TITLE: The Weasley Wheezes
AUTHOR: feltonxmalfoy (aka rons_pigwidgeon)
PAIRINGS (other than D/R): Ron/Hermione, Draco/Astoria
SUMMARY: An unexpected pregnancy leaves Ron a disgruntled house-husband, while Hermione spends more and more time at work. A bet with Malfoy over their kids' summer Quidditch league teams changes things.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
WARNING: Extreme language, graphic sexual situations, infidelity
AUTHORS NOTES: This was written for the ron_draco fic exchange on livejournal as a gift for rosivan . A huge THANK YOU goes to pisceskp_4 for agreeing to beta for me. You were an immense help, thanks!
Nigel was toddling around their legs, giggling to himself about only a toddler knew what while Ron peered impatiently down the tracks. Harry and Ginny were with him, both just as anxious as he was for the return of their children. "What do you think it'll be this year? And earring? Blue hair to match his uncle Teddy's?" Harry joked, nudging Ron in the ribs. Ron smirked, imagining his nephew stepping off the train with one of those hideous black 'plugs', as Teddy Lupin had called his own, in his ear. Ginny would have kittens. She looked as though she might have kittens just at the idea of such a thing.
"Maybe you'll get lucky."
"And what? He'll bring that boy he's been seeing home for a stay instead?" Ginny made a gurgling noise in the back of her throat and went to chase after Nigel, who'd tottered away while they were talking. Though not homophobic per-say, she had yet to accept that her son was less than heterosexual, despite the fact that every letter home since before Christmas had indicated that he was seeing a Ravenclaw boy a year ahead of him and had been since just after the start of term. She had also managed to ignore the fact that James had fancied Teddy Lupin since around the age of eight.
"Better than blue hair, yeah? Maybe he'll stop fixating on Teddy now," Ron said, watching as Ginny brought Nigel back and handed him over. Ron settled the squirming toddler on his hip, fussing over him for a minute to keep him from screaming to be let down.
Harry's response was cut off by the sound of the train whistle and everyone on the platform turned to watch as the bright red train pulled into the station, children hanging out of various windows, waving excitedly. Ron spotted Hugo's curly red head peaking out behind a taller black boy Ron recognized as Blaise Zabini's son. Sweet Merlin, he didn't make friends with a Slytherin, did he? Ron thought. The rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin may have been over publicly, but there was still a little bit of Ron's head that snapped and snarled at the very thought of his son associating with those slimy snakes. Besides, he had heard rumors that the Zabini boy was horribly bratty and spoiled and he didn't want that sort of behavior to rub off on Hugo. Hermione would be horrified. Not that she was home enough to notice anymore, but Ron pushed that to the back of his head. This was not the time to think about his absentee wife. Especially not with Hugo and Lily running towards them, trunks dragging behind them. He splashed a grin on his face and leaned down to meet his son with a hug. They were both already talking a mile a minute and it took Ron a minute to catch up.
"And there's this girl name Azalea Zabini who's just horrible! But her brother, who's a first year like me, he's brilliant! Can I bring him over to meet you? Can I, can I, Dad?" Hugo exclaimed, bouncing in his excitement. Ron held in his groan and nodded with a smile, bracing himself to meet the prodigal son of Pansy Parkinson and Blaise Zabini. While Hugo dashed to retrieve his friend, Rose came up, eyes trained on a book. If he hadn't seen Hermione do the same a million times, he would wonder how she could tell where she was going.
"Hello, love. How was school?" he asked, moving the book out of her line of vision so that he could kiss her on the cheek.
She looked up at him in bewilderment for a moment before recognizing him and returning his kiss, as well as kissing her baby brother. "It was excellent. Where's Mum?"
"She was going to come with me, but she was called into an emergency meeting. She'll be home for dinner tonight." Rose nodded and turned to greet her aunt and uncle. At that moment, Hugo returned with the black boy Ron had recognized on the train, both grinning from ear to ear.
"Dad, Aunt Ginny, Uncle Harry, this is my friend, Alfred Zabini. Alfie, this is my dad and my aunt and uncle." The boy offered his hand politely to each of them, which pleased Ron as it meant that perhaps the boy wasn't as horrible as the reports claimed. They spoke cordially for a few minutes, asking the boys how their year had gone ("It was brilliant, Dad!"), before it was time for them to go their separate ways. Ron had been so distracted with his own children that he nearly missed the arrival of the oldest Potter, attached at the hand to a short, pretty somewhat blond boy who reminded Ron of a round-faced version of Malfoy. Ginny turned pale and Harry had to squeeze her arm to stop her from saying something before James was able to speak. The poor teen looked nervous enough without his mother causing a scene and Harry was working off the theory that as long as his kids weren't into drugs, he didn't care who they were with romantically. Except of course for Lily, who wasn't going to be permitted to date until she was thirty. Ron could see the sensibility in that.
"Dad, Mum, Uncle Ron, can I introduce you to my boyfriend, Thomas?" All three adults greeted the couple, though Ginny was hesitated for a moment. James' eyes faded a bit at her reaction, but he soldiered on. "I was wondering if you wouldn't mind Thomas coming to stay with us for a bit this summer? His mum's going to be away for his birthday and I thought it would be nice if he came to Godric's Hollow."
Harry nodded immediately, squeezing Ginny a bit harder to keep her quiet. "Of course, he can. We'd be more than happy to have you, Thomas. Wouldn't we, Ginny?" Ginny nodded, but didn't say anything. "We'll work the details out at home, yeah? We should get going before Grandma starts to get impatient. I'm sure she's made enough food to feed an army, and you know how she gets when we're late." His words reminded Ron that he needed to round his own kids up and get going as well. His mum was planning a welcome-home celebration and he knew she'd be upset if they were late.
