Disclaimer: Characters belong to JKR, idea belongs to Dallas, story belongs to me.

Gold is, ultimately, the perfect metal. It is a pure element; indestructible, and does not tarnish, rust, or corrode.

Everything Draco touches is golden. His room is immaculately spotless; décor sparse yet elaborate, and everything at exact right angles to one another. Even the sunshine which enters his room on tiptoe, thief-like, is a perfect rectangle, elongating and creeping across the dustless tassled carpet before dulling and making its escape. Draco sometimes wonders how the sun manages to get in, considering that his room is under the lake.

Draco likes to touch Ron. Ron is freckled and lanky and messy and imperfect as they tangle in the bed sheets, which are only slightly darker after their dirty deeds are done, and curl perfectly around their bodies like shells, or cocoons. He touches Ron and he is warm and wriggly and not at all uncomfortable to be with.

Draco likes to make Ron scream. Ron is vocal and loud, and Draco often thinks that Ron can be heard from the other side of Hogwarts. Draco thinks many things as he rakes his fingernails into Ron's skin and leaves hard bite marks in Ron's shoulders and neck. Draco is not at all like Ron-- he does not scream or shout Ron's name. He buries his face in his pillow like an ostrich, fingers gripping the downy thing until his knuckles go white, and he clenches his eyes shut and clamps his teeth on his lips until he leaves ruby red blossoms on the pillowcase where his mouth used to be. When it is over he detaches himself from Ron and does not cuddle but goes to the bathroom, every gelled hair still in place; washes up, and gets dressed. When he returns Ron is asleep and curled like a caterpillar. Sometimes, Draco gets in quietly next to him and sleeps with his eyes open until morning. Other times, Draco slides into the armchair that feels like a crisp leather jacket across from the bed, and sits there a while.

Ron's hair falls freely over his head like a sweaty wet bush. Draco wonders why his hair doesn't burn his face off. Draco sometimes wonders if setting Ron on fire would erase the marring freckles from his body. Sometimes Draco wants to play Connect-the-Dots with Ron's freckles, then color in the spaces in between and turn Ron completely black. Or blue. Ron sleeps naked and child-like, his eyelids protecting Draco from the intense green fire of his eyes. If Draco tries, Draco could skim his fingers lightly over Ron's sleeping form and outline the gentle curves of his muscles and hips. Ron would dream of butterflies.

Ron snores gently with his mouth open. The sound rocks his body.

Draco does not snore. He sleeps like one of the dead; flat on his back, and pale until the sun rises and turns him a light shade of cream. Ron wakes up first with sunlight in his eyes, rolling over and kissing Draco on the lips. Ron does not much like kissing Draco in the morning. Draco's lips are cold and used, and his breath tastes of rust and coffins. Ron only really likes kissing Draco after dinner, when the blonde's eyes metamorphose from dull gray to a sharper shade of steel, and he forces the boy against a wall and rapes his mouth with his tongue. Draco tastes more pleasant then, like roast chicken or cream soup, but Ron knows that kissing is something that someone does when someone is in love, so he pauses and adds a gentle nibble to those abused pink lips.

"Lemme hear those three magic words," he purrs seductively into the shell of Draco's ear.

"Fuck off, Weasley," Draco murmurs drowsily. Ron leaves to use the bathroom, and when he returns the bed is made and Draco is standing at the window, staring blankly out into space.

Draco is by no means soft and warm. His body is composed of sharp angles and cold bone. Most alarming of all, Ron thinks, is his ribcage, which pokes up through his skin like worms gasping for air. Ron sometimes worries for Draco when Draco flies through the air on his broom. Draco flies like a suicidal moth to a flame, and Ron sometimes fears that he'll lose his wings and no longer flutter but fall to the ground and break.

Ron is sure that, if Draco were to fall, he would do so the same way he does everything else: with deadly accuracy. He is sure that his neck would snap clean, and his blood would soak into the ground and leave his hair perfect and untouched.

Harry and Draco look as if they are about to collide, then Draco pulls away and Harry grabs the Snitch, digging a trench in the ground with his broom, flipping over and rolling messily in the grass and dirt. When Draco comes down it takes all that Ron has to not run over and give him a hug. Instead, he runs to Harry with the rest of his team, the only contact between him and the cornflower-haired boy being a lingering brush of the fingers. Draco keeps walking silently next to a sweaty-haired Goyle and seems to stare intensely at Ron with invisible eyes at the back of his head until he reaches the showers, where he soaps his hand and rubs off the fingerprints of the redhead as the school's cheers of "Griff-in-door! Griff-in-door!" waft in like whispers through the steam.

