Title: Contrariant Captivation

Author: Mairi Nathaira

Rating: R

Category: AU/AR, Romance, Humour, Drama, First-Time

Notes: Written for the 2010 Ginger Lust project-a-thon using prompt #33. Thanks to Mosh for being my idea bouncer, JK for the dance information, CR for looking over the fic to help me with Ron's POV, J for being my cheerleader towards the end, and RP for the beta!

Summary: At Hogwarts University, Ron, a rich fashion model, and Draco, an excellent but poor pianist, meet and clash against each other. Will they learn to tango together or will they assault each other with texts and verbal insults?

Pairing: Ron/Draco with a hints of Harry/Remus, Hermione/Pansy, Neville/Luna, and previous Ron/Pansy and Draco/Theodore.

Warnings: Slash

Dedications: None

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to Warner Brothers and the wonderful JK Rowling. I do not own them, despite the fact I wish I could own SS, RL, and SB. The only thing that belongs to me is the story itself.

Feedback: All comments and criticisms are welcomed there. If it's flame then don't bother for I will put them in my trashcan or blog about it and laugh at you.


****** There's a fanmix for this fic. Each section of this fic is broken up and titled. The titles are actually titles of the songs on the fanmix. Go here to see the fanmix ~ www DOT id DOT snarky-slytherin DOT net/contrariant-captivation-fanmix/ ******


The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet. - Andy Warhol


Proem

Feeling the crisp breeze on his face, Ronald Weasley lazily sauntered across the campus. Around him, he heard leaves rustling and chattering from other university students. He took a seat at one of the many benches scattered around the tree-lined boulevard. With a Starmoola coffee cup in one hand and a textbook in the other, he took a sip as he gazed at the clear, sparkling lake at the bottom of the hill.

"Hi, Ron!" Voices rang out as his schoolmates walked passed him, all recognising him from the magazines that held his modelling pictures or from one of the many advertisements shown on the telly. A well-known model - currently on a hiatus to focus on his university career - Ron handsomely wore the latest fashion on his 6'2" well-built frame, and his flaming red hair was styled into a short, shaggy ponytail. Ron knew he was quite fit, but he didn't try to flaunt his appearance. He left all that to his fellow model friend, Seamus Finnigan.

Nodding and smiling towards the voices and giving a slight wave, Ron had to stifle a sigh of annoyance at the way the females and the males all swooned from his acknowledgement.

It was just another typical morning at Hogwarts University.

"Too typical," he muttered into his vanilla latte. He set the cup down and stared longingly at the space in front of him.

Ron's current lifestyle left him feeling bored and empty. Sure, whenever he modelled, he always had the thrill of appearing in one of the many magazines that wanted him. He had a good life, a steady income, lived in a spacious and modern flat, attended one of the best universities in the Isles to study a subject he was fond of, and had close friends he was loyal to. But something was missing from his life. He had known that something was missing for the last few months, but he wasn't sure what that something was.

The only thing he was certain of was that he felt rather barren, and he wanted to get rid of that feeling.

His mind drifted onto thoughts of his huge family. His father was a government official. In fact, he was a Parliament member while his mother ran a successful child care service in her home. His oldest brother, Bill, working as a stockbroker, had made a name for himself in the few short years since he had left university. Then there was Charlie, the brother who worked as an endangered animal specialist, making him absent from Britain as he travelled overseas. Next came his stuffy brother, Percy, who had followed in their father's footsteps and worked for the government, too. Two years older than Ron, his twin brothers, Fred and George, worked as accomplished joke creators and shop owners. Lastly, his younger sister, the baby of the family and the only girl, Ginny, had gone off to France for her gap year, enjoying her time in Paris.

He gave a small smile. He loved his family. He really did, but sometimes a large family could be very stifling and made it difficult for him to call attention to himself. That was probably the biggest reason why he decided to model when an agent had approached him in year eleven. He never regretted his decisions. He had always wanted to be the centre of some attention, and modelling definitely gained him that.

"Ron? Ron? Ron!"

Ron blinked out of his stupor and saw Harry Potter, one of his best friends, staring at him. "Oh. Hi, mate."

"What are you doing?" Harry asked, running a hand through his hair that made him look like a tornado victim.

"Enjoying my morning coffee before my discussion session starts," Ron explained, draining the last of his latte.

Harry raised an eyebrow. "Doesn't it start at ten?"

"Yes."

"It's 10:05."

"What?" He glanced at his watch and saw that Harry was correct. "Bugger it all! I'm late! Thanks, Harry!"

Ron quickly threw his empty cup in a rubbish bin, and in long strides, he made a mad dash to the Ravenclaw area of the campus. That section was where the entire humanities departments existed - its blue coloured building and signs being hard to miss. Huffing and puffing, he entered one of the blue buildings, vowing never to daydream like that again!


The Strife

Quietly, Ron slipped inside, giving an apologetic look to Professor Vector. He scanned around for an empty seat and saw that the only one left was by the window in the centre. He tried hard not to scowl since the person right next to him happened to be someone he did not particularly like. Apparently, the feelings were mutual since Draco Malfoy's face pinched up in obvious disgust when Ron sat down. Against his better judgement, Ron returned the dirty look while taking out his notes.

Discreetly, Ron took in Draco's appearance. Draco really wasn't a bad looking bloke. With his platinum blond hair parted in the middle, it gave his pale and pointed face a particular appeal that Ron found likeable. Draco wasn't as tall as Ron, but he was tall enough, even if Ron thought he was a bit on the thin side. However, Ron did prefer the slender types over the bulky ones when it came to men, so Draco fit his aesthetic tastes.

Now, if only he'd wipe that ugly scowl off his face . . . he'd look a hundred times better! Ron thought, averting his gaze back to his notes.

He didn't really know much about Draco. He only knew that Draco came from a much poorer household, and he only knew this because Pansy Parkinson, his ex-girlfriend from secondary school, was Draco's best friend and had told him.

Yet even if he was from a poorer family, he sure acts more snobbish than any rich bloke I've run into!

Professor Vector's voice interrupted his inner monologue, so he turned his attention to his favourite literature professor. "I hope everyone read Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises. I'd like to get some thoughts on what you thought of the book. Mr Malfoy? What do you think?"

"Based on the novel's text, Professor, I think Jake and the rest of the characters were rather pathetic in their meaningless approaches to the type of lives they led."

Nodding, Professor Vector said, "They do seem that way, don't they?"

"Yes. Jake is emasculated, Brett is a female player, Cohn is spineless, and Romero is too idealistic. They were all filled with faults, and I didn't quite see what Hemingway was trying to portray in this novel."

Ron listened to Draco's explanation, and he realised Draco was obviously a follower of New Criticisms, someone who interpreted the writings just by the writings themselves, forsaking all other outside sources such as the writer's biography and personal beliefs. Ron was the opposite of Draco, preferring to take stories and literature from a biographical approach. He liked to analyse stories by putting the author's life into the story itself, and he felt it made his findings more fulfilling than just analysing the texts.

Ron decided to speak up with his counter argument against Draco. Normally he didn't participate in classroom discussions, but today he was bored, so challenging Draco seemed like it would spice things up a bit. And if there's one thing Ron was passionate about, it was literature - even if he didn't look like the type.

"But what about the time period the story is set in?"

He felt everyone's eyes on him. The eyes he felt the most were Draco's, and he stared back with a smirk. Draco's glare deepened, but Ron also saw something else in that steely gaze. Draco's eyes held hostility, but deep within its challenging stare, he saw a hint of curiosity.

"What about the time period?" Draco asked irritably. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"The novel takes place after World War I, and during that time period many were disillusioned with life and decided to revoke the Victorian idealism they were taught. They were plunged into a world of darkness, and they were 'lost' in the sense of their purpose in life. That particular era is known as 'The Lost Generation', and that's exactly what Hemingway tried to show in his novel," Ron delivered unflinchingly, looking straight at Draco. Draco's glare had been replaced with an unreadable expression, and Ron wondered what Draco was thinking now.

"What exactly is your point?"

"My point is that adding those outside factors help us see what Hemingway was trying to say in his novel."

Professor Vector cleared her throat. "Both of you have raised good points. You two are schooled in two different literary approaches, and I welcome that. After all, what would be the purpose of literature if we could not have different opinions about the same work?"

She continued on with the discussion, asking other students' input, and while the others droned on for a while, Ron glanced at Draco again. Their eyes met, and before Ron could say anything, Draco beat him to it.

"It's amazing that a mere model is capable of higher thoughts than his appearance," Draco hissed out softly. "Especially a weasel like you, Ronald Weasley. One wonders why you're even at university."

Ron responded to the bait in a lowered voice. "I happen to like literature, you good for nothing slimy git. And if we're going to be judging each other, I must say I wonder how someone like you can even attend this university without some outstanding scholarship award."

As soon as the words left his mouth, Ron regretted them, but at the same time, he didn't. He was more upset at how Draco bloody Malfoy had stereotyped him and treated him like an idiot.

"I refuse to continue this conversation. I wouldn't want my intelligence to be tainted by talking to an imbecile like you," Draco whispered angrily.

At that moment, Professor Vector dismissed the class. Before Ron could come up with a worthy retort, Draco packed up his belongings and stalked outside. Ron scowled deeply at the retreating figure, pissed off that he wasn't able to insult the prick. Grumbling, he grabbed his own materials and left the classroom.

Deciding that he needed to rant at someone, he hoped to find Harry and Hermione at their usual meeting spot. The three of them liked to meet and hang out at an area they dubbed "the pavilion". It was in a peaceful, tree-filled spot, and when the weather cooperated, they would study, eat, and talk at the benches and tables there.

