BETWEEN YOU AND ME
The final war is now behind them, which leaves only the future before them. The problem is, now the future is becoming rapidly unstable. With the past creeping in and shocking discoveries leaving everyone on edge, friendships, relationships and faith will be tested and not without scrutiny or angst.
DISCLAIMER: All characters, settings, and magical occurrences were all conceived and created in the brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling. Nothing except the glorious plot is property of mine. No profits are being made from my writing.
ANOTHER WARNING: This story will contain some SLASH, as it will be the main pairing. If this bothers, offends, or just grosses you out, you can save yourself a lot of pain and heartburn and just click the back button. Otherwise, stick around. I can only hope not to disappoint. I suppose it's best to point out that there will be HBP spoilers throughout. Though the main story takes place following the impending war the stories depict.
As the night had had given way to dawn, the unlikely pair had found sanctuary in Ron's old bed which Draco had to admit was more comfortable than it looked. The blonde had always enjoyed mornings. They were enjoyed by so few that he had always felt like they were his own. Which was whimsical and childish and everything that Draco tried not to be. He couldn't help himself.
He propped himself up upon one elbow, blankets falling just below his chest, hair a wild disaster he was sure. His mind that morning had so many things to process and absorb. So many things that were sending off an alarm saying absurd. It caused great alarm in his mind that in the last month everything he had been familiar with had been rocked beyond repair. Firstly, his once reliable and dependable life had been destroyed in the form of Seamus Finnegan. That would be an interesting meeting when the two were pushed in a room together. Not that he really still wanted Harry but mostly because no one made a fool out of Draco Malfoy. He could see the articles being written. Secondly, he'd had to relocate which bothered him almost more than the first. Draco was nothing if not a creature of habit. He thrived in such a situation and now he had to learn new routes home, to work, to restaurants. Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, he seemed to have thrust himself into a new sort of relationship. One that already frightened him more than he was prepared for.
He wondered how deep his feelings really went for Harry for he never found himself so unsure before. Well at least before he'd discovered Harry's little secret. Things with Ron were just so different. It was as though they were both expecting this thing to be over before they even had a chance to understand it. Though with only their discouraging history to go on, it made sense. Everything between them seemed so desperate and rushed. They wanted to waste no time. As though it was against them and all they could do was enjoy it while it lasted.
The future was something to be left from ones mind. When you become too hung up on it, you forget everything that is going on around you. But this did little to sway Draco's thought patterns. He'd begun considering their future from the moment that the sun had hit the horizon and even as Ron rolled over slightly beside him, showing the faintest signs of consciousness, did it not stray far. What did this mean for them? They had finally given in to what they had been fighting for years but where did they go from there? Draco didn't know if he was prepared to accept the gravity of that statement.
"You look much too serious for first thing in the morning," Ron mumbled, voice muffled slightly from the pillow butted up against his mouth.
"At eight in the morning? You really must enjoy sleeping just a bit more," Ron offered but pulled himself up slightly, going through the motions of trying to wake ones self up.
"It's quiet. I don't get that very much when I actually get out of bed."
"Perhaps that's the trouble. The getting out of bed part. Maybe let's not do that today."
"I highly doubt my boss would appreciate nor understand my vacancy let alone your ailing patients."
"I just have some free check ups at St. Mungo's and then I'm free for the day. You don't think you can skive off at lunch?" Ron asked, sitting up fully, the sheets sinking just at waist level upon him, leaning against the pillows.
"There's a possibility. It depends on what you'll be feeding me."
"I said nothing about food," Ron tossed back at him slyly, with a careless grin. Inwardly, despite the incredibly early hour, he had never had such an amazing morning in his life. Everything seemed so incredibly different.
He'd never open his big mouth and admit to it, but such a large part of him had probably been spent pining after the blonde in his bed. A rather huge part. It did little to help that he had to watch Draco and Harry together for a little over a year. Though somewhere along the way, he'd managed to put it all behind him. He couldn't waste his time that long. But then things changed. Everything had changed whether they were prepared for it or not.
"You know, I still cannot get over the idea of you as some sort of doctor running around saving lives," Draco commented offhandedly.
"No I just mean that you had never seemed like that type of person. But I think that it suits you. Very well."
"It gives me a chance to help out in some way."
"Because helping to save the entire world was not enough for these people."
"Well that honor didn't exactly go to me," Ron replied, looking away from the blonde.
"Yes well, you did your share," Draco spoke quickly, knowing full well now that it wasn't time to as much as mention Harry even in an indirect way. "Look, I don't want to make things awkward between you and Harry over this. You've been friends too long," Draco inwardly cursed himself for sounding so understanding, especially because he didn't feel that way. He didn't care if Harry was hurt by the fact that there was something going on between them. He deserved it as much as Draco deserved to have some scrap of happiness.
"No, I will deal with Harry. Things are finally happening for us. Nothing is going to stop that," Ron's tone was so certain and sure that it almost worried Draco. He couldn't help but not want to ruin that. The genuine emotion that Ron was showing at that moment really sparked something inside of him. Nothing is going to stop that.
Despite impending deadline, Draco's mind didn't falter for a moment towards the parchment sitting in front of him. He hadn't even come up with any sort of a title or theme to go on. Usually his article was simply about life and things that were going on in his. He couldn't begin to put his own problems down in ink. That would be too much even for the raunchiest of tabloids. He figured the rumors could be tamer than the truth.
