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Very gently he cut around the corner, making sure not to butcher the cut and ruin the small picture. As soon as the picture was free from the rest of the paper, he glued it next to the article it came from, in his little notebook.
In a small box in front of him was a neat line of notebooks, all carefully engraved with a number and a year, starting with notebook #1 1994.

Was his behaviour odd?
Most likely.
Was he obsessed with a person that didn't even know he existed?
Yes, yes he was.
Did he care?
Not that much.

Being the best friend of Harry James Potter had actually helped with that. Not only to accept the fact that he can be obsessed with things, because that was basically Harry's modus operandi: "Snape is evil. Malfoy is evil. Malfoy is up to something. Malfoy is really up to something. Snape is really evil. Snape is actually not evil. Malfoy is actually not evil. Really, Snape is not that evil, and that bit of evil he is, is rather charming. Honestly, Malfoy is not evil, bit of a bastard, but a good looking one, with loads of charm and wit. They both are rather good looking..."

Ron had heard it all. And now he had to endure "Severus and Draco" regularly for Sunday lunch. Or when Harry invited him to hang out at fucking Malfoy Manor, and he did not find any good reason why he couldn't make it. It helped that there was a fantastic quidditch pitch there and Malfoy let him borrow the Nimbus 4000, he was not going to lie.

And over all, it also helped in a way. He had gotten so many letters from people who asked him to get them something of Harry’s, or to deliver something to him. Not that Ron had ever done something like that. Other people spoke to him on the streets, to ask how Harry was doing, or whether they were certain that he hadn’t been cursed into his relationship.

Knowing Harry had prepared him to hide his obsession fairly well. Well, better than back in fourth year, when he first got obsessed. He was lucky back then that everybody believed he was obsessed with Hermione, and he had even managed to convince himself that that was how it was, while still collecting all he could about Viktor Krum.

That was also what he had done once the war, the funerals and the trials were done. He backordered every paper for the last two years, and diligently created and finished Notebook #4 1997 and #5 1998. It was calming, something he did not have to share with anybody else, like the grief over his older brother, the exhaustion after the war and the loss of direction after everything.

With a small smile he watched as Viktor caught the snitch and grinned at the crowd, before he closed notebook #9 2003 and shrank it, to put it next to #8 2002. He then closed the box and locked it. The box was then placed into a hidden safe.

The safe also held some animated figurines of Viktor in various positions. His favourite was the one of Viktor leaning against his broom. Due to the age of the figurine the broom was still a Firebolt. Ron knew that Viktor still used a normal Firebolt for most of his practices, to work on his skills, but had upgraded with his whole team to the Firebolt Supreme. Viktor was amazed by the new broom, and liked flying with it very much, but according to an interview back in 2002, it was on the Firebolt he felt at home.

Ron had also been able to purchase some of the snitches Viktor had caught. He had heard, from a guy working down in the Games and Sport Department that after the official waiting period the players are offered the snitches as a prize. But considering how many Viktor has caught so far – two-hundred and sixty-seven in official games, and approximately something close to five hundred with practice games counted – it was obvious that he no longer had a need for them as a trophy.

His most valued procession was a muffler Viktor had worn during a game in Transylvania that Charlie had taken him to. It had taken a lot of magical finesse to make it his, once the game was over and Viktor threw it at the crowd.
There had been one odd look from Charlie, but he had simply shrugged: "What? This is Viktor Krum, everybody is his fan. Will earn me a fortune back home." As far as diverting suspicions went, he thought he had done marvellous.

There were some other small trinkets in the safe, and Ron always felt a bit giddy simply looking at them. And with that giddiness it was easier to face the day.
So he closed the hidden door in the wall and put his Cannon-poster back into place, before he left his flat.

"Oh, you again." The girl behind the counter smiled at him. "I guess you’ll have the usual?" she asked.

She was nice, and Ron liked her, in the way one liked an accommodating provider of goods you want to buy. But sometimes it was hard to play clueless. He wished he could just tell her that he was a bit too young for her, and that he was kinda taken, at least at heart, since he was fifteen years old. Or that even her grumpy colleague had more chance to get a date with him than she did. Not that he really did though.

"Yeah, the usual, but with extra cream on the hot chocolate," he replied with a nod and then took a look around. "And two triple chocolate cookies."

"Planning on a real sugar high, are you?" The girl behind the counter laughed, before she turned around to fix his order: one coffee latte, one double espresso and a hot chocolate.
The extra cream was for him, because it was Friday, and he thought he deserved a little treat as well, though the cookies were for the women in his life.

"Have a pleasant weekend," the girl said, after he had paid.

"More like a nightmare," Ron sighed. "You as well," he called, remembering his manners.
He did not manage to leave the store fast enough to miss the chuckle from the girl.

The ministry was bustling with all sorts of people, and for a moment he let himself be amazed by all the things. He still found himself baffled with the fact that he was now a grown up with a job. It was so surreal.

"Ah, there comes the heavy-duty thinker," Pansy said and got up from her desk, a bunch of files already in her hand.

"Good morning," he said nicely.

When of having Parkinson had first been hired as his secretary, he had often forgotten his manners, in her presence because she annoyed him. On principle. Even after hearing that Harry had never been angry with her in the first place, and was seeing her regularly due to her being Draco's best friend and all.

Pansy, never one for losing a game of one up-man-ship, had simply made his schedule, his day, and his office life unbearable. So much so, that Ron had nearly caved, and would have gone to Kingsley, to make him remove her, despite the fact that he had been the one begging for help in the first place.

But Pansy, a true Slytherin to the core, had waited for him to be near breaking point before she simply scheduled herself in his calendar. Then she had smiled and said in a rather reasonable voice: "Look Weasley, you can be the best strategist and the most wanted adviser throughout the ministry all you want. You can even go on and hate me. You can't, however, deal with all the stuff you refuse to do, like ordering supplies and scheduling the appointments, or even getting the files on time so that you can review them on your own. So, either you learn to deal with the fact that I am your secretary, and that you will be hard pressed to find someone more efficient than me. Or you go back to drowning and complaining about the chaos that makes your work so difficult."

She then had leaned back in her chair, crossing a leg over the other, and waited for his reply.

He had caved, of course, with a fifteen-minute silence, before he broke down. "Alright, just make my life bearable again."

