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Collateral Damage

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There are no easy ways for an ex Death Eater to ruin the Chosen One’s life. At least, no easy way that doesn’t involve an extended stay in Azkaban. 

That is why Draco seduces his boyfriend.

Of course, when Draco set out he had envisioned a more elegant seduction than getting wine drunk, trading petty insults and arguments, and bodily dragging Weasley into the nearest restroom. Even then, Weasley is too stupid to realize what is happening — his mouth is wide open, ready to continue shouting until Draco silences him with a sloppy kiss. 

By the time Draco sinks to his knees, Weasley looks as if he’s forgotten every word he has ever known. He gapes stupidly down at Draco as Draco works open the idiot’s fine blue dress robes and tugs down his alarmingly orange pants. Stupid red-faced, ginger-haired idiot — but at least he has a nice cock. A very nice cock. Draco licks his lips as he reaches out, basking in the heat of it and the heft of it against his palm. 

Weasley swallows audibly as Draco leans forward and — well, he will later hope he delivered the most fantastic fellatio Weasley has ever received, but realistically he is too drunk to have much finesse, and Weasley is probably too drunk to appreciate it even if he did. The only thing Draco can focus on is the  gratifying weight of cock sliding across his tongue and filling his mouth. And he manages enough coordination to slap away the hands that grasp his hair. 


Oh, the levels he will sink to in order to best Potter. Sink right to the filthy tiles in a public loo in front of a Weasley. Tiles are not so easy on the knees, even when they are clean, and he doesn’t appreciate Weasley thrusting his hips forward. Draco will decide when he wants that cock down his throat, thank you very much. And those hands are at it again. 

It would be easier to stay irritated if he weren’t so fond of cock. If he didn’t enjoy having his mouth full. If he didn’t like the musky smell of him or the sweaty taste of his skin. 

Weasley isn’t polite enough to warn Draco he’s about to come, but Draco is observant enough (even when drunk) to know when a man is close. As a general rule, he doesn’t swallow, but he’s aiming to impress tonight and — really, the taste isn’t so bad on top of all the wine he’s had, even though he chokes on it and some dribbles out of his mouth. The hands in his hair aren’t so bad, either, when Weasley is groaning “Fuck!” like that. 

Draco uses his sleeve to wipe the come from his face, and he smacks his lips to savor the taste. Weasley makes a high-pitched noise in the back of his throat. Draco blinks up at him. Can’t quite make out the look on his face — or much of anything, really — but Weasley hauls him to his feet and presses him against the wall. Mouths hotly at his neck. Shoves his hand into his trousers. Draco groans when he feels warm, sweaty hand on his cock. 

It doesn’t take much. Draco steadies himself by grasping Weasley’s arms. His biceps are wide and firm with muscle. Draco’s appreciation for arms rivals his appreciation for cocks, so he gives them a nice stroke as Weasley strokes him. 

But what really does it, to his horror, is hearing Weasley rasp, “Merlin, you’re so fucking pretty” and Draco cries out and digs his nails into Weasley’s skin as he comes. 

Before, it was a boring night, as Ministry events often are. There was schmoozing and speeches and dancing. Cheap wine, bland food, blander company. It was dull enough for Draco’s attention to lapse. Lapsed enough to ignore the glares and the whispers. 

That is the primary difference in Ministry events these days; just how little the name Malfoy means. Social pariahs now, rather than kings. So Draco kept his head ducked down and drank his wine. His friends kept him entertained with their gossipping and flirting. 

The other difference is that the fourth annual Victory Day Gala is full of the self-righteous rather than the self-serving. Draco prefers the latter. They preached about peace and unity. They spoke about the horrors of war. So Draco drank and drank some more and hoped the wine might drown his shame. 

“Remind me why I came,” Draco muttered.

The universe provided, for not ten minutes later Creevey accosted Potter and friends near Draco’s table. Irritation grew with every click of the camera. Potter, flanked by his sidekicks, smiling awkwardly at the camera as if he didn’t eat the attention for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Weasley gazing at him like a lovesick fool. Just the sound of Potter’s laugh had his freckled face lighting up and Draco drank some more. 

Of course, it wasn’t just Potter Weasley looked at. The poses changed at Potter’s request, giving Granger and Weasley both a time in the center. By the time it was Weasley’s turn, Creevey was trying to wave Fleur Delacour to join them. Delacour smiled but shook her head. As this happened, Weasley openly ogled her while Granger and Potter exchanged fondly exasperated looks on either side of him. Then proceeded to slap his arms. 

