Title: Strange Bedfellows: A Comedy of Assumptions
Author: Mad Maudlin
Catergory: Humor, and a little romance
Keywords: Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, slash, 5th year
Rating: PG-13.
Spoilers: Teensy ones for Book Four, microscopic one for Book Two
Summary: Murder, mayhem, madness and Malfoy! Harry and Hermione face down an unexpected conspiracy, a possible nefarious plot, wild rumors and much, much worse to save their best friend from a terrible fate...right?

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

In other words, they're not mine; talk to the nice Scottish lady.

A/N: WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! This fic contains SLASH (male-on-male) SITUATIONS! Boys kiss boys! Boys do a lot more than kiss boys! It's SLASH! If this is the sort of thing that might offend you, do not read any further! I have a right to speak freely, but you have a right not to listen. So exercise your "Back" button! Bill put 'em there for something...

Strange Bedfellows:

A Comedy of Assumptions

by Mad Maudlin

11 / All's Well That Ends…uh…

Ron eventually found them in the Gryffindor common room, sitting by the fire. Harry was still bug-eyed and breathing shallowly, althought that could have been the result of a concussion; it had taken quite a bit of effort to make him stop pounding his head against solid objects and sit down. Hermione had helped take Goyle down to the Slytherin dormitories, and then escorted Harry back here, and done her best to avoid thinking about the incident upstairs. One could only go on thinking about elvish rights, Oggam runes, or the square root of pi for so long, though, especially when one was continually being interrupted by the nightmarish conjunction of Draco Malfoy and one's best friend. For whom one has strong feelings. But not those sort of feelings, right? Right.

Ron sat down across from them; his robes were inside out, and his hair was sticking up at wild angles. He looked appallingly bright-eyed considering the hour, but the smile on his face was more nervous than happy. "Er...so."

Hermione clear her throat. "So."

They stared at one another.

Ron coughed. "I can explain everything..."

"I'm sure you can," Harry said suddenly, in an odd, hollow voice. "I'm sure it makes perfect sense. I bet it went just like this." He raised his hands and began to perform a sort of crude puppet show. "'Hello, Malfoy.' 'Hello, Weasley.' "Want to shag?' 'Sure!'" He mashed his fingertips together and began to pantomime serious snogging.

"No," Ron said peevishly. "Nothing like that. Not much, anyway."

"How long," Hermione asked, "has this been going on?"

"Oh, just a few...er...weeks."

Harry fell out of his chair.

Hermione buried her face in her hands. "Oh, Ron, why didn't you tell us?"

He blinked. "You didn't ask."

"Oh, yes," Harry said from the floor, "how silly of my. In the future, I shall remember to ask if you've been shagging any Slytherin boys recently."

Ron scowled. "Oh, please, Harry, you make it sound like I'm a...a..."

"Scarlet woman?" Hermione offered. Ron blushed darkly. "But, Ron...I mean...how?"

"Don't you remember the lectures we got third year," Harry asked, "the ones about birth control and crabs, when Snape took all us boys down to the dungeons and put a condom on a flobberworm?"

"That's not what I meant! And Madame Pomfrey put the condom on a banana." She glared at Harry, then looked back to Ron. "What I mean, was...well...how Malfoy? You? Him? How?" She tried to supplement her failing vocabulary with vague little hand gestures, which did no good.

Ron shrugged. "I dunno, it just sort of...happened. You and Harry weren't around, and Crabbe and Goyle were off somewhere...one minute we were fighting, the next minute we were snogging. It was weird, y'know? But not bad weird."

"So, all this time...you've just been...been sublimating the sexual tension...?" Hermione shook her head. "But you still fight like cats and dogs!"

Ron rolled his eyes. "I'm shagging him, Herm, not dating him. He's still an arrogant, insufferable bastard."

"He's just an arrogant, insufferable bastard who has sex with you," Harry said.

"See? Harry understands."

Hermione felt her mouth open and close several times, to no avail. Her brain couldn't put the words together to express her very confused feelings on the subject.

Harry raised his hand as if he were in class. "Excuse me, but how exactly have you two been meeting without our noticing something earlier?"

Ron shrugged. "Well, when Hermione's in the library and you're at Quidditch practice, I'm mostly by myself, right? Or sometimes we sneak out at night...or when we serve detentions together..."

"Detentions?" Hermione said dimly. A sudden, horrifying mental image filled her brain. "All those times you've been with Filch over the last month?"

Ron grinned sheepishly. "Yeah."

"Even the time in the flooded sub-cellar?"

"Oh, yeah." His eyes took on a strange glitter, and his grin went all lopsided. "Cor, was that ever weird..."

Harry buried his face in his hands. "Ron, stop it. Just...I don't want to know. Okay? Can I just pretend he's trying to kill you, and you're not gay, and get on with things?"

"I'm not gay."

They stared at him.

An idea suddenly seemed to occur to him. "Hey, is that why you two've been acting like lunatics? You thought Malfoy was out to get me?"

Hermione sighed, and explained as best she could, starting with the unexpected alliance made in the entrance hall. Ron listened with a slowly dropping jaw. "...and we thought he wanted to murder you, or at least duel, and we were going to try to stop and catch him in the act, and...well...I suppose we did." She examined the rafters of the common room in an effort to avoid looking Ron in the eyes, a tactic that worked for all of five minutes seconds, at which point she couldn't ignore the gales of hysterical laughter. Ron was nearly doubled over, trying to muffle himself with a cushion. "It's not funny," she said crossly.

He gasped and removed the cushion. "Oh, Merlin, yes, it is! You actually thought...oh, god..."

"Well, what were we supposed to think?"

He shook his head and wiped tears out of his eyes. "Didn't you ever think to ask me?"

Hermione blinked at him, until Harry started pounding his head on the table. She pulled him off it and sighed. "All right, look. I'm sorry I didn't ask you if you were being stalked by Malfoy. I'm sorry we walked in on you. Are you going to apologize for not mentioning you were...with him?"

"Shagging him," Harry corrected.

Ron sighed in exasperation. "What was I supposed to say? 'Good morning, everyone, lovely weather out today, did you finish your Charms homework? Oh, by the way, I'm shagging Draco Malfoy. Pass the sausage'?"

"Well, of course not, but you could have said something to somebody!"

They glared at each other for a few minutes, until Ron rubbed his eyes and sighed. "All right, look, I'm sorry I never mentioned it. Can we go to bed now? I'm knackered."

"Of course. Fine." Hermione stood up, and dragged Harry to his feet. "Let's just...I mean...don't...oh, forget it."

Ron took Harry from her and guided him up the stairs; she heard their footsteps pause halfway up as Harry said, "See? I told you we weren't trying to kill you." Sighing, she went to her own dormitory and changed into her nightgown. The other girls were already asleep, and Parvati was snoring slightly.

She climbed into bed, pushing Crookshanks gently to the side. He gave her a reproachful look, but crawled up onto her chest and rested his head on her neck. "It's been a very weird day, Crookshanks," she said sleepily. "Do you know what I'm going to do when I wake up in the morning?"

He opened one eyes as if to ask, "What?"

"I'm going to murder that tow-headed little fiend..."


A/N 2: Muchos gracias, sehr guten danken, and mad props to: Zorb, Tasnim, Jaime, Annchen, Adenosine, Nezumi, LuMaria, and all the rest of the crew of the S.S. Prince and Pauper, who know that true love often lurks in unexpected places. No mustelids were injured during the production of this fanfic. Harry's "puppet show" was taken directly from Zorb, who said it first. Hermione's last line is adapted from H.P. Lovecraft's short story "Herbert West: Reanimator".