Challenge: POST-WAR 11. One of the boys was injured in the final fight. The other ends up kidnapping him from St. Mungo's so he can recover in privacy, leading to their realizing their feelings.
Summary: When Ron gets injured, it's Harry's job to nurse him back to health.
Word Count: 8552
Notes: Thanks to rubychan05 for looking over this for me. ♥
Ron hadn’t felt this shite since his encounter with the Whomping Willow in third year. That seemed a lifetime ago now, but even the euphoria of triumphing in the final fight wasn’t enough to dull the constant aches and pains. If his mother ever complained about her fingers aching from knitting again, there was no way he was going to roll his eyes dismissively. In fact, he felt as though he had been used as a knitting needle and, by all accounts, he had punched a pretty impressive hole in the wall when he’d been thrown through it by a hex.
The potions that the Healers had given him to heal his broken bones and internal injuries had practically overloaded his system. There were so many things to fix and so many people that needed healing; St Mungos’ had been overwhelmed and, as a result, some incompetent prat had given Ron two conflicting potions at the same time. His vision kept swimming in and out of focus, his body temperature skyrocketing one minute and plummeting the next. He wasn’t sure whether to pull the itchy hospital blanket closer around his body or rip it to shreds.
They couldn’t heal everything at once for fear of getting more adverse reactions from mixing potions, so now Ron was left feeling crap and broken in a hospital bed in St. Mungos’ while the Healers waited for his body to calm down.
Thankfully, he was allowed visitors.
“Oh, Ron,” Hermione said softly, perching on the edge of the bed. The slight shift in the mattress made Ron wince. She looked surprisingly good and, when she came into the room, Ron saw that she was far more comfortable using her new cane than she had when she’d visited a couple of days ago.
“Don’t hug me,” he asked with a whimper.
“I wasn’t going to!” she protested. “Well, I would if I could - and you know that - but I won’t. You look like you’re in a lot of pain.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, wondering if she’d brought any chocolate. He had enough sweets and chocolate to rival the hospital gift shop, but there was nothing wrong with more chocolate. Chocolate was good. Plus, it melted in the mouth, which meant he didn’t have to chew. Perfect.
Hermione frowned, surveying Ron with one of her calculating gazes. With double vision, it looked as though there were two Hermiones glaring at him; Ron blinked and she snapped back into one person. “Can you walk?”
“My legs are healed. Don’t think I’ll be running any time soon.”
She pursed her lips together. “But can you walk?” she asked, carefully placing her emphasis.
“I s’pose.” Ron frowned, the expression making his face ache; his muscles didn’t seem to want to cooperate with him.
Hermione glanced behind her, checking that the door to Ron’s room was closed. Then, she opened the handbag she was carrying - Ron thought that it looked as though it belonged to his mother because Hermione wasn’t the sort that carried a handbag. From the bag, she pulled a familiar piece of silvery material.
“Hermione…” Ron breathed, not sure what to think.
She bit her lip. “Harry asked me to bring this to you,” she said quietly.
Ron tried to sit up a little too quickly, crying out at a sudden flash of pain. “Harry? Where is he?” Harry had only been to visit him once and, at the time, Ron had been unconscious.
“Hiding out in Grimmauld Place. He wants privacy. You really can’t blame him - I had a hard enough time getting in here without being swamped by several rather pushy journalists.” She fingered the edge of the Invisibility Cloak. “D’you want to get out of here, Ron?”
He groaned. “Of course I bloody do. Food’s crap.” Since he’d been in hospital, though, Ron had eaten quite a lot, but that was simply because there was nothing else to do. His stomach rumbled when he thought of food.
Was Hermione really suggesting that he break out of St. Mungos’? There was no way the Healers would let him leave otherwise; he was sure that he’d heard someone say that they wanted to try a new potion on him to try and dissipate the effects of the others. Ron hardly wanted to be a guinea pig, but that potion sounded pretty damn good considering the way he was feeling now.
“Put the cloak on, then! You just have to get down to the lobby and then I can Side-Along back to Grimmauld.” That explained why Harry hadn’t come in person - Harry was even less confident when it came to Apparation than Ron.
“But I’m not healed properly yet.” Ron tentatively pushed his fringe from his face; even his hair ached.
She gave him an exasperated look. “We’ve got that all sorted - we’ve got friends at the hospital and people who would do anything to help out Harry Potter.” Hermione bit her lip. “Even if it isn’t strictly legal.”
Ron’s eyes widened - that hurt, too - and he stared at Hermione in amazement. Even after all this time, she was still able to surprise him. “You’re mental. Are you sure this is the best idea?”
Hermione pursed her lips. “As much as I’m sure you’re enjoying the delightful hospital food and sponge baths from a buxom nurse, Harry wants you at Grimmauld Place. Voldemort still has a few supporters that haven’t been accounted for and… this is a very public place.”
She stood up and the mattress shifted again, making Ron whimper as his back gave a twinge. “I’m not asking, Ron. If you don’t come with me willingly and walk out that door, I will place you under a Full-Body Bind and levitate you out of this hospital if need be.”
Whimpering again, Ron was in no doubt that Hermione would remain true to her word. When she wanted to, she could be dead scary - worse than facing down half a dozen masked Death Eaters.
He pushed the covers back, fighting past the pain in his arms and swung his legs around in one motion. He wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea to do it at once and get it over and done with, or slowly. Either way, it hurt. A lot.
“I can’t do this,” he whined, feet not even touching the floor.
