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and all that is now (and all that is gone)

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There were many unsavory additions to working under Percy Weasley, but by far, the worst had to be the constant, random visiting family members.

Draco had been trying to have a meaningful conversation with his boss about an important Portkey deadline coming up regarding the ever-approaching Quidditch World Cup, but the doors to Percy’s office had slammed open, cutting Draco’s words off as he jumped in surprise.

He expected the remaining twin or Potter’s Quidditch wife to explode into the room, but an equally loud redhead entered, one Draco only vaguely recognized.

“Percy!” he said excitedly. Draco inferred it was one of the older brothers, there were a few he never had the pleasure of roaming the Hogwarts halls with. How many, he wasn’t sure.

He looks like Ron, was the first thought that popped into Draco’s head. Because it was true, all Weasley’s looked alike but this one looked a lot like the one his age. Particularly when Ron had trained to become Keeper during fifth year. This Weasley was broad-shouldered and his vibrant hair loose. Nothing like the slim and slick-backness of Percy.

“Charlie,” Percy replied helpfully, his eyes narrowing at his brother.

Charlie’s eyes flickered to Draco. “Ah, sorry. Is this a bad time?”

Percy sighed, shaking his head. “No, no. Malfoy, you wouldn’t mind stepping out for a bit?”

Draco wanted to say yes, I do mind but he really wanted to keep his job so he nodded politely and headed for the door.

Charlie stopped him as he passed with a, “Wait.” Draco complied only because the Weasley had thrown out his hand to block him. He expected some snide comment on his past, not— “It’s Draco, right? Y’know, I tame dragons.” He leaned closer to Draco, his words and smirk clearly meant to be suggestive.

Draco froze. Merlin, a Weasley was flirting with him. 

Percy smacked Charlie’s back. “Knock it off,” he said before giving Draco an apologetic smile. “You’re free to go, Malfoy.”

Draco shook himself before finally exiting Percy’s office. 

---

It hadn’t been easy to land a Ministry job. When he had sought his father’s advice, the letter he received had boiled down to don’t bother. Draco didn’t like sitting at the Manor all day, listening to his mother’s gossip and reading whatever dusty book he decided to pick from a random shelf. He wanted to do something with his so far no-good life. 

When a position opened up at the Department of Magical Transportation, he pounced. Draco had become an expert during sixth year when it came to everything under the department’s jurisdiction. It was under unfavorable conditions, sure, but where else would they find someone with in-depth knowledge of Vanishing Cabinets.

He had expressed his profuse appreciation when Percy gave him the job. Out of curiosity, he had asked why he would allow an Ex-Death Eater into his department. Not his exact words, but it was heavily implied.

“I’ve made my own mistakes, Mr. Malfoy,” Percy replied. “People change.”

Draco had relaxed at the admission. Not everyone at the Ministry agreed with him, hell, not everyone in his family agreed with him — Draco distinctly remembers the first time Ron had stopped by after Draco’s hiring — but Percy would be on his side.

Draco sat in his own office, tapping on his desk absentmindedly as he waited for Percy to be free again. He left his office door open so he would hear when the noisy Charlie Weasley left.

Enough minutes passed that he figured he should try to do something productive. He read over his most recent draft of a report on illegal broom modifications. He was considering a rewording in his conclusion when he glanced up to find a figure in his doorway.

“Ha, thought you’d never notice,” Charlie Weasley as he leaned against the doorframe.

Draco stared warily. “Did you need something?”

Charlie contemplated the question, mouth pursing in thought. It quickly relaxed into another grin. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Draco glanced down at arms. He was wearing long sleeves, like always. “Mostly negative, I assume.”

Charlie nodded. “I thought you’d be uh… a bit more animated.”

Draco let his eyes narrow in annoyance. “I’m not a bratty teenager anymore.”

“I suppose not,” Charlie agreed. “But Ron did fail to mention one thing.”

Draco feigned distrust as he drawled, “And what’s that?”

“You’re very handsome,” Charlie complimented. 

He was leaning over Draco’s desk now, and Draco wasn’t sure when that happened. But now he’s staring up at a Weasley while fighting a blush begging to creep onto his pale face. “I doubt he’d agree,” he replied because that felt like a safe and snippy response.

“Yes, well, like the rest of my brothers, Ron only has his eyes set on the ladies,” Charlie explained casually, his hand still on Draco’s desk as he leaned over it.