“Look,” Draco said, nodding to the fiasco. “Weasley lusting after his ex girlfriend’s current girlfriend while ex girlfriend and current boyfriend look on.” He waited until his friends looked their fill before continuing, “And by the end of the night he’ll have his cock in current boyfriend’s archenemy.” 

It was poetic, really. 

Before — days before, in fact — Draco stood behind the counter of Snape’s apothecary, opening the till while Astoria waved around the latest edition of Witch Weekly. “But they’re so darling!” she cooed with a gleam in her eyes. 

As Draco accounted for every last knut, Astoria parroted some of her favorite lines, the ones she was most proud of penning, “Love story for the ages!” and “Childhood friends found true love in one another” and, from today’s issue, “Potter struggles beneath the rigors of fame, and relies on his beloved to save him — the way he saved us all. Isn’t it just sweet? Do you really want to interfere?” 

“I’m afraid to say that was all rather trite, Stori,” Draco said.

“You’re not afraid to say it at all, you prat,” Astoria laughed.

Most might admonish him for his revenge plot, but Astoria only teased. No matter how many articles she wrote for Witch Weekly, and however fond she was of romance, she did not buy into the picture perfect idea of ‘Rarry’, and was in fact enthused by potential drama. 

“You’ll have the Gryffindor ‘honor’ and ‘loyalty’ to contend with,” she eventually said. “But they do love a bit of excitement and adventure, don’t they? What could be more fun than hate-fucking between enemies?” 

“Potter is my enemy,” Draco sniffed. “Weasley is collateral.” 

Before — weeks before — the Daily Prophet announced Potter being signed as seeker for the Kenmare Kestrels. Not even as a reserve, oh no. No reserve spot for Harry Potter. Only the best for Harry bloody Potter. 

And Draco was furious. And hurt. And he felt the heavy loss of something denied to him long ago.

Because before — years before — Draco lost everything just as Potter gained the world. Draco spent nearly two years in Azkaban awaiting trial while Potter, Weasley, and Longbottom joined the Auror force. No NEWTs required, not even proper Auror training. The heroes of Hogwarts were thrust into the field to round up escaped Death Eaters. 

Potter had the nerve to speak at his trial, too. As if he cared. But he didn’t care enough, did he? If Potter cared enough, he could have done anything. Instead, Lucius was sentenced to thirty years in prison. And Draco was judged guilty. His sentence was given as time served and he walked out a free man, but a guilty one all the same. 

Draco would have preferred Azkaban to the life he found outside.

Half of the Malfoy fortune was lost to reparations, and while he and his mother could survive on what remained, they needed jobs to maintain the lifestyle to which they were accustomed. 

And while Potter was oh so kind to offer Narcissa a position running his post-war foundations (while he offered nothing but his money and his name), Draco sat his NEWTs and worked on his resume. He had only one goal in mind. 

No matter how many insults were thrown his way, or how many glares, surely St. Mungo’s would appreciate what an asset he was. His grades had always been excellent, second only to Granger. His best classes were those most useful to a healer. Surely the Mark on his arm wouldn’t matter to them if he could help people.

And it wouldn’t matter to anyone else once he did help people. 

Only it wasn’t to be, for after two years as an Auror, Potter quit to take up Healer training. Healer training Draco was denied. 

Instead, Draco filled out more applications than he could count and sat more humiliating interviews than he cared to remember. And no one wanted him. Instead he relied on his godfather to take him in at the apothecary, for which Draco should have been grateful but was only bitter. The shop was dark, cold, and cramped. Pungent odors wafted up from the basement and the walls creaked ominously. The worst, though, were the customers. The sneering, superior customers who came to observe the Death Eater zoo. 

Potter stole the job that was rightfully his. Stole it, then threw it aside for the next offer that flew his way. 

Potter had it all. The admiration. The accolades. And he appreciated none of it. 

After, Weasley returns to the crowded ballroom to make his excuses to Potter. Draco is set to follow, but he spots his friends waiting in the atrium. Daphne and Astoria have their heads together, whispering and giggling. Blaise stands with them, his bored expression shifting to amusement when he catches sight of Weasley. 

“Well, well. I guess you won’t be coming home with me, after all,” Blaise says.

“Did the youngest Delacour turn you down, then?” Draco asks.

“Both of us,” pouts Astoria. 

