stranger would have.
 
“Fine, thanks,” Harry answered, and leaned back against the bar.
 
The man was about an inch or two taller than Harry, had dark brown hair and the lightest brown eyes. Harry noted that they were more a yellowish amber. They seemed to be staring straight through him.
 
“I swear I’m not trying to pick you up.”
 
“You’d be the first.”
 
“Yeah, I’ve noticed. Yet you’ve turned them all away.”
 
Harry shrugged his shoulders.
 
The man continued. “So why are you here?”
 
“I haven’t a clue,” Harry said honestly.
 
“Do you want to go somewhere and talk?”
 
Harry smiled and answered, “I thought you weren’t trying to pick me up.”
 
“Oh maybe just a little, but really I think I’m restoring some universal karma.”
 
“Karma?” Harry asked with a raised eyebrow.
 
“Yep, not too long ago I was the one sitting on the barstool offering myself up to the gay gods of fate when a very nice guy took me aside and helped me work out a few things.”
 
“You think I need help?”
 
“It’s in your eyes.” Their eyes met and a few moments passed in which the world around them seemed to stand still. “Hi, I’m Ryan.” he said, extending his hand.
 
Harry shook his hand and responded, “Harry.”
 
“How old are you, Harry?”
 
“Eighteen.”
 
“Really?”
 
“Yes, really,” Harry retorted, a bit annoyed, “and you?”
 
“Twenty six, and I’m just seeing what kind of trouble I’m getting myself into here.”
 
“Don’t worry, I’m plenty trouble.” Harry wasn’t sure what had possessed him to be so smug, maybe the ghost of Godric Gryffindor. In actuality, his knees were trembling and his stomach was twisting in knots.
 
“I bet you are,” Ryan said with a knowing smile. “Do you want to get out of here?”
 
“Sure.” Must be Gryffindor again, Harry thought to himself as he followed Ryan out of the bar.
 
They walked the five blocks to Ryan’s flat mostly talking about the weather and Ryan’s boredom with his job in investment banking. When they reached his block of flats, Ryan sat down the front stairs and Harry joined him.
 
“Look, Harry, I know what this looks like,” Ryan began, “but I’ve been there. And I thought that maybe you need to talk to someone who has.”
 
“Been there?” Harry asked slightly confused about what anyone else could possibly have in common with himself.
 
“Sure.”
 
“And what’s that?”
 
“I don’t know, maybe young, gay and trying to figure it all out,” Ryan offered.
 
“Maybe.” Harry shrugged.
 
Ryan gently brushed the hair out of Harry’s eyes and looked deeply into them. “Or maybe sad. Maybe you’re sad for something you want but can’t have.”
 
Harry was startled by the accuracy of the guess.
 
Ryan continued his effort to spread some good karma, “I was sad once. I was so sad that I sat on that barstool and waited for anyone to pick me up and take me home. I thought some random anonymous fucking was going to make me hurt less.”
 
“And did it?” Harry asked almost hopeful.
 
“No,” Ryan smiled. “I never got that far. Some good Samaritan took me out for a cup of coffee and talked some sense into me.”
 
“And what was that?”
 
“That if I wanted a random shag that was great and more power to me. Only if I was depressed because of a lost relationship, all the fucking in the world wasn’t going to help.”
 
“What happened to you?” Harry asked, and tried to read Ryan’s strained expression. “I’m sorry. If you don’t want to talk about it…”
 
“No, I don’t mind. I figured as much.”
 
“What?”
 
“That I would have to tell you my story. Full circle, you see. Anyway, maybe it will you help you.”
 
“Maybe.”
 
“Let’s see, I was nineteen, gay, in the closet and desperately wanted to get away from my family and friends.”  Ryan started his story.  “So I decided to do a year abroad; Columbia University in New York. In one of my classes, I met a very handsome and charismatic New Yorker. He swept me off my feet. Shit, I need a drink.” Ryan rubbed his face. “Do you mind coming inside?”
 
“No.”
 
Harry followed Ryan up to the second floor flat. Ryan produced two beers and they settled on the sofa. After Ryan drank about half the beer, he continued his story. “So I’m young, in love and an ocean away from my past. It was pretty great. But then the year was over and I wasn’t staying in New York and he wasn’t moving to London.”
 
With empathy, Harry watched Ryan swallow hard and collect his thoughts.
 
“Shit. Can you believe it? Over six years and it still hurts.” Ryan took another long swig of his. Harry drank as well.
 
Ryan pressed on. “So we parted swearing to remain friends. There were a few emails and phone calls and then fade to gray. ”
 
“Sorry,” Harry offered, not quiet knowing what to say.
 
“That’s sweet, thanks. Life is just like that. Things end and then you have to let go.”
 
“How do you let go?” Harry asked, hoping for some magical answer.
 
“I’m not sure. At some point you finally realize it’s over. I kept holding on until it hurt more to hang on then it hurt to let go.”
 
“Does anything help?”
 
“Time, only time.” Ryan said sadly.
 
“Does it really?” Harry asked doubtfully.
 
“Sort of. It hurts but as an old wound, not so fresh and at the surface. You meet new people and have new relationships. You move on.” Ryan finished his beer and stood up. “Fancy another beer?”
 
“Okay.” Harry answered, perhaps not the best idea since he was already a little drunk. He finished the one still in his hand while Ryan went to the kitchen for two more. Harry stood and walked about the living room looking at the art and photographs.
 
“So what were you doing at the club?” Ryan asked as he handed Harry another beer.
 
“I suppose trying to figure out for sure if I’m gay.”
 
“Oh, I can take care of that,” Ryan said before leaning down and seizing Harry’s lips. It was a playful kiss, warm with a lot of tongue. Ryan grabbed Harry’s arse with his free hand and pulled him tight to his body. After a minute, he broke the kiss and stepped back. “So were you turned on or repulsed?” he asked playfully, already knowing the answer by the large bulge in Harry’s jeans.
 