Oddly enough, while he could remember how the niceness started, the weekly coffee thing went over his head. Might be because it was started by Elise. The other woman in his life, as Pansy referred to her frequently.

Elise is the secretary to Owen Woodsmith, the department head of Administration, Regulation and Finances. Basically, everything ministry-run and financed had to deal with that department. That meant that it was one of the biggest departments in the whole ministry, and also one that most ministers feared, especially since the department head had usually been in one pocket or another. And although Owen had become head of the department during the war, he was as straight as they come. Which lead to many complaints in the administrative chambers of the wizengamot.

Owen was also always seeking ways to improve how things ran in the ministry. And that meant that Ron, in his new position as bureaucratic and expedient adviser, had a lot of contact with Owen. Mostly through Elise because Owen hardly had any time left, what with being on the road all the time and assessing everything that is assessable.

The thing about his job was that at the beginning he had no real clue what Kingsley needed him for. He simply had refused to become a field-auror, though he had started the program, and had gotten good grades. People believed that he simply didn't want to kill anybody. If anybody ever asked him, he could have told them that he didn't want to do all the boring stuff he had learned an auror has to do. However the tactical side of it all was interesting. Still, he had made plans with George to go and help at the shop. Then, out of the blue, Kingsley asked him to check something over for him. And in the beginning that was all there was to it. He simply helped setting up some field missions. Later on, there were some budget things for the aurors, then some administrative stuff for the unspeakables. Two months later, and without any warning, Kingsley gave him an office, put a title at the door and told him to do his worst.

That had been about one and a half years ago now, and he had done his worst. It had involved a lot of reading, a lot of boring reading, and even more reading. But once Ron applied himself, and simply thought of it as a game, it had come easy. Now that he knew the rules, or at least knew who to ask if he needed information, things were finally coming together.

Back then Elise had told him, who he needed to message, where he needed to dig up what file, in which chamber of the wizengamot the topic he needed was discussed. And later on, Pansy learned from Elise as well.

Ron had the suspicion that, by now, Pansy was way better than him, when it came to all the channels of communication around the ministry.
It was what made her amazing at her job, and so very helpful to him. Because she would deal with all the annoying stuff and he could do the fun stuff - finding problems and figuring out how to remove them.

Hermione called him a one man think tank. And after she had explained what tank meant, he could accept that. At least he wasn't the one in wizengamot sessions trying to push the changes through, like she did.

What had started during his rookie-days was now a routine he was most comfortable with. On Monday and Friday morning, the three of them would meet at Pansy's desk and talk about the week. Either about what has to be done, or what had been done, in case of Fridays. It was a nice, but also rather productive chat, and the ladies would always make sure that he was on top of all the gossip around the ministry. Like Kingsley's wife expecting their second daughter, or the head of Maintenance retiring, which apparently had everybody's knickers in a twist in fear of the things that may change after the current head left. According to Kingsley it was Owen's responsibility to hire a new one, but Owen flat out refused. Apparently, it could be a political nightmare if that department is not run tight, at least that was how Pansy explained it to him.

"One coffee latte for you-," he handed the cup to Elise, "-and one espresso for you. So that you can party all night, after a long work week," Ron joked and handed the other cup to Pansy.

"Don't be stupid, Weaslebey. This cup doesn’t even get me through the morning. But it is a good start, therefore I shan't complain," Pansy replied with a heavy sigh.

"Your coffee consumption is alarming, Miss Parkinson," Elise replied, before sipping on her own cup.

"Pansy, Elise, Miss Parkinson is a woman I never met, nor wish to meet. And I drink the perfect amount of coffee. So far, I have never made anything explode in this torture chamber, so my energy is not that high, because if I could, oh if only," Pansy sighed, draining her cup halfway.

"Can't say I am not glad to hear that there is at least something holding you back," Ron interjected, before he handed the cookies over to her.

He was perfectly happy with his extra cream and his hot coco. The extra sugar would certainly get him through the day.

"Also, what do you mean I can party all night? Don't tell me you are snubbing your best friend’s... well, we can't say better half, and the devious half is the other one. Also half is not the right word, it should be third... Ha, I got it. Your best friend's stylish third's little private get together tomorrow night."

"Pansy, that was a lot of words. Very little of which made sense to me at this too early hour." Ron looked at her, puzzled.

"Draco Malfoy is throwing a summer get together at their lovely manor house. And basically everyone, and certainly you, Ron, is invited." Elise sighed, the long lasting sigh of someone who had had too many conversations just like this.

"Wait, if you call Malfoy stylish, and Snape devious, are you implying that Harry is the better one in that relationship?" Ron spoke over Elise, after realising fully what Pansy had said.

"Well, big brain, he certainly isn't the devious one, and no matter how hard Draco tries, Potter wouldn't know style if it bit him in the face. But he is a true hero, has the medals and all to prove it. So thinking it through, clearly Potter has to be the better third of that triad."

"Parkinson, you have no idea how wrong it sounds when you say that. I mean, are you even aware of all the rules and promises Harry broke through the years? He most certainly is the insane third of that triad. Maybe they are all so high-strung there is no better part, what then?" he asked. And then something else finally managed to get though to him.

"Wait, what? Malfoy is throwing yet another party? Why? And why does he always have to invite me? And why do I need to go?" he complained.

"Ronald Weasley! If you are not able to have a civilised conversation in the morning, you should shut your gob, and listen to others," Elise said, sounding rather offended.

"I’m sorry," Ron said, feeling perfectly chastised. "It's just that Pansy said something truly outrageous, you know? Also, knowing about the event does not tell me why I have to go. I visited with them just last week. Isn't that enough?" he asked, before he mumbled into his cup: "Having to deal with that many Slytherins at once is not healthy for me."

Pansy simply snorted. "You are going because Potter will be there, and as his best friend you have to show up. Also, who will play keeper for the quidditch match? They need you there. So man up and come. Being you, you can't have anything better to do on a Saturday afternoon and evening. I, on the other hand, my plans are ruined. Not only for tonight, though we will still see about that, but certainly for tomorrow. Leaving the party before midnight is so unfashionable." Pansy sighed deeply, before empting her cup.

"Young people! Nothing can be done right by you. Also, may I remind you, dear, that everybody will be there. It is the big event this weekend. So you are unlikely to miss anything tomorrow evening." Elise rolled her eyes at Pansy.