“Oh, big baby,” Hermione scolded.
“I got thrown through a wall!”
“And I nearly got my leg burnt off,” Hermione snapped, “but I’m still walking.” She closed her eyes, letting out a long breath. “Looks like I’ll have to put the spells on you, after all.”
Ron didn’t have time to protest before Hermione levitated his body into the air and put a Binding Charm on him. He supposed that he should have been relieved that she cast the spells on him in that order - even the thought of falling backwards onto the bed (or worse, the floor) under the Body Bind was painful. She gave him an apologetic smile as she draped the invisibility cloak over him and Ron did the only thing that he could do: glare.
He counted himself extremely lucky that he didn’t bump into anyone on the way out of the hospital. To Apparate, Hermione’s arm had to snake around his waist and hold him, which was more than a little painful, but it was over in a second, and Hermione tugged the Invisibility Cloak off him when they arrived at Grimmauld Place.
Hermione leant heavily on her cane, surveying Ron for a moment. Then, she nodded to herself and flicked her wand at him, so that he was floating in front of her as she walked up the stairs. Once she’d placed him carefully on a bed - not for the first time, Ron was more than a little grateful for Hermione’s skill at charms work - Hermione removed the Body Bind and his body instantly relaxed, making Ron groan.
“How do you feel?” Hermione asked nervously.
“Shite,” he grumbled, resting his head back on the pillow and wondering where Harry was.
Hermione looked disapproving at his use of language, but didn’t reprimand him. Ron would have grinned if he wasn’t afraid that it would hurt so much. Hermione became two Hermiones as his vision shifted again, and then turned back to one. He wondered just what he could get away with while he was in this condition.
“He’s here!” Harry bounded into the room, as excited as a small child. “Finally!”
Ron moaned softly; even looking at Harry was exhausting.
Hermione looked apologetic. “We gave him some Pepper-Up earlier. He was… moping. Now he’s a little hyper.”
“I was not moping,” Harry protested with a scowl. He suddenly grinned at Ron. “You’re looking good,” he told him, touching Ron’s arm.
Ron flinched and then groaned from the sudden tensing of his muscles. “Don’t touch me.”
Hermione sighed. “I think I’m going to go and put the kettle on.” She turned sternly to Harry. “Be good and don’t touch Ron while I’m away. He’s sensitive.”
Harry rolled his eyes and Ron laughed, ribs aching. “I’m not a five-year-old,” Harry retorted hotly.
She raised her eyebrows. “Really? Because you could have fooled me when you were writing on the wall with crayons earlier.” Hermione pursed her lips. “Be good,” she warned again and left the room, surprisingly swift on her cane.
“How is she?” Ron finally asked, when he was sure that Hermione couldn’t hear him.
“Coping,” Harry said. “She seems to be running the house. Born matriarch, that one. Spends all her time making sure that everyone else is getting healed and not really putting much effort into her own injuries.”
“So this place is like a hospital, is it?”
“Something like that,” Harry agreed with a small smile. “I’m just glad this place could come in useful. Hermione’s got Lavender helping her now, too, which takes off some of the pressure, even if they are sniping at each other half the time.”
Ron nodded slowly; Hermione and Lavender had never exactly seen eye-to-eye. “And you?”
“Fit as a fiddle.” Harry shrugged. “I think, anyway. Definitely a lot healthier than some people round here.” He gnawed on his lower lip. “Missed you.”
“Missed you, too.” Ron smiled gently. “No-one else lets me beat them at chess.”
“I don’t let you beat me!”
“Could’ve fooled me.”
“Right.” Harry crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m going to get a chess set and finish this once and for all.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Bit like I’m floating,” Ron admitted as Hermione pulled the covers up over him. Thankfully, he wasn’t getting double vision anymore, because one overly-concerned Hermione was more than enough for him to handle. “That potion you gave me was wicked.” He grinned and it didn’t hurt at all.
Hermione’s cheeks flushed pink with embarrassment. “Really? Because I brewed it myself. My own invention, actually. It’s designed to try and clear the other potions out of your system but give pain relief at the same time. I based it on one that they’ve been developing at the hospital.” She frowned. “It wasn’t meant to make you feel like you’re floating, though.”
“Nah,” Ron said vaguely, feeling more relaxed than he had in a long time. “Floating’s good.”
“It seems to be making you a bit drowsy,” Hermione observed.
“S’not.” Okay, so maybe it was making Ron feel a little tired, but he’d had a long and exciting day, what with being kidnapped from the hospital and all. “Y’know,” he said with a half-smile, “once upon a time, I’d’ve loved having you as my nurse.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Oh, honestly,” she muttered to herself. To Ron, she said, “Actually, Harry’s going to be looking after you.”
“Harry?” Ron asked.
“Well, he’s going a little stir crazy in here and… I’m leaving. I thought it would be good to give him something to do.”
“Leavin’? Where’re you going?” He couldn’t help but slur his words a little.
She hesitated for a moment. “Romania,” she said finally. “Charlie’s escorting me. The Healer at the dragon reserve is something of an expert on magically-induced burns and… well, Charlie sent him an owl about me and he seemed very keen to meet me.” Hermione looked faintly embarrassed, but pleased.
“Tha’s good,” Ron agreed in a slurred murmur.
“Yes,” she said softly. “It is.” Hermione kissed his forehead, lips barely brushing the skin. “You should get some sleep. Goodnight, Ron.”