Draco laughs and takes Astoria’s hand to give her a little twirl. They never did have a moment to dance, so he pulls her into his arms and rocks her to the beat of the distant music. His earlier sour mood is brighter in the wake of his success. 

“Any juicy tidbits for Witch Weekly?” Astoria asks.

“Oh no, I’m afraid not,” Draco smirks. “I’m not done with him yet.” 

Astoria, avid lover of drama, helps in the continuation of his plan. On Tuesday she owls him a note reading Weasley at Wheezes. Your Weasley, that is. xoxo, Stori. 

Draco almost never leaves the apothecary for lunch, and if he does he never leaves Knockturn Alley. The rejects of Knockturn are not so cruel as the general public. They do not regard him with less worth than the dirt on their shoes. 

But for revenge (and cock) he strolls down Diagon Alley with his head held high. Four years after the war, two years after his release, people have calmed down enough for him to not feel threatened — only unwelcome. Draco stares straight ahead and wears his signature smirk. It is the one that tells them he revels in their hatred. The one that hides the way he withers beneath their disdain. 

Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is as much of an eyesore as ever, and Draco’s heart rate picks up when he realizes how busy it is. Worse, he thinks, to linger in the streets. With a deep breath he ducks into the shop. There are no Weasleys at the counter, but two girls fresh from Hogwarts. It is not difficult to locate Weasley — his Weasley, as Astoria so kindly put it. 

Weasley is stocking House themed fireworks (‘great for graduation or detention!’) in a back corner while humming a new Peter and the Pumpkins song. The casual look suits him better, Draco thinks. The jeans showcase his arse better than dress robes had, and the t-shirt clings to his shoulders in a way that makes his mouth water. It is an unfortunate shade of orange that clashes with his hair, and that pulls Draco back to earth enough to act. 

“Is Potter not properly caring for you, then? You had to take a second job?”

Mentioning Potter was, perhaps, not the best method, but riling Weasley up worked well enough before. 

Now, Draco watches Weasley’s muscles tense and the way the back of his neck turns bright pink. It looks terrible against all of the orange, but Draco doesn’t want to look away. 

Weasley forcefully stuffs a red box onto the shelf. His mistreatment causes the box to shake and roar alarmingly, to which Draco jumps and nearly bumps into the shelf behind him. Weasley snickers unkindly and Draco glares at his back.

“Or is it Potter that needs your support? You know, since he can’t stick to a job. Funny how you’re the one providing stability, isn’t it?” 

“I think you’re jealous, Malfoy.” Weasley finally turns to him. The drama of the moment is spoiled by the fact that he has several colorful boxes cradled in both arms. Strong, freckled arms that cause Draco to momentarily lose his train of thought. 

“What’s there to be jealous of?” Plenty, actually. But while there is a prickle of envy, most of what Draco feels is resentment. This is why Draco steps closer, eyes trailing down Weasley’s flat stomach and jean-clad legs in a quite open perusal that — well, that Weasley misses, unless the flagrant display is what has his blue eyes narrowed so hatefully. 

“That he doesn’t have to kiss Snape’s arse for a living, for one,” Weasley spits. “Two —“ 

In his agitation, his arms move and the colorful boxes shift threateningly. Weasley makes a hasty motion to save them and Draco darts forward to catch two falling boxes. Weasley blinks in surprise as Draco sets them carefully with the others. Draco can’t help but let his hand linger on Weasley’s forearm. 

“Erm, thanks,” Weasley mumbles. 

“Ron, stop flirting!” calls another Weasley from down the aisle. The other Weasley’s eyes narrow at Draco before flashing a grin at his brother. “Those Skiving Snackboxes aren’t going to stock themselves, you know!”

The other Weasley disappears and the main Weasley is left gaping at Draco in horror. Draco smirks. “You started it. You did call me pretty.”

Weasley’s brows narrow in confusion, at first. When the realization hits, his face burns bright red. “You — you — ! You sucked my cock!” he hisses. 

Draco taps his lips thoughtfully. “Is that considered flirting these days?” He hopes Weasley notices this time as Draco’s eyes drop interestedly to his crotch. “Well, I suppose we can finish later, since you’re so busy.” With that, he plucks a green box from Weasley’s arm, then says “Goodbye, Ronald,” with a wink as he strides off. 

The fireworks are marketed for celebrations, after all. And it is a Slytherin victory Draco will celebrate. 

It is three days before he sees Weasley — well, Ron — again. 

Flora delivers him to Draco’s tiny office in the back of the shop. Since Draco has been checking receipts for the past hour, his thin rectangular glasses are sitting at the end of his nose, and he hastily snatches them off and hides them beneath a spare bit of parchment. 

