Title: Ron Weasley and the Wedding That Is Not Going to Happen
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Pairings: Harry/Draco, Ron/Hermione, Ginny/Luna
Warnings: Crackfic. Sex, profanity.
Summary: Ron may accidentally have caused Malfoy to propose to Harry, but he knows he has to stop the wedding. After all, Malfoy is a murderous git who will kill Harry in his sleep. If Harry would only see that.
Author's Notes: This is the fourth in my "Hapless Ron" series, and the sequel to "Ron Weasley and the Entropy of the Situation," though I think this stands alone well enough that you don't need to read the others.
Ron Weasley and the Wedding That Is Not Going to Happen
Ron sat on the table with his arms folded, scowling into space. The longer he waited there, the more determined he became, and the half-empty glass of Firewhisky on the table had nothing to do with it. Ron made sure to think that thought with extra force, because he knew Hermione would say the Firewhisky had a lot to do with it.
He had got Harry into this situation. If he had been a little wiser, a little smarter, then Malfoy wouldn't have had the chance to propose to Harry in the first place. Harry had been on the verge of breaking up with the bastard.
Ron picked up his glass and took a drink.
But the proposal had happened, and the wedding was happening at the end of the month. Apparently Malfoy didn't want to wait.
Probably afraid that Harry will come to his senses and leave him, Ron thought, though why Malfoy should be afraid of that when Harry had dated him for five years without seeing the light, Ron didn't know.
He took another drink.
But part of the blame had to be his, Ron would admit. Which meant that he had to do whatever he could to stop the wedding and give Harry the chance to live a long and fulfilling life.
He took another drink.
And that was when the plan popped into his head, so perfect and satisfying that Ron almost dropped his glass. He sat up straight and smiled at the wall. If Harry didn't abandon Malfoy after this, he wasn't human.
When he went to bed, Hermione pulled a pillow over her head and complained about his cheerful whistling. Ron thought about telling her that she hadn't done anything as wonderful for Harry lately, but then didn't. She never had believed him that Malfoy was bad news.
But he was, and in the morning, Ron would rewrite that news.
Ron was squinting against the brightness of the sun and the pain of a hangover the next morning, but he still sat up when Harry picked up the brilliantly wrapped package from the pile of presents and shook it next to his ear.
"I wonder what this is?" Harry asked in a teasing drawl, smiling at Malfoy, who sprawled on the couch next to him. They were holding the celebration, a combination of an early birthday for Harry and an excuse for more wedding presents, in the drawing room of Harry and Malfoy's home.
They've shared a house, Ron thought. I put up with that. Why did the git have to make it more formal?
He told himself to stop complaining. Harry was about to leave Malfoy forever, once he saw what was inside the neatly labeled package, so Ron didn't have to ask questions like that anymore.
Malfoy tossed a lazy smile in Harry's direction, and then parted his lips and waggled his tongue in a suggestive manner. Hermione, sitting next to Ron, laughed. Several Slytherins on the other side of the room, all of whom were drunk, said, "Ooooooh!" simultaneously. Ron sneered. What sort of childish idiots did that?
But he said "Ooooooh!" himself, because it would look suspicious if he didn't, and he didn't want Harry getting angry at him. He would need the comfort of his best friend after he found out what a prat Malfoy was.
Harry tore into the package without looking away from Malfoy. He wore a smile of goofy adoration. Ron tightened his fingers on the couch. He had got into the package earlier, of course, thrown away the large pink thing inside—it looked as though Malfoy had thought of a novel way of poisoning Harry—and filled it with his own "special" present, and it had cost him a lot of time and trouble.
But that didn't mean he wanted Harry leaving his fingers too close to the—
"What?" Harry asked, staring blankly at the box in his lap.
Ron relaxed. The tarantula had stayed inside the cage where he'd placed it, madly waving its horrible legs and clenching its terrible fangs down. He'd nearly fainted when he bought it, never mind when he had to grab it and stuff it in, but he'd accomplished what he meant to accomplish. Harry couldn't doubt Malfoy's bad intentions when Malfoy had given him (or so he would think Malfoy had given him) the "gift" of a poisonous spider.
