Fred gripped the counter as an explosion shook the walls—he supposed George must be demonstrating the newest Wheeze to their Investor. He and George had always found exploding snap a bit tame, and he wondered what Harry would make of their modifications. They were still working on licensing issues, but the test deck was a big hit with everyone who’d seen it thus far.
He sighed, flopping forward to rest his upper body on the table. Fred was bored, which meant he was itching to prank, although the sensation usually intensified with proximity to George. He and his twin were so close. It was almost routine to trick others by pretending to be one another, but there were times when Fred almost wondered if he really were George, if he’d simply fallen asleep in the wrong bed and had just woken a bit confused. He often wondered how non-twins managed on their own.
He looked up as the front door opened. It was Ron.
“Get your books, then?”
Ron dropped his bag on the counter and popped a Chameleon Caramel in his mouth.
“Yeah,” He scratched his nose where the skin was beginning to turn blue. “Glad I dropped Potions this year; don’t think I’d have had enough for NEWT level ingredients.”
“We’d have managed,” Fred smiled.
A rumble shook the shop again.
“Exploding snap?” Ron gestured to the back room.
Fred nodded. “George’s showing Harry the new prototype.” He watched in amusement as Ron promptly forgot Fred existed and drifted back to join Harry in the lab.
Poor Ron; he’d had to wait eleven years to find his twin. Those two were close, and if Fred wasn’t mistaken, Ron’s looks meant he hoped to get a lot closer. Of course, as clueless as those two were, Gin-Gin would have grandchildren before they figured out they fancied each other.
They’d need a push to get things started, and ickle Ronniekins had left his bag unattended. Fingering a bottle of WWW’s Intuitive Interpretive Ink, he smirked. He knew just how to help…
Ron was ready to scream in frustration. The Express was leaving in half an hour and he would be leaving Harry alone over the Christmas holidays for the first time since they’d started Hogwarts. To make matters worse, Harry would be in training all day, so he wouldn’t be able to say goodbye, and he couldn’t even leave a note because he couldn’t find any bloody ink!
He dumped the contents of his bag out on his bed and was going through the various pockets when he finally found a small bottle he didn’t even remember buying. He shrugged, setting the ink aside, and re-packed his bag.
When he finished, he flopped on Harry’s bed to write.
He stared at the parchment. It was blank.
He sighed; he had absolutely no idea what to write. How exactly did one tell his best mate that leaving him alone on Christmas was the hardest thing he’d ever done, and that he wanted nothing more that to be able to stay. How could he say that he couldn’t get Harry off his mind, that when he closed his eyes, he dreamt of messy black hair and vibrant green eyes…that he’d give anything for just one taste of those lips…
Bloody hell, he could never say all that. But he couldn’t leave without saying something.
Well, at least he knew how to start.
He wrinkled his nose—that sounded a bit girly.
And that…sounded like an eleven-year-old.
He glanced at his watch. Balls. He only had ten minutes left. Inspired by his approaching deadline, he dashed off a short note:
Sorry I couldn’t say goodbye in person, but I know your training’s important, and I’ll be back as soon as the holiday is over. I left your present in your trunk—don’t open until Christmas! Don’t work too hard, mate, and try to have some fun while I’m gone. Owl me when you can.
It wasn’t what he’d wanted to say, but it would have to do in such a short amount of time. He left the letter on Harry’s pillow, grabbed his things and ran downstairs to catch the train.
He was in such a hurry that he didn’t notice as the ink came to life, words and letters rearranging themselves…
Harry was exhausted—he’d been in training with Moody nearly all day—his stomach was growling and, frankly, he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to eat or sleep more. But since the kitchens were on the way to Gryffindor tower, it would be no trouble to stop off and pick up a few sandwiches, and then go to the tower and crash for the evening.
By the time he’d climbed the stairs to his dorm, he’d inhaled the sandwiches, so he toed off his shoes, placed his glasses on the bedside table, threw his robe across Ron’s bed and plopped down onto his own. When his head hit the pillow, however, he heard an unexpected crinkling. Rising up a bit, he found a note that was a little wrinkled, but still legible.
He squinted at the handwriting: it was from Ron.
Thinking of his best mate brought a weary smile to Harry’s face. He knew Ron hated the fact that he wouldn’t be there for their last Christmas at Hogwarts and had, in fact, complained to his parents, Dumbledore, Hermione, the twins and pretty much anyone else who would listen that he should be allowed to stay with Harry this year. But with the war escalating, Mrs. Weasley was adamant that her family spend the holiday together and really, Harry couldn’t blame her. He’d been invited, of course, but Dumbledore had felt that the holiday was an excellent opportunity for training that should not be wasted.
And so, Harry and Ron were to spend their first Christmas apart.
He’d miss his best friend, but he was glad Ron could spend some time with his family. Harry yawned. Ron’s letter wasn’t too long, but he didn’t think he’d stay awake long enough to read it. He folded it carefully and placed it in a drawer—he would read it in the morning.
