And Then There Were Two
by Niu

When their hands brushed, they didn't move away, embarrassed, like they once had. And when Ron whispered something to her, he seemed to lean that little bit closer than usual and she tilted her head that little bit more than was required. When they laughed, they looked at each other; the little glance of something shared, before they looked at anyone else or even at the cause of their mirth. When Hermione said she had work to do, he was first to volunteer his assistance and the most reluctant to go to bed.

The upshot of it was, they weren't a trio anymore. The Two's Company rule became more and more apt; Harry could no longer ignore it.

"What's going on between you two?" He snapped, interrupting their chuckling shared amusement. His tone was all it took to sober the moment.

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, far too shocked and with eyes unrealistically wide. Plus she glanced at Ron again.

"You know what I mean." And then she was sheepish and Ron was red and that was really all the response Harry needed and he disappeared and left them to it.

At supper, they sat opposite each other, not next to. When Ron passed Hermione a dish, or vice versa, there was no eye contact; no smile. When Harry talked to Ron, he felt his lips would tear free of his face from the strength of his listener. Never had Harry felt so wholly bathed in someone's attention and never had he desired it less.

Hermione said she had work to do. Ron went to bed early. Harry sat in the common room trying to ignore the fact that he could hear neither the sound of pages turning nor that of a quill scratching it's way across parchment. What he heard was Hermione sniffling and breathing the careful breath of one who is trying not to cry. Eventually, Harry stood up and, without looking at her, asked what was wrong.

She burst into tears and he had to look at her then.

"What happened?" He asked.

"We broke it off." She replied, regaining control of her rib cage so that her chest no longer heaved. The tears caught in her eyes and ceased to fall. "We didn't want it to affect the friendship that the three of us have so we decided it would be better for all of us if we went back to how things were."

"And you two barely looking at each other is how things were is it?" That sparked the pooled tears but this was quiet, disappointed crying, not the bottled up sobs of moments before.

"Well what would you do? We don't have much choice do we?"

"Well if you each other then it wouldn't be fair for me to stop you, you know, know."

"You mean you don't mind?" He sighed and shook his head. The fact that he couldn't say the words 'fancy' or 'together' in the same sentence as 'Ron' and 'Hermione' or even imply them seemed to have completely passed her by.

"Of course I don't mind," He lied, "You're my best friends."

Breakfast was giggly with very little being eaten. Harry tried to hide his black mood as Hermione and Ron chattered trying to pretend things were as they'd always been; that they were still a Trio. Harry was sick of it and made his excuses to leave, choosing to wander out to the lake before lessons.

It was there that he found Draco, sans Crabbe and Goyle. He nodded an acknowledgement and walked a little further away before he sat down on the damp grass.

He didn't show the surprise he felt when Draco sat down next to him.

"Ever wonder how things would have been if you and me had been on the same side?" He asked and Harry recognised the introspective tone but thought he'd best skirt the question anyway.

"What do you mean?" That made him think of his conversation with Hermione; he gritted his teeth.

"Well, I don't mean me being on your side, obviously, but what if, that day on the train, when I warned you about the Weasleys..."

"You mean, what if I'd made friends with you first?" Draco nodded and Harry thought of Ron's hand on Hermione's, of times when he couldn't find them for hours on end and had been forced to hang around with Neville (not that he didn't like Neville, he just wasn't one of the Trio), of the holidays where he'd felt neither use nor ornament as he stayed in his hated hiding place at the Dursley's whilst Ron and Hermione, the Hogwart's Prefects, helped the Order and fought the war. He thought of a lot of things that mostly weren't remotely positive. "I suppose this war would be turning out quite differently."

"Yes, and you'd still have your best friend."


"Oh come on, it's obvious that Granger is too in love to bother with you anymore and as for the Weasel, well he'll take it any way he can get it." Draco paused, probably to see if Harry was likely to hit him; Harry didn't move. "He doesn't get as many offers as you and I, Potter. He's not in our league."

"He's my best friend Draco." There didn't seem to be anything else to say and even that sounded beyond weak.

"Is he really? Is that why he told you all about him and Granger? Is that why you're out here on your own and he's petting his girlfriend?"

"What am I supposed to say Malfoy? What do you want?" Harry snapped, "You want me to admit that I'm all on my own now? I'm not part of the Trio anymore?"

"I'd rather you kissed me, that'd be far more succinct don't you think?" Draco drawled. Harry flushed and said nothing, simply held Draco's stare, never letting it drop even as Malfoy's cool lips pressed against his own, a snake-like tongue parting them easily and slipping inside. Harry forgot about the Trio and kissed Malfoy back, thinking about lines drawn between sides and about being on his own. Much like Draco was, he realised.

And then there were two and neither of them were alone.


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