Harry turned the cage over. Malfoy's mouth gaped, but he shut it quickly. Ron clenched his right hand into a secret fist of triumph. It was happening the way he'd thought it would. Malfoy was so proud he would pretend that he'd meant to give this to Harry all along, and so he would take the blame.
Harry looked up at Malfoy with wide eyes. "How did you know?" he whispered.
Malfoy gave a little shrug and a coy smile. Ron leaned forwards. This was the point where Harry would explode at Malfoy.
"How did you know I wanted a tarantula?" Harry said, and then launched himself at Malfoy, kissing him squarely on the mouth.
Ron stared in disgust, while Hermione cooed, along with someone Ron thought was Pansy bloody Parkinson, who should have been on his side, about how cute it all was. Harry was babbling about how they would name the tarantula Draco, Jr., and sleep with it all the time. Ron stared at the tarantula in its cage and shook his head.
How in the world could someone want a spider?
He looked up and saw Malfoy's eyes fastened on him, lazy and heavy-lidded though they were, and tight though his arms were around Harry. He suspected Ron of having substituted the tarantula for his pink thing, Ron thought.
Sweat broke out under his arms, but he gave Malfoy a calm, bland look and turned away.
Two things were clear: He would have to take stronger measures, and Harry was stranger than he'd ever dreamed.
"I know what you're doing, Weasley."
Ron was able to turn around with a smile. Malfoy hadn't opened the door a minute earlier, which meant he had missed the preparations Ron was making. And what right did he think he had to open any door in his and Harry's house, anyway, when there were guests over? Someone could be naked in here.
Then again, the pervert would probably like that, Ron thought, remembering the pink thing he had tossed away from Malfoy's package and shuddering.
"What do you mean?" Ron gave Malfoy the very best innocent look he could manage. It never worked on Hermione, but Hermione was smart enough not to be evil. "I don't know what you mean."
"I mean that you substituted that tarantula for my gift." Malfoy folded his arms and leaned against the door. "I'm not going to tell Harry, because I don't want to cause him any distress by telling him his best friend is an idiot." He went on so fast and smoothly that Ron didn't have time to respond to the insult. "But I'll tell you something, instead."
Ron sighed. "For the last time, Malfoy, I'm not interested in the details of how you plan to poison Harry. I'll find out and stop you anyway." He was proud of himself for coming up with such a clever retort. Now Malfoy, who couldn't stand to be ignored, would confess the secret. Hermione had told him that was called reverse psychology.
"I'm not poisoning Harry," Malfoy said. Ron frowned. His technique had failed, and he didn't know why. Unless maybe Hermione meant reverse psychology in the sense of kicking his arse. "But we're going to take lots of potions on the wedding night."
"Oh, that's when you plan to poison him," Ron said, already making up a sufficient warning letter to Harry in his head.
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Do you know what kind of potions a male couple could take on their wedding night?" he asked. "Or has your education been lacking in that department?"
"Your education doesn't even have a department," said Ron, and again Malfoy only rolled his eyes. Ron wondered why none of his insults, which he knew were clever, were having an effect. Maybe Malfoy was bleeding on the inside and just didn't want to show it. That was probably right. Ron knew pure-bloods like Malfoy's family got their house-elves to have emotions for them.
"We're drinking the potions because we want to have children," Malfoy said. "With their magic, we can."
Ron froze, staring at him. Then he said the first thing that came to mind. "Harry wouldn't want to be pregnant."
"Oh, I don't mind carrying the children, if it comes to that." Malfoy examined his fingernails. "But if you hurt me, you're not only hurting someone Harry cares about, you're also hurting his future children. I thought you might like to know."
He slipped out of the room, leaving Ron to stare in horror at the wall and think about a pregnant Malfoy.
And then he made the mistake of thinking about how Malfoy would get pregnant.
Luckily, there was a basin in the corner of the room.