Luck was with him. Harry was there reading his Secondary Education Methods text upside down with a distant expression. Hermione sat across from Harry and had all her law and politics books sprawled across the table with her head buried in one of the biggest books Ron had ever seen. Seeing his two best friends soothed his anger a bit, yet he still walked over to an empty spot and slammed his bag on the table.

"Ron! If you're going to make an appearance, can you do so in a more civilised manner instead of acting like a prehistoric caveman?" Hermione exclaimed. "What'd you do? Wake up on the wrong side of the bed?"

"He must have failed his literature course or something. He wasn't like this when I saw him earlier," Harry remarked, setting his text down on the table.

Ron ignored Hermione and decided to pick on Harry. "You do realise you're reading that upside down?" He let out a laugh as Harry's face turned red.

"Was I? I . . . I . . . didn't realise." Harry's blushed turned redder.

"Was Lupin's lecture that interesting?" Ron couldn't help but tease Harry.

"Shut up!"

"Just remember to see him only after you've finished his course, Harry. You wouldn't want a scandal to come out of this," Hermione said matter-of-factly. "I don't quite understand why you'd want to see him when he's older than you by quite a few years."

"Ten years is not that much older, Hermione!" Harry retorted. "Anyway, Ron, what's bothering you?"

"Changing the subject, are we?" Ron teased a bit more and then explained the whole Draco situation to his friends. When he was done, he didn't get the sympathetic responses from them that he'd expected.

Harry said it plain and simply. "While I think Malfoy acted terribly, I don't think your statement was any better than his."

Hermione, on the other hand, nearly talked his poor ears off. "Like Harry said, Draco sounds like someone with a bit of an attitude problem, but you Ronald Weasley? You don't need to stoop to his level by saying something about his financial condition. I'm not quite sure why he acted that way to you considering how Pansy told me that he's actually quite friendly, but he's also quite horribly sarcastic to people he's friends with. But that still doesn't excuse your behaviour! You're a much better person than that, so ignore him next time if he says something disrespectful. If you ignore him, he'll ignore you, too."

Exchanging a look with Harry, Ron said, "I feel sorry for the poor sod who has to listen to her legal lecture in a few years."

"I do, too. Sometimes I wonder who can talk more - Hermione or Pansy?"

Ron scratched his chin, pretending to think about it. "That's a tough call. I do know one thing. Whoever said opposites attract is dreadfully mistaken."

"It would be interesting to see who would win in a legal-"

"Harry? Ron? Quit talking about me like I am not here!" Hermione rolled her eyes. "Honestly, why do I tolerate you two?"

Ron sniggered and reached out to hug her. "Because you love us, like we love you."

"Thank goodness there are different kinds of love. I think I'd end up killing you two if both of you were my lovers."

"Which would never happen since you're the wrong gender," Harry announced, adding, "no offence."

"None taken," Hermione answered. She glanced at her watch. "I'm starving. Since you two have been quite horrid to me the last fifteen minutes, you can do the food run."

Harry nodded and Ron asked, "What do you want?"

"Grilled chicken salad with Italian dressing and some butterbeer."

"We'll be back," Harry said.

The two left Hermione. On their way to the meal hall, they talked about football, with Ron ranting about his favourite team, the Chudley Cannons. As he talked with Harry, and then Hermione when they returned with the food, Ron's anger about Draco became faint as his friends distracted him. They were joined by their friend Neville Longbottom briefly, and when it was time to attend their afternoon lectures, they all went in separate directions.


Consonance and Dissonance

A few days passed, and Ron found himself alone. All of his friends were currently in their respective lectures, and Ron didn't have one until the evening. Bored, Ron wandered around the Ravenclaw area, wondering if he should get some extra studying done in the library. He quickly decided against that idea, muttering under his breath that Hermione was a bad influence on him.

Still, he wanted to do something, but he wasn't sure what. He entered the music building, and there he heard something faint. It was a piano piece. One of the more famous ones, and it was one Ron could never remember the title or its composer.

"Lo Comp Nelly?" he mumbled to himself. He strained his ears to listen closer, and he slowly travelled to the source of the sound.

He found himself in a hallway full of practice rooms. Looking through the glassed doors, he saw that most were unoccupied except for one room in the middle. He went over there and saw someone playing that song. Coming to a halt, he stared at the person playing the piece. His jaw dropped opened. Sitting sideways to the door was none other than Draco Malfoy.

By then, Draco had started to play the crazy part of the song, and Ron could do nothing but stare. He stared at the pale hands and curved fingers that flew all over the black and white piano keys. His eyes took in Draco's straight back, showcasing perfect posture. His gaze travelled to Draco's face. Without the scowl, Draco did look good with his eyes closed and his face all relaxed. In fact, Draco looked really peaceful, and Ron could tell that this was Draco's real passion.

Draco's playing mesmerised and awed Ron. From his limited knowledge of music, he knew that this particular piece was not easy. To see someone like Draco perform and memorise it, he knew Draco had to be an exceptional pianist. When the song came to completion, Ron remained standing there.

I should leave before he sees me, Ron told himself. But he couldn't move his feet. Instead, he watched Draco's steel grey eyes open, and he watched Draco stand up quickly and yank on the door.

"What the fuck are you doing here? Are you spying on me, Weasel?"

Ron blinked, wondering why Draco acted so hostile before remembering their heated exchange a few days prior. "I was just passing through here. Is that a problem with you, Malfoy?"

Draco's mouth lifted up into a sneer. "Then piss off and keep going!"

Before Draco could slam the door in his face, Ron spoke up. "What were you playing just now?"

"Why do you care? It's not like a plebeian like you could differentiate the great classics from the drivel you call pop music," Draco said, his eyes narrowing.

Now, it was Ron's turn to frown. "Why are you such a wanker? Why do you call me a 'plebeian'? It's people like you who alienate those who want to try to get into the so-called 'great classics'! I just want to know because I want to finally get the title right and know the composer, too."

Draco's face turned blank before asking, "What do you mean 'finally get the title right'?"

Ron grinned sheepishly. "I call it 'Lo Comp Nelly', but I have a feeling that's not the correct name."

"You're definitely correct. That is most certainly not the title!" Draco snorted before resuming his characteristic scowl. "It's 'La Campanella' by Franz Liszt."

Ron was about to thank Draco, but the scowl made him swallow it. "I see."

"Yes, now you are about a millimetre smarter than two seconds ago. Now, don't make me repeat myself. Piss off!"

Draco slammed the door hard, making it rattle. Ron stared at the closed door and muttered, "Prat."

He adjusted his bag and continued down the hallway. He heard the piano playing resume, and this time he recognised the tune. "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven. Draco Malfoy, I am not a plebeian, and I will shove that statement back in your mouth one of these days!

Ron continued his way through the building. Outside, he ran into Luna Lovegood, a friend who was studying to be a zoologist and one of the biggest classical music aficionados he knew.

"Hello, Ron," Luna replied in her absent-minded manner. "How are things?"

"I had a door slammed in my face by a huge prick. Otherwise, nothing is new."

"Oh? How big was the prick?"

Ron stared at Luna, wondering if Luna had taken his statement literally. "Uh . . . "

She interrupted him. "While we are on that subject, I have to show you and the others the most fascinating thing I've encountered. It's this newNational Geographic show about the sexual activities amongst some of the largest mammals in the world."

"Er . . . " An image of two elephants having sex came into his mind, and Ron closed his eyes tight to erase the unwanted mental picture. "Maybe some other time . . . Luna? Do you have a CD with Liszt's 'La Campa . . . nell'?"

"'La Campanella'?"

Ron nodded.

"I don't have it with me, but . . . " She dug through her bag, pulled out a piece of paper, and jotted something down. "Here. Look for this CD in the library. Along with 'La Campanella', this CD has works by Schubert, Chopin, and Beethoven. It's one of my favourite CDs to listen to when I study. A lot of these pieces should sound familiar."

"Thanks."

Luna smiled dreamily. "No problem."

"You're a doll!"

They parted, and Ron decided to go to the library after all. After finding the CD without any problems, he pulled out his laptop and his headphones, and he listened to the beautiful piano pieces as he did some studying. However, he ran into one slight problem. He couldn't get rid of the vision of Draco Malfoy at the piano. It was as if that image was burned into his mind, and like a stubborn itch, it would not go away. Having "La Campanella" on loop probably didn't help his predicament, but he continued to listen to the piece as he tried to read "The Wasteland" by T.S. Eliot.

When he went to his modern poetry lecture that evening, he blamed Draco bloody Malfoy for being unprepared. He simply didn't care about whether April was the cruellest month or whether Madame Sosostris had a bad cold!


Whimsicality

"You know, Ron," Pansy said, sipping on her glass of wine, "while I'm glad you and I are having supper together, I don't appreciate your head being up in the clouds all night long!"

"Huh? What? Say again?" Ron looked up from his Filet Mignon.

Pansy sniffed, "Very eloquent. I don't understand how a famous model can act so churlish."

He rolled his eyes at Pansy's predictable insults. "You want me to prance and preen like a self-absorbed git?"

"Don't be such a boor. Honestly, I can't believe we were ever together." They had been together briefly in year eleven before both had realised they much preferred their own genders to each others.

Ron sniggered. "We would have killed each other by now."

"Correction. You'd have been castrated, and I would have been fine the way I am."

Pansy's statement reminded him of the discussion of The Sun Also Rises, and that in turn made him think of Draco for the hundredth time since that encounter in the music building. He thought about those slender hands, wondering how they'd fit with his. He remembered those sneering lips, and he pondered on whether the lips were soft in contrast to the harsh words that always left them. An image of Draco staring back at him with half-closed eyes caused him to smile.