When Ron awoke, there was pain. A great deal of pain. All over. Everywhere. He yelled; apparently, Hermione’s potion had done its job of cleaning out the other potions extremely well, but the pain relief had also worn off.
A few moments later, his bedroom door opened and someone came in. “Hermione?” Ron asked with a moan.
Several candles flickered into life. “Lavender,” the witch corrected.
“Asleep, probably.” Lavender went over to an old chest of drawers, sliding the top drawer open. She pulled out a tray of bottles and jars, adding, “I was in the room next door. Heard you yelling. Where does it hurt?”
“Okay.” Lavender picked up a couple of bottles, peering at them in the candlelight. “I think the green one should work,” she decided.
“Should?” Ron whimpered. Should didn’t sound good - he was in a lot of pain, and so would have preferred ‘will’ rather than ‘should’.
“It’s one of Hermione’s concoctions,” Lavender told him briskly, in much the same manner as the Healers and their assistants at St. Mungos’ had used. She uncorked the thumb-sized vial and passed it to Ron. “Drink this.”
Ron groaned as he lifted it to his lips, tipping back the potion in one gulp. He gasped, the effect of the potion zipping through him, his body immediately feeling a little numb and vaguely tingly. “Bloody hell. What was that?” The pain had stopped and that was a Good Thing.
“It’s a sort of anaesthetic. Plus, it cleans your teeth and freshens your breath.” Lavender grinned.
Ron ran his tongue over his teeth, Hermione’s influence on the potion obvious. “Mmmm. Minty fresh.”
Lavender giggled and wandered back to the chest of drawers. She picked up a piece of parchment; squinting, Ron could see that it was the notes on his injuries that the Healers had made. “Where’d you get that?”
“Someone in the hospital copied it for us.” Lavender hummed to herself as she read the notes, eventually saying, “I think we should get your ribs sorted. Should make breathing a little easier for you.” She picked up what looked like it had once been an old jam jar, but was now filled with a pinkish creamy substance.
“How the fuck am I suppose to drink all that?”
Lavender looked down at the jar. “Oh, you don’t drink it,” she said, blushing faintly. “It’s a topical ointment. It’ll work a little slower than a potion that you ingest, but it shouldn’t fuck you up like they did in St. Mungos’.” She added, “They were so worried about getting you healed quickly that they didn’t consider all the effects of the potions.”
“Ointment?” Ron asked nervously. “You mean, you have to rub it into my skin?”
“You’re not seeing my chest!” Ron protested.
Lavender looked thoughtful. “I’m sure I said that to you a few times.”
Ron scowled. “That was different.”
She gave him an incredulous look and then sighed, setting the jar down on his bedside table. “Fine. If you won’t let me do it, shall I get Hermione?”
“No.” Getting Hermione to do it was even worse than having his ex-girlfriend rub ointment into his chest. Hermione had cold hands.
“Harry?” Lavender suggested. “Because you can’t rub it into your back yourself, can you?”
“S’pose not,” Ron grumbled. “Fine. Get Harry.”
Pulling her wand from the pocket of her dressing gown, Lavender conjured a shimmering Patronus. The silvery owl flittered about the room for a moment before Lavender flicked her wand at it again and it flew out the door to awake Harry. It was a couple of minutes before Harry came into Ron’s room, yawning widely and running a hand through his hair.
Lavender thrust the jar of ointment towards him. “Rub this all over Mr Fussy’s chest and back. Try not to miss a spot.”
“Why me?” Harry asked, unscrewing the jar and gingerly sniffing the ointment.
“Because he doesn’t want me or Hermione to see his man boobs,” Lavender said with a frown.
“I don’t have man boobs!” Ron protested.
“You’re looking a little podgy,” Lavender retorted. “I bet you spent all day in hospital stuffing your face.”
“Even if I did have man boobs, they’d be bigger than yours.”
“Hey! At least my little finger’s bigger than your…”
Harry put his hand on her arm and Ron felt a prickle of annoyance. “It’s alright, Lav,” Harry said gently. “I’ll deal with him. You can go back to Percy.”
She sighed. “Thanks.”
Ron raised his eyebrows as she closed the door behind her. “Lavender and Percy? What the fuck’s going on there?”
Harry shrugged. “Nothing.” He frowned. “I think. Percy’s a difficult patient, but he seems to have taken a shine to Lavender.”
“What’s wrong with him?” Ron started to pull his t-shirt up over his head, finding it a little difficult with his arms and fingers numb.
“You don’t know? No-one told you? Fuck. Um. He… oh, I suppose you should know.” Harry sucked in a breath, hesitating and looking as though he would rather talk about anything else. “He’s been blinded.”
“Blinded?” Ron repeated, forgetting about his t-shirt.
Nodding, Harry looked uncomfortable; Ron could hardly blame him. “Tortured a little, too. He’s been having bad mood swings and getting quite violent. But… Lavender seems to calm him.” Harry sat on the bed, grasping Ron’s t-shirt and pulling it up and off. He put the t-shirt, an old Chudley Cannons one, on the bed and looked appraisingly at Ron. “Right. So… all over?”
Ron flushed, feeling strangely vulnerable under Harry’s gaze. “Yeah. That’s what she said.”
“Okay.” Harry dipped his fingers into the ointment and them applied it timidly to Ron’s upper chest, fingers barely ghosting over Ron’s skin as they moved in slow circles. Ron hissed slightly and Harry stopped. “What?” he asked worriedly.
“Cold,” Ron bit out.
