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Title: Lion's Heart
Author: EruditeFics
Prompt Number: 32 submitted by [info]nursedarry
Kink Showcased: Hair/Hair Touching
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Harry/Ron, Harry/OMC
Summary: Harry left to keep his secrets, but broke hearts in the process. He finally comes back home, and everything collapses around him.
Warnings: Angst, EWE, all the normal things you'd expect in a slash fic that I feel don't need to be warned about. A serious amount of Ginger!Lust
Word Count: 9149
Author's Notes: Thank you to for staying up all night to beta this, celestlyn. You didn't think I noticed, but I saw the time stamps. I SAW THEM!  I also really want to thank nursedarry  for making the most perfect prompt for me to write. I'm so glad that I found the prompt and was really excited to write it. I'm sorry it took so long, and I hope it's what you were looking for. The lyrics are by The Tallest Man on Earth. I encourage everyone to listen to everything he does.




There's a palace a fallin'
There's a smoke in the sky
There's a boy running downhill to the lowlands tonight
And he's catching the train to where he's heard you have been
He's a fool now among us, a dreamer within
Dreaming of you


It was a sunny day on America’s west coast, but depending on where you were, it was always a sunny day in America. Harry rose early, putting on his uniform for work and making his way quickly out of his flat. He walked along the clean Los Angeles sidewalks, enjoy his 15 minute morning walk. Everyone drove in that city, but Harry needed to walk in the morning in order to keep his head on his shoulders. If he didn’t school his features and shove his thoughts down, he’d never make it through the day.


Harry left England three months after the war. He couldn’t take the press. He couldn’t take the constant hounding, disguised as adoration, and he definitely couldn’t handle the hurt looks Ginny kept sending his way after their not-so-mutual separation. He just couldn’t love her like she wanted him to after all that had happened.

Harry could have handled the post-war pressure, if it weren’t for his growing feelings for his best mate. He didn’t even know he was queer, but one day, he realized that he had never been able to be away from Ron. After that, watching Ron smiling, happy, and in love caused Harry pain rather than pride. When he had his first wank to an image of Ron, he knew he was right and truly fucked. He got out of the country as soon as he could. If he didn’t leave, he was sure to ruin Ron’s life, and their friendship. Harry could ruin a lot of things, but not Ron. Never Ron.

He took a job as a barista in a coffee shop near Venice Beach. It didn’t pay much, but he didn’t need money. He just needed a mindless distraction. He needed a break from any kind of action or recognition. Hiding amongst a sea of celebrities and wannabe celebrities was an excellent choice. No one ever noticed him. He floated along the American shoreline alone and unused. It was a passable existence. He entered the small shop with mock enthusiasm and went about getting out the ingredients they would need that day.

After working all day making frozen coffee drinks and smoothies, Harry decided to treat himself. He rung up a man who was referred to as Tex, and only Tex, and made an appointment for that very evening. He could feel himself actually looking forward to going back to his one room condo on the beach. It was hard to find a ginger rent-boy, and even harder to find one with longer hair. But as soon as Harry had found one, he put down enough money to keep him for the night.

Before, when he was aching to pull, he would scan the crowds for bright, copper-toned hair at the various Muggle clubs, and put in the effort to get a bloke home. But soon, he didn’t have to bother feeling for t those he took to bed, because he could just pay for it. Harry was disgusted with himself, but that was not a new feeling.

When Hermione had rang his mobile about four months into his self-imposed exile and told him that she and Ron had broken up, Harry’s hope soared inappropriately, and he sought a more realistic release to keep himself from charging in and mucking up Ron and Hermione’s lives. Tex offered him an escape. He offered Harry a way to pretend without shattering his carefully built walls. Tex was tall and thin, and he wore his red hair down to his shoulders. If Harry took off his glasses, and Tex’s southern drawl was kept to a minimum, he could pretend.

He saw Tex waiting for him on his doorstep. The red-haired man knew that Harry liked to spend all night, and he always showed up directly after Harry’s shifts. Harry would normally prepare dinner, which shocked Tex at first, but Harry explained he had no one else to cook for, and it was fun to watch Tex react to various British dishes. The real reason, though, was that Tex ate like Ron did. Tonight, Harry was going to make him shepherd’s pie. He had the perfect bottle of wine, cheap but tasty, to serve with the dish. He greeted Tex with a smile, rolled his eyes at the other man’s ostentatious cowboy hat, and ushered him inside.

Dinners with Tex almost felt like having a friend, except he didn’t know his real name and he always gave Tex a hefty sum at the end of the night. Still, Tex liked making conversation, and Harry liked watching Tex shovel food into his wide mouth. Harry even told Tex about Britain, and a very small bit of his childhood, leaving out the important parts obviously. Harry was just telling Tex a story about the twins and their “joke shop” when he caught Tex looking at him with a sharp stare.

“What?” Harry said, trying not to meet Tex’s green eyes. They seemed to be boring into him.

“Who’s Ron?” he asked carefully, and Harry jumped.

“Just someone,” Harry murmured, shoving another bite of shepherd’s pie into his mouth.

“It’s the first time you’ve mentioned a name…except for when you whispered his name in bed last week,” Tex explained casually.

“I- I- He’s the twins’ younger brother. He’s my best mate,” Harry explained, trying to sound casual.

“Listen, Harry. You’re running and you’re hiding. I get that. I am very good at readin’ people, and you have ‘I am hidin’ somethin’ written in big, bold letters across yer face. Yer covered in scars that you never explain, but that look much too involved for someone so young. And you are the only client I have that wants to be fucked,” Tex said, his eyes still burning a hole through Harry. Harry nearly spit out his wine at the last statement.