"Wipe that goofy, idiotic grin off your face and tell me what has possessed you." Pansy's sarcastic voice snapped him out of his musing, and he blushed in embarrassment.

"It's nothing," Ron said, knowing it was futile, and that Pansy would badger him until he told her. However, he decided to try to stall it as long as he could.

"Who is it?"

"What?"

She gave him an exasperated look. "I've seen that look on your face once when you were infatuated with Orlando Bloom as Legolas, especially after the first film. Who are you crushing on now?"

Ron stared at Pansy as if she had grown horns on her head. Infatuated? Crushing? Was that what had afflicted him? Had he gone mad and developed some sort of a strange and fascinating . . . crush on Draco Malfoy? I think I've lost my bloody mind.

"You look as if you had just realised you were crushing on this mysterious person."

Ron groaned, burying his face in his hands. "You can say that again."

"Oh?" Pansy giggled. "I knew you were dense, but not this much."

"Hush, Pansy dear." Ron set his hands down and looked at her. "It's rather complicated. I find this person to be the most annoying little turd I've ever run into, but something about him affects me. Ow!"

Pansy had kicked him in the shin. Her eyes gleamed dangerously when she said, "Ron? If you don't tell me who this turd is, I will kick you in the crotch next. I'm wearing stilettos right now, so it will be more painful than regular heels!"

Ignoring his throbbing leg, he scowled at her. "You're evil."

"One crotch kick coming up."

"Okay, okay! It's your best mate."

Her pert lips turned into an "O" shape as she now stared at him as if he had grown three noses. "Not Draco Malfoy."

He grimly nodded, knowing he'd fully regret telling her this titbit. "Yes, him. Ow!" She had kicked his other leg. "What was that for?"

"For calling my best friend a 'turd'."

"He is! He has a horrible personality!" he protested, wondering how he'd gotten himself into this mess. "I know he's your best friend, but he will never win the congeniality award in my book."

She sighed. "Well, he's just naturally like that, but he's a sweetheart when you get to know him."

"Is that really Draco Malfoy you're talking about?" Ron asked, giving her a wary look.

She tossed him an irritated expression. "Yes. Now, do explain this sudden madness in your claim of having a crush on him. And do make it short. I don't have all night to play love counsellor with you."

Back in their younger days, Ron would have petulantly stuck his tongue out at her, but he refrained from doing so - mostly because he didn't want that crotch kick. He'd already been kicked there once for pissing her off, and he did not want to experience that again.

"Well, he and I are in that modern novel course, and he's always scowling for whatever reason. We clashed in our literary discussion, and we exchanged some insults. A few days later, I saw him playing the piano, and since then I can't seem to get him out of my head."

"Hm."

"That's all you can say?"

"Of course not! I was just trying to sort this out before I responded to you." She picked up her knife, and Ron eyed it as a dangerous weapon. Fortunately for him, she sliced her meat into smaller pieces. "It sounds like you're in the whole 'there's a fine line between love and hate' situation."

"Wha-?"

Pansy interrupted him. "You two are quite different from one another, the most obvious difference being your social classes, but at the same time, you two are quite similar. In fact, if you do get together with him, you have my approval, but hurt him and you die. And I can tell from that expression on your face that you have no idea what I'm talking about except for the threat. This is all I'm going to say. You figure out the rest yourself!"

"Pan-"

"We're going to talk about something else, and one of these days you will thank me for my method since it will hopefully transform you into a smarter human being. Now, be a gentleman for once and please refill my wine glass." Pansy picked up her empty glass and extended it towards him.

Shaking his head and laughing at Pansy's concluding sentences, he humoured her by pouring her some wine. For the remainder of their meal, they talked about something else, but Ron couldn't concentrate very well since Draco remained in the back of his mind.


Hopelessly Zany

For the next few days, he thought about his so-called crush on Draco, and he tried to figure out why he felt that way towards the standoffish git. Alone in his flat, he sat at his comfortable sofa in the sitting room and stared at the blank telly. Confused about his feelings, he compiled a list, something he did whenever he couldn't figure out a problem, and this always helped him.

Logical Reasons Why I "Like" Draco Malfoy

1. He's fit - when he's not scowling like a madman.
2. He's a great piano player who enjoys performing.
3. Despite his rude personality, he's intelligent - just in a different way.
4. If he's anything like Pansy, he probably has a very wry sense of humour, only more sarcastic.
5. He's blond. I like blond guys, and appearance-wise, he's my type.
6. He's unlike anyone I know, except for maybe Pansy.
7. I like his hands. Piano player's hands apparently strike my fancy . . .
8. I think I'm running out of reasons.
9. I must be masochistic to want be with a guy like him.
10. I would like to shut his mouth up with mine, to prevent those lips from spouting insults at me.

After the last reason, he set his pen down and stared at what he'd written down. In the beginning, he had tried to stay objective, but somewhere along the line, he had unconsciously shifted into his stream-of-consciousness mode. The list made him question his own sanity for the umpteenth time since he'd met Draco.

Writing down the list did not help him figure his dilemma out, and that depressed him. He slipped the list into his modern poetry text, and he went back to staring at the telly, contemplating whether he should turn it on or not.

Instead, he stood up and turned his stereo on, and the sounds of Chopin filled the room as he sat back on the sofa. Slumping against the plush material, he thought about Draco. Instead of trying to figure out why he liked Draco, he decided to follow his instincts and focus on trying to get Draco to say something that wasn't an insult.

Trying to formulate a strategy to win Draco wasn't an easy task. He spent all day and night struggling to come up with something that wouldn't end up with them in a screaming match, but Ron remained stumped for hours. Finally, at three in the ruddy morning, he decided to forget about an attack plan - and just try to talk to Draco in a civil manner - and see where that'd take him.

The next day, Ron overslept, and he blamed his alarm clock, Draco Malfoy, himself, and Draco Malfoy.

Forsaking his morning caffeine and breakfast, Ron quickly showered and threw on his favourite Chudley Cannons tee over a pair of jeans. Glad that he lived in Hogsmeade, the university town within walking distance of Hogwarts University, he ran all the way to his discussion session. He barely managed to make it and slipped into the empty seat next to Draco.

"Whew!" he said, ignoring the death glare from his neighbour. He then looked at Draco the Grouch. "Good morning."

"Morning," said the owner of the death glare in a very curt voice.

At least he returned the greeting. Even with that unfriendly face, he still said it. Ron readied himself while he figured out what to say next. He said the first thing that popped in his mind.

"Do you ever smile? Or is that frown permanently etched on your face?"

"I smile - just not for morons like you," Draco answered, disdain dripping from his voice.

Ron actually let out a laugh, most likely from nervousness. "I'm glad you think so highly of me."

He watched the way Draco's frown shifted from a hostile one to one that was filled with curiosity. "Why are you talking to me?"

"Can't a bloke be friendly?"

"Yes, if they want something."

Ron mentally paused. While he technically did want something from Draco, he also wanted to try to be friends with him first, and trying to cross that first hurdle proved to be rather difficult. "I don't want anything from you."

"Liar."

"Oh?" He lifted an eyebrow. "What makes you think I'm lying?"

"Because you're not like me. Now, kindly leave me alone."

Before he could respond, Professor Vector started the lecture. Ron half-listened as he thought about Draco's answer. Did Draco mean their social class differences? Sure, Ron was wealthier than your average person, but Ron was taught to accept and like someone for their personality, not whether or not they were rich or poor. Ron actually despised people who flaunted their financial assets, which was why he preferred to hang out with the regular "middle-class" people rather than the snooty upper-class people he could mingle with on a daily basis. Didn't Draco know who he socialised with? He had to know that Ron was friends with Pansy at least.

Draco was turning out to be a bigger enigma than he'd anticipated. Ron didn't know whether to be thrilled or discouraged. He tried to take the former approach, telling himself that Draco was like a challenge, and Ronald Weasley never backed away from a challenge!

Yet he knew he had to try to take a different approach. He again searched for an idea, but nothing good came to him. When he ran into Draco, though, a few days later, at the local coffee house in Hogsmeade, an idea struck him.

He purposely chose a seat near Draco. He pulled out the latest novel they were supposed to read, and he saw that Draco was reading some music history text. Suddenly, he began to hum one of the many Chopin pieces he'd been enjoying.

A few bars in, Draco interrupted. "Will you stop that inane humming?"

Ron gave him an innocent look. "You don't like Chopin's 'Nocturne in E-flat Major', opus nine, number two?"

"You actually know the title of what you're humming?" Draco's incredulous expression nearly tipped Ron into a laughing fest. Oh, if only he had a camera right about now to snap that face.

He kept his own face neutral, though, and answered, "Sure. I found a CD filled with all these piano pieces, including 'La Campanella'." He emphasised the title with a smirk.

Draco shook his head and rolled his eyes. "I don't know whether I should be impressed at your newly gained knowledge or be disgusted at your off-key humming. The way you were humming sounded like a butchered 'Nocturne in C-sharp Major'."

"Hey, not everybody can have perfect pitch!" Ron defended himself.

"That is true." Draco gave Ron a thoughtful look. "Maybe you're not as ignorant a plebeian as you look."

He's insulting me with a compliment. I guess I should be grateful for the slight approval? Ron cleared his throat and asked, "So what course of study are you going for?"

Draco didn't answer immediately. Ron felt Draco's gaze on him as if Draco was studying an interesting specimen. Eventually, Draco relaxed a notch and said, "I'm doing a double course in literature and music - piano performance more specifically."