Statistically speaking, one of the Weasleys had to be gay. It appeared it was this one, this tall and broad one who apparently works with dragons and whose skin is somewhere between tanned and sunburnt and was confident and charismatic enough to flirt with anyone. It shouldn’t matter, and it wouldn’t, but Draco was, well.

Gay.

Not many knew. Blaise, Pansy, probably Gregory, and even more probably his mother. He should sit her down one of these days and tell her properly, but Draco’s cowardice behavior was hard to shake.

Draco didn’t have to come up with a response, as Percy thankfully wandered into Draco’s office, muttering, “What is it you wa—” He stopped in the doorway, glaring at the back of Charlie’s head. “Charles Septimus Weasley, you’d better not be bothering my employee.”

“I’d hardly call it bothering, eh Malfoy?” Charlie said with a wink before he was dragged out of Draco’s office by his brother. Draco watched in amusement as they argued and Percy slammed the door in Charlie’s face.

Percy sighed into the now-quiet office. “My apologies. He spends more time with beasts than actual wizards.”

Draco couldn’t bring himself to be offended.

---

Draco hated Ministry-wide banquets, but one did not repair their reputation overnight. He usually chatted up former associates of his father, trying to form as many useful connections as possible, then he’d gossip with Pansy as the night came to an end.

He was taking a breather as he fetched something to drink. It was exhausting work, pretending to be polite and accommodating. He missed the days he could whine and complain without anyone blinking an eye.

“I hoped you’d be here,” a voice said. Draco turned towards it, finding brown eyes and a freckled face staring back. Weasley. Charlie, that is.

Draco’s eyebrows drew together. “What are you doing here?” he asked immediately, not bothering to hide how startled he was.

Charlie didn’t seem to care. He chuckled and waved a hand in the direction of the other side of the room. “I’m Ron’s date for the evening. I was supposed to watch his daughter, but lil Rosie caught a cold and ‘Mione… Well, I can raise the most delicate magical creatures known to man but apparently can’t be trusted with a sick toddler.”

Draco smiled at the mental picture of a grumpy Granger arguing with her brother-in-law. “I don’t know if I ever said this, but I think I agree with Granger.”

Charlie was affronted. “I’ll have you know I’m a responsible uncle, Draco. Practically my entire family’s here, go ask them yourself.”

It was true. Draco could easily see Ron and Ginny in one corner, shielding Potter from the sight of Rita Skeeter. And Percy was there, of course, with his fiance Aubrey and chatting with Kingsley. The one married to Delacour was there, as were the two happy parents. Only the twin was missing from the makeshift Weasley reunion. Perhaps he was planning to pop out from a cake.

“How do you even keep track of everyone?” Draco asked as he scanned the words, looking for another head of ginger hair just in case he was forgetting one.

“It’s easy at home, at the Burrow. There’s no room to lose anyone. Although, if everyone keeps popping out children my parents are going to have to move. Last Christmas was a circus,” Charlie chatted casually. His eyes were on Ginny, who was sporting an impressive baby bump yet again. She and Potter already had two boys, a fact Draco only knew because just about any magical news media tossed pictures of the couple wherever they could. 

Draco tilted his head. “So, no plans of adding to the count anytime soon?”

“Merlin, no. If my future husband wants to adopt, I’ll suggest a Miniature Poodle,” Charlie quipped.

“Not a Hungarian Horntail?”

“Dragons are friends, not pets.”

Draco rolled his eyes, opening his mouth to reply with a snappy reply only to be interrupted an all too familiar voice.

“Charlie, I think I’ll be leaving soon. Best not to leave Hermione alone with her worrying too long,” Ron informed his brother, his expression tired and tight.

“Well, she’s not really alone. Rosie’s lovely company,” Charlie replied. “Do you want me to join you?”

“No, no,” Ron said with a shake of his head. “You can keep—” Ron cut himself off once his eyes had slid over to his brother’s conversation partner. “Er. Hello, Malfoy.”

“Weasley,” Draco acknowledged.

“C’mon, Charlie. Let’s go home,” Ron said, tugging on the sleeve of Charlie’s robes.

“What? You said—”

“Let’s go,” Ron gritted out. 

“Fine. See ya ‘round, Draco!” Charlie said as he was forcibly pulled away from Draco by another brother.

This time Draco felt a twinge of disappointment.

---

The next time Draco saw Charlie was at Percy’s wedding reception. Draco showed up around the middle, only planning to drop off a gift and congratulate his boss and bride.

Of course, as he tried to sneak out, a pair of hands snaked around his shoulders, pulling him back against a firm chest. “You made it! I was wondering if you’d show.”

