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Harry Potter and the Renascent Seer

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Summary: When Cordelia Chase falls into a coma, it’s up to Xander Harris to do everything he can to save her. With the help of a few friends, he finds hope halfway across the world. Please read the warnings! Will include slash.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Cordelia-Centered(Past Donor)gleefulmusingsFR1515126,7812113137,01911 May 1010 Oct 10No

Horizon, Part Two

Author's Note: Let's peek inside the heads of Ron and Hermione, shall we? ;)



* * * * *



The snowy white owl decided to deliver her master’s letter to the Lovegood witch first, as the girl would stroke Hedwig’s feathers and croon to her, in addition to the exotic owl treats she insisted the bird take. Then she would fly to the school and give that horrid Dumbledore his letter.

She worried about her Harry. He was so sad, and he didn’t read any of the letters delivered by her owl friends, save those brought by Celesta. When the others were delivered, their bearers - especially that dreadful pygmy infant Pigwidgeon - would cluck at her, fretting over Harry’s apparent disinterest in life. Hedwig didn’t know what to tell them, for she didn’t understand it either.

Tonight, however, she had seen a brief flicker of the fire which had once burned brightly in her boy’s eyes. She just hoped he would be able to sustain it.



* * * * *



Late that evening, Dumbledore was awakened by a rather shrill squawk outside his window. He had advised Harry that any time he needed to make a private communication, he had merely to send Hedwig to his quarters. “Good evening, lady,” he greeted the owl.

In response, she blinked at him and thrust out her leg, a silent demand to relieve her of her burden.

“You don’t much care for me, do you?,” he asked, eyes twinkling.

Hedwig hooted a scathing reply and flew away.

“No,” he said sadly. “I don’t imagine your master does either, at this point.”

He gently ripped open the envelope and began reading, his smile widening with every word.


Dear Headmaster,

I wish to inform you that I will be visiting Diagon Alley three days hence to purchase some additional supplies for the coming term before I leave for the Burrow. Luna Lovegood will be meeting me, as well. I imagine that you will wish to send Aurors to guard me, as Lucius Malfoy is still running amok, sneering at people and preening over his hair. I ask only that you specifically request Tonks; anyone she chooses to bring with her is acceptable. The Weasleys will be taking myself and Hermione Granger for the usual accoutrements prior to the start of classes.

I also wish to discuss with you and Professor McGonagall my classes for the Fall term. Miss Lovegood and I will take the Knight Bus to Hogsmeade and Floo you upon our arrival.

Signed,
Harry Potter



“So,” Dumbledore chortled, “you have dispensed with informality, have you, Harry? Well, good for you! I sense great change on the wind. You are quite angry with me, Harry, and rightfully so, but I have done what I’ve done because I believe my choices to be the best ones for all those involved." He sighed. "I can only pray you will one day see that.

“As for Miss Lovegood,” he continued, “she will be a great boon to Harry." He nodded. "Yes, this is most pleasing indeed.”



* * * * *



Hermione Granger was in her bedroom at her parents’ house in Muggle London, packing the remainder of her belongings which she would be taking to the Burrow, and then on to Hogwarts. She was leaving for Ron’s house several weeks earlier than originally planned, but they had a lot of work to do. She hadn’t been this nervous since the first time she had boarded the Express to school at the start of her first year.

It should have been different now. She was the smartest girl in her class, a Prefect, and she had two best friends: Ronald Weasley and Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. She had come so far in the magical world, farther than she had ever dreamed possible, but she had learned long ago there was a price for happiness and a cost for triumph. Still, she thought she was done proving herself.

However, she was forced to admit that the bonds linking her with Ron and Harry had weakened considerably over the summer. Well, had she been honest with herself, those tethers had begun unraveling during their fourth year at Hogwarts, due to that blasted tournament. Harry was understandably depressed about Sirius’ death, but he had slipped into absolute despair, she was sure. He was avoiding all contact with her and Ron, but Hermione nevertheless felt that he was receiving comfort from someone, most likely Dumbledore or Ginny Weasley.