“Oh. Sorry. I don’t think there’s anything I can do about that.” Harry started to rub the ointment in again and Ron watched fascinated by the way that Harry was working so intently. It was like watching Harry chase after the Snitch in Quidditch, that same look of concentration on his face.
Ron clearly his throat as Harry’s fingers moved swiftly over his nipples. “I won’t break,” he said softly as Harry blinked up at him.
“Oh, right. Yeah.” Harry blushed. “Didn’t want to hurt you.”
Harry’s touch became a little more insistent and he scooped up more ointment, spreading it over Ron’s ribs. The heat from Harry’s hands warmed the ointment slightly, and Ron closed his eyes with a sigh.
When Harry made a noise in the back of his throat, Ron looked at him. “You need to move,” Harry said gently. “So I can do your back.” Ron shifted forward on the bed and Harry pulled the pillows out from behind him, passing them to Ron.
Having the ointment rubbed onto his back was better than his chest, Ron decided. Harry had finally found the right amount of pressure to apply and it was the best thing that Ron had felt in months.
His eyes widened suddenly, and Ron quickly pulled one of the pillows onto his lap. He bit his lip, trying to stifle the groan that was threatening to spill. His cock was getting entirely the wrong idea about this, starting to get hard and pressing against the front of his pyjama bottoms. Ron held the pillow firmly in place as Harry massaged his lower back. Fuck. This was just Harry, so why the hell was he getting hard? Obviously, he was so desperate for some sort of release that his body was misinterpreting Harry’s innocent touches as something sexual.
Yeah, that was it. A bit of miscommunication. He hadn’t had a wank since before the final battle, after all. It was a bit difficult to do that when you were in hospital and could barely move your hand, let alone your arm, without immense pain.
Ron chewed on his bottom lip as Harry rubbed the ointment into his shoulders. He desperately tried to think of un-sexy things. Like Percy singing in the shower. That definitely wasn’t sexy.
Unfortunately, the image of Percy in his mind’s eye became a vision of himself. Ron, wet and naked in the shower, and Harry was there too. Not good.
“There. I’m finished,” Harry announced. Ron nodded weakly. “Are you alright?” Harry asked, his brow furrowing in concern.
“Fine,” Ron breathed. “Absolutely fine.”
“Because you don’t…”
“I’m fine,” Ron insisted.
Harry looked dubious, but accepted this. “D’you want me to put your pillows back?”
“I should probably stay sitting up for a while,” Ron said firmly. “So that it soaks in and doesn’t go all over the sheets.”
“Shall I stay with you?”
“No, that’s fine. You should go and get some sleep, Harry.”
“Are you sure? Because I can stay with you if you want.”
“Um, okay. Well, I suppose I’ll see you in the morning.”
“I think,” said Ron, scratching his nose, “that you’re actually getting worse.” He looked down at the chessboard and ordered his bishop to move. Three days after Hermione had kidnapped him from St. Mungos’, he was feeling a great deal better. He wasn’t aching all the time for a start, and his injuries were healing more swiftly. The food was a damn sight better, too.
“I am not,” Harry grumbled. He sighed, resting his chin on his hand and staring intently at their game of chess, trying to work out his next move. Several of his pieces - those that were still in play, anyway - tried to shout instructions at him, but Harry silenced them. Finally, he decided to risk his one remaining pawn.
As the pawn slid onto a blank square, an alarm clock went off. Harry reached for his wand and flicked it at the clock: the ringing stopped. “Time for your next treatment, Mr Weasley,” he joked, standing up and going to collect the list of instructions that Lavender had left for the day. With Hermione out of the house, Lavender had become almost like the matron of Grimmauld Place and Harry was fairly certain that she was going to undertake full mediwitch training when everything had calmed down.
Ron groaned. “What is it this time?”
Harry flushed slightly as he looked up from the piece of parchment. “Legs.”
Judging by the embarrassed look on Harry’s face, it was another ointment-type potion. After the great job that the one on his ribs had done (hard-on side effect not withstanding), Ron was glad that they weren’t giving him any more fucked-up potions that made his head spin. “Just my lower legs, right?” Ron asked hopefully.
Harry shook his head. “It says the whole leg. Lavender even underlined it. Three times.” He frowned. “And then she drew a little smiley face.”
Ron closed his eyes. If Harry had to cover the complete length of his legs with the ointment, that meant his hands would probably get quite close to his… groin area. On the off chance that he had the same reaction as he did the other night, it would be a little more difficult to hide it.
“How… how should we do this?”
Pushing up his glasses, Harry studied him for a moment. “How about if you put a pillow over your… over yourself. Then I can take off your pyjama bottoms. Or you can.”
It took a bit of interesting manoeuvring, but Ron managed to undress his lower half with his dignity still in tact. He wasn’t sure why he was quite so embarrassed. After all, they’d both seen each other naked in the past, in their dormitory at Hogwarts, or after Quidditch practise in the changing rooms. There were those six months they’d spend living in a tent, too, where there wasn’t much room to escape from each other.
Back then, though, Ron hadn’t felt quite so helpless.
“The sooner we fix your legs,” said Harry. “The sooner you’ll be walking again.” He rubbed the potion firmly into Ron’s left calf; it smelt like chocolate and gave Ron a craving for Chocolate Frogs. “Then I won’t have to levitate you to the bathroom all the time.”
“You could always get me a bedpan,” Ron joked as Harry’s hands started to slide up towards his knee.
Harry snorted. “I’m not cleaning out your bedpan. Fuck that.”
