Two weeks later, Draco and Harry were still having midnight rendezvous. They would always take place in their 'room,' as Harry called it, and it would only last a few hours. Neither wanted more, but neither wanted less. They had agreed to hate each other during the day, and Draco took full advantage of that.
Just yesterday, they had almost gotten into a fistfight in the hallway. Draco rather liked the prospect of rolling around with Harry on the ground in a mock-brawl, but it seemed silly to get expelled when they could have much more fun late at night.
This night was no different than the past nights. Draco walked quietly through the castle corridors toward their room. When he reached it, he quietly pulled out his wand and said the password. He waited patiently for the doorway to open. Draco knew what would be there waiting for him. Harry would be sitting, rather seductively, in the corner with a few candles lit around the room. However, this time, that's not what greeted him.
The person standing in the middle of the room was obviously not Harry. He was too tall, too freckled, his hair was red, and from the colour of his ears and neck, Draco could tell it was a very angry Ron Weasley. He almost sighed with exasperation but held it in check, not wanting to make his presence known. Harry was also in the room, apparently on the receiving end of one of Weasley's fits. Draco was about to back out of the room and leave them to it when Ron whirled around, eyes landing squarely on him.
Draco's eyes got very large and he searched for something snide to say. Coming up with nothing, he just stared piercingly at Ron. Ron, in turn, spun around to Harry. "Harry," Ron said in a choked voice, "Harry, you can't possibly mean to tell me that…this git…this slimy ass bastard is the one that you're screwing!" Harry's head sunk lower. Draco was getting angry at the redheaded Weasley for making Harry uncomfortable. Only he was suppose to do that, and in an entirely different way.
"Why do you think I didn't tell you, Ron?" Harry replied, voice shaking slightly. A fierce stab of possession flared in Draco, and he felt the sudden need to defend Harry in some way, though for the first time in his life, he found himself lost for words. His reaction was too slow. Ron had already started up again.
"I thought you were better then that, Harry Potter!" That had done it for Draco; he had to say something. "Shut your mouth, Weasley. At least he has someone, unlike you. You can't even get a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, doesn't really matter." Ron spun to face him. "Malfoy, I would hold that fucking tongue of yours. Or maybe you do want the entire school knowing you two's little…God, I don't even want to know what you two have been doing in here!" Ron took a breath, which evidently gave Harry time to get a word in.
"Ron! Will you pull your head out of your ass long enough to see you're being a closed-minded homophobe?!" Harry bellowed, eyes burning with anger. Draco was shocked by the sheer force of it. "I don't care what you think, Ron!" he continued, stepping away from the wall, "I'm in love with Draco, so you can just get used to it!"
Ron stared at him in disbelief. Draco smiled to himself, and then realized what Harry had said. Could Harry really love me? Or, more important…do I love Harry? Ron must have been thinking the same thing, because he finally came to his senses. "You…you what? How can you love…him? He's been horrible to you for the past…I can't even remember how long." Draco felt his face grow hot in remembrance of the past six years. He and Harry had hated each other, and now they were saying…well, Harry was saying that they loved each other. Ron did have a point there.
It didn't seem to matter, though. The past was not the present. Draco could say more honestly that his father was an innocent man than he could sincerely be horrible to Harry. He regretted the past, and, he suddenly realized, he did love Harry. Frowning, he decided to respond to the question before Harry could. "Tell me, Weasley…if I'm this asshole that's completely incapable of redemption, how can I love him back?"
Ron glared at him and Harry's eyes grew the size of golf balls. Draco looked into Harry's eyes. He could see confusion, but he could also see relief. They held the look until Ron busted through. "You love a human other than yourself? Ha! That's the funniest thing I've ever heard. C'mon, Malfoy, tell me another one. Or better yet, why don't you tell the truth! You don't love Harry. You don't even know what love is. So, why don't you just leave Harry alone?"
