Title: The Wanderer
Creator: rons_pigwidgeon
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s)/Characters: Ron/Draco, Ron/OMCs
Genre: Post War, AU
Word Count: 11,481
Summary: Denial can be a long river when its traveler is stubborn, and Ron Weasley is nothing, if not stubborn. This is the story of how he traveled the world in flight of his demons, and how one person helped him find his way home again.
Notes: Oh Lord, I'm in trouble. I have about a bazillion people to thank for helping with this fic. First, my lovely betas, aigooism, kristan1, and songquake. You were all very helpful in making this story brilliant. Thanks for the translation help goes to the folks at whatsitcalled and little_details, specifically sourcream_onion and epea_pteroenta for their extra-awesome help. It was made very clear to me that my Italian is made of fail, and they helped me fix it, so thank you both!
Prompt: I once was a wanderer like you. ~ Alias & Tarsier


When Ron left school, he began to feel... restless. He wasn't sure what he wanted to do with his life, and the completely unhelpful suggestions of his friends and family (mostly his mum and Hermione) weren't doing him any good. Working for the Ministry was a boring, thankless job that, as far as Ron could tell, had a tendency to suck the soul out of anyone who worked there. He was too young to work at Hogwarts, and he'd never been a huge fan of kids anyway. He helped George for a bit in the shop, but knew he was no substitute for Fred. Not to mention, every time he looked at George, the gaping hole in his heart that had been his other brother throbbed until he couldn't stand it and had to go outside for a breather. And then one day, Arthur came to him with an idea. "If you want to do something different and get away for a bit, why not go and work under Charlie? You've always liked dragons, haven't you?"

He had. And so he took his father's advice and went to Romania. His brother was welcoming and excited to have Ron working under him. Ron was just as excited to be at the reserve as Charlie was to have him and found that he really enjoyed the work. It held all the thrill of danger and excitement that he had been missing in England. A lot of the work involved in containing and taking care of the dragons, especially the larger, more ferocious species, required a number of people working together, and he enjoyed the sense of team camaraderie it gave him. The other dragon handlers treated him as an equal, not just a kid brother or side-kick. He felt like his teammates really respected him, in a way that he had never felt while at school. Harry and Hermione loved him, he knew, and cared for him, but he never really felt like they respected him or saw him as someone to be taken seriously.

At the reserve, he was treated as a valued member of the team. One handler in particular, Dorin, took a special interest in Ron. When Ron first arrived, Dorin had been the first person to introduce himself and to make Ron feel welcome. He made it a point to include Ron in conversations during meal times, shared tips with him on how to win the dragons' trust, and how to handle wild ones. He even chose Ron whenever he needed a partner for some task or other, which surprised Ron as a he had a tendency to mess things up more than help. Dorin wasn't much older than Ron, barely twenty-two, and Ron had seen enough in his teenage years to make him feel a lot older than he was, so what age difference there was, wasn't significant. They got along well, rarely went without something to talk about for more than a few minutes, and spent nearly all their free time together. Charlie liked to tease Ron about it, complaining that he could never get his little brother alone. Ron would laugh and brush him off, telling him that he and Dorin just got on really well.

At first, Ron assumed that this was true and that Dorin was just being friendly. The thought that a man might have ulterior motives in singling out another man for friendship never occurred to him. At that point, he and Hermione were still laboring under the misconception that they could make a long-distance relationship work while Hermione went to university and Ron worked on the Continent. They exchanged letters detailing what they would do when Hermione was finished with school: how they would marry, how Ron would move back to England and work for the Ministry in the Magical Creatures Department, how many children they would have, where they would live, et cetera. The plans went on and on, but the further detailed they got, the less Ron liked the look of them.

Perhaps it was his distaste for these plans that caused him to do what he did one night while on the hunt for an escaped baby Chinese Fireball. Dorin knocked on his door at half-eleven, an apologetic look on his face. "The new baby Chinese Fireball's gone missing. Want to help me find her?" he asked, offering a tentative smile.

Ron ruffled up the back of his hair and sighed. He'd been planning a nice night in, and maybe a wank, but there was no way he could resist the pull of a hunt for a baby dragon. Especially if it required a broom, which he suspected it would as Dorin was leaning against his. "Yeah, all right. Let me get a shirt on." He turned back into the room and dug around in his dirty clothes pile for an acceptable t-shirt. There was no point in getting a clean one if he was just going to get it filthy with the dragon, after all.

Dorin beamed at him when he returned, broom in hand, and led him out onto the patio. "I've an idea where she's gone. Follow me." They took off together, and Dorin led the way towards the mountains. They rode against the wind, high up into the mountains that nestled against the reserve. The wind was too loud for conversation, so Ron watched Dorin for signals instead.

They rode for twenty minutes before Dorin's hand shot up and pointed to a ridge jutting out of the mountain side. It didn't look like a cave entrance from their height, but when they got closer, Ron could see the crest of blackness that indicated an opening. They touched down and approached the cave with caution, Dorin in front. "If she's here, she won't be up front, too much of a draft. We'll have to go in."

Ron was a bit cold from the wind, and was more than happy to go inside just to get away from it. "I'm game if you are," he said, grinning at his partner. This was the fun part, the thrill of not knowing what was coming next.

"Oh, I'm game all right." Dorin said back, sharing the grin. He nodded his head toward the entrance and headed for it, Ron following closely behind, wand at the ready. They could never be quite sure what sort of creature might make these mountain caves its home, and it was always good to be alert and prepared.

The alertness was unnecessary. They walked along a wide passageway for nearly ten minutes without meeting any other living thing, except maybe some moss and a bat of two. Ron sighed. "I get the feeling she's not here. Wouldn't we have come across at least some tracks by now?" he asked, turning his wand light on Dorin.

"You would think so, yes. But she is small enough still to fly through this wide a passage, if she was scared enough."

"You think?" Ron asked. They'd stopped while they talked and were standing very close together, talking softly so that they didn't make an echo and scare the dragon if she was there.

"I do." Dorin's voice had gone very soft and he was staring at Ron with an intensity that Ron wasn't used to. He didn't know what to say, and so he stood there waiting for something to happen. He didn't have long to wait. Before a minute of silence had passed, Dorin was pushing him up against the wall and snogging him for all he was worth. It took Ron a while to register exactly what was happening, that Dorin was kissing him, fingers fumbling for the opening of his robes, and then the buckle of his belt. It wasn't until his trousers and pants had been pushed down and Dorin's tongue was flattened against the underside of his shaft that his mind snapped into sharp realization. He was being sucked off by another man, a man he trusted and he believed was his friend. He looked down at Dorin's white-blond head, watched his hard cock slide in and out of those round, red lips, and suddenly all he wanted was Dorin.