"Didn't Malfoy just host a big event like this recently?" Ron asked. "I can distinctly remember attending that. It was boring, and I was forced to talk to all these weird people, who also work in this bloody institution. And the last time it made me miss quidditch as well, so I think I deserve a pass this time."

The women just shook their heads at him. "You will be there, and you will wear your midnight blue dress robes." Pansy ordered him, letting her look wander over his attire.

And, without missing a beat Elise added: "And you will make nice with all the ministry employees, and everybody else. You will be important-for-the-war-effort-Ronald-Weasley, not hiding-behind-stacks-of-information-nobody-cares-about-Ron."

"I don't hide? But how am I to strategise if I don’t even know what the rules of the playfield are. You make it sound as if I am studying. Which I am not, obviously," Ron replied, aghast.

"That being said, He-Who-Does-Not-Study has a meeting in five minutes, so I dare say this is our cue to get started with the day," Pansy said, finishing the last of her coffee. "I will see you tomorrow Elise, if nothing comes up.” She then grabbed some files from her desk before turning to Ron: “And here you go the files for the meeting, and your notes from the last meeting. Also, you basically ordered me to invent another meeting three weeks ago, if it takes longer than two hours. Is that still valid?"

Ron was always how fast Pansy could switch gears.

"Yes, very much valid," Ron answered, before taking the files, and finishing the last of his coco. Another busy day, but tonight he could listen to Bulgaria playing Ireland, so there was at least something to look forward to.

What Ron liked about working for the ministry was that once Friday noon rolled around, the whole building emptied out, and a certain calmness took over. Pansy always left Fridays at three. She had ever since the beginning of her employment. And today was no exception. She checked up on him, asked if he needed anything else, and put a new cup of tea in front of him, in her efficient way. Sadly, she did not forget to warn him, that if he decided to be a no-show tomorrow, she would drag him there, in his pyjamas, if she must. It was a threat he didn't dare to test.

Ron himself stayed until half past five just to enjoy the calmness, and the ever-growing silence that took the building over. There was also the change of smell, as the clouds of the many, many perfumes drifted away, and the stale and simple smell of paper took over. Of course, some maintenance folks were still around, and hitwizards and aurors who worked in shifts, too. But they cannot change the overall sense of quietness and a certain emptiness.

By six, he was walking through his front door and closing it with a satisfied click.
He went to his small living area, and turned on the wireless to the roaring applause as one of the teams was welcomed.

"And now let’s hear it for the Bulgarian national team, with their captain Victooooor Kruuuum.."

Booming applause came out of the tiny speaker, and Ron smiled happily that he had made it in time.

He threw his black robes over the hook by the door and undressed on the way to his bedroom. It took some digging- because he really needed to do laundry, but who had the time?- but he found his last Viktor Krum shirt, back from the ninety-four world cup. It was old, and a bit holey, not to mention that it was a bit tight around the shoulders, but it still fit and was right for the occasion.
And it probably didn’t matter at all what he wore, since nobody was going to see him, but it mattered to him. It was about spirit and atmosphere.
After he got himself a nice cool lager out of the ice box and some nice crisps from the cupboard, he sat down in his high back wingchair, put his feet on the ottoman, and settled for a relaxing evening.

~~--~~

Due to Pansy's threat, and Elise's would-be scorn, Saturday noon saw Ron walking up the pathway of Malfoy Manor to the huge wooden doors, which were both standing open in invitation. He tried to pace himself as much as he could because not too far ahead of him walked Rodrick Everlast, honoured member of the administrative wizengamot, and the most boring conversationalist that Ron had ever met. No wonder, Percy admired the guy. They were both truly terrible conversationalists.

When he reached the gardens where the party was being held, there were already many of the guests present. Ron tried to sidestep as many of the people he recognised, as working for the ministry, as possible, while searching for Harry.

He didn't mind running into his friends, however. How it came to be that they most often met at one of Malfoy's blasted events was a mystery to all of them. They had all agreed that it was Harry's fault. Sadly, in a roundabout fashion and what with him being Harry's best friend, it also made it his fault. And no matter how much he protested, and tried to make it clear that even he didn't want to be here, not really, nobody believed him. After all, he was here, event after event. Telling them that he had a vicious Slytherin secretary who would love nothing more than to utterly humiliate him was not an option, no matter how true it was.

"Mate, what is this all about? Why are there so many people. This is a lot even for your Malfoy's standard," Ron said as a way of greeting when he finally found Harry, close to the edge of the entry to the labyrinth.

"Don't tell me. It spiralled totally out of control. The house elves are exasperated and fear that there is not going to be enough food in the house. Which is utterly impossible, seeing how half of the time a few of them sneak off to buy even more." Harry sighed. "There are about seventy in this damn Labyrinth already. And although the spells Severus and I cast, work -a tracking charm and a monitoring charm. But what if one of the drunkards simply disables them?"

Ron rolled his eyes. "Since when have you been worried about those horrid vultures? I thought your days of saving everybody were done? Weren't Malfoy and His Surliness supposed to train you out of that habit?"

"We are still in the process. Sometimes, however, the Gryffindor in him is still unable to recognise words of reason."

Ron flinched. Why was it that every time he said anything just to tease for a bit, that either Snape or Malfoy was always in earshot?

"Ehhhm, well, Sna- Professor Sna-" Ron started blabbing while turning around, only to screech loudly: "KRUM?" as he was confronted with the other man's chest.

FUCK! Well fuck, fuck, fuck! Fuck on toast with extra fuckery on the side! What was Viktor Krum doing here? Standing right in front of him? Smelling of an incredibly woodsy smell? Which, through reading all the articles, and also buying some trinkets to have his hidden cupboard smell like that, Ron knew was cedar. And Merlin, if he wasn't looking fantastic! The fact that Ron knew Viktor Krum was taller than him did nothing to prepare Ron for the weakening of his knees as he had to slightly raise his head, to look into those deep brown eyes.

FUCK!

In his wet dreams, this would be the moment when something incredible happened, and then the good part would start. But here, now, in reality - wait? This was reality? He had not overslept on his couch whilst waiting for the time to go, right?

"I believe you know each other Weaselby, he is the one who got your ex-girlfriend before you did. So, no reason to be so overdramatic," drawled Malfoy's voice from behind him.

"I wish you would stop with the name calling, Draco. It's not nice," Harry muttered only loud enough for Ron to barley hear.