She threw herself on her bed and pouted miserably.

There was something Harry was hiding, and it just about killed her because he always told her everything. Of course, she was well aware that she had an annoying tendency to blow things out of proportion and drive him batty with her incessant questioning, but she thought he had understood that she did those things because she loved and worried about him.

Now, though, she was beginning to realize that her pompous bravado, little more than a cover for rather deep-seated insecurities, was beginning to drive him away. Hermione didn’t believe she would survive school, let alone life, if she permanently alienated him. She’d rather surrender herself to Voldemort than lose Harry’s friendship.

She was also confused by her feelings for Ron.

Intellectually, she realized that Harry was much better suited to her. He was gloriously handsome, at least she thought so, although Harry refused even to consider the possibility, and was more intelligent than that for which he would give himself credit. While he had quite a temper, it only exploded in moments of severe stress, usually when people he loved were threatened. Ron, conversely, flew off the handle with the slightest provocation, and was ridiculously jealous of Harry for things which should not inspire envy in anyone.

She snorted. Ronald Weasley was, she felt, at times, the stupidest person on the face of the planet. Why should someone be jealous of a baby from whom a killing curse rebounded? It wasn’t as if it Harry had defeated Voldemort intentionally, and he had lost his parents in the process. He was horribly abused by his relatives; abuse which, Hermione was sure, ran much deeper than Harry would ever willingly admit. Harry had been forced to kill Professor Quirrell, which was no great loss to anyone, and continuously blamed himself for the death of Cedric Diggory, which was no one’s fault but that of Voldemort and his toady, Peter Pettigrew.

The students at Hogwarts reacted to Harry only in extremes: they were profoundly grateful every time he saved the world, but the moment any aspect of Harry’s behavior was called into question, that gratitude was abandoned in favor of unrighteous indignation. Hell, Ron was even jealous that Harry had been the one to save Ginny from Tom Riddle, forgetting that in order to do so, Harry had to face the darkest wizard who ever lived and had been almost killed by a basilisk!

The Triwizard Tournament had almost been the breaking point for Hermione. Ron had foolishly insisted that Harry had submitted his name into the Goblet of Fire, despite the fact that he had never been able to come up with a valid reason for how Harry had supposedly managed to bypass all the charms and wards on the cup to make his entry. It was only after Harry narrowly defeated a dragon that Ron had come around, but he had never adequately apologized to Harry as far as she was concerned. Harry had let him off easily; she would have made Ron grovel for an obscene length of time. Then, Ron had been declared the person whom Harry would most miss, and Harry didn’t even blink an eye in rushing off to save him, also saving the life of Gabrielle Delacour in the process.

Well, if she were truthful, she was still incredibly hurt that Ron had been the person whom Harry would most miss and that she was not, especially after she had been the only one to remain loyal to him during the entire debacle. The fact that she had been selected for Viktor Krum was of little comfort, for she felt nothing for him other than a passing attraction, driven partly by her need to show up Ron as the insensitive prat he was.

“Hermione,” she simpered, “you’re a girl.” She scowled. “Honestly! The boy is a cretin!”

But as annoying as Ron could be, she knew that his heart was so huge it eclipsed his other faults. Not to the point where they could be forgotten, of course, but enough to dwindle their effects. No matter the circumstances, no matter how churlish Ron might act when he believed he had been wronged - mistakenly or not - he would always come through for his friends. It was greatly aggrieving, however, that he was so utterly clueless about her feelings for him. She knew he liked her, but he was too scared to make a move. Harry was absolutely maddening, just sitting back to watch the sparks fly, but always stepping in to put out the resulting fires before they could burn out of control.

It was growing more and more difficult to be in the company of her two best friends; Ron called out to her body, Harry to her soul. Further, she suspected that her feelings for Harry were also shared by Ron. If it came down to mortal peril, she would choose to save Harry over Ron, and she knew Ron would choose Harry over her. She felt guilty that this revelation didn’t make her feel guilty enough. Harry wouldn’t understand, because she and Ron knew that he would save both of them, or die trying. She wondered if the reason she and Ron were taking so long to get together was that each was waiting for Harry to pick one of them, all the while knowing he never would.