He lost his virginity in that cave, atop their discarded clothing. He never said, but Dorin must have known it was his first time because he was gentle and took things slow. Ron nearly passed out in pleasure when Dorin finally sunk down onto him, hands braced on either side of his head. He leant down to kiss Ron, invading his mouth with a hot, probing tongue as he slowly moved his hips up and down. Ron nearly came on the third stroke, and had to grab onto Dorin's hips to stop his movements long enough to settle down. Dorin was patient, continuing to kiss him while they waited.

"We can take all the time you need. I've been waiting months to have you. We don't want it to end too quickly, do we?"

Ron chuckled and shook his head. "No, that would be embarrassing. I'm good now, though," he rasped out, thrusting his hips up gently to indicate his eagerness to continue. Dorin was hot and tight around him and he wanted to feel more of that lovely friction. Despite the pause, Ron didn't last much longer and had to jerk Dorin to completion. He was embarrassed, but thankfully he didn't have to look Dorin in the face right away. Instead, they lay there for a time, staring up into the blackness of the cave ceiling, Dorin's head resting on Ron's shoulder. Ron played with his hair, combing fingers through it and thinking absently that he could almost be mistaken for Malfoy from this angle. He did not think about what had just happened, or how he had lost his virginity to a man, when he had always repressed his desires for men in the past.

They were roused from their post-coital bliss by a soft, high-pitched cry deeper within the cavern. They sat up and looked at each other. "Is that her?" Ron rasped out.

"Sounds like it." They scrambled to get dressed and hurry to find the baby dragon before she got hurt. It took a good hour to find her and then another two to stun her and take her safely back to the reserve. By the time they returned and got the dragon settled back with her mother, it was well past three in the morning. They stood in front of Ron's room, not saying anything. Ron knew that Dorin wanted him to invite him in, but Ron needed a bit of time to think about what had happened. He felt awkward, but he mumbled a good night, kissed Dorin on the cheek, and slipped into his room.

He felt relief when the door shut firmly behind him, creating a barrier between him and Dorin. He liked Dorin a lot, but he needed to think, and he knew that he wouldn't be able to if the other man stayed with him. He waited until he heard the sounds of Dorin's footsteps walking away before getting ready for bed. Once in bed, he couldn't sleep. He stared up at the cracked ceiling and couldn't stop thinking about what had happened. There was no denying that he enjoyed the experience. Dorin had been so passionate and yet so gentle with him. His kisses were the best Ron had ever had. Not that he'd kissed many people. Just Lavender and Hermione, really, but kissing a man had felt different, stronger somehow. He'd liked the feel of rough, chapped lips against his, the calluses on Dorin's hands and the way they scraped against his skin wherever Dorin touched him. He'd liked the possessive way Dorin had pushed him against the cave wall and taken his mouth. It had made him feel wanted in a way he never had before. It was the reminder of that feeling that made his decision for him.

And yet, when he was confronted with Dorin in the light of day, and saw the tentative smile alight on his lips, he found himself in a sudden panic. Charlie was right there, would be able to see the smile. Would he recognize what was passing between them? What had already happened? Oh Merlin, he wasn't ready. He muttered an excuse and hurried from the room, Charlie and Dorin looking after him in confusion.

He managed to avoid Dorin for the next few weeks, hiding in doorways, skipping meals, and generally following Charlie around as though he were his brother's shadow. Charlie questioned him about it, wanting to know what had happened that would cause Ron to avoid the one person he had made friends with. Ron tried to lie, but failed miserably.

"Did he do something to you?" Charlie asked hesitantly. His searching look gave his meaning away, and Ron blushed.

"I'd rather not talk about it. I think I'm going to go back home, spend some time with Harry and Hermione. I miss them." It wasn't exactly a lie that time, and so he was able to pull it off.

Charlie looked long and hard at him. "You know I'd rather have you here, but if that's what you want, then all right. Just, if Dorin did do something to you, please tell me."

"It's nothing, I promise." Charlie let the matter drop, to Ron's relief. They made arrangements for Ron to leave at the end of the week. Since he was only working under Charlie as a sort of apprentice, he didn't need to give notice.

That Friday found him packing his meager pile of things into his pack. His back was to the door, and so he didn't notice the figure stepping into the doorway until it was too late. "Ron?" Dorin asked, voice faint and uncertain.

Ron froze, hands half-way to stuffing a t-shirt into the pack. He looked up and gave Dorin a forced, uncomfortable smile. "Hey, Dorin."

"You're leaving?"

"Yeah. I miss my friends back home, and I'm not really cut out to be a dragon handler anyway. It's great work, but it's not really who I am, you know?"

"Oh. I've always thought you had a gift for the dragons. You aren't leaving because of me, are you? I thought we had a connection, but you've been avoiding me for the last few weeks…"

"I…" Ron looked down at his pack, not sure what to say. He was leaving because of Dorin and how scared he was about the feelings Dorin gave him. But there was no way he could tell that to Dorin.

"It's okay. I understand. You aren't ready to come out. I know; I remember what that was like. I'll leave you alone, if you like. You don't have to leave."

Again, Ron didn't know what to say. He had expected anger, but not this understanding. Dorin was looking at him almost as though he pitied Ron, and Ron didn't like that at all. "I'm not gay, okay? You caught me by surprise that night, and no one's ever offered to shag me before. I'm sorry."

Dorin narrowed his eyes at Ron, but he still appeared calm and without anger. "That's fine. I'll leave you be, then. I hope you find what you're looking for." Ron didn't react when Dorin approached him and kissed him softly before leaving and shutting Ron's door behind him. Ron felt shaky and nervous, as though his insides were made of ice. He had to leave. He finished the packing with a charm and hurried to find Charlie to say goodbye.

Back in England, he spent a week with Hermione in her dorm. They went on several dates, and Ron managed to convince her to have sex with him, but it was awful, even for a first time. All the fizzle that had been in their relationship before seemed to have gone flat, making the sex passionless and boring. They didn't try it again. Hermione was a different girl at Uni. She had always been more mature than Ron, but now it seemed as though she had aged several years in the span of a few months. Ron didn't know how to talk to her anymore. He found out quite abruptly that she felt the same way while they were at lunch a few days after their first night together.

"This isn't going to work, is it?" she asked, setting her fork down and looking him directly in the eyes.

"I…"

"You're in a whole other world when we're together. I don't think either of our hearts are really in this relationship. I love you, you know I do, but I think that love has moved from romantic to brotherly. Would you agree?"

