AN: So I went searching for a Ron/Draco marriage fic to settle down with the other day and I just couldn't seem to find one. So, as is usually the case with me, I decided to write one myself. This is primarily a Ron/Draco story, but will have a good dose of Snarry smut thrown in for good measure. It's all written and I'll be uploading every couple of days.
This, Ron thought as he stood in the poky little room above the Leaky Cauldron, was not quite the conversation he had been expecting to have. It had been odd enough to find Draco Malfoy living in such comparatively ignoble circumstances, but to find a man who resembled very little of the boy he had been at school with was enough to throw him completely.
"It seems a strange thing to come and propose," the blond said as he looked up from the little writing table.
"Well, propose is the right word," Ron said, trying to inject a little levity into the situation.
"Please don't try and be glib, it doesn't suit you," Draco said, but the words came with a sigh rather than a sneer. "Let me see if I fully understand this bizarre idea of yours."
"Well, it's mine and Harry's. Actually it's really all Harry, I just – "
"Don't interrupt," Draco said with a mild imitation of a glare. "You and Potter have got it into your rather thick skulls that the best way to counteract the growing hostility towards Slytherins is if I marry you and Severus marries Potter. Have I got that right?"
"In a nutshell," Ron said, willing to concede that when said aloud it sounded truly preposterous.
It had sounded just so when Harry had first put the idea forward, but Hermione had jumped on it, declaring it be his best idea to date. Ron had privately thought the whole was bonkers, but that Severus and Draco would never go for it anyway and that the whole thing would all end up being a moot point. Still, he had to jump through the relevant hoops so he could tell Harry and Hermione that he had done his part and then could be left in peace.
"And how did you decide who gets whom?" Draco said, slinging an arm over the back of his chair. "Did you draw straws?"
"Well, Harry was pretty keen on the professor. He and Snape have…been dancing around one another for the last couple of years. They're always flirting whenever they're at a Ministry function or – "
"Well, I wouldn't know about that," said Draco curtly, "as I'm not invited to such things these days."
"That's the point," said Ron, pulling out the second chair from underneath the table and sitting opposite Draco. "You and a lot of other Slytherins are being treated like second-class citizens. There's a growing feeling of bitterness and resentment and Harry's worried – well we're all worried – that we need to do something about it before it gets out of hand."
"And how does me marrying you help that? Or Severus marrying Potter?"
Ron ran a hand through his hair and said with a sigh, "Whether you or I like it or not, Harry and I are probably the two most prominent people in the wizarding world, it's a hangover from the bloody war. You and Severus are the two most prominent Slytherins that the public still hear of regularly – "
"That the public feel free to revile and abuse whenever they damn well feel like it," Draco interjected.
"Exactly," Ron said, beginning to feel frustrated. "You and Snape are hardly having an easy time of it, are you? Despite the fact that you were both exonerated and pardoned you still encounter hostility on a daily basis, and it's the same for lots of former Slytherins. This could turn into a serious issue if we don't do something about it."
"And you think us marrying will sort it?" Draco asked, looking far from convinced.
"I think it'll go a fair way to helping, yes. Mine and Harry's profiles are so big that our every action is commented upon. Think what people will say when they hear that we're marrying two people that they're ambivalent about at best. I know it sounds big-headed and pompous, but marrying us will make people think twice about you and consequently other Slytherins too."
"That's a pretty big bloody leap."
"I know," Ron conceded. "And there's a chance that it won't do a damn thing, that people will just think me and Harry are a bit tapped in the head and everything will carry on as normal. But," Ron said forcefully, "there's also a chance that it could change people's perceptions, that we could alter things for the better."
Draco looked at Ron carefully, a reluctance about his manner that told Ron the man was fighting his mind's desire to relent to logic. "What sort of marriage are we talking about here?" he asked eventually, clearly thinking that the practical route was the best to take.
"The usual kind, I suppose," said Ron with a shrug. "We wouldn't have to go down the traditional route with fidelity clauses and binding contracts but it would be a wizarding marriage. We'd only have to be married a year, two at most and then we could go our separate ways, say we just weren't as compatible as we thought."
"And while we're married, I assume we'll be living together?" Draco said, obviously feeling bolstered by retreating behind practicality.
