Home / Fan Fiction / Harry Potter Slash / What Happened Before the Yule Ball
DISCLAIMER: the following is a non-profit, amateur effort not intended to infringe on the rights of JK Rowling, Scholastic books, Warner Brothers or any other copyright holders that I might not be aware of. This is also a slash story not meant for kids in spite of the Harry Potter subject matter. Do not read if you are underage.
What Happened Before the Yule Ball
by The Brat Queen
Spoilers: Goblet of Fire
Series: This is a sequel to What Started That Summer
Summary: Harry and Ron face the prospect of yet another Yule Ball.
"I can't believe we're doing this again," Ron said, looking at the flyer in his hand with dismay. "Wasn't once enough?"
"I thought it was fun," Hermione said. She shifted her books to her other arm to make it easier for her to read over Ron's shoulder.
"Yeah you would, going with Viktor Krum and all. Even I would have liked the Yule Ball if I had him for my date. Don't suppose he's free this year?"
"Hey!" Harry said, nudging Ron with his elbow.
"Just kidding, Harry."
"Good, because I don't fancy having to ask Parvati again," Harry said. "Last year's Ball was bad enough without her prancing me around like a show pony."
Hermione gave him a stern look. "Even so you treated her horribly! You too, Ron. Both of you should be ashamed of yourselves for how you behaved."
"Oh come on, Hermione," Ron said, he reached over to take Harry's hand in his as they walked through the portrait into the surprisingly empty Gryffindor common room. "That's not like it was our fault now, was it? It was the stupid Ball's fault for making us ask the wrong people. I mean wouldn't you have asked me to the Ball if you could have, Harry?"
Harry considered the question and decided it would be better not to remind Ron that at the time he had really wanted to try going with Cho. He offered Ron another version of the truth instead. "At the time I didn't even want to go at all. If it wasn't for the Champions' dance I wouldn't have."
"And you'd have spent the night with me, right?"
"Of course," Harry said, giving Ron's hand a squeeze.
"There you go," Ron said, turning to Hermione in satisfaction. "All the Ball's fault."
"Ron Weasley you are impossible!" Hermione said. She took the flyer from Ron's hand and sat down on one of the common room's easy chairs, dumping her books onto the floor beside her. "And you're absolutely horrid for complaining now when at least you know who you're going with."
Harry felt a pang of sympathy for Hermione. Unlike last year, there was no chance that she would be able to get another date with Krum. After the events following the Triwizard Tournament what little communication there had been between the schools was shut down. Hermione had been able to visit Krum over the summer but Harry didn't think she'd been able to get so much as an owl over to him since.
"Why do we even have to go at all?" Ron asked. "I thought they only did this for the Triwizard Tournament."
"Usually they do," Hermione said, "but this year Dumbledore thought it would be a good idea to have another one to help raise everyone's spirits. And a lot of the parents feel safer with their children staying at the school so they thought the Ball would be a good way of convincing everyone to stay."
"How do you know all this?" Ron asked.
"Because I'm the secretary of the Faculty/Student Liaison Committee," Hermione said, "and have been for months! Honestly, Ron, don't you listen to anything I say?"
"Oh!" Hermione responded to this by making a face in Ron's direction and gathering up her books again. "Anyway," she said as she stood, "the Ball is much more informal this year. It's mostly an excuse to get everyone's mind off of things so unless you're on the committee you don't have to go. And you don't have to bring a date either."
"Are you?" Harry asked. "Bringing a date, I mean?"
Hermione shrugged. "I don't know."
Harry imagined that there had to be as much pressure on Hermione to get a date as there had been on him last year, when he had been such an prominent member of the Ball. "Well if you need a date you could always take one of us," he offered.
Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "After all the fighting between you two this semester? No thanks!" she smiled to take the bite out of her words, "I appreciate the offer, Harry, but I'll figure something out. You and Ron should go together."
"Assuming we're going," Ron said, "like we want to get dressed up like a couple of gits."
"It could be fun," Harry said, not really believing it but feeling that he and Ron should go in support of Hermione.
"Ha!" Ron said by way of response.
Hermione gave Harry a look of sympathy. "I'll leave you to it," she said. "I've got a committee meeting I've got to get to. I'll see you both at dinner."
"Bye, Hermione," Harry said as he and Ron waved her off then made their way upstairs to their quarters.
"Don't tell me you actually want to go to this, Harry," Ron said. "I mean after last year!"
"Hermione needs us," Harry said. "You know she'd only want to go with Krum."
"Assuming he's still interested," Ron said.
"Ron!" Harry said, shocked.