“I am?” Harry said, wiping his mouth and trying to calm his shaking hands.

“Takin’ a whore is about power for most men. They want to fuck my pretty ass, toss me around a little, and then send me packin’. You…you need somethin’. You seem happy enough when I go, but it’s never quite meeting your eyes. I reckon it has somethin’ to do with Ron,” Tex explained, standing up and sitting next to Harry. “Is that why…why you are always touching my hair. Is it the same?”

“Tex, I can’t-“ Harry said, shaking.

“That’s the beauty of being with me: You never have to explain nothin’.” Tex said softly.

For the first time since their meeting months ago, Tex kissed Harry on the lips. It was a soft and tender kiss, as though he was trying to know Harry a little bit more than he did. Harry responded with equal tenderness, desperate for some semblance of affection from someone who wouldn’t reject him. The kiss deepened, and after a while, Harry found that Tex’s kisses were enjoyable, even if they were missing a certain spark. Spurred on by the hardness he could feel pressing against his abdomen, Harry threaded his fingers through Tex’s thick, red locks.

Tex moaned his encouragement into Harry’s mouth, and Harry gripped Tex’s hair firmly, pulling his head back to expose his neck. Tex’s neck was just as pale and freckled, even if his voice was higher as it echoed in his throat. Harry ran his lips over Tex’s heated skin, clenching his fist around handfuls of Tex’s hair while his free hand began to undo the man’s button-fly jeans. Before, their encounters had been about Tex bringing Harry off and then fucking him into the mattress until he couldn’t take anymore. But this time…this time Harry wanted more than just a ‘service’. He wanted the whole thing.

He dropped to his knees, taking a moment to look at Tex’s cock with his glasses on and trying not to compare him to Ron. He looked delicious, nestled amongst copper curls, and Harry pretended that Tex was enough. He wrapped his lips around Tex’s throbbing cock, and let the other man’s moans wash over him. Soon, Tex pulled him off, his green eyes nearly black with lust, and pulled Harry back up to meet him.

“I’m not ready to stop this yet, and at the rate you were goin’, I’d have been done in,” Tex whispered, kissing along Harry’s neck. Harry bent his nose into Tex’s hair and breathed, letting the strands press up against his face. He didn’t smell like food and wood smoke like Ron always did, but Harry chose to ignore that.

Tex led them up to the bedroom, and Harry undressed him slowly, another departure from their normal activities, and took in every inch of him. Every time Tex removed a piece of Harry’s clothing, he pressed his bare skin against the dark-haired wizard and Harry moaned at the warmth. Finally, they were both free of all clothing, and Tex stood behind Harry, kissing the back of his neck as his long, red hair draped down over Harry’s shoulders, making his cock twitch.

“What do you want?” Harry whispered to Tex.

“Right now, Harry, I only want you, in any way you’ll give yourself to me,” Tex groaned, his voice taking on a deeper tone that brought him even closer to Ron. Harry thought he might be hallucinating slightly from all the wine at dinner. Harry felt Tex’s erection press between his cheeks, and he bent forward willingly.

Harry heard the wet pop of Tex’s fingers in his mouth, and then felt the other man’s touch at his entrance. He moaned and spread his legs farther. He felt Tex press his chest against his bare back as one of his fingers entered Harry slowly. Tex’s hair surrounded his face and Harry couldn’t help it. When the ginger man pressed another finger into Harry, he cried out loudly.

“You’re beautiful,” Tex whispered, leaning up and tracing his hands along the various curse scars across Harry’s back. Finally, he parted Harry’s cheeks and entered him an agonizingly slow pace. Harry couldn’t take it anymore, and pressed his body back against Tex. He was fully sheathed instantly, and they both cried out.

“Fuck yes,” Harry groaned in the middle of an unintelligible swarm of words and moans. “You feel so good.”

“So do you. You’re so perfect. You don’t deserve this,” Tex said. The raw emotion in his voice made Harry tense. He wanted someone to care that much and mean it. He wanted it so badly it hurt. Harry let his body go and Tex leaned forward, wrapping his fingers around Harry’s cock.

Harry came with a sob, and Tex with a shout. He could feel Tex’s cock throb inside him, and willed his body to pull the other man impossibly closer. He had never come this close to having sex that meant something before, and it felt too good. He never wanted to let go. Tex sighed into his shoulder, and Harry opened his eyes, looking over at the night stand where his money was piled neatly. His heart fell.

They lay there, side-by-side, looking up at Harry’s stark white ceiling for a long time. Harry’s mind was racing, but he couldn’t focus on any one thought. He wondered why Tex was still there, but didn’t want to let go of the warm body in his bed just yet. A car alarm went off down the street and they both jumped. Tex laughed heartily.

“This is the last time, Harry,” Tex said carefully. “I showed you what you could have, and now there is no way to go back to what it was.”

“Then maybe it doesn’t have to,” Harry started. He thought that perhaps he didn’t need to be alone anymore. Maybe it was time to become a human again.

“Man, I would take you up on that offer in a heartbeat. But I don’t aim to get hurt. Yer leaving soon, I can see it in yer eyes. And you would never be mine anyway, not the way I would want,” he explained. He rose up and put on his jeans. Harry watched as the only person he ever felt remotely connected to in America slowly dressed and walked toward the door. It took a moment to realize he hadn’t grabbed Harry’s money, but Harry grabbed it and chased after him.

“You forgot-“ Harry started, grabbing at Tex’s shoulder on his doorstep.