The office is Draco’s favorite perk of his promotion, more so than the pay raise. Not only does it enable him to hide from customers, it offers an air of importance he’s rather fond of. Now he’s especially glad for it, since it offers him privacy for matters such as this. 

Flora leaves them alone and heads back to tend to customers. Ron eyes the door nervously as it clicks shut. Draco neatens his stack of receipts with what he hopes is an air of nonchalance that betrays none of his own nervousness. 

“What a pleasant surprise, Ronald,” Draco says airily. 

“Don’t call me that. It’s Ron. Or, Weasley, or whatever. Not Ronald,” Ron gripes. 

“Ron, then.” Draco feels absurdly pleased to say it. “What brings you here?” 

“Why were you at Wheezes the other day?” Ron demands. 

Draco licks his lips. Ron’s in blue jeans again and another t-shirt, though this one is blessedly not orange. The bright purple portrays the right level of festivity without fighting his hair for dominance. It also makes appreciating his shoulders and chest an easier task. 

“Same reason you’re here today, I imagine.” Draco rises to his feet and laughs quietly when Ron hastily backs into the door. 

“I came to figure out what you’re up to!” Ron snaps. 

“Is that so? Am I under investigation, Auror Weasley?” 

Ron scoffs. “I’m not an auror anymore.” 

Surprising that hadn’t made the news just yet. From auror to full time work at his brother’s shop. Draco wants to know more, but he’s not one to let a good opportunity pass him by. Rather than seek answers, he reaches out to slowly trail a hand down Ron’s chest and stomach. “Hmm. So you must be here for this, then?” Draco’s hand pauses, but Ron only stares and makes no move to stop him, so he lets his hand continue down to palm between his legs. Ron’s already half hard and growing harder. 

In response, Ron grabs his face and kisses him hungrily. Sloppy, but like he’s starved for it. Draco squeaks in surprise, but allows himself to be manhandled back towards his desk.

“This is so stupid, I know it is,” Ron mumbles between kisses and Draco only laughs into his mouth. 

Right before he can hit the desk, Draco grabs Ron’s arms and they half trip over each other as Draco turns them. “You’re not going to fuck me on a desk,” Draco warns. “If you want to fuck me, you can take me to bed.” 

“Oh god,” Ron groans. 

It’s a promise for more, and Draco hopes Ron hears it (but isn’t going to hold his breath.) For now, Draco drops into his chair and pushes Ron back against the desk. Ron mutters again about how stupid this is and how crazy he is as Draco undoes his fly. His words trail off into a sweet whimper when Draco swallows him down. 

Sobriety improves Draco’s skill, or at least his awareness of what he’s doing. More importantly, his awareness of the effect he has on Ron. It’s easier to slap away hands when sober, but doesn’t mind so much when Ron only strokes his hair. Quite likes it, in fact, the weight of Ron’s hand on his head, with no grasping fingers or force. And since Ron seems to get the picture, Draco stills and lets Ron thrust shallowly into his mouth, and rewards him by deep throating him when he’s good and ready. 

Ron rewards him in turn with guttural groans and the gentle stroking of his hair and the awed, “God, you’re gorgeous, you’re so bloody gorgeous.” 

Ron’s pretty good with his mouth, too, Draco finds. He eagerly swallows Draco’s cock, and he doesn’t mind having his hair pulled or having cock shoved down his throat. He doesn’t even mind swallowing.

Will, in fact, lick his own come off of Draco’s face and then swallow Draco’s down minutes later. 

He’s better with his hands. He jerks Draco off like he was born doing it, and Draco’s favorite is to let Ron stroke him with one hand and finger him with the other. Draco’s never come so hard or begged so shamelessly, and all he can do after is blink blankly at the wall. It doesn’t even bother him how smug Ron looks about it. 

They meet in Draco’s office. Or the storeroom at the joke shop. Or alleyways in Knockturn. And Diagon. and Horizont. The loo at the Leaky. Draco’s never been so motivated to leave the sanctuary of Snape’s Apothecary. 

For Draco’s twenty-second birthday, Ron reluctantly joins Draco and his friends at a Muggle gay club called the Peacock Room. It’s adorable, the way he sulks at the bar with Theo while Draco dances with other men. Eventually Ron is drunk enough and brave enough to join him. 