Harry’s hands were gradually moving higher and higher up Ron’s left leg, and so Ron focused his attention on the chessboard. It made more sense to think about something as logical and ruthless as a game of chess rather than the feel of Harry’s hands on his skin. His hands were warm and his skin was a little rough - he had the hands of a Quidditch player, although it had been well over a year since either of them had played any Quidditch.
Don’t think about his hands, Ron warned himself, clenching his teeth and trying to work out what his next move would be.
His eyes widened suddenly as Harry’s hands skirted under the pillow to reach the top of Ron’s thighs. His fingers moved just a little too far in the wrong direction, though, and Harry quickly withdrew his hand when he touched something that was definitely not Ron’s leg.
“I- I’m sorry,” Harry said quickly. “Didn’t mean to touch… that.” He blushed profusely.
“’S okay,” Ron said with a squeak. “No harm done.” He looked at Harry and then down at the pillow. Thankfully, his cock hadn’t decided to have a reaction to that fleeting touch. He frowned and then said, “Fuck it. We’re both blokes, right?” before he pulled off the pillow. “Just get it over and done with,” he ground out, putting his head back and closing his eyes.
“The ointment, prat,” Ron growled. What else would Harry think he meant? Unless… no. Harry wouldn’t be thinking anything like that, would he?
It didn’t take long for Harry to finish Ron’s left leg and then apply the ointment to the right. All the while, Ron lay there with his eyes closed and breathing through his nose, praying to whatever gods that might exist that he wasn’t cursed with another erection in front of Harry - this time, there would be no way to hide it.
He only opened his eyes again when he felt Harry throw his pyjamas at him, covering his crotch. “Thanks,” he said a little stiffly.
“No problem,” Harry said, cheeks red as he reached for his wand to cast a Cleaning Charm on his hands. He stood up quickly. “Can we finish the game of chess later?” he asked. “Only, I need to go and… check on something.”
Ron made no attempt protest as Harry left. Harry shut the bedroom door a little more firmly than he had intended, swearing inwardly. He was sure that he was blushing fiercely and was trying to ignore memories of a conversation that he’d had with her Hermione only a couple of weeks before the big battle.
“Are you in love with Ron?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. He’s my best mate. Shouldn’t it be me asking if you’re in love with him?”
“Oh, Harry. I know he’s your best mate. He’s mine, too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be in love with him as well. Trust me, I know.”
“Yeah, but you and Ron…”
“Would never have worked. He’d have driven me mental. I know that now. Anyway, I’m over him.”
“I’m not gay, Hermione. I don’t fancy blokes.”
“I never said you were gay. But… Ron’s not just any old bloke, is he?”
She was right about that, Harry supposed, slipping into the bathroom that was next to Ron’s bedroom. He locked the door firmly behind him. He wasn’t just ‘any old bloke’. He was Ron. He’d been his best friend since he was eleven, his first real friend, too, if he thought about it. Before he’d gone to Hogwarts, no-one had wanted to be his friend for fear of getting on the wrong side of Dudley and his bullying friends. They’d had a few fights over the years but, compared to Ron and Hermione’s constant bickering, that was once in a blue moon.
He definitely wasn’t in love with him. He only loved him in a brotherly, familial sort of way.
He definitely wasn’t gay. They were just very close and it wasn’t like Harry ogled him or anything - he was just a little jealous of Ron’s body, because he still looked scrawny standing next to him.
And this erection? Yeah, that was just because he hadn’t given himself any attention in that area for a while. There wasn’t really any time for wanking when you had a Dark Lord to worry about.
Harry unzipped his jeans, sighing in relief as he freed his hard cock. As soon as he got this ‘problem’ sorted, he could go back and finish their nice, civilised chess game. Chess was perfect because Harry would be able to divert all his attention into his tactics, instead of worrying about how, when Ron had told him to ‘get it over and done with’, the first thing that had come to mind was giving Ron a hand job.
With Ron lying there, nearly-naked in front of him, it had been all too easy for Harry to imagine wrapping his hand around Ron’s cock, fingers stroking him firmly like he was doing to himself right now. Harder, faster, faster. Had Ron noticed the bulge that pressed against the front of his jeans when he’d made his hasty retreat?
Harry was almost embarrassed by how quickly he came, his free hand braced against the wall next to the toilet as he groaned his release.
A couple of minutes later, Harry exited the bathroom. He hoped that his face didn’t look too flushed and that he didn’t look too guilty. Composing himself, he knocked on Ron’s door.
Harry smiled as he entered. “Okay,” he said briskly. “Where were we?”
Ron nudged the chessboard; to Harry’s relief, he had covered himself with the blanket on his bed. “You were losing.”
Harry shook his head, sitting down. “Nah,” he said, raking his hand through his hair. “I was just lulling you into a false sense of security.”
Judging by the way that Lavender was looking at him, Harry was convinced that Hermione had given her a lesson entitled How to Glare at Harry and Ron before she’d left for Romania. It wouldn’t surprise him, actually, because Hermione seemed to have given out plenty of instructions about everything else.
“What?” Harry demanded finally, frustrated by the way she was staring at him.
Lavender sighed, stirring the cauldron of soup that she was making. She wiped her hands on her apron, leaving the spoon to stir the soup by itself. “Harry, you really should let Ron get some proper rest. He’s not properly healed yet.”
“I am letting him rest,” Harry protested, sitting down at the kitchen table and reaching for a piece of toast. He was absolutely starving and he could practically hear Hermione’s voice in his head reminding him about the need for a good breakfast.