“No I didn’t, Harry,” Tex said, folding Harry’s fingers closed. He let his thumb linger over Harry’s clenched fist for a moment before leaning in and kissing Harry softly.

“I’ll miss you,” Harry whispered as Tex walked away, his boots clicking on the uneven cobble walkway. Harry waited a long time before going back up to his room to try to sleep.

Harry had to stop doing this. He had to stop trying to relieve the ache in his chest with nameless nearly faceless strangers who left him the next day. He knew that his after dark activities were only going to make things worse in the long run, especially after tonight. There were some nights when the loneliness hit him too hard. Harry Potter was no stranger to loneliness, but even he couldn’t bear it for too long. He took another long drink of his cheap wine and stared at his mobile.

He knew it was late, but late in America meant very early in Britain. And if Harry knew anything about Hermione Granger, it’s that she will never sleep in when there is work to be done and knowledge to be had. He pulled out his mobile and dialed all the numbers required to make a blasted international call. She picked up on the second ring.

“Harry!” Hermione’s voice sounded like coming home after a night of drinking and disappointment. “It’s been a bloody week! I’ve left you numerous voicemails. I almost got desperate enough to owl you.”

“Hermione, you know you can’t-“

“I know, I know. You’re living as a Muggle. I get it. The point is, you need to contact me more. Ron said he hasn’t heard from you all week either,” Hermione was attempting to sound stern, but he could hear the smile in her voice. At the mention of Ron’s name, Harry’s stomach dropped into his feet.

“H- How is Ron?” Harry asked carefully.

“He’s doing well. He and George are discussing possibly opening up a Hogsmeade branch. He took me out to the nicest restaurant in Diagon Alley last night,” Hermione sounded proud, and Harry had to hide his hurt. Of course it was only a matter of time before Ron and Hermione found their way back to one another. And why shouldn’t they?

“Oh that’s great!” Harry worried that maybe he sounded a little too excited. “I’m glad you two are-“

“No, we’re not, Harry. Ron and I didn’t work as a couple and we aren’t going to mess up our friendship just to try dating again. You of all people should know that the romantic entanglements one forms in school do not normally last.” Hermione’s voice was soft around the allusion to Ginny. That wound was still another small one cutting at his insides as well.

“I’m sorry. I guess I just always thought that you two were meant for each other,” Harry said sadly. He didn’t want the two most important people in his life to be as lonely as he was.

“I know, love. Ron has a date tonight with a girl from my office, as a matter-of-fact. For some reason, he doesn’t seem as excited as I thought he would be though. She’s gorgeous!” Hermione huffed. Harry felt once again like he had been punched in the gut. Well, at least Ron wouldn’t be lonely.

“Who is she?” Harry growled. He had to cough to cover up the menacing edge in his voice.

“Is that Harry?” Ron shouted in the background.

“Ronald Weasley! Why must you always come and get your breakfast at my flat! I know your mother brought you muffins yesterday!” Hermione shouted away from the phone. Harry wanted to laugh out loud at how perfect and familiar his friends were. There was a slight struggle and then he could hear Ron laugh maniacally.

“Found yourself yet, mate?” Ron asked, and Harry could just picture his wide mouth smiling into the receiver.

“Nope. Put my face up on some milk cartons though.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind, Ron,” Harry said, his throat catching a little at saying Ron’s name aloud in a very different context than he was used to.

“When are you coming home?” Ron asked, his voice suddenly taking on quiet and tender tone that made Harry imagine Ron’s lips were pressed against his ear.

“In two weeks, after I put in my notice,” Harry said without thinking. He hadn’t planned on quitting his job, but hearing Ron’s voice, imagining him and Hermione in the morning, it made him weak. He couldn’t stay away any longer, or he might fall to pieces.

“Bloody fucking hell Harry! Please tell me this isn’t a joke!” Ron was so excited, that Harry knew he had to keep his promise this time.

“It’s not. I’ll let you know when I’m coming in. I have to arrange for a place to stay, since there’s no way I’m staying at Grimmauld Place,” Harry said, wondering if house elves could be summoned across seas.

“Can’t you just stay with me and George?” Ron said, barely containing the excitement in his voice.

“No!” Harry answered too quickly. “I mean…there is more room at Hermione’s, right?”

“I s’pose you’re right. Yeah…yeah okay.” Ron said, his voice seeming farther away.

Harry wanted nothing more than to stay with Ron. He wanted to return to England, and fall right into Ron’s bed. He wanted to bury his head in Ron’s neck, and smell his hair every morning. Every single fibre of his being was screaming Ron’s name, and Harry shook with the prospect of having to look Ron in the eye while his feelings raged below the surface like a dirty, shameful secret.

“This is…wow, Harry. Are you sure it’s okay? I mean, you were desperate to leave. You really wanted out of here. Are you alright? The press has quieted down quite a bit on the whole ‘Where’s Our Hero?’ shtick,” Ron asked, his voice so gentle that Harry knew he was fucked the moment he laid eyes on the other wizard again.

“I’m sure.”

He surely wasn’t.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()())()()()()()(
)()()()()()

And on that day there was snowfall in the street, yellow light
And they cleared the bill and rails just by those dark shimmer eyes
In that land there's a winter
In that winter's a day
In that day there's a moment when it all goes your way
And you know it's a lion's heart
That will tumble and tear apart
When he's coming down the hills for you


Harry knew that the Burrow was ready to welcome him promptly at six. Hermione promised him that it would be a very small, quiet dinner just so that everyone could say their ‘hellos’ to him. It was for this reason that he decided to arrive in the morning. He knew he was arriving unannounced, but he just needed time to get used to being back again. And he needed to adjust before he had to face Ron. He couldn’t let everything spill out in one unmasked expression.