Or, perhaps not quite join, so much as dancing for all of five seconds before half dragging half carrying Draco off like a caveman to have his filthy way with him. All of Draco’s former lovers were much more suave than this, but it doesn’t matter much how clumsy Ron is in shoving down his trousers or how messy his kisses, because Draco is too swept away by it all to care. 

And if Ron wants to rut, cock to cock, in a filthy restroom or thrust between slick thighs behind the club hours later, that’s all well and good for Draco. 

“Are you ever going to let me run this story, darling?” Astoria asks. 

It’s days after Draco’s birthday, and with Flora running late, Draco is working the till. It’s easier to ignore the hostile glares of customers when Astoria is leaning against the counter, batting her pretty blue eyes at him. 

Their families’ hopes of betrothal are doomed, but Draco can’t help but think she’d make a fine bride. If they weren’t both so gay, they might be planning a wedding now, rather than a revelation.  

“Patience, dear Astoria,” Draco says. 

Truth be told, Draco isn’t sure when he’ll be ready. The whole point is to hurt and humiliate Potter. Draco hadn’t counted on enjoying Ron’s hands and mouth so much. They haven’t even properly made it to bed yet, and wouldn’t that be just a shame? 

Besides the sex, Draco enjoys the argumentative foreplay and watching Ron’s face become progressively redder. And he’d miss his freckles. And the faint scars on his arms (from tentacled brains, apparently.) He’d miss his glaring and the stupid way he gapes like a fish when Draco takes him by surprise. 

Ron is much more entertaining than Draco counted on and he isn’t willing to let him go just yet. 

“It’s been a month, Draco,” Astoria complains. 

“You’ll have your story eventually,” Draco promises, and feels a strange twinge in his gut at the thought. 

“That good, is he?” Astoria asks. When he only smirks, she continues. “Better than Blaise? Ooh. And Davies? Really? Better than Krum? No!” 

Her eyes are lit up with excitement and her lips part around a question that never leaves her lips, interrupted as it is by a third voice drawling, “Mr. Malfoy, will you gossip all day, or do you intend to work?

To her credit, Astoria doesn’t react much. A tightening of her smile, the slight widening of her eyes, as Draco turns to offer his godfather a radiant smile. “Flora is late, so I’m trying to make a sale.”

Severus approaches the front counter with a firm click of his boots and the soft swish of his robes that once terrified students and now disturbs customers. “Ah. And what does Miss Greengrass intend to purchase?”

“Oh! Uh — do you have any Sleekeazy’s?” Astoria asks brightly.

Severus’ eye twitches. 

It is lucky Severus only caught him chatting with Astoria rather than frotting with Ron against the door of his office. Somehow, Draco thinks the afterglow would be even more humiliating. 

They’re both on the floor, slumped against the door, trousers open and limp cocks hanging out. The way Draco leans against Ron, and the way Ron wraps his arm around Draco, one might almost call it cuddling. Awkward, messy cuddling. 

“Get off, you oaf,” Draco says without meaning it. 

“No,” Ron mumbles into Draco’s hair, then kisses his head. Draco closes his eyes against the surge of tenderness within. “Listen, uh, Draco…” He rarely uses Draco’s given name and it sounds awkward on his tongue now. Draco likes it, all the same. “I, um — this weekend. There’s — we can get a hotel on the Muggle side, if you want.” 

Draco grins and squirms closer against Ron. The angle isn’t all that comfortable, but it doesn’t stop him. “Are you saying you want to fuck me, Ronald?”

“Well, yeah.” 

“You have to buy me dinner first,” Draco says. He isn’t sure why he holds his breath or why his stomach is squirming with nerves. It’s no more than he’s demanded of lovers before. Dinner is the least Draco deserves. 

Ron laughs. “Sure. Yeah. Dinner.” 

Draco doesn’t know what excuse Ron feeds Potter, and he does not ask. They meet Saturday evening at a Muggle pub down the street from the Leaky Cauldron. Fish and chips with lager was not quite what he had in mind when he requested dinner, and it’s all a bit greasy for his tastes. He orders dessert, a slice of banoffee pie, to make up for what he doesn’t eat of the main course. 

“Not fancy enough for you, then?” Ron asks stiffly. 

Draco quirks a brow (he does it nearly as well as Severus these days; he’s been practicing.) “I’m sure it’s the very best you can afford, Weasley.” He gives Ron a playful kick beneath the table, and though Ron scowls, he plays back by trapping Draco’s foot between his legs. 

“Who says I’m paying?” Ron quips. 

“Some date you are.”