On top of this, he found himself watching the minutes tick until he could be free of the building. He had a lunch with Ron to keep his thoughts occupied. Not that he had too much room for excess things that day. He wondered why he had been so against just staying in bed that morning. Frankly, it would have been more productive.
"Mr. Malfoy, you have someone here to see you," his assistant informed him, giving a helpless smile before ushering herself out. Behind her, Harry Potter himself sauntered in.
"You have nerve. You do know that."
"I've been told that before," Harry eased out, his voice very dry and worn out sounding. He looked less himself that afternoon. Seemingly more disheveled than normal.
"What is it you're here for? Certainly not the pleasant conversation because even you aren't that foolish," Draco's tongue was laced with malice and malcontent and Harry was now receiving the brunt of it. It was funny how quickly one person could shift moods. Though perhaps lying and deceit will just do that to you.
"There were a few more of your things that you left at the house and I wanted to bring them to you. Just a few shirts and stuff like that."
"I'm certain that I'm doing fine without them but you can just leave them and be on your way," Draco enjoyed the way his words were stinging away at the other man. He wanted him to feel half as bad as Draco had, in any way he could.
"Can we talk for a moment?" The desperation in Harry's voice threw him back a little but he quickly regained his footing as he narrowed his eyes, wordless and allowed him to continue. "I've been miserable without you. Nothing has been right since you left."
"What do you expect from me, Harry? To have my insides stomped on and then to make you believe it's all ok? Because it isn't. I've wasted too much time as it is. And all for nothing because I'm the one who got hurt in the end."
"Draco, can't we just work through this? You and I are great together. We're supposed to be together."
Draco's entire sense of being faltered at that moment listening to Harry's words. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had developed of a sense of wondering of why he couldn't just accept the apology. He'd had things well enough. But had he ever been really happy? He couldn't exactly say that he had. They had their moments but it just wasn't quite what he would or could ever consider happiness.
When his mind began processing correctly and just as he opened his mouth to shoot Harry down, he realized that Ron was standing there in the doorway, his gaze shifting between the two of them.
"Ron," Draco managed, a worried expression tainting his face as he moved around his desk.
"Ron? What are you doing here?" Harry questioned, taking a second to understand the situation fully. "Nevermind, I don't think I even need an answer."
"But I do. I need several answers in fact. Firstly, who the hell do you think you are coming down here like this? You are the one who screwed up and just because you're Harry bloody Potter doesn't mean everyone should forget everything else. It doesn't work that way,"
Harry seemed genuinely shocked by the ferocity that shot out of Ron's mouth in his direction. His face shone the surprise as he faltered, trying to locate the words he need but without much luck. It seemed he'd been left completely speechless which might have been for the best.
"And you. You really had to ponder whether or not it would be worth it just to take him back? After everything, you had to think about what would be easiest for you. That's all it is and we both know it. You don't love Harry. You never have. It's all about convenience and simplicity for you. You don't want to do any of the work," Ron's words neither changed nor slowed from what they had been towards Harry. Draco flinched at them though, forced to look away from the anger that the redhead had sent at him.
"It isn't like that. You know that," Draco started, hoping to be reassuring in some way.
"No I don't know that. Every second of the last couple weeks have had me wondering when you would run back to Harry, tail between your legs. And today just confirmed so much fear inside me that I don't even know where to begin."
"I'm not running back to anyone. It just caught me off guard."
"But that's not the point. You shouldn't even have to think about. I haven't for a second wondered if I wanted to be with you. There is absolutely no question about it. I've been in love with you since our first night back at Grimmauld Place. And I just thought that finally things could work out between us. After all that has happened, after all that we have been through. But I guess that maybe I was wrong."
"No. You aren't the only person that is in this relationship."
"Really? That's exactly how I feel right about now. Watching Harry stand there, hanging on to the fact that you were actually considering being with him," Ron cared not a bit that he was probably destroying his oldest and most treasured friendship. The preliminary work had been done before; he was just ripping the rest of it to shreds.
"What should I say to you, Ron? Do you want me to admit that I am scared out of my mind? That it was the only reason that being with Harry could've ever crossed my mind? Is that it? Because I will just lay it all out there for you. I'm so incredibly in love with you that I would run away from it right now just to avoid losing it. It scares me to realize that I want to get a flat with you and have the whole package complete with the barking Labrador. I'm not supposed to feel this way but I can't help it and I just don't know what to do with it," Draco answered his questioning with fury, hardly controlling the level of his voice as everything spilled out over the edge before him. What made him feel worse was that he actually meant every single word he'd spoken and then some.
Ron stood there in complete silence, blown away by the words he'd just been hit with. He wanted nothing more than to capitalize on these emotions right there, Harry Potter be damned. The opportunity, however, did not present itself as Draco's assistant appeared again, a nervous look upon her face.
"Mr. Malfoy, the editor would like to see you in his office," her meek little voice announced and all three men in the office stood there shocked, glancing out noticing the enormous amounts of people who were hurriedly attempting to act as though they hadn't noticed the outbursts. Draco knew this couldn't be good, especially as they were at the Prophet itself.
Without a parting word, Draco tried to maintain as much dignity as was possible as he went to speak with his boss. This left simply Harry and Ron standing in the middle of the office, both avoiding any eye contact or any form of contact for that matter. But it was inevitable and Harry was the first to speak, voice fully of certainty and hope.
