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Harry's T-shirts all hung on his small frame, so that you could tell they'd been bought for someone enormously larger. When he put a shirt on in the morning, he'd tug on it until the extra fabric was evenly distributed, but over the course of the day it would slide sideways until one side of the collar came to rest against his neck and the other side lay somewhere over the knob of his shoulder, leaving one of his collarbones visible.
He fastened his shorts with a belt that had had extra holes punched in it so he could tighten it enough; the end flapped down until he tucked it back up through the belt a couple of times. The pockets of the shorts gapped open, and anything he put into them fell out immediately. Underneath the too-long legs, his knobby knees peeked out with every step he took.
After a few days, Ron's mother took pity on him and took all his things in a bit. Not enough to make them actually fit, but enough that the sleeves of his T-shirts wouldn't fall below his elbows any more and the loose end of his belt wouldn't come untucked and threaten to trip him. There was a limit to what housekeeping spells could do, of course. That was why sensible wizards bought clothes that fit in the first place.
Harry wouldn't, though. Ron couldn't figure out why -- he certainly had the money, and any of them would have taken him shopping any time, but he'd flush and say, "These are all right until the autumn." His uniforms fit, at least.
Ron would have lent him something, but his clothes probably wouldn't have fit Harry any better than Harry's swinish muggle cousin's clothes did. It would just have been swapping too wide for too long.
Harry's pajamas were, like everything else, too big. On his first morning at the Burrow, he pushed up on his elbow, grinning shortsightedly in the general direction of Ron's bed, hair gone completely flat on one side and fanned out like a sideways rooster's comb on the other, and his whole shoulder came out of the neck of his pajama top, even though it was buttoned all the way up -- and Ron felt a lurch in his belly at the sight of all that skin, unfreckled, unfamiliar --
He had his face under control by the time Harry got his glasses on, but the picture was burned on his eyes all day long. Watching Harry eat all the bacon and all the tomatoes and all the eggs and then go back for porridge. Watching him hover on his broomstick to levitate clumps of leaves and dirt and nests out of the gutters. Harry's bare shoulder.
By now it seemed almost normal that every strange, unsettling, unfamiliar emotion in his life should be connected to Harry. So this was maybe a little less freaky than he might have expected, to discover that he wanted to kiss a boy. It was Harry, and strange things happened with Harry. Didn't mean he had to do anything rash.
Or that's what he told himself, even as he was sending Mum and Ginny off on a full-day excursion. No need to do anything rash, just be nice to have some time together and hang out. And then he and Harry were crowded together in the door of the toilet, unstopping the drain with a spell he'd learned from Seamus, of all people. Harry's shoulder pressed warmly against his upper arm, and if he thought about it for five seconds he wouldn't do it, and so he didn't -- just put his hand down where Harry's T-shirt collar had pulled aside, spread it wide to cover up all that bare skin.
He was still thinking he could explain all this away if he had to -- except that Harry shivered when Ron's hand touched his neck, and Ron swept his thumb over Harry's throat and felt it move as Harry swallowed. And since they were already way past the point where he could pretend it didn't mean anything, he put his other hand on Harry's waist. With that hand he could feel that Harry's shorts were sliding down his hips, so that if the baggy T-shirt were shorter, he'd see a couple of inches of his pants showing.
Harry took a step backwards, which would have shaken Ron's hands loose, except that Harry had one hand clutched in the front of Ron's shirt and the other clenched around Ron's forearm. And even though he was so scared he could hear roaring in his ears, Ron could still notice the flush on Harry's cheeks and his fast shallow breathing, and understand that this meant Ron was not the only freak in the house.
And then Harry was all but dragging him across the landing and into the bedroom, backing up against the side of Ron's unmade bed, driving Ron's hips against his so that their cocks collided and sent a sweet jolt through his nerves. Four hands scrabbled for the fasteners, and Ron would have tried to slow down, except that after the blacksmith's puzzle of Harry's belt, after holding up those sagging shorts long enough to unfasten them, after about two seconds of the shocking feel of Harry's cock smooth and hot and wet riding the hollow of Ron's palm where it fit so perfectly, he suddenly had a fistful of hot liquid and Harry was panting, eyes screwed shut behind the smeared lenses of his glasses.
Harry was still pawing weakly at Ron's zip, which was tricky to get a grip on because the shorts were too tight, and then Harry's hand was on him, friction making him wince. And suddenly the urgency that had got them here dissipated like vapor, leaving him a clear view of Harry's frowning, effortful progress towards getting him off, and filling his head with worries -- what would they say to one another after, and the way Hermione was going to look at them on the train, and how he'd made Harry queer and given Malfoy and his goons one more weapon to hold over him and added another worry to Harry's life, as if it didn't have enough of them already, and how Harry was struggling over him as though he were a Divination composition, and how suddenly he could look out into the future and see all the repercussions of this, all the new branching possibilities, all the moves that now couldn't be made, everything changed and ten thousand new variables introduced, some of which could end up threatening Harry's life, because nobody had ever hesitated to look on everyone important to Harry as a potential hostage, and Harry didn't even know that Ron loved him, and he'd probably be safer if he never found out, but there was no other explanation for this that Ron could give him --
Harry's flush turned even redder when Ron made him stop, and the apologies spilling out of his mouth made Ron feel a little sick. Ron got them all the way on the bed and showed Harry how to use a little spit to cut down the friction, and Harry's eyes went wide behind his dirty glasses, and when he touched Ron again, he was watching Ron's face so closely that Ron thought, "He's going to be looking at me when I come," and he shut his eyes but he could still feel Harry's gaze on him.
He was committed to this move now, and there was nothing to be done but go forward as best he could, and when Harry whispered his name the pleasure in his body and the sick terror and yearning in his heart somehow coalesced and he did what he'd known all along he'd do: he gave up, he pushed to get closer, he was going to take it -- and knowing that the worst was done, he felt the dam break, and he clung to Harry as he came.
When Harry kissed him, it was like that first sweet lungful of air when they took him out of the lake, and suddenly he was almost giddy with relief. He wanted to laugh at the inevitability of it. If he was ever going to be anything, he was always going to be this: a shield on Harry's arm, a weapon in Harry's hand.
They'd just have to figure out the rest as they went along.
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May 19, 2004