The answer came in between deep breaths. “Turned on.”
 
“You’re gay,” Ryan declared matter-of-factly. He then caught Harry’s eye and looked at him thoughtfully. “But you already knew that.”
 
Changing his stare to the floor Harry replied, “Yeah.”
 
Ryan motioned for Harry to sit on the sofa, which he did. Ryan joined him and they each took a long sip of their beers.
 
“So, why are you really here?”
 
“Escape,” Harry answered without any emotion.
 
“And what does a handsome eighteen year old like you need escaping from?”
 
Harry blushed at the compliment. He never really thought about how other people perceived him.
 
Ryan caught this and added, “You’re sexy as hell,” as he patted Harry’s knee.
 
With a bit of a drunken slur, Harry answered the open question.  “I live with my two best mates, Hermione and Ron, in the house that my godfather left me when he died. The three of us have a long history, which includes the two of them occasionally having the hots for each other. But deep down I suppose they’re more like brother and sister, so it never works out. Of course, I am in love with him and he is straight.”
 
Ryan smiled. “In love with the straight best friend. That’s the oldest gay teen story there is.”
 
“So have you heard this one?” Harry took another long swig of his beer for courage and chose his words carefully. “The three of us spent the last year together tracking down said godfather’s murderer and the murderer’s boss. The boss, by the way, had also murdered my parents. Four months ago we finally managed to…” Harry thought a moment. “bring them to justice. I was seriously injured and spent a month in the hospital. They were there at my bed side everyday.” Harry finished proudly and then sucked down the rest of his beer.
 
Ryan just stared at him. It was the most unbelievable story and yet he could tell from Harry’s eyes that it was true. “When did your parents die?” he asked cautiously.
 
“When I was one.”
 
Ryan did a bit of a double take.
 
Harry continued with a dash of sarcasm, “Oh yes, just when you thought the story couldn’t get any juicier. I was left with my aunt and uncle, who never wanted me and pretty much told me so every day. For the next ten years of my life I spent most of my time in a cupboard under their stairs. When I was eleven I went away to school. There I met Ron and Hermione and we’ve been together since.”
 
Ryan just stared not knowing what he could possibly say.
 
Harry took a deep breath and let it out before going on. “So you see, it’s not a simple case of being in love with a friend. Ron is my life. Ron is my family. He has traveled to hell and back for me. I am resolved that I can not lose him, even if he can’t be my lover.” Harry was finished and sat quietly waiting for some sort of response.
 
After a few thoughtful moments, Ryan answered, “No, I’ve never heard that one.” He reached his arms out and pulled Harry into a warm embrace. “Like I said, someone was once there for me. I could do that for you.”
 
“Could you make me forget everything for just one night?” Harry asked, trying to look as seductive as possible.
 
Harry felt kisses across his jaw and his neck sending shivers down his spine. Ryan gently pushed him onto his back on the sofa and whispered in his ear, “Yeah, I can do that.”
 
Ryan’s mouth was upon Harry’s kissing him again. Ever so quiet and restrained, Harry moaned.
 
“Are you sure?” Ryan whispered again in his ear.
 
“Yes,” Harry responded in a strangled whisper. “Please.”
 
And then Harry Potter, for the moment, let go. He closed his eyes and let go of his fear and uncertainty. He let go of his stress and anxiety. He let go of his pain and of his expectations. He simply allowed himself to feel. He felt lips kissing his neck and hands caressing his back under his shirt. He felt hands at the button and zip of his trousers. He felt hands pushing his pants down his thighs. He felt the wet heat of a mouth descending upon his aching cock. He felt the most incredible suction and hands grabbing his arse and pulling him into that suction.
 
There could be no control. He had been on the brink of orgasm since the first kiss. All of the lights in the apartment and several streetlights outside flickered as Harry came with a muffled scream.

That’s odd, was the expression on Ryan's face as he sucked Harry clean.
 
Harry opened his eyes and saw Ryan next to him smiling softly.
 
“Are you all right,” Ryan asked sincerely.
 
“Yeah.” Harry blew out a deep breath. “I’m fine. That was… umm…”
 
“Your first time?”
 
Harry had been trying to say fantastic or brilliant or something to that effect, but as he thought about Ryan’s question he simply answered, “Yeah.”
 
“Do you want to spend the night?”
 
Harry nodded affirmatively. Ryan helped him pull his pants back up and led him to the bedroom. Harry sat precariously on the edge of the bed. Slowly Ryan stripped down to his boxers and sat next to Harry. Harry couldn’t help but stare at the man’s erection.
 
Ryan smiled knowingly. “Don’t worry I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.”
 
“It’s just that I don’t think I’m ready… you know… for what you did for me,” Harry said nervously.
 
Ryan began to kiss Harry again and Harry welcomed it heartily. With obvious experience, Ryan helped Harry remove his clothes in between kisses and caresses. Fairly quickly they were naked in the middle of the bed. Tentatively, Harry reached for the other man’s cock. Despite his nerves, he was determined to show some sort of reciprocity. It was warm and moist from pre-cum. Ryan placed his hand over Harry’s and helped him to find a comfortable rhythm.
 
“That’s nice,” he encouraged the novice.
 
Harry closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on the feeling. He could feel the other man stiffening in his grasp. Harry stroked harder and faster just as he would do to himself when he was close to coming. Occasionally Harry would change his grip and stroke over the top squeezing with his index and middle finger. In approval, Ryan moaned. After a few minutes, Ryan came over Harry’s fist and both their stomachs. He kissed Harry gently in appreciation, and they rested a moment.
 
Eventually Ryan slowly got up. “I’m going to take a shower, join me?”
 
As Harry stepped into the warm shower, he was almost embarrassed to find that he was hard again. Ryan noticed but didn’t seem to mind. He kissed Harry and expertly stroked him to another climax.
 