Her feelings for both boys were becoming more confused. Despite the current distance, they were closer than they had ever been, a closeness she knew was both envied and despised by the rest of the school. The rumors had started in their fourth year and had picked up a lot of steam in their fifth. When they returned in two months time, prying eyes would zero in on their newfound awkwardness with each other, and tongues would begin wagging before the train even pulled into the station.

She wasn’t sure what Harry and Ron felt about each other, besides a deep, abiding friendship. It wasn’t that she thought that were gay or bisexual or whatsit, but that they were simply Harry and Ron. She knew of girls in school who had such close friendships, including her own roommates Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil, but those relationships were, for whatever reason, deemed acceptable.

But Hermione had recently noticed that Ron and Harry kept more of a physical distance between them than they had in years past. They used to sling their arms over each other’s shoulders and would often hug, uncaring of whom was watching, but now they settled for a quick, firm handshake, a clap on the shoulder, or a nod of the head. This made her sad, and she worried what would happen to the three of them if her boys grew even further apart.

Although, she now realized, she wasn’t exactly correct. More often than not, it had been Ron who had initiated the hugs with Harry, and the other boy merely complied. It was something about which none of them spoke, but she and Ron had caught on fairly early in first year that Harry did not like to be touched. He would consent with his two best friends, but only if he saw the gesture forthcoming. If he was taken by surprise, he would startle and become visibly shaken. He would throw it off almost immediately, but they had seen it far too often to dismiss it as sheer coincidence.

Ron, coming from a huge and loving family, had simply decided that this behavior meant they should be more affectionate with Harry, as he was obviously starved, but Hermione was less sure. It was apparent that Harry was uncomfortable in these situations. He would allow her, as well as Molly Weasley, to touch him, but she suspected that this had more to do with Harry being unable to think of a way to extricate himself from the Molly’s embraces without hurting her feelings.

He grew more tolerant of Ron as the three grew closer, because Harry understood that Ron would never intentionally physically harm him, but the reticence was there with everyone else, even Dumbledore. When the Headmaster would lay a comforting hand on his shoulder, she would see a slight tremor shoot throughout his body, but if Dumbledore had ever noticed, he had made no mention and continued the behavior. He had been more relaxed with Sirius, but Hermione believed it was because Sirius was the last tangible connection to Harry’s parents. Remus didn’t count, because he, too, often eschewed personal contact; whether this was his own peccadillo or if it was that he was simply respectful of Harry, she was unsure.

The Dursleys. Everything always came back to them. What the hell had happened to Harry in that house, and was it still going on? One day, she would discover all and, rules or not, she would make them pay. It might have been selfish, but her boys were all she had, save her parents. She had other friends, but none who meant anything approaching Harry and Ron. So, she would do whatever it took to strengthen their bond. And when Hermione Granger committed herself to something, woe to those who would try and stop her.

And then there were the times that Hermione believed Harry was terrified he would succeed and defeat Voldemort. What would become of the Boy Who Lived to Triumph, and how many lives would be lost or irrevocably altered in the process? How would Harry cope with that, if he coped at all? She wouldn’t put it past him to try and steal away in the night and never speak to any of them again.

She rolled over on her back and sighed wearily as she stared up at the ceiling.

Everything was such a mess. Harry was sullen and withdrawn, Ron was hopelessly naive and forever pouting, and she herself was becoming more and more obsessed with the idea of trying to scheme to bind both boys to her permanently.

She knew the upcoming six weeks at the Burrow were going to be sheer hell. Molly would coddle Harry and, while Hermione knew on some level that he desperately enjoyed it, it would only be a matter of time before he grew tired of the attention and withdrew even further. Ron, of course, got obscenely envious when Molly was affectionate toward Harry, despite knowing that Harry never had any maternal figure.