"Right, you lot, let's get going. I need to change your brother before we go over to Nana's." He gathered his own up and headed towards the Floo, shifting Nigel over so he could dig for his travel box of Floo powder.
Summer holidays had only started three weeks before and Ron was already having trouble getting his son out of bed before ten in the morning. Normally, he would just let the kid sleep, but the first match for his summer league Quidditch team was in an two hours and he wanted to make sure Hugo was awake for the match. He shook Hugo's shoulder, calling his name several times before the boy finally blinked sleep-weary eyes at him. "Wha' Da'?"
"Get up. You've Quidditch in less than two hours. You didn't forget about the game, did you?"
"Two hours? Oh no!" his son exclaimed, hopping out of bed and hurrying to the toilet to brush his teeth. Ron chuckled to himself and went to make some toast, having already cleaned up Rose and Nigel's breakfast.
An hour later, they were at the pitch, Rose with her nose in a book and Nigel happily settled with Nana Weasley at the Burrow. Hermione was at work, per usual, and would be missing the game. Ever since she'd finished her law degree and joined the MLE, her work schedule had begun to over-run family life and it was starting to cause a strain. Most days, Ron tried not to think about it. He focused on their children, now that he was off the Aurors and could stay home with them, and tried to provide them with the best support he could. He cooked, cleaned, did laundry, tutored, changed diapers, and never complained, though he disliked the majority of it. The only bit he truly enjoyed was coaching Hugo's summer league Quidditch team, the Weasley Wheezes (George's shop had been sponsoring them since Teddy began playing). They had been league champions last year, but only just as the Wiltshire Wimples had only been 10 points behind them even with the snitch catch. They had a new coach this year, Malfoy, and Ron was hoping to trounce him.
"All right, there, Weasley? Ready to lose?" He groaned, recognizing that arrogant drawl instantly. He turned from watching his team warm up as Malfoy sidled up next to him, looking as pristine as usual. Ron wanted to punch him, also as usual. Just because Harry said he wasn't as bad as they thought didn't mean Ron believed him.
"That's a bit of a boast from last year's losing team, don't you think? We haven't lost a match to your team in four years. What makes you think you can beat us this time?"
"I'm the coach this year and Scorpius is the best flier at Hogwarts right now, you know. He's the youngest seeker since Potter."
Ron smirked. "That must kill you, too. That Harry's better than even your son at Quidditch."
A malicious sparkle came to Malfoy's eyes. "Better, indeed? I think not. Scorpius is a better feinter than Potter ever was. We'll win, don't you worry."
"I won't hold my breath. We've the best team in the league. We're going to destroy you."
"Indeed? Care to wager on it?" Malfoy was right in his face, expensive cologne clogging his nostrils. He took a weary step back, but found his way blocked by a bench. Malfoy's smug smirk got bigger.
"What sort of wager?"
"My team wins, I get your arse."
Ron's eyes widened in disbelief. He couldn't possibly mean what Ron thought he meant. "What do you mean, 'my arse'?"
"To fuck, Weasley," he murmured just low enough so the kids wouldn't hear.
Ron shoved at his shoulder to get him away. "Are you insane? We're both married!" he whispered harshly, eyes darting around to make sure no one heard. Was the man completely off his rocker?
"And? Rumor has it you and Granger aren't doing so well. Too many late nights at the office, emergency meetings. I doubt there's enough going on in the MLE for her to be that absent. Has it never occurred to you that she was cheating?"
Ron's temper went up a notch and he could feel his face get a bit hot. "My marriage is none of your business, you bloody bastard. Mind your own." He elbowed Malfoy out of the way and headed onto the pitch to round his team up for a strategy talk. He tried to ignore Malfoy for the rest of the match, but he couldn't avoid a fight when one of Malfoy's beaters nearly knocked Albus off his broom. Harry had to run down from the stands to hold him back from beating the posh git into the ground. By the end of the game, he'd almost been thrown out three times, and Malfoy only stopped looking smug about it around the time Lily caught the snitch and won the game for Weasley Wheezes. They hadn't trounced them, but they had won, and Ron took them all out to ice cream to celebrate.
"How was the match?" Hermione asked that night when she came home. Rose was the only child awake, but she was held up in her room reading, no doubt, so Ron found himself alone with his wife for the first time in a week and slightly hostile for it.
"We won. Beat 'em by 100 points. Lily caught the snitch right from under Scorpius Malfoy's pointy nose. It was brilliant." He forced a smile and tried to look excited about it, but he was always bullocks faking emotions and he knew it. Hermione didn't notice, though, as she was busy sorting through the post.
"Harry must have been happy. What did Draco say?" Her eyes flicked up to him, but he looked away.
"He's Draco now?" he asked, avoiding her question. He didn't want to think about what Draco had said, what he had implied about their marriage. About that new detective Ron knew his wife was working closely with lately.
Hermione sighed in exasperation. "He's been Draco for years, Ron. I wish you'd make more of an effort with him. His son plays with your nephew, you know. He's done quite a bit to redeem himself and he never wanted to do any of those awful things he did before."
Ron sneered, but didn't say anything. Even his own wife had turned to the dark side. Maybe he should just take Malfoy up on his offer. It would certainly be more action than he'd seen in months, since before Nigel was born really. "I'll think about it," he answered after a minute, watching her as she went back to the post. Perhaps he could... He moved closer and wrapped an arm around her, leaning down to press hot kisses against her neck. She made a noise of annoyance and nudged him away.
"Honestly, Ronald. Is that all you think about? I'm exhausted and been at work all day. The last thing I want is a quickie on the couch. Has Rose even gone to bed yet?" Well then, that answered that. Ron didn't even bother to answer, but walked away instead. He could hear Hermione's continued questioning from over his shoulder, but he was no longer listening. He checked in on Rose, who was reading as he suspected, and then got ready for bed. Hermione followed soon after, but he ignored her and they slept on opposite sides of the bed.