Ron sighed in relief as a large black owl came winging through the window and alighted on the table in front of Harry. They were having a dinner that was supposed to be practice for the wedding or something, though Ron didn't see how you could practice for that. They would still have to eat food on the wedding night all the same.
But because of what he knew, he could see this as a good joke. After all, none of the people around him realized this practice would have to substitute for the real thing, because when Harry saw what the black owl carried, the wedding would be off.
Harry, who had a plate of tiny sandwiches in front of him that Malfoy had been feeding him one by one, didn't look pleased when the owl's arrival scattered them, but Ron dismissed that. He would look pleased later, when he recognized his near escape and thanked Ron for arranging it.
For the moment, it was enough that he had opened the letter and stared into it. Ron held his breath.
Then Harry snorted and took the photograph out, holding it up so that other people could look at it. "This is a bad joke," he said. "And not even done with the right kind of spells. You'd think someone who wanted to cast doubt on Draco would do a better job, don't you?"
Ron blinked. What was going on? He had hired a wizard he met in a pub to create the photograph for him by altering a picture of Malfoy he'd found in a newspaper. And the pub wasn't even the Leaky Cauldron or the Hog's Head, but some nameless little place that Ron had stumbled into on a night when he'd already been drinking for hours. That ought to make the wizard more trustworthy, if anything.
When the picture was passed around, Ron still didn't see what the problem was. Malfoy now had a sneaky, evil grin on his face—wait, no, that was probably part of the original photo—and a folded paper in his hands. You couldn't see the whole paper, but at the top, in clear black letters, was printed SECRET CONTRACT WITH VOLDEMORT. His left sleeve was folded back to show his Dark Mark. And there was a photograph of Harry on the wall behind him, with multiple knives through it.
Maybe the paper, the Dark Mark, and the photo of Harry were a bit blurred compared to the rest of the photograph, but it wasn't like anyone could really tell the difference. Ron shook his head and handed the picture to Hermione, hoping she would support him. "It looks real to me," he said.
Hermione took one look at it and laughed. "No, Harry, you're right," she said. "They've used elementary Dimming Charms to darken the background so that we can't recognize the original as easily, and then added the paper, your picture, and even that Dark Mark with Doodling Charms. It's the equivalent of scratching on a great piece of art with a crayon."
She passed the picture on, and everyone else chuckled and laughed at it, as though they knew what Dimming Charms and Doodling Charms were. Ron folded his arms and sulked.
Harry shook his head and went back to letting Malfoy feed him, facing him with a dreamy expression and parted lips. Malfoy picked up a tiny sandwich between delicate fingers and handed it to him with an adoring expression.
But before he did, he looked at Ron. He smirked. He moved his free hand in a quick, curving gesture around his belly, as though tracing a rounded outline.
Hermione was not understanding at having to clean vomit off her dress, even though, the way Ron saw it, he was practicing for the wedding. Just in a different way.
Ron shook his head. He was more than nauseated now. Malfoy had sent him a taunting letter indicating that he was going to have Harry's children because they would help him inherit all of Harry's money. That was a horrible idea, and so Ron was going to the one person he knew was better-suited to Harry than Malfoy was.
Well, really, he knew lots of people who were better-suited to Harry than Malfoy. There were centaurs who would make Harry better spouses. But this was the only person who had a chance of turning Harry away from the stupid wedding idea.
He knocked, and then knocked again when there was no response. He knew he had the right house. Ginny had moved here recently, but not yesterday. He finally used the key she'd given him for emergencies and went in.
The entrance hall was empty, and the spare bedroom, and the drawing room. Ron opened the door of the kitchen, though he wondered why she would be there. Ginny hated cooking, and Luna, her housemate, wasn't much better.
There was a flurry of shrieks when he stepped in, and Ron blinked. He caught a brief, confused flash of Ginny tugging her skirt down. She was lying on the kitchen table, and her skirt had been pulled up around her hips. Luna was standing up from between her legs, wiping at something on her face. Ron caught a glimpse of glistening wetness before her fingers eradicated it.