And it wasn’t like she and Molly were on the greatest of terms. The Weasley matriarch had been exceedingly friendly in the first three years that she, Harry, and Ron had been friends, but after their fourth year and those ridiculous rumors purported by Rita Skeeter, Molly had cooled considerably toward her. Hermione believed the woman had deluded herself into thinking they were locked in a battle of wills over Harry and Ron, which was patently inane.

She exhaled forcefully.

It wasn’t as if the rest of the Weasley family would make it any easier. While she loved each and every one of them dearly, regarding all, even Molly, though not Percy, as her second family, they really pushed the boundaries of she and Harry’s sanity and patience. As soon as they arrived, Arthur Weasley would immediately assault them with questions and half-baked theories about Muggle inventions. The mischief of the twins, Fred and George, was one of the few things which could pull Harry out of a funk, but the twins often took it too far by humiliating Ron, which inevitably hurt and angered Harry, and Hermione thought their antics childish. She considered Ginny a good friend, but knew the younger girl had designs on Harry and viewed her as an obstacle in claiming her trophy.

“Weasley women,” she savagely mumbled.

Bill and Charlie were great guys, but they no longer lived at the Burrow. Bill had returned from Egypt and had taken a flat in Diagon Alley, working as a curse breaker for Gringotts, and Charlie made his home on a dragon reservation in Romania. Besides, despite the things she, Ron, and Harry had accomplished together, Bill and Charlie still saw Ron only as a little brother, and lumped she and Harry along with him. Except Hermione had noticed that Charlie had been looking at Harry differently last Christmas, but she was still unable to discern precisely the change. As for Percy...

“Git,” she hissed.

She felt safe freeing her wrath against Percy Weasley in private, where she could curse his stupid arse without worrying about hurting Ron’s feelings. Whatever Percy had done - and despite turning his back on his family and thoroughly, maliciously attacking Harry for no good reason - he was still Ron’s brother, and she knew her friend was sensitive to that fact. Both she and Harry would let Ron prattle on incessantly about his scorn for his older sibling, but whenever they tried to join in, each noticed how Ron would tense. He would never say anything, for he knew that both of them, Harry in particular, had reason to hate Percy, but they knew it upset him. So, she and Harry let Ron ramble uninterrupted, and when they were alone together or separately, they indulged in quite a bit of Percy-bashing, which both found exhilarating and healthy.

Of course, part of her worried that sometimes she came more across like Percy than she intended, and she could tell from the looks in Harry and Ron’s eyes that they thought the same, so she had been trying to rein herself in somewhat. It helped in the short-term, but the longer she held it in, the worse the explosion when released. She prayed that she would never and could never turn out like Percy, more interested in personal advancement than the concerns of her family and friends, but she couldn’t deny the parallels between them: both were Gryffindors; like she herself, Percy had been the best student of his class; Percy had been a Prefect as she was; and Hermione was almost positive that she would next year be named Head Girl, as Percy had been Head Boy.

She didn’t have his political ambitions, as she was more inclined to follow McGonagall and teach at Hogwarts once she got her Mastery in Transfiguration, but she fretted nonetheless. She counted on Ron and Harry to keep her in line, though she would never admit it, and grew annoyed when they did just that. Still, she hoped they would never give up on her.

Hermione had a terrible sense of foreboding.

Something was coming.



* * * * *



Ron Weasley was moping around the Burrow's makeshift Quidditch pitch.

Fred, George, and Ginny were aloft their brooms, practicing the game, though the twins had no real reason as they had effectively quit their house team when they had dropped out of Hogwarts. Molly’s furor at that impromptu decision had been a sight to behold, and for a moment Ron thought he might escape her wrath. Molly, however, felt quite content to release her rancor in the direction of anyone who happened to walk through the Dutch door into the kitchen.

One of the reasons he was so looking forward to Harry’s visit was that his best friend had the unparalleled ability to quell her rage. While she would still issue dire warnings and reprisals for Fred and George’s decision, Harry’s presence would take some of the venom out of her barbs.