The next morning, after Hermione left for work, he sent an owl off to Malfoy that simply said, "We won. When do I get my prize?"
On edge didn't even begin to describe what Ron was feeling in the moments before the door opened and his life changed forever. He was about to cheat on his wife of twelve years, possibly destroying his marriage beyond repair. What was he doing? This was a mistake. He was ready to turn around and go home, but then the door did open and there was Malfoy, barefoot and grinning the wickedest grin Ron had ever seen. He looked sexier than Ron thought possible, given that he had only once before entertained the thought of sex with another man. "I never thought you'd have the bullocks to show, Weasley. I'm impressed."
"Hermione told me to 'make more of an effort' to get to know you," he answered as Malfoy stepped aside to allow him entrance.
"I doubt she meant it quite this way, but a pleasing sentiment nonetheless. If she's not going to fuck you, I'm more than happy to take over." He shut the door and attempted to crowd Ron towards the bedroom, but Ron had other ideas. He swiftly shoved the blond against the closed door and pressed him bodily into it.
"Let's get one thing straight right now. iI/i will be doing the fucking here. Your team lost; it's your arse on the table, not mine. Got it?"
"That can be arranged..." Draco's voice was a low and sultry ghost against his skin, followed closely by pale fingers trailing up his t-shirt. The fingers tightened in the worn fabric and pulled Ron the inch or so needed to devour his lips, which Draco greedily did. Ron succumbed to the heated mash of tongues and teeth for a few minutes before realizing that any semblance of dominance he had over the blond was slipping away and he tore his mouth away.
"Stop wasting time and get on your knees." The grin flashed back on kiss-swollen lips before Draco dropped to his knees and began work on Ron's trousers. Ron leaned a hand on the wall and looked down to watch Draco work until those swollen lips had swallowed him whole and his vision flashed white-hot. Draco's pointy nose nudged against his bright-red pubic hair and he let out a loud grunt of appreciation. As soon as he was able to catch his breath, Ron clenched his fingers in blond hair and began to fuck his warm mouth, causing him to gurgle and choke, coating his erection in saliva.
It went on like that for long, glorious minutes in which Ron forgot his own name and succumbed to the blinding pleasure, before Draco pulled away, panting, and moved back up to face Ron. Ron growled at him and tore at his jeans, too distracted with stripping him to care that Draco had taken his mouth in another kiss. He could taste his own pre-come on Draco's lips, the bitter taste filling his mouth and turning him on even more. He shoved Draco against the wall, kissing him with ferocity as they worked together to finish tugging his jeans off. As soon as it was accomplished, Ron broke the kiss for a moment to spit on his fingers before reaching down to probe at the tight pucker of Draco's arse. Draco let out a loud moan and pulled his face back into their kiss, wrapping a leg around his hip to allow better access. He only managed a few thrusts in with two fingers before Draco was pushing the hand away and guiding his cock in, groaning into his mouth. For Ron's part, he momentarily forgot how to breathe. Draco was unbelievably tight and hot and it was all Ron could do to remember what he was supposed to be doing. He remembered himself, though, with a few growled words from Draco, and soon he'd lifted Draco off the ground and was pounding him into the wall. Draco's calves clamped to the sides of his ribs like a vice and his hands scrabbled against the door frame for purchase as he pushed back against the pounding.
Quickly, almost quickly enough to be embarrassing had either of them been capable of thought, they were both calling out into each other's mouths, come spilling between them. Ron broke away from the kiss to catch his breath, burying his nose in pale, sweaty skin and taking deep breaths. A short, satisfied laugh erupted in his ear and fingers combed through his hair, tugging at his nape. "Fuck, Weasley. You've been holding out on me."
Ron chuckled into his throat, but didn't say anything. The words had brought him back to reality and he was having difficulty adjusting to what had just happened. He had cheated on his wife. With Malfoy. And it was ifucking brilliant/i. He grinned and a kissed Draco's lips again, nipping and licking his way in, unable to get enough. What had he been thinking, waiting so long to do something like this? It felt bloody fantastic to be touched again, to be engulfed by someone. He and Hermione hadn't had this sort of passion since before Rose was born, if they ever had at all. Draco pulled away after a moment, moving his hips so that Ron's flagging erection slid out of him before dropping his legs to the ground.
"If we're going to continue, how about somewhere more comfortable? Door sex is fantastic and all, but I don't fancy my back being one giant bruise."
Ron furrowed his brow, a bit of sense returning once more, but only in flashes. "I don't know if I like the idea of using a bed. It seems more..." The sense was slipping, fighting against the sight of a flushed and naked Draco.
"Like cheating? You've already done it, Weasley. Get over it." He slipped past Ron and headed down a hallway, saying over his shoulder. "Come here and ravish me again. This is your last chance, you know."
That got Ron moving after him. He kicked off shoes and trousers on the way and had his t-shirt off before he reached the blond, who was eyeing him appreciatively. "What do you mean, this is my last chance? You don't want to do this again?"
"Oh, I want to do it again. However, I am never going to allow your team to beat us again, and thus, this is your one and only chance at my arse. So make it a good one." He grinned his evil little grin and shoved Ron into the bedroom, the door slamming closed behind them.
In many ways, Hugo took after Ron just as much as Rose took after Hermione. And that included procrastinating on his summer work. In an effort to break him of the habit, Hermione had charged Ron with the job of making sure that they worked on at least one subject a week. Ron hated doing so about as much as Hugo did, but he grudgingly agreed that it was better for the work to be done sooner rather than scrambling to finish later and having to answer to his professors at the start of term. That didn't mean that Ron stayed entirely focused on what his son was doing during their weekly homework sessions. He took as many opportunities as his son to let his mind wander, and that included listening in on Floo conversations Hermione didn't think he could hear.