"Ron," Ginny said, breathless. "When will you learn to knock?" She sat up fully now and smoothed her long hair back. Ron stared at her. She was panting as if she'd run a mile, but he didn't understand what was scary or exciting about letting Luna clean something up from her lap where it had spilled. Unless Luna had been cleaning up the remains of a deadly pastry spell or something.
"I did knock," Ron said. "You just didn't hear me." He paused, then asked, because he had to know, "What are you doing?"
"Ah," said Ginny, and flushed.
"Oh, we can tell him," Luna said, in her gentle, dreamy voice. "We're together, Ron. You know that."
Ron waited, and then waited some more, because it seemed to him there should be more to it than that. "Yes?" he asked. "I know that you and Ginny had always been friends and housemates since Hogwarts."
Luna gave Ginny a tender glance, though Ron couldn't tell why. He did wonder sometimes whether Ginny ought to move away from Luna, who was probably inhibiting her ability to meet men, but she seemed perfectly content, and Ron had a problem with weddings in general right now, so he hadn't suggested it.
"Oh, all right," Ginny said. She sighed. "I cast a spell that was meant to trim all the hair off my legs. But it liquefied the hair instead. Luna was just cleaning it for me."
Ron nodded. He should have figured that out. And it was useless to ask why Luna had decided to lick up the hair instead of just spelling it away or having Ginny do it. This was Luna, after all, the woman who thought that Wrackspurts were more than just figments of her imagination. "I have a favor to ask."
Ginny muttered something that sounded like, "Of course, why else do you ever come here?" But Ron could ignore that, tolerantly. After all, this time he was going to do her a service. When she got together with Harry, she would see that she would never want anyone else, and she could make Harry never want anyone else. And she could give him children if Harry really wanted to have them. So it was a winning situation all around.
"Ask away," she said instead. Her hair was lying flat by now, and she folded her arms and gave him her full attention. Luna moved behind her and leaned her head on Ginny's shoulder. Ron rolled his eyes. Luna had some very strange ideas. It was probably a good thing that Ginny was willing to live with her; otherwise, no one would, and then Luna would probably die in a freak magical accident involving a toilet and Snorkack kittens.
"I want you to go to Harry and woo him so he doesn't marry Malfoy," Ron said.
It was simple enough, he thought later, both the words and the concept. There was no reason for Ginny to stare at him like he'd grown a second head.
Luna, on the other hand, looked excited. She clapped her hands. "A lesbian seducing a gay man!" she exclaimed. "It would be like seeing a metaphysical contradiction enacted in front of us, and my father says that metaphysical contradictions—"
"What lesbian?" Ron asked, so bewildered that he felt as if he were wandering in a maze. "I don't see one." Is Luna seeing invisible lesbians along with all the other weird creatures?
For some reason, Ginny buried her head in her arms. Ron reckoned she was thinking about how much she wanted Harry and all the barriers in the way, so he hastened to reassure her. "It'll be really simple, when you get down to it. Harry's never dated a woman, so he can't know how good it feels to be with one. And Malfoy wants to kill him. Someone who doesn't want to kill Harry would be a great advantage! He has to see that, if he just spends enough time with normal people. Malfoy has warped his way of thinking, until he thinks the oddest things."
"Like some other people I know," Ginny whispered, but shook her head when Ron asked what she meant. "I refuse, Ron."
"What?" Ron stared at her. "But you're Harry's last hope!" And my last hope if I'm going to make up for my mistake in getting Malfoy to propose to him in the first place, he thought but didn't say. People just needed to know that he was atoning, not necessarily for which crime.
"Harry is perfectly happy on his own," Ginny said, in a loud, slow voice Ron resented. It sounded like she was explaining things to someone particularly stupid. "Malfoy doesn't want to kill him."
"He does!" Ron insisted. "He has to."
"Why?" Ginny asked, propping her chin on her hands and staring at him with what looked like honest interest, which meant Ron had to explain, even though it was obvious.
"Because he's evil," Ron said. "And that's what evil people do. And he's too much of a coward to kill Harry in direct combat."