Ron held up his hands in a gesture of peace. "No offense to Hermione, Harry. I think she's great. It's just that it's been months and they haven't said so much as two words to each other. I think we have to face the possibility that maybe he found somebody else. I mean it's Krum, Harry, it's not like he doesn't have options."
"I suppose," Harry said. He put his books down and sat down on his bed tiredly. He frowned, feeling the beginning of a headache behind his forehead.
"Plus with everything that's going on how do we know he's even free to date?" Ron said, sitting down on his own bed and facing Harry. "Somebody famous like Krum would probably be as valuable to You-Know-You as you are, Harry. If I were him I'd be laying low."
Harry had to concede that Ron had a point. He took his glasses off and rubbed at his temples. "Even so it's just more reason to be there for Hermione. Imagine how horrible she must feel not knowing what's going on."
Ron looked at Harry in concern. "Headache?"
Ron smiled, taking a quick look around to make sure they were alone before slipping off of his bed and sitting beside Harry. "Want me to try?" he asked, not bothering to mask the eagerness in his voice.
"Please," Harry said, not bothering to hide his own feelings either.
With the ease of practice, Ron rubbed his hands together, touched his thumbs to Harry's scar, whispered the word to the headache spell, then leaned in to give Harry a kiss.
Harry returned it gladly, letting himself move closer to Ron to put his arms around him and rest against him as the tension left his body.
"That wasn't too bad," Ron said when they finally pulled apart.
Harry nodded. "I feel better."
"I can tell. And this was much better than last time."
"I took my glasses off first," Harry pointed out.
"That's true," Ron admitted. "I mean they look good on you Harry but they are pretty big, let's face it."
Harry nodded, blushing a bit as he put his glasses back on to see Ron better. "I know. Maybe someday we can figure out a way to get around them."
"I don't know, Harry, you did look kind of funny with them hanging off your nose like that."
Harry swatted Ron with a pillow by way of response. Ron caught it, laughing, then settled down beside Harry. "So do you really want to go to this thing, Harry? I mean really?"
"No," Harry said, "but we shouldn't leave Hermione on her own like that." He looked at Ron pointedly. "I mean imagine if it was me and Sirius - you remember how I was."
"I was trying to forget," Ron said, not unkindly. "Are you sure I can't send him one of Fred and George's specials for Christmas?"
"Sirius isn't that bad," Harry said.
"No, just a jerk," Ron said. He reached over to hold Harry's hand. "Even if he doesn't know it."
Harry looked away, not wanting Ron to see him blush again. "So why don't you want to go?" he asked, by way of changing the subject.
"Because it's boring, because it's filled with people I hate talking to in the hallways, let alone at a party, because if Malfoy makes fun of my clothes again I'm going to get expelled for hitting him back into his first year - do you really need to know all the reasons?"
"Your clothes aren't that bad," Harry said. "Besides, you'd be wearing your dress robe."
"Funny, I wasn't aware that ripped and moldy was in fashion this year."
"What -" Harry started to ask but then stopped, realizing the problem. "Ron, have you seen your dress robe?"
"Yes, hideously ugly looking thing that I wore last year, Harry, I'm surprised you've forgotten it."
"No," Harry said. He gave Ron a nudge, prompting him to get off of the bed and go look in his trunk. "I think you need to go take a look at it again."
"I don't know about this," Ron said, obligingly doing what Harry asked but giving him a dubious look in the process. "I mean there's no telling what trouble it will cause if I break through all the magic locks I've got holding it down. If it runs off and captures Neville it'll be all your fault I'll have you know."
"Just take a look at it," Harry said, laughing.
Ron knelt down on the floor and pulled out his trunk. He made quick work of the lock and, after digging through some of his more unwanted clothes and possessions, pulled out a brown paper package. He ripped open the package unceremoniously and unfolded the robe that was inside.
Harry was pleased when he saw it. When he'd asked Fred and George to buy the robe for Ron he hadn't specified what kind. He was glad to see that the twins had picked out something simple but still stylish. It was a dark green robe that Harry thought even Draco Malfoy would have been proud to be seen in.
"Huh," Ron said, looking at the new robe in surprise and then turning his attention to a small piece of white paper that had fluttered out of one of the sleeves. He read it, looked at the robe, read the note again, then sprang to his feet and planted another kiss on Harry.
"What?" Harry gasped as he tried to readjust his glasses from where Ron had knocked them askew.
"I knew you liked me," Ron said. He kissed Harry again for good measure.
"What? Why?" Harry asked, returning the kisses but trying to figure out what was going on.
"Here," Ron said, handing him the note.
Hey Ron, the note read, here's some new dress robes for you. We recommend burning the old ones and not telling mom about it - or tell her it happened while you were trying to save someone's life. Anyway, the new robes are from Harry. He wanted you to have them but made us swear we wouldn't tell you. Not sure why he'd want to do a thing like that but there you are. Use in good health and be sure to drop something embarrassing into the punch bowl at the next school party. - Love, Fred & George.