"Because, Weasley," Draco snapped, "I do love him. I regret what I've done. Hell, I'd even ignore the fact that you're an asshole for him if you weren't acting the part!" He paused, fuming. "Don't make assumptions about things you know nothing about. You don't know me, you haven't been here every night, and you have no idea what I feel."
"Ron, please, leave it. There's nothing you can do to change my mind, and I really doubt you'll change Draco's mind," Harry broke in softly. Draco's heart lifted slightly at the tone in Harry's voice. Ron took a deep, anger-filled breath and looked directly at Harry. "Alright, Harry. But answer me one question if you will." Harry nodded and Ron continued, "Why him, Harry? Why, Malfoy?"
Draco watched in wonder as Harry smiled slightly and replied, "Because it's right, Ron. Because he's not who he used to be. And because he deserves to be loved." He glanced at Draco, eyes honest as ever, and the last bit of ice around Draco's heart melted away. "You can't help who you love," Harry went on. "It's not something you can choose or stop. It was inevitable."
Ron's eyes flared dangerously. "You can too stop who you love! If I can do it, then you can bloody well stop yourself from shagging your ENEMY!" Draco looked up at Harry. Harry's eyes reflected what Draco was thinking. 'Weasley just said, 'If I can do it.' Who does Weasley love?'
"And who, exactly, did you stop loving?" Draco asked, choosing to voice the thought. Ron jumped, startled. He obviously didn't realize what he had said, and Draco was privately thrilled to call him on it. Ron didn't seem to be quite as happy about it. He crossed his arms defensively, glaring. "That is none of your business, Malfoy."
Harry walked over to Draco. Draco silently thanked Ron for moving out of Harry's way. "Alright then, Ron. It is my business, so who did you stop loving?" Harry cut in, coming quickly to Draco's aid. Ron glared at both of them. "It's no one of importance, drop it," Ron said, looking away. Draco could have sworn he saw a tear forming in Ron's eyes.
Harry was frowning, and Draco knew that it was someone of importance and that Ron did still love her…or him. Otherwise, he wouldn't try so hard to deny it. And Draco was going to call him on that. "If it's no one of importance, and if you really did make yourself stop loving that person, why won't you tell Harry who it is?"
Harry looked at Draco, as if saying 'thank you', and turned to Ron. "Who is it, Ron? There are no secrets now, for anyone. You know my secret, what's yours?" Ron shook his head. Harry looked behind him at Draco. Draco silently pushed Harry to continue. "Ron, we've been best friends since…since we were eleven years old. Certainly some girl, or boy in my case, can't be all that horrible to tell, can it?"
Ron scowled, looking extremely frustrated. Draco was convinced for a moment that Ron was going to storm off, but then he spoke, voice shaking and rising abnormally in pitch. "Pansy. Are you happy now? It was Pansy… But I made myself stop loving her, because it isn't right! And you should realize that, Harry. It isn't right to be with him - not after all he's done to you, to all of us."
Draco's head spun. Of all the people in Hogwarts, it just had to be a Slytherin. Not only a Slytherin, but one of Draco's only friends. After all the years that Pansy had annoyed him, they had become friends. He realized that Pansy wasn't as bad as she seemed, and Pansy had realized that Draco only wanted to be friends (after about ten million tries of telling her so). "Can I ask you something, Ron?" Draco asked. Ron nodded. "Why is it not right? Is it because our houses have always been enemies?"
Ron wrinkled his nose in disgust and disbelief. "Are you kidding me? It has nothing to do with houses! It's because you and Pansy are both murderous, hateful Death Eaters! You're the actual enemy in this war! And in no way is it excusable to fall in love with a person that may very well kill you one day! Gods," he cried, turning to Harry, "you of all people should realize that!"
Before Draco could answer, Harry cut in. "Ron, there's something I should tell you…" Ron turned to Harry, skepticism painted on his face. "What this time? That you've also fallen in love with Hermione, and you, Malfoy, and her are going to run off and join the magic circus?" Both Draco and Harry burst out laughing. Ron raised his eyebrows at the two 17 year olds in front of him. "Well?"