Luna started to say something about Weirgamons, but Ginny interrupted. "He's happy, Ron, so happy that he starts smiling if someone else mentions Malfoy. Leave him alone. That's the last time I'm going to say it."
"Then you really won't help?" Ron whispered, appalled.
"There's nothing to help. Leave him alone." Ginny turned her back and waved her hand in the way that she did when she wanted Ron out of her house. She did that all the time, and the only time it had been justified—a little bit justified—was that time Ron flooded her house with elephant snot.
Ron left, head hanging as he considered what he should do next, while a part of his brain still wondered about Luna and the invisible lesbians.
"And I know that you'll join me in drinking a toast to Harry and Draco!"
Ron rolled his eyes and tugged at his robe collar. He was at yet another party before the wedding, this time a party thrown by Malfoy's friends. Luckily, it was at least in Harry and Malfoy's house, and that meant Ron's plan could work.
Harry rose to his feet, beaming, and tapped his full glass of champagne—and when had he started drinking that? It was yet another sign of how Malfoy had corrupted him—against Blaise Zabini's. Zabini sat down, beaming back in some kind of complicated happiness code, and Harry reached out to draw Malfoy to his feet.
Harry started saying something soppy about eternal love and the happiness that he and "Draco" were going to have as soon as possible. Ron knew he must be gagging internally every time he said the name, and sent waves of silent support to his best friend. He would free him from having to talk about "Draco" soon enough.
At the same moment, a large cake was wheeled into the room from the kitchen. Three house-elves pushed it. The cake was an enormous thing with blue icing in the shape of Hogwarts, and everyone whistled and clapped when they saw it.
Well, everyone except Harry, who was beaming again, or pretending to—Ron knew a cry for help when he saw it—and Malfoy, who looked bored. Ron hugged himself with vicious glee and predicted that the bored expression would change in a second.
It had taken all afternoon to persuade the house-elves that they had to leave the kitchen for a few minutes because Harry had requested special canapés, but it had been worth it.
The cake was a glamour. The moment Harry reached down towards it with a knife, the glamour split apart in sparks, which made half the room scream in shock. Not Harry, though, and Ron took that as an even better sign than the beaming. Harry did want to be rescued. He was going to do the heroic thing and sacrifice himself to please Malfoy, because Malfoy had asked, but he would snatch any offered hand. It was up to Ron, as the only one who understood what he was facing and was willing to do something about it, to toss him that hand.
Where the cake had been, in the middle of the wheeled platform, stood a young blonde witch with tearful eyes. She had flowing but threadbare blue robes and the marks of hunger on her face.
She was also, very obviously, pregnant.
"How could you, Harry!" she wailed, and fell to her knees, sobbing noisily. "I can't believe you would—I can't believe that you—"
And then there was no sound but her sobs and the fleshy wringing of her hands. Ron hid his smirk behind his hand and pretend to act as surprised and concerned as anyone else. The actress he had hired from Master Hamato's Circus of Traveling Wonders was every bit as good as he'd been promised.
He knew Harry would be embarrassed for a while, not least about being thrown out by Malfoy, who would be convinced that the child was Harry's. But he would be so much happier in the end. There was just no comparison. And maybe Ron could convince him to get together with Ginny for at least an evening, since he was such a mastermind.
Sure enough, Malfoy had a face like thunder. He was drawing his wand. Ron braced himself to jump to his best friend's defense, but then hesitated. It would be better if Malfoy publically attacked Harry, so everyone could see, once and for all, what kind of murderer he really was.
Instead, though, Malfoy pointed his wand at the actress and said flatly, "Finite Incantatem."
Ron gaped. It wasn't fair! He wasn't supposed to do that!
The glamour around the actress disappeared, and her tears and her pregnant belly disappeared with it. She was still blonde, but younger than she had looked, flat-bellied, and dressed in fine robes. She stopped sobbing at once and touched her stomach, face bewildered.
"This is yet another attempt," Malfoy said, in a voice full of suppressed rage, "in a very, very long line of them, to blackmail my fiancé and pretend that he's sired children which aren't his, or slept with people whose entire existence he's unaware of. I'm tired of it. And now that I'm going to be his husband, I'm granted certain rights under the law." He bared his teeth at the girl. "Do you know what those are?"
