"Chocolate Frogs," Ron said decisively. "Best thing to lift your spirits, those."

"Better than Drooble's Best?" Harry mused, poking among the pile of gum. The lady with the concession trolley eyed him suspiciously, but Harry was still too keyed up from the encounter with Malfoy and his hulking goons to really care; in fact, it felt alarmingly good. He picked up and shook a carton of Every Flavour Beans, noticing the concession lady's look of consternation with something approaching satisfaction.

Ron was meticulously counting out Knuts, going over his small handful in-between glances at the trolley's contents. "Frogs, definitely," he told Harry, picking up a couple of gilded blue-cardboard packages and flipping them around in his long fingers. "After all, they come with a card, too."

Shrugging, Harry twitched a few Sickles from his robes, their heavy clink over the light tinking from Ron's money making him wince before he could help himself. "Frogs," he said shortly to the concession lady, who seemed much more happy to have him shuffling through her merchandise. "Butterbeer, and Cauldron Cakes. And — what're those?"

"Google Buns," the lady supplied helpfully, holding out a couple of the golden pastries. Ron's raised eyebrows showed that these were new to him, too, so Harry just nodded and handed over his money, laying it casually on top of Ron's tiny heap of Knuts.

Loaded down with food, the boys made their way to one of the more deserted cars, settling next to the chilly window and spreading their goods on the narrow table between them. Selecting a Cauldron Cake, Harry nibbled pensively at it while Ron dived into the Chocolate Frogs, unwrapping them haphazardly and popping them in his mouth to chew while inspecting the cards.

"Blast," Ron mumbled, tossing the cards on the table. Their wizards made little faces of indignance and hurried out of the pictures; Ron swept them aside, irritated, and swirled his tongue around his mouth. "Bleeding Malfoy," he blurted suddenly, baring his teeth. Harry stared at a smear of chocolate that slashed across one of Ron's incisors and bit too hard into the soft, salty-sweet breadiness of his cake, his own teeth coming together with an unpleasant clack. He gulped the mouthful down and took a cautious sip of his butterbeer while Ron continued, voice scattered and agitated.

"He all but came out and said he was a Death Eater, Harry. Or just as bad, in any case, what with his father being one and all. Threatening Hermione!" They were silent for a moment, recalling Malfoy's dirtily insinuous sneer, his unsettlingly pink mouth forming the words "Mudblood" and "Muggle" right before the flash, the bang, the concussive force of five hexes going off at once. Ron heaved a sigh, shoving his smudged fingers through his hair before thumping back in his seat. "Things aren't going to get any better next year, you know."

"I know," Harry said, sounding a little more strained than he'd intended to. Ron let his head roll back, eyeing Harry levelly from underneath pale eyelashes until Harry amended, "I've thought about that. A lot. Perhaps too much."

Ron smiled lazily, redirecting his gaze out the window while he took a swig of his butterbeer. The sound of him swallowing was loud in the quiet of the car, loud even over the chugging of the train's wheels. Harry thought the thin coldness of the air might have had something to do with it, or maybe the closeness. Ron was so close even across the table that Harry could smell rich milky chocolate, the clean, high scent of Ron's soap, the papery oldness of Ron's robes.

"Awfully hard being you," Ron said, watching in interest as his breath fogged the window for just a moment before clearing again. "I mean, having to worry about things like that."

Dusting his fingers, Harry picked up a Google Bun and bit deliberately into it. His mouth was instantly filled with flaky pastry and a pouf of cream and fruit; when he put the bun down, he saw that it was plump with a swirly blue-and green mixture. Ron was watching with interest and leaned forward to pick up the rest of the bun, lifting it to his mouth when Harry gestured for him to go ahead. The filling spilled out of a split in the bun and down the side of Ron's thumb, streaking his skin with warbling stripes of color as he bit into the pastry.

"Good," Ron huffed through a full mouth, fragments of choux pastry puffing out to spray across the table, one shard hitting Harry's nose. Harry giggled, startled, and then Ron did too, and then they both kept going, louder and faster and harder with each time one of them picked up on it again until they were both slumped in their seats, holding their stomachs. Harry whooped in great lungfuls of breath and smiled tearily at Ron, who was thumping his chest to get the rest of the unfortunate Google Bun down. It felt better than good to laugh. Harry wanted to say something to let Ron know that, maybe thank you or I'm so glad you're my friend, but he didn't. Instead he watched as Ron slid his long arms across the table, slumping down and grinning up at Harry in a drunken manner.

"You'd miss me the most," Ron smiled, mouth crooked. Harry felt a slow heat creep up his neck and he let his eyes drop, flicker over Ron's fingers, and he reached out to drag his own fingertip along the streak of royal blue and emerald that frosted Ron's thumb, feeling the heat build dizzily in his head while he brought his finger up to his mouth and tasted raspberries and cream, and when he looked up Ron was sliding his long cold hands on either side of Harry's face and kissing him. Gentle, unhurried, and Harry moaned quietly into the chocolate and butter of Ron's mouth while Ron's tongue affectionately licked around the soft insides of his lips. He might even have made a disappointed moue when Ron sat back down with a whuff, still smiling indolently across the table.

"My Wheezy," Harry murmured, and Ron laughed.

image by glockgal

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