That was precisely what he was doing three weeks after his first encounter with Draco, using a hearing enhancement charm that allowed him to hear everything Hermione and the man Flooing said, despite the Floo being on the other side of the house. It became abundantly clear why Hermione always cut Floo conversations off abruptly when he entered the room about two minutes into the conversation.
"I can't. I promised Ron I would be home for dinner tonight and I really should spend some time with my children, you know."
"You have all summer to spend time with your children. Why can't you indulge me just this once?"
There was a loud sigh of exasperation; Ron recognized it as Hermione's. "I indulge you enough as it is, too much, really. Ron may not be the most observant person in the world, but he's going to start getting suspicious soon. He was an Auror for twenty years, you know."
"He hasn't caught on yet. Stop fretting and come out with me. I'll make it worth your while." He voice turned teasing at the end, and it turned Ron's hackles up. Who was this man and why was he flirting with his wife?
"Gerald! Absolutely not, I need to spend time with my family. Perhaps Saturday I'll tell Ron I have to go in to finish preparing a deposition for the Friar's case. We'll see. I have to go, though. Ron's busy with Hugo and I want to check on the baby."
"Fine, but don't forget Saturday. I'll plan something special, yeah?" Ron clenched his fist against his knee at the twittering response from Hermione. She hadn't sounded that pleased about anything he had suggested since before Nigel was born. Merlin, was Draco on to something? He canceled the listening spell and tried to concentrate on what Hugo was doing to distract himself. He would bring it up later.
But of course, later never came. Instead, he met Draco at the flat in Edinburgh again and fucked him so hard there were bruises all along his thighs later. Draco stretched out like a cat afterwards, a supremely satisfied smile on his face. "Mmm, we're going to have to make this a regular occurrence if it's always going to be that good. Fuck, Weasley, I didn't think it was possible for you to go that deep."
Ron propped himself up on an elbow and stretched a hand out to smooth over Draco's arse cheek. "I didn't tear anything, did I?" he asked, only mildly concerned. Draco shook his head and arched his hips into the touch, all but purring in pleasure.
"Not that I can tell. I'm sure I'll be covered in bruises come morning, but it was worth it. If you're that ferocious all the time, I can't imagine why Granger's cut you off. Obviously as mental as I've always said."
A corner of Ron's lip pulled up and he shook his head. "No, I think you might have been right in the first place. I heard her talking to someone on the Floo the other day. It sounded like she was setting up a date and planning to lie to me about it. I don't know what to do about it."
Draco looked surprised for all of a second before slithering flush up against him. He slid his hand down Ron's side and around a buttock to pull their hips together, causing their spent cocks to rub against one another. "I think fucking me is response enough, don't you?" Ron groaned and buried his nose in Draco's throat, licking and nipping at the pale flesh. He felt Draco's grin against his ear and pulled him closer, leaning up to kiss him.
After that, their meetings continued once a week, then twice a week, etc., until they were spending four afternoons a week together by the time their children returned to school. At first, they only met at the flat for sex, though Ron always told Hermione he was just meeting Malfoy for a few pints. Then they really did begin to meet for drinks, dinners. By October, Ron was spending more time with Draco than he had with Hermione since before Nigel was born. And then everything fell apart with one simple suggestion from Hermione.
"Why don't we invite Draco and Astoria over for dinner this Saturday? I'll make sure to take the day off and we'll close the Floo and have a nice evening in. Doesn't that sound nice? I've always wanted to get to know Draco's wife better." Ron stared at her from across the couch, unable to say anything. He had no desire to meet Astoria Malfoy. He had developed quite a jealous hatred for her, irrational as it might have been, and knew he would never be able to hide it. As Hermione always said, he had no tact or subtlety and there would be no hiding his hatred.
"I don't know if they would be interested in a dinner party. They aren't very domestic..."
"Nonsense, Ron. They have dinner parties at the Manor all the time. Harry and Ginny are over at least once a month, and we would be as well if it hadn't taken you so long to get over your grudge against Draco." Ron still looked hesitant and so she changed tactics, moving closer to him and giving him a sympathetic look that turned his stomach. "Now, Ron, I know that things between us have been a bit strained of late because of my work, but I think spending time with another couple will help us connect again."
Ron resisted the urge to snort. "I don't..."
"Please, Ron? Try, for me?" She combed fingers through his hair, something she used to do all the time but had stopped doing months ago.
Ron sighed and pulled away. "Fine, if it'll make you happy. You can set it up. I'm going to go check on the kids and then go to bed." She moved to kiss his cheek, but he brushed her off and went upstairs, mind racing. The same stomach-dropping feeling attacked his insides as he had felt just before his first encounter with Malfoy. This was a bad idea and it was going to end in disaster, he just knew it.
"Your wife just owled mine with a most amusing invitation. Astoria nearly laughed herself right off her chair when she read it. Whatever is Granger thinking? We're coming, of course, but really, how naive of her. Did you agree to this?"
Ron sighed and shoved his hips up, pressing deeper into Draco. Sharp fingernails dug into his bare shoulders and sweaty blond hair fell into his face as Draco leaned down to look him in the eyes. "I had to shut her up somehow. She was talking about reconnecting and growing closer as a couple and all that bollocks and I didn't want to listen to it anymore. You should tell her you're busy; maybe she'll forget the whole thing."
The devilish grin was back right before Draco took his mouth in a heated kiss, his hips moving in faster circles and driving Ron up the wall. He liked being in control as much as the next guy did, but fuck did he love it when Draco was on top. That little twist and clamp just there... Perfection.