“So why were you sneaking out of his room at two o’clock in the morning, Harry? You’re not exactly subtle and you could at least wait until he’s walking before you two start shagging again.”
Harry nearly choked on a mouthful of toast. “Shagging?” he repeated incredulously. “Again? I’ve never shagged Ron.”
Lavender looked confused. “But Hermione said…”
Harry sighed. “What did Hermione say?” he demanded tiredly.
“That you were in love.”
“I’m not in love with him!”
“She meant with each other,” Lavender corrected quietly. Offering him an apologetic smile, she checked on her soup before slipping into a chair opposite Harry and reaching for the teapot. “So you don’t even fancy him, then? Because you can tell me. I mean, he’s got a great arse, hasn’t he? Oh, then there’s that smile. You know the one I mean. When he’s slightly embarrassed and it’s kind of crooked and the side of his mouth does that… thing…”
Harry raised his eyebrows. “Sounds like you’re the one who fancies him.”
“Of course not,” Lavender said hotly, pouring herself a drink. “I’m just speaking from experience.”
Harry watched her closely for a moment. “Lavender,” he said finally. “How did you know I left Ron’s room at two o’clock? You sleep on the other side of the house.”
She pursed her lips. “I was in Percy’s room.”
“Really? Because that’s every night this week.” Harry felt rather gleeful when he saw her blush; it was nice to see someone else squirm for once.
“He’s having trouble sleeping.”
Harry chewed a mouthful of toast and swallowed. “Are you sleeping with him?”
“No.” Lavender scowled. “I’ve slept in his bed a couple of times, but I’m not having sex with him, if that’s what you mean.”
“But will you?”
“I don’t know.” Lavender looked troubled. “It’s different with him. We didn’t know each other before he came here. He… doesn’t know what I look like. Percy doesn’t remember me from Hogwarts; doesn’t judge me on my appearance, just who I am. My personality. I like that.”
Harry shrugged. “I wouldn’t know what that’s like. People see my scar and suddenly change.”
Lavender frowned, standing up and moving to open the kitchen window. “Of course you know what that’s like,” she said scornfully. “You’ve got Ron and Hermione. They don’t see you as Harry Potter, the Chosen One. To them, you’re just… Harry.”
Staring at his half-eaten piece of toast, Harry could see her point. Even if Ron and Hermione had been a little star struck when they first met, that attitude had gone down the drain, the same way as several pints of blood, sweat and tears during the past seven years.
“So,” he said, looking up. “Is it soup for lunch?” He couldn’t think of anything to say in response to that, so he was going to settle for changing the subject.
Lavender nodded. “Yes. I thought we might order some pizzas tonight or something?”
“Sure,” Harry agreed, scratching his neck. “You don’t have to cook all the time, you know.” He felt a little guilty, then, sure that he should be helping out a bit more than he was - it was his house, after all.
“Oh, I know. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to.” She grinned. “You know, I think my grandmother would be proud. She always wanted me to be more domesticated.” Walking over to Harry, she leant down and kissed his cheek.
“What was that for?”
She shrugged. “Just… because.” Lavender touched his hair softly. “You know,” she said, “if you did fancy Ron no-one would think anything of it. A lot people think you’re sleeping with him, anyway. I think the twins might even have a bet on when you’re going to come out.”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Harry rolled his eyes.
“Because it’s the twins?” Lavender hesitated for a moment and then said, “You got another Howler from Molly Weasley this morning. Isn’t it about time you told her where Ron is?”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed, not relishing the prospect. “Probably.”
I hope this owl finds you well and that Ron isn’t giving you too much trouble. I know he can be a bit of a handful (remember when he got flu last year?) but you just have to be patient with him. He trusts you more than anyone else, himself included, although we both know he’d never admit that.
Romania is lovely. Charlie and I have been doing a little sightseeing between my treatments, and I’ve been helping with studying the dragons here. I always thought that Charlie’s work was all outdoors stuff, but there’s actually a lot of research and testing that goes on here.
The Healer here is amazing. My leg is already starting to feel and look better. I’m sure I’ll always have burns, but I don’t think I’m going to need a cane again until I’m much, much older.
Oh, Harry. I wish I could talk to you properly. It’s so difficult trying to write this in a letter. Basically, Charlie kissed me last night and now it’s got me all confused. I didn’t plan for this to happen and I don’t know what to do! Charlie’s been so lovely to me and I always feel like I’ve got butterflies in my stomach when I’m around him. It reminds me of how I used to be around Ron, and now I can’t stop thinking about what Ron might say.
Do you think Ron would mind if I went out with his brother? I know we never dated exactly, but he’s still my best friend (as are you!) and I don’t want anything to feel strange between us if anything comes of this kiss.
I should be home in two weeks. Maybe by then I’ll have decided that Charlie really isn’t worth all this worrying and that he’s a complete prat. But something tells me that won’t be the case.
Take care of yourself.
P.S. Give Ron a kiss from me.
Neville had taken control of the garden at Grimmauld Place. The space was quite sizable, but had gone neglected for many years. When Sirius had first offered use of the house to the Order, sorting out the inside of the house had been the main concern, but Neville seemed determined to make it a proper garden instead of a tangle of weeds, plants and overgrown grass.