So, clearly not a dream. Fuck! He just shouted Viktor's name in his face like the over-enthusiastic fan that he is. And apparently many people heard. Why was his brain not giving him any ideas on how to deal with the situation, but instead, was admiring the rough face right in front of him? And damn, those eyes looking down on him, the lips having a single side up smile - how could that be so incredible sexy at all? - this must be a special kind of hell he had found himself in.

"Obviously your brain is still the slowest muscle in your body, Weasley. It is wondrous how you are even able the job that was specially created just for you," Snape sneered, and dragged Ron's attention finally away from Viktor.

"Maybe he is a good lay? I could certainly imagine hiring someone because that gives me an opportunity to give them time off, whenever I want them with me. Oh, and look at that, I did." Malfoy sounded incredibly pleased with himself.

"I am not your employee, Draco"

"We are co-owners, dunderhead," Snape and Harry replied at the same time.

"Apparentli te hiracky of yur company is not as yu are seeing it, Draco," Viktor joked, obviously highly amused.

"Don't you dare start with me, you quidditch brute. If I want to, I could buy your team and disband it, and what would you do then?"

"Go to anoter team," Viktor shrugged. "I am not tere for the team, but for te game, and te vin." He let his accent grow thicker which each word.

And fuck if that didn't do strange things to Ron's stomach.

"A man with principles. There certainly is respect to be gained by behaving in such a way. And a certain amount of admiration." Snape nodded approvingly.

"Just to be clear, I do not value my public image like other people here, so if you want to turn this into a scene, just so that you and the moron can have a nice game of one-up manship here, I will make a scene. I am tired, frustrated and there are a million people crawling around our home. So, could you please, both of you turn it down, at least for now?"

Ron did not need to see Harry to envision his deep scowl and the exasperated face. Harry never liked crowds.

"Admiration is not all a man needs," Viktor said, placatingly. "And certainly you all have experienced your own share of admiration."

"Not so much in recent years, though." Malfoy sighed. "I am sorry Harry you know I don't like these people crawling around here either."

And then something happened that Ron would not believe until the end of his life. After taking a deep breath Malfoy turned to him. "Sorry for the name calling, Weasle-eeey. It is a habit by now."

It was a bad delivery, with a rather bad save, and not at all what Ron ever expected. There had always been name calling. He had gotten used to it, somehow.

"I think I need a drink," he mumbled, but nodded towards Malfoy, because there was nothing he could say to that.

"I shall accompany you," Viktor said, and turned around, clearly agreeing with Ron's assessment of the situation, that it would be better to be anywhere else than this close to these three volatile people. He then waited for Ron to step up to him before walking with him towards the bar.

A long walk towards the bar, since they were near the end of the park, and the bar was inside the house. He had to say something. Something witty, something not too stupid, something normal. Something that hid the fact how besotted he was with Viktor.

"Soo... I read you changed the supplier of your broom care kit?"

Basically anything else than that!

"I did not know that the English press was so concerned about me," Viktor answered, obviously highly amused.

"Well..." Fuck! Where had he read that? Over the years he had subscribed to all the quidditch magazines he could find, and gotten fairly good at translation charms. "...you know Quidditch Quarterly is always interested in what top players are doing. And I am not certain there is any one more on top than you have been for years. Though you are lucky that Harry didn't go professional, he would have given you more than just easy competition."

Had he just said that there wasn’t anyone more on top than Viktor? Damn! Still, overall it was a nice save. Every quidditch fan in Britain was subscribed to Quidditch Quarterly, and they did cover Viktor quite often.

"I was told there would be a pick-up match happening here. So, I might get a chance to compete against Harry after all," Viktor remarked.

The relief flooding though Ron was the best thing he had felt in a long time.

"Usually Draco plays seeker, Harry changed to chaser. Apparently he helped Ginny train quite a bit and noticed that the hunt for the quaffle was also fun." Ron shrugged.

"It was not meant to be then. You play as well?"

"When I am forced to, yes. Still keeper, still trying my best."

Why must he have been born a Weasley? And why did such an innocuous question the blood rising in his cheeks? He could basically feel the red of his cheeks.

"It is a very crucial position; a good keeper can make or break the game, so-"

"Why is it that sometimes you talk all heavy accent, and now your English sounds as normal as anybody else’s?" Ron tried to get Viktor to talk about anything else. Quidditch was just too dangerous a topic, considering the amount of news Ron had consumed. And he had always wondered about that, and not even one of the articles had mentioned this fact.

"It is what is expected from me. It is not that hard to learn the English pronunciation, though I acknowledge my slight tilt. English is just too damn soft. But my fans expect me to speak as if I just arrived in Britain and am still struggling, when actually I have relatives here, and visit them quite regularly because I like to spend time with their kid."

Ron was surprised by this. Certainly, if Viktor was in Britain on a regular basis someone must have known about it, so why didn't he? He could not help but turn back to where Malfoy stood, still engaged in whatever sort of conversation he was having with both Snape and Harry.
Most likely that bastard was having regularly luncheons with Viktor and not even Harry, his former best friend, had found it worth mentioning such a fact. Sometimes he loathed how being a celebrity had changed them. Never thinking of the little fan, desperate to know as much as they can.

Obsession did lead to leaps of logic; Ron was aware of that. Rationality, however, did not quell the jealousy.

"There is no need for such a scowl. Though it is a very amusing reaction."

Viktor laughed and Ron felt his blush intensifying.
Where were his Ministry colleagues when he needed them? Why was not one of them dragging him away to some mundane discussion or another?

"The good thing about visiting Britain so often is I can make sure I am served good rakia when I visit friends," Viktor said, as a small houseelf cames running up to them, caring a tray with two small schnapps glasses filled with a clear liquid.

"Specific about your drink, are you? Our whiskey not good enough for you?" Ron asked, though he was surprised because he distinctly remembered an interview when Viktor said, that alcohol does nothing but ruin ones physique, so he doesn't drink it. Obviously, that was a lie. And though he was worried about what else could have been a lie in all the articles he had read, a side of him was overjoyed that he knows more than any other extreme fan.

"Your whiskey is fine, but it does not compare to a good rakia made by my grandparents." Victor reached for the two glasses. "Here, taste it." He held the other glass out for Ron to take it.

"You know that I am not really a heavy drinker, right? I am a good eater but I get drunk really easy," Ron stuttered, because he knew of his habit to babble once he was three sheets to the wind.