"Yeah, I guess…" He wasn't sure what to say. He was relieved to have her be the one to end things, but at the same time he worried what being single might mean for him. He couldn't see himself with any other woman, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to suppress his thoughts of other men, now that he'd actually been with one and knew how nice it could be.

Hermione gave him a sad smile. "I'm glad we agree. We're still going to be friends, though, right? I couldn't imagine my life without you in it. And I wouldn't want to put Harry in a tug-of-war for our friendship."

"Of course, we will. There's no reason not to be, is there?"

"No, there isn't." She put her hand on top of his across the table and squeezed it. He looked at her smiling face and was suddenly guilt-ridden. Before he knew what he was saying, he had confessed.

"Hermione, I have to tell you something. I slept with someone in Romania."

Her entire face changed to confused anger. "What?"

He broke out in a sweat and his hands began to shake, but there was nothing for it now. He was going to have to confess it all. "There was this… person… we struck up a friendship. I didn't expect anything to happen. I thought we were just friends. But then one night we were out looking for a baby Fireball who got lost, and it just… happened. I feel terrible about it. Can you forgive me?" He carefully avoided mentioned that the other person was a man.

"You cheated on me?" Her voice was so strained that he could only nod. "How could you?"

"I didn't think; I'm sorry. He sort of attacked me. I know I should have stopped him, but I wasn't thinking."

"He? You slept with a man?" She stared at him in indignation. He looked down at his plate. He hadn't meant for that part to come out. Hermione started speaking very quickly, but it was all just noise. He couldn't concentrate on a word of what she was saying. He began to get a headache and stood up quickly, so quickly that one of the water glasses fell and spilled water all over the table.

"Look, I'm sorry. I fucked up, but it doesn't matter anymore, does it? I have to go." He stormed out to her angry voice, shouting at him. He Apparated to her dorm to get his pack and went home.

"Ron! What are you doing here? I thought you were staying with Hermione. What's the matter? You look upset." His mother's voice greeted him as soon as he walked through the door. A second later he was enveloped in her arms, but it didn't feel as comforting as he would have hoped. He couldn't tell her what was wrong, not all of it anyway.

"Hermione and I broke up."

"Oh, my poor boy, that's awful. Let's get you some tea." She ushered him to the table and waved her wand in the general direction of the kettle. "Now, tell me what happened."

"There's not much to tell. We're just… over."

"Well, I'm very sorry, love. I know you and Hermione had a very special relationship. Do you think you can stay friends? You've been through a lot together." She began to comb fingers through his hair. He sighed and relaxed into the touch.

"I don't know… I hope so."

"I'm sure everything will work out, love. Just give it some time." She kissed his forehead and floated the tea in front of him.

The Burrow was undeniably home, and Ron spent several weeks there trying to figure out what he wanted to do next. He couldn't go back to Romania, but the Ministry was still an unappealing prospect. He needed to leave, though. Hermione hadn't said anything to his parents yet, but she'd sent him several angry owls, and he knew it was only a matter of time. Thank Merlin Harry was touring the Continent with Ginny's Quidditch team. Ron knew Harry was going to kill him for what he'd done to their best friend. No, he had to leave. The only question was where to go? An answer came with his brother, Percy, and flying carpet restrictions. He'd made plans to go out to lunch with Percy and was meeting him at the Ministry. As usual, Percy had been so engrossed in his work that he'd forgotten the time and Ron had to practically pry him away from his desk.

"Come on, Perce. Tom's serving the beef stew you love. Don't want to get there too late, do you? The carpets will still be here when you get back, yeah?" Just as Percy was beginning to stand up, a tall Middle Eastern man knocked on the office door.

"Mr. Weasley? Do you have a minute?" He asked in accented English.

Percy heaved a sigh. "Mr. Kusha, I really am sorry, but there is no way I can permit your company to import into England. All carpets with transportation capabilities are included in the embargo, even those with Portkey technology."

"Yes, Mr. Weasley, I understand. I was want to know if the carpets do not have Portkey charm, would the carpets be okay then?"

Percy paused in dismissing the man and took a deep breath. "There would be no charms on them at all?"

"Yes, sir." The man nodded assurance, looking slightly hopeful. Ron glanced at his brother. The man clearly did not know Percy very well.

"If you can produce such a carpet for inspection, I will consider it. The carpets will all be heavily scrutinized though, you realize. Your company does not have the best reputation for following the laws to the letter. It will take quite a bit of work for British Ministry to trust you again."

"Yes, of course, sir."

"Bring a carpet to me, then, and we shall see." The man nodded, thanked Percy, and hurried out. Ron turned to Percy.

"Who was that?"

"Eskandar Kusha, owner of Kusha's Carpets. They sell flying carpets in Turkey and all over Europe. Kusha's had his eyes on the British market for years, but we have the embargo on them. He was caught last year smuggling some of the more obvious models on a Muggle ferry from France. Nasty business, had to pay a hefty fine. He's been at my office once a week for the last six months, trying to get me to agree to let him trade here."

"It wouldn't hurt anything if sold just plain carpets, would it?"

"No, not if they are just carpets. Knowing him, there will be hidden charms woven into their wool."

"Oh." Ron tried to leave it at that, not really wanting to get into a discussion about it. He loved his brother, but sometimes he wanted to shove a sock in his mouth to stop him from talking Ministry policy. They went to lunch. Tom was down to the very last of his stew when they arrived, but they were lucky enough to get two bowls with lots of flaky bread and nice, warm Butterbeers. Ron managed to steer the conversation away from the Ministry and onto family things, but in the back of his mind thoughts were turning. He'd never been to Turkey before, and flying carpets had always interested him. What if he asked this Kusha for a job? It would be nice to go away again, out of the sphere of his family's influence. If anything happened with another man, he wouldn't have to worry about anyone finding out. Not that he was thinking about doing it again, but just in case.

A few days later, he sent an owl to Kusha, explaining who he was, and asking if he had any openings. Kusha seemed to think having a family member as an employee was a brilliant idea and took Ron on immediately as an apprentice.

"You're leaving again?" his mother asked when he announced the plan. The look she gave him over the mashed potatoes made it clear that she did not like this plan.

"I can't stay here forever. I need to work."

"There are jobs in England. You can't work with your father and your brother at the Ministry?"

Ron made a face. "I don't want to work in politics, Mum. I want to explore, try to make something of myself on my own."

"By making flying carpets in Istanbul?"

"It's something different, yeah?" He tried to make her understand with his eyes, but of course she couldn't. How could she if he wasn't being honest? It wasn't about the carpets or Turkey at all, but he couldn't tell her that. She argued with him for nearly half an hour on the merits of working for the Ministry, how it was good enough for his father and brother, how he was an English lad and needed to stay with his family, how he was going to end up long-haired and pierced like his brother, etc. He managed to tune her out and concentrate on the book of charms Kusha used most frequently on his carpets. Her words didn't matter. He was in Turkey three days later.