Success! I broke down that icy barrier of his! Ron nodded. "Well, I've seen and heard your piano skills, and it's great that you're going to study what you enjoy."

"Enjoy?"

"Why, yes. You enjoy playing, don't you? That's what it looked like to me."

"Hm." Draco set his textbook down. "You're correct in your judgement. I do enjoy the piano."

"Do you play anything else?"

"I can play the trumpet, but not as well. I'll always prefer the piano over that."

"At least you're very musically inclined. I tried to learn the cello, but I didn't really enjoy it. I almost wanted to bash my instructor - my brother, Percy - with it on more than one occasion."

Draco snorted.

"What?"

"Nothing. It's just hard to imagine you of all people trying to learn self-discipline through the cello."

Ron grinned. "You're right on that, but I do enjoy literature and chess."

"Why literature?" Draco asked with a curious tone. That surprised Ron since he expected Draco to be condescending towards him.

"I like literature because I can extract a lot from it. All its simplicities and complexities are quite fascinating for me."

"There's nothing simple about literature, Weasley. If you're really serious about it, then you should know that."

Ron leaned back in his seat and put his hands behind his head, looking at Draco with a serious expression. "But literature can be simple. I think sometimes people who study literature try to over-analyse a piece of work. Some works are meant to be simple, but we prod it to death, trying to find a hidden message or something complex about it."

"Hm." Draco gave Ron an interested look. "Give me an example."

"You want an example? Okay, have you heard of the American poet William Carlos Williams?"

"Of course, but I haven't really read any of his poetry." Draco shook his head, his blond fringe falling into his face. Ron had to resist his inner temptation of reaching out to brush the strands out of the way.

"Well, here's a poem called 'The Red Wheelbarrow' and it goes like this:

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.
"

Draco listened and took a minute to respond. "That's . . . an interesting poem."

"It is. You can analyse it to death and try to figure out its meaning, but it's actually really simple. It's only a mere observation of a wheelbarrow in the rain next to a bunch of white chickens. It's simply told from a poet's perspective. This is when your preferred 'New Criticism' method works, actually."

"Mmm." Draco cocked his head to the side. "Perhaps you're not a plebeian, after all."

Score! Ron smiled widely. "I'm glad I've been promoted in your rankings."

"I do not have a ranking system."

"Well, at least I am no longer ranked as a 'plebeian'. What am I now?"

Draco let out a snigger. "I'd say you're now a certified moron."

"Ouch! You're so cruel."

"Naturally."

"I guess I should call you 'master'." Ron stretched and then looked over at Draco with a lazy smile. Half-serious and half-jokingly, he asked, "So, Master Malfoy, would you be kind enough to join me for some supper later?"

"Supper?" Draco's brow furrowed in confusion. "Are you asking me on a date?"

He certainly goes straight to the point. "Yes, I am." Ron felt his insides swirling in nervousness. Why the fuck am I nervous? I've asked blokes out before, so this is nothing new. What makes him so different?

Draco stayed silent, the frown still on his face. "Is this a joke?"

Ron shook his head. "No, I am not joking."

"You can't possibly have come to the strange conclusion that you like me. Have you gone mad?"

"Well, I can be mad, but I haven't gone daft if that's what you're implying."

"Hm." Draco appraised Ron. "I . . . I don't see any reason to decline-"

"It'll be my treat!" Ron interrupted. "I know of this great Indian restaurant nearby. Do you like curry . . . " Ron stopped at the glare on Draco's face.

"I have other plans. Find someone else to be your boy toy of the month!" Draco stiffly said, packing his stuff up as quickly as he could. "I'm quite busy." With that final statement, Ron was left staring at Draco's quick departure with his mouth hanging open.

What the fuck? We were actually getting along all right, he was almost close to accepting the invitation, and then he just decides to storm away as if I'm suddenly struck with an incurable disease! For the next hour, Ron remained there, unable to move as he slowly recovered from the stinging rejection.


Conniving Strategy

"Ronald Weasley, you're an idiot."

"Pansy, stop insulting me and explain to me what the hell I did wrong."

Pansy walked around in Ron's kitchen, opened up the fridge, and wrinkled her nose at all the butterbeer and real beer in there. "Don't you have any juice?"

"Do you want me to run to the store and buy some?"

"Never mind. I'll just stick with water."

Ron rolled his eyes. "Anyway, don't change the subject! What did I do?"

"You haven't figured it out?"

Growling, Ron leaned against the counter and gave her a dirty look. "I haven't! That's why I'm asking you. That's why I invited you over here today! I've been going around in circles since Friday trying to figure this out."

"Maybe I should let you run around in circles more. It's only been two days."

"Pansy!"

"Will you calm down? Your complaining is giving me a headache!" She grabbed a glass of water and shoved a butterbeer at him. "Now, let's go talk on the sofa instead of standing around here."

"Fine."

She led the way to the sofa, and once there, she took a sip of her water. Setting her glass down, she turned to Ron contemplatively. "First of all, you're dense."

"You've established and reminded me of that about a million times now."

Pansy tapped her manicured fingers on the plush sofa. "Also, be glad I'm in a generous mood. I could let you wallow in your self-pity for hours, but I'll tell you what the problem is."

Ron stayed silent, knowing that Pansy would answer at her own pace.

"Your mistake was asking him to supper and offering to treat him."

Ron blinked at her, not expecting that response. "What?"

Pansy let out an exasperated sigh. "Your mistake was asking him to supper-"

"I'm not deaf. I heard you correctly the first time."

"Good."

No further explanation came, so Ron asked, "How is it a mistake to ask him for a meal?"

". . . And to think I thought you had figured it out."

"Figure what out exactly? I don't get it. He seemed okay with the supper idea!"

"It's the second part that became your mistake."

Ron tried to work out Pansy's vague statements, and then it hit him like ice cold water splashing on him. "Wait, he was offended that I offered to buy him supper?"

"Congratulations. You're finally on the right track." Pansy raised her water glass at him, taking another slow sip.

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why was he offended?"

Pansy looked at him strangely. "Ron. Everyone has their pride."

"Hold on a second. Draco Malfoy was upset because I offered to pay for the food? Because of his pride?"

"Yes. He doesn't like it when people look at him as a charity case."

"But I wasn't doing this out of charity!" Ron spluttered. He then paused as he recalled something else Draco had said. "Don't tell me he thought I wanted to buy him supper and expected us to have sex that night. Do I really look like the type to get a boy toy every month?"

Shaking her head, Pansy said, "No. You don't. But I imagine that's how he surmised this unexpected turn of events."

"Un-bloody-fucking-believable. I . . . I didn't think anyone would ever look at me that way."

"Well," Pansy continued. He could see her trying to be more tactful than usual. "You're rich. He's not. You're a famous model. He's just a regular university student. I'm not saying he has low self-esteem, but if you were in his shoes, and some handsome, rich model approached you like that, wouldn't you come to the same conclusion?"

Pansy's words struck a goldmine as he finally understood the crux of the situation. "You're right. As usual."

"Of course." She smiled prettily at him. "So what are you going to do now?"

Ron sighed and thought through his options. He felt like he was in a foreign land, unsure of his next move. With any normal bloke, he'd know the right strategies to approach this problem, but with Draco his mind refused to help him. "I'm really not sure," he admitted. "If you can offer some advice, I'd really appreciate it."

Pansy looked as if she'd refuse and tell him to figure it out for himself, but she probably took pity on him and said, "Tango."

"Tango?"

"Draco likes tango. Aside from piano and literature. Approach him. Tell him you want to learn. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to apologise, too."

Ron's face lit up. "Pansy, you're an absolute dear! And since I already know how to swing dance, tango will not be a problem!"

Pansy started to laugh loudly.

"What's so funny?"

She quickly recovered and said, "You will learn soon enough that swing dance and tango are two different dances. Just because you know one dance doesn't mean you will easily master another. But I think since you already know swing, you should be able to transition into tango smoother than a beginner."

"I'll keep that in mind!"

"And I wish you luck." She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "I must run. Hermione will be out of her philosophy lecture soon. You know how she gets after being in the same room with Professor Trelawney for six hours."

Ron sniggered. "Why did she sign up for Trelawney's philosophy course again?"

"Because she wants to argue with Trelawney on every little thing."

"That's Hermione."

"Anyway, tango, Ron. Don't fuck it up."

"I won't. Thanks for your help." Ron hugged her, and after she left, he began to plan a new strategy to win Draco and his surliness over.


Deliberation

When Ron walked into his modern novel lecture, he dragged himself to his seat. He hadn't been able to come up with any good strategy that he found worthy of his time, and like before, that really depressed him. Planning had never been his forte; he'd always been the more spontaneous type - except when it came to chess.

Ron tried to come up with some sort of a plan, any plan. However, he still hadn't come up with anything remotely good by the time Draco arrived. Ron could feel Draco's presence, and Ron took the risk to glance at him. A stormy face greeted his vision, and Ron had kind of expected it. In a normal situation, Ron would have given his own dirty look, yet this wasn't a normal situation. Instead, he gave Draco a bright smile, a smile that threw Draco for a loop, judging by the surprised expression.

Since their discussion session had yet to start, Draco hissed out, "What's with the grin?"

Ron continued to smile, realising that it bothered Draco. "Because I'm happy to see you."

"Bollocks."

"Not really." Ron let out a sigh. "Look, I . . . I'm sorry about the other day. I really didn't mean to offend you in any manner. I only wanted to . . . to . . . be generous."

Draco's glare lessened slightly. "You know, Weasley, that's the lamest apology I've ever heard in my life."