"You will survive one or two glasses," Viktor snorted, "Na zdrave."

He clinked their glasses together and downed the contents in one go before Ron even had his glass up to his lips. The alcohol was biting and Ron could smell it before he even tasted it. He also downed the glass in one go, but had to cough afterwards.

"Whatever you brew your rakia out of, it is not smooth," he spluttered.

Viktor laughed again.

It was a real laugh too, because compared to the laughs on the wireless, this one sounded deep and rich. And it made Ron blush even harder, sped up his heartbeat and reminded him that right now he was standing here with the person he was secretly pining away for. It was a bit awe-inducing and quite a lot terror-inducing.

"It is astonishing what light weights you island dwellers are, when it comes to alcohol," Viktor joked, before he took two flutes full of champagne from another elf's tray.

"We simply prefer to enjoy our alcohol, and not just get sloshed," Ron countered, and could not restrain his own grin at that lie.

"I see. So what else do you folks enjoy?" Viktor grinned, and winked at him.

It was in that moment that clearly something broke inside Ron’s mind. Because without much of a break he said: "If that is a pick-up line, you better have a nice room in some fancy hotel, and are not offering to take me into a chamber in Draco fucking Malfoy's home, where my best friend also lives?"

"Actually, I was angling for a pick up line from you, since I am-" and here he grinned before he went on with thick accent, "-te guy from te oter country.

Ron snorted. It might have been the alcohol coursing through him, or it might have been his nerves, because some part of him believed that to be a good idea.

"I actually do not have a real repertoire of pick up lines, but if you have the time, I can take you home and show you the famous Weasley jumpers, my mother knits for her children."

Even later Ron would never understand how he managed to deliver that line with a serious face, and an inviting tone.

"I have always admired good needle work," Viktor replied, with an equally straight face, making Ron doubt that it was not a dream. Some dreams are weird, after all.

"I know where the floo is, or we can take a short walk to leave the wards behind." Ron tried to act confident, while dying a little bit on the inside.

"Floo sounds faster to me, since I can't wait to see your jumpers," Viktor winked.

As a reaction, Ron gulped, before he emptied his champagne and moved towards the open French doors. The walk to the floo was as short as expected, so they were standing in Ron's flat rather quickly.

"So, uhm...drink-"

Merlin, Viktor Krum was kissing him! In his own flat. Right there, right then. He had the feeling his world was imploding. But, at the same time, he would like to sing at the top of his lungs.

And Circe what a kisser Viktor was. The lips against his felt full and only the slightest bit chapped, which to Ron was a bit of a turn on, if he dared to be honest. Viktor kissed with the right amount of force, and he certainly was not afraid of coming closer. Quite unusually, he put his hands around Ron, letting his left slide lower and lower.

It was the kiss that decided it for Ron that this was a dream. It was just too perfect to be true, even if it also was all kind of wrong, like the uncomfortable twist in his left foot, or the fact that the mere thought of Viktor kissing him, sent his blood rushing to his lower half, leaving his brain deprived. Because even all of that diminished none of the perfectness of Viktor Krum kissing him.

"So your jumpers are in your bedroom, I presume?"

"Jumpers?" Ron asked, a bit confused due to his brain being fuzzy.

Viktor’s reaction once more weakened his knees, because the laugh was rich and warm. It had the bonus that Viktor's hold on his waist grew tighter.

"You promised to show me your collection of special homemade Weasley jumpers. You won't believe it, but I have heard about these before," he said, amusement lacing his tone.

"Errr... I thought it was a euphemism to get you to come home with me?" Ron answered, still a bit dazed and brain still not working.

"You make it very hard to get into your bedroom. Makes me wonder what you are hiding in there," Viktor said, moving them away from the fireplace further into the room.

If this was anything but a dream, Ron was certain he would have been able to muster some sort of appropriate reaction, but he was walking on clouds. "Bedroom 's the last door down the hall," Ron answered, kissing along Viktor's neck.

They reached the bedroom with a couple of steps, but to Ron's detriment, it took them long enough for his blood to reach his brain again. He realised, just as Viktor was opening the buttons of his shirt, that he was in his slightly too messy bedroom with the man of his dreams, and that, while he’d never really got the hang of women, he’d also never tried it on with a man.

And suddenly his 'this is a dream'- theory was smashed again. Because in a dream he wouldn't be this awkward, right? He would be smooth and knowledgeable, and would be having the time of his life, not worrying about how this all will go down, and what he was supposed to do, right?

For a professional problem solver, he had no idea how to breach the topic with Viktor. Or if he even wanted to.

"So... here we are?" His voice sounded tiny and screamed insecurity.

But slowly it dawned on him that, most likely, he would sleep with Viktor only to then go back to admiring him from afar, and sometimes meeting him at Malfoy's.... or try to avoid him altogether. Was sex really worth losing your hero? The one thing that got you through bad days, weeks, months?

Actually, whilst tempting, and Merlin, it had felt so fantastic to be held by Viktor, to be in his arms and feel his searing hot kiss, a part of him already foresaw the heartbreak at the end of the night. And Ron might be many things, but he was not stupid, at least not when it mattered.

"Here we are," Viktor grinned, kissing his chest, his throat, his chin. But as their eyes met, something softened in his face.

Still, Ron gulped on air. "I- I am..."

Viktor slowly caressed Ron's hair, moving to his cheek. "I came on strong, didn't I?"

"Well, I just haven't caught up with what was happening," Ron tried to joke. He intentionally left out asking ‘why’. He feared it might make him sound like a thirteen-year-old school girl, asking her crush why he finally kissed her. And that was not the impression he intended to make, even if that was exactly what he felt like.

"Always with the thinking. Though I get the impression that I might have finally discovered a method to make you stop the thinking," Viktor said.

Ron knew that he was frowning; by the way that Viktor's smile grew even bigger.

"Let's see if we can get you out of thinking mode again," he whispered before his lips once more found Ron's.

And damn if that didn't do the trick, because there was only so much his mind could focus on. Missing a second of Viktor Krum kissing him was not an option, so all the other thoughts had to go, all of them.

It worked like a spell, Viktor's lips on his, Viktor's arms around him, ever so slowly caressing him, while the heat between them grew each passing moment. With Ron relaxing into the embrace, Viktor deepened the kiss, and the last of Ron's worries melted away. All that there was, was Viktor kissing him, Viktor obviously wanting him.