Turkey turned out to be a disastrous idea. The air was hot and pungent with the smell of sweat. The work was tedious and had a tendency to leave his hands dyed strange mixtures of colors, none of them pleasant. He hated the food. He didn't speak the language and his translation spell was complete rubbish, so it was hard for him to communicate, let alone make friends. He felt lonely most of the time and a bit depressed.

He only stayed a month. Eskandar was very disappointed at his departure. The man had put all his hopes in Ron being able to convince Percy that the embargo needed to end, but he hadn't understood Ron's relationship with his brother. Even if Ron had cared about having flying carpets in Britain, there was no way he would ever have convinced Percy to change one of his precious laws.

The letter home had been difficult to write, but his mother's insistence that he return to England had been even harder to read. By then, Hermione had spoken to Harry, who had spoken to Ginny, who had spoken to George, who had then blabbed to the rest of the family, and they all knew that Ron had cheated. Thankfully, the part where he'd slept with a man had been dropped somewhere between Hermione and his parents, so he didn't have to worry about accidentally coming out to them when he really wasn't even ready to come out to himself. He'd received angry missives from both of his parents, but Molly's had broken Ron's heart more. She had had such high hopes for his relationship with Hermione, had seen Hermione as a daughter-in-law already. Knowing that he had cheated on her, even though it wasn't the reason for their break-up, had upset Molly more than the break-up itself. He didn't know what to say to her, or if he could even stomach facing her after what he had done. It was as though he had betrayed his mother more than he'd betrayed Hermione. The guilt that riddled him was unbearable.

And so he did not return home. Instead, he crossed the border into Greece and spent six months working in a hostel in Athens. Not speaking the local language worked when most of your customers didn't speak the local language either, and so he got on okay. Harry and Ginny stopped in and stayed a few nights around Easter.

"Are you happy?" Ginny asked him one night after a bottle of wine and a lovely meal of chicken and lemon-roasted potatoes. Ron didn't know how to answer at first. He wasn't sure he was, or if he ever would be, but he was content; that was all he could give her.

"Hermione told me what happened," Harry offered, refilling his wine glass. They were sitting on plastic chairs on the roof, looking out over the smoggy skyline of the city. Ron was always amazed at how dirty the air could get in a city that stayed so clean.

Ron's hands broke out into a sweat and he had to set his glass down. "She did? What did she say?"

Harry eyed Ginny, as though he hadn't already told her everything. "She said that it was obvious to her before you even came back that things had changed. She said she'd planned on ending things the day you got back, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. And then she said that when she finally did break things off, you told her you'd cheated on her. Is that true?" His eyes bored into Ron's, making his hands sweat more and begin to shake. What could he say?

"I… I did. With… with someone I met in Romania. It wasn't planned or anything, just sort of a one-off." He had to stop there because his voice was shaking and he didn't want to make the crushed look his sister was giving him worse.

"She said you said it was a man." Harry's voice was flat, assured, as if he already knew the answer without having to ask the question Ron knew he was implying. He looked down at the empty plate in his lap and nodded solemnly.

"Oh, Ron…" Ginny whispered, a shaking hand going to cover his. He clenched his eyes closed against the pity in her words.

"Do we have to talk about it? I'd really rather not." He forced the words out through clenched teeth. Ginny squeezed his hand.

"If you were gay, Ron, you should have just said. We would still love you no matter what. But doing that to Hermione isn't okay, even if you relationship was already on the outs," Harry said. There was no pity in his voice; he spoke quickly and sternly, eyes matching his words.

Ron sneered at the sound of that word. Who had said he was gay? So he'd slept with a man? That didn't automatically make you gay. "I'm not gay. Like I said, it was a one-off."

He could feel Harry and Ginny exchange a look, even though his own eyes were trained on his plate. "There's nothing wrong with it, if you are, Ron. We're not here to judge you. We love you. We just want to know what's going on with you."

"Nothing is, all right? Just leave it alone. It's none of your business who I shag, is it? I don't talk to you about shagging my best mate, do I?" He stood up quickly and began to clear the plates away for something to do with his hands. He didn't want to be a part of this conversation anymore. The alcohol was buzzing through his system and he was beginning to feel shaky and he needed out.

"Ron, that isn't the point at all! We just wish you'd talk to us, let us know what's going on in that head of yours. You've been a complete stranger since you finished school! Mum writes letters every week telling me about how worried she is about you. Charlie has this weird theory that one of the guys at his reserve molested you, and it's clear you're running from something. I just want to know what. I love you, Ron. You know you can tell me anything. I just wish you would explain." She banished the plates from his hands with a quick wave of her wand and enveloped him in her arms, much stronger than he ever remembered them being.

He sighed and collapsed into her embrace, suddenly very tired and just wanting a bit of comfort. He hadn't been touched in months, after all, and a little love from his sister went a long way to soothing his aching heart. He still couldn't confess the truth, yet, though, mostly because he still wasn't sure what the truth was himself. "It's nothing. I wasn't molested. I had sex, yes, but it was consensual, don't worry. I just need to figure myself out, okay?" He spoke into her soft, red hair and laid his head on her shoulder, even though he had to hunch down several inches to do so. He raised his eyes up to see Harry standing behind them, that determined look in his eyes that Ron recognized as his undying support. He closed his eyes again, holding Ginny a little bit closer.

She let go before he was ready and kissed his cheek. "I love you, Ronnie. Don't forget that, okay?"

"I know. I love you, too, Gin." Harry slapped him on the back. They went to bed soon afterward, not having much else to say to one another. Ginny's team had a game in Bulgaria the next day, and so they said goodbye at the Portkey depot, and Ron was alone again.

He lingered in Athens for a few more months, but he still felt unsettled and restless. He moved on, to Italy this time. He found a job in a gelato shop in Florence, scooping home-made gelato and chatting up tourists. The job was boring and always left him feeling slimy at the end of the day, but it was close to his flat and he got free gelato whenever he wished. Plus, his translation charm was decent enough to translate Italian into English, and so he had a much easier time of communicating. It didn't take a month for him to begin attracting regular customers, drawn not to the gelato, but to him. He hadn't thought of it before, but he stood out like a sore thumb in Italy, with his bright orange hair, freckles, and his tall, lanky frame. The Italians didn't know what to make of him, and the English and American tourists loved him.

