Art/Fic title: Aeon
Art Characters: Ron and Draco
Fic Characters: Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Colin Creevey
Disclaimers: characters copyrighted to JK Rowling. I used a photo reference for the poses because I really really suck at proportions.

Inspiration: I just really miss photography. Films aren't cheap.

A/N: This was supposed to be a drabble. Tsk. But the story wrote itself from the image.

accompanying images: Please look at my bio for the accompanying images since ffnet removes the links automatically.
- the one found in Colin's gallery
- a closer look at the photograph
- the captured moment from a past

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Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing
and when they have vanished
there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Everyone starts somewhere. A would be painter picks up his first brush at one point in his life. A would be novelist writes the first thing he thinks about it. A would be photographer takes a picture of just about anything that remotely looks interesting. All professionals were once amateurs.

Every art form has a limitation. Words, paint, even photographs. No matter how similar an art piece is to real life, it will never be the exact same. Often, the artist wonders, why bother? Why slave for something so finite?

Muggles have difficulty in capturing life. They always have to settle with stills. The books will never speak out loud. The paintings and photographs will never move. Wizards, despite their magic, still have difficulty in capturing that life even though the books speak and the illustrations move.

He has seen both worlds, that of magic and that of the ordinary and the scientific. Very few wizards will prefer the muggle invention over the enchantments of the Wizarding World's camera. "It's futile," they say. "They'll never ever move," they always add.

The moving pictures give the illusion of life and no doubt, when one captures a couple dancing, they will forever dance to a silent song that has faded in time. Only the dancing couple will know that song and perhaps, the one who took the picture if he can still remember.

Nevertheless, he has his reasons. Will they ever understand when one captures a single drop of the falling rain? This drop will never touch the ground. This is the magic of the muggles, finite beings that they are and with a much, much shorter life span than those born with a wizard's blood.

What happens at a particular second disappears the next. Moments are just that short, a millisecond of someone's life that can never happen again --- never the exact same.

When a photographer captures that one single moment and freezes it for eternity (or for as long as the film and paper can last), it is worth more than a thousand moving pictures. Not in any of those moving portraits can separate that single expression from the fleeting gestures and keep it.

Memories fade. Movements never stop. But, a frozen image will stay the same, the exact same, no matter how many times a person looks at it.

Of course, treasures like these need to be taken care of. They are printed in fine and sturdy paper. The exposure needs to be timed to have the right colors. They need to be framed. They need to have the right light. And like all creations meant to last in people's memories, they need to be named.

"Immemorial." Someone's shadow looms over the glass frame to read the label.

Colin Creevey freezes in his place. He never writes the names of his subjects and though he now asks permission to take photographs, he was young when he had taken this particular picture. Who would have thought that the two will show up in his gallery's opening? It's been twenty years and he certainly hopes that the businessman will not start a copyright lawsuit for one picture.

"It's been awhile, hasn't it?"

"I never did count the years."

"How are you?"

"Red hair, freckles, still taller than you... "

"A simple 'fine' would have sufficed."

"Married?"

"No more. I've done my duty."

"You?"

"Living a happy life."

"With Granger?"

"Divorced."

"With child?"

"Two sons, one daughter."

"How is she?"

"We're best friends."

"Not normal but expected."

Creevey watches the two men interact through the reflection of their framed photograph. They are standing together, not too far and not too close either. He can feel their eyes on his back though he knew that neither was looking at him but at their frozen past behind the glass frame, a stolen shot one summer the day before the seventh years depart and leave Hogwarts for good.

For all the visitors passing them by, the two men seem to be having a conversation about the picture on this solitary wall with how they stand, eyes never leaving the photo and speaking in a manner of lax confidence in each of the words exchanged. He can't move, despite the need and want to do so. It is instinct that tells him the moment he moves he interrupts the conversation.

"This is unexpected."

"Twenty years is a long time, Weasley."

"I know."

And then silence.

Creevey waits for a while, making sure his legs haven't fallen asleep before he deigns to turn and leave. Before he does, however, a strong hand clamps down on his shoulder and he can only say, "I'm sorry!"

Ronald Weasley chuckles and eventually smiles, "Take it easy. He wants to buy it." He gestures at the man standing not too far from them.

"I suppose." Draco Malfoy nods and adds, raising an eyebrow at Colin, "Also the negative. Have it delivered to my residence within the week and please have it removed from this wall once we both turn our backs."

"UhmI'm not selling"

"That will be all, Mr. Creevey. I would have sued you for intruding what should have remained private, but I've lost a certain bet and you've earned yourself an act of kindness from me for reasons you do not need to know."

Colin sighs and takes the frame off the wall dejectedly. It has been among his masterpieces and, considering who the people were in it, it might as well be placed in history books of both clans.

"Thanks, Colin," Ron gives him a sympathetic smile but his eyes say he agrees with Draco on this one. He takes Colin's hand in a firm handshake, "You have a good place here and, I reckon, the rest of the gang are here as well. Congratulations. We'll go ahead and, if any of them looks for me, say I left early."

Again, Colin sighs. The frame is still in his hands and he looks at it, then at the two figures walking away and sharing a private joke. The Malfoy actually laughs at something a Weasley said. He looks at them and then at the frame, and then at the now empty space on the wall with the caption "Immemorial: Hogwarts, 1998."

Colin realizes that no one knew then, and they both wish for no one to know still. It is their time, their world and their story to tell. Though, he can't help but wonder what the bet was.

Twenty years ago, a boy sat at the platform where the Hogwarts Express was parked. The following day, this platform would be packed with students returning home and others, leaving for good. He was one of those who would be leaving for good. Seven years had come and gone and it was the end, at last.

Someone arrived, wearing a fine garb of dark green. He sat right next to the boy who had his elbows rested on his knees, staring straight at the empty train.

"It's the end," Malfoy's gaze fell on to the train as well.

"It is."

"We're too young, you know that. We'd end up killing each other."

"I know. Do you believe in fate?"

"I'm not a romantic."

"Do you?"

"No."

"That's good. That makes the two of us."

Draco tilted his head, giving Ron a strange look. "What are you getting at?"

"History will never repeat itself and even if it does, there's something bound to be different the second time around." Ron turned his head a little, meeting Draco's eyes without facing the blond, "If today happens for a second time, exactly the same thing then I will answer to fate. Will you?"

A smirk danced on Draco's lips, amusement, sadness, cynicism, he really didn't know which or why, but a smirk had always been his immediate reply to a lot of things. He leaned over and rested his chin on Ron's shoulder, whispering, "Seal it with a kiss?"

Ron closed his eyes and shifted closer, meeting Draco's lips with his.

It was better than saying goodbye.

Twenty years later, Colin Creevey now sits inside his office and still sighing over the loss of one of his masterpieces.

"Ah wellit wasn't my memory to keep anyway."

With deep regret, he carefully takes the piece out of the frame and slips it in between the sturdy cardboards. He fastens each side of the cardboards together before wrapping it up with linen paper. He heaves one last heavy sigh as he slides it inside an envelope with the negative. Finally, finally, he seals the envelope and lets an owl have it, "Send this to Draco Malfoy."

FIN