Draco's lips trailed down his chin to his ear. "We are most definitely going. Do you really think I would miss such a fantastic opportunity to mock Granger? She has absolutely no idea about us, does she? This is going to be so much fun." Ron growled and thrust up hard to stop his laughter, causing the blond to choke out a moan, forgetting himself long enough for Ron to take control. He pushed Draco onto his back and shoved his knees nearly to his ears, bending him practically in half before thrusting back in. Trapped as he was, Draco still managed a manipulative smirk as he pushed back against the hard thrusts.
"You are not going to tell Hermione, do you understand me? I refuse to let you destroy my marriage for you own pleasure," he growled out.
"No, you'd rather do that yourself, wouldn't you, Weasley? What do you think this is, a torture session?"
"Malfoy, if you even think about telling Hermione about this, I will never touch you again." He emphasized each word with a particularly hard thrust that had Draco's eyes rolling back in his head.
"Fine, I won't say anything. I can't promise what Astoria will do, though." Ron snarled, but let the subject drop so that he could concentrate on giving a rather sound fucking.
Afterwards, as they curled up for a short nap before Ron had to leave, Draco petted Ron's chest and traced his bottom lip absently. "Why do you fight this so hard? From the things you say and the way you behave, your marriage has been dead for a long time. Why do you care if she finds out? You don't still love her, do you?"
Ron didn't answer right away, trying to determine whether he was asking out of maliciousness or genuine interest. "I can't explain it. I've been with her a long time; it's not something I can just throw away without thinking about it, you know? Besides, there are the kids to consider. Rose and Hugo may be gone most of the year, but Nigel is still just a baby. I don't want to tear their world apart just because of my own selfishness. It's seems wrong."
"You are such a Gryffindor, you know that?" His words were almost affectionate.
"Not all of us can have open marriages like you, you know."
"Yes, I know. Serial monogamy is such a bother." Ron kissed his forehead and pretended to go to sleep so that Draco wouldn't notice his amusement.
Ron had been pacing the house for an hour, stomach rolling, fighting the urge to just come out and tell his wife before Astoria Malfoy flounced in and did it for him. According to a rather smug owl from his lover, she was looking forward to letting the cat out of the bag, as it were. Apparently, she was just as jealous of Ron as Ron was of her.
"What's wrong with you? I thought you liked Draco," Hermione said from the kitchen. Ron dug his fingernails into his palms to resist the urge to blurt it out.
"Just nervous, I guess." The doorbell rang and Ron hurried to get it before Hermione could. Draco and his lovely, evil, little wife stood on the step, looking elegant as always.
"Hello, Weasley. Ready for a wonderful evening?" Draco pushed a bottle of wine in his hand and invited himself in. As he brushed past, making sure to press his body closer to Ron's than necessary, Astoria glared at him. Ron glared right back.
"Come in. Hermione's just finishing up." Astoria grudgingly entered, sweeping past him with a wrinkle of her dainty nose. She sneered at the decor and turned to Draco as if to say she could not believe they were lowering themselves. Draco only smiled and turned back to Ron just as Hermione poked her head in.
"Oh, you're here! Wonderful! Astoria, it's a pleasure to finally meet you properly. Harry and Ginny both say such lovely things about you." Ron raised an eyebrow behind her back and Hermione gave him a sharp look as she shook the blonde woman's hand.
"It is wonderful to finally meet you, as well. There's so much I've wanted to speak with you about." She smiled sweetly, but Ron could see the vindictive sparkle in her eyes. He gave Draco a warning look and went to chill the wine. He was little surprised to see that it was elf-made and more than a few centuries old. It was just like Draco to flaunt his wealth whenever he could. He could hear the din of female voices moving into the dining room and felt his stomach tighten. There were no angered yells as of yet. That was a good sign, he supposed.
He was so distracted, he missed the sound of expensive leather against the kitchen tiles and was surprised to feel himself pressed against the counter with hot breath ghosting against his neck. "Like the wine?"
"Did you have to go really far into the wine cellar for it or is this the bottom of the barrel for you?"
"Always the best for you, Weasley." He smirked into Ron's neck and nipped at his nape. Ron pushed him gently away and glanced at the kitchen door, propped open with a cast-iron kneazle statue.
"Let's get this over with," he murmured, nudging his lover towards the dining room. Draco tugged him to a halt just out of view and kissed him solidly, digging fingers tightly into his neck. Ron was lost in it for a moment before jerking away and glaring.
"Don't worry, Weasley. Things will work out, whatever happens. You may be a clueless Gryffindor, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeve." Ron searched his eyes, trying to figure out his meaning, but finding himself lost instead. He nodded and took a breath to calm his racing heart before going into the dining room and taking his seat. Astoria and Hermione were already seated, chatting amiably. No revelations appeared to have been made for the moment. Ron sat and offered Hermione a tight smile. Draco trailed in after him and sat opposite, smiling an unusually bright smile.
"Shall we, then?" Hermione asked, waiting for an affirmative before setting the food to serving itself. Dinner was surprisingly uneventful, if a bit tense on Ron's part. The Malfoys were polite and conversational and nothing whatsoever was said about flats in Edinburgh and open marriages. Ron was surprised and relieved, despite the continued darting looks Astoria gave him throughout the meal. When it was finished and the dishes had set off to clean themselves in the sink, Hermione filled their wine glasses and suggested a tour. Astoria took to the idea immediately, grinning in a way the unsettled Ron's stomach.
"That would be lovely." They all stood and made their way through the rooms of the ground floor without incident. Draco held Ron back from going up the stairs, claiming they needed to top off their glasses. The women went on ahead without them, while Ron silently protested Draco's firm grip on his wrist. As soon as they'd cleared the landing, Draco had him in a heated kiss.