"Then does that mean you accept it?" Ron asked, looking at him hopefully.

There was a heavy pause as Ron felt himself being scrutinised by Draco's grey eyes. Slowly, Draco drawled, "Let me think about it."

It took every ounce of Ron's willpower to not beam like a fool at that proclamation. Luckily, Professor Vector walked in, and Ron happily readied himself for the discussion session. After an interesting analysis about Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and other Bloomsbury Group members, Ron quickly packed his belongings.

"Are you done thinking about accepting my apology?" Ron saw Draco's stoic face, and he felt a sinking feeling deep inside of him. But he saw a faint glint in Draco's eyes. A glint of mischief?

"I don't know . . . "

Ron barged on with, "Then teach me tango!" As soon as the words left his mouth, he realised that he sounded pretty dumb.

Draco most likely agreed since he sniggered at Ron's outburst. "You? Tango?"

"Oi! I can swing dance pretty good!"

"Well."

Ron blinked. "What?"

"It's 'well', not 'good," Draco explained with an amused expression.

"Oh, forgive me, ol' Master of the English language," Ron retorted lightly. "Anyway, I know how to swing dance, and I was wondering if you could teach me how to tango."

"How do you know about me knowing tango?" Draco looked suspicious, yet curious. Ron noticed that while Draco's face said one thing, his eyes said another, and Ron made a mental note of that observation.

He was about to say "Pansy" when he remembered something Pansy would always say. "A gentleman never reveals his secrets!"

"Sassy," Draco answered and rolled his eyes. "Let me guess. You hang around with Pansy Parkinson."

"Uh . . . " Ron wondered if he was that obvious. He rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. "What would you do if I say yes?"

"What can I do? Yell at you?" Draco reached out to open the building's exit. He squinted at the sudden brightness of the sun. "I can't very well judge you for being close friends with her." He paused before continuing, "She has mentioned you a few time."

"Knowing her, she probably makes me sound like a prat," Ron said affectionately.

"Indeed, she does." Draco stopped walking and turned to look at Ron. "Do you really want to learn tango or do you just want to get laid?"

Ron was a bit surprised at Draco's frankness, but years of being friend's with Pansy allowed him to say smoothly, "Honestly, both. However, I also do want to get to know you. I've developed this crush, more or less, on you, and I found that you're quite interesting, despite your sarcastic tendencies."

"Are all models this good at bullshitting?"

"I suppose. Why else would I study and analyse literature?" Ron smiled at Draco's raised eyebrows.

"Hm. Fine. I'll show you how to tango. Just remember it's not the same thing as swing."

"Pansy already educated me on that fact."

Draco nodded. "Not surprising. She tried to learn tango from me, but she was rather unfit for that type of dance. Swing suits her more." He narrowed his eyes at Ron. "Don't tell her I told you this."

Putting a hand over his heart, he said, "I solemnly swear to keep my trap shut about this revelation since I'd like to keep my crotch stiletto-free."

"Oh, for the love of . . . never mind. You know the dance room on campus? Come there on Thursday around six in the evening. Will that work?"

"Perfect."

With one last nod, Draco left Ron. Ron waited until Draco was out of sight before he let out a whoop and pumped his arms in the air. "Yes!" Despite his lack of plans, things had turned out better than he had anticipated. Happy and satisfied, he decided he should get Pansy a gift of gratitude. However, he let out a loud groan as he remembered how picky she could be. Choosing a gift will take him days.

Oh well. At least that will keep me occupied until Thursday!


Fuck. Pansy and Draco were right. Tango is bloody different from swing!

Ron had been warned about this, but he still had the impression that it couldn't be that difficult to transition into tangoing. They already had three sessions, and so far he had stepped on Draco's feet about a thousand times, stumbled a hundred times, and bumped and crashed into Draco a million times. Ron felt like a tall, gawky teenager again, making him wonder if all of his coordination skills had left him.

On the other hand, Ron enjoyed it! The best part about all of this was that he was able to hold Draco very close to him. This gave him the knowledge of how well Draco fit with him. Draco's height and body shape moulded perfectly against his own body, and he liked that feeling. Still, all these close encounters left him aroused on a regular basis, and Ron found his right hand to be his best friend the past couple of weeks. Each time Ron wanked himself in pleasure, he would recall Draco's fine blond hair, Draco's long-fingered pianist hands in his larger ones, and Draco's special scent that reminded him of sandalwood and cedar.

Whenever he was around Draco, though, he would put those naughty thoughts aside and appreciate the opportunities he had with Draco.

"You're a wee bit less crap than the last session," Draco admitted as they danced around the room. "You've stepped on my toes about ten times less than before."

"Thanks." Ron knew that this was Draco's way of complimenting him, and he'd take what he could get!

"Let me switch CDs." Draco let go of Ron, and Ron immediately felt the loss of Draco's warmth. He contemplated wrapping his arms around Draco from behind, but his arms remained at his side as he waited.

A familiar sounding song came on, its melody resonating off the walls. "I've heard this before. I think it was on Schindler's List."

Draco nodded. "Carlos Gardel's 'Por Una Cabeza'."

"Ah." Ron had wanted to say more, but Draco had come back and moved him into the dance position, so Ron's voice refused to work as he busied himself concentrating on the moves.

"That's it . . . I think you're finally understanding it," Draco said softly, his usual sarcastic tone absent.

Ron couldn't say anything. His mouth had gone dry, and with Draco so close to him, he had to fight down the urge to lean even closer to kiss the pouty lips that liked to spout insults at him. As they danced around the room, he managed to keep his concentration, and when the song came to an end, Ron's vocal abilities came back to him. "That was . . . nice." Well, some vocal abilities.

Draco smirked at him. "Congratulations. You have managed to dance a whole song without bruising my poor feet." Draco tilted his head back to look up at Ron, making Ron's breath hitch in his throat.

"Mmm." Ron stared at those lips again.

"The song has ended. You can release me now."

"What if," Ron's voice came out huskily, "I don't want to?"

Draco's eyes darkened, and Ron wasn't sure if it was from anger or something else. "You don't want to, huh?"

"No."

"You look like you want to do something dangerous to me."

"You'd consider a kiss dangerous?"

Draco didn't say anything for a while as he cocked his head to the side. "It depends."

"On?" Ron's hands had somehow found themselves on Draco's slim waist, and he let them stay there comfortably.

"Well . . . " Draco looked off to the side, his hands now on Ron's broad shoulders. "It depends on the person."

"Am I that person?" Ron asked, pulling Draco closer, their hips bumping and meeting each other.

"Perhaps." Draco's voice came out in a whisper, and Ron almost missed that response.

Wordlessly, Ron bent down and gently kissed Draco's forehead. He heard Draco's soft intake of breath, and that broke whatever spell that had a hold of him. He let go and stepped back. "Sorry."

"You're an idiot, Weasley."

Ron looked up, almost ready to yell his own insults at him, but he stilled when he saw the serious look on Draco's face and the lust-filled eyes. "Ron."

"Pardon?"

"It's Ron. And you're Draco."

"Fine, Ron. If you're going to kiss me or do something next time, grow some balls."

Ron was not going to let Draco, the master of sarcasm, win. "Is that an invitation?"

"You figure that out." Ron watched Draco grab his stuff. "But for now, I need to get going. I'll see you tomorrow."

"All right." Draco left first, and Ron was alone in the vast dance room. He reached up to touch his lips, which still tingled from its brief meeting with Draco's forehead. He darted his tongue out, and he could almost taste Draco on his lips. That mere thought turned him on, and he decided that he should head home, too. His destination was plain and simple. The showers. He had a date with his right hand again.


Ruminative

Ron was in heaven the next two weeks as he met with Draco on a regular basis, aside from seeing him in their lectures. Sometimes Draco would appear to have lunch with him, leaving Ron giddy with excitement and happiness. Often they would study and discuss literary topics for their courses. These meetings usually occurred in the library, and their discussions would turn into heated debates, leading them both to be kicked out by the librarians. Then there were the tango lessons, which Ron looked forward to the most. Any excuse to have an armful of Draco Malfoy for brief periods of time was good with him!

However, Ron didn't advance any further in their relationship, and Draco didn't either. Ever since that "forehead kiss" incident, as he dubbed it, Ron decided to take this new relationship slow. Not wanting to botch this fragile situation up, Ron followed his gut instincts and tried not to make any move that would enrage or piss Draco off.

Then again, maybe he was taking it too slow. He came to that conclusion when Draco had said, "Are you always this much of a gentleman?"

That threw Ron off-kilter, but he quickly recovered by saying, "Of course! I'd like to prove to you that I've had a decent upbringing."

Draco responded by lifting his eyebrows at that statement, and nothing else was said about it. However, Ron noticed that Draco's scowl had been steadily replaced by a smirk - Draco's version of a smile as he'd discovered.

It was after one of their tango lessons that Draco said, "My mother wants to meet you. Her exact words were 'I want to meet the man who's courting my son and see whether he's good enough or not'. She invited you for supper tonight. Will you come?"

When Ron heard "courting", he wanted to jump for joy. At least Draco saw them as some sort of a strange couple, even if they might not exactly act like one! But then he saw that Draco looked really stiff and uncomfortable, making Ron wonder if Draco was in a defensive mode in case Ron had decided to reject the offering. "Sure," he said smoothly. "I'd love to meet your mum. What about your dad?"

Draco's face turned blank. "He's dead. He died in a car accident when I was young."

"Oh." Open mouth and insert seven feet dosed in a pile of dung. Ron wished he had more tact. In fact, he vaguely remembered Pansy mentioning this little fact in the past, but he had forgotten. "I, er, I'm sorry."

