Home / Fan Fiction / Harry Potter Slash / What Started That Summer, Chapters 9 & 10
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.
"So are you two speaking again?" Hermione's voice floated through Harry's mind as though from very far away.
"Yeah," Ron replied, "I suppose so."
"So that's good, isn't it?"
"Sure," Ron said, "If my middle name was 'Welcome'. I don't think - "
"No you don't, Ron Weasley," Hermione said. In his dream Harry chuckled softly at the sound of her irritation. "He's your friend, no matter what else happens between you."
"I guess so," Ron said, but he didn't sound too convinced.
The light of the morning sun on his eyes woke Harry up. He blinked, rubbing his eyes underneath his glasses and found Hermione sitting across the table from him, with Ron's chess set where it had been left last night. Harry realized he must have fallen asleep while they were playing.
"Where's Ron?" Harry asked.
Hermione put down her copy of Care and Feeding of the Adolescent Hippogriff and sat up straighter. "He went to get breakfast. We didn't know if you'd have another nightmare so he asked me to stay here."
Harry rubbed his eyes again and refastened the belt on his robe. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Hermione said. "Did you sleep all right?"
Harry paused, surprised at the answer that came to him. "Yes," he said. "No nightmares at all." He smiled, glad to discover that he had been right to think that talking about his problems would make things better. "I should play chess with Ron more often."
For some reason that response made Hermione give a deep frown but Ron returned before she could say anything.
"I don't know what they think they're serving to everybody else but whatever it was I didn't want any," Ron said, putting down a heavily laden tray on the space that Harry and Hermione quickly cleared on the table. Ron pulled a chair over and sat down, taking a big gulp of pumpkin juice and making a show of the effort it had taken to get the food up to them. "I haven't seen food that strange since we cooked for Beauxbatons. Luckily the house elves were more than happy to get us something proper. Oh hush, Hermione," Ron said as Hermione began to open her mouth in protest, "they were happy to do it. Especially when I told Dobby that it was for Harry's sake."
"Even so, that's no excuse to exploit them when they are already working so hard," Hermione replied as she then launched in to yet another speech about the need for rights for house elves. Ron responded to this by rolling his eyes at Harry and Harry smiled, glad to be sitting at a table with his friends once more.
In a fit of what Ron proclaimed to be "sheer nastiness" their professors had doubled the workload leading into their first set of finals. Professor McGonagall had explained that it was to help them get ready for their O.W.L.s but Ron wasn't buying it.
"If they really wanted to help us," Ron said, throwing his quill down in disgust, "they'd excuse us so that we could have more time to study."
"Would you use it?" Hermione asked.
"No," Ron admitted, "but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be helpful."
It was two days until the start of their first final and Harry, Ron and Hermione had staked their claim at one of the library's private study rooms. They had been at it for hours now and even Hermione was looking tired.
"I need a break," she said, pushing away from the table so that she could raise her arms up in a long stretch. "I'm going to get a drink and splash some water on my face. Do either of you want anything?"
"A cool cloth?" Harry asked. He'd been finding it hard to study thanks to the steady pounding that had settled behind his eyes from his last nightmare.
Hermione gave him a look of sympathy and promised she'd be back with a cloth and perhaps even a headache draught from the infirmary as well.
"Won't do any good," Harry said after she left and closed the door behind her, "but I'm willing to give it a try."
"You still don't know what's causing them?" Ron asked.
Harry shook his head. "No. I mean I know they start with the dreams but I don't understand why I can't stop them. Dumbledore used to be able to help but he hasn't been much good lately. In truth the only person who had any luck at getting rid of them was -"
"Sirius," Ron said, guessing at the name and mercifully filling it in on Harry's behalf.
"Yes," Harry said.
It had been weeks since Harry and Ron had had their conversation and Ron had been nothing but a best friend to Harry since. He'd even stayed with Harry after he'd gotten Sirius's next letter, knowing that leaving Harry alone with it would probably only lead to more depression and bad dreams.
"Can't you do it yourself?" Ron asked.
"I wish," Harry said. He pressed his fingers against the bridge of his nose, hoping to ease the pain a little bit. "But it requires concentration and if there's one thing I don't have when I've got a headache it's that."
"Let me try then," Ron said. He stood up and walked around the table to sit beside Harry. "Couldn't hurt, right?"