"It's only a matter of time, Ron. I want you to know that. Draco's the most fickle person you'll ever meet. You'll be back on your ass in a few months time," Harry told him simply, slipping past and out the door hoping to avoid the crowd that would no doubt stare and gawk at the scene they had just witnessed.
Ron took this empty time to stand there just as awkwardly as he had before. He had so many things that he needed to process and no clue where to even begin. The words that Draco had spilled so rapidly seemed a good enough place to start. They washed over him in such a way that he felt as though he would could drown amongst them. They were unbridled and fierce much like the blonde himself at times. But what did it all mean and more importantly, how much of it was the complete and utter truth. He couldn't help but question it despite how great it all sounded together.
"I was asked to keep further domestic disputes outside of the office and then instructed to write a piece about this," Draco told him in a much quieter tone, pushing his door shut behind him in the process.
"He sounds like an understanding guy."
"Yeah well he's got too many people working for him to give a damn," Draco said simply, shifting from foot to foot for a few moments. "I didn't mean for things to end up like this."
"I know you didn't. Neither did I."
Draco nodded at him, taking a few steps into the office noticing entirely that Harry was gone from the place and in his place simply a small bag with what he assumed to be his things. He wondered if any of it was even worth keeping and without thinking too much on it, let the bag easily sink into a trashcan out of sight.
"We made quite a scene, didn't we?" Ron questioned, a smile tugging sharply against the corners of his mouth.
"Yeah, quite. I think at least five people that will be compiling a story about it. No one can seem to get enough Potter drama."
"But this really doesn't have much of anything to do with him, does it?"
"Not anymore. Not at all," Draco replied, his eyes flickering across Ron's at that moment. The mood between them had settled easily and to a place that Draco felt much more comfortable at. This was surprising, as they seemed to always say the most when they were screaming at one another until red in the face.
"I don't want you to just say things because that's what you think I want to hear. I want you to be honest with me."
"And I have been," Draco defiantly replied which caused Ron's stomach to flip in an entirely natural way it seemed.
"Good. So have I." Ron crossed towards where the blonde now stood and worked Draco easily into his arms, embracing in a much fiercer manner than either had been prepared for, neither choosing to let go for a long moment.
All Hermione had ever wanted was that small, simple wedding where she could be the center of attention for just a few hours and then ride off into the sunset and get her happily ever after. It seemed foolish for such a practical girl but deep down, it's every girl's dream, to be rescued by Prince Charming and to get that happy ending. Now granted in this case Prince Charming was none other that Severus Snape and that the only rescuing he'd ever done was for himself. All of that taken into account; it didn't taint the dream.
In very muggle fashion, she'd managed to arrange some sort of a rehearsal for the wedding that would shortly follow. Her knowledge of the current situation was good enough to know that she was going to have to be very careful indeed but it was manageable. Besides, she had to give her friends some credit. Or at least she thought so. But as Harry began pounding back the shots, Seamus pleading with him to give it a rest, she should've seen it coming.
Draco had begun engaging his former professor and long time friend in conversations about the latest news when the room was suddenly filled up with a voice that was both familiar and dreaded to them both. Standing in the front of the room on a slight stage stood Harry Potter, glass in one hand, wand in the other. Apparently intoxication hadn't inhibited his spell casting abilities. His sonorous spell seemed to be more powerful than ever.
His companion had instantly stopped speaking which had been a good thing for Draco would not have heard a word of it. His mind focused solely on what information Harry was going to let slip out of his foolish mouth and destroy the façade the evening had created. His eyes immediately picked Ron out of a group of redheads who still weren't exactly in the know about their brother's new significant other. It wasn't that they had been afraid they would judge, they just felt that with Hermione's big day coming up rapidly, that should be the most important thing. That and Ron wasn't entirely certain he was ready for the lecture from his mother about the infidelity he was involved in.
Ron shifted around slightly from the Quidditch talk with George and Charlie just as Harry began his little speech. Hermione pulled herself from her mother's warnings and last minute preparations to realize that the night that was supposed to be about her would no longer be so. Snape on the other hand found it all slightly amusing. It wasn't every day one could watch Harry Potter make a complete fool of himself. Well there were quite a few days but not nearly enough.
"I would just like to raise my glass to Hermione and Snape. And though it baffles the hell out of me, I wish them all of the luck in the world. They are going to need it," Harry started, speech with a tinge of a slur upon the last syllable of the words he used. The hall fell to complete silence with the exception of a few well-placed snickers here and there.
"But what do I know? I'm not exactly in a stable relationship myself. As most of you know, Draco and I are no longer together. Ron saw to that," Harry's tone turned slightly bitter as he pointed his glass directly at the redhead. The confused looks he saw exchanged were enough to push him along.
"Let's face it, I didn't think anything would top Hermione and Snape together. That is until I caught my best friend and my boyfriend together. Let me tell you, that's a shock. But Ron, being the gentlemen he is, didn't stray too far from Draco's side in his brief period of mourning. That's Ron for you though. What a guy," Harry had reached almost every emotion possible it seemed, settling now upon a depressed and defeated voice that slurred all the more.
"It's not as if I didn't try and apologize. I really did. I didn't mean to get mixed up with Seamus. It just sort of happened and then bam! Draco's moved out. Bought a new flat and apparently is shagging my best friend. My best friend since my first day of Hogwarts. The one I defended when no one else would. It's kind of ironic how things turn out, isn't it? One minute you think you know exactly how things are going to be forever and then everything's different. Just like that."