"It's all right. It's old news." Draco waved a hand around. "Let me call her and let her know. Then I have a lecture. I'll meet you at the campus entrance at six?"

"Six sounds great." Ron reached out to hug him, but Draco had already turned around and was leaving. By himself, Ron muttered, "Darn. I'll have to work on my reflexes a bit more."

Realising that he was running late, he ran to his next lecture, but he might have well skipped it since he couldn't focus on the lecture at all. A mixture of excitement and nervousness all jam-packed itself inside of him as he wondered how the "meet the mum" meal would turn out. Doodling on the paper, he listed down all the etiquettes he'd been driven to learn as a child.

Etiquettes and Techniques to Prove to Mrs Malfoy That I am Good Enough for Her Son 1. Give her flowers? Or wine? Give her something, at least, to thank her for the supper invite.
2. Thank her for the invitation verbally. Tell her it's a pleasure to meet her - even if it might not be.
3. Keep elbows off the tables. Chew with my mouth closed. Speak only when it's appropriate.
4. Tell her that the meal was wonderful - even if tasted like shite.
5. Try to convince her politely that I do like her son and that I find him to be someone special. Needs to be done verbally and through body language.
6. Offer to help with the dishes. She'll probably shoo me away but offer nonetheless.
7. Do not bring in mud from outside. Or something like that. I think I'm running out of ideas. Argh!

Needless to say, Ron felt like a nervous wreck when the lecture ended. He practically flew across the campus to the Hufflepuff section, bypassing the yellow math and science buildings, and he ran straight for the greenhouses. There he almost crashed into Neville.

"Nev," he panted. "I need flowers."

"Flowers? Looks like you need an oxygen tank more than flowers." Neville had been trimming some bonsai trees when Ron had interrupted. "Why the sudden need for flowers?"

"I've been invited to supper, courtesy of Draco Malfoy's mother, hence the flowers."

"I see." Neville moved away from the bonsai and headed towards the back where the roses were. "How about dark pink roses? These would be perfect for your purpose."

Ron blinked. "Uh, I suppose?"

Neville chucked lightly. "I'm guessing you're not familiar with floriography."

"Is that a new form of calligraphy?"

Ron scowled as Neville's snigger turned into a full-blown laugh. "No, no! It's a technical term that means 'language of flowers'. Most people don't really know it, but it was popular around the Victorian-era. You know how red roses symbolise passion? Well, dark pink roses mean 'gratitude'."

"Ah. If that's the case, then dark pink roses are perfect, Nev." Ron pondered on this brief lesson of floriography. "I might look more into this subject. I love studying symbolism."

"It's neat stuff." Neville bustled around the greenhouse. Ron watched as Neville cut the roses, trimmed off the thorns and the leaves, gathered other flowers that he didn't know the names of, and arranged them neatly into a beautiful bouquet, finishing it up with a nice bow. "Here you go."

Ron accepted the flowers and said, "Brilliant, Nev! I owe you one!"

"Nothing to it. You don't need to owe me anything."

"Oh, but I want to do something special - oh!" Setting the flowers down carefully on the nearby table, he took his wallet out and pulled out two tickets. "Someone gave me four tickets to this orchestral concert next month. Balcony seats and everything. I'm planning to ask Draco to go with me since he's into that sort of stuff, but you take these two and invite Luna!"

"Luna?"

"Yes. Luna Lovegood. I happen to know she likes classical music."

Neville looked rather panicky. "I, er, I can't!"

Ron frowned. "Why not?"

"She'll never accept . . . accept this."

"Yes, she will."

"But-!"

"Nev! Grow some bollocks and just ask!"

Ron watched the way Neville's cheek turned red. "Can't you ask for me?"

"Nev. You're the one who likes her. Just try-"

"Neville?" Luna's dreamy voice drifted inside as she came into the greenhouse. "Oh. Hello, Ron!"

Forcing himself not to smile like a fool at this coincidence, Ron grabbed the flowers and gave Neville a pointed look. Leaving the tickets on the table, he said, "I must run. I'll talk to you two later!"

As nonchalantly as possible, he left the greenhouse, but not before he heard a stuttering voice saying, "Luna, would you like to go to this concert?"


At six o'clock on the dot, Ron was at the entrance. Anxious and jittery, he paced around the gate. When he saw Draco in the far distance, he forced himself to look normal as much as possible.

Coming closer, Draco eyed the flowers and said, "Where'd you get those?"

"Nev's greenhouse." Suddenly, a horrible thought came to him. "Your mum isn't allergic to flowers, is she?"

"She's not. She'll appreciate them." Draco adjusted his bag, and with a stoic expression, he asked, "Do you mind taking the bus to my place? It will take about an hour or so."

Ron was about to say that he wouldn't mind driving them to Draco's place, but Ron saw the uncertainty flickering in the grey eyes. Wondering why Draco would feel that way, he stilled as he heard a Pansy-like voice saying, Ron, just take the fucking bus. Don't offer the car. Remember Draco's pride! The voice disappeared, with Ron imagining Pansy in her stilettos, gearing herself to kick him. Quickly, Ron answered, "The bus sounds fine."

"Great."

And that was how Ron found himself in a crowded bus. He hoped the flowers didn't get ruined, but with Draco so close to him in such a small, overcrowded space, Ron didn't worry about the flowers too much. The bus took them out of town and soon came to the outskirts of the nearest city to Hogsmeade. Ron noticed the shabbier looking neighbourhoods, but he didn't comment on it. Instead, he and Draco talked about the new novel they were supposed to read, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.

Eventually, they got off the bus, and the two walked for the next half hour. They reached a building with a dirty exterior, climbed up a grimy looking stairwell, and Ron found himself staring at the door that said 301B.

Unlocking the door, Draco said, "Mother? I'm home."

A tall, thin woman came out from the kitchen. Ron saw that Mrs Malfoy looked exhausted and older than her real age. Her hair, blonde mixed with grey, was up in a neat knot, and her clothing didn't look new at all. Her clothing indicated that she probably spent most of her money on making sure Draco was better off, and Ron felt respect and warmth towards the woman who had to raise her son by herself.

"Hello, dear. Hello, Ron. I've heard so much about you. I am pleased to finally meet you in person," said Mrs Malfoy in a soft, cultured voice.

"The pleasure is all mine, Mrs Malfoy," Ron replied. He brandished the flowers he had been hiding behind his back, and he was glad to see shock and pleasure etched on her face. "Thank you so much for the invitation."

She accepted the bouquet, bringing it up to her nose to smell its sweet scent. "You didn't need to do this, but thank you. These are lovely. Why don't you boys wash up a bit? Supper will be ready in a few more minutes. I hope you don't mind bubble and squeak?"

Ron smiled. "I love bubble and squeak."

"Wonderful. Now, do excuse me." Mrs Malfoy returned back to the kitchen.

Draco showed Ron the washroom. "Here, you can go first."

"Thanks." In the washroom, Ron looked at the cracked ceilings and the faded floor tiles. As he washed his hands, he had to admit that Draco's place was small and shabby, but he could see that the two of them had tried to make it look nice, and once back in the sitting room, he realised that the place felt cosy for what it was.

Draco came out after his turn in the washroom, and he quietly whispered, "Thanks for making my mum happy with the flowers."

"It's nothing."

"She loves flowers, you know? Back when my father was still alive, we lived in a much better place than this, and gardening was her favourite hobby. However, once she started working, she didn't have time for it anymore."

Ron nodded, unsure of what he should say to this. He knew that Draco didn't want pity, so instead he tried to think of a better alternative to "I'm sorry". He cleared his dry throat. "Well, maybe she can go back to it in the future."

"Yeah."

"You need to just hurry up and become the next Vladimir Horowitz, minus the famous conductor's daughter as a wife," Ron teased.

Draco gave him a funny look. "I'm amazed you know about them."

"Oi, I'm not that single-minded!"

"I didn't say anything like that. You did," Draco quipped quickly, his face remaining neutral, but his eyes twinkling with mirth.

Mrs Malfoy interrupted his next statement. "It's ready, boys!"

Ron spontaneously grabbed Draco's hands, lacing their fingers together. Draco stared at the joined hands for a second, but he didn't let go. Cheerfully, Ron entered the kitchen and all three sat at the kitchen table for a home-cooked meal.


"That was the best bubble and squeak I have ever eaten." Ron rubbed his full stomach. He spoke the truth. It was even better than his mum's! "Thank you for the delicious meal, Mrs Malfoy."

The supper had gone by smoothly. Ron remembered all his table manners, listened intently when the other two talked, and he knew he had succeeded since both Malfoys looked content with him being there.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it. I admit that I'm not much of a cook, but I have perfected certain dishes over the years," Mrs Malfoy said, dabbing her lips with her napkin in an elegant manner. "Now, you two leave my kitchen, so I can clean up."

"I'll help!" Ron remembered one of the items on his list from earlier. Just as he had predicted, though, Mrs Malfoy declined the offer.

"I can do it. You two go work on your assignments or something. Just don't do anything that will break the walls or have the neighbours screaming at me for your love-making."

"Mother!" Draco's face scrunched up in distaste while Ron felt his own face turning red at her innuendos. "Don't be so crude!"

"I'm not being crude. I'm being honest. You do remember Mrs Irwin's comment about needing an earplug when you were dating that Nott boy?"

"Mother!" Draco stood up quickly and grabbed Ron's wrist. "Let's go before she embarrasses me any further!"

Ron allowed himself to be dragged away, and with one last glance at Mrs Malfoy, he saw a playful smirk on her face, and that made him want to snigger since that smirk looked so much like Draco's.