Ron was confused. This was different from his generalized state of confusion, however, in that he was unable to qualify his feelings for his two best friends. He was fairly certain he was in love with Hermione, insofar as he understood what love was, and he thought she might like him too, in that way, but he could never really tell. Except for irritation, she had an uncanny knack for hiding her true feelings about things and people. Of course, this caused him to question her feelings for Harry, and he was terrified of the answer; too, he was discomfited by the idea of more closely examining his own feelings for Harry. Regardless, it still made him feel quite light and fluffy that he was Harry’s ‘Wheezy’.

Something had changed between the three of them after that night in the Department of Mysteries. There had been a fundamental shift when those accursed brains had touched him. There had been another shift when Antonin Dolohov had attacked Hermione, and Ron and Harry had each felt something within them die, only to be replaced with a rage so bright it burned. There was a third shift when Harry had cast the Cruciatus curse on Bellatrix Lestrange, even though the evil bitch had deserved it and more. In fact, Harry’s possession by Voldemort was secondary to those events, and Ron was left to ponder the implications of it all.

The brains had somehow altered him. He wasn’t sure what it was. Sometimes he thought they had made him different, turning him into something other than he was; at other times, he believed they had amplified something already within him. All he knew for certain were the scars which now littered his arms. They were faint, but they hummed with an energy which was not his own. He wondered if Harry had the same experience with his scar, the visible one. There were other scars, ones Ron couldn’t see, ones Harry wouldn’t allow him to see, and not just the physical ones.

As for Bellatrix, the moment Harry tried to cast that curse, Ron finally understood that in order to defeat Voldemort, Harry would have to kill. He had known this all along, of course, at least in some context which he had been unable or unwilling to define. That night, however, he had realized that not only was Harry expected to kill, but that he would kill.

Harry was powerful, so powerful it was terrifying; that the curse had worked at all was testament to that. Ron had dismissed the legend of Harry Potter soon after meeting him almost six years ago, but now he understood that the reputation of the Boy Who Lived was well and truly deserved. Harry might be the Champion of the Light, but at his core was a chilling darkness which Ron didn’t understand and wasn’t sure he wanted to.

Harry was isolating himself. Once upon a time, Ron had pitied him for being locked away, alone, every summer with his relatives, but now he realized Harry always cast himself adrift, even at school. He was closer with Ron himself and Hermione than with anyone, but he only let them so close. It was frustrating to no end, and he wondered how much of Harry’s isolation was caused by circumstances and how much was by choice. If Hermione’s letters were any indication, she was having similar thoughts.

Both he and Hermione had been owling Harry all summer, but none of their letters had received replies. He would spend a portion of every day watching the skies, waiting for Hedwig to swoop in with the letter which would finally answer some of his more burning questions, but he had realized long ago, however, that Harry would answer questions in his own time, and the more people pushed, the more Harry withdrew.

Ron was constantly assaulted with questions from his well-meaning, if slightly maniacal, family. Not a day passed where both his parents and his siblings asked if he had heard from Harry; even Bill and Charlie were wondering about the boy’s condition. All the querying did, however, was reinforce Ron’s sense of abandonment. He was positive Harry wasn’t reading either his or Hermione’s letters; if he was, he would have sent a reply, no matter how cursory. That no reply was forthcoming indicated that Harry couldn’t be bothered. Still, the fact that the letters had been delivered indicated Harry was reasonably well, and at least he hadn’t returned them unopened.

He couldn’t imagine what Harry was going through. He thought if he tried, he might go mad or break down in tears, and his heart ached for his best friend. Being forced to live with the Dursleys, the death of Sirius. Ron knew as well that Harry was still haunted by Cedric’s death and probably always would be. There had been some nights at Hogwarts when Harry had forgotten to cast silencing charms on his bed, and in the throes of his recurring nightmares, it was almost always Cedric for whom Harry screamed.

He was sure Harry was regretting his attempt at a relationship with Cho Chang. The more Ron thought about the Asian Ravenclaw, the more he despised her. She had played with Harry’s emotions to satisfy some macabre desire to get closer to a ghost. She had known Harry was attracted to her, and she had used him for her own ends. Hermione had hypothesized as much, going so far as to call Chang a hateful bitch, and Ron had agreed fully with her, itself indeed a rare event.