He could smell coffee and a fry-up wafting from Hermione’s house. Even though it was Saturday, and he knew Hermione had taken the day off, she was still up at the crack of dawn. He carefully unlocked the door with a whispered ‘alohamora’, thankful that she still had her wards keyed into him. After taking three international portkeys and a rather shady American version of the Knight Bus, Harry was exhausted and famished. Harry set his luggage down on the sofa and brushed down his clothes. As he walked toward the back of her cozy house, a deep, familiar voice echoed against the walls.

“You make bloody brilliant pancackes, ‘Mione,” Ron said, and Harry closed his eyes, picturing Ron eating with gusto. He couldn’t help but smile at the thought, though his legs seemed to be unwilling to move from their spot.

“I can’t believe you’re here for breakfast on a Saturday. You refuse categorically to wake before 11 am on the weekends,” Hermione said, laughter in her voice. Harry could almost picture himself sitting at her table and laughing with them.

“I’m too excited,” Ron said softly. “And a little anxious.”

“I know, love,” Hermione said.

“What if he doesn’t come back?” Ron’s voice was barely above a whisper now.

Harry felt himself walking toward the kitchen. He wanted to wrap his arms around Ron and promise he wasn’t going anywhere this time. But of course Harry stopped himself. Ron would never want him to do that. He bit his lip and clenched his fists. He had to be able to look at Ron, to be Ron’s friend, without letting the rest of his heart take over. Harry allowed himself a genuine smile and walked into the warm glow of the early morning sun.

“Harry!” Hermione exclaimed, leaping up from her chair and spilling her coffee all over her papers in the process. She rushed over and wrapped her arms around him.

Harry sank into her hug, relishing in her familiar smell, even present over the smell of syrup and bacon. He breathed the parchment, the ink, and even the rose oil she put behind her ears. He suddenly wondered how he could have stayed away for so long.

When Harry turned around to face Ron, his heart leapt into his throat. Ron was looking at him with open joy, his smile so wide that Harry thought the tall wizard’s face would split. Harry smiled in response, and couldn’t help but look Ron over. He was a little heavier than the thin form he’d been when Harry left. His shoulders had filled out, even if his waist was still quite narrow. His limbs always seemed impossibly long, but now looked powerful as well.

When Harry’s eyes fell to the orange glow of Ron’s hair, he had to dig his nails into his palm to keep from touching it. It was even longer than when he had left. Ron’s hair now fell to his shoulders, and was a shaggy mess as though he had just stepped from the shower. Harry was dying to touch it and check for any lingering dampness.

Ron managed to cover the length of the room in two strides of his long legs, and Harry was wrapped in his arms before he had a chance to compose himself. Ron smelled like soap and food (the same way he always smelled) and Harry took a deep, shuddering breath and hoped it sounded more like a casual sigh. He had to fight to keep from fisting his hands in Ron’s shirt, but did give himself the luxury of pressing his body as closely as possible. If he closed his eyes, he could pretend Ron was his.

You fucking fool. Harry tried to pull away slowly, so he didn’t look panicked. Ron seemed to have gotten the hint and ran his hand up Harry’s back one more time before pulling away. They both let out a nervous chuckle, and Harry couldn’t fathom why Ron’s ears were turning red.

“Glad you’re back, mate,” Ron grumbled, suddenly very interested in his tea.

Oh god he’s put off. “I am too,” Harry smiled, and put his arm around Hermione. She felt like safety even in the stormy sea of his inner monologue.

“Pancakes and bacon?” Hermione asked, a strange smirk on her face. Harry realized he was starving and dug in, taking comfort in watching Ron heap up a second plate.

When a strand of Ron’s hair dipped in the syrup without his knowledge, Harry felt his mouth water at the thought of pulling it along his tongue. “Any more sugar for the tea?” he said quickly, gripping his legs hard underneath the table.

The rest of the afternoon was perfect, and the weight on Harry’s shoulders had never felt lighter. They talked for hours about Harry’s time in America and why he had to go, leaving out one driving force. He rested his feet, leaned against his best friends, and felt more at home than he thought he would. He’d left to find his center, to find himself in the tumult of his own thoughts. However, it was becoming painfully clear where he belonged was at the center cushion of that sofa with his feet on the coffee table and his head thrown back in laughter.

()()()()()()()()()

But can you still now remember who's been hiding up there?
Through his howling at twilight all his songs of despair?
Do you remember the caller of a black and white crime?
Well he lives by that memory and falls from his mind


Mrs. Weasley kept her promise, and only the Weasley family were invited to Harry’s little ‘welcome home’ dinner. That still meant brothers, sisters, significant others, and a few children though. Harry was glad of the floating lanterns around the yard, because after a few hours of constant love and attention, he needed to breathe a bit. He stopped at the impossibly old oak tree at the edge of the lawn and remembered the last time he had been in that same spot.


Harry and Ron tumbled into the shade of the tree, sweaty and racing with adrenaline, and collapsed onto the grass.

“Well maybe next time we can play a seeker’s game so that I can kick your arse!” Harry said, aiming a good natured kick towards Ron’s bare shin. Harry watched Ron whip his shirt off before he even realized he was doing it. The air was so thick and hot that he felt like he was drowning, and imagining how warm Ron must have felt made him short of breath.

“Listen, are you okay?” Harry asked. He decided if they both thought about Hermione, maybe Harry wouldn’t make an absolute fool of himself.