The girl shook her head, eyes wide, while Ron frantically started rifling through his memories. What were these rights? Had he ever heard of them? Could Malfoy be lying?
Malfoy leaned forwards until he was almost in the actress's face. "The right to defend him," he said. "The right to defend him preemptively, even, if I think that he might be in legitimate danger. The right to care for his body and the children of his body. Those are all enshrined in wizarding law. And while I can't kill someone else in his defense, I can and will place limbs in inappropriate places, or close orifices permanently, or make sure that your hair gets similarly misplaced." He paused. "Do you understand me?"
The girl seemed to, from the way she scrambled off the platform and raced out of the room. The one good part of that, Ron thought, mind still numb, was that no one could question her and find out that Ron had hired her.
Malfoy stood back up, arm around Harry's shoulders, and scanned the room with a vigilant gaze. When he looked at Ron, he gave a crooked, vicious smile, and flipped one finger at him in a beckoning gesture.
Ron recoiled. I'm faithful to Hermione! he mouthed, hoping the prat was practiced at lip-reading.
Malfoy looked revolted. "We need to talk," he mouthed back.
Oh. He had figured out Ron was behind the actress's appearance.
Ron suspected he should still have been a little worried, but really, compared to the thought of sleeping with Malfoy, a private talk was easy. At least the private talk wouldn't cause Ron's penis to try and disappear inside his body.
Maybe. It would depend on how close Malfoy was standing.
"You don't realize a single thing about him anymore, and I for one am getting tired of it."
Ron was indignant. How dare Malfoy say that sort of thing to him, even if it was in a low voice and in a back room of Harry and Malfoy's house where they stored disused heirlooms and clothes? He folded his arms. "I've been his best friend for a lot longer than you've been his lover," he retorted.
"Yes," Malfoy said, his voice becoming a drawl. Ron was glad of that, because it was a telltale sign that nothing Malfoy said in it was true. "And that makes you proficient in being a source of misery to him."
Ron shook his head. "You're his misery," he said. "You alienate him from all his friends. You try to poison him. You're talking about having his children just to make sure that you get your hands on the Potter fortune. You can't be content with the Malfoy fortune, can you?"
Malfoy covered his eyes with one hand. That's right, Ron thought. It's hard for him to look at the truth, isn't it?
"I never tried to do any of those things," Malfoy said.
"You said—" Ron began.
"The bit about the children was just to fuck with you." Malfoy dropped his hand and leaned closer. Ron felt a squirming sensation below his belt as his penis tried to retreat inside his body, just as he'd predicted. "I love Harry. I would never do anything to hurt him intentionally, while you're trying to prevent him from marrying someone who will make him happy."
"I'm not," Ron said. "I'm trying to keep him from the greatest mistake of his life."
"Did you see his face when you brought that woman in?" Malfoy countered. "He was upset, embarrassed. He was miserable. He's had enough of his life being invaded by people he doesn't know who consider him their public property. You did something that you know he hates, just because you think that I'm going to hurt him—despite more than five years of being together."
Ron shivered. He hated the thought of how long Harry and Malfoy had been together, because he hated the thought of how much sex they might have had during that time.
"I wasn't looking at him," he said. "I was looking at you."
Malfoy's face hardened. "I've been keeping the knowledge of your exploits from him so far," he said, "because I know it would hurt him to think one of his best friends was capable of this nonsense. But I'm getting to the point that I'm simply going to tell him, and let the consequences fall where they will. You're pushing him to the point where he's going to have to make the choice between us, and I know he's not going to forsake me."
Ron paused. Was there the faintest chance that Malfoy was telling the truth, and that Harry would be happier married to him than apart from him?
But Ron caught sight of the way Malfoy's hands twisted, and knew that his fingers were crossed behind his back.
Besides. This was Malfoy, who lied like he breathed.