"Harry! Get down from there right now," Draco's voice carried through the hall easily. It seemed that if no one would say anything at all then Draco would be the one to do this. The panicked look on Hermione's face should've been reason enough. "You're making an utter fool of yourself."
Draco approached the small stage and lowered his tone slightly as he approached. Everyone had already begun their whisperings behind him, he knew. Harry seemed to only feed off of his statements like a fire would to oxygen.
"No I think you already took care of that for me, Draco. But thanks for the concern," Harry slurred at him, charm still in place, voice billowing through.
"What are you trying to prove? Do you really still want pity from these people? Because you're getting it. Everyone feels real sorry for you," Draco taunted the other man knowingly. Harry's conscience would usually kick in at that point.
"That's not what this is about?"
"You're right it's not. It's about Hermione and Severus and all you've managed to do is make it completely about you. Like always," Draco's words visibly stung at the other man and his expression fell. It was almost as though the words were getting through to him.
"I didn't mean to do that. I just wanted to give a speech to the couple," Harry tried to reassure the audience at this part which was thoroughly ridiculous but only Harry seemed not to realize. "Because being happy doesn't come along very often. I should know. So Hermione, maybe watch out for Ginny. Never know when she'll get you." It all seemed to go downhill from there as Hermione could remember it.
"Oh give it a rest," Ron started in now just as one of his brothers grabbed his arm to calm him down. "No, I will not stop. Harry got his say. Maybe it's time that everyone else does too."
Ron closed the distance between himself and Harry, the darker haired man taking a step down onto level ground as if his oldest friend were challenging him. Draco's eyes grew in complete disbelief, darting around for sign of anyone trying to break this up. Hermione was on the verge of tears, Snape completely amused that two of his least favorite people were close to blows and Seamus was drowning himself at the bar. It was just spectacular.
"Go ahead, Ron. I'm anxious to hear whatever you could possibly have to say," Harry's tone was dripping was sarcasm and disdain and they were standing a mere couple of feet from one another.
"I'm sick of you standing here in front of everyone and acting as though you're the victim. Perhaps give them the whole story. How you had been sneaking around on Draco for weeks before you even found us together. Or maybe even step back well before to right when you and Draco got together,"
"Are you pulling the 'I had him first card?' Obviously you didn't have him well enough or he never would've been with me in the first place."
"And you handled that so well. It seems you're the one alone now, Harry," Ron's face was almost as red as his hair as the words flew out furiously.
"For now. How long do you think he'll possible stay with you? Average Ron. Absolutely nothing extraordinary about him. I can just see Draco settling down to life like that. He'll be back with me before the end of the month," Harry's words were exactly what he knew Ron wouldn't want to hear. He was satisfied with himself the hurt look Ron took on until of course Ron's fist collided with his jaw.
All went down hill from there are Harry recovered from the punch and launched at Ron causing both of them to topple over. Draco lunged into the brawl, pulling Ron back as well as he could with the aide of the rest of the Weasley clan present that evening. With a bit of force they had managed to get the battling best friends off of one another, Charlie taking control and showing Harry to the bathroom, Draco apologizing profusely to Hermione as he shoved Ron outside of the hall all together.
"What the hell is your problem?" Draco exclaimed in anger, keeping his distance from the redhead.
Ron wiped the corner of his mouth, feeling the wetness that was most likely his own blood. "My problem? What about him?"
"This isn't about him! It's about you making an ass out of both of us in the middle of Hermione's reception!" Draco replied exasperated and feeling himself sliding closer to the edge.
"No, it is about him. It's bloody always about him. You stood in there just now as though you were babying him for what he'd done. Almost pleading with him to get off that stage. Not caring how foolish it was making me feel standing in the back, knowing that everyone knew that we were together. But that you were, saving Harry all over again. It's not your place."
"Someone had to do it. And if it is really going to be that big of a deal if people know that we're together then maybe this is a ridiculous idea after all. If you intend on being ashamed of me."
"That isn't what I meant and you know it," Ron countered on him easily.
"No I don't know that for sure. You've given me not a single indication otherwise. So perhaps when you want to start throwing things in the face of another, you should consider your own decisions as well."
"Draco, we've done nothing but fight and defend the relationship we've formed. You honestly think I would put that much effort into something for nothing? It just gets tiring having to stand back and play second fiddle to Harry as if I don't matter," Ron was fuming and though perhaps not entirely mad at Draco, let all of it wash over the blonde versus where it really should've gone.
"No one asked you to do that. I told you how I felt. You're being ridiculous. What more do you want me to do?"
"I want you to mean it and to show it. Because thus far, you've done a pretty shitty job of it," Ron's words hit Draco like a train before he turned away and started walking in the opposite direction of the party, Harry, and most importantly Draco.
Draco hadn't slept a minute that night as he sat in the middle of Ron's flat. It was slowly driving him mad letting his eyes fall over every single picture that littered the walls before him. He'd been there so many times now but hadn't really taken much time to really study them. Though he did note that he certainly hadn't found himself in any of them.
The one that had Draco thinking so hard was the one that fell just at the top middle, above a Weasley family portrait. It was Harry and Ron. Right after Voldemort was defeated. Right after Harry had delivered the last curse. Ron's father was already gone. Ron and Draco had already slept together and it was right before Harry and Draco would leave for France. Both of them were grinning so big as they posed for the picture. Even then things were too complicated.