"Well yeah, it would look a bit odd if we didn't." Ron looked around the room and felt an awkward blush creep up his neck as he said, "We can live at mine. We can't really move into a pub."
"So sorry," Draco drawled, "but this is all I can afford at the moment."
"I wasn't having a dig," Ron said, but Draco waved his hand dismissively. "I have a place in the wizarding quarter of Bath. It's…well it's rather nice," he said, feeling embarrassed at the shift in the dynamics of their relationship. He wasn't used to being the one with money, but the huge sum the Ministry had granted him for his part in the war was far from diminishing.
"Bath, very upmarket," Draco said dryly.
"There's plenty of room for the two of us. You'd have your own room, your own space. We'd just leave each other alone I guess, see how we get along. And Bath's nice, you could spend your days – "
"What? Lounging elegantly around coffee shops?" Draco asked, his eyes flashing. "It might interest you to know that I hardly live the life of a pampered playboy. I work three jobs just to pay the rent on this crappy room and feed myself. Don't you worry yourself, I won't be playing the part of the kept husband."
"I didn't mean that," Ron said with a sigh. "Sorry, I didn't think."
"Didn't think someone like me would stoop low enough to work minimum wage jobs? Yeah well…it's not like I've got a choice. Every last Malfoy asset was seized in case you forgot, and it's not exactly easy to come by well-paid jobs these days. I take what I can get."
"I really didn't mean to cause you any offense," Ron said, trying to look as sincere as he felt.
Draco looked at him for a moment before giving a relenting sigh and saying, "Fine. I suppose you can't be blamed for stuffing your overly large feet in your mouth constantly."
Ron grinned, pleased that there was a small glimmer left of the boy he remembered. Draco's shoulders slumped a little and he got up and moved to the dressing table under the window. He grabbed a bottle and a couple of glasses and brought them back over with him. He sat back down and poured them both a generous measure, pushing the glass towards Ron before raising his own to his lips.
"Cheers," Ron said, taking a sip. It certainly wasn't the expensive stuff, that was for sure, but it was palatable enough.
"This…marriage," Draco said, his lip curling slightly on the word, "would be a wizarding one?"
"It would look better if it was."
"That means it would have to be consummated," Draco said bluntly, and Ron felt the tips of his ears heat.
"Um…yeah. Oh…fuck…I didn't even stop to consider if you were gay. Shit, what a fucking idiot I am. I mean it's obvious Snape is; he and Harry have been giving each other the come-on for months, he'd leap at the chance to jump Harry's bones, but – "
"I am gay," Draco interrupted, looking rather exasperated.
"Oh, well that's something. Still…it doesn't mean for a second that you'd find me…you know…" Ron trailed off, taking a large gulp of his drink for want of something to do.
"Oh yes, because you're so very troll-like," Draco said, rolling his eyes. "I never realised you were gay."
"Well, I'm bi, actually," Ron said, thinking with a degree of fondness about the summer he had spent figuring that out.
"Well, that means that Granger isn't ruled out of future bliss. Why haven't you put a ring on her finger?" Draco asked, crossing one long leg over the other.
"Me and 'Mione aren't suited. We figured that out pretty quickly, with only minimal damage to our friendship, thank Merlin." He drained the rest of his glass and set it on the table, then said, "Look, I really didn't expect you to say yes, at least…not straight away. I'll go, give you some time to think about it. Drop me an owl when you figure out what your answer is."
He rose to his feet and Draco followed suit, frowning as he said, "What kind of marriage would you want?"
The question blindsided Ron a little. He hadn't really given it any kind of thought if he was honest. He was just going along with this hare-brained scheme and doing his duty, trying to do his bit to make sure that the wizarding world didn't inadvertently slip into a breeding ground for bitter resentment and blind prejudices to fester.
"I don't know," he said honestly. "Marriage…has always been important to me, it isn't something that should be done lightly, even if it is only for show. I'd…I'd want to be a good husband, I'd want us to be happy…or at least as happy as we could be in a fake marriage. I suppose…I suppose I'd want us to do things together, you know…like attend functions or just go to dinner. I don't think I'd want us to just live completely separate lives, it would be nice if we could fit into each other's somehow I guess. I…I'm rambling, aren't I?"