“Charlie,” Draco greeted, nose wrinkling slightly at the heavy scent of Fire Whiskey on his breath. “Nice to see you too.”

“Can’t stop thinkin’ ‘bout you,” Charlie said into Draco’s ear. “You’re so pretty.”

“And you’re so drunk,” Draco replied, wriggling slightly in hopes of breaking free.

“You don’t understand,” Charlie complained. “Mum keeps trying to set me up on dates, now that I’m her only unmarried son.”

“What am I supposed to do about that?” Draco asked, an amused smirk growing on his lips.

“Go on a date with me, ‘course,” Charlie answered, his voice barely above a whisper.

Draco’s heart stuttered. Charlie’s arms suddenly felt so warm around him, like he was going to burn Draco up. He was actually considering it, saying yes to a drunken Weasley’s request for a date.

But there was something different about Charlie. He had a gravity to him, pulling Draco in the first time he’d smirked at him. His arms were loose around Draco now, but Draco didn’t move. He couldn’t. Charlie had so much warmth and brightness, like the sun on an unusually beautiful day.

Draco couldn’t understand why Charlie would want to go on a date with him. Draco was no sun or star. He was the moon, cold and grey and barely concealing the darkness within.

“Bloody hell, I leave you alone for one minute,” someone was saying, breaking Draco’s thoughts. It was the oldest Weasley, Bill, standing at his side and staring with a mix of amusement and disapproval at his younger brother. “Please let go of our brother’s guest.”

“Big brother Bill always comes to ruin to fun,” Charlie whined into Draco’s hair. 

Bill managed to untangle Draco from Charlie’s grasp, offering an expression very similar to Percy’s after Draco’s first run-in with Charlie.

Draco watched as Charlie was pulled away from him yet again, taking the warmth with him.

---

Surprised would be an accurate way to describe Draco’s reaction upon seeing Charlie Weasley enter his office on the following Monday. Although, Charlie might decide to use a more exaggerated term, as Draco let out an undignified yelp when their eyes met.

It’s just… He’d never seen him so soon after a chance meeting. Months had passed between all the others. 

Charlie was uncharacteristically sheepish. He stared at a knot in the wood of Draco’s desk. “I, uh, wanted to apologize for my behavior on Saturday.”

Draco let out a sharp laugh. “You got drunk and joked around at your brother’s wedding, I’d hardly call that a sin.”

Charlie squirmed, wincing at Draco’s attempt at a reassurance. “That’s just it. I wouldn’t want you to get the impression that I was joking.”

Draco’s mouth flattened. “Oh.”

“I really would like to take you out sometime, if you’re interested,” Charlie offered, a hopeful glint in his brown eyes.

Draco stared up in disbelief. “But… would your family—”

“Draco, my family just wants me to be happy,” Charlie interrupted with a soft smile.

Draco glanced down at his sleeve. “And… why do you think you’d find that with me?”

Charlie doesn’t reply immediately. He glanced down at Draco’s arm. “I like to take risks. You seem like one worth taking.”

Maybe Draco should be offended by the notion, maybe he shouldn’t want to be some beast for Charlie to tame — and he doesn’t, but he doesn’t think that’s what Charlie meant. He means… it’s alright to look for happiness in places one might not intentionally consider.

Draco accepted a date with a Weasley.

---

They were standing out in the cold in front of the door to the Burrow. Draco anxiously gnawed on his lip while Charlie wrapped an arm around his waist.

“Relax,” Charlie said as he finally opened the door. As they entered, he shouted, “Happy Christmas!” 

A cheer of Happy Christmas! and Charlie! followed in response. The room became eerily silent as brown and blue eyes all fixed themselves onto Draco.

Nearest to the door was Potter and Ginny, both staring incredulously. Their daughter squirmed in Ginny’s arms. 

“Malfoy’s your new boyfriend?” Ron’s voice accused from where he sat on an armchair with a nephew in his lap.

“Yes,” Charlie stated.

“Hello,” Draco greeted the room. He nodded toward Molly. “Thank you for having me.”

Molly’s face broke out into a grin, reminding Draco immediately of the warmth of his boyfriend. “Of course! We’re glad to have you, love!” The room relaxed, resuming the casual chatter of the holidays.

Draco relaxed too, until Ginny Weasley tugged him away from Charlie to whisper aggressively in his ear, “If you break his heart, we’ll kill you.” Baby Lily stared up at her mother with youthful confusion that rivaled Draco’s.

He wasn’t sure what Ginny was so worried about. 

The moon only glows because of the sun.