Hermione was so much better with feelings. A lot of people would have been surprised that she was quite capable of determining answers without a trip to the library, but he knew that her intellectual intelligence was rivaled by an emotional one. She was somehow always able to pick through Harry’s barriers and discern what he was feeling, but Harry often refused to acknowledge her adept conclusions, or even her efforts. Of course, she did have a tendency to talk people to death, trying to reason with them, but he understood that when it came to emotions, there was no reasoning.

There was just feeling, and right now, all Harry was feeling was pain.

Ron felt so helpless. Save his family, no one mattered more to him than Harry and Hermione, and when one of them hurt, they all hurt. In second year, when Hermione had been petrified by the basilisk, he had actually felt Harry’s heart fracture, and he knew Harry had felt the same from him. Even then, however, they never spoke of it, other than to reassure each other that she would be okay, that they would somehow make it okay.

And then Ginny was taken, and he had just about lost his mind, and once again Harry had withdrawn. Ron had known his friend was planning something, had known that he wouldn’t be able to help Harry, and had been terrified that he was going to lose both his best friends and his sister. But Harry had saved Ginny. He had once again defeated Voldemort, and had saved the entire wizarding world.

Hermione had thought him jealous of Harry for Ginny’s rescue. Honestly, for someone so smart, she could be really dumb at times. Didn’t she understand that he didn’t care who had saved Ginny, as long as she was saved? Fred and George were twins in body, but he and his sister were twins in spirit; he was closer to her than any of his siblings. Bill and Charlie were almost grown and out of the house by the time he and Gin had come along, Percy was a wanker, and the twins were built-in best friends by virtue of their birth.

It wasn’t that he was jealous of Harry for saving Ginny; it wasn’t that he blamed either Harry or Ginny for the mess with the diary; it was that he felt horribly guilty that he had been so wrapped up in his friends and his classes and Quidditch, that he hadn’t even noticed what had been happening to his sister.

Harry had understood that, he instinctively knew. He had fumbled, trying to express his gratitude, and before the words even left his mouth, he knew it was a mistake. Harry hadn’t wanted praise or thanks, and he had clammed up so tight that he didn’t speak to anyone for days. Ron knew that Harry had managed to find a way to blame himself, which frustrated him to no end. Didn’t Harry know that these things weren’t his fault? He wasn’t responsible for Voldemort!

He couldn’t bear to consider of his actions toward Harry during the Tournament. He was still so ashamed of his behavior that he suspected there was a permanent tear in his soul. How could he have been so thoughtless? Why should he have made Harry suffer for his own insecurities? What kind of friend did that?

Everyone thought him a jealous prat, but it wasn’t that simple. Of course he was jealous of Harry. He didn’t know anyone who wasn’t, save Hermione, but it wasn’t because Harry was in the Triwizard Tournament or because he had saved the Sorcerer’s Stone or because he was the youngest Seeker in a century.

It was because Harry was so...wonderful. It was because no matter how much attention he got, he didn’t want it. It was because he insisted that without Ron and Hermione, he would be long dead. It was because he argued that all he did was catch a Snitch, which wasn’t as difficult as being a Beater, Chaser, or Keeper. It was because even though Hermione could be such a nag, Harry was always so proud of her grades. It was because though everyone had wanted to be his best friend, Harry had chosen Ron above all of them.

It was because Harry was Harry, and Harry Potter was the most decent person Ron had ever known.

But it wasn’t the victories to which Harry clung, it was the deaths. Quirrell, Cedric, Sirius; none of which were in any way his fault, but Harry held himself accountable nonetheless. Ron had watched his best friend, his first real friend outside his family, slowly wither away, drawing into himself and becoming harder to reach with each passing year. His smiles were no longer joyful and no longer reached his eyes. Every movement was forced, every utterance contrived, every thought calculated.