One regular in particular came every day, a young Italian named Giovanni, who would take ten minutes to argue with the owner, Alonzo, over whether he should get the pistachio or the cioccolato all'arancia. Alonzo always said the pistachio was best, but Giovanni always got the cioccolato all'arancia instead, and he always gave Ron a little wink when Ron handed over his cone. Usually, Giovanni left right after receiving his cone, but one day when the shop was empty except for the two of them, Alfonzo having thrown his arms up in frustration and wandered away to check on a batch of crema churning in the back, Giovanni lingered, licking at his cone and watching Ron through hooded eyes.

"You should come with me to the disco tonight," he said in Italian (he always spoke Italian to Ron, even though Ron knew that he spoke fluent English, and Ron was beginning to understand him even without the help of his charm). Ron stopped wiping the counter down to stare back at him.

"I don't dance," he said finally.

"I'll teach you. Meet me tonight."

Ron's eyes flicked to the door leading to the back room. Any minute, one of the workers could come out and see Giovanni leaning over the counter, leering at Ron. "What makes you think I'm…"

"I see you watching the young men. You think I don't notice you check out il mio culo?" Ron blushed, unable to help himself. He had checked out Giovanni's arse on occasion, but he had hoped he was less obvious than all that.

"That's… illegal, isn't it? I don't want to be deported." Not that he had legal permission to work in Italy as it was, but he didn't want to get Mr. Granacci in trouble with the polizia.

Giovanni rolled his eyes and waved his cone around, sending a few drops flying across the small café. Ron narrowed his eyes at the gesture; he would have to clean the mess up later. "It's an underground disco, no polizia, I promise you."

Ron hesitated another few seconds, until the sounds of someone approaching could be heard at the back door, and he quickly agreed. Giovanni winked at him and licked a drop of gelato off his finger, sucking it into his mouth. Ron felt his trousers tighten just a bit and looked uncomfortably away. "Meet me in front at eleven, yes? The place isn't far." Ron agreed and Giovanni slinked out of the shop, an extra swagger to his hips. Ron couldn't keep his eyes off them, but was thankfully brought back to reality by the return of Alonzo.

Ron stood in front of the dark shop windows, tugging at the black t-shirt he'd chosen to wear that night. It was a little tight, but he knew Giovanni would like it. He still wasn't sure this entire thing was a good idea, but the thought of passing up a chance to finally touch Giovanni won out in the end, and so there he stood. It was ten past and the only people he'd come across were a few drunk American tourists and an elderly man whistling an old Italian love song as he strolled leisurely by. The air was warm and Ron was feeling good, despite his nervousness. He had a feeling that whatever happened tonight, it was going to change his life.

All of a sudden, the loud noises of a group of Italians emerged from the dark alley leading out onto his street, and there was Giovanni, surrounded by three other young, Italian men, all speaking loudly and clearly a few sheets to the wind. Giovanni beamed as soon as he saw Ron and broke out in loud Italian. "You came! Il mio inglese sexy, you came! Oh, I am so happy!" He threw his arms around Ron and kissed his cheek, and Ron felt the unmistakable press of an erection against his thigh.

Ron held on to Giovanni with hands around his waist, fingers fumbling against the silk of his button-down. "You didn't say there would be a crowd."

Giovanni looked behind them at his friends and grinned wider. "These are i miei amici. They come with us, yes? You do not need to worry, il mio inglese, they are gay, too."

Ron eyed them nervously. "Can we go now?" he asked, fingers clutching Giovanni a little tighter.

Giovanni leaned up and kissed him, right there in the middle of the street. "Of course, let's go. This way." He unwound himself from Ron's neck and grabbed his hand, tugging him down the street. The others followed, their arms around each other and beginning to sing drunkenly. Ron had a flashback to his last year at Hogwarts, after the war, when he, Harry, Neville, Seamus, and Dean would spend Friday nights at the pub in Hogsmeade. He smiled and walked closer to Giovanni, who flashed him another grin.

They were walking down a narrow alleyway that Ron had never been down before. He'd always thought it was a dead-end, as he'd never been able to see an opening on the street parallel. He was right about the dead end, as they wound up at an old, battered-looking steel door, or at least that's what Ron could make out of it. The only light was that of the gibbous moon shining down into the alley from over the rooftops, barely enough light to see five feet in front of his nose. Giovanni took the opportunity to kiss Ron again, nudging him into the wall and thrusting his tongue into Ron's mouth. Ron's fingers clenched against his shirt again, and he kissed back breathlessly. Merlin, he knows how to kiss, he thought, heart racing. Giovanni's free hand rose to the door and he knocked a quick beat of three, followed by two longer beats. There was a pause, in which he continued to kiss Ron, and the boys continued to sing loudly, before a loud sound of hinges creaking filled the alleyway, followed quickly by a pulsing rhythm of techno music. Ron's heart began to pound with the rhythm, and he pulled away from Giovanni to look. Giovanni grinned at the man who stood in the doorway—calling him a man was a bit of an understatement; he was so large he filled the entire seven-foot tall doorway—and let go of Ron to stand up on tiptoe and whisper something to the giant. The man nodded and stepped out of the way, and they all poured into the club.

Ron was momentarily blinded by the flashing lights and was hit with a wave of heat and music that warmed his blood and pulsed through his veins. The music was so loud it got into his chest and filled his body with pounding beats. He took a deep breath and looked around. There were men half-clothed and writhing together to the beat, sweat-covered and absolutely beautiful. Giovanni tugged on his hand, pulling him close and reaching up to kiss him again. "Shall we dance?"

"I told you, I don't know how!" Ron called over the music, pressing his lips to Giovanni's ear to make sure the other man could hear him. He saw Giovanni laugh, but couldn't hear it. He was pulled onto the dance floor and Giovanni wrapped his arms around his neck, pressing close to him and directing his movements. It wasn't hard, really, this dancing stuff. Well, he was certainly hard being pressed so close to another man, but he had a relatively easy time of the dancing. Just a lot of moving his hips, rather like having sex standing up really. He liked it and pulled Giovanni closer. Giovanni started to kiss him again, fingers tangling in his hair as they swayed together. He liked it, the pulsing rhythm, the press of Giovanni's hot skin against his, the erection pressing into his thigh.

He lost himself in the music and Giovanni, and lost track of time until Giovanni was tugging at his hair and pointing to the bar. Time passed, he knew, because there were more people in the packed club now, and less clothing to get in the way of skin pressing against skin. At some point he'd lost his shirt, as had Giovanni. He allowed his companion to pull him towards the bar, where he yelled a drink order into the bartender's ear while Ron pressed hot kisses to his neck. Giovanni pressed a drink into Ron's hand when they came and they separated to quench their thirst. The buzz of alcohol flowed through Ron, mixing with the beat of the music, and making his head a bit fuzzy. Giovanni kissed him when he finished his drink and indicated that he would be right back. Ron nodded and watched the young man disappear into the crowd. He ordered another drink and leant on the one open inch of bar top he could find.