With Ron sleeping soundly in his room - even sleeping through the arrival of yet another Howler from Molly to Harry - Harry joined Neville in the garden. It was hot, sweaty work and, even though he had been working all morning, Neville had only managed to clear a small area. He was meticulously cataloguing the plants, just in case there were any rare, magical specimens that were worth saving.
“Be careful of that plant over there, Harry,” Neville said, pointing at what looked to be an ordinary, run-of-the-mill chrysanthemum. Of course, Harry knew by now that appearances could be deceiving. “I think it might be carnivorous,” Neville added as Harry peered at it; Harry took a step back.
“But I could be wrong,” Neville said quickly. “It could be the one next to it. All I know is that one of them tried to take a bite out of my hand. Probably best to put on a pair of gloves.”
Harry worked steadily with Neville all afternoon until the fourth Howler of the day arrived. Molly was more than a little anxious, and Harry supposed he couldn’t blame her as it had been nearly a week since they’d smuggled Ron out of the hospital. Harry had informed her, of course, that Ron was safe with him, but as the Order had set up several safe houses around the country during the war, it was pretty much impossible for Molly to track down his location, especially when Harry didn’t want her to.
Despite the excessive number of Howlers that Molly had sent, Harry had not replied to a single one of them. He knew Ron well enough to know that he detested being fussed over in Molly’s overbearing manner. Being fussed over a little was fine and could even be enjoyable, but Molly could be practically smothering with her affection, and Ron had always tried to be less dependent on his family and to be his own person.
However, Harry finally gave in and penned a reply. It was brief and to the point, summing up his thoughts exactly.
Ron is fine. Stop worrying.
As he sent it off, Harry had a feeling that the letter wouldn’t go down too well when Molly received it. Grimacing, Harry informed Lavender that they would probably be receiving a few more Howlers in the near future.
Lavender wrinkled her nose. “You stink, Harry.”
He sighed. “I know I probably could have been a little politer, but…”
“No, Harry,” she cut in, shaking her head. “I mean, you stink of BO. You’re all sweaty and disgusting.” She pulled a face. “You should go and take a shower. And maybe try this new-fangled thing call deodorant or something,” she added teasingly.
Harry only had to glance down at himself to see what she meant. His thin t-shirt was covered in sweat patches. Lifting his arm, Harry sniffed and pulled a face. She was right about the smell, too.
Trudging up the stairs, Harry pulled off his t-shirt as he went, scrunching the material up into a sweaty ball. The nearest bathroom was the one next to Ron’s bedroom, so he headed there and went in.
Ron was awake. He was also in the shower and had apparently not only forgotten to lock the door but also to pull the shower curtain across.
He was naked and wet, red hair plastered darkly to his head as rivulets of water ran down his broad back. Below Ron’s back was, naturally, Ron’s arse.
Lavender was right about Ron’s arse, he thought vaguely, eyes wide and riveted to the sight of a droplet of water that ran down between the cheeks. “Fuck,” he squeaked.
Ron noticed his presence for the first time, turning around and nearly slipping over when he saw Harry standing there. His hand clawed at the wall and Harry got a full-frontal view of wet, naked, glistening Ron. His cock was also fully erect, although this strangely came as something of an after-thought.
“Fuck, Harry! Shut the door!”
Harry shut the door.
“With you on the other side!”
“Oh. Yes, sorry.” Harry left the bathroom as quickly as he could possibly manage, fumbling with the door handle in his haste and then slamming it shut when he got to the safety of the landing. Harry just stood there, too shocked to move. His brain managed to catch up a few moments later, as did his cock, which was rapidly getting hard.
He dashed down the corridor to the other bathroom, immensely grateful that there was another one. Harry locked the door, not wanting to make the same mistake as Ron, and switched on the shower. It sputtered to life, the water still cold as Harry stepped under it.
Seeing Ron’s naked body gave Harry a lot to think about. It wasn’t just Ron’s (naked, wet, glistening) arse that Harry thought about, either.
He’d never been very good with girls. Ever. He could be friends with them, like he was with Hermione, but when he stepped over into the territory of romance and girlfriends, it was as though he’d been thrown in at the deep end of the pool when he didn’t know how to swim. Going out with Cho had been a complete fiasco, and he’d been most comfortable with her when they’d been talking about Quidditch and that sort of thing, like they were mates. Talking with Ginny like that had been good, too, although the kissing stuff had been better than it was with Cho. Kissing Ginny had been good, actually, and Harry had especially liked running his fingers through her fiery red hair…
Harry groaned as that realisation hit him, barely even noticing how his hand was moving over his cock.
Why did everyone seem to realise this before him? Even when he was fourteen, someone else had realised that Ron was the most important thing in his life. The thing that he would miss the most. Ron wasn’t a thing, though, he was a person. He was Ron.
It was half an hour until Harry left the bathroom, feeling both clean and a little dirty at the same time. He wasn’t supposed to fancy Ron, was he? Except he most decidedly did. It went deeper than just fancying him, too.
After getting dressed into a clean pair of jeans and a t-shirt that wasn’t drenched in sweat, Harry timidly made his way to Ron’s bedroom. Inwardly, he chastised himself, reminding himself that he’d gone up against Death Eaters and Voldemort. So why did he get butterflies in his stomach now?
Harry knocked on the door, and waited for Ron to allow him in. Closing the door behind him, Harry offered a small smile. “Hey.”
“Hi.” Ron pushed his still-damp hair back from his face.
“So… you’re walking alright, then?”
“Yeah. My legs weren’t hurting, so I thought I’d take a shower.”
“Yeah. You did.”
“I didn’t mean to walk in on you.”