He and Hermione were barely hanging on to Harry, who kept trying to push them away, convinced he was going to get them killed. Harry insisted they didn’t understand what they were getting themselves into, that he was too dangerous to be around, but he was wrong. They knew standing beside Harry could cost them their lives, but they accepted it because there was no alternative; they loved Harry too much to let him stand alone. They wouldn’t survive without him, and if he was going down, he was going with his two best friends supporting him all the way.

What would he do if he lost Harry, either to Voldemort or to Harry himself? He and Hermione would have each other, but without Harry...no. Ron refused to consider that possibility. They had been through too much; they meant too much to each other.

Except everything had started to change. Out of nowhere, Hermione had turned into a girl. Intellectually, he had always known she was a girl, but when he saw her in those robes and on Krum’s arm at the Yule Ball in fourth year, he suddenly realized that she was gorgeous. In truth, she always had been, but after their rough start in first year, he had looked at who she was on the inside. Now, the outside had caught up and she took his breath away. Every now and again, she would look at him, and he thought she might like him, too, but he was never sure, and Harry was of no help, absolutely refusing to get in the middle.

Except Harry was always in the middle of the two of them; he didn’t realize they wanted him there. It was inconceivable that he should be anywhere else. If not for Harry, he and Hermione would most likely never have been friends. They could barely talk to each other without Harry being present or as their topic of conversation. In a very real way, Harry completed them, as ridiculous as that might have sounded to those who could never understand.

The dynamics were changing, shifting, as the three of them moved beyond childhood and into adolescence. Now there were hormones and brassieres and hair in strange places. Whatever he and Hermione had, she had something else with Harry, as did Ron. If the three were a triangle, then Harry was the pair of cruces which connected the other two; each had found something in him which they didn’t have with each other.

Ron didn’t understand what this meant. He knew he loved them both in a way he could never love anyone else. He dreamt of Hermione at night, but Harry was always in those dreams, and it confused him even more, because of the rightness of his friend’s presence. He didn’t think he was in love with Harry, because the idea somehow cheapened what they had.

Harry called out to a part of him which Hermione never could. He really didn’t think he wanted to have sex with Harry. In fact, he didn’t want to think about anyone having sex with Harry, ever, as if the Boy Who Lived should be above such profanity. He did, however, want them to be as close as they had been first year, before Quirrell, before the visions, before the losses.

No, he wanted to be closer. He wanted to be the one Harry called out for in his sleep, rather than a dead boy. He wanted to be unafraid of crawling into Harry’s bed and holding him tight when the nightmares became too much. He wanted Harry to be able to talk to him again without worrying how his words might be perceived. Harry was pulling away so quickly that Ron felt something being torn from his body.

He had to admit that he hadn’t liked it when Harry was seeing Cho. Not just because she was a moron, but because she could take Harry away from him. He had publicly bemoaned that Harry and Ginny had once appeared to be getting closer, arguing that he didn’t want to think of his little sister dating anyone, but secretly thought that if he could push them together, at least Harry would be bonded to his family. Except Ron didn’t want to share Harry with anyone but Hermione. Certainly not his sister!

Hermione would be arriving soon, and they were going to form a plan. And when Harry showed up in a few weeks, Ron was going to force the issue once and for all. Things just couldn’t keep up this way.

Something was coming; he knew this instinctively. He paced back and forth in the field, and it was only when he finally realized he hadn’t heard the familiar swoop of brooms in quite some time that he looked up and saw the twins and Ginny hovering, staring at him.

“Oi, Ronniekins!,” George called. “What’s wrong, mate?”

Ron just shook his head angrily and stalked away. Fred made to chase after him, but Ginny blocked him and quietly told the twins to leave their brother alone.

“Must be thinking about Hermione,” Fred whispered sagely.

“When do you think he’ll pull his head out of his arse and make a move?,” George wondered.

“I don’t think that’s it,” Ginny countered. “I don’t know what it is, but Hermione’s only a part of it.”

The twins looked at each other knowingly, but she couldn’t decipher what it meant.

“What’s going on?,” she demanded. "What do you know that I don't?"

They shrugged and flew away.
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