Giovanni had only been gone a few seconds when a different body was pressed against him and a slinky, decidedly English voice whispered in his ear, "Dance with me." He looked down to see a white-blond head pressing kisses down his neck. He moaned at the feel, imagining Dorin's mouth against his skin, but it was impossible that this blond god was his former lover. He agreed anyway, drink forgotten, and followed the man onto the dance floor. Lanky arms twisted around his neck, and pulled him into an eager kiss, so quick he didn't have time to see the man's face clearly. He kissed back, unable to think with the feel of hot skin pressed against his and that wicked tongue teasing his mouth. He groaned into the kiss, pulling his partner closer, fingers pressing so tightly against the sweaty flesh that he knew he was leaving bruises. His partner wasn't complaining, though.

They swayed together, attached at the mouth, all pretense of dancing completely gone. "I want you to fuck me." The husky voice whispered into his ear a long while later. Ron couldn't put his finger on why, but the voice reminded him of someone. He squeezed the jean-clad arse cheek he'd been clutching in answer. "Come home with me?"

Ron licked up the smooth neck and began sucking on the tender flesh behind the man's ear. He spoke a yes into that tantalizing ear before nibbling on the fleshy lobe. Fingers tugged his mouth up to meet those eager lips one last time before his hand was grabbed and he was being dragged into the loo. He was about to protest that this wasn't the exit when he was unceremoniously pulled into a stall and pressed against the door, a warm, wriggling body pressing into him. He felt the sudden tightening feeling of Apparition and instantly found himself in a dark room. The other man was kissing him again fingers fumbling with the buckle of his belt. He wanted to protest that the man had used magic without asking if he was a wizard, but suddenly his trousers were on the floor, his shoes kicked off, and he was being pushed onto a soft mattress, covered in what felt like a silk duvet.

His companion climbed on top of him, kissing him, and Ron's hand soon discovered that he was completely naked. He rolled them over, settling between the blond man's wide-open legs, hands traveling over the planes of his chest and down to his raging erection. There was no hesitancy, not like his time with Dorin. He knew exactly what he wanted now, and it was to be buried deep inside this man. He pushed his pants down to around his ankles and rubbed his cock up and down his lover's crack, teasing him. The other man moaned, and Ron could see his head fall back in the dim light filtering through the curtains. There was just enough of it to see the man's silhouette, without being able to see any individual features.

He trailed kisses down the man's neck to his chest, sucking on first one, and then the other of his nipples, taking time to gently tug on each with his teeth. The resounding whimper that followed was intoxicating. He moved lower, kissing every inch of skin he could reach. He wanted to taste every inch of this man, and he wanted to start with his entrance. He'd never imagined wanting to rim someone before, had even been a bit disgusted by the very idea of it, but all he could think of now was sucking at this man's puckered hole. He did, pressing his mouth to the entrance and sucking for all he was worth. The other man writhed beneath him, calling out, fingers digging into Ron's shoulders. He felt the man's feet press into his shoulder blades, urging him on.

Soon, he had the entrance nice and wet, enough to slide one narrow finger inside to test the man's tightness. Ron nearly went blind with pleasure at the cinch of muscles that met him. He lost all coherency at the thought of his cock wrapped around such a tight hole. He did a quick lubrication spell and slicked his cock, suddenly glad that the man had Apparated them, as it meant he could do magic without worrying about exposing himself. A moment later, he had risen to his hands and knees and was guiding his cock to the hot entrance and pressing in. His partner moaned, fingers burying in his hair and pulling him down for a kiss.

"God, yes!" he called out against Ron's lips, nipping at his bottom one before filling Ron's mouth with his tongue again. Ron groaned and began to thrust, hoping that he wasn't hurting the man. By the sounds of pleasure he was making, Ron didn't think he was.

A fierce fucking ensued, Ron thrusting harder than he had ever thought to do on only his third time, and his partner calling out so loudly he was sure they would wake the neighbors. Assuming the man had neighbors. Ron, of course, had no idea. Pillows were thrown off the bed. Ron thrust so hard the headboard left a dent in the wall. The covers went every which-tangled-way. And when they finally came, Ron saw stars and wound up shaking so hard he thought he might be having a seizure.

They lay panting afterwards, Ron's face buried in the pale neck. "Fuck," he whispered, more to himself than to the other man.

"Mmm…"

Ron rolled to the side, but then he was too drained to move any further. Thankfully, the other man had enough energy to tug the bed clothes out from under them and then cover them both with it, before he curled into Ron's side and promptly fell asleep. Ron sighed into the darkness, fingers absently combing through what he knew to be white-blond hair. What had he done? He wasn't supposed to do this sort of thing anymore. He had to snort at that. He'd been fooling himself, thinking he could resist the sort of temptation he'd been faced with. First Giovanni and now this mystery man; he'd been a goner from the start. He sighed again and turned to bury his nose in the lovely hair, inhaling the fruity scent of shampoo and the deeper scent of male sex and sweat.

He'd been right at the beginning of the night; he was changed. He couldn't give this up, not now that he'd had a proper start. He'd have to resign himself to the fact. He was gay. He stayed up thinking for a long time afterwards, wondering what would happen now, how he would tell his family, how they would react. He fell asleep with the first rays of morning sun, nose buried in intoxicating blond hair.

It was late morning when he awoke, and the body that had been pressed against him for most of the night and morning was gone. Not gone, though, he realized, but shifted over on the bed and sitting up. His first sight upon opening sleep-blurred eyes was a pale hand lifting a piece of toast from an elegant wooden tray sitting upon slim, sleep-trouser-covered-thighs. "Awake, are we?" quipped a familiar voice. His eyes flew up to the man's face, and his heart dropped to his stomach. Malfoy.

"Bloody Hell, what are you doing here?" Ron croaked, managing to hoist himself into a sitting position. He knew he hadn't had much to drink the night before, but he felt bloody awful. All his muscles hurt, and he had some stinging lines down his back that he could only assume were fingernail scratches. Made by Malfoy while they'd fucked last night. Oh, he was going to have such a headache.

"I live here, Weasley. I brought you back to my place last night, don't tell me you've forgotten. You hadn't had that much to drink, at least you didn't at the club. I was watching you."

"Whadoyamean, you were watching me?" Ron mumbled, rubbing the balls of his hands into his eye sockets, trying to wake up properly. Merlin, he ached.