But he had Ron at a disadvantage right now. Harry would be upset if Malfoy told him about Ron's attempts to protect him, and Malfoy would come out smelling like roses. (Though Ron, who hated the smell of roses, had never been convinced that was a good thing to smell like, it was better than stinking like dung, as Malfoy would try to make him stink like to Harry).
So Ron would back down and find another place, a better place, to attack.
He had to be careful, though. If Malfoy thought he was unwatched, he would make an attack on Harry that succeeded, because there was no one else who was so cautious around him as Ron was. Knowing him, it would probably be poison in the wedding cake.
And then Ron had an idea. A brilliant idea. An idea that would never occur to Malfoy, because he wasn't smart like that.
"Fine," he muttered, as if beaten, and looked away resentfully. "You win this time, Malfoy."
When Malfoy had strutted out, with some more words about happiness and Harry that Ron didn't listen to—why should he listen to someone who thought Harry was happy being fucked by a man?—Ron left. He needed to go and buy the vital ingredients before Hermione started looking for him.
Hermione would never understand. Ron, who was proud of his wife's brilliance, had nevertheless resigned himself to the gaps there were in it.
"Ron?" Harry eyed Ron and then the cake in his hands as if he thought his best friend had gone crazy. That hurt Ron's feelings. Just because he'd never baked a cake for Harry before and had only baked this one to stop his wedding didn't mean that his cakes were horrible. "Are you all right?"
"Never better," Ron said briskly, because it was the kind of thing Hermione would say, and pushed into the house. "Is Malfoy about?"
"Draco went to the market to pick up fresher flowers for the ceremony." Harry went all wistful and dreamy the way he tended to when discussing the man who had him under a version of the Imperius Curse that actually worked. "He wasn't pleased with the ones that we had, because—"
Ron nodded and made encouraging noises so that Harry would continue talking, while he eyed his cake with some pride. The surface was a bit rough, but that was all right, because it made things more interesting. The chocolate icing was thick, and entirely hid all trace of the raspberries that the thing contained.
Harry was allergic to raspberries. Malfoy knew that. In fact, he had given Harry a birthday cake with raspberries once before, and Harry had almost died from eating it.
Ron was going to use that to his advantage. Malfoy wouldn't get the chance to really poison Harry. There was going to be a fake poisoning instead.
"Why did you bring the cake?" Harry sounded apprehensive. Well, he probably feels a little differently about his food since he started living with Malfoy, Ron thought charitably. Part of him must sense something wrong with all the potions in his food, even if he doesn't know it.
"Malfoy told me that I should bake it according to this 'special recipe.'" Ron rolled his eyes. "He was insistent that I had to do it exactly according to his instructions, and not change one single thing." There. That ought to throw suspicion firmly on Malfoy, and since he knew about Harry's allergy, that would make him a murderer. "He said he didn't have time to do it himself."
Harry laughed. "That sounds like Draco," he agreed.
And nothing strikes you as wrong about that? Ron thought, but kept his mouth clamped shut on the words, because he was trying to make it seem as if he was getting along with Malfoy now.
In fact, Harry was studying him thoughtfully, in a way that seemed to argue he was about to ask that. Ron anticipated him by sighing and staring at his hands.
"I know I haven't always been supportive, mate," he muttered. "But if you're happy with the git…well, fine, I reckon."
Harry's voice was hushed, and he moved forwards and embraced Ron without a warning. Ron squirmed a little in his grasp—blokes shouldn't hug each other, it wasn't manly—and then gave in and hugged back. It was all right, he thought. He was only doing it because he was going to free Harry.
By poisoning him?
Ron ignored the voice. It sounded like Hermione's, and Hermione's voice never said anything good to him about Harry and Malfoy's relationship.
Harry turned to the cake, his eyes bright and his cheeks a little flushed. "Well!" he said. "I think I should wait for Draco to get back before I eat this."
"Oh, he didn't want you to," Ron said hastily. "A sort of—special cake," he added lamely, when Harry blinked at him. "There were things in the ingredients I didn't recognize. It was for a celebration or something?" He hoped that he sounded convincing. He hadn't paid attention to most of the details of Harry's wedding, so he didn't know if there was room for a special celebration cake or not.