"They weren't supposed to tell!" Harry protested. "Honestly, Ron, I didn't mean -"
Ron silenced him with another kiss. This time he managed to keep Harry's glasses from falling but he accidentally bit Harry's lower lip in the process. "I knew you liked me," Ron said again. "When did you ask them?"
"Last summer, when school ended," Harry said, feeling awful that Ron knew. "Ron, I didn't mean - I just - "
Ron waved this off, moving off of Harry to sit beside him again. He spread his new robes out over their laps so that he could have a better look at them. "Don't worry about it, Harry. I know this isn't charity. If it was charity I'd deck you."
"Good," Harry said weakly, still not completely certain why Ron wasn't angry about all of this but deciding not to worry about it. "I'm glad you like it," he added.
"Are you kidding?" Ron asked, running his hands over the smooth material, "this is great!" He picked the robe up again and slipped it over his shoulders experimentally. "Look it even fits."
"It looks nice," Harry said. He was happy to see Ron enjoying something for once.
Ron smiled at the compliment. "Glad you think so."
"So do you think you can go to the Ball with me then?" Harry asked.
Ron sobered instantly. He looked over at Harry from under a lock of red hair which kept falling into his face now that Ron was growing it longer. "Look, Harry," Ron said, "are you sure about this?"
"It's one thing to go to the Ball," Ron said, "it's another thing to go with me."
Harry stared at Ron blankly. "What do you mean?"
Ron shrugged, staring down at his feet. "Look, right now the only person who really knows about you and me is Hermione. But if we went to the Ball together then everybody in the school would know."
"What wrong with that?" Harry asked. He wondered if Ron knew about someone at the school who wouldn't approve of the two of them being together. Or if Ron knew about some wizard rule which said students weren't supposed to date. Harry could still remember how quiet Percy had been about his girlfriend a few years prior.
"I just don't know if you'd want people knowing that, is all," Ron said. He shrugged again. "Considering who you are... and who I am."
Harry's jaw dropped in shock before he recovered enough to grab another pillow and pelt Ron over the head with it.
"Oi!" Ron cried out, trying to defend himself against the blows.
"Don't you ever say that again!" Harry said, speaking between the hits. "Or I'll hit you back into first year. Ron, I don't care about your money or your family, anymore than you care that I'm the famous Harry Potter. And if you don't stop acting like I think you're second class I just may never speak to you again!"
"Don't say that," Ron mumbled, trying to crawl out from where Harry had pinned him during the attack, "or Hermione will be relaying messages between us into next summer."
Harry became more serious, letting Ron sit up but not letting him go far. "I mean it, Ron. How can you think I'd be the kind of person who'd think that of you?"
Ron tried to run his hands through his hair to straighten it. "I don't know, Harry," he admitted. "I know you're not like that. I guess I just keep thinking I'm not - er, never mind." Ron said quickly, clamping his mouth shut.
"Sirius," Harry said, finishing the sentence for him.
"Yeah," Ron said. He looked at Harry uncertainly.
Harry moved over so that he could hug Ron. "You're not him," he said, "you're better. And I don't care who in this school knows that you're my boyfriend."
"Thanks, Harry," Ron said. He pulled back so that he could look at Harry again. "Are you sure, though? What if word got back to the Dursleys?"
Harry shrugged. "They don't like me anyway. Someone could tell them that I'd be valedictorian when I graduate and they'd still hate me for it. I don't think finding out about you would make them hate me anymore than they already do."
"They could punish you over summer vacation, though."
"Not with anything they haven't done," Harry said. He tried to make light of it for Ron's sake, knowing that his friend didn't like hearing about what the Dursley's had done - it upset him too much to think of what Harry had gone through. "Don't worry, Ron. I think after all of Fred and George's pranks they're too scared to try anything."
"But are you -"
"Yes I'm sure," Harry said, laughing. He reached over to kiss Ron again. "Ron, I hate dancing and I don't like the music but I would like to go to the Ball to just spend time with you, all right?"
"I don't know," Ron said, "I was thinking of washing my hair that evening, actually."
"All right, all right," Ron said, gesturing in mock-defeat. "I'll go! But only so you don't start thinking of dating Viktor Krum or anything."
"I won't," Harry promised as he took off his glasses and moved to kiss Ron again.
"Oh!" a voice said from behind them, startling Ron and Harry both, "I - um - I didn't mean to interrupt anything."
Harry quickly put his glasses back on so that he could see the speaker.
"That's OK, Neville," Ron said, sighing a little but only so that Harry could hear, "we were just talking."