“Course not.” Ron’s cheeks were turning pink.
“I didn’t hear the water running,” Harry continued.
“And I should have locked the door.” Ron sighed. “We’re alright, aren’t we?”
“Yeah.” Harry sat on Ron’s bed, trying not to notice how the water from Ron’s hair had dripped onto his shoulders, making the t-shirt he was wearing cling to his skin in places.
Ron finished putting his chess pieces back into their box.
“There’s something I need to tell you,” Harry said quickly, feeling as though he needed to get this over and done with. He could quite easily let this stew for weeks, letting it torment him.
“Yeah. I… Ron?”
“That’s my name.” Ron smiled and Harry started to feel though butterflies dancing in his belly again. It was that smile, the one that Lavender had described, and it made the butterflies even more excited.
“I think I might be gay.” Harry couldn’t look Ron in the face, instead concentrating on the pattern on the quilt.
There was a pause. “For me?” Ron asked eventually.
“Are you gay for me?”
Harry blinked. “I wouldn’t put it quite like that, but…”
“But you fancy me?” Ron asked bluntly.
Harry nodded. “Yeah. Lavender’s right; you do have a very nice arse,” he said in his defence.
Ron raised his eyebrows. “You’ve been discussing my arse with my ex-girlfriend?”
“No! It just… came up in conversation.” Harry tugged off his glasses and started to polish them on his t-shirt.
“In what sort of conversation is my arse a matter of discussion?” Ron sounded a little incredulous.
Harry sighed. “Well, apparently Hermione thinks that we’re in love, Lavender thinks we’re shagging and the twins have a betting pool running on when we’re going to come out.”
“Yeah.” Harry began to tap his foot, wondering what he should say next. Then, he remembered something and leant over, kissing Ron on the cheek. Ron’s eyes widened and he clapped his hand to his cheek, staring in surprise at Harry.
“What was that for?”
“It was from Hermione. She sent me an owl this morning. Told me to give you a kiss from her.” Harry hoped that his cheeks weren’t as red as he thought they were.
“Oh. Okay.” Ron licked his lips. “Do I get one from you, too?”
Ron scowled. “Just kiss me before I change my mind, Harry,” he said tersely. It took Harry a moment to react and then he was kissing Ron, their noses bumping awkwardly but lips finally meeting. The frames of Harry’s glasses pressed against Ron’s cheeks and Ron whined slightly, a clumsy hand pulling them from Harry’s face without breaking the kiss.
Harry’s hand wound into Ron’s shaggy red hair and he moved to kneel over Ron, straddling his legs. This was nothing like kissing Cho or Ginny: Ron’s mouth just seemed to fit so much better against his.
Ron pulled back, groaned, and Harry started. “What is it? Did I hurt you?”
“No,” Ron said, looking up at Harry through pale eyelashes. “That just got me… um, fuck.” His eyes flicked down and Harry followed his gaze. Harry bit his lip, seeing the evidence of Ron’s erection.
“Ah.” He felt strangely proud that he was the cause of it. “Do… d’you want a hand with that?”
“A hand?” Ron repeated.
“Yeah.” Harry gently reached down, drawing a finger gently down the bulge in Ron’s pyjamas. Ron trembled, gasping.
“Okay,” Ron said with a slight squeak. He shifted, lifting his hips and pushing down his pyjamas and then groaning again when Harry’s hand closed around his cock. “Careful!”
“Sorry. Never done this to another bloke before.” Harry frowned. Maybe Harry was reading into things a little too much, but Ron’s erection seemed to be just the right size for his hand, too.
“Well… pretend it’s yours or something,” Ron retorted, ears turning red. “You know it’s not like a toy. Here….”
“I said sorry!” Harry protested as Ron suddenly reached forward and yanked down the fly of his jeans. His hand wormed inside, and Harry could feel himself starting to get hard again as Ron touched him. “Fuck.”
With Ron touching him and his hand slowly stroking Ron’s cock, it became something of a competition. Who was the best at getting the other off? The look of intense concentration on Ron’s face was a sight to behold - not that Harry would admit it - and the sounds Ron was making were fucking amazing. It took Harry a while to register that the other breathy groans he could hear were his own.
Harry could barely think straight - normally he might have made a joke about that. As it was, he was so surprised when Ron grunted out his name as he came that Harry lost the shred of control that he had been clinging to, coming over Ron’s hand.
Ron slumped back, breathless. “Bloody hell.”
Making a faint noise of agreement, Harry nodded. He yanked his wand from his back pocket to cast a Cleaning Charm. Tossing it to the side, it landed with a clatter on Ron’s bedside table, nearly knocking over the glass of water that was innocently sitting there. “So, what does this mean?” he asked.
Ron tugged him to lie down. “Dunno.”
“Seriously, Ron. What does this mean?” He twisted to look at Ron, one hand re-zipping his jeans. “Are we like… boyfriend and boyfriend?”
“Buggered if I know,” Ron said with a tired sigh. He winced. “Er, you know what I mean.”
Harry laughed, relieved that Ron could joke about it after what they had just done - that went well beyond the realms of being ‘just’ friends.
“We’re best mates,” Harry decided finally. “And more.”
“And more,” Ron echoed, his arm slipping around Harry; this was the most comfortable he had felt since the end of the war. Pausing for a moment, he asked, “So who d’you think is going to win the twins’ betting pool?” The question was just begging to be asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?”
Ron thought and then nodded. “Ah. Hermione.”