In the end, it was Ron's fingers which opened the first button on Viktor's robe, because he could not wait any longer to get his hands on Viktor's skin. He could feel Viktor's grin right against his lips. It had no effect on his want, but made his knees a bit weaker once again.

After the robe and Viktor's shirt were gone, Ron slowly let his fingers roam over the broad chest. It occurred to him, in that moment, that he had never imagined how Viktor would feel. But now he could say with certainty that he felt nothing like a woman. His skin, though soft, was different due to all the muscle beneath it. It felt exciting and enthralling to touch Viktor that way. It was the need to see that made him end the kiss, so that he could watch his fingers roam over the tanned skin.

"Like what you see?" Viktor asked, brushing a kiss against Ron's forehead.

"Very much," Ron answered truthfully, voice sounding a bit dreamy. It took him a few seconds before he caught up with what he had said. "I mean, well... you are not perfect but you know-" Ron shut his mouth with a snap, not wanting to say anything even more stupid.

It was, however the truth. Viktor's skin, like many of his friends’, like his own, was marred by scars. But not all from the war. The one on the back of the right forearm, for example, seemed to be from a quidditch accident. It was all jagged and thin. Most likely splinters of a broom. Too many to be healed effectively, especially if one has to make sure all the splinters are out.

It made the oddity of his own scars less important. Viktor would not care more for his scars than he had about Viktor's. And all the scars proved to him, was the strength of the man. Also, there was some kind of sexiness going on that Ron did not want to go too deep into.

"Glad, you approve of me," Viktor said, brushing Ron's shirt off as well.

Surprised because he hadn't even noticed Viktor opening the buttons, he looked up to find him smiling.

"Because I am also rather pleased," Viktor went on, as he let his hands roam over Ron's chest. He leaned in close and whispered in Ron's ear, "Your freckles are cute."

This time the heat that rose within him was entirely of a different kind. His freckles were many and everywhere, but certainly not cute. Though he knew from experience as the one paying the compliment, that now was not the moment to argue the point.

"You are talking entirely too much," he said instead, and moved his head so he could kiss Viktor again.

Getting rid of their trousers was what made the whole scene more awkward and relaxing at the same time. The first part worked out totally fine: they opened each others buttons and zippers, and pushed the waistband lower. And then somehow it all got weird. As far as Ron was able to tell, he totally miscalculated how his trousers were not below his knees, at least not all the way. So, when he stepped back he got caught in them, and it was more falling than stepping.

As he was trying to free Viktor of his pants that very moment, he held on to the nearest thing he could grab. In this case, Viktor's arse. The result of this one misstep was Ron landing with his back on the bed, and Viktor landing on top of him, at least with his chest. For both of their lower halves it was not so lucky: Ron's arse hit the floor pretty hard, and apparently so did Viktor's knee from the loud thumping noise and the long hissing sound Viktor made. And then there was stillness, besides both of their harsh breathing.

"You hurt?" Ron asked first. It took a lot more courage than he thought such a simple question would take. Especially with all the embarrassment when his mind finally caught up to the fact that this was all his fault.

"Nothing that will hurt in a few hours, most likely a bruise." Viktor grinned, his eyes lit up with amusement.

"I'm sorry," Ron whispered. However, the longer Viktor grinned at him, the more he had to fight his own laugh. It was just too much. It started with a small giggling sound, but soon enough they both were laughing.

"I swear I was smoother once. But at least I can say I haven't done that in a while, what is your excuse?" Ron asked cheekily. It was impossible to be embarrassed when you have such a good laugh.

Viktor pinched Ron's side. "What can I say, I was swept off by my backside. I could only manage enough grace to not squash you."

Ron smiled brightly at Viktor, before he leaned forward and stole another kiss.

He always thought of Viktor as this stoic, down to earth, and rather stern person. Today, however, Viktor had acted charming, a bit cocky, and light-hearted. It was refreshing, and surprising. And it made Ron fall harder with each beat of his heart.

Viktor used their not quite so unfortunate position to finally remove the clothes from Ron. Then he proceeded with getting himself naked as well.
Ron leaned further back against the bed and watched as Viktor got up again and stepped out of his pants and pushed down his socks.

He was stunning, and beautiful. For a moment, Ron found it hard to breathe. He admired the strong body, the lean muscles and of course his eyes fixed themselves on the hard, perfect cock right in front of him. He wanted it, wanted it so much.

Then, Viktor said: "Come move that fine arse of yours onto the bed. There will be no floor until at least the third time." He poked Ron in the shin with his big toe, making Ron laugh all over again.

"Wait, what if I don't want to have sex on the floor?" Ron asked, but obligingly moved up and further on to the bed.

Viktor moved right on top of him: "Then I would say you just have not yet had a lover, who could show you the pleasures of a hard wooden floor." Viktor’s grin was self-assured, and Ron felt his heart melt a little.

"Confident, aren't you?" Ron replied teasingly, their feet slowly sliding together, the first full body touches. It was exciting, arousing and playful.

"Got reason to be, and I shall make sure that you have reason to believe me."

Viktor leaned closer and they were kissing again, though this time their bodies were in full contact, their erections gliding against each other, and their hands roaming the body each other’s bodies freely. It took a moment for Ron to notice that the one breathing so loudly was himself. Though the longer they touched each other, explored each other, the more his nerves came alive.

He remembered his first time with Lavender, and how they both fought their nerves, and were trying to get it over it with the fastest way possible. However, the way Viktor touched him right now suggested that fast and being done with it, was not on Viktor's mind.
Ron had to close his eyes for a moment, and turn away from Viktor’s dark eyes. He was losing himself in sensations, and he wanted it, he wanted to enjoy it. If only his nerves could get on the same page.

Before either of them could say or do anything else, there was a loud pecking coming from the window.

"I think they have found out about our vanishing act." Viktor grinned, as he sat up and looked at the large eagle owl holding a rather big missive.

"Our vanishing act? If Harry ever asks me, I will fully blame you. I need to get some time in before I start pissing him off again," Ron said.

He had gotten on his elbows and looked out of the window as well. But when he recognised Malfoy's owl, he let himself fall back on the bed, and let out a sigh of frustration.
Either it was his stupid nerves making more drama than was necessary for what surely was going to be amazingly good sex, or he was being cockblocked from afar by his best mate's boyfriend, who incidentally was his nemesis.