"You're so bloody sexy all tense and flushed like that. I can hardly keep my hands off you," Draco whispered against his lips, voice hushed and tight with restrained arousal. There was a glint of pleasure to his eyes that made Ron wary of why he had held them back. He pushed his lover away with a warning look and hurried up the stairs after the ladies, sweating with fear at what he would find.
"But what do you mean; you don't believe in open marriages? I just assumed that you had the same sort of agreement as Draco and I, how odd," Astoria's voice floated through the hall into Ron's hearing from the bedroom and he froze just outside the door. No. Not now. They'd almost finished the evening. He was so close.
Hermione's voice sounded confused and a bit miffed in response. "Whatever would give you that idea?"
"Why else would you allow your husband to continue fornicating with mine? Unless of course you didn't know. Oh my, I have misspoken. How rude of me." Her voice sounded contrite, but as the bottom dropped out of his world, Ron knew that she wasn't.
"W-w-what? That's-that's ridiculous. How could you say such a thing? They're friends, that's all."
Ron heard a sharp laugh. "How delightfully naive of you! Did you honestly think they'd become 'friends' overnight without any ulterior motive? For someone professed to be so intelligent, you really are quite simple, aren't you? Men never drop such hatreds without outside factors. They've been sleeping together since the shortly after the children came back from Hogwarts last summer, haven't you, Draco, darling?" She raised her voice at the end just as Draco moved around Ron's shoulder to pop his head into the bedroom.
"Astoria, what did I tell you about being rude to our hosts? That's the sort of thing you say in an owl, not during a dinner party. What bad manners of yours," he chastised. There was no denial of the accusation, of course.
Ron tried to protest that it was all lies, but he was faced with a storming, fuming Hermione before he could get a word out. "Is this true?! Have you been cheating on me with the likes of Malfoy?!" she yelled at him, face red with anger.
"Ronald Billius Weasley, ido not/i try to tell me it isn't what it looks like. Are you or are you not sleeping with Malfoy?"
Ron opened his mouth to deny it, but one glance at her murderous expression and he nodded weakly. "Yeah, it's what she said it is."
"In his defense, he was only looking to replace what you have taken from him. You cannot withhold sex from a man for over a year and expect him not to stray," Draco cut in, moving to stand at Ron's shoulder.
"You aren't helping," Ron muttered. Draco slid his hand into Ron's and squeezed. In the mean time, Hermione burst into tears.
"How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me? What did I ever do to deserve this from you?" She was sobbing into her hands and the words came gurgling out from between them. Ron's heart clenched in his chest and he moved to touch her shoulder, but she wrenched away from him. "Don't touch me!"
"Hermione, I'm sorry. I do love you. I'm just... You said it yourself last week: we've grown apart. I've tried to connect with you so many times, but ever since Nigel was born, you've done nothing but push me away. I don't even remember the last time we had a proper kiss, let alone had sex. I wish things were different, I really do, but-" He was interrupted by a hand flashing in his face.
"Do not say that you're sorry. You are a liar and an adulterer and I do not want to hear another word." Hermione shoved him into the wall and fled down the stairs, hair flying in a mass behind her. There was a loud bang of a door slamming, and then silence for a few minutes, wherein Ron fell to pieces and Draco attempted to pick him back up again.
"What a delightful evening. We should do this more often. Do thank your lovely wife for me, won't you, Weasley?" Astoria piped in, having floated in from the bedroom. Ron sneered and lunged for her, but Draco held him back.
"Leave, Astoria. I will deal with you when I get home."
"Deal with me? Don't be absurd, Draco. The weasel deserved everything he's got. It is entirely his fault."
Draco sneered at her and pulled his wand. "This is your last warning."
She sniffed and turned her head away. "As though you would do anything to me. Scorpius would never forgive you." A malicious smile crossed his lips before he muttered a curse Ron didn't recognize. Astoria gasped and stared at him, wide-eyed. "You didn't... How could you?" She looked stricken, almost wounded. Whatever Draco had done, it was obviously very serious. Yet Draco stood still at his side and looked as though he were discussing the weather.
"I warned you. Go to the Manor. We will discuss it when I return." Astoria opened her mouth to argue, but one look had her moving for her wand and apparating with a glare.
They stood alone in the hallway, still holding hands, neither saying a word for several more minutes. Ron was acutely aware that Hermione had not yet left the house, as he knew Draco had assumed, but had instead locked herself in her office to weep. He wondered if it would do any good to go down to her, try to explain. But really, there was little to explain. He had betrayed her, shared his body with another. The slim, cool hand in his gave a squeeze and he turned to look into grey eyes, clouded with concern. He knew there was no way he could make things go back to the way they had been, before, when he still loved Hermione with every fiber of his being. His heart was no longer his to return to her. Draco leaned in and kissed him lightly, affectionately.
"Don't worry, Ron. We'll get this sorted out. I won't apologize for letting Astoria tell her, though." Of course he wouldn't.
"What did you cast on her?" Ron asked, voice just above a whisper.
"Disinheritance spell. She violated our marriage contract by compromising my relationship with you, becoming jealous. We said when we first decided to have an open marriage that we would never allow ourselves to become jealous of the others we slept with and that we would never interfere. She did both, and so our marriage contract is no longer valid."
"What… What about your son? What's he going to say?"
"Nothing. As far as he is concerned, nothing will change. She will stay in the Manor during the summer months and at her penthouse in Paris when he is at school."
"So, that's it? You're divorced?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes. She and I will have to discuss property distribution and such, and I'm sure our lawyers will want to get involved, but for all intents and purposes, we are separated."
"Bloody fantastic." He turned his face away, mind traveling back downstairs to his distraught wife, locked in her home office. He was pleased that Draco was no longer attached, but there was still his own marriage. His children. What was going to happen when his mum brought Nigel home in the morning? What would Hermione want to do about their marriage? Did he even want to stay married to her? What was the alternative? Draco didn't let him contemplate for long. He moved into Ron's line of sight, determination clear on his face.