"A little," said Draco with a nod, "but thankfully it isn't indecipherable. And what about sex?"
"What about it?" Ron asked, wishing he could control his damned blushes.
"Well, how frequently are you going to want it?"
"I'm not going to be some bloody old-fashioned tyrant demanding my conjugal rights," Ron said, feeling mildly offended. "As you say, we'll have to consummate the marriage…after that…we can see. Nothing has to be set in stone."
"And if I don't want to sleep with you after that, what then? Will you go outside our marriage for it?"
"No," said Ron, not needing to consider the question. "I meant what I said – marriage is important to me and I'd rather not violate the bonds of it. It's hardly like I'm gagging for it, I can do without. Besides, I'm up to my neck in my studies at the moment, I barely have the time for a sandwich these days, let alone tramping around bars looking for a quick shag. What about you? Will you go outside the marriage for sex?"
"I hardly think it will be an issue," Draco said, his cheeks flushing slightly as he busied himself with rearranging a bunch of papers on the writing desk. He took a deep breath and looked up again, saying, "You'll have my answer by the end of the week."
Ron nodded and headed for the door, wondering how Harry was faring with his task.
"I always suspected you'd sustained brain injuries during the war. Your aftercare really was appalling."
"Oh come on, you think it's a good idea, I know you do."
"I think it's a preposterous idea, quite possibly the worst one you've ever had," Severus said, brushing past Harry to get to his ingredients cabinet.
"Oh I've had far worse, I'm sure," Harry said with a grin, folding his arms and leaning against the bookcase.
"Get off those you wretched boy, there are a number of first editions that you're lolloping all over," Severus said, giving his shoulder a hard thump as he moved back to his workbench, a jar of lizard entrails in his hands.
Harry did as he was told and moved to stand beside Severus at the workbench, leaning forward on his fists and eyeing Severus out of the corner of his eye. "Just think about it, you can finally get in my pants, like you've wanted to for months."
"You certainly think a lot of yourself, Potter," Severus said, refusing to look up from the guts he was dissecting. "Besides, one hardly needs a marriage license to engage in a long, hard fuck."
"Don't say things like that, I'll never walk out of here with my dignity intact," Harry moaned, feeling his trousers tighten uncomfortably.
"What makes you think I'm going to let you anyway?" Severus asked smoothly, tilting his head to look at Harry slyly.
"See," Harry said triumphantly. "You do want to shag me senseless, and quite honestly I would love it if you would. What better opportunity than this? We can counteract the growing bad feeling against Slytherins, raise your profile, get you into a much better lab than this one, get better funding for your potions and fuck each other's brains out for a year or so."
"And where would we live? Have you considered any of the practicalities?" Severus asked, laying his knife down and looking at Harry with the same look he had always worn when he considered Harry to be being particularly stupid.
"Of course I have! Give me some credit. I'd hardly come bounding in here with an idea I just had yesterday!" It was the day before yesterday, Harry added mentally, trying not to smirk. "We'll live at mine, we can find you a decent lab space to rent and you can ask Malfoy to come and be your assistant. We both know you need one and Merlin knows the man could do with a decent wage. I saw him last week and he looked ready to keel over. We'll shag like bunnies whenever we feel the urge, have separate bedrooms, our own space and pretty much carry on exactly like we're doing now, just with great sex to break up the monotony."
"Do you ever get tired of the sound of your own voice?" Severus asked in a drawl.
"Not really," Harry said cheekily. "Look, it's a good arrangement, you know it is. We could be live-in fuck buddies."
"And that's all you'd want?" Severus asked, his eyes narrowing. "No strings?"
"No strings, I promise. I'm hardly looking for happily ever after."
"And what makes you think I'd want to live in Grimmauld? Festering hellhole that it is."
"Because it isn't a festering hellhole anymore. I've done it up really nicely and it's bloody massive. You can have a whole floor to yourself and not be bothered by me for weeks on end if you don't want to be."
"Apart from when you come pawing at my door begging me to fuck you raw."
Harry smirked and moved a little closer, saying, "How do you know it won't be the other way around?"
Severus matched the facial expression and moved to press Harry into the workbench, resting a hand either side of him. "Because, Mr Potter," he said smoothly, "I am not a hormone-riddled twenty-something who can't control their desires."