“I am. It’s been a couple of months now. And she was right,” Ron said, pinching a blade of grass between his thumb and forefinger. He brought it to his mouth and tried to whistle with it. Harry tried to imagine what it would be like to pull Ron’s hair behind his ear and watch his mouth work over the small green leaf.

“Right about what?” Harry asked, worried that Ron was about to get down on himself again about the breakup. If he could only touch Ron the way he wanted to, then Ron would know how incredible he was.

“Something didn’t feel the way it was supposed to. I can’t explain it and she won’t explain it to me, but I’ll be buggered if she’s not always right,” Ron explained. He looked over at Harry and smirked. He tried to blow on the blade of grass again, but no sound came out. Harry let out a small laugh.

“Fine! You try!” Ron smiled.

Harry went to pick up another blade, but Ron’s hand was right in front of his mouth. Harry didn’t dare look up at Ron and just leaned forward. He pressed his lips on the rough side of Ron’s thumb and finger and blew lightly. He got it wrong on purpose a few times, just to keep his lips there, and then blew again. A soft whistle sounded out and Ron made a breathy laugh. Harry looked up at him and smiled around Ron’s still pinched fingers.

When Ron’s bright blue eyes looked down at him, Harry pretended for a moment that he could kiss the other wizard and it would be okay. He imagined the feeling of his nose pressed against Ron’s hair, and the way Ron would whisper in his ear. He pictured those hands running up and down his back and telling him everything would be okay. However, Ron eventually pulled back.

“You just have to do it a bit more softly…I think,” Harry mumbled.



“You know, I don’t think mum’s going to be happy until you’ve had a third serving of roast,” George chuckled, coming up behind Harry and making him leap out of his skin.

“I swear my stomach is distended as it is!” Harry answered, smiling and patting his belly.
“Listen, Harry…” George started. He had a slightly worried lilt to his voice. Harry rarely heard George worried. Sure, there was a long time when he seemed to fade away with his own grief, but now his words seemed to radiate joy.

“Yes?” Harry asked hesitantly.

“Um, well. I have a friend who works for The Prophet. I use him to keep up on trends before they are advertised or published. That way, I know what to make and sell before they know they want it!” George started. Harry heard the word ‘Prophet’ and felt his full stomach flip uncomfortably.

“Oh…um,” Harry stammered. He hadn’t been back in England for more than a day and already he was being hounded.

“Apparently someone found you in California,” George said carefully, his concerned brown eyes meeting Harry.

“I figured it would happen one day,” Harry sighed. At least no one saw…. “Wait.”

“Yeah, I intercepted the pictures. And I’ve got Lee watching to make sure he gets any others that come in. He’s got a trace on the source,” George explained.

“Lee. Oh shit, so Lee knows!” Harry said. If one loudmouthed Gryffindor knew, it was only a matter of time before Ron and Hermione did.

“He’s got it under wraps, mate. Don’t worry about it,” George said, putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder. Harry let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. The thought of someone seeing him and Tex sent sick panic down his spine.

“I’d worry more about you telling Bill about your thing for tall, skinny gingers with long hair. I’m not sure Fleur would like it,” George winked at Harry, but the dark haired wizard was too busy panicking.

“No, George, I swear I don’t-“

“But wait…” George put his finger on his chin. Taking his time on purpose and leaving Harry’s words hanging on the edge of his teeth. “Doesn’t Ron have long hair? And he’s quite thin…”

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. “I…” Harry couldn’t think of a single thing to say.

“It’s okay, Harry,” George said, his voice suddenly tender. “I won’t say anything. But maybe you should.”

“I’d rather face a Hungarian Horntail again,” Harry smiled ruefully.

“You have this all wrong. If you’d just-“

“Drop it, please,” Harry’s voice was pleading. George nodded, patted Harry on the shoulder one more time, and walked back up to the house. Harry followed after him, hoping for a nice after-dinner firewhisky.


()()()()


The next two weeks were perfect, and Harry started to wonder why he had left in the first place. Surely keeping his secret wasn’t so hard, and as long as he didn’t make an ass of himself in front of Ron, Harry finally felt like it might be okay. Even on the days Ron had to work, he’d come over to Hermione’s for breakfast and they would all talk and laugh together like old times. Harry and Ron had seen three Quidditch games, and he even found himself going to a seminar about creature equality with Hermione and enjoying himself. Harry was afraid to admit it for fear of cursing his luck, but he was actually feeling very happy.

He woke up to the smell of porridge coming down the hall of Hermione’s flat. He wasn’t a huge fan of porridge, but he was becoming very attached to the morning breakfasts with his best friends. He heard Ron’s boots thud over the entryway, and slowly got out of bed to start the day. As he was doing up his jeans, he could hear Lee Jordon call out a greeting as he walked through the door.

“Hey mate, is Harry in?” Lee asked
.
“No, he’s sleeping,” Ron answered. “Can I get you a cuppa?”

“Naw. I was just here to drop off some of those pictures to Harry. Another crop surfaced at The Prophet from my source and I thought he might want all the copies,” Lee explained as Harry struggled to rush out his door, his socked feet slipping on the wooden floor.

“Pictures?” Ron asked. As Harry rounded the corner, Ron was looking at the top photo in the bunch with his eyes wide. Harry jumped over the coffee table and snatched them out of Ron’s hand.

“Harry wha?” Ron started, but couldn’t seem to formulate exactly what question he was going to ask.

“Oh bloody hell, Harry. I’m sorry! I just assumed since George knew, everyone knew. I’m so sorry!” Lee said, falling over himself and trying to put his arm on Harry’s shoulder.

“Not your fault,” Harry whispered, attempting to read the expression on Ron’s face. He looked hurt, but not angry.

