Ron stared at the little slip of paper in his hands.
It was just his luck. He knew he’d regret participating in the Ministry Secret Santa. He couldn’t even get the prat something he didn’t like, because the game was charmed. If he did, he would end up with a worse present than Malfoy.
How was he supposed to know what Malfoy liked?
He’d just have to ask Malfoy’s friends and hope they would be cooperative.
And if that didn’t work, he could always buy some puppies for Malfoy to kick.
Pansy turned around, one eyebrow raised.
“What is it, Weasley?”
Ron came to a halt in front of her, still panting because he had run down the crowded corridor to catch her.
“I need to ask you something.”
Pansy just kept looking at him expectantly, so he ploughed on.
“Um… could we go somewhere more private? Are you free for lunch today?”
Pansy’s eyebrow went so high it almost vanished under her hair.
“Are you trying to ask me out, Weasley?”
“What? No!” Ron spluttered, blushing furiously.
“No need to be shy, Weasley. Meet me at the Green Dragon in half an hour; I have to run some errands first.”
With that, she walked away, leaving one very confused Ron behind.
Pansy was already sitting at a table in the back when Ron arrived.
“Hi Ron,” she said when he sat down and smiled at him.
“Hi… Pansy” Her smile grew wider.
Ron was still contemplating that he was apparently on first name basis with a Slytherin, when the waitress came to take their order.
Once they were alone again, Ron decided to just get it over with and hope for the best.
“So… Pansy, I have a problem I was hoping you could help me with.”
“Oh?” Pansy inquired and leaned over, “What kind of problem?”
It took Ron a few seconds to answer, but once he had managed to tear his eyes away from Pansy’s cleavage, he continued.
“I got Malfoy in the Secret Santa. I thought you might give me some pointers on what to buy him.”
“Oh, did you now?” Pansy leaned back in her chair, crossing her legs and looking at Ron from under her eyelids. “What do I get in return?”
“Um… what do you want?” Ron frowned.
He wondered why she suddenly looked frustrated.
“Oh never mind,” she said and rolled her eyes, “I’ll help you.”
This was easier than he had expected. Maybe Slytherins weren’t that bad after all.
“Yes, Ron. As a matter of fact, I have the perfect idea.”
She leaned over again, this time resting a hand on Ron’s shoulder and whispering something into his ear.
He was distracted by the smell of her perfume and her warmth, so it took a few seconds for the words to catch up with him. When they did, he jerked back and stared at Pansy, completely dumbstruck.
“He wants what?”
“What’s Malfoy doing here?” Harry asked as he and Ron entered the crowded pub.
It had taken him maybe five seconds to spot Malfoy. Interesting, Ron filed the information away for later use.
“No idea, mate.”
They walked over to the bar and got their drinks, but when they turned around to search for a table, they were presented with a little problem.
Every table was occupied and Harry looked at Ron, frowning.
“What should we do?”
“Let’s just sit with them,” Ron pointed at Pansy and Malfoy.
“What? With Malfoy?” Harry looked at him as if he had suggested to they dance naked on the bar.
Ron didn’t answer but led the way to the table in question.
“Mind if we join you?” he asked and smiled at Pansy. Everything was going according to their plan.
“Not at all,” Pansy smiled back before Malfoy had a chance to answer. He didn’t pay Ron any attention anyway, since he was sneering at Harry.
Ron slipped in next to Pansy, so Harry had no other chance than to sit next to Malfoy. He stared at the empty space for what seemed like a minute, then scowled at Ron and– very reluctantly– sat down.
Pansy started talking about her work and asked Ron and Harry questions about theirs, thus effectively saving them from the awkward silence that had threatened to take over.
Harry seemed to have warmed up to her after a while, but Ron noticed she still smiled at him the most. Curious that.
Three rounds later even Malfoy, who had remained silent so far, joined in the conversation. He and Harry ignored each other, but Ron couldn’t help but notice how Malfoy often glanced at him from the side, especially when Harry was laughing or talking animatedly.
Maybe Pansy was on to something.
“So Malfoy, how’ve you been the last… what, five years?” Harry slurred, throwing one arm around Malfoy. Malfoy, instead of pushing him away, leaned in and let his head fall on Harry’s shoulder.
“Oh y’know… alright I ‘spose.”
He had drunk even more than Harry.
Pansy and Ron looked at each other meaningfully.
“So how’s love? I heard you’re engaged to that Greengrass woman?”
Malfoy lifted his head from Harry’s shoulder to look him in the eyes. He seemed confused for a moment, but then he answered Harry’s question.
“Wha? No, that was years ago.”
Harry obviously tried to hide his disappointment, but Ron knew him well enough to see it was there.
“So, you’re married now?”
“Pffft,” Malfoy rested his head on Harry’s shoulder again, “Not going to happen. I’m gay.”
From his vantage point, Malfoy couldn’t see the shock on Harry’s face, but he probably felt him tense up.
“What’s it, Potter?” he asked sleepily.
Harry didn’t answer for a few seconds and Ron held his breath.
“Nothing,” Harry mumbled. He leaned back and closed his eyes, pulling Malfoy closer to him.
Ron exhaled and turned to Pansy.
“Should we leave them alone?” he whispered and she nodded.
“We’re leaving boys,” she announced.
Neither Harry nor Malfoy looked up, but Harry at least had the courtesy to nod. Ron suspected Malfoy might have fallen asleep on Harry’s shoulder.
Pansy smiled at them.
“Aren’t they cute?”
Ron wasn’t about to call his best mate cute, so he just shrugged and motioned for Pansy to follow him out of the pub.
To himself though, he had to admit, that they looked… right together.
Who would have thought?
“Want to come to my place for a nightcap?” Pansy asked next to him, her breath visible in the cold air.
“Sure, why not?” Ron agreed and just as he answered it started snowing.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Ron asked nervously.
They were in Malfoy’s office and Malfoy could come in any second, as Pansy had reminded him several times.
“The whole point of this was for you to get Draco a present he really wants, wasn’t it?” Pansy pointed out impatiently, “This is the best present anyone could ever get him, trust me.”
“Okay,” Ron nodded and signed the card Pansy was handing him.
As soon as they were done, they slipped out of the office and hid a few metres down the corridor. Ron cast a Disillusionment Charm over them both.
He didn’t know what had happened after they left the pub, but Malfoy and Harry had been ignoring each other all week, so he had serious doubts about what they were doing.
It only took Malfoy a few minutes to appear.
When he walked into his office unsuspecting, Ron fidgeted a little.
“Pansy are you sure…” he started, but was interrupted by the yelp of surprise that came from somewhere inside Malfoy’s office.
Maybe it hadn’t been the best idea to cast a Sleeping Spell on Harry, strip him down to his trousers and stick a bow on him.
Maybe it had been an even worse idea to put him into Malfoy’s office like that.
Ron wanted to go and help Harry, but Pansy held him back as soon as he’d taken the first step in the general direction of Malfoy’s office.
“Just wait a few minutes,” Pansy cut him off, “They’ll work it out. We did, didn’t we?”
Ron beamed at her. They had indeed. Then he frowned.
“Yes, but its Harry and Malfoy, Pansy,” he implored.
“Fine, go ahead. But don’t blame me if you see something you didn’t want to see.”
Ron nodded and went to the door, opening it cautiously.
He peeked into the suspiciously silent office and closed the door faster than he’d opened it, his face turning beet red.
“Alright, it worked,” he said hastily and Pansy laughed at him.
There were sounds coming from the office then that had Ron turn even redder.
“I really hope my present’s going to be worth it.”