A/N: This chapter is dedicated to the wonderful Someone aka Me, for two reasons.

1. I know she likes this pairing.

2. I know how unbelievably, irrevocably, head over heels in love she is with second person.

SaM, hope you like it. ;)

Prompt: 39. Staircase

Pairing: Charlie Weasley/Draco Malfoy

It was never supposed to go like this, you think. Never.

He's Draco bloody Malfoy, with the sharp tongue and the even sharper glare, blond and
white and regal and poised and everything that you're not.

Because you're Charlie bloody Weasley, with the quick hands and the even quicker laugh, ginger and freckled and hardworking and honest and everything that he wishes he could be.

And how did you end up here?

You're not even sure.

He came out to Romania, all Slytherin pride and I'm-better-than-you sneers, and you laughed as Belinda set his shoes on fire. Good ol' Belinda. She knocked him down a peg or two and you rubbed her scaly side and threw the burn salve at his head.

"If you're going to stay," you said, "Then you have to stop thinking you're better than everyone here."

He didn't scarper home after a few days, like you thought he would. He stuck around, prattling on about education and magical creatures and danger and you told him to shut up and leave you alone because he's Malfoy and he's an irritating little git.



You spent too many nights alone bandaging your fingers and washing the scent of dragon smoke from your hair, and maybe it's because he reminds you of home, or maybe it's because he's more than you give him credit for, but you liked having him around.

But somehow you ended up asking him to stay longer, the taste of firewhiskey still sharp on your tongue, as you slipped your fingers into his and promised him fire shows and dragon-back riding if only he would kiss you.

And you tangled your hands in that silver-silk hair of his and hated him a little more with every passing moment that he dragged you further into love.

It was never supposed to go like this, but it has, and what can you do about it?

And you spend your days shifting the balance of power, one of you standing at the top and the other scrambling up crumbling stairs to try to touch, try to hold, try to keep. Because he's Draco bloody Malfoy and he can't help but act like he's better than you, and you've worked here too long to let him think that. So you fight and you kiss and you laugh and you punch and the power slips from your shoulders to his and back again as you struggle to stand on common ground.

But the staircase you clamber up grows smaller and smaller, the gap to be bridged shrinking with each passing day, until you take but one step up, and your eyes are level.

And he's come so far, hasn't he?

You soothe the burns on his fair skin and he kisses you in thanks. You tell him he's an arrogant little prat and he tells you you're a self-centred, dragon-shagging arsehole.

You laugh and he glares and the world shifts back to the way it once was, both of you tumbling down useless flights of stairs and landing in the past.

But he says, "I love you anyway, though," and you say, "Of course you do," and it all shatters and today is real once again.

It was never supposed to go like this. Never.

But it has, and you couldn't be happier.