"I know your Gryffindor brain is racing, trying to figure out how you can fix this so that everything's all right again, but you need to stop. Yes, you cheated on your wife. Yes, she now knows about it. Yes, you are probably bound for divorce. However, you seem to have forgotten something rather important. I'm here and I'm not leaving. We may not have set out with this in mind, but this is what we have. Right?"
Ron took a deep breath, tried to relax, think. It took a minute, but he nodded. "Right, okay. What are we going to do?"
"Well, there are a few options. We could go to my flat and go to bed and you can talk to Hermione in the morning when she's come back and calmed down a bit."
Ron shook his head. "She hasn't left. She's locked herself in her office."
"All right, that's something. Do you want to go down and try to talk to her? She's made you out to be the bad guy, here, but she's not completely blameless, is she? What about that other bloke? You could ask her. If she really has been sleeping with that bloke from work, it would give you a bit of the power back."
"I don't want to…"
"Right, we'll leave then. I think a good shag and a night's rest will help you think." He took Ron's hand and Apparated away before Ron had time to protest. He found himself in front of Draco's flat and then inside and moving towards the bedroom. By the time his mind caught up with what was happening, Draco had his shirt unbuttoned and was kissing his chest. He looked down at the pale head of his lover and things snapped back into place, and he lifted Draco's chin to devour his mouth.
Ron crept back in the house at eight the next morning, knowing that his mother would be dropping Nigel off within a few hours and hoping to talk to Hermione before then. He was in luck, as she was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, looking as though she got no sleep whatsoever. She looked up when he came in the room and glared. "What?"
"I came to talk. I was hoping we could get this sorted before Mum brings Nigel back. We don't want him to come home to a house full of yelling, do we?"
"Of course not," she bit out, still glaring. "So what is it that you have to say? Are you going to try to apologize, tell me it didn't mean anything? That it was just a bit of fun?"
Ron clenched his fists tight and fought the urge to lash out at her. He and Draco had gone over this. If he was going to sort this out properly, he needed to stay calm. "No, I'm not. I was sorry. For a long time I felt guilty about it, but I'm not now. Draco and I talked and it doesn't make any sense to be guilty. Our marriage was broken a long time ago and we both know it."
"Indeed, and I wonder whose fault that is," she deadpanned, and the blame in her words snapped whatever calm he had managed to muster.
"Yes, I wonder, indeed. Whose fault was it that you spent more time at work than you did with your own family? Whose fault was it that you went out with another bloke every other weekend and lied about it? Whose fault was it that we haven't had sex in over two years?!" His voice had become increasingly louder until he was almost shouting at her. "I quit my dream job to take care of our children so that you could keep your career, because it was important to you and I loved you enough to do anything for you! I worked harder than a house elf to take care of this family, and what do I have to show for it? Joking insults from my friends and a wife who pushes me away every time I try to touch her! I wonder whose bloody fault that was!" A ceramic canister of sugar exploded on the counter behind Hermione's head, and the bang brought his senses back. He was shaking with rage and his knuckles were white. He hadn't had a burst of accidental magic since he was six. This was not good. This was the opposite of good. This was what Draco had warned him inot/i to do. He took a deep breath to relax, but in the meantime, Hermione had got going herself.
"What are you talking about? I never went out with another bloke and lied about it! My work keeps me extremely busy! You knew this would happen when you agreed to stay home so that I could take the job. How dare you try to blame you infidelity on me!"
"You are such a bloody hypocrite! I've heard you making plans over the Floo with some man. I know you've been cheating for longer than I have. At least I'm honest enough not to deny it when I've been accused of it."
She paused, mouth open as though to protest, but no words came out. He took the time it took her to think to calm himself down more. There was no reason for them to fight like this. They had both been unfaithful and it was obvious that neither had a stake in the relationship beyond their children. Their marriage was dead and they needed to finalize it. "Fine, I'll be honest. I have been seeing someone. His name is Gerald Foster and I've been sleeping with him since right after Nigel was born. I didn't tell you because I thought it was a fling, postpartum depression or the like. It wasn't. I am sorry I failed to tell you sooner."
He closed his eyes for a moment and took another breath. Calm. He needed to stay calm. He did a quick check, expecting to find a gaping hole in his heart where the words had hit, but there was nothing. He was fine. He had known that his wife was cheating long before now and it was fine. He was moving on. He opened his eyes and nodded to her before moving to make himself a cup of coffee so that he could join her at the table. "So, what now?"
The words seemed to put a fire under Hermione and she suddenly sat straighter, all business all of a sudden. "We will have to get a divorce. We'll split custody of the children, of course, and I think it would make more sense if you kept the house. It was your salary that paid for the majority of it. I want the dining room furniture, everything in my office obviously, the couch in the family room and that rocking chair that used to be in the nursery."
"You've thought about this," he said as he sat down.
"Well, I had to think of every eventuality. In my head, I knew you would eventually figure it out. Though I must admit, I never imagined that you would leave me for Malfoy. I didn't know you ever had any interest in men."
Ron snorted into his coffee and hid a smile. "I don't. There's just something about Malfoy... I don't know. Once it started, I just couldn't stop."
"Are you going to move in with him?"
"I think that's what he's angling for, yeah. He's dissolved his marriage to Astoria." He couldn't help but sneer a little at saying her name.
"That was fast."
"Yeah, it was right after you left. There's some spell in his family that cuts the marriage off if one of them violates their terms, or something. He explained it last night, but I think I was too distracted with all this to listen."
"You've never been very good at listening, have you?" They shared an amused smile, breaking the tense air of the kitchen. At that moment, Ron thought perhaps they could be friends, despite all that they had done to one another.