The picture at the top of the stack was a black and white one with moving images. The image showed Harry trying to pay Tex, and then kissing him outside of his apartment door, the other man’s cowboy hat firmly planted on top of his head and Harry’s arms wrapped tightly around him. Harry felt like he could vomit from embarrassment and fear.

“What’s going on?” Hermione came out of the kitchen, took one look around the room, and sat down carefully in her chair.

“It’s not what it looks like. He’s just…he was just…I’m just….” Harry was stumbling over his words and wishing for a well-placed stunner to take him out.

“It looks to me like you’re gay, and you were paying this guy for sex,” Ron answered, his voice betraying no emotion. Usually, Harry could read Ron like a book, and the blank expression on his face was sending waves of panic through his body.

“I just…” Harry started, but gave up, sat down on the couch, and buried his head in his hands.

“Is this why you left?” Ron whispered. “You left us because you’re gay? Did you think…? What did you think, Harry?” Ron said, his voice still not revealing anything.

“I don’t know…” Harry said, desperately afraid to reveal anything more.

It was silent in Hermione’s cozy living room, save for the sounds of Lee leaving without saying a word. The silence seemed to stretch on for so long that Harry lost his breath. He barely registered Hermione sitting next to him until she put a hand on his knee. Harry lifted a shaking hand and put it over hers, trying to draw from her interminable strength.

“How could you think so little of me, Harry?” Ron said, the sudden pain in his voice ripping Harry open. “You left us for a year because you thought…what did you think I’d do if you told me you preferred blokes?”

“I don’t know…” Harry said, terrified of explaining himself any further. The truth was, he didn’t think Ron would react poorly. He just knew that he’d never be able to keep his feelings for Ron under wraps if everything began to unravel.

“I can’t.” Ron said, his voice shaking. He grabbed his coat, and Harry kept his eyes closed until the front door slammed and the entire house shook.

Harry was frozen. He didn’t dare look over at Hermione, and he didn’t dare move. He feared that if he changed that moment even in the slightest, the scenery would shatter and he’d be left in abject nothingness. Finally, Hermione spread the pictures out on the table, revealing the still, color images that showed the reason Harry was with Tex in the first place. With every shot of his bright, copper hair, another nail was put in Harry’s coffin.

“He was destroyed when you left, Harry.” Hermione said, leaning her body against his. “Of course we were all upset, but Ron…Ron seemed brokenhearted.”

“I’m such a fucking prick, Hermione,” Harry murmured. “I can’t even be his best mate, I had to go and fall in love with him.” Hermione gasped at Harry’s sudden and stark admission.

“You need to talk to him, Harry. And that’s all that I’m going to say about it.” Hermione put her arms around him and Harry shook his head into hair.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to say,” Harry said, the tension rolling through him.

“Find him first, then be honest. He deserves your honesty,” Hermione patted his back. “Now why don’t you eat something, and then we can look for him?”


()()()()()()()()()


Well he'll walk in the city forever
Oh, walk in a time to be gone
Well there's no real goodbye if you mean it
So I guess I'm forever alone


Harry pulled on his pajama bottoms and prepared for his third night of sleeping on Ron and George’s couch. He refused to be anywhere else until Ron returned. He just hoped that Ron would eventually need to come back home to at least get things, and when that moment came, Harry would be ready. He checked his appearance in the mirror, noting the stubble and the unkempt look of his hair. He just didn’t have the energy to care about his hygiene yet.

Harry, Hermione, George, and assorted other Weasleys were all looking for Ron. It was even more difficult to find the missing wizard due to Ron’s invention ‘Traceless’ which basically sent anyone who traced you on a wild goose chase as far away from the desired person as they could get and still remain in England. Weasley Wizard Wheezes hadn’t marketed it, as it was still in the testing phase, but George noted four bottles missing from the store cupboard. Harry had one more day before he could trace Ron, and he would wait at his flat until then. Someone sent a patronus to him twice a day, but the only response anyone got was a quick note to George saying that he was okay.

“Harry, I will not let you go another day without eating, sleeping, and bathing. This self-flagellation needs to stop!” Hermione rounded on him before he could even make it to the couch. He should have known that she had access to the flat.

“I need to find him and explain. Even if it means he’ll hate me forever, I can’t have him wandering around thinking that I don’t trust him.” Harry said, running his fingers through his dirty hair.

“That doesn’t mean you need to stop caring for yourself. I’ve brought you a sandwich, and I’ll be happy to leave this flat the moment you are under the spray of some hot water and thoroughly lathered with soap,” Hermione said, setting the sandwich on the end table, sitting down, and picking up a copy of ‘The Prophet’.

“Are you going to check yourself to make sure I washed behind my ears?” Harry said, smirking slightly despite himself.

“If that’s what it takes,” Hermione replied, nonchalantly.

After Harry was washed, and shaven for good measure, he pulled on is pajamas and flung a towel around his bare shoulders. “Okay, Hermione. I’m clean, you can go now. Let me flagellate in peace.”

Harry’s smile faded when he saw Ron standing in the middle of the sitting room. He was holding the pictures in his hands, but his face looked tender and open. The floor fell out from beneath Harry and he started to tremble. He tried to find words to keep Ron from turning his back on him forever, but everything seemed hopeless in that moment.

Ron just looked at Harry, his intense eyes perforating his skin and sending chills up and down his spine. He was in a tee shirt and jeans, that were clean, and his hair looked clean despite the three day beard growth. Harry could have sworn he could see Ron’s pulse flutter in his neck, and the dark haired wizard’s mouth watered involuntarily as he waited for Ron to deal his blows.