Granger, magic circuses? Even Draco had to laugh at the mental imagery. The image of Harry as a clown sent Draco into a fresh fit of laughter. Harry, however, had turned serious again. "Ron, Draco's on our side. He's not our enemy, and the war hasn't begun yet. Please, try to understand."
Ron looked from Harry, to Draco, and back to Harry. "This has -got- to be some idea of a joke. Ha ha, very funny, joke's over, now tell the truth." Harry shook his head. "Look, Ron, this is no joke. I'm really in love with Draco, as he really is in love with me. Draco is on our side, and he -isn't- the enemy." Harry paused in thought for a second, and returned in a monotone, "Come to think of it, neither is Pansy…I mean, she's on our side."
Draco barely held back a smirk as Harry's words had their desired effect. He must have been rubbing off on Harry…figuratively, of course. Ron looked absolutely speechless, obviously torn between his hatred for Draco and his love for Pansy. Eventually, Ron shifted, meeting Draco's gaze levelly. "You're an asshole, and you always have been," he said, "You're not changing any time soon. Harry can be entirely too trusting." Ron spared Harry a quick glance before returning to Draco. "I'm not stupid. I don't trust you, Malfoy, and I don't trust Pansy, either."
"That's fine, Weasley. I don't need your approval. I love Harry, Harry loves me, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it. Now, I'm willing to ignore the fact that you are an asshole, and even try to be friends -because- I love Harry. One more question, if you don't mind me asking - which I'm positive you do - so, I'll ask you anyway. Why is it that I'm willing to trust Harry, and try to trust you and Granger, but you can't admit to yourself that you still, and always have, loved Pansy?"
"That's simple," Ron replied, expression tight with repressed anger. "Hermione and I are on the right side. You and Pansy aren't. I can't trust her anymore than I can trust you. And it's not love when there is no trust. So I obviously don't love her, Malfoy. I can't love her. It would be betrayal."
"Ron, it's not betrayal when they are on the -same- side as we are. They just took a bit longer to see the right path-" Harry paused and restated his words, "at least, the better of the two paths." Draco thought for a moment. When was the first time he thought about going over to Harry's side?
But he never had. It had never been a conscious decision. It had been shagging at first; he hadn't anticipated changing his beliefs, but he had, as time wore on, as he fell in love with Harry. The actual decision had never come, but Draco knew that he would let his entire family die before he would let anything happen to Harry.
"I don't care, Harry, if they killed their own family for our side, I can't trust them. And without trust, there can't be love. There can be lust, but not love. I can't love Pansy -because- I'll never trust her. And you shouldn't love Malfoy, because you can't trust him." Draco quickly looked at Harry. Would Harry see Ron's side of this, because the red haired boy standing in front of him did have a point. Why did Harry trust him so much? He didn't even trust himself.
"Like you said, Ron, it's simple. I trust him because I love him. I know he loves me in return. I know what I'd do for him, and I imagine that he'd do the same for me. You severely underestimate the power of love upon a person," Harry replied, and Draco smiled, glad that Harry understood the extent of what Draco felt for him. In almost a whisper, Draco added, "He's right. I would do anything for Harry. Pansy could feel the same for you. Even if she never did, she would still be on the right side. She's against Voldemort; her parents don't know yet, but they'll find out soon, and she'll be disowned. She'll lose everything, willingly. You can trust her."
Ron seemed to think for a moment, his eyes becoming glazed over. Finally, when Draco was about to turn and leave, Ron did something he never thought Ron would do. "Mal-Draco? W-would you…would you ask Pansy…" Ron took a deep breath, "would you ask Pansy if she would ever…feel that way…about me?"
Draco almost smiled again. "I'd be glad to." The words seemed to shatter the tension in the room. Ron smiled, which created a sort of domino effect. Harry broke into a grin, and Draco had no choice but to join in with a small smile of his own.