"That's what Dobby said," Harry replied, thinking back to the night when he'd woken up to find Dobby trying to "cure" his nightmares by dumping a bucket of ice water onto him. Luckily Ron had stopped him in time.
"I promise to leave you with your bones intact," Ron said. He rolled up his sleeves and looked at Harry expectantly. "How does it work?"
"Here," Harry said. He reached into the pocket of his robes and pulled out the rolled-up parchment that contained the spell's instructions. Unable to perform the spell on himself, Harry had been carrying it around with him in the hopes that maybe it would cure his headaches by being in close proximity to him. He handed the parchment to Ron and waited while he read through it.
"Seems easy enough," Ron said. He motioned for Harry to face him and then carefully placed his thumbs on either side of Harry's scar, just as Sirius had done.
"Ready?" Ron asked.
Ron leaned in, pressed his thumbs against Harry's forehead and blew a quick breath across his scalp. "Sanguino," he whispered.
Once again Harry felt the tension inside of him disappear. He breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it," Ron said. He kept his fingers by Harry's scar, massaging lightly as the instructions described to make sure that the energy he had just used did not backfire and cause a reflex headache. "Feel anything weird?"
"No," Harry said. But as Ron continued to follow the instructions Harry suddenly wondered if he hadn't spoken quite true. There was something in Ron's eyes, something strange, like -
Ron broke away from Harry as though he were aware of his thoughts. He busied himself at the table, rolling up the spell once more and handing it back to Harry without looking at him. "Let's get back to studying then."
Harry took the spell and slowly returned it to his pocket. He frowned, thinking. An idea had formed in his head, an elusive one that Harry knew would make perfect sense if he could just pin it down.
"I was thinking we should take a break from Potions and try the Defense Against the Dark Arts for a while," Ron said. He shuffled through a stack of papers, trying to find his notes. "I can only take so much of Snape on an empty stomach and at least Professor Maskerton - "
"You like me," Harry said aloud. Ron stopped talking and opened and shut his mouth a few times as though he didn't know what to say. "That's it, isn't it?"
A blush began climbing up the back of Ron's neck. "I'm your friend, Harry," Ron said, not looking at him. "Of course I like you."
Harry shook his head, puzzling it all over and realizing it made sense. Ron's reaction at the Dewdrop Inn, the conversation he'd overheard with Ron and Hermione and even the way Ron was acting right now. "No," Harry said. "You like me."
Ron stood up, pacing as though he were about to leave but could not summon the nerve to do so. "So what?" he asked. He waved his hand dismissively, nearly knocking over Hermione's books as he did. "It doesn't mean we can't be friends, right? Just like you and Sirius - just because he doesn't feel the same way about you doesn't mean you've stopped talking with him, right?"
"But Ronů" Harry said, but found he did not know how to continue. He felt himself reeling at the fact that Ron had in no way denied it. Ron liked him?
"Look, Harry," Ron continued as though he hadn't heard. "I'm sorry. I know it's the dumbest thing I've ever done in a history of dumb things. It's just that - I mean I thought - I mean when they told me last year -"
"Told you what?" Harry asked.
Ron stopped pacing long enough to look at Harry and make a frustrated gesture. "I knew we were friends, OK? I mean you're my best friend, Harry, honestly. But last year I just - I don't know, I just really started to like you and when they came to me and told me that you'd miss me I just figured that maybe you liked me too."
Harry felt his hands become cold as Ron's words began to make sense to him. Last year. The Triwizard Tournament. Ron had been picked as the one thing that Harry would miss more than anything else in the world.
"But, you know, it's OK," Ron said. He'd begun pacing again. "I mean I understand. I know now that they just picked me because they couldn't use Sirius and if that's all it is then I'm fine with it. I don't blame you for choosing him, Harry. I guess if I had this rich guy risking his life to try to protect me all the time - "
"I don't care," Harry said.
Ron didn't hear him. "And he is a nice guy and I meant what I said, Harry, he's a jerk for not noticing you and -"
"I don't care," Harry said, raising his voice to make sure that Ron paid attention.
Ron stopped where he was, looking at Harry uncertainly.
Harry tried to think under the barrage of information that Ron had given him. How could he have not seen it? How could he have missed?
But even as he thought it, Harry knew the answers. He'd been too busy fawning over Sirius and imagining a relationship with him. Ron could have probably given him a Valentine's card and Harry would have been oblivious.