"I see," Neville said. He stood uncertainly, his eyes flickering back and forth from Ron to Harry. Harry could feel a hot blush creeping up the back of his neck at the idea of what Neville might be thinking.
"Something wrong, Neville?" Ron asked, giving the other boy a pointed look.
"No!" Neville said at once, blushing himself in the process. "I was - I was just wondering - I mean that is -"
"What, Neville?" Harry asked, beginning to feel a bit of Ron's impatience.
There was a long moment of uncomfortable silence before Neville gathered the courage to speak up again. "I was just wondering if this means I'm free to ask Hermione for a date," he said in the rush of a single breath. Then, when Harry and Ron didn't immediately respond, he added "if she's not going with one of you, I mean, since you're both - ah - that is - "
Harry and Ron glanced at each other then, unable to help it, they both started laughing.
"Sorry, Neville," Harry gasped, feeling horrible at the look that resulted on the other boy's face.
"Go ahead," Ron said, making a motion in the direction of the girl's quarters. "Ask away, Neville! Trust us - we won't mind."
Neville appeared to teeter on the edge of relief and confusion before opting to back out the way that he came and leave the other two alone. "Um, thanks!" he said, trying to find a graceful way of ending the conversation.
"Don't mention it," Ron said, still laughing, "good luck!"
"Poor Neville," Harry said a few moments after Neville had left and their snickers had died down. "We'll have to apologize later."
"I know," Ron said, lying back comfortably on Harry's bed, "but the look on his face! Oh that was priceless!"
"Consider it a sneak peak of the Ball," Harry said, moving so that he could like on his stomach and still face Ron. "The entire school looking at us like Neville just did."
"I don't know about that," Ron said, "I think Professor Snape will look a bit more like a shedding were-snake than a guppyfish at feeding time but even so I see what you mean. It could be fun."
"So do you want to go?" Harry asked.
"For the last time yes," Ron said, rolling his eyes. "Honestly, Harry, what do I have to do to convince you about all this? Lie underneath the lake at the mercy of merpeople? Oh, wait - I already did that didn't I?"
"Hermione's right, you are impossible."
"She only says that because I don't do this," Ron said, propping himself up on his elbows so that he could kiss Harry.
It was clear that Ron had intended it as a friendly kiss, but something about it was different this time. After weeks of clumsy pecking Harry and Ron's lips managed to meet easily, naturally, and in a way that was actually rather pleasant instead of strangely fun. Harry felt his pulse begin to race as a flush of an entirely different sort came over him.
"I see what you mean," Harry said when they finally pulled apart, although as he licked his lips he wasn't entirely certain if he remembered what he was responding to.
"Yeah," Ron said. From the look in his eyes Harry knew that whatever it was that had just happened, Ron had felt it too.
"What do you want to do now?" Harry asked, feeling a bit uncomfortable at the rush of emotions but not certain that he wanted it to stop.
"Besides do that again?"
"Er - yeah."
Ron pretended to consider. "Nothing," he said finally, "I'm pretty content with trying out more of this, especially since I don't think Neville's going to be interrupting us again for a long while."
"What about the other students?"
"I'm sure they'd agree that Neville won't be likely to interrupt us again for a while."
Glad for the joke to break the tension, Harry laughed then made a show out of looking for another pillow to hit Ron with.
"All right, all right!" Ron said, laughing. He sat up and moved about Harry's bed so that he could close the thick drapes that surrounded it, covering them both in a blanket of darkness. "How's that?"
"Better," Harry said, knowing that Ron hadn't really done it so that they could continue so much as he'd done it to give them more privacy before the other students returned.
"You know, you're all right, Harry," Ron said after a few shy moments had passed between them in the darkness.
"How do you mean?"
"I mean you're nice and all that. I think I'd like you even if I didn't like you, you know?"
Harry wasn't entirely certain what Ron meant but it sounded good so he agreed. "I like you too, Ron," he replied.
"I know you do."
"Good." They sat in silence for a few moments more before Harry added. "And you are much better than Sirius."
Harry could hear the smug note in Ron's voice as he responded. "Good."
Harry smiled, reaching out to hold Ron's hand as they sat together and listened to the sounds of the Gryffindor Hall fill up with students returning from class. It had been an unusual afternoon but in a way Harry was glad for it. He knew something would have to be done about Hermione and the Ball but in the meanwhile at least Ron understood that Harry cared about him. It was unfortunate that Ron felt the need to compare himself to Sirius but given the events of the past few months Harry honestly couldn't blame him.
And, Harry thought as he mulled over their conversation, at least when he'd reassured Ron that there was no competition between him and Harry's godfather, Harry was pretty sure that he had meant it.