And things had changed so much that it would be unrecognizable should a new photograph take its place. Harry and Draco had already gone to France. Draco and Ron had slept together again. And Harry and Ron were close to murder. He couldn't help but blame himself slightly. He'd caused such turmoil for the two best friends. A friendship he'd never seen matched. One he'd envied for so many years. Now instead of being one of them, he was with one of them and that complicated matters further.
It didn't make what had happened any easier though and Draco couldn't forget that. He'd had every detail of his life in the past weeks put on display for everyone. The things he was still dealing with himself were served up to future wedding guests who certainly wouldn't miss act two. He could feel the judgement already. It was then that he looked up and saw Ron occupying the doorway, slightly puzzled as to what the redhead was doing sitting upon his couch.
"What are you doing here?" Ron questioned, sounding thoroughly and completely defeated.
"I was waiting for you. I didn't think you would be gone so long." The clock upon the wall now showed that Ron was indeed at home and that it was also well after two in the morning.
"After my display at Hermione's I was pretty certain I'd never see you again. Well after you punched me rather hard in the face for everything I said," Ron explained coming into his place and letting his door click shut behind him.
"Well I thought about it and frankly I still am. I haven't been that humiliated in my entire life," Draco's tone was stern yet not as entirely angry as he'd have liked to have sounded.
"Yeah well my entire family probably won't be speaking to me for quite a few days. Hermione and Harry completely aside," Ron sounded mad enough at himself for everyone but that didn't shake the feelings Draco was having right then.
"Yeah well I can't say that I would blame any of them. You managed to put our entire lives up on display for everyone," Draco began which didn't phase Ron at all. He had been expecting this. Especially after his outburst in the middle of the street. He'd stepped slightly over the line and all of the words he'd spilled hadn't been the complete truth.
"Me? I wasn't the only person up there," Ron defended himself, feeling the thoughts from before creeping back into his head.
"Yes and the next time I see Harry I very well could curse him until he can't see straight," He assured him not wanting to stir that pot just yet. Resolve the first issue first. Then tackle the second, which would be the most difficult.
"I never meant to say anything but he just kept pushing. And there you were standing up there with him, talking him down as though it was your place." Weasley jealousy had been his downfall that evening. He'd lost Draco once before and he couldn't get it out of his head that the same could happen once more.
"There was no sense in him humiliating himself and then dragging both of our names through the mud. I had more pride than that," Draco reasoned to him, which seemed much different to the redhead having heard it. His mind had played a completely different list of reasons.
"There were just things I had been sitting on for a long time and I could think of nothing else but just to say them and then I didn't even get to finish. It seems that your best friend could also be the best enemy. He knew exactly what to say to push me over the edge. It was like back in school with you," Ron spoke bitterly towards the end. Harry had said a lot of things he wasn't entirely certain he'd be ready to forgive for a long while.
"That doesn't explain your tirade outside."
"I don't know what will explain that. I just saw how you were acting with him and all of the words that he was saying to everyone. I just got it in my head that he was right and that everyone else already agreed. I couldn't shake it," Ron answered honestly feeling slightly foolish.
"I don't know what I have to do to assure you that things with Harry and I are over. He was terrible to me and granted I wasn't exactly a picnic myself either but I had enough of that before. It's just taken this long. I'm trying not to screw things up and it seems to be working against me at every turn," Draco was more than slightly bothered by it. If he had believed in signs like that, he might have worried. But as he tried to be and stay as practical as he could, he shrugged it off. Life was just like that.
"I know they are. I just can't help but find myself jealous when he'd around and when he spouts off promises of the two of you getting back together."
"I can see that. I think everyone can see that. But Ron, things are different now. Everything has changed."
Ron nodded and let his eyes raise up from the ground where they had fluttered to and back to the blonde. Draco raised a brow and shook his head.
"Sit down. Let me attempt to clean you up," Draco finally gave in, thoroughly bothered by the blood that had dried just in the corner of his mouth. It seemed that his lip had split rather spectacularly.
A short trip into the bathroom later, Draco returned with a wet cloth and cleaned off the blood gently. He'd settled onto his knees just in front of Ron who was leaned forward slightly to make things much easier. Draco dropped his hands as the blood had disappeared and watched the redhead a moment. They didn't say anything to each other but there was a real understanding that evening. And maybe it would lead to things slowing down or then again, maybe not.
"I've never for a second been ashamed of this," Ron said quietly, letting his eyes sink away from the blonde. If nothing else would be resolved, that point had to be.
It was an eerie silence inside Malfoy Manor that Ron found. It was completely unnerving for something so big to have no real character to it. Though he knew that no one had lived in the place in several years now. There had been no one to fret over the upkeep and with that taken into account, the place had fallen into disarray.
Draco had entered easily, not waiting much of Ron as he explored the old home. He ran his fingers carelessly across a banister, which led up the stairs to a whole corridor of bedrooms and sitting rooms. He could remember when it was all so big and shiny before his tiny eyes. When nothing had lost its luster. That wasn't the case anymore.
Ron halted his progression in the huge foyer at the front of the manor. He still felt slightly out of a place in a home that Voldemort had freely walked through and even lived in for a brief period. And with that meant that Lucius Malfoy had also occupied that space and he wasn't very fond of either. Draco didn't sense it at first until he started up the stairs and realized that he was alone. He gave a funny look back at Ron as if questioning what he was doing. That had been all it took and he hurried up behind Draco, following his lead.