"Should we let the owl in?" Viktor asked, looking down at Ron with one eyebrow arched.

"Well, let me phrase it this way: you can either let the owl in and start reading what Draco Malfoy has to say about our disappearing, or, and this is the possibility I would prefer, you can get down here again, and fuck me so we both forget that there ever was an owl." Ron wet his lips. "What is it, quidditch star?"

"Quidditch star? That is all I am to you?" Viktor said, while grabbing Ron's thighs and pulling him closer.

Ron shrieked a bit, before he grinned. "Not all, no. At the moment, you are also the guy who almost shagged me, but always stopped."

Ron was relieved that at least his quick tongue had not deserted him completely yet. Especially because of the grin's and smile's he could get Viktor to show.

"Can't have that, now can we, hotshot. I have quite a few ideas of what I want you to think of me, and none of them include almost," he said before he leaned down and started to kiss Ron's erection, from root to the tip.

Ron moaned deeply. Especially as the lips engulfed him completely. He felt the grin following his shudder more than he saw it, though Ron did not look away from this fascinating sight. He had always enjoyed a good blow job, although, sadly, the women he dated either didn't like to give it, or didn’t want him to watch. This was beyond compare. Viktor looked him into the eyes as he dragged his mouth in slow movements over Ron's cock. Incredible and nearly too much.

Viktor did a strange movement with his hand, confusing Ron quite a bit. And then he repeated the movement, until the nightstand drawer opened and a small flask of lube rushed into Viktor's hand. With a helpless giggle, Ron let himself fall back. They should have thought of lube before now. Well, Viktor should have, seeing as Ron was in all kinds of knots due to what and with whom it was happening with him.

And then, as if the getting to the sex part had not been hard enough for both of them, Ron was tricked by his own body. Viktor had let his fingers caress over his balls and beyond for quite some time. Ron had even been aware of them teasing beyond that. And yet, as the first well-lubricated finger slowly slid inside, Ron had a rather violent reaction to not just the cold, but also the intrusion. Which led to him pushing too deep into Viktor’s mouth, and Viktor's teeth scraping his skin. So, while Ron let out a rather short but painful moan, Viktor hissed, due to the unexpected larger amount of cock in his mouth.

They separated rather quickly, and Ron turned to the side, embarrassment making his face red. Fuck! If anything else ever said "virgin, handle with care" more than such a reaction, Ron had to go find a time turner, and make certain that it would not happen.

For Morgana’s tits' sake, why was it so hard to get laid by Viktor Krum?

Ron could have cried due to sheer anger at himself.

"Everything alright?" Viktor asked, lying down next to Ron, caressing his hair.

"No," Ron croaked, not removing his hands from his face.

"Well, as far as I can see, and the angle is a bit odd to be sure, but your cock is still attached and quite beautiful, and there is no obvious blood. So that's a plus, right?"

Ron snorted. It was a plus indeed. Maybe the only one.

"If I had lost my cock, I would have had to kill you, and then make sure your corpse is either never found or found somewhere where I would never be. Would have been a lot of work," he replied from behind his hands. Still sounding pissed, still to embarrassed to face Viktor.

"Uhm, thanks to your cock for it’s hanging... no, at the moment I would think more of standing power. I still have a few things I would like to do before I die," Viktor said, his hand now caressing Ron's hips.

Ron peered through his fingers, and saw Viktor right in front of him, his left hand holding his head up, an amused lift to his lips, his eyes still warm and welcoming.

"Should have told you that I am a virgin. Well, not a virgin, as I have had sex, but not with a guy, and somehow... well, obviously I never tried it myself, either. I am more a shower wank kind of a guy..." Ron muttered, turning his head more towards the pillow. Maybe it will eat him up.

"I dare say, it would have helped, but then again I would have missed this cute moment. And your ears have a very interesting shade of red, would have missed that too, would-"

"Don't make fun of an embarrassed man. That's not nice," Ron grumbled.

Viktor slid even closer. "Not making fun, just pointing out how I see it." There was a kiss placed on his cheek, and Ron dared to turn his head a bit. "We all have started out with zero experience and no clue what we are doing. That's how life, how any game goes. You grow with practice."

Viktor pushed Ron's shoulder and turned him back on his back. "So, you can either mope and be embarrassed, or we can do the fucking you demanded. And then do it again and again, until you have the technique down."

Oh, and there was the heart-breaking smile again that made it seem not only like Viktor had a good joke up his sleeve, but that he also knew all sorts of secrets, and he would choose which one to divulge with you.

"Might need a lot of practice," Ron mumbled, not daring to look Viktor in the eye.

"Lucky you, sex is good to build stamina, so I might be persuaded to help you," Viktor said and kissed Ron's nose.

Ron looked aghast at Viktor, before he nodded. "Well, though I ruined the mood, my body is still very much interested in the prospect of sex. Been a while and wanting it badly and all that."

"Nice of your body to think of me," Viktor replied, and kissed Ron's chin, slowly going deeper. "So just to know, you are aware of what I am going to do, right?"

Ron could feel the snicker against his chest, and it did not calm the spike of anger that rushed through him. "Let's make a deal, if you are not fucking me in five minutes, we are giving up on that particular endeavour," Ron grumbled. Which only lead to Viktor sniggering even more.

"Fierce, I like that," he said, yet his fingers quickly found their way back to his entrance, and spread the lube that was still there.

Ron would not say Viktor rushed due to his warning, but he certainly had a bit more direction. Certainly the fingers in him were slowly driving him mad, and he longed, he wanted, he needed more. He was not sure if it was him begging, or Viktor himself being unable to wait any longer, but in the end he got what he wanted.

It felt glorious. And a bit strange. But mostly in a good way, in an exciting way even.

"So-ho good", Ron whimpered, as he felt Viktor fully in him. His feet slung around Viktor's hips of their own accord. He didn't want to let Viktor go. It felt too good to have him.

"You haven’t seen the best part yet," Viktor said, and moved his hips ever so slightly forwards and back again, until the push was too much for Ron's feet and they let him go.

Ron groaned as Viktor after having moved back, pushed into him again.

FUCK!

This truly felt amazing, and Merlin he was losing his mind.

"Fuck," he screamed as Viktor moved in again, hitting the perfect spot, making his mind go blank.

"That's what people call it, yes," was the cheeky.