"In the club, I was watching you. You weren't exactly inconspicuous there, you know, what with being nearly a foot taller than everyone else in the room and with that flaming hair. It was hard not to look at you. And how delicious you were on that dance floor. Merlin, I wanted to rip that little pissant off you and fuck you right there on the floor."

Ron dropped his hands from his face and peered over at Malfoy. "Were you stalking me?"

Malfoy paused in bringing a mug to his lips to consider Ron momentarily. "Yes, in the sense that a hunter stalks his prey, I suppose I was. You were so easy to catch, too. All it took was one little distraction for your little friend and you were putty in my hands." He set the mug down and nudged the tray away. It floated off his lap and went to hover at the bedside, out of the way. Malfoy grinned like a Cheshire and slinked over and between Ron's arms, pressing a kiss to his lips. "And what delicious putty you were. If I'd known you fucked so well, I'd have tried seducing you a long time ago, Weasley. Hell, I might have defected to the side of the Light if I'd known what delights awaited me on the other side. I had no idea the secret to the Weasley family's fertility was so… large." He began trailing kisses down Ron's throat, and Ron was too distracted by his scattered, chaotic thoughts to stop him.

"Malfoy, what are you doing? Stop it!" Sense returned to him and he knocked Malfoy away, jumping out of bed and searching around him for his clothes. "Are you insane? This… this is… disgusting! Merlin, and to think I was hoping to make something more of this! What was I thinking? Obviously I wasn't; I mean, really, what sort of fuckwit…" He continued on, talking to himself more than to Malfoy, and finally finding his pants half-way under the bed. He had to summon them, as the bed was too wide and too low to the ground for him to crawl under it. He tugged them on quickly and walked around the bed to his jeans, in a crumpled pile in the middle of the room. He was still talking, and he had the vague sense that so was Malfoy, but he couldn't hear any of it. His mind was swirling with thoughts of how stupid he'd been to think about telling his parents. He would ruin their lives!

He glanced at Malfoy, sitting up in bed and glaring at him, angry demands flying from him. Ron only glared and dug his wand out of the hidden pocket in his jeans. He held his shoes in his other hand, and pointed them at Malfoy angrily. "You are insane. Stay away from me." He Apparated away before Malfoy could respond, and was relieved to find himself back in his own tiny two-room flat.

He hurried to the bathroom to take a shower, and the hot water soothed his aching muscles. He felt unbelievably better when he got out and spent a little time examining the scratches on his back in his mirror before healing them and going to dress. He had to work that afternoon, but he spent what time he had left getting breakfast and going for a walk. He needed to think, and the Tuscan scenery always went a long way to helping him do so.

He arrived at work clear-headed and convinced that he could forget about Malfoy. Oh, how wrong he was.

Giovanni popped into the shop a little later than usual and pouted at Ron. He bypassed the argument about what to pick and ordered a cone of cioccolato all'arancia. He leant against the glass case while Ron scooped his gelato, Alonzo making comments about him smudging the glass. He ignored the owner and kept his eyes on Ron. "You disappeared last night. I came back to the bar and you weren't there. Where did you go?" His voice was quieter than usual, almost hurt.

Ron focused on the gelato. "I got pulled back onto the dance floor by some girl. I tried to find you again, but there were too many people. I went home. Sorry." He handed the full cone over with a sheepish smile, hoping his lie wasn't as obvious in Italian as it would be in English. Giovanni's expression told him that the lie went undetected.

"Well, I missed you. We'll have to try it again, yeah? Maybe tonight?"

Ron shook his head, eyeing Alonzo. He'd had enough sex to last him a while. "I don't think I can stay up that late again tonight. Maybe another time."

Giovanni slid a glance to Alonzo, who had turned to help another customer. "We don't have to go to a club. You could come for dinner. To my apartment. Where we can be alone." The look he gave Ron made his meaning clear.

Ron's heart dropped to his stomach for the second time that day. "I can't, I'm sorry. It's not really a good idea right now."

"Oh." Giovanni looked at the cone dripping in his hand and sighed. "I'll see you tomorrow, then." He waved a goodbye to Alonzo, gave Ron one more sad glance, and disappeared out the door. He didn't return for a few weeks, but by then Ron was too distracted to notice.

The next day, Malfoy swaggered in, all fresh-faced and beautiful, and smiling at the owner. Ron stared at him in disbelief. How had he known where Ron worked? He spent quite a long time lingering over the gelato cases, ostensibly deciding what he wanted, but Ron knew the blond did it just to annoy him. He spoke to the owner in perfectly accented Italian, but he addressed Ron in English, smiling the delicious smile of someone who knew he was going to get what he wanted. "You left so quickly, yesterday, Ron. I was hoping you would stay for breakfast. We had such a lovely time together, after all."

Ron cut a look to his boss, who spoke only broken English, but enough to have understood what Malfoy said. And as he was a devout Catholic and strictly homophobic, Ron did not want him to know what had happened between him and Malfoy. Thankfully, he was distracted with a group of Japanese tourists and hadn't heard. "Shut it, will you? I don't want to get fired."

"Fired? From this filthy little gelato shop? Weasley, you can't be serious." He looked Ron up and down critically. "Forgive me, I forgot whom I was speaking to. Of course you're serious. Well, if you don't want your homophobic employer knowing that you like to bed men in your spare time, perhaps you should do as I ask, and join me for dinner tonight." He spoke a little quieter, so that Alonzo couldn't hear, but there was still a risk of exposure. Ron glared at him and huffed out a protest.

"I don't want anything to do with you, Malfoy. Just leave me alone."

"Fine, but I'll be back. Until tomorrow." He gave Ron a nod and bowed to the owner before slipping past the tourists and out of the shop.

He didn't lie. He was back the next day, and another hostile conversation followed. He came every day that week. And every day the next week, until Ron finally snapped that he never wanted to see his ugly, pointy face again. It was a complete lie, of course, and Malfoy knew it.

He licked a drop of gelato from his cone and gave Ron a significant look. "You don't mean that." Ron continued to glare, and Malfoy finally huffed out an exasperated sigh and straightened, leaning over the counter to whisper to Ron. "Look, I know this is a very unusual situation, and believe me I have absolutely no idea why I am doing this, but I want to see you again. So, will you please join me for dinner tonight?" He looked as though he suffered from a physical pain at having to say the word please, but it had the desired effect.

"Fine. Where?" Malfoy gave him the address of a posh restaurant not far from the shop and told him to be there by nine. Ron reluctantly agreed, out of protests by this point. Malfoy flashed him a genuine smile and slinked out the door, hair gleaming in the midday sun. Ron could do nothing but stare after him for a moment, until Giovanni entered, eyes narrowed at Ron's staring face.