Clean and sated they left the bathroom wearing towels. It was now after 2 A.M. Sunday morning. As they entered the bedroom they both looked toward a tapping sound coming from the window. It only took Harry a moment to see Hedwig’s snowy white feathers against the darkness outside. The tapping grew louder as Hedwig caught her master’s gaze.
 
“What on earth?” Ryan exclaimed.
 
“Oh, that’s...” Harry tried to think of what to say as he headed to the window. “Hedwig.” The simple truth was all he could come up with.
 
“Who?” Ryan asked, and looked slightly alarmed as Harry opened the window and the large snowy owl flew in and perched on his shoulder.
 
“Ow,” Harry said as she dug her talons into his bare shoulder. He prompted her to jump to the back of his forearm instead.
 
Ryan stared open mouth.
 
Harry flashed a guilty smile. “I have an owl. She must have followed me here. She’s trained, sort of like a carrier pigeon.”
 
“I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
 
“Yeah, I suppose it’s rare.” Harry took the parchment from Hedwig’s leg. Luckily there was enough moonlight to read Hermione’s perfectly neat handwriting.
 
Harry
Where are you?  Are you all right?
Us


Harry looked to Ryan sheepishly, “Do you have a pen?”
 
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Ryan joked as he handed Harry a pen from the nightstand.

Harry scratched a reply on the back of the parchment.

  
“Go home girl.” Harry sent Hedwig on her way and closed the window.
 
Harry looked to Ryan. “Sorry about that. My friends were worried about me.”
 
“It’s fine,” Ryan replied slightly confused, but then took Harry’s hand and led him back to the bed.
 
When they were snuggled up and comfortable beneath the covers, Ryan remarked, “You are certainly different, Harry.”
 
Harry wanted to say, you have know idea, but instead closed his eyes and allowed himself to relax in the arms of a stranger. It did not take very long for sleep to overtake them both.
 
They woke around noon. Harry dressed hastily and said that he had better get home. Ryan grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down his mobile number. “Just in case you ever need to talk.”
 
“Thanks,” Harry replied, “thanks for everything.”
 
“Good Karma.”
 
*************************
 
Harry tentatively entered Number 12 Grimmauld Place. They had been living there for two months, ever since Harry had been released from St. Mungo’s. They wanted to stay together, at least for a little while. Hermione devised that they could each help each other adjust back to normal life, whatever that was. It was also still heavily warded and would be the safest place for them, as only Order members could find it. Harry figured that they had spent almost every day together the past year, that it would take a while for them to feel secure enough to be apart. Only Harry didn’t want to be apart. It certainly didn’t feel like his house yet, but wherever Hermione and Ron were seemed to feel like home.
 
They had each claimed a bedroom and when Harry chose the smallest, Ron and Hermione insisted that he move into the master bedroom. He hated it. It was far too big and empty and the décor reminded him of Mrs. Black. Hermione told him to redecorate. Harry had tried to drop subtle hints to Ron about sharing the room. After all they had shared a dorm room for years. Only Ron seemed to be oblivious any time Harry tried to plant the idea in his best mate’s head.
 
The house was dark and quiet as he headed up to his bedroom. Harry had commanded Kreacher to remain at Hogwarts, not just because of Hermione’s objection to owning a house elf, but Harry could not stand the little bugger. Harry had hoped to sneak into his bedroom before his friends saw him. Unfortunately Ron had poked his head out of his own bedroom at the sound of the creaking stairs.
 
“So you got lucky last night?” Ron asked with schoolboy enthusiasm.
 
“Yea,” Harry answered honestly.
 
“So what did she look like?” Ron asked, his eyes wide and inquiring.
 
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
 
“Oh sure,” Ron said deflated. “Don’t want to kiss and tell.”
 
Harry nodded and passed by Ron. Ron’s words froze him as he turned the knob to his room.
 
“Harry, everything all right?”
 
“Yeah, I just need some sleep.”
 
“Oh right, right,” Ron added, looking rejected.
 
Harry managed to avoid his roommates the rest of the evening. He woke up early Monday and left even before Hermione. He left them a note saying that he needed some time alone and not to worry about him. Harry spent the entire day walking around London. He found it ironic that the people he wanted to be around most in the world were the two he was avoiding. He hadn’t realized that around six o’clock he had ended up in front of Ryan’s flat. He sat down on the front steps and about a half an hour later, he saw Ryan walking towards him from down the block.
 
“I’m sorry, is this okay?” Harry stood up and asked as Ryan reached the stairs.
 
“Sure,” Ryan responded with a smile. “When did you get here?”
 
“About half an hour ago. I was out walking most of the day and somehow ended up here.”
 
Ryan looked at him sincerely. “You should have called. I would’ve left early.”
 
“I don’t have a phone.”
 
“Oh, I forgot, just owls in the middle of the night.” Ryan laughed walking up the stairs, and then motioned to Harry. “Come on, I need to get out of this suit.”
 
Harry followed him up to his flat. Opening up two beers, Ryan handed one to Harry. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
 
Ryan changed into jeans and a t-shirt and joined Harry in the living room. They sat facing each other on the sofa.
 
“I wasn’t sure I’d ever see you again,” Ryan said with a faint smile.
 
“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again,” Harry responded, trying not to sound mean.
 
“And yet you’re here.”
 
Harry shook his head. “I really haven’t a clue what I’m doing. I spent the entire day avoiding my best mates and now I’m here and I hardly know you.”
 
“You need to tell them.”
 
“What?” Harry asked, somewhat confused.
 
“You need to come out to them, Harry,” Ryan stated as a matter of fact.
 
“Oh.”
 
“That’s what my good Samaritan told me, that I needed to tell my family and friends.”
 
“So this is more good karma?”
 