Ron could have murdered him, but not really because that would put an end to the sex, and he certainly did not want that. Also, the snort escaping from his own lips proved that he himself found that a bit amusing. Apparently, his humour was messed up as well.

"Too goo-hd," Ron moaned, his control slipping. This would be over rather quickly.

Viktor leaned forward, his hips moving with dedication. "That is what a man wants to hear," he said against Ron's lips, before he sealed them with a kiss for the last time.

As Viktor's fingers moved around Ron's erection and pulled on it, Ron came without any possibility to hold his orgasm in check. Through a hazy cloud, Ron noticed that Viktor was still moving, and he tried the best he could to tighten his muscles, to give him the same pleasure as he has received.

"Damn, you, you fiery vixen," Viktor groaned before he too came, with a low moan.

Ron's tension just seeped out of his body with that accomplishment, and he lay there, his eyes growing heavy.

"Certainly not thinking now, are you," he heard whispered in his ear.

He felt a soft kiss being placed on his lips, but was too tired to respond to it. No, he certainly had no brain left to think. He was shagged out of his mind. Still, he was aware of Viktor moving away from him. He wanted to tell him that he should stay, but the words would not be formed, as he was falling asleep.

~~--~~

A loud pecking noise startled Ron out of his dreams. "Shit, shit shit," he muttered as he rushed over to the window, to let in the owl with the big, red letter. "Merlin's balls. What a dream. But damn how could I oversleep, I set three alarms?" Ron snarled, as he tried to catch the owl. "Ronikins. Sit down and give me that, before it explodes on you," he shouted at the owl.

"Ronikins? Are you the namesake?"

At that point, Ron fell over his own feet, as he was trying to catch the stupid owl, and turn around to see who spoke.

"VIKTOR!" he shrieked again. Then the owl let the howler drop free, and another voice started the shrieking.

"RONALD BILLIUS WEASLEY,
JUST BECAUSE I HAVE THE UNFORTUNATE JOB OF PLAYING YOUR SECRETERY, DOES NOT MEAN I WANT TO EXCUSE YOU THE WHOLE BLOODY DAY. AND I PROMISED YOU THAT IF YOU DO A NO-SHOW I WOULD DRAG YOU HERE IN YOUR PYJAMAS. YOU OWE PROFESSOR SNAPE A HUGE 'THANK YOU' FOR HIM TELLING ME THAT YOU THOUGHT WITH YOUR DICK AND FUCKED OFF WITH VIKTOR KRUM. HOW IS HE DOING BY THE WAY? IF YOU EVEN GOT ANY TALKING IN. MEN, REALLY!

ALSO A FAIR WARNING, DRACO MAY BE OUT TO MURDER YOU, SEING AS YOU WHISKED AWAY HIS STAR GUEST BEFORE HE GOT A CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE QUIDDITCH GAME. STUPID MOVE, HON.

YOU ALSO MANAGED TO CONVINENTLY FORGET TO SAY HELLO TO ELISE. SHE IS NOT AMUSED. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, NOT GREETING THE WOMAN THAT SAVED YOUR ARSE NEARLY EVERY DAY OF YOUR WORKING LIFE? NO, DON'T TELL ME, YOU WEREN'T THINKING WITH YOUR BRAIN, BUT WITH YOUR TINY, FRECKLED COCK, AS ALL MEN DO.

SO, I WOULD ADVISE YOU TO MAKE YOUR TESTAMENT BEFORE YOU COME TO WORK ON MONDAY, WHERE ELISE, DRACO AND I SHALL AWAIT YOU, YOU UNCOOTH BRUTE!

ENJOY YOUR SUNDAY,

LOVE,
PANSY."

Ron was unable to form any sort of response. Why were such things always happening to him?

"She certainly has a way with words, doesn't she?" Viktor said, leaning back against the bed rest.

Ron sighed, and messed up his hair. "That she has. And claws. Sharp claws." Ron sighed deeply again. "But pissing off Elise was really not a good move. She can, and most likely will make my life difficult. Damn."

"So, you were thinking with your cock? Not that I blame you, it is a rather good cock." Viktor grinned from the bed.

Ron groaned, and hid his face once again behind his hands. "I certainly was not thinking with my brain. Someone made sure of that."

"If it is any help, I shall tell Draco that it is all my fault, and that I took you away, not the other way around," Viktor offered, making a magnanimous gesture with his hands.

"It was your bloody idea, and fault. I would have stayed there and played the good little ministry worker-"

"But that would have meant missing the fantastic shag you got from me, wouldn't that have been a shame?"

Ron tried to ignore the heat that rose to his ears. "Might have," he whispered.

Viktor laughed. "Come back to bed then. I owe it to you to change your mind." He offered his hand to Ron.

With some inaudible mumbling, Ron came back to bed, and took Viktor’s offered hand.
Victor, in return, pulled Ron into his lap.

"So, the owl’s name?" he asked, still amused.

"You are an evil man," Ron groaned, and let his head sink against Viktors shoulder. "Pansy's way of annoying me. She got it when she first started working for me, and... let's just say back then we didn't get along at all. Apparently, the owl is not choosy about its food either, and has the same stupid expression as me," he answered, because he had the feeling that Viktor could be like a dog with a bone.

"Can't say I saw your stupid expression. But I certainly wouldn't mind seeing more of your orgasmic expressions," Viktor hummed.
"You are sexy when you come," he then whispered in Ron's ear.

"You just want to do more training for your stamina," Ron joked, but leaned into the small kisses his neck was being showered with.

"Maybe. Apparently I only have until Monday morning. Must make the best of it."

Ron snorted. "You couldn’t handle me longer anyway."

Because he didn't dare to hope. This was ludicrous. Viktor would soon be gone for one quidditch game or another, and find someone else to warm his bed. He certainly wasn't lacking offerings.

"That remains to be seen, hotshot. For now, I take what I can," he replied, in the same confident manner as he started the whole flirting thing earlier in the day.

There were a lot of things that remained to be seen. But having grown up with six siblings, Ron, too, was no stranger to the take-what-you-can-attitude. And at the moment, Viktor Krum was his for the taking. And he would enjoy it, for as long as it lasted.

“Also, just to clarify things for you. If I were a truly evil man, I would ask about all the T-shirts with my name on it, which can be found all over your flat.” Viktor laughed.

Ron did what any sane person would do. He shut Viktor up with a fierce kiss.