"So, if I'm keeping the house, does that mean you'll be moving in with this Gerald bloke?"
"Yes, I suppose. We've talked about it, of course. Perhaps we'll find a bigger flat, though. He's only got a small one near the Ministry now and it wouldn't be suitable for the kids."
He nodded and took a large swallow of coffee. It burned his throat, but felt good all the same. "When should we tell them?"
Hermione hesitated, considering. "Telling them while they're still at school would be disastrous, I imagine. I would rather be readily accessible for any questions they might have or support they might need."
"You'd rather ruin their Christmas?"
"No. They come home five days before this year. I suppose we could keep things quiet until Boxing Day. That will give us a week to sort them out if there are any major meltdowns. What do you think?"
He took the time to think it over. Boxing Day would give them time to really talk and get them used to the idea before they went back to school, but what if they resented them for waiting to tell them? They might resent them more for ruining their Christmas holiday if they told them the day they got back, though. "Boxing Day makes the most sense. What are we going to do about Nigel, though?"
"Well, are you planning on going back to work?" There was only a little bit of tension in the question. Ron gave her a sideways glance and shook his head.
"Not back to the Aurors, no. I'm getting a bit old for it, really. I'd much rather have a steady schedule and stop all that running around. Maybe I'll help Fred with the shop or something. I could bring Nigel to the shop with me during the week and you could take him on weekends."
"That sounds like a sensible plan. I suppose we'll have to wait to talk to the kids and see what they would like to do before we decide what to do with them."
"It would only be fair." They spent the rest of the morning sorting through what they wanted to do with their assets and by the time Molly arrived with a beaming Nigel, they had a sort of settlement worked out.
"So, a tattoo this year? Maybe a nose ring?" Ron prompted, smirking. Harry shook his head ruefully and turned to Ginny.
"Well, he's broken it off with Thomas as far as I can tell, so maybe there will be a new one instead."
"God, I hope it's just blue hair. I couldn't handle another one..." Ginny moaned, dropping her head onto Harry's shoulder. Harry rubbed her back and kissed her hair.
"It's not so bad, Gin. I liked Thomas, didn't you? He was the most polite boy any of them has ever brought home, that's for sure." Ginny didn't respond, but also didn't pick her head up from his shoulder.
"What in Merlin are you three on about? Who is this Thomas and who has a nose ring?" Draco cut in, moving in next to Ron and grabbing onto his hand.
"James. He always comes home from school with some new scandalous thing. First year, he'd accidentally-" Harry snorted loudly at that. "-streaked his hair through with purple to look like Teddy Lupin. Second year, he somehow got a pet Runespoor that scared Lily so bad, she wouldn't speak to him for weeks. Third year... I forgot what happened Third year. Harry?"
"Spelled his ears pointy and tried to claim we'd kidnapped him from the elves."
Ron chuckled. "That's right! It took all of us three weeks to convince him that he wasn't a house elf."
"He just wanted to get out of his chores."
"Right. And then last year, he brings his boyfriend home and Ginny nearly had an aneurysm." Draco grinned his evil, non-sexual, grin at Harry.
"Got a pillow-biter in the family, have you?"
Harry eyed him up and down cynically. "That's a bit of the cauldron calling the kettle black, isn't it?"
"It is indeed. A very good point, Potter." They shared a smile, but the sound of the whistle cut off any response of Harry's. Soon they were surrounded by children in various states of excitement. Lily and Albus were the first to arrive, both beaming and full of stories that absolutely had to be told iright now/i. Rose was next, her nose in a book as usual. She barely looked up at Ron's kiss on her cheek, and that was only to eye Draco warily before returning to her book. Her owl, Horace, did her staring for her, glaring at her father and his partner with unquestionable malice. Ron sighed and tried to ignore it. Hugo came more slowly, obviously uncertain of what to do about Draco standing there.
Ron forced a smile even though his heart broke a little and waved his middle son over. "Hello, son. How was school?"
"All right. Is he staying with us?" Hugo asked, voice just above a whisper.
"For a bit, yes. Is that all right with you?" He shrugged, but didn't say anything. Ron shared a look with Draco and felt a squeeze of his hand in return.
"I heard a rumor that you're friends with Alfie Zabini, Hugo. Is that true?" Draco asked, leaning down to reach Hugo's level.
"He's my best mate, yeah. Why?"
"Well, it might interest you to know that I am his godfather."
Hugo looked up at him with bright, surprised eyes. "He is?"
"He is, indeed. He and his sister are going to be spending a week at my manor this summer. You're welcome to come as well, if you like."
"Would I have to spend time with Azalea?"
"Not if you don't want to, no."
"All right, if Dad says it's okay."
Draco smirked up at Ron before turning back to his son. "Somehow, I don't think that's going to be a problem."
"What won't be a problem, Father?" a new voice asked and they all turned to see Scorpius, taller than he had been at Christmas, and sporting an earring that raised Draco's brow. James was behind him, Thomas at his side. Apparently the break-up hadn't actually happened.
"What in Merlin's name have you got in your ear?" he asked, stalking to his son and turning his head to the side to examine the large diamond stuck in his ear.
"Mum bought it for me. Do you like it?"
"I do not and I cannot believe that your mother permitted such an atrocity to happen to your flawless earlobe. You'll remove it when we get home, which is where we are going right now because I cannot stand to look at it one more minute. I'll meet you at the Floo." He turned away, a glint of anger in his eyes and went to Ron. "I'll see you later, assuming I'm not put in Azkaban for killing my son." Ron grinned against the quick kiss placed on his lips and decided it was time to gather his own children. It wouldn't do to be late to the Burrow. He and Harry exchanged a mischievous grin and began herding their children away.