Nevertheless, another feeling arose inside of him. It had sprung alive when Mrs Malfoy had mentioned "that Nott boy", and Ron found himself . . . jealous. That didn't make any sense, though, since Draco wasn't seeing Nott anymore, so he had no reason to have these envious emotions. Yet the images of Draco in another man's arms made him discontent. These sentiments surprised him, too. With his previous dates, he hadn't felt anything when they talked about their ex-whoever, but with Draco, he didn't want to think about Draco being with anyone else.

Inside Draco's room, he shoved those feelings away and looked around the small room. Like the rest of the flat, it was cramped, but it was clean and looked rather "regal" compared to the rest of the place. He looked at the large poster of London Philharmonic on one wall, and he saw a small keyboard with sheet music piled neatly next to it. A little bookcase and a desk lined another wall, and there was a puny closet next to it. Next to the bed was a nightstand. He saw a portable CD player and a bunch of classical music CDs in the shelf beneath it. Glancing at the twin-sized bed, he stared at its green and silver bedspread, and again images of Draco and Nott came into his mind.

"Have a seat," Draco said, gesturing towards the bed.

Mentally shaking himself of the unwanted image, he sat on the bed, surprised to see that it was quite comfortable. When he sat, a small pile of books captured his eyes. They were mostly texts, but underneath all the books was a lone magazine. Ron blinked as he reached to take it, but Draco grabbed it first.

Surprised, Ron asked, "What magazine is that?"

"It's nothing," Draco curtly responded.

"Aw, come on. Let me see!" Ron stood up and tried to get around Draco to snatch the magazine, but Draco was too fast for him. Not giving up, he tackled Draco onto the bed, a loud "oomph" sounding from their impact, and Ron took the magazine while Draco scowled at him. While pinning Draco down with his body, he gaped at the magazine cover. A picture of his most recent modelling gig greeted him, and he flipped through it, looking at all the pages that were marked, pages filled with his pictures.

Putting the magazine down safely, he now looked down at a blushing Draco.

"Don't say it. Don't you dare say anything."

Ron cocked his head. Just what could he say? All his previous jealousy towards Nott had gone away when he realised just how hot it was to know that Draco had bought a magazine that featured him. Not only did Draco buy it, but he also marked down all the pages that pictured him. This revelation had aroused him more than all their tango lessons.

Lowering his voice, he tried to sound husky, but it came out unromantically high-pitched. "Did you enjoy looking through them?" He winced at his own voice.

Draco's response was a simple glare. "So what if I did?"

Ron was a bit thrown back by the blunt answer, so he tried to be frank, too. "I just find it quite . . . arousing to know I was your wanking material for a while."

"Ron? You really need to work on your romance skills. Are you always this bad?"

A bit offended, he bit out, "If I'm this bad, I'll blame you! Apparently you have this effect on me. I . . . like you a lot. So much that I think my intelligence all but vanishes when I'm with you." That was when he remembered their current position - his body on top of Draco's, and boy did that feel good. His hands automatically went to grip at Draco's slender hips, and he thumb-massaged the bone he felt through the clothing.

"I doubt you have enough intelligence in the first place," Draco managed to breathe out, the insult not sounding as vindictive as it should. Ron studied Draco's impassive face, but when he looked into Draco's eyes, he saw that they were darkened and hungry with lust.

Those eyes sparked his libido, and Ron slowly bent his head down and captured Draco's lips with his, his tongue slipping inside, exploring and tasting his lover. He heard the soft moan, and he felt Draco shifting beneath him. Ron began to grind his lower body against Draco's, making both of them moan in pleasure. He could feel the growing bulge in Draco's mid-section, and his came alive as well.

Just as Ron was about to take the next step, he heard a knock on the door. "Draco? Ron? Why is it quiet in there? Should I be worried and go warn the neighbours?"

Mrs Malfoy's voice completely broke the mood, and Ron quickly rolled off of Draco, forgot about the bed's small size, and crashed onto the floor in an undignified heap. "Ow!" Standing up, he rubbed his sore bottom, and he watched Draco quickly stand up, readjust his clothing, and open the door.

"Mother!"

Mrs Malfoy's knowing expression came into his view, and she walked inside, carrying a tray of tea and biscuits. She handed the tray to Draco and said, "I hope I didn't interrupt anything. Enjoy the tea and biscuits. And Draco? Mr Snape will be here soon. I'm just letting you know, darling."

"All right. Thanks, Mother."

"Thank you, Mrs Malfoy," Ron echoed.

She smiled and walked out, closing the door behind her and leaving the two alone. Quietly, the two sipped at their tea and ate their biscuits. Draco broke the silence.

"Sorry about that."

"It's okay. I'm sure I'd do the same if I were in her shoes."

"Hn," Draco sniggered. "I think she did it because she doesn't want Mr Snape to be scandalised when he comes later."

"Who's Mr Snape?" Ron's brow furrowed tightly as he tried to recall the familiar sounding name.

"You should know him if you took chemistry at the uni."

Ron immediately knew who it was. Professor Severus Snape, the esteemed chemistry professor, and the hardest professor to please in the world. While Ron never had him personally, he heard of the horror stories regarding Professor Snape. Then again, he wasn't sure who was worse. Professor Snape or Professor McGonagall, the strict politics professor Hermione and Pansy would often mention. Ron shuddered as he tried to not think of the two professors he had never met but only heard about. "I've heard of him. He's a friend of your mother's?"

Draco nodded. "He's been a long-time family friend. He's been a father-figure to me since my father passed away."

Ron took a long sip of his tea. If the stories of Professor Snape were true, then that would definitely explain where Draco's snarkiness came from, he thought. Not that it matters since I do like Draco's personality. However, I don't think I'd want to meet Professor Snape. If he's a father-figure to Draco, he'll probably analyse me and see if I'm fit for Draco.

That idea terrified him, and so he decided he'd better escape. He'd save the scrutiny and the self-inflicted torture for another day. Anyway, it was getting late. "I should get going. I don't want to miss the last bus."

"Yeah, you should." Ron heard something different in Draco's voice. Was it regret?

"I'm glad you and your mother invited me."

"Not a problem," Draco drawled lazily. "Come, I'll walk with you to the bus stop."

Ron grabbed the tray and helped return it back to the kitchen. He again thanked Mrs Malfoy for everything, and she thanked him for the flowers and thanked him for coming. "You are invited anytime, you hear? Just don't hurt my son."

Ron blushed and nodded. As soon as he grabbed his stuff, he said his farewell to Mrs Malfoy. He opened the door, and an imposing figure greeted him. Ron gulped as he stared at the formidable chemistry professor, knowing instinctively that this man was Professor Snape. Even though Ron was the tallest one in the room, he could feel Professor Snape's power emanating into the small flat.

Sneering, Professor Snape said, "I assume this is the Weasley boy?"

He could feel Draco's presence behind him, a hand resting in the middle of his back, and that comforted him a bit. He heard Draco easily say, "Yes, this is Ron Weasley."

"Hm," Professor Snape snorted. Ron wanted to cower under that evil look, but he maintained his courage and stood fast.

"It's a pleasure, Professor," he said as politely as he could.

Professor Snape still scowled. "I'll keep it simple for you since you look like a dunderhead. You hurt Draco, you will see what a chemist can do to you."

All Ron could do was nod quickly.

"Good." Professor Snape walked into the small flat like he belonged there, and Ron escaped with Draco, saying a hasty farewell.

Once they were far away from the flat, Ron let out the breath he was holding.

Next to him, he heard a soft laugh. "Scared?"

Ron glared. "No!"

"Could have fooled me."

". . . Fine. He's downright frightening. Are you satisfied?"

"At least you still kept your head. Nott couldn't handle him."

Ron raised an eyebrow at Draco. "Really? Well, I'm glad I'm one up compared to Nott."

Draco gave Ron a knowing look. "If you're going to be jealous of Nott, don't bother. He's not half the man you are."

How the hell does he do that? It's like he's a mind-reader, Ron wondered.

"And you're wondering if I'm a mind-reader, aren't you?" He heard the teasing tone.

"Obviously you are."

Draco chortled. "Ron? You're just really transparent."

He rolled his eyes. "Enough with the insults." He saw from the corner of his eyes that the bus was coming in the distance. "How about giving me a kiss to soothe my broken ego."

"You want me to spoil you?"

"Sure."

Ron thought Draco wouldn't do that, but Draco surprised him. He felt Draco's soft lips on his, and Ron smiled at the gesture. "Now, go. I'll see you tomorrow."

Giddy with excitement and at the promise, Ron gave a last squeeze to Draco's shoulder and climbed onto the bus. Since it was the last bus, he was alone on it, but he didn't care. As the bus chugged down the dark streets, Ron sighed in delight, thinking of all the events that had transpired.

So this is what real love feels like. This is what I've been missing this entire time . . .


Lamentation

Ron was in high spirits. His courses were going well, and he and Draco were growing closer and closer. Neville was finally dating Luna, Harry was making good progress with Professor Lupin, and Hermione and Pansy were both happy. To make things even better, he also had lunch with the university dean, Albus Dumbledore. Granted the lunch had included other students, but it was still a great experience to meet the dean and all. True to the rumours, the dean did end up being quite eccentric, but Ron didn't care. He liked the dean!

With everything going well for him, he was shocked when he received a phone call one day before the holiday break.

Ron was eating lunch with Draco, Hermione, Pansy, Neville, Luna, and Harry when his mobile rang, its ringtone set to "Little Fugue in G Minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach, giving off an ominous warning. However, Ron didn't think anything of it as he answered jovially, "Hello!"