Ryan let out a quiet laugh and replied, “Afraid so.”
 
“I can’t tell them,” Harry spoke, his voice trembling slightly and fear in his eyes.
 
“Sure you can.” After an awkward silence Ryan stated, “I’m starving. Let’s talk about it over dinner.”
 
They made their way to the end of the block. There were two restaurants next to each other.
 
“So,” Ryan said as he pointed to the restaurants, “pizza or Chinese?”
 
The smell of tomato sauce and garlic was pleasantly wafting through the air, and Harry couldn’t remember the last time he had pizza so he answered, “Pizza sounds good.”
 
Harry felt better after eating, having ignored his stomach all day. He tried to pay the bill, but Ryan wouldn’t hear of it. They made their way back up to Ryan’s flat and watched the telly for a while. It was getting late and Ryan could sense that Harry wasn’t quite ready to go home.
 
“You can spend the night, if you want.”
 
“I’m not sure…”  Harry nervously started to say something.
 
“Don’t worry. I think I can manage to keep my hands off you.”
 
“I don’t mean to be such a pain.”
 
“You’re not. Besides I told you…”
 
“Yeah, I know good karma.” Harry smiled.
 
Ryan set Harry up on the sofa with some blankets and pillows. However, after fifteen minutes, Harry showed up in Ryan’s bedroom with sad puppy dog eyes. “Is it okay if I bunk with you?”
 
Lifting the blankets to let Harry in, Ryan responded, “Sure.”
 
Wearing only boxers, Harry snuggled in against Ryan who was wearing just pajama bottoms. Ryan spooned him and whispered against Harry’s hair, “You’re not making this easy for me, are you?”
 
“I’m sorry.” Harry started to sit up. “I’ll go sleep on…”
 
Ryan pulled him back down and hugged him. “Don’t be silly.”
 
**************
 
Harry woke up alone to the sound of the shower running. He looked at the clock and saw that it was only six thirty A.M. He hadn’t been up this early in a long time. Harry figured Ryan must need to leave for work soon, so he dragged himself out of bed and got dressed. Ryan came back to the bedroom as Harry was lacing up his trainers.
 
“Stay for breakfast,” Ryan stated more than asked as he got dressed for work.
 
Harry was about to say 'no', when Ryan interrupted his train of thought. “Come on, we have time for tea and toast.”
 
The idea came to Harry as they were having breakfast. “Would you do me a favour?” Harry asked tentatively, feeling as he had already imposed far too much.
 
“What is it?”
 
“Could you pose as my boyfriend?” Harry requested, his cheeks burning pink.
 
“And why is that?”
 
“Well I think it might be easier for my friends to grasp me being gay if it were real.”
 
Ryan laughed. “It is real.”
 
Harry blushed again. “No, I meant, just hearing it isn’t the same as seeing it.”
 
“I know what you meant. What were you thinking?”
 
“How about dinner at that Chinese restaurant tomorrow night? I’ll ask them to dinner to meet you. I think it’ll help you being there. Especially Ron, he’ll have to limit his temper.”
 
“Temper?” Ryan asked with a touch of alarm.
 
“Red head,” Harry stated as if that explained everything.
 
Ryan nodded. “Sure, I’ll do it. Why the sudden change?”
 
“No time like the present. Besides I don’t want to keep avoiding them.”
 
“Harry, it won’t be the easiest thing in the world, but from experience, you’ll be glad you did it.”
 
“Seven o’clock okay? ”
 
“I’ll be there.”
 
“And I’m paying,” Harry said emphatically.
 
“You sure?”
 
“I have a hefty inheritance that I almost never get to use.”
 
Ryan smiled. “I should have let you pay for the pizza.”
 
*******************
 
Harry stopped off at the market on his way home. Since moving into Number 12 Grimmauld Place, Harry had become the cook. It was a combination of the fact that he had way too much free time to fill, neither Hermione or Ron knew their way around a kitchen, and there was only so much greasy take away he could stomach. Over the past few weeks, Harry found that he rather enjoyed cooking and it meant that Hermione and Ron would have to clean up afterwards.
 
Harry and Ron spent a fair amount of time sleeping and enjoying some well deserved rest. They played chess or exploding snap frequently with Hermione sitting by the fire engrossed in some book. It had only been a few days, but Harry missed them. He decided to make his absence up to them with poached salmon and roasted potatoes. The house was empty when he arrived. Hermione was at work of course, and Ron had left a note saying that he had gone to Diagon Alley to help Fred and George at the store. Harry wasn't too surprised and felt a bit guilty for leaving Ron alone in the house.
 
As Harry prepared dinner, he thought about ways to tell his friends he was gay. Nothing he could think of seemed like the right words. He was scared that no matter what he said, he wouldn’t be able to hide his feelings for Ron. His assumption was that Hermione would be okay with it, but Ron was another story. It was a complete understatement that it was not going to be easy.
 
Hermione and Ron arrived home at almost the same time. The smell of food drew them to the kitchen.
 
“What’s the occasion?” Ron asked as he snooped about the kitchen to see what smelled so good.
 
“I’m apologizing for not having been around the last few days.”
 
“Apologize any time,” Ron stated happily as he grabbed a pitcher of pumpkin juice.
 
Hermione changed from her work clothes into jeans and a t-shirt and joined them in the kitchen. “Great, I’m starving.”
 
The three sat down together and shared pleasant dinner conversation. Ron talked about the goings on at WWW, and Hermione updated the guys on what was happening at the Ministry. Harry served up some ice cream for dessert. He had picked out chocolate for Ron and strawberry sorbet for Hermione. They eyed him suspiciously.
 
“Okay, out with it,” Hermione demanded.
 
“What?” Harry asked as innocently as he could feign.
 
“You are buttering us up,” she said, taking a bite of her sorbet. “I know when I’m being buttered up, Harry.”
 