“I can explain,” Harry finally said weakly.

“It doesn’t seem to me like you need to explain much, Harry.” Ron’s voice was rough and quiet. He looked down at the pictures one more time.

“Listen, just let me get a shirt on and get my stuff together and I can be out of here. I just wanted to talk to you one last time. To let you know that I do trust you,” Harry said, gathering his courage and meeting Ron’s eyes.

“I’d rather you leave the shirt off,” Ron whispered. His eyes were blazing and the muscles of his jaw were clenching.

“Ron, I don’t-“

“How long, Harry,” Ron said, slowly walking toward him. Harry shook his head and looked away. “How long?”
“Years,” Harry whispered, squeezing his eyes shut and waiting for something. He knew Ron wouldn’t physically hurt him, and he knew Ron could never want him, but he still feared the cut of the knife.

He could feel Ron’s body heat even before the other wizard’s hand was on his face. Harry tried to fight it, but he couldn’t. He turned his face against Ron’s palm and let out a shudder. It took all he had not to start sobbing and begging Ron not to go.

“Harry.” The urgency in Ron’s voice forced Harry to meet his eyes again.

Ron grabbed both sides of Harry’s face and kissed him. His lips felt perfectly warm and wet and soft and Harry couldn’t move for fear that it would break whatever spell they were under.

However, when one of Ron’s arms moved around his waist to pull them closer together, Harry groaned and fell completely against Ron. He moved his head to the side to deepen the kiss and moaned when he felt Ron’s tongue move across his lips.

Ron’s hands began to roam up and down Harry’s bare back, and the ginger man moaned as their skin touched. Harry arched into Ron, throwing his head back and practically whimpering when Ron’s lips began to kiss down his neck. Harry thrust his hips against Ron and he felt Ron’s hardness press against his own.

“Fuck,” Ron groaned.

Harry wanted to question everything that was happening. Fifteen minutes ago, he was in a sea of self loathing trying to salvage his relationship with his best friend, and now he was snogging said best friend in the middle of his sitting room. He had no idea what spurred this reaction, or why Ron was doing it, but he was suddenly terrified he’d lose everything if he didn’t know.

“Ron…I,” Harry started, but Ron kissed him again.

“Shhh, Harry. Please don’t second guess this right now. Please,” Ron whimpered. “Just…just let go for once.” As Ron said this, he reached his hands down the back of Harry’s bottom. Since he was in his sleepwear for the night, nothing stood between Ron’s hands and his arse. Harry moaned and thrust against Ron again.

“Yes,” Harry said. He kissed Ron hard, their tongues dancing around one another. He was beginning to allow himself to want, and he lifted his hands to thread all of his fingers through Ron’s loose, smooth hair. It felt perfect, and Harry had to pull his mouth away from Ron’s to catch his breath.

“Want you, Harry. I want you so much,” Ron groaned, running a tongue up the side of Harry’s neck.

“Gods, Ron,” Harry said, crying out when Ron bit down at a sensitive area of his neck.

Ron forced Harry back against the wall, not breaking their kiss, and as soon as Harry’s back hit the wooden surface, Ron was fully grinding against Harry’s thinly clothed erection. Harry had a desperate urge to feel Ron’s skin pressed against his own. He finally managed to tug Ron’s shirt over his head, and Harry pulled back to let his eyes rake over the taller wizard’s body.

Ron’s chest was cut, though very thin. Harry reckoned Ron was broader in the shoulders, but not in the torso. His skin was so pale it was practically translucent if not for the smattering of freckles. There was copper fuzz nestled in on the upper part of his chest and also leading below the waist of his jeans. His hair was disheveled when he took off his shirt, and Harry couldn’t help but bury his face in Ron’s hair and breathe in deeply.

One of Ron’s hands went down the front of Harry’s pajamas and wrapped around his throbbing cock. Harry gripped Ron’s hair, pulling his head back slightly, and causing him to groan. With his free hand, Harry reached down and opened Ron’s flies, yanking his pants down as far as he could with one hand. He grabbed Ron’s cock, and when Ron let out a feral moan, Harry nearly came. Ron’s dick was long and smooth, and Harry’s mouth watered and his body convulsed as he imagined all he could do with it.

Ron’s long fingers wrapped around both of their dicks and they began to thrust against the pressure in earnest. Harry had gone back to gripping Ron’s hair, spreading the tendrils through his fingers like flames licking at his skin. Ron was leaned over slightly and had his lips to Harry’s ear as his breathing quickened.

“Did you say his name when you came, Harry?” Ron’s voice sounded like fire against Harry’s ear and his cock twitched as the heat coiled in his abdomen.

“No…didn’t know his...No,” Harry had no idea how to formulate at thought in that moment, and was shocked that Ron could. “I said yours.”

“That’s because you are mine,” Ron growled, and Harry came, crying Ron’s name on his lips. He heard Ron whisper Harry’s name against his searing skin and felt him spill all over their joined hands.

Harry stood frozen in Ron’s arms, not daring to move, breathe, or say anything. Eventually, he raised his hand and cast a wandless cleaning charm. Ron let out an incongruous giggle at the tickling sensation that came over them. Finally, Ron pulled back and kissed Harry again, bringing his hand up to Harry’s cheek.

“We need to talk about what just happened,” Harry said, his stomach tying in knots again. He wondered if Ron only did that to keep him from leaving, or out of some sort of loyalty, and not from want like he claimed. He immediately hated himself for once again putting thoughts into Ron’s head, but he couldn’t help it.