Harry rolled over and shut his eyes; within minutes he was asleep.
Ron loved his Mum but, really, this extended family get-together was a crap idea. He’d spent four hours yesterday hanging upside-down from the kitchen ceiling courtesy of Fred and George, Dean had owled that he wouldn’t be able to come for Boxing Day so Ginny was sulking, Charlie had been mostly rat-arsed for three days because he’d been dumped, Percy was a git, and Bill and Fleur were so soppy no one could stand to be in the same room with them. And Ron…
Ron felt like he was missing a limb.
He stomped downstairs to the kitchen, where his Mum was washing up. Slumping across the kitchen table, he tried, once again to make her see sense.
“Mum, I need to go back to Hogwarts.”
Never ceasing her cleaning routine, Molly answered, “Ron, we’ve talked about this already.”
“Mum! You don’t understand—Harry’s alone. I need to be there.”
“No—look! I came home for the holiday because you asked me to, and I’ll stay for Christmas and we’ll have a big happy family day, and then I can floo to Dumbledore’s office on Boxing Day and spend the rest of the time with Harry.”
“Professor Dumbledore said Harry would be busy with training…”
“Mum! It’s Christmas! I don’t care what Dumbledore says; Harry deserves to have some fun, too. You know how he is, Mum. He’ll get moody and depressed if someone isn’t there to lighten things up.”
Stifling a smile, Molly directed a stack of dinner plates into the cupboard. “Day after.”
She turned to face him. “You’ll stay for Boxing Day. You can floo to Hogwarts the day after.”
Ron beamed. “Thanks Mum.”
Molly watched as he bolted up the stairs. She smiled; her baby boy was showing all the signs.
Harry swore inwardly, casting the shield again. It flickered into view, a translucent blue bubble surrounding his body. Moody’s curse bounced off and hit the wall, dissipating harmlessly. Somewhat stunned, Harry let the shield fall.
“Well it’s about time, boy!” Moody barked. “Now do it again!”
“Alastor, I believe it’s time for Harry to retire for the evening.”
Harry blinked. He hadn’t even seen Dumbledore come in. Moody nodded and limped out of the room, grumbling to himself.
Dumbledore gave him a warm smile. “Harry, I come with an invitation: you see, each year the staff meets together for a meal on Christmas Eve. This year, I’d like it very much if you’d come as my guest.”
Harry smiled, giving a short nod of acceptance.
Dumbledore squeezed Harry’s shoulder then turned to go. “Get some rest. We’ll meet at my office and go to dinner together.”
Harry grabbed the robe he’d discarded earlier and went up to his dorm, stopping off at the shower first. Clad in a towel, he went to his room and sat on the bed. He was achy from dueling all day and he remembered seeing a mild pain draught in his bedside drawer. Rummaging through the contents, he found a vial and a familiar piece of parchment. He couldn’t believe he’d forgotten Ron’s letter! He uncorked the vial and swallowed the contents, grimacing at the taste. Then he settled into his bed to read the letter.
Moments later, he sat up in shock. Ron wanted to what?
Fred watched as Ron paced the length of the den again. His little brother was about to vibrate out of his skin. It was nearly laughable how well the plan was working. A little time apart and a pinch or two of Dirty Dreams Dust sprinkled on his pillow, and the poor sod would crack any day.
He was glad Ron was leaving this afternoon; the little snot was beginning to get on Mum’s last nerves. (And Mum on her last nerves was bad news for one Fred Weasley.)
He caught George’s eyes across the room and a mischievous grin spread across his face. He wondered if Gin-Gin had found the present they’d left in her closet.
Ron tumbled through the floo in Dumbledore’s office as soon as it had been opened. He brushed himself off, glancing at the Headmaster, who was sitting at his desk.
“Harry up in the tower?”
Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled merrily. “I believe Harry finished for the day not long ago. He should have returned to his room by now.”
Ron left without another word. He made his way to the tower quickly; he’d been waiting forever to get back to Harry. When he arrived, Harry was half-asleep in his bed.
He cleared his throat.
Harry sat straight up, a beaming smile stretching his cheeks. “Ron!”
Ron felt something inside light up with that smile, like a warming charm applied straight to his heart. Harry smiled so rarely, and this time, he was the cause.
“You’re back early!” Harry got to his feet and came to stand a few feet away.
“Yeah.” Ron felt himself grin. “I talked Mum into letting me leave early. I flooed to Dumbledore’s office a few minutes ago.”
“I’m glad you’re back.” Harry’s grin slipped and a look crossed his face that Ron had never seen before: it was serious, concerned, and a bit…hopeful? “I-I only read your letter on Christmas Eve. It was in my drawer and I forgot about it.”