Ron was inhaling his ice cream. “I don’t care if you are up to something, Harry. Just pass me the sorbet, I want to try some of that too.”
 
Harry couldn’t help but smile at his best friends. They were so predictable, but in a good way. They were always exactly who they were. He swallowed hard and got up his Gryffindor courage. “I met someone recently.”
 
“Duh,” Ron said with his mouthful. “I wondered when you were going to tell us about it.”
 
“Sorry, it’s just been a little strange.”
 
“Yeah, yeah,” Ron interjected. “Muggle, we got that part already.”
 
Hermione flashed Ron a stern warning.
 
“And a few years older,” Harry added.
 
Ron made an unidentifiable guttural sound.
 
“How old?” Hermione inquired with a raised eyebrow.
 
“Twenty-six.”
 
“Oh,” Hermione answered.
 
Harry could see her mind was rendering judgment.
 
“I’d like you to meet. How about dinner tomorrow night?” Harry spat out as quickly as he could before he lost his nerve.
 
His friends looked a bit shocked. This was definitely a first. After a thoughtful pause, Hermione answered, “Of course we will.”
 
Ron looked to her and then to Harry and simply shrugged his shoulders in agreement.
 
That night Harry lost three games of wizard chess in a row to Ron, while Hermione sat by the fire reading a book of household spells that she had borrowed from Mrs. Weasley.
 
**********************
 
Filled to the brim with anxiety, Harry barely slept. He emerged from his room around noon the next day to find Ron reading the Daily Prophet by the fireplace.
 
“You up for some more chess?” Harry asked trying to sound as normal as possible despite the fact that his insides were twisting.
 
“Set ‘em up,” Ron said, joining Harry at the chess set. “You’re sure you’re not tired of losing to me?” Ron chided Harry.
 
“I will beat you, Weasley. One of these days I will beat you.”
 
“Promises, promises.”
 
Harry tried not to look up at Ron. If he didn’t know better, he would have sworn that Ron was flirting.
 
For the first time in days, they spent time together talking, playing chess and cleaning out some of the unused bedrooms. Now that it was no longer Order headquarters, they had promised Hermione to try and make the place more of a home for themselves. Harry still wasn’t so sure. He still felt that they were there just temporarily and that it would never really be his home.
 
*****************
 
Harry, Hermione and Ron were walking towards the restaurant at seven o’clock sharp.
 
“There he is,” Harry stated cheerfully.
 
Ron looked at Harry with wide searching eyes and then to Hermione. She looked to Ron as if to let him know that she had no idea either. Rushing ahead, Harry took Ryan’s hand and walked him back to where his friends were standing somewhat stupefied.
 
“Are you taking the piss out of us?” Ron asked incredulously.
 
“No. I swear…” Harry started to say something but Ryan cut him off.
 
“You said you were going to tell them before hand. This wasn’t supposed to be an ambush.” Ryan said calmly, capturing Harry’s gaze.
 
Harry looked from Ryan to Hermione and then to Ron. “I’m sorry I chickened out. I figured it would just be easier…”
 
Harry couldn’t finish that thought either for Ron cut him off. “Easy? What the hell Harry? You’re serious?”
 
The tension ran high as everyone just stared at each other. Hermione gently rubbed Ron’s back in attempt to calm him down. She gave Harry a kind motherly look and then broke the silence. “Give us a sec, Harry.”
 
She pulled Ron a few paces away and whispered in his ear, “Ron, listen to what I am about to say very carefully. Harry is your best friend and that will never change. He is probably terrified right now. Think of what it must have taken for him to finally tell us. Think of everything we’ve been through. If you do anything other than fake a smile and join us all for dinner I will hex you into the middle of next week.”
 
Harry studied Hermione’s body language as she spoke. He leaned over to Ryan and whispered, “She’s threatening him right now.” Harry cracked a small smile. “She’s the best.”
 
With that said, Hermione grabbed Ron’s arm and pulled him back over to Harry and Ryan. Letting go of Ron’s arm, she jumped into Harry’s and gave him a heartfelt hug. As always with any emotional moment, she had tears streaming down her cheeks. Harry gave her a peck on the cheek. Hermione let go of Harry and brushed his shirt out. “I’m starving. Let’s eat,” she declared and led the four of them into the restaurant. Ron followed begrudgingly keeping a fierce glare on Ryan.
 
Dinner was an exercise in controlled tension. Hermione did her best to avoid any uncomfortable silences by asking Ryan about his career and family. She asked them how they met. To which Harry explained about the bar with as little detail as possible. All the while Ron shifted uncomfortably in his seat. She filled in with conversations about European ski vacations and compared notes with Ryan on where they had both traveled. Ron sat silently and barely touched his food. In an attempt to make peace Ryan asked Ron about his family.
 
Ron answered dryly, “I have five older brothers and one younger sister. And then there’s Harry and Hermione.”
 
“Of course,” Ryan agreed with him.
 
“I’d kill anyone who hurt them,” Ron said deadpan. “Ow!”
 
Hermione kicked him under the table. Harry diverted his eyes across the room. Ron sank lower in the booth.
 
Somehow they all managed to survive to the fortune cookie. Harry started to laugh and read his aloud. “Destiny is not in the stars but in your hands.” Hermione and Ron couldn’t help but laugh as well. Ryan smiled at them and realized that he was not in on the joke.
 
They meandered from the restaurant to the street and said strained goodbyes. Although Ron did shake Ryan’s hand when it was offered to him. Ron and Hermione started down the block. When the two turned around to wave one more goodbye, Harry impetuously pulled Ryan into a hot and steamy yet forced kiss. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry witnessed Ron grouse and then Disapparate. Harry couldn’t believe how stupid that was of Ron. Luckily, Ryan was facing away and the street appeared empty. When Harry broke the kiss, Hermione shrugged her shoulders and then walked around the corner.
 