They walked down what seemed an endless corridor to Ron but just home to Draco. He pushed open one of the last bedroom doors and beheld a room he hadn't seen in almost four years. It really had been that long. Two years of hiding and two not being able to bring himself back. There were just too many memories, good and bad. Though more so heavy on the bad.
The room was exactly like Draco remembered it though covered more in dust. The giant drapes were preventing nearly any light to escape through their heavy material but though dark, there was no mistaking it. Ron lingered right behind Draco, eyes growing at the sight he met. There was only one guess needed as to who had occupied the room.
"This was all yours?" Ron asked absently, following Draco in now.
"When I got older yes. I had a playroom when I was younger. The bedroom wasn't a place for toys," Draco rattled off as though he'd heard it a thousand times. In the middle of his speech, he pulled back the dark green fabric from the windows and latched it back, letting the room rill to the brim with light.
Ron stared in awe as everything was illuminated before his eyes, the room taking shape and most certainly Draco's. Everything in there, whether it was its position or just its quality, screamed Draco. The finest of everything. Arranged just so. He felt his lips pull up into a short smile.
"This is definitely you."
"Why do you say that?" Draco questioned, stepping away slightly from the window, facing the redhead, puzzled look present.
"Everything in here is just screaming I'm better than you are. It's like a gift you have without realizing it," Ron said in words that he knew weren't good he just could no find another way to say what he wanted to.
"So what you're saying is, the snobbery in this room is a sure tip that I must have decorated?" Draco questioned to which he only got a shrug back. "At least I haven't thrown it all together in a cluttered mess."
"My place is not a cluttered mess. It's just lived in. I'm not afraid to touch anything in the whole place," Ron almost beamed at him in his best condescending tone.
"Well you should be. Who knows the last time any of it was cleaned."
Like most times, Draco got the last word with Ron giving him one of those glares. The glares that melted away when the blonde put on a smile. That was all it ever took and all was well and forgotten. Today though, Draco bit lightly upon his lip a moment, which achieved the same effect as smiling but Ron's glare just, shifted.
"What?" He questioned quickly, taking several steps closer to the blonde.
"Do you want to move in with me?" Draco asked all at once and feeling slightly foolish for having done it. Granted they stayed at each other's place often enough it just wasn't the same. He had that annoying pang in his stomach every time one of them would go to leave or on a night when he'd find himself alone in bed.
Draco had not intended on moving into Malfoy Manor in any way shape or form but the tone that Ron used was more than slightly offensive. "What's wrong with this place? It's old but it's still much more extravagant than anything you'll ever see."
"But I don't want extravagant and I don't want a house where the dungeons have held more than a small prison," Ron let into it, spilling more or less the reasons he was so hesitant inside that place. The death rate was just incredibly high.
"That's not true," Draco started with a bit of a scowl. "I wasn't even talking about here to begin with. I meant in general but now you've just insulted my ancestral home to my face and standing in my own room…"
"You prat, you know I'll move in with you."
"No, it's too little too late. I've been insulted and I will not stand for that," Draco turned away, getting into the little act of melodrama he was currently putting on. Ron seemed to buy straight in it, grin growing with each passing barb.
"Well probably better this way anyway. I won't have to put up with your incessant need to stand in front of the mirror preening for hours on end," Ron was easily pushing his buttons and rather enjoying it too.
"I do not preen. There is a difference between looking nice and preening," Draco fumed as if he'd had this conversation many times before.
"Draco, I would love to move in with you," Ron finally said in complete sincerity, a hinting of a small dancing across his lips.
"Of course you would. Who wouldn't?" Draco fed off of everything that was thrown his way, bringing his arms around his redhead, bringing their bodies dangerously close.
"Someone much more sane than I?"
"Aren't you ever so witty today?" Draco combated pulling away with a swift roll of his eyes. He started to move towards the other end of the room as Ron wrapped fingers around his wrist pulling him easily back.
"And you're sure about this? You aren't going to regret this later?" He asked and Draco brushed his lips up against Ron's a moment.
"No, I'm certain I'll regret this later," Draco replied in a cheeky tone. Sensing that he needed to be momentarily serious he continued. "I wouldn't have opened my mouth if I didn't think that this was what I wanted."
"Ok then," Ron ended the conversation for them, letting Draco off, following another kiss, to uncover what else might have been left from his last visit.
Ron had forced himself to even get out of bed that morning. It had been easier as Draco had left early for the Prophet. He'd had a short trip to make that afternoon with some publishers. It seemed he'd earned enough acclaim at the Prophet to warrant something of a book. Surprisingly all of the wizarding world was ready to hear Draco's story (this of course coming after the show the trio had put on) and though he had complained about the negative press he would eventually get, Ron knew that he inwardly was delighted with the idea.
His day had seemed to have gotten slightly worse as he'd gotten to St. Mungo's. His first few patients had been more taxing than normal which was never a good way to start your day. Then just as he had been consuming a third cup of coffee for the morning, a young mediwitch had asked if he could take a look at another patient whom had come in. Routine checkup she'd told him. He hadn't seen the harm in it until he'd stepped foot into the room.
"Seamus," Ron's tone was short and terse as he readied himself for the checkup he was kicking himself for accepting.
"I asked them if you were working today. I kind of wanted to talk to you," the Irishman began awkwardly, feeling it even more so when the redhead did not bother to meet his gaze at that statement.