"No," Harry said, arching his hips up to press his groin into Severus', "you're a forty-something man who has wanted to fuck me into the middle of next week for ages. I'm betting you're not just going to want to do it the once."
"You're a cocky little sod," Severus said, his eyes narrowing as Harry continued to move his hips in small circles.
"I know, but you can't tell me I'm wrong. So, what do you say to making an honest man of me?"
Ron sighed and rubbed his eyes tiredly. He glanced up at the clock and saw that it was approaching one in the morning. It was his own stupid fault of course; he'd left it far too late to start his essay and now he was having to work like a madman to make sure he met the deadline.
He loved training to be a Healer, and he hadn't once questioned if it was the right path for him, but he would never love the pressures of academia. The course was tough, and they had lost around a third of the original intake. It was intense, full-on and very demanding, but Ron was loving every minute of it. The essays he could well do without, but needs must he supposed, and he just had to grit his teeth and get on with them.
He loved the practical side to his training. He worked in St Mungo's three days a week, shadowing Healer O'Brien who was a force to be reckoned with. She was fierce and didn't suffer fools gladly, but she was brilliant at her job and Ron felt that he was learning more from her than in all his lectures and seminars put together.
He enjoyed being on the wards too, and he liked the interactions he was able to have with the patients. He knew that a lot of people felt uncomfortable around the sick or injured, but he didn't. He liked to be able to sit and listen to their stories, to speak with their families where possible, and he found the pastoral side to Healing just as important as the medical side.
"Time to call it a day…or a night," he muttered into the silence. He sorted through his papers and stacked his textbooks neatly for when he would need them the following day and sat back in his chair, easing his neck back and forward.
The library in his home, which doubled up as his study, was probably his favourite room in the house. It was cosy and warm, and the soft blues and greys of the wallpaper always soothed him. There were a couple of comfortable armchairs in front of the fire and a small wireless was placed in the corner on a pretty antique table that Ron had stumbled upon at a flea market.
He loved his home, it was the sort of place he had always imagined himself living in. It was a three-storey townhouse in the heart of wizarding Bath, modest but spacious. There was a large, airy kitchen, pantry and dining room on the ground floor, a beautiful living room and his beloved library-cum-study on the first floor, then three ensuite bedrooms on the second floor.
Harry and Hermione were frequent visitors, along with George and Ginny, both of whom he had grown significantly closer to after the war. They had both hinted, at one time or another, that they would have liked to move in with him, but he had enjoyed living on his own, enjoying his own company.
He padded softly up to his bedroom, running his hand along the smooth, polished surface of the bannister. The house had needed a bit of work when he'd first bought it, but Harry and Hermione had been on hand to help out with both elbow grease and magic. It had taken a while, but it was now the home he had always envisioned.
He flopped down on his large, four-poster bed, staring up at the canopy, feeling as though he had rubbed sandpaper over his eyes. He was working up the energy to strip himself of his clothes when he heard a knocking sound at the window. He pushed himself up onto his elbows and saw a small brown owl scratching to be let in.
He made his way over the window and opened it, accepting the letter and shooing the bird away, saying, "Go down to the kitchen, you'll find something down there."
He opened the letter, fairly sure that he recognised the handwriting. Sure enough, it was from Draco, and Ron scanned the brief missive a couple of times before the words sank in.
I have given your proposal a great deal of thought and, while it still rings ludicrously in my head, I have to concede that I can see the potential of such a union. I am therefore writing to tell you that I accept. If convenient, I shall call upon you tomorrow afternoon at 4 o'clock and we can iron out the details.
It was perhaps the most cordial communication Ron had ever had with the man and he wondered yet again at how much Draco had changed. Still, he had accepted, that was the main thing. Now all he had to concern himself with was the marriage itself.
Severus had accepted Harry, unsurprisingly. The plan was that if Draco agreed there would be a joint wedding with only a few guests but open to the press. Harry had contacts in several of the newspapers and they would be only too thrilled to attend and report upon the weddings of the year, perhaps even the decade.
Ron rubbed at the growing stubble on his jaw and decided it could all wait until the morning. He needed to collapse into bed and drift into unconsciousness; the time for considering marriage to Draco Malfoy could wait for now.
AN: Well, I hope you enjoyed the first part. Please let me know.