“What was that for?” Ryan calmly asked as Hermione had disappeared from view.
 
“Effect, I suppose. Sorry about that.”
 
“Relax Harry. You don’t need to try so hard with them. They’re wonderful friends.”
 
“I know,” Harry said wistfully.
 
Ryan extended his hand out to Harry. “Come on, I’ll fix you a drink. You look like you could use one.”
 
************************
Harry took the beer from Ryan and made himself at home on the couch. As he lifted the beer to his lips, his hands were visibly shaking. “I think I need something stronger,” he commented.
 
“Sure.” Ryan said, and fetched a bottle of whiskey and two shot glasses. He sat next to Harry and poured. Harry quickly threw back the shot and let out a deep breath. After downing his glass, Ryan put his large hands over Harry’s shoulders and started massaging them.
 
“That’s nice,” Harry stated as he closed his eyes and tried desperately to relax.
 
“You’re so tense. You’re still shaking.” Ryan said as he continued to rub Harry’s neck and shoulders.
 
Harry took a quick sip of his beer and then answered, “It took every ounce of self control to get through that dinner. Ron hates me.”
 
“He doesn’t hate you. Me, well his eyes shot daggers at me. It was obviously just as painful for him to sit through dinner as it was for you.”
 
“Hermione was great though.” Harry smiled. “I knew she would be.”
 
“Yes, she was.”
 
“I knew Ron would be pissed.”
 
Ryan gave Harry a big bear hug from behind and spoke softly into his ear, “He’s not mad because you’re gay. He’s mad because you didn’t tell him. There’s a huge difference.”
 
Harry took another sip of his beer and then said, “We’ll see.”
 
“You are more than welcome to stay the night, but I think you should go home and talk to him.”
 
Harry turned his head and body to look at Ryan behind him. “Really? I figured I’d let him cool off, sleep on it.”
 
“Emotion isn’t always a bad thing, Harry. If you don’t face him now, he may never tell you what he really thinks. He’ll bury it and then resent you over never having said it.”
 
“You really think I should go?”
 
“Yes.”
 
Ryan watched Harry go, knowing full well he would never see him again.
 
***********************
 
Hermione found Ron sitting in the kitchen, his elbows on the table with his head in his hands. Cautiously she walked behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t be mad at him, Ron. He needs you right now.”
 
“Bollocks!” Ron spat without looking up.
 
“This is Harry we’re talking about. We are his family.”
 
Ron stood abruptly and kicked the chair across the room. Frightened, Hermione backed into the doorway. There was a hateful look in Ron’s eyes that she had never seen before.
 
“He should have told us!” Ron yelled at her.
 
“So that you could yell at him like this?” She hissed back at him.
 
“Better than,” Ron imitated her mockingly, “Oh you’re gay. Hmmm, I’d like to try the orange beef.” Ron stared at her coldly and then a dark thought crept into his mind. “Did you know?”
 
“No,” she said simply, shaking her head.
 
Somehow he didn’t believe her. She always knew everything. She didn’t seem upset at all. Ron deliberately stared her down and then screamed at her, “Did… You… Know?”
 
“Ron, I swear I didn’t.” she slowly approached him, tears welling in her eyes.
 
“Then how come you’re not the least bit upset or shocked by any of this?”
 
Hermione spoke in almost a whisper. “It makes sense. Think about him with girls. He was never that interested.”
 
“What about Ginny?”
 
“Ron that was a couple of kisses well over a year ago. Think about it. We’ve been back three months and he hasn’t tried to get back with her.” Hermione studied Ron’s expression and tried to figure out if he was getting better or worse. He was still fuming.
 
A long minute later, Ron started up again. “All the same, it would have been nice to know that my best friend is a poof.”
 
“Oh, Ron,” Hermione said disapprovingly.
 
“No, really, Hermione. We’ve spent every day and night together the last year and a half. You think it might have come up.” Ron paused, but Hermione said nothing. He continued, his rage increasing with every syllable. “And tonight? Harry told us things like ‘it’s a Muggle” and ‘a little older’. He kind of missed the most important bit. Don’t ya think? Springing him on us like that, that’s rubbish. Well, fuck him.”  Ron was now so loud that neither he nor Hermione had heard the crackling sound just outside the kitchen.
 
Hermione was mortified.  “Don’t say that.”
 
“Well that’s what it is, isn’t it? He’s fucking some guy and throwing it in our faces.” Ron was now yelling inches from her face.
 
“That’s not what he was doing and you know it,” said Hermione, holding her own. “And stop yelling at me.”
 
“Well Harry’s not here to yell at, is he?”
 
“Yes, I am,” Harry spoke softly. Both Hermione and Ron nearly got whiplash as their heads jerked to look at him. “Go on, Ron. I think Ryan was right. You say what you need to say.”
 
“Oh yes,” Ron answered snidely, “Ryan must know all.”
 
“He knows more than you,” Harry said bitterly.
 
Hermione interrupted, “Boys don’t do this. Let’s all calm down before someone says something they don’t mean.”
 
“No,” said Harry firmly. “Ron’s got something to say. Go on, say it.”
 
Ron wasn’t sure where to begin. He stared at Harry a moment and then blurted out, “I just don’t like broken promises.”
 
“What?” Harry asked completely thrown off by the accusation.
 
“The day you left St. Mungo’s, you said we’d start our Auror training after the New Year. What about that?”
 
“Nothing’s changed.”
 
“Oh really? You plan to explain everything to your new Muggle boyfriend?”
 
Harry thought about it then answered honestly, “He’s not my boyfriend.”
 
“So it’s just the club circuit for you then? Different shag every night?”
 
Hermione slapped Ron on the arm and interjected, “That’s uncalled for.”
 
Harry simply rolled his eyes. “Oh please.”
 
“Harry,” Ron spoke dangerously soft with his eyes to the floor.
 
