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Title: At Fauntleroy & Diagon Alley
Author name: Icarus
Author email: email@example.com
Sub Category: Slash
Keywords: Ron Weasley Harry Slash Gaydar
Summary: In which a naive Harry is taught what 'Gay-dar' is in a seedy part of Diagon Alley, "I'm drawing too much attention." A more worldly Ron Is Very Amused.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Copyright © 2004 by Icarus Ancalion. All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced in whole or part without the author's explicit permission. Ask, guys. I'm easy to reach and usually quite generous.
At Fauntleroy & Diagon Alley
The afternoon sun beat down on them, and Harry shaded his eyes, certain this was a bad idea. It was not a part of Diagon Alley he ought to be seen in, especially not with Ron smirking at him like that. Ron leaned against the warm brick wall and gave him a lazy smile.
"You really can't tell?" Ron asked. He nodded in the direction of an older man across the street. "What about him?"
Harry squinted, but beyond having well-brushed silvery grey hair, he didn't see anything unusual. Well, other than the general wizarding oddities -- he wore breeches, with a coat and tails. "Is he -?"
Ron chuckled. "Sure." His eyes traveled down the length of Fauntleroy Street, admiring the male 'scenery.'
A couple of young men walked by; one was shirtless, the other (barely) wore a brief cropped top. As they passed, Mr Crop-Top scanned Ron from head to toe, unobserved by his 'friend'. Ron's grin expanded.
Harry's eyes widened. "Okay, now I saw that."
"Well. He all but whipped my pants to my knees and settled in for lunch." Ron shook his head sagely. "You're gonna to have to get a lot better at this, or I'll be tempted to flirt outrageously behind your back."
Harry snorted. Ron was as loyal as a dog, not to mention he called Harry the 'catch of the century.' A few other people passed them.
"You didn't see that?" Ron's voice was amazed.
Harry made a helpless gesture and shrugged.
"Time for drastic measures," Ron said, "take off your shirt."
"What? No! It's bad enough that I'm at Fauntleroy and Diagon. What if we run into someone we know?"
"Then we've learned something new about them: mutually assured destruction. Trust me, they won't tell. Besides, we're just standing here, that's all; just two curious kids."
Harry would have argued that they weren't kids anymore, but the truth was, the wizarding world hadn't exactly wrapped its mind around that fact, and still spoke of Harry as The-Boy-Who-Lived.
"I'll take off mine then." Ron's smug undertone was obvious.
"Forget it, Ron." Harry glared. He thought Ron was kidding about the flirting, but... he looked damned good without a shirt. And knew it, too. Harry began pulling off his t-shirt. "What for, anyway?"
"You're never gonna get this. Look, just do it - you'll see."
The warm brick was blazing hot under Harry's shoulders, so they moved to a couple of chairs in front of a café. They were no longer in the sun, but it was still warm enough, even without a shirt.
"People are staring." Harry shrank in on himself and tried to look casual as he folded his arms across his chest. Ron leaned an elbow on the back of Harry's chair.
Harry squirmed as a few more passersby eyed him. He felt naked without the shirt, and thought he had to be really white, too.
Ron picked up on his mood and leered at him. "Relax! It's fine. You look great."
Harry gave Ron a suspicious glance, then tried to slump a little and look 'relaxed.' A few feet away, the grey-haired gentleman emerged from the store, looking left and right as if deciding which errand to do next. He shot Harry a quick appraising look and their eyes met with an indefinable recognition before he continued on his way.
What was that?
A kid, who couldn't have been more than a fourth-year at Hogwarts, passed on the opposite side of the narrow alley, leaning on his girlfriend's shoulder. His eyes trailed across Harry's bare chest, and captured Harry's for a lingering moment.
Holy hell. That got Harry's attention.
Looking around, he realized the place was crawling with queer wizards! Everywhere he looked, in twos and threes, in groups or on their own. Some went about their errands, while others stood around checking out the crowd.
There was group of five or so young men who crossed Fauntleroy at Diagon Alley; two were dressed as if they were selling something, but - no, and nope; they were definitely not gay. But a third was dressed very conservatively, shirt buttoned to his neck; he could easily pass for Percy. His eyes were everywhere, and they widened in panic as they met Harry's. Harry immediately looked away. Not his type, even if he weren't with Ron. Two wizards in their thirties or forties matched strides and filtered through the crowd, dressed almost exactly alike as if they shopped together. They were so obvious.
It was like suddenly being able to see the thestrals, a veil lifted from his vision. How did everyone manage to be invisible before?
A cluster of young men about Ron and Harry's age paused in the doorway of the café, glancing about with the nervous tension of predators stalking prey. They took in Harry immediately, and one leaned over to whisper to his friend, who grinned.
Harry reached for his shirt, but discovered Ron had picked it up. "I'm drawing too much attention."
"That's all right. I've made it pretty clear you're with me, or you'd be getting more than just looks."
Harry gazed over at Ron and realized he was sprawled in the chair with one arm across the back of Harry's, almost, but not quite on his shoulder. Not anything anyone would notice, unless you were already picking up very subtle cues.
Sure enough, the café bell jingled as the boys went inside without a word, though not without a wistful backward glance or two. Harry couldn't help but smile a little at a dark-eyed Indian kid, and he gave Ron a sheepish look. But Ron was grinning from ear to ear. He whispered, "Welcome to the world, Harry."
The boys passed a dark-haired bloke on his way out of the café; his eyes traveled up Harry's chest to his face in a steady appraisal. Then he seemed to take in Ron's protectiveness, and sneered before turning on his heel.
"Bet that one was in Slytherin," Ron commented.
Harry recognized that slow appraising glance suddenly. "Ron... Snape's queer, isn't he?"
Ron laughed. "You're just working that out now?"
The café started to fill up, and inside the owner peered over the counter to glare at his two non-paying customers. They were both broke, and decided in the same moment to head home. A breeze had picked up, though it was still warm.
"Here, Ron, hand me my shirt I'll - hey!"
Ron held it out of reach. Harry jumped for it, caught an edge - but Ron quickly switched hands, giggling, as Harry scrambled, quick as a cat. A few people on the sidewalk stopped to smile at them.
Noticing the crowd, Harry stopped. "Ron! Come on, I'm half-naked out here!"
"Yeah," Ron said, "let's keep it that way for a bit, all right?" He handed Harry the shirt, draping an arm across his shoulder. "I may not be ableo date you openly, but this way at least I get to show you off."
Harry decided there was no harm in it, and balled the T-shirt up in his hand. He leaned into Ron's warm hand on the small of his back as they turned towards Diagon Alley.
A faint suspicion occurred to him, something he really wouldn't put past Ron.
"This was just an excuse to get my shirt off in public, wasn't it?"
Ron chuckled. "I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself. But, yeah, sometimes you are entirely too shy."
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