“I don’t think I want to talk just yet,” Ron smirked, but then he looked at Harry with a gentleness that almost took his footing away. “It’s okay, Harry. Whatever circumstance you have cooked up in your head, it’s okay.” Ron soothed, kissing Harry’s shoulders and neck before finally going back to his lips.

“Bedroom?” Harry asked bravely. He could feel his erection started to stir again.

“If I can figure out how to walk again,” Ron chuckled. Harry closed his eyes and reveled in the warm sound of Ron’s voice. “Come on.”

Harry walked towards Ron’s room, feeling Ron’s eyes on him as his naked body sauntered down the hallway. He heard the rustle of clothing and knew Ron had completed undressing. He couldn’t help but turn around when Ron entered the bedroom and admire the tall wizard smiling at him as he followed him toward the bed.

They took their time on this round, exploring each other’s mouths and bodies, as Harry tried to memorize every inch of Ron. Their cocks were hard and throbbing again within moments, but the urgency vanished and was replaced by joy and contentment. When Ron kissed down Harry’s chest, he flicked a mischievous red brow up at him and let his hair drape along Harry’s bare skin. There was a smirk of triumph when Harry groaned.

Ron wrapped his lips around Harry’s cock, and Harry had to fight not to thrust back into his mouth. This time, he pulled Ron’s hair slightly, and was gratified and a bit relieved to feel Ron’s moan vibrate around his cock. Ron’s hands curled around Harry’s hip and his head bobbed up and down, and Harry feared he would come again before he had everything he wanted.

“Ron…Ron please. I need…” Harry lost his voice in his throat as Ron’s tongue swept hard on the underside of his shaft.

“Anything, Harry. Just name it,” Ron whispered, his breath puffing against Harry’s sensitive cock.

“Fuck me.”

Ron groaned and flipped Harry over, so that Harry’s feet were still planted on the ground even though his torso was laying against Ron’s bed. Ron leaned over Harry’s body and kissed his shoulder blades and up to his ear. Harry moaned when he felt Ron’s hard cock tease at his entrance.

“Let me know what feels good and what doesn’t,” Ron said. “I’m not real experienced.”

Harry smiled. “Good to hear. I will.”

Harry was about to tell Ron to summon some lube, but Ron had drawn his wand and done so just as the thought occurred to him. He heard the cap open, the slight swish of Ron rubbing it into his hand, and a deep shuddering breath came from behind him.

“Open for me, Harry,” Ron whispered. Harry’s cock twitched as he spread his legs and felt Ron move between them.

Ron circled his entrance with his finger, teasing Harry until he was about to bed, and then finally Ron breached him with one finger. Harry moaned and thrust back against Ron’s hand, and when Ron added another one, Harry felt the familiar burn. He hissed when Ron scissored his fingers. He stopped his movements, but Harry moved his body up and down Ron’s fingers. When three fingers were deep inside of Harry comfortably, Harry lifted his hips higher as a signal to Ron. Ron got the message and pulled out, swearing as Harry’s hole held onto his fingers as long as he could.

Ron leaned forward and began to press the head of his cock to Harry’s entrance. He wrapped his hands under Harry’s shoulders to grip them from the top, and held his chest entirely against Harry’s back. When Ron breached Harry’s entrance, the wizard whimpered and held completely still. Ron whispered soothing words in Harry’s ear while Harry adjusted.

When Harry’s body relaxed around Ron, Ron groaned and began to thrust in and out slowly. He pulled back and thrust in hard until Harry felt Ron’s hips crash into his arse. Harry screamed Ron’s name, grabbing the blankets above him and holding on tight against the onslaught of Ron’s quick, hard movements. Ron was filling Harry more and more with every pull of his hips, and Harry never wanted to leave the moment.

“I’m not going to last much longer,” Ron said, leaning forward and pressing his face into the back of Harry’s neck. His hair fell in curtains around Harry’s head, and Harry relished the opportunity to hold Ron’s hair tight in his hands and against his mouth as Ron continued to thrust home.

“Let go, Ron,” Harry groaned, canting his hips upward and taking Ron impossibly deep
.
“You feel so good. I love you so much,” Ron groaned.

Ron’s perfect words uttered in his ravaged voice, his cock twitching inside of Harry’s body, and his seed spilling in Harry’s tight channel sent Harry over the edge and he came, once again screaming Ron’s name.

They lay there, Ron peppering kisses to Harry’s nerve-addled skin, until finally they calmed enough for Ron to pull out of Harry and carefully clean them up. Ron lay down next to Harry and let out a deep breath. When Harry looked up at Ron, his best friend was smiling down at him with so much affection that Harry began to think he was hallucinating.

“Ron?” Harry said, unable to form the real question swirling around in his head: Is this real?

“I’ve loved you since the day you left.” Ron said, pulling Harry closer to him. “My timing is shit.”

“What does this-?” Ron stopped Harry from finishing his question.

“I love you. I love you so much. You love me. That’s all we need right now. I’m knackered.” Ron smiled warmly. “I just want to be here, next to you all night, and see that you’re still here in the morning.”

Harry nodded and rolled over, laying his head on Ron’s shoulder and throwing a hand over Ron’s chest. He looked over at the nightstand in habit, though his glasses had been shed somewhere in the living room, and bit his lip. There, next to a chocolate frog and Ron’s wand was a single, bright green blade of grass, kept untouched under a preservation charm, and sitting innocently on the scrubbed wood. Harry brought Ron’s thumb and forefinger up to his lips and kissed them gently as he drifted off into sleep.

And you know it's a lion's heart
That will tumble and tear apart
When he's coming down the hills for you

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