The tension leaves Ron, then, and he offers a lopsided smile that makes Draco’s heart skip. “You gonna finish that pie?”

Draco sets a protective arm around his dessert plate and shoves his half finished dinner Ron’s direction instead. “Careful. You’re not an Auror anymore. How are you going to keep your figure?”

“Like my figure, do you?”

“I’ll show you how much I like it if you shut up.” 

The hotel is half a block away from the pub and, while not nearly so nice as he hoped, was at least a step up from the pub’s standards. Grime clings to Draco’s skin from the pub and he is all too aware of it standing in the clean, if simple, foyer. Ron shuffles to the front desk, face pink as he mumbles to the clerk about their reservation. 

“Are you shy about bringing your boytoy to a hotel?” Draco teases as they look for their room.

“Shut up,” Ron grumbles.

“Does she think I’m your whore?” 

“Well, you’re already a cheaper date than I thought you were,” Ron says then hisses “Ow!” when Draco elbows him. 

“This is what I get for taking on charity cases.”

“This is what I get for putting up with prissy gits.” 

“No, this is what you get.” 

It’s a good thing Ron has the key in the door when Draco reaches around to rub between his legs. The door slams into the wall once Ron gets it open and is kicked shut just as harshly. Ron pins Draco to the wall and his mouth is at Draco’s throat while Draco slips his hand into his open trousers. 

“I hope I’m getting a lot more than this,” Ron murmurs against his skin. 

“You’re about to get a lot more than you deserve. Lucky you, having such a nice cock.” 

Ron turns pink whenever Draco says cock, and pinker still when his own cock is being complimented. Draco shoves down trousers and pants and follows them to the floor. 

With other men, Draco wouldn’t mind breaking the moment to find a more comfortable place, but Draco has become well acquainted with floors since hooking up with Ron. Even now he thinks to complain, but he likes the way Ron hovers over him, the way his hands hit the wall to brace himself as Draco strokes his cock.

His is Draco’s favorite cock. It’s not the biggest (Krum’s) or prettiest (Blaise’s), but Draco likes it all the same. It’s thick enough to be a good handful or mouthful, but not obnoxiously large. It’s flushed red and curves just slightly leftward. It even has a smattering of faint freckles that he finds himself rather charmed by. 

There are two freckles on the head of his cock and Draco leans in to trace his tongue from one to the other. Overhead, Ron chokes on a whimper and gapes down at him. Neither the sound nor the look are particularly attractive, but Draco is flattered by them all the same. Ron whimpers properly once Draco sucks him into his mouth. There is the sound of Ron’s fingernails scraping against the wall, his gasping praises, and a cringeworthy slurp that nonetheless has Ron moaning, “Drac-oooooh!” 

In fact, Draco falls so into the rhythm, it takes Ron muttering, “Want me to just fuck your mouth, then?” 

To which Draco pulls back and squawks, “You better not!” 

Ron laughs breathlessly and rubs his face. “Better move your arse, then.” 

Draco shoves Ron back in annoyance, causing Ron to stumble and, thankfully, fall back against the armchair. Draco scrambles to his feet as Ron kicks off his trousers, pants, and shoes. Ron pulls off his shirt as Draco removes his boots, and as Draco moves to open his trousers, Ron reaches out for the buttons of Draco’s shirt.

A panicked slap knocks Ron’s hand away, and Draco hides his nerves with a smile. “Get in bed.” 

Obediently, Ron hops onto the bed and watches hungrily as Draco steps out of first his trousers, then his black silk pants. The white button up remains on, but Ron raises no complaints as Draco saunters forward to crawl into bed with him. 

In hand, Draco has a small vial of lubricant purchased from work. He straddles Ron backwards to give himself access to that lovely cock while also giving Ron a nice show. When Ron smooths his hands up the back of his legs and over the curve of his arse, Draco snaps, “Hands off!”

“Mmm. Don’t wanna,” Ron says, giving his arse a squeeze that is actually quite pleasant. 

Eventually, with the threat of blue balls, Ron acquiesces and folds his arms beneath his head while Draco sets to work. Working his mouth over Ron’s cock, while working himself open where Ron can see. 

Which Ron wants to see more of, if his disobedience is any indication. Warm fingers spread his cheeks apart, followed by a breathy, “Fuck.”. Draco moans around his mouthful and Ron’s hips flex up, causing him to gag. Draco doesn’t stop or complain, and doesn’t even care that Ron stopped following instructions hardly two minutes