The look on Harry’s face concerned Ron. Surely waiting a few days to read the letter wasn’t that big a deal. He certainly didn’t mind.
“’S alright, mate. No harm done.”
Harry looked down. “Did you…did you mean what you wrote?”
“’Course I did, mate. You know how much I hated to leave you like that.” He sighed. “I just wish I could’ve said goodbye in person, instead of leaving a stupid note.”
For some reason, Harry blushed.
“I thought about what you said, all weekend long. At first I was shocked; I mean, I’d never really thought about…well…us like that, but then, after I thought about it, well…it just made sense.” Harry shuffled forward a few steps, glancing nervously at Ron’s face. “I mean, I’d spend every day with you, too, if I could.” With that, Harry took one last step forward, then leaned in and captured Ron’s lips with his own.
Bliss…Ron had never imagined Harry would taste so sweet. The softness of Harry’s lips captivated him and for a few moments, nothing existed except for the feel of hands, warm against his chest, and the scrape of stubble, rough against his chin.
But then, he remembered Harry’s words, and while it didn’t matter why Harry had decided to kiss him, he had no idea what the bloody hell Harry had been talking about. Backing up a step, he broke the kiss.
“Harry—” His voice cracked, so he cleared his throat and tried again. “Harry…just what are you talking about?”
Harry blinked, reaching into his robe and withdrawing a wrinkled sheet of parchment. “Your letter, the one you left on my bed?”
Ron took the parchment and began to read.
You don’t know how hard it is for me to leave like this, mate. I wish more than anything I could at least kiss you goodbye, but if I did, I don’t think I’d ever manage to leave. I want you to know that I’ll be thinking about you every minute while I’m gone. Of course, if I had the choice, I wouldn’t ever spend a day away from your side, but I bloody well don’t get a say in the matter. I left your present in your trunk—don’t open until Christmas! Take care of yourself, at least until I get back to do it for you. Owl when you have a chance, I’ll be waiting for it.
Stunned, he sank down to sit on Harry’s bed. “Harry…I…this isn’t my letter.”
The look in Harry’s eyes was familiar, but that was far from a comfort. The last time Ron had seen it was when Sirius had fallen through the veil.
“But…it’s in your handwriting, and I checked…the parchment’s clean of charms…”
Harry looked like he wanted to cry, so Ron stood and stepped towards him.
Harry tensed to bolt and Ron sprang into action, tackling him. They landed on Ron’s bed with a grunt. Turning his head and clenching his eyes shut, Harry began to speak.
“Ron, I’m sorry I ever said anything. Let’s just forget I ever brought it up, please? We can act like tonight never happened…”
Ron maneuvered until his body was flush with Harry’s. His hands slid into messy hair, holding Harry’s head so he couldn’t turn away.
“Harry.” He leaned down, pressing their foreheads together. “Why would I want to forget the most wonderful night of my life?”
He crushed his lips to Harry’s; it was just as sweet as the first time. He groaned and tasted Harry’s mouth over and over and over…until Harry broke the kiss, panting.
Ron pressed a short kiss against those swollen lips before answering, “Yeah, me too,” and diving for Harry’s neck so he could taste the rest of Harry.
Unbuttoning Harry’s shirt, he traced the cords of Harry’s neck with his lips, tongue sliding along the exposed collarbone and lapping at the hollow where throat met chest. He stifled a yelp when Harry’s fingers tangled in his hair, twisting and pulling the strands in reaction.
Those same hands pulled him up to meet Harry’s mouth, where Harry proceeded to steal a kiss of his own, hands sliding under Ron’s tee, tracing the muscles in his back and pulling the shirt off in one motion. Ron fell into Harry, bare chests slideslipping against one another, calloused hands exploring muscles and skin and patches of hair.
Piece by piece, clothing was removed until, naked and sweaty, they writhed, coming together as friends and lovers, limbs and hearts intertwined. Grasping one another, they became a constant, a single spinning entity, inseparable and inevitable.
Sated, Ron tugged until Harry was sprawled across his chest, dropping a kiss into his hair.
“Happy Christmas to me,” Ron panted.
Harry chuckled against his neck.
Ron woke. With a yawn and a stretch, he pulled the naked body in his bed back against his chest, his swollen nipples brushing against Harry’s back with every breath. He groaned, pressing closer and nibbling on an ear.
Harry muttered in his sleep.
Smiling at his lover, Ron’s eyes fell on the bedside table, where the letter had been discarded. After he’d gotten over the shock, he’d realized what had happened. Harry’s spells hadn’t found charms on the parchment, but Harry hadn’t thought to check the ink. Ron had recognized it right away: WWW’s Intuitive Interpretive Ink. He was inclined to be upset, but since the prank had gotten him exactly what he wanted, he’d decided to be gracious about the incident.
But really, he should find some way to thank his dear brothers.
Grinning mischievously, he snuggled into Harry and dreamt of revenge.
Originally archived here.