Draco chews his pencils. Ron notices from all the way on the other side of the room. Chew chew chew, pearly, doll-perfect teeth munching like an overlarge termite. Ron wonders if Draco leaves such deep marks in his neck when Draco bites into him at night, vampire-hungry; when he bruise-kisses him ruthlessly and crushes lips and teeth and tongue. Ron is always left breathless when Draco does that. Draco… Draco doesn't breathe. Ron exhales, realizing that he has been holding his breath. Draco turns his pencil into an armadillo.

Draco also tickles his nose with his quill. His quill is one of those expensive ones; large, fluffy, and altogether utterly impractical. It matches in with all the rest of Draco's stuff. The blonde boy always had a larger eye for aesthetics than Ron, as was made evident when Ron once made the mistake of throwing his socks messily into the corner of the room while fucking and Draco, frowning, had got up and piled them, one on top of the other, next to Ron's shoes, which he straightened to be at a right angle to the wall. Draco twirls the quill between his finger and thumb, and Ron is sure that it has to tickle, but Draco doesn't sneeze. Distractedly, Ron turns his pencil into a rabbit and fails to notice when it hops over to Hermione and starts a fight with her gerbil, leaving graphite paw prints all over its fur.

After the lesson, Ron steers his friends to Draco's direction and accidentally-on-purpose bumps his arm. "Watch where you're going, Malfoy," he snaps. He smiles at Draco with his eyes.

Draco doesn't smile. Draco is not one for the thrill of secret romances, sly touches and stealthily given and taken looks. If someone asked Draco, Draco would have told them that yes, he was with Weasley though no, they were not boyfriends. "Sod off," he says with genuine irritation.

"What's wrong, Malfoy?" Harry challenges. "Stick wedged up your arse too tight?"

Draco looks at Ron, and his glassy gray button eyes break and almost glitter. "Why don't you ask Weasley?" he says, then makes his leave.

Some psychologists say that all people are born with the gift of free will. That people will ultimately be able to choose their own actions and personality regardless of any given situation. Draco is inclined to agree. Some psychologists also say that people are driven by unconscious urges stemming from repression of memories or trauma.

Draco has had no such trauma. He chooses to be the way he is. It protects him.

Ron is barely inside Draco's room before Draco slams him against the door and attacks his mouth. Ron's lips are soft and remind Draco of lavender-scented baby pillows. He touches Ron all over, lingering over each freckle as if they were old friends, unzips Ron's trousers and grabs his crotch, and Ron's already hard. Ron is breathy and red to match his hair. He slides his large hands around Draco's cheeks to the crook of his neck and almost cradles Draco's head as Draco fucks his mouth with his tongue. Ron moans softly into Draco's mouth. Draco pulls his hand out of Ron's trousers and leads the two to the bed. Ron shimmies out of his clothes and makes sure to place them in a relatively neat pile by the side of Draco's bed.

Draco has sex like he plays Quidditch: purposely and ruthlessly. Ron's breaths come out squeaky: "Erngh, erngh," and he wants to scream and finally he does, "God, Draco!" Draco's smile is razorblade sharp and he slits Ron's neck with it.

They finish. Draco lies there a while staring at the ceiling then slides to the edge of the bed and puts his feet on the floor. Ron grabs his wrist.

"Stay a while," he says. His hand is sweaty and slippery with other bodily fluids, his face still red, and grinning.

"Let go, Weasley," Draco says coldly. He places a hand over Ron's. Ron lets go and Draco goes to the washroom and takes a cold shower, soaping himself twice and thoroughly shampooing his hair. He rubs it over with a towel, drying it, before carefully applying a handful of hair gel. When he emerges, Ron is still awake.

Draco gets into bed. Ron leans over to him. "You look so hot when you're dirty," he whispers into Draco's ear, not for any other reason but to feel the swell of bad emotion that comes when the innocent say something naughty.

Draco shifts slightly away. Ron's words tickle his ear. "Thank you," he says.