"Who was that?" he asked, tongue sharp, but eyes sharper.

Ron hardly noticed. "School friend. Known him since we were kids."

"He looked like more than a friend."

Ron's eyes snapped to Giovanni and grew a little wide. "No, not even a friend really." Before he could continue to explain, Alonzo was at his side and speaking to Giovanni in fast Italian. Not even Ron's translation charm could keep up, but he didn't care. His thoughts were with the blond who had just walked out the door, flashes of their night together going through his mind.

He showed up at the appointed time to the restaurant, dressed a little nicer than he normally would be, and nervous as Hell. His mind kept providing reasons why he should just walk away, go back to his flat, and forget all about Malfoy. But then the blond appeared through an archway between two buildings, and his breath caught in his chest, and he couldn't think of anything anymore except how good it would feel to have this man under him again.

"Hello," Malfoy said, walking up to him and offering him a warm smile. The smile caught him off guard even more than his appearance had. Ron had never been the recipient of such a smile from Malfoy before. "I'm glad you came."

"I tried to talk myself out of it," Ron confessed without meaning to. His heart was beating so fast he'd temporarily lost control of his mouth muscles.

Malfoy's smile broadened. "I'm sure you did. I suddenly find myself thankful for your terrible ability to convince anyone of anything. Shall we?" What Ron wanted to do was take the blond home and fuck him into the mattress, but he nodded, and followed Malfoy to the hostess, who directed them to an outer outdoor table that provided an unobstructed view of the Palazzo Vecchio and the beautiful reproduction of Michelangelo's David. Ron stared at the statue for a few minutes while Malfoy fussed over the wine list and ultimately decided that though the David was a fit bloke, Malfoy was of far superior stock. He directed his eyes to the man he was thinking of, only to find Malfoy looking back at him.

"I can honestly say that I never expected to see you again, except for the occasional Ministry function or Hogwarts memorial service."

"Didn't think I'd see you again, either." He left out the part where he hadn't wanted to, either. That wasn't the truth anymore.

"And yet, here we are, and I find myself extremely satisfied with the situation." He raised his wine glass in a toast to Ron and took a deep, satisfying drink, eyes fluttering shut for a moment. Ron felt his heart clench again. When Malfoy opened his eyes again, they pierced Ron with a serious look. "What about you?"

"I… I don't know what to think. Can we just let this play out and see where it goes, and I can think about it later?"

Malfoy narrowed his eyes for a moment, but then he shrugged in agreement, and Ron felt the tension leave his body. Conversation fell to simpler topics, travel, family. It was easy, much easier than Ron would have ever expected. By the time the bill had been paid and they were walking down the street together, it was half eleven, and Ron wasn't sure where the time had gone. He didn't care, either. All he cared about was his desire to hold Malfoy's hand. He didn't, though, not wanting to cause a stir on the street. As accepting as Italy was to diversity, homosexuality was still considered dirty and immoral. One look at Malfoy and any similar thoughts he had been harboring up to that point fell right out of his head. He wanted Malfoy with a passion bordering on obsession.

And he had him. Twice. They could barely keep their hands to themselves by the time they finally reached the Apparition point to get to Malfoy's home, a villa on the outskirts of the city, as Ron found out later. They fell on each other like hungry wolves as soon as they were in the bedroom, and they nearly devoured each other in their enthusiasm.

Time passed quickly after that, and before Ron knew what was happening, it was getting cold again, and coming on Christmas, and he and Draco had spent nearly every day together.

"Will you come home with me for Christmas?" Draco asked him one night while they were strolling along the river, holding hands. Draco had put a Notice-Me-Not spell on them, a mild one that didn't leave you with that cold-egg feeling, but deflected enough attention so that no one caused a fuss about two men holding hands on the street.

Ron hesitated. He felt insulated here in Italy, away from family and friends. Returning to England would mean that he would have to come clean with his family, tell them about his relationship, about himself. They hadn't talked much about telling their families; Draco respected his request for time to think about it. "I… I don't know if I'm ready yet," he said honestly. Draco stopped walking and turned to fully face him, taking his other hand.

"Do you love me?" he asked quietly. Ron found that when he got past the pompous tit that was Draco's public persona, the blond could be very real, very honest, but never was this more the case than when he used that quiet, earnest voice. Ron could never lie in the face of that voice.

"Yes."

Draco smiled and took a step closer, so that they were a whisper from being pressed together. Muggles would start to notice soon, Notice-Me-Not spell or not. "I love you, too. And I like having you all to myself, no distraction, just the two of us. However, even though I love having you all to myself, I don't want to hide what we share. I want everyone to know, but most of all our families." He took that last step so that they were pressed together, only separated by a few layers of clothing. Ron could feel Draco's heart beating in rhythm with his own. "When I look at you, all I want to do is touch you, and I never want to stop. I want everyone to know that you belong to me." He stretched up and kissed Ron, hand letting go so that it could bury itself in Ron's thick hair to pull him closer. There was a gasp from a passerby, but they both ignored it. Ron wrapped his arms around Draco, mind racing with thoughts of how much he wanted this man and what he was offering.

"You belong to me, too. Don't forget."

Draco smiled against his lips, kissing him again. "Of course. We belong to each other. Don't you want to share that with your family? Let them know how happy you are? Please? Come home with me?"

It was like that first time all over again, Ron's hands were sweating, his breathing shaky, mind swirling, but there was no way he could have said no. He nodded agreement and pulled Draco back into a kiss, pressing him against the rail that protected pedestrians and autos from falling into the river, bending him a little bit over it in his enthusiasm.

And that was how he wound up on his parents' front step, Draco Malfoy's hand clenched in his, ankle-deep in fresh snow, waiting for someone to answer his knock. Arthur pulled the door open wide, a huge grin of disbelief on his face. "Ron! Molly, Ron's home!" he called over his shoulder, stepping out of the doorway to hug his son. He stopped mid-step upon seeing Ron's hand attached to that of another person, and he could do nothing but stare at the sight of who that person was. Molly pushed him impatiently out of the way, rushing to Ron in excitement, but she stopped in her tracks as well at the sight of his companion.

"Ron?"

Ron hesitated, looking at Draco, who gave him a reassuring smile and a squeeze of the hand. He took the confidence Draco offered and turned to his parents, sure of what he was about to do. "Mum, Dad, I've something to tell you."

Endnotes

Gelato – Italian ice cream (sort of). For mMore info, go to here
il mio culo = my arse
polizia = police
Il mio inglese = my Englishman
Il mio inglese sexy = My sexy Englishman (and yes, they use the English word for it)
i miei amici = my (male) friends