“What?”
 
“How long have you known?” Ron asked seething, his eyes still on the floor.
 
“It’s not like that. It’s not like you wake up one day and say ‘gee I’m gay’. It happens over time. One day you think it’s odd how you don’t really fancy girls. Maybe another day you have an odd dream or strange feeling. You think it’s a fluke or normal or whatever. It’s like you’ve always known and yet you didn’t. It took months, maybe years. I don’t really know how to explain it.”
 
“Bollocks! Answer the fucking question,” Ron yelled finally looking up at Harry.
 
“Maybe since fifth or sixth year. I’m not sure.”
 
“And you never told us,” Ron accused him.
 
Harry’s stomach twisted. He could taste the bile as it rose in this throat. “I was a little preoccupied, don’t you think? My love life wasn’t exactly high up on my priority list.”
 
“You don’t need to tell me that. I was there, remember?”
 
“What a stupid…” Harry pointed to his scar. “Yea, I think I remember.”
 
“You weren’t the only one saving the world.”
 
Harry looked at Ron incredulously. “Is that what this is really about? Poor Ron, the sidekick, the best friend, second fiddle never gets enough credit?”
 
Hermione spoke quietly, “I beg of you both. Do not do this.” The two of them turned in surprise to look at her. They had momentarily forgotten she was there.
 
Ron turned his stare back to Harry and yelled, “No Harry, this is about you Taking It Up The Arse and not thinking that it was important enough to tell your best friends!”
 
“Ron!” Hermione screamed.
 
“Well, for your information, I never have!” Harry shouted.
 
“Yet!" Ron yelled back at him. “And not that you’d tell us!”
 
“Fine,” Harry spat with venom. “You want the gory details. You got em.”
 
“You don’t have to do this,” Hermione pleaded.
 
“No, I want to,” Harry answered, his blood boiling. “Yes, I’m soooo deviant. I have kissed three people in my whole life. I have wanked, which Ron, I know full well you are not a stranger to. I have had one hand job, which Ron, I also know that Lavender Brown gave you one the night of Slughorn’s Christmas party. I have had one blow job, which,” Harry looked briefly at Hermione and said, “I’m sorry Hermione,” and then he re-locked his eyes to Ron’s, “I know you gave Ron one the night of Bill and Fleur’s wedding. And I have given one, count em, one hand job. Does that satisfy your need to know?”
 
Harry stormed from the kitchen and into the living room. Her mouth agape, Hermione followed after him. Harry searched her eyes for some sort of comfort. He was panting and desperately willing himself not to apparate to China.
 
Ron came into the room a minute later. He stared Harry down and calmly spoke as if taking an oath. “I would have died for you.”
 
Harry’s reply was more hurt than anything else. “Well, I would have died for you. In fact, I almost did.”
 
“I know,” Ron said barely above a whisper. His wet eyes locked with Harry’s.
 
All of a sudden Harry was flooded by a memory of Ron at St. Mungo’s. Ron was holding his hand and crying. For the first time, Harry realized that Ron had never left his side. He remembered Hermione and Mrs. Weasley begging Ron to go home and get some rest. Only Ron didn’t leave. Not until over a week later, when it became clear that Harry would make it. And even then, Ron was never gone for long.
 
The two best mates stood and stared at each other, their chests rising and falling, breathing hard. Harry could feel the tension. Only it wasn’t anger. It was sexual tension. Blood was rushing to his crotch. There was Ron, the man he would die for, looking angry, looking powerful, looking aroused, looking so fucking sexy that Harry thought he would come right there on the spot.
 
Ron looked over at Hermione and said softly, “Hermione, you need to leave now.”
 
“What?” she asked completely confused.
 
Ron’s voice was low, steady and carried the weight of unalterable truth. “Hermione, we love you. You are going to your parent’s house for the night.”
 
She was about to open her mouth when Ron cut her off.  “If our friendship means anything, you will not ask another single question and do this for us.”
 
Hermione was shaken up. Her eyes filled with tears. She reached for her wand inside her jacket pocket. There was a crackle and a flash of light. She was gone.
 
Ron kept his gaze on Harry and closed the distance between them before the light had faded. His mouth covered Harry’s as his hands reached around his back and pulled him to his body. Even through two sets of pants, Harry could feel Ron’s erection against his abdomen. Light headed, Harry felt his knees giving way. He collapsed to the floor and Ron fell on top of him. They continued to kiss as if the world would end if they stopped.
 
Ron took Harry’s hands and held them, one on either side of his face. He ground his crotch into Harry’s, which instantly elicited a wild moan. Ron broke the kiss and stared into Harry’s eyes. “Me,” he growled more than spoke, and then sucked on Harry’s neck.
 
“What?” Harry asked confused and breathless.
 
“It should be me.” Ron held the weight of his body on Harry’s hips and hands.
 
Harry kept his eyes locked with Ron’s. “I wanted it to be you. I swear. I didn’t think it could.”
 
Then Ron kissed him again. Their tongues probed each other’s mouths as Ron squeezed Harry’s hands. Ron drifted the kiss across Harry’s cheek and to his ear where he whispered, “It has always been you.” Then Ron broke away and pulled himself to his knees, straddling Harry’s lap. “I thought you would have figured that out.”
 
“How could I?” Harry asked desperately.
 
“Didn’t you ever stop to think why Hermione and I never made a go of it?”
 
“I thought…I thought… okay I don’t know what I thought. I’m a stupid prat. Why didn’t you tell me?”
 
“You had enough to deal with.” Ron’s pale blue eyes searched Harry’s eyes and asked him sincerely, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
 
“I thought it would ruin our friendship.”
 
“You think that little of me?”
 
“No, that much,” Harry answered, reaching up around Ron’s neck and pulling him back down for another kiss. This time warm and wanting more. Ron helped Harry pull off his shirt and then took off his own. Ron pressed his chest against Harry’s. The shared heat was exquisite. More hungry kisses followed.


