Expiry Date

By Green

Rating: R

Pairing: Ron Weasley/ Draco Malfoy (mais naturellement)

Warnings: SLASH! (although I know for some that's more bait than a warning), some language, some violence…the usual, basically. Also use of italics - it gets to some people

Series/Sequel: Part one

Disclaimer: They are mine, but until I escape from the alien holding facility and return to the mother ship to spread the truth about the secret government air-freshener no one will know the truth…um, actually, yeah, not mine at all.

Notes: I really wanted to write more R/D and finally this plotline clobbered me from somewhere and refused to let go. I was so touched by the response to 'Funny How…', and I only hope people like this as much. It's also gonna be a series.

As always, please read and review * g *


''How long until he figures it out, do you think?''

Draco's question intrudes into my silence with a chilling echo. I wonder how I ever thought I could escape from him.

Doesn't stop me trying.

''Malfoy! What the hell are you doing here?''

''I could ask you the same question''

He detaches himself from the shadows of the pillar and moves towards me. For someone with a significant disadvantage in height he manages to carry himself with great power and dignity. I call it scary. It's not what I mean, but I don't have a better word.

He raises one finger to his cheek in a mock-questioning attitude:

''Now, what, I wonder, could Ronald Weasley be doing in the cellars of Hogwarts at this late hour? How many house points are deducted for being out of bed at this time again?''

''I asked you first''

Stupid reply, but anything to fend him off. He smiles without his eyes and hangs sideways from the arm wrapped around the pillar. As he swings around his torso stretches out under the strain, flexing towards me.

''Well, Weasley, I had the chance of getting you all to myself for once, didn't I? You're always with * him * you know, 'Oooh, Hawwy, what a twuly fantastic catch! That ball was moving so fast! How did you ever manage to wetrieve it?''

''I do * not * talk like that!'' I thought that kind of mimicry was beneath him, intellectually speaking, at any rate.

''You think I can't hear? I'm in a bloody House Quidditch Team as well, you know''

''Which has nothing to do with your Father supplying the broomsticks, I'm sure. Now, if you've nothing life-shattering to add to this discussion, I have to go.''

''Oh no, Weasley'' His voice drips with sarcasm, but he swings around once more, blocking my way and looking grimly into my eyes. ''You're not leaving until you answer my question''

''What question?''

''Oh, just the one you've been trying to pretend you didn't hear all week: How long do you think you can go before he figures it out?'' Smiling like a crocodile must, eyes cold, and I almost expect a third eyelid to flick out over them he's so reptilian.

But in this cold room the heat of his blood is all too obvious.

''I don't know what you mean.''

''How. Long. Until. The great Harry Potter, the boy who the entire female population of the school wants to get hot and flustered, figures out that his best friend has designs on his ass?''

His tone is patronising, but his eyes still look too bright, too focussed. As he talks his lips press gently together, with a tiny moist sound as he enunciates all his consonants.

Perhaps it is the way my breath streams out white in the cold air that makes it seem so loud…

''How much longer can it last, Weasley? How much happiness do you think you really deserve?''

I can see he won't leave until I answer. After a week of near escapes he's run me to earth.


It began on Monday. I hate Mondays.

''Why are you stalking me, Malfoy?''

Asking the question, was I suppose, tantamount to opening the door to a ravenous wolf, but I was sick of him turning up everywhere I went, as he had been the past three days.

He leant casually against the wall of the corridor, then took an apple out of his pocket and rubbed it against his thigh before taking a sharp bite. Like I was his servant or something, someone to wait on his inclination to notice me. A tiny dribble of juice wound a sticky-sweet trail to his chin before he finally answered.

''I want to see the shit hit the fan, Weasley''

''I don't know what you're hinting about, Malfoy, and I doubt you do either'' I picked up my bag from the floor, put the books from my locker into it and turned to leave.

He leisurely stood up straight and flicked his apple core onto the floor. And then it came:

''How long until he figures it out, do you think?''

''What?'' My exasperated question came too late to disguise that I knew exactly what he was talking about, and that it shook me, badly. I think I paled and flushed simultaneously. That isn't possible, right? But then, neither was him knowing what he so obviously did.

''Come on, Weasley - don't have the family brain-cell today do we? When the-boy-who-couldn't-get-decent-reconstructive-surgery finally wanders through the mire of his brain and reaches the truth it's going to be the most amusing scene in * years *. If you think I'd miss that…''

Thoughts chased through my mind in an angry blast - 'He wants to * watch * me and Harry fight? Not that we will. But if we did, I mean, he thinks we definitely will, and if that was so, of course, nothing will happen, but the bastard wants to watch!'

His eyes still gazed at me appraisingly, mockingly, coldly. I felt a chill run over my spine and I turned my back on him only to find that it was worse, because I could feel the eyes as they watched me down the corridor.

And I could feel my skin dancing under the attention…


From then on in he was * everywhere *

I could never settle unless I had found out where he was watching from - in the Library, in the Hall, on the Quidditch pitch. So, of course, even on the few occasions he wasn't there I thoroughly spoiled any enjoyment I might have got from the activity.

At first I thought I was safe in the Gryffindor tower - then I remembered the Polyjuice potion.

He was in my * dreams * for godssakes. Always laughing, always waiting. The dreams I'd started to have last year, strange twisty-warm visions of other boys that I hated and prayed for. Things you don't think about in the daylight. Now he intruded, cold, and ruined every one. Whatever scenario my mind had imagined, it would suddenly stop as I realised that he'd been watching the whole time. _ Laughing _

Harry was so kind. Hermione caring. I wished that there were anything resembling the truth that I could reply to their enquiries.

But whenever I talked to Harry I could almost hear a clock ticking in the background. His friendship, and more or less equally so Hermione's, means more to me than anything. I didn't want to lose it.

But the worst thing was that I soon realised Malfoy was right.

Harry would never be able to deal with me being…well, what I was. With my feelings. I used to think it would be tough enough if either of us fell for Hermione, but this! This was ten times worse.

He was my friend. He was going to notice.

The clock was ticking.


I thought that I could escape here, down into the depths of the cellars. I thought I might get a moment's peace denied to me in sleep.

Once again I seem to have underestimated how committed he is to his little 'projects'.

And now, with his arm blocking my path out, I'm almost pleased. I'm sick of running away from him. I'm sick of being scared.

''You haven't answered my question yet, Weasley.''

I could probably take him if it came to a fight, but he's tenacious, and he's definitely a biter…

'You're a sick bastard.''


His arm still trapping me, and that too-focussed look still present. He's really…anxious about this. What * is * this? His eyes, close-up, look red, he hasn't been sleeping.

''I'm Harry's friend, Malfoy, nothing more... I don't get why you care so much about this.''

''No, you probably don't.'' His tone has changed completely - he laughs and stands back, leaving the way clear. ''You really haven't got a clue have you? No social skills to be passed on in your family, I presume.''

Just when I half-believe I can see some motivation in what he does he goes back to cheap shots and cruel digs.

''I don't have time for this, Malfoy.'' I stride past him and towards the stairs, so quickly that I almost miss his reply:

''No, you don't have much time at all.''