Ron moves back a bit and stares at him. "You, Draco Malfoy, are a monkey," he declares disgustedly. Draco turns his head to its side to look at Ron. "Hermione was telling me of this psychologist who did experiments on baby monkeys," Ron says. "They were given contact with artificial mothers. One was made of wire and had food and the other was made of cloth and was soft. The baby monkeys went to the wire one for food but then would quickly leave for the cloth one. Harlow – that was the name of the psychologist," explains Ron, "said that it was a touch thing. Something about love and social skills growing from touch, for babies. Or something. It got boring after the bit with the wire monkeys." He shuffles a little closer to Draco.

Draco is privately amazed that Ron has an attention span long enough to listen to Hermione's drivel. "What are you doing?" he asks in a tone of distaste.

"Cuddling," Ron says firmly, and before Draco can move he clamps himself down on Draco, flinging muscled arms around Draco's waist and resting his cheek on Draco's clothed chest like a baby gorilla, dampening it with wet red curls.

Draco resists the urge to slap Ron's head away. Instead, he hesitates.

"C'mon," Ron says.

"You're ruining my shirt," Draco says.

Ron laughs. "You're so fucked up," he says and nibbles Draco's earlobe. He imagines that Draco smiles behind his skin.

Draco obligingly raises a hand and places it onto Ron's hair. He strokes downward. Ron's hair reminds him of the ocean, wavy and salty and strong with smells. He lifts and strokes again, this time allowing his fingers to separate the strands that clutch together like frightened lovers on a sinking ship. He separates them into clumps then separates again, wanting to rake through the faux helmet and be able to distinguish each individual hair. Hesitantly, he slides his hand down Ron's face, feeling the upside-down shape and the strong jaw line, then down the bone of his neck and gently, nervously skittering spider-like across the soft curve of Ron's shoulders. Ron breathes heavily; his chest rises and falls in synch to Draco's own slow moth breaths. His eyes glitter like exploding stars. Ron bends his head back, arching his back in a superhuman effort, capturing Draco's mouth with his.

Draco tastes of the bitter acid of apples and the faint peppermint of toothpaste.

Ron wakes Draco up just before the crack of dawn. He puts his clothes on haphazardly, much to Draco's disgust, and drags the boy up to the Astronomy Tower. He takes Draco to a telescope then releases his hand.

"Look," he says. "The furthest point of the lake."

Draco looks. "Black."


Draco looks. Closely. "It's flat."

"Just wait," Ron says confidently. He kisses Draco's gelled hair.

Draco takes the moment of closeness to straighten Ron's tie and fix his collar.

"Look! There," Ron says. Draco looks again. He can make out small ripples as sunlight graces the surface of the water. The water turns orangey-blue-green-red.

"Oh," he says. Ron's face crumples.

"Don't you think it looks good?" he says, somewhat lamely. "Look, Gryffindor colors and, um, Slytherin."

"Slytherin isn't black," Draco states.

"It's not black though," Ron protests. "Sorta green-y."

"Sorta," Draco yawns.

Ron takes them back to the room.

Ron looks upset. Harry asks him if he is.

"Huh? Oh, no."

"Are you sure?" Harry stares at the white circle Ron is etching around his knuckle with his nails.


"You're a terrible liar," Harry says. He pushes the crystal ball at Ron. "Trelawney's looking."

Ron puts his hands on it. His attention goes from his hand to nibbling the flesh of his lip.

"Ron," Harry says, then decides to change the topic. Almost. "You, uh, didn't sleep."


"Didn't see you come in last night," Harry says.

"Were you up waiting?" Ron asks in surprise.

"Well, bugging Hermione to help me with Potions, really. We were up until three."

"Oh, really." Ron grins. "And were you in your room or hers when you both were busy being 'up' until three?"

"Don't make me chuck this at you," Harry growls.

"You sound tired. You were only 'up' until three, you say?" Ron says. Ron likes to tease his friends.

Harry kicks him sharply, but grins. "At least we were asleep by three. Where were you?"


"New frontiers?" Harry says cheesily.

"Semi-new," Ron corrects.

"Sounds interesting," Harry says. "What's she like, then?"

"Hmm." Ron looks at the mess of black curls cascading over Harry's forehead, the lightning bolt scar, the red tinge of his nose and cheeks, the slight sheen of sweat forming over Harry's face-- Professor Trelawney's lessons are always too hot and stuffy. "Cold," he says with sudden realization.

Ron finds Draco after class. He grabs his hand and pulls him into a toilet cubicle. He pecks him on the forehead.

"I love you," he says.

"That's nice," Draco says.

Ron vaguely wonders why life makes itself so difficult for him. He had gotten a crush on Draco a couple months back, and had never dared to make a move until Draco had one day found him in a dark alley in Hogsmeade, punched him in the face, called him a bloody bastard, then snogged him hard against a wall. Easy as that. "No three words back?"

"You're hurting me," Draco says, and Ron stops gripping Draco so hard.

"Is 'I love you' really so hard to say?" he asks. He tries not to look disappointed.

Draco considers. "Weasley, you're mad." He catches the expression on Ron's face. "It's three words."

Ron looks utterly disgusted. "Do you even like me at all?" he asks.

Draco straightens his shirt cuffs. "I suppose so."

Ron is short-tempered and fiery. He pushes Draco on the chest. "You think you're so bloody golden," he snaps. "You act so cold so nothing can touch you. If you're gold, what am I?"

"Steel," Draco says. His smirk is lazy and dangerous, like a cat lashing its tail. "High carbon."

Ron stares at him in disbelief. He wants to hit Draco, or kiss him. He goes for the latter in anger, pressing the boy hard enough against the wall to hurt. Then he turns and noisily leaves.

A month passes, and Ron finds himself someone else. He slides under the sheets with Justin Finch-Fletchley, who is not cold but hot-blooded and wriggly. He shouts and touches generously, and doesn't bury his head in his pillow and doesn't bite his lips. He kisses Ron with soft reassurance and firm determination. His room is typically male; a pile of rumpled clothing lies in the corner, next to the table with a dent in the leg and a chair with a half-beaten yellow and black cushion on it. Ron is sure he saw a single white sock playing hide-and-seek under Justin's bed, which is lightly grayed with dust. Justin's hair is thick and curly and yellow as sunshine. It's nice to curl your fingers in, and there isn't a hint of hair gel at all. When they finish Justin smiles lazily at Ron and plays with his nipples and comments on how cute he looks with freckles. He puts on his trousers to sleep, but doesn't wash up.

Later, Ron sneaks out of Justin's room. He heads down the Hufflepuff corridor to the hidden door in the blank wall. He mutters a password, enters, and goes to Draco's room. The blonde is awake, sitting serenely cross-legged in the center of the green carpet.

"Hey," says Ron.

"Hello," says Draco.

"What're you doing?" Ron asks.


"There's a chair right here," Ron says.

"I know."

There is a pregnant pause. "What, no greeting?"

Draco gets up. "You forgot your tie," he remarks. Ron glances down and does his best not to freak out.

"It's in my room," he says.

Draco arches an eyebrow. "You don't have a room. You like to share."

"Damn it," Ron says, and runs his hand through tousled hair.

"You like blondes," Draco states. "I'm sure Justin will be happy to give your tie back to you tomorrow morning. Or is it Finnigan?"

"Justin," Ron says and tries not to think about why Draco refers to him by his first name. "Don't assume things."

"I'm not assuming," Draco says.


Draco places his hand on Ron's arm and almost smiles. His cloudy gray sky eyes shine a little.

"I don't love you," Ron says. The words almost choke in his throat. "I just realized, when I was with Justin. I'm in lust with you. That's all."

"Okay," Draco says. He strokes Ron's hair.

"Um." Ron looks at Draco's hand, stroking his hair. "You're not angry?"


"Oh." Ron gulps his heart down to his stomach. "So… same thing for you? Not love?"

"No. Probably not."

"Oh. Um. Okay then." Ron suddenly wishes things would stop being so bizarrely simple. "So I'll go, then."

"Bye," Draco says, retracting his hand. The shine disappears back behind the clouds of gray. Ron's eyes seem to dull, as if his heart just broke and the blood was shadowing the glitter.

"Um. Bye." Ron hesitates, leans over to kiss Draco on the forehead, and stops a millimeter away from touching skin to skin. He offers a strange, small and crooked sort of smile, then turns and leaves, the click of the door reverberating around the empty room.

Draco goes to his bed, turns on his side, wraps the blankets around him like a chrysalis and closes his eyes. Gold is thermally conductive, but there's nothing to conduct when the fire's gone.

Author's Note: Just thought it worth mentioning that steel's not a pure element but an alloy of copper and zinc. Draco and Ron are very, very OOC, but since there are so many pissy, cold Dracos and so many fiery, blazing Rons out there in the HP fandom that I thought it'd be fun to tweak them a little and turn Draco arctic and Ron vice versa.