The Persistence of Memory

by darsynia

Notes: Comment fic for delicatetruth. Noteworthy as my first slash story ever? Written 10/?/05.

Ron surveyed his hand-carved pumpkin doubtfully. At The Burrow, Halloween for Weasley children under the age of 11 had been a special treat, as his mother would magically carve a pumpkin for each of them by request—even, according to Fred, the year Charlie had requested a fire-breathing dragon. His mother had always done an amazing job, and consequently Halloween was one of his favorite childhood holidays. When Harry had nearly begged him to join him in carving their own jack o' lanterns, it was this memory that had him saying yes.

Well, that wasn't true. Harry begging might have had something to do with it as well.

Apparently his git of a cousin Dudley used to spend the holiday stealing candy from the neighborhood kids, making fun of Harry (who always had to stay behind, due to his Aunt Petunia claiming that she didn't want to nurse him back to health after he caught something from the other children), and taunting him with the fact that he was allowed his father's swiss army knife, ostensibly to carve pumpkins with. Harry hadn't said what else his cousin used the knife for, and Ron didn't ask.

He grunted as he finished scooping the last of the flesh from the gourd in front of him, momentarily distracted by the sight of Harry across the table—he had a bit of the fruit on his cheek. Ron blushed and looked back down; he didn't know what his friend would do if he walked over and brushed it off like he wanted to. Either possible reaction from the black haired boy would probably have him flushing red as a beet and stammering.

He felt a strange sensation of warmth and looked up to see Harry looking at him curiously. Ron offered up a small smile, glancing back down at his pumpkin and back at Harry as if to say, 'I'm so totally rubbish at this.' Harry grinned back, and he felt the urge to go over and brush the pumpkin from his cheek so strongly that his fingers tingled. He rubbed at them absently and was shocked when Harry came over to him with a look of concern.

"You haven't cut yourself, have you?" he asked, taking Ron's hand and examining it closely. This contact coming so soon after he'd been firmly denying his desire to initiate it started his heart beating wildly and his blood to turn to fire in his veins. Unconsciously, he curled his hand around Harry's; his friend was still touching him, even though it was obvious that he had no injury. Belatedly, Ron realized he'd been asked a question.

"No," he said.

Harry's reaction simultaneously caused him to blink in surprise and his eyes widen in excitement. The very second the negative left his lips, Harry dropped his hand as if it were poison, blushed deep scarlet, and stepped back, nearly tripping over his own feet. It was exactly the sort of response Ron had envisioned himself making, if he'd been brave enough to walk over and touch Harry's cheek only to be rejected.

Did Harry feel rejected? Could he feel rejected? Ron took a quick step forward, reaching his hand out to Harry defensively.

"I—I meant... it's not cut," he said lamely. This didn't appear to help, for now Harry's expression was one of deep embarrassment, his eyes closed and a hand over his face. Ron couldn't help but notice that it was the opposite cheek of the one with the...

His veins full of pure adrenaline, he moved to Harry's side and oh so gently swept the pumpkin remains from the other boy's cheek with his thumb, leaving his hand there for a long moment before removing it almost caressingly. Harry's eyes popped open, a look of shocked wonder reflected in them.

Hours later, after they'd scoured the place of pumpkin remains, Ron reflected that he was absolutely certain that Halloween was his favorite holiday.