Then, with a jar of recognition, Harry saw what it must have been like for Ron this past year. He saw how hard it must have been for him to feel like this but watch as Harry ignored him in favor of someone else. The encounter at the Drewdrop Inn must have been as humiliating for Ron as the meeting in Dumbledore's office had been for Harry. And after all that to have to sit still and listen to Harry complain about it all, moaning over the fact that Sirius didn't care for him, while Ron was right there and Harry was too self-centered to see.
"You must hate me," Harry said.
"No," Ron said. He seemed surprised that Harry would suggest such a thing.
"You should," Harry said. "I would hate me."
Ron looked embarrassed. He shoved his hands into his pockets. "It's not your fault you don't like me. I wouldn't like me, if I were you. Rich, famous, -"
"Stop saying that!" Harry said. He looked up at Ron with real anger in his eyes. "I don't care about your money, Ron! I love you! Why would I give a goblin's whisker how much money you have?"
Ron's jaw dropped in shock. Stunned at the words he had just spoken, Harry imagined his own face had done something similar as well.
"You," Ron said, backing away and shaking his head in disbelief. "You don't mean that."
"Which part," Harry asked tiredly, "the part about the money or the part about me loving you?"
"Both. You don't love me, Harry. I'd know."
"Well I didn't know!" Harry snapped, "So I don't see how you would."
Feeling his headache return, Harry began to stroke his temples irritably. He was angry. Angry with Ron for never telling him any of this and angry at himself for never realizing his true feelings. Stupid, stupid, STUPID, he told himself again.
"Ron," Harry said when he trusted himself to speak again, "they were right. You are the one thing I can't live without. They were just smart enough to realize it before I did."
"Harry, I don't need you telling me these things out of some kind of pity."
"It's not pity!" Harry said. He knew if he raised his voice any higher Madam Pince would come in and ask them to leave. "Ron, when I found out that you were underwater I nearly died! I thought they were going to kill you! When I thought of you being trapped under there forever because of my laziness -"
"You got me out," Ron said.
"Only because Crouch helped me cheat. But," Harry added, standing so that he could face Ron, "I would have held my breath if I'd had to."
"Harry," Ron said again. "You don't mean this. You can't."
Ron looked as though he were about to make a joke but abandoned the attempt. "You're giving yourself another headache," he said, trying to change the subject.
"So I don't like it when you hurt, you great idiot, that's so!"
Harry laughed, his mind still reeling but feeling that, in spite of it all, the world finally made sense. Harry immediately regretted laughing, however, when he saw how badly it made Ron blush.
"What do we do now?" Ron asked. He crossed and uncrossed his arms, shifting his weight nervously.
"You mean now that I know that you love me," Harry asked, needing to make Ron say the words and agree to them, "and that I love you?"
Ron gave a quick nod, muttering his agreement.
"I don't know," Harry said. "I've never done this before either."
Ron's mouth twitched in a smile, though he tried to hide it. Harry remembered how Ron had smiled when he'd found out that Harry had never ordered Room Service before, or gone to a movie. Harry made a mental note to kick himself for not knowing at the time what it had meant.
"Well Hermione is going to be back any minute now," Ron said, "So whatever it is will have to be quick."
The perfect idea formed in Harry's mind. He smiled, hoping Ron would like it too.
"What?" Ron asked, seeing his expression.
"My head hurts."
Feeling about as nervous as Ron looked, Harry continued to try his luck. He gave Ron a significant look and said "So make it better."
Ron frowned, looking at Harry as though not entirely sure he hadn't gone daft. Then realization crept up on him. "Oh," he said, surprised. And then again, more serious, "Oh."
There was a pause, torturously long as Harry wondered if he hadn't perhaps pushed Ron into a situation that he hadn't wanted to be in. But then Ron moved, taking just a moment to check the time before placing his fingers on either side of Harry's scar and pressing down.
"Ready?" Ron asked. His hands were trembling.
Harry nodded, feeling his heart beating its own marathon inside of his chest. "Yes."
Ron leaned forward, blew on his scar and whispered the word "Sanguino". Then, as Harry felt all of the tension leave him, Ron continued to lean forward so that he could cover Harry's lips in a kiss.
It was a gesture that Harry was more than happy to return.