"Well this is an infirmary not a pub so if there is no need for medicinal attentions…"
"I need the checkup. I just thought conversation wouldn't be as terrible this way. You can just go about your business as I talk. It won't take long."
Ron seemed hesitant but felt it best just to give the man his time and be done with the whole thing. He wasn't so much mad at Seamus as he was the fact that he knew he'd been dating Harry and that meant his conversation would settle upon the man. He was tired of that being the hot spot of discussion.
"Harry and I stopped seeing one another," Seamus started slowly. Ron looked up at him surprised slightly but went back to his tests. "I don't know why you looked so shocked. After his display at dinner it was rather obvious I was just a pawn in his game."
Ron didn't say anything but he could see where he was coming from. Harry had made it quite clear that he still wanted Draco back. And that he would do anything for it. Being Seamus that night would've been more difficult than being one of the other three. At lease they all played a real role. Seamus was made to feel as if he didn't matter. Ron softened a bit at those thoughts.
"I just wanted to tell you that I know that he regrets saying everything that he did that night. He was really drunk and definitely not thinking clearly."
"Why are you defending him, Seamus? After all that he's done, I'd have been singing his faults in witty limericks," Ron offered, touching the tip of his wand to Seamus' wrist.
"Oh don't get me wrong, I don't want anything to do with him anymore. I just know that the two of you shouldn't throw away what friendship you have. It's too rare a thing and to do so over Draco Malfoy, well…" Seamus started and the look he got was enough so that he halted his speech. He couldn't quite understand it but that didn't seem to matter to Ron.
"Look, Seamus. Harry has treated everyone terribly in the past few months. You. Me. And especially Draco. If he wants to salvage our friendship, he's going to need to start making some apologies," Ron told him simply, scribbling a few things down of note based upon his examination.
"And that would fix things?"
"It'd be a start," Ron offered knowingly full well that things with Harry probably would be forever changed. Things couldn't go back to how they once were. All that was hanging over him now was whether or not they'd manage to get any friendship back at all. And as Ron could see it, there was a very slim chance.
"Bloody hell! Damn thing not doing what it's supposed to."
Ron could hear Draco as soon as he'd taken one step inside the flat. Draco's flat this time and the sounds were strictly coming from the kitchen. A domain to which the blonde did not frequent often if not for Ron's safety alone. From the smell and amount of yelling, Ron deduced he'd have quite a mess to help clean up.
"I thought we talked about you and the kitchen," Ron exclaimed, leaning against the doorway into the small area. It was hardly an adequate space to make anything too fancy and not nearly big enough for both of them to be moving about it.
"Well I thought that I should give it a try. I can make potions that most people are too afraid to attempt and I can't manage to boil some spaghetti. It's just ridiculous," Draco complained tossing an oven mitt upon the counter, giving the stove a look of contempt.
"What brought up the sudden urge to become England's next great chef?" Ron questioned and Draco shrugged his shoulder slightly letting them make eye contact a moment before it all dawned on Ron. "I suppose it is today, isn't it?"
It had been exactly two years since Ron and Draco had first gotten together. Just the day after they had returned home. Three weeks before the final battle. Five weeks before Draco would leave for France with Harry. Part of Ron felt as though he had been much longer than that. It seemed that their time apart had been almost an eternity though he suspected a little of Draco's melodrama was rubbing off on him.
"Yes and I thought I'd surprise you but well you see how that went," Draco grumbled flipping the switch off on the stove, the spaghetti no longer even covered in water but instead sticking to the sides of the pan thoroughly dried out.
"You didn't have to do that," Ron started, moving further into the kitchen area.
"Well that's good because I didn't," Draco's tone indicated he wasn't entirely thrilled with his lack of ability. He thoroughly disliked not being able to do anything that he pleased. And this was one thing he wasn't sure he'd ever grasp.
Ron stopped mere inches from where Draco stood causing the blonde to look up and meet his gaze. "It's the thought that counts," Ron informed him before leaning in for a kiss. The pair easily found themselves wound up in the other as they pulled back, faces lingering close.
"That was utterly cheesy, Weasley," Draco told him in a completely matter of fact tone. Ron just grinned back at him.
"So was attempting to make me dinner," Ron disputed, moving closer to Draco to share a few kisses between conversation. He didn't add that he was rather touched by such a simple gesture. Though sometimes it seemed some of the simplest things escaped Draco's mind as a feasible option.
"Well then we're both even for tonight. Maybe we'll just order out then?" Draco questioned though did not quite really expect an answer. Instead, the two sunk into one another, pushing everything out of their minds and just focusing on where they stood two years before when they had first found themselves in such a position and how different things had become since then.
Hermione paced anxiously in the bathroom of the hall. A different hall than the time before but this was now the real thing. The thing people would really remember when they thought back on her wedding day and she could already imagine a drunken bar fight or something equally as embarrassing. She clenched and unclenched her fists for a moment before there was a knock at the door.
"Hermione, you ought to come out of there. Sev's losing it with your reception line," Draco's voice filtered through the door to her and she sighed heavily, opening to door to him. "Are you alright?"
Since things with Ron had worked themselves out, there had been a bit more of an understanding between the two of them. He had Ron and she had Severus. They were bond to have to deal with one another at very frequent intervals and Draco didn't want to quite risk making that harder than it was. Hermione seemed to agree. She'd had enough embarrassing outbursts already.