If you had paid attention, then you could probably have stopped the wedding without resorting to this, Hermione's voice said acidly in his head.
Ron ignored that, because what did Hermione's voice know? And Harry was slowly nodding, as though he knew exactly what Ron was talking about.
"Oh, fine," Harry said, with a blush like a schoolboy's. He reached out and snapped his fingers, and a plate and knife appeared in his hand, like that, with a fork coming a minute later. Ron flinched. He tried not to jump when Harry did wandless magic, but he also tried hard not to think about what it was used for in Harry's frequent encounters with Malfoy. That left him unused to it in general.
Harry cut a thick piece, which Ron knew would be filled with enough raspberries to kill an allergic nundu, and set it on the plate. For a minute, he looked at it, and Ron wondered what he was thinking. Then he plunged his fork into the thick chocolate and lifted it to his mouth.
Ron held his breath. Just one bite, and then I'll stop him from eating more, stabilize him, and act like I discovered the raspberries myself. And then I can point out that Malfoy tried to kill him—
The door burst open.
"Harry!" Malfoy shouted, springing towards them, waving his wand. He shouted, "Accio cake!" and the piece on the plate as well as the bite on Harry's fork flew towards him, followed by the whole cake. Ron managed to dodge, because he didn't want to be covered with chocolate the way he was covered with failure.
Malfoy lit the cake on fire, but caught the cut piece on a plate he just happened to have with him, Ron thought, furious. That meant he had to have been spying on Ron. Who did he think he was?
"What the fuck—" Harry said, gaping at the burning chocolate.
"It had raspberries in it," Malfoy said shortly. "I had wards up just in case someone brought in wedding food that had raspberries. Not everyone knows." He spun on one heel to face Ron.
Ron winced. He had always dreaded direct confrontations, because he was afraid that Harry would choose Malfoy over him, and he knew he couldn't convince Harry the clever bastard was lying. But he would just have to tell the truth now, and hope that Harry trusted him.
"Mate—" he started.
Ron shut up. Merlin himself would have shut up when Harry sounded like that. He had talked to Snape like that after the war, and Snape was silent for the rest of the day, and for the next four only talked about watercress.
"I don't care what excuse you had," Harry said, voice low and thick and filled with gathering power. "It doesn't matter. What matters is that you tried to hurt me with an allergy you knew I had, and then lied about it."
"Mate—" Ron said again, appalled. He had always imagined that Harry wouldn't believe him, but he hadn't ever thought he wouldn't even get to defend himself.
"You won't be attending the wedding," Harry said, and then lifted his wand and snapped out a single clear word, which Ron didn't understand.
An enormous wind seemed to seize him and blow him backwards. When Ron could see again, he stood outside the locked door of Harry and Malfoy's house, and no matter how he knocked on it or rattled it or blasted it or tried to get through the wards, neither they nor the door would open to admit him.
Ron was smiling the day the wedding happened, even though he had to stand at such a distance he could only see the blaze of white on Harry's and Malfoy's robes. Hermione asked him why he was smiling and went away in a huff when he didn't explain it to her. (Well, he tried, but she didn't believe that Malfoy was imprisoning Harry, and she also didn't believe that he was sorry for what he had done, so that was her loss).
Ron had thought of something else he could do, something that would be so much better than stopping the wedding. Harry would have to believe him when this happened.
The spell Harry had cast kept Ron at a distance from him at all times, and that distance increased when Harry was feeling angry. But it didn't keep Ron away from Malfoy.
Ron was going to expose Malfoy for the ferret he was. It would take some investigating and planning to coordinate it, but it would work, because Ron was determined that it would.
He had tried several times in the past few years to protect his best friend. He had always failed, because he wasn't serious enough about it.
But now Ron would be serious and dedicate himself to this.
This plain was fool-proof, and fail-proof.
Go ahead and marry him and then try to have his children and murder him for the money, bastard, Ron thought at Malfoy. I'm going to show you how much smarter I am than you are.