 



Ron staggered to his feet and reached his hand out to Harry. “My bed,” he commanded as he pulled Harry to his feet.
 
They fell onto the bed kissing, groping, and rubbing all while kicking off their shoes. They fumbled with each other’s trousers and somehow managed to get them off. They were finally bare, nothing left between them. Harry tackled Ron onto his back, kissing, touching, and feeling every inch of his body touching every inch of Ron’s.
 
Harry licked his way down Ron’s chest and stomach. He paused briefly to admire Ron’s cock. Harry had never wanted to do anything more in his life when he sunk his mouth over the shaft.
 
“Aw fuck, that’s so good,” Ron moaned, and ran his fingers through the thick black hair bobbing up and down over his crotch.
 
Soon Ron couldn’t hold anything back and bucked his hips into Harry’s hot mouth. “I’m so close,” he whispered through heavy breaths.
 
Harry pulled his mouth away and stroked Ron hard and fast. Ron’s orgasm ripped through his body and he spurted over his stomach. Harry slid up his side and began kissing Ron’s mouth again.
 
First scooping up some of his own cum from his stomach as lubricant, Ron took Harry’s desperate cock in his hand. Harry let his head fall back and closed his eyes. Ron stroked faster and faster. Harry tried to scream but nothing came out. Ron kissed his ear and whispered, “Come for me, Harry.” And then he did, all the while every light within a four block radius flickered for several seconds.
 




****************
It had been a little after 10PM, when Hermione apparated to her parent’s house. It took her the better part of an hour to figure out what had actually just happened. She anxiously stayed up past 3AM thinking about the last seven years with Harry and Ron. She kept replaying their lives together as she tore apart and reconstructed her relationships with them in her mind. With Harry, it was all kindness and concern. A soothing kind of love and respect that they had for each other. With Ron, it was all fire and brimstone. Sure they had a deep bond of friendship, but their attraction had always been fueled by their sharp differences. The fighting seemed to create some sort of crazy passion. Yet whenever they had tried to act on it, it was always a let down and never amounted to what they thought it should be.
 
Her emotions ran the gamut of hurt, angry and sad to happy and resolved. Her conclusion was that this was simply the way it was meant to be. She loved them both but not in the way that made a couple.
 
After only a few hours of sleep, Hermione apparated back to Grimmauld place. While the boys had decided to take some time off, she had decided to start work a month earlier. Hermione was temporarily part of a Ministry post war task force to help sort out Death Eaters from those under the Imperius curse. Once things settled down, she could pretty much have her pick of any Ministry department that she wanted.
 
All was quiet. Nervously, she tiptoed to her room. On the way she passed Ron’s room. The door was slightly ajar and she couldn’t help but peek in. The boys were asleep under one of Ron’s mother’s quilts. She gave a short sigh and headed to her room to change for work.
 
When she reemerged, she found Harry in the kitchen with a teakettle in his hand.
 
“Fancy a cuppa?” Harry asked her with such caring in his eyes. There was always something about Harry’s eyes.
 
Hermione looked at her watch and saw that she was already an hour late. She was about to tell Harry that she had to get to work, when she realized that it was more important to stay. If there was anything the war had taught her it was how to put work in perspective to the rest of her life. Harry needed to talk and that was far more important than anything waiting for her at the office.
 
“Sure Harry,” she said with a soft smile and sat at the table.
 
Harry poured two cups and sat down across from her. “You okay?”
 
“Yep,” she answered, her eyes a little watery.
 
They just stared at each other contemplatively and sipped for a few minutes.
 
“So you talked it out?” Hermione asked obviously knowing the answer.
 
“Not too much talking, but yeah we worked it out,” Harry replied with red cheeks.
 
“Good. I’m glad.”
 
“Are you?”
 
“Harry,” she said, taking his hand from across the table. “I love you both, but you two have something else, something more. I’m not stupid. I realize that.”
 
“But you and Ron…”
 
“Are friends, same as you and me,” she answered honestly.
 
“I was scared this might ruin our friendship.”
 
“No, not a chance.”  She smiled and squeezed his hand.
 
“I love him.”
 
“I know.”  She paused and took a long sip of tea. “It must have been so hard for you, so unfair.”
 
“I have lost count of the things that are unfair in my life,” Harry stated matter-of-factly.
 
A single tear streamed down Hermione’s cheek. She told him, “You deserve to be happy.”
 
Harry stared of into space for a moment then looked Hermione square in the eyes.  “You know for the first time in my life, I actually believe that I can be.”
 
At the same time, they both stood and walked around the table. Harry pulled Hermione into his arms and hugged her tight. She softly cried into his neck. After a few minutes, she wiped her tears and straightened out her clothes.
 
“I’ll see you both later tonight.”  She pecked Harry on the cheek and Floo’d to the Ministry.
 
When Harry turned down the hall, he found Ron sitting there.
 
“How long have you been there?”
 
“A while,” Ron answered.
 
Harry slid down the wall and sat next to Ron.
 
Ron began to explain, “I couldn’t face her just yet.  I was pretty harsh with her last night. I figured the two of you would sort everything out.”
 
“As usual.”  Harry chuckled at the fact that some things never change. It was also a bit of a relief that even though Ron and Harry were now together, it had not seemed to affect the dynamic between the three of them.
 
Ron leaned over and kissed Harry full on the mouth. It drifted and lingered and was everything a kiss should be.
 
When Ron finally pulled away, Harry asked him, “So this is really happening?”
 
“Yeah, and Harry…”
 
“Yeah?”
 
“I love you too.”

The End




End Notes:  I continued the story with  Pants at Romance
Art  by the fabulous ReallyCorking  I won a commission on The Quidditch Pitch's Ron-a-thon Auction :D  Please be respectful and do not use.


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