"Ron?" It was his mother, and she sounded like she had been crying. Or still was, judging by her voice.

"Mum?" Ron's stomach clenched. "What's the matter?"

"Your . . . your dad. He's been in an automobile accident. It doesn't look good. We're at St. Mungo's. Will you be able to-"

"I'll be there, Mum. I'll go right now." Ron hung up his phone and immediately began to pack his stuff.

"Ron? What's wrong?" Draco's normal bored expression was replaced with a worried one.

Ron stilled his movement. In a blank voice, he said, "My dad was in an automobile accident. It . . . " He forced out his next words. ". . . doesn't look good."

He avoided looking at his friends, especially at Draco's face. He didn't want their pity. He didn't know how he'd react if he saw their faces. He didn't want to cry. Not now. Yet he almost lost his composure when he felt warm and loving arms being wrapped around him.

"I'll go with you."

Ron gaped at Draco. "What?"

"I'll go with you in your car. I'll drive. It's only a few hours."

"You don't need to-"

"Let him go with you," Pansy annoyed voice interjected, but then it softened. "You'll welcome it."

Ron gave her a small smile before turning to Draco. "Thank you."

Hand in hand, they said goodbye to their friends, and Ron prayed to whatever deities in existence to save his father.


The drive to the hospital with Draco gave him more comfort than he thought. Draco didn't say anything sentimental like "He'll be fine"; he didn't offer any false promises, and Ron was thankful for that. Just having Draco with him was enough.

They reached the hospital in a record time, and once parked, they both rushed into the casualty waiting room, which was filled with a horde of redheads.

"Ron!" Fred and George greeted him first, and before Ron could respond, he found himself in a crushing hug.

"Oh, Ron!" his mother sobbed. "They won't tell us anything. They only say that he's in critical condition!"

Ron hugged her back, and asked what happened. He received the details, and he felt his hopes sinking into the depths of hell. It sounded like a horrible accident. He forced a smile, though, and said, "We have to think positively, Mum. We have to."

She let go of him and sniffed loudly. That was when she must have noticed Draco. "Who's this?"

"Oh, this is Draco Malfoy. He's my . . . " Ron hesitated. He wanted to say boyfriend, but he wasn't sure if Draco considered them that or not.

"Boyfriend, and he's pleased to meet you despite the circumstances," Draco smoothly took over and shook his mother's hand.

In a normal situation, everyone would be introduced to each other, but they all just nodded, and Ron hung around with Draco as they waited for his father's progress. The hours ticked away, and once or twice Draco offered to go on a coffee or tea run for the Weasleys, and some accepted and some declined. Ron wanted to go with him, but Draco insisted that Ron stay in case any news popped up.

Again, Ron felt grateful towards him, and while he waited, he wondered how old Draco was when he lost his father.

It was around his third cup of coffee that the doors to the A&E opened. A very tired looking doctor stepped out. Everyone, including Draco, crowded around him, anxious for news.

"Mr Weasley will live."

A ripple of relieved sighs swept across the room.

"But most of his injuries are quite serious. He had a punctured lung, and his spine received the bulk of the damage. I must warn you that he might become paraplegic. Earlier he hadn't been capable of breathing on his own, but now he is, yet he'll have a long road to recovery, and we aren't sure if he'll be able to walk again."

"But he'll live, yes?" Ron saw his mother wringing her hands.

"Yes, he will."

"Thank the Lord," with that his mother started to sob, this time from relief. Bill hugged her, and that's when all of them started to hug each other, with Ron hugging Draco.

In Draco's arm, Ron finally wept. He finally allowed himself to express his bottled-up feelings. Draco didn't say anything; he only offered the solace Ron desperately needed now.


Tranquil Affair

"I'm glad you came to the recital."

Ron beamed at Draco. "I wouldn't have missed it for the world."

"How's your father?"

Two months had passed since the accident. He had spent his two-week holiday break with his father and his family. When his courses resumed, and with his father indeed now paraplegic and still recovering nicely, his parents insisted he go back to university. However, he still spent the weekends with his family, except for one weekend where he went to the concert with Draco, doubling up with Neville and Luna. Everyone had enjoyed the concert, especially Draco, and Ron was pleased that he had obtained the tickets.

Now, though, another weekend was here, and Ron had gone to see Draco's first recital. It had gone splendidly well, and Ron was proud of him.

"My father's fine. He's adjusting to his wheelchair, and he actually claims his upper body has gotten stronger."

Draco smiled. "I'm glad to hear that."

Ron looked up at the moon. Everyone, including Draco's mother, had come to the recital. Afterwards, they all attended a nice reception at a local restaurant, but later the two of them had escaped and were out walking in the woods near Hogwarts University.

With the moon shining down, and the woods emitting a peaceful aura, Ron said, "I wonder if this is how Coleridge and Wordsworth felt walking through the woods like this."

"I'm sure they did. Although, I highly doubt they had a relationship like ours."

Ron sniggered. "Yeah, it was definitely platonic."

"Plus, didn't Wordsworth's sister join them on these nature walks?"

"True. So should I invite Ginny with us?"

"I think it's fine just the two of us."

Draco's declaration made Ron happy as he leaned closer. He planted an affectionate kiss on top of Draco's windswept hair. "I couldn't agree more."

"Are we going to walk around all night?"

"Unless that's what you want. Why?"

Draco stopped walking and grabbed Ron by the front of his shirt. In a low voice that made Ron feel hot in the cool evening, he said, "Then may I request you stop being a sodding gentleman?"

"Huh?" Ron wanted to kick himself at his lack of eloquence.

In the moonlight, he watched those grey eyes roll in exasperation. "You're so thick. Must I spell it out?"

Like being showered with ice water, Ron understood Draco's hidden words. "Ah."

"Yes, 'ah'." Draco side stepped Ron. Feeling a tug on his wrist, Ron followed Draco out of the woods.

As they walked, Ron had to ask, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. I only hope your walls are better sound-proofed than my place."

"It is."

"Good."

Ron hid a grin, and he looked forward to the inevitable.

Finally. And nobody will interrupt us.


Culmination

Usually whenever Ron had sex with someone, it was always loud, messy, rough, and well . . . powerful. He didn't mind it. In fact, that's what he was used to. But when he reached his flat with Draco, he had a feeling that their first time was not going to be anything like that. He could see their sexual activities being rough and whatnot in the future, but he sensed and wanted their first time to be special and memorable.

If truth be told, when they were in his bedroom, he felt nervous at first. Unsure, he looked into Draco's eyes, trying to find a hint of how Draco wanted to do this. He saw nothing negative. He saw something unfamiliar, though. In his previous lovers eyes, he'd seen lust, seen their desires and wants, but this was the first time he saw what he believed to be love.

And it was in the eyes of Draco Malfoy.

All his uncertainties and hesitance vanished as he started a slow, passionate kiss. At an adagio pace, he slowly removed Draco's clothing. Every time pale skin was revealed, Ron savoured it and treated it like it was something fragile and delicate. He would kiss the area softly, lick and taste Draco's unique flavour, and he did it until Draco was fully naked on the bed.

As he took in Draco's flushed appearance, his eyes lingered the longest at Draco's groin. With a smile, Ron took his own clothes off, throwing them to the side of the bed, uncaring of their condition. He went back to exploring Draco's body, enjoying all the soft sounds of pleasure coming from his lover's mouth. As they grew in volume and in intensity, he could barely keep his excitement at bay.

Eventually, after Draco finally yelled, "Quit being a bloody tease!", Ron entered, and all of his reasoning skills left him as he enjoyed the bliss he found himself in.

It was over soon, and Ron found himself entangled with Draco. He softly whispered, "I love you."

Draco's low "I love you, too" was the last thing he heard before he cuddled them into a peaceful slumber.


Finis

"'The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet'."

"Say what, Draco?" Ron asked at the strange statement.

Draco gave Ron a withering look. "It's a quote. A quote by Andy Warhol."

"That name sounds familiar . . . "

"Famous American Pop artist. The guy who designed Campbell's soup cans? The one who created that Marilyn Monroe artwork?"

"Oh! That guy!" Ron took a sip of his drink as he glanced around the swing club - the only one in the area. "What's with the quote, though?"

"It fits us. If you'd stop and think about it." Draco looked over at where Pansy was dancing energetically with her dance partner.

"But we did meet, though. We are opposite from one another, but we are still similar, too." Ron followed his gaze, and he gave Pansy a thumbs-up.

"That's true, but you have to admit, it was rather 'exciting'."

"In more than one way." Ron set his drink down on a nearby table. "Want to give it a shot at swing?"

". . . I'm not that great."

Ron laughed. "If I can sort of master tango, you can do the same with swing. I'll teach you. One private lesson in exchange for a killer kiss?"

"That's all you want? A kiss?"

"Well, I'd hope for more, but we can build up to that! Just don't bruise my feet, will you?"

"I think I shall." Draco smirked as he led Ron to the dance floor. "Consider it payback for you stepping on my poor feet. I don't think they've fully recovered from the abuse."

"Whatever." Ron took the lead, and they danced themselves silly. Ron was in heaven. He no longer felt barren like he did all those months ago. He had a great family, a wonderful bunch of friends, and the best partner - no, lover - he could ask for. His life was now fulfilled.

And judging from Draco's glittering grey eyes, he knew Draco felt the same.


Ending Notes

- Proem means 'an introductory discourse' or prelude.
- For more information on floriography, go here.
- Adagio is a musical term, and it means very slow.

Words: 15,482

Completed January 3, 2010