"I'm just worried about this evening. I want it to go off with a hitch but things have a way of not doing that for me," She confessed to him, opening the door enough so he could enter the small room with her, letting the door shut again.
"You mean drunken morons making speeches I take it?" Draco asked with a bit of a grin that faded at the look and nod he received. "Well I can assure you, Ron will not be consuming any alcohol this evening though I make no promises about Potter."
"I just don't want people to remember this as that party where Ron and Harry rolled into my wedding cake," She told him in a defeated tone. She cared a great deal for both of them but it didn't change her feelings about anything.
"I don't blame you. Frankly, I'm not entirely certain I'd have invited any of us to begin with."
"Well this wouldn't exactly be an issue had I not been involved. I just feel as though I've muddled things up sometimes," Draco admitted to her, as they were being honest. Besides, he had nothing to lose speaking the woman. She would give better advice than anyone else he knew anyway.
"You haven't muddled things up. Harry's muddled things up. Draco, I've never seen Ron so incredibly happy as he is right now. It's sickeningly, deliriously so. And even though Harry's been a dreary mess as of late, I can't imagine taking that happiness away from Ron. He deserves it," She told him honestly which caused a look of surprise to light his face at her negative comments towards another dear friend of hers. "I love Harry as much as anyone can but he has to get himself together. He's let too much go to his head. I think on some level he realizes that you and Ron just fit better together. I think that bothers him most of all."
"I've wondered a lot lately what would've happened had I not gone to France with Harry. How different things would be today. But in the long run, I don't think I can change anything at all. It's gotten me to where I am today. And Ron isn't the only one that's become happy. I think that's what most of us are missing."
There was an annoyed knock at the door and Hermione offered an occupied back at it. Until of course, the voice called back and she heard her groom just outside sounding more than slightly annoyed. She pulled the door open and Severus eyes Draco a moment, changing his expression not a bit and asked if he was planning on making his way through the entire Golden Trio before the year was up. The two of them burst into laughter and he assured him he would not. He found himself quite content at the moment. Even Severus couldn't debate that.
"Thanks Draco. For talking to me. It makes me feel a little better," She told him just before he began to saunter back into the party.
Draco was still thinking very hard on her words when Harry approached him. The gesture caught him completely off guard and he wasn't thinking when he narrowed his eyes at the uncomfortable looking ebony haired man before him. Harry seemed to take the hint and instantly began to offer his own form of a truce.
"It's nothing bad. I just wanted to apologize," the words escaped his mouth rather quickly as he didn't want to scare the blonde off just yet. Or even worse create a tense atmosphere for the both of them.
"Really?" Draco sounded a bit skeptical but that couldn't be helped. Given Harry's previous behavior, it didn't stand to reason that he'd be standing there before him actually attempting civility.
"Really. Things at Hermione's engagement were horrid. I never meant to drink that much and then to say that much," He started and Draco stopped him towards the end.
"It's really nice that you want to bury the hatchet but I'm not the one that you should be apologizing too. You and I don't have the slightest bit of a chance at a friendship. I think we both can accept that. But this thing with Ron, that's where the apologies are due. From both of you," Draco launched into him, not entirely full of malice just reality. He knew things would never be ok for him and Harry. Partly because they'd both harshly crushed the other and partly because the entire thought made Ron uncomfortable to his core. Draco was getting a good show of what Weasley jealousy was all about.
"I can't imagine Ron apologizing for much. That's not how he operates."
"Trust me as someone who is around a lot more than you have been. He feels miserable about the two of you not speaking. He wants things to be fixed. Should you instigate, he'll apologize. Put it off and I can't guarantee you'll ever get it back," Draco's words sounded very sincere and it left Harry thinking about it even as he walked away to speak momentarily with a few of the other guests.
The female portion of the Weasley clan somehow had caught up Draco as he stopped to get something to drink. Out of the corner of his eye he could see his redhead and Harry beginning to speak to one another. As Molly began talking, he made it a point to at least keep an eye on the two so not too much blood was shed.
"Draco, I just thought this would be as good a time as any to have a talk with you," She began and he just nodded, trying to keep his attentions evenly distributed. "You've been a part of this family for a while now. First when you were with Harry and that you and Ron are together. I just want you to realize that Ron has put a lot on the line for you…"
"Mrs. Weasley. You don't have to have this talk with me. I will assure you two things this evening. Firstly that I care about your son more than I have cared about anything in my entire life. Secondly, that he couldn't get rid of me now should he actually want to. I realize all of the sacrifices he's made but so have I. And it's a lot of work some days but it's certainly worth it," Draco finished up, resenting himself already for the speech he spoken unprepared to the woman.
"You know, I'd worked up an entire thing about what I wanted to say to you but I think all of that's irrelevant now. And please, call me Molly."
Draco gave a smile in her direction as she hesitated not to pull him into a hug, like the ones he'd witnessed her sharing with each of her boys independently. As he was back into his original stance, he looked over just to catch Ron and Harry in a similar position and despite himself he smiled. The war was finally over and Draco had found something he'd sought for many years. Happiness. And he knew that as long as Ron Weasley could stand him, it would be there.
A/N: Ok this really is the end of the road now. I really thoroughly enjoyed this story personally. It's a very different angle then I usually take. Mostly because I've never been a Ron/Draco shipper but right now, I can't see shipping much else. This ended up being a bit longer than I had originally intended. It just seemed to get longer as it went. Apologies there. So, lemme know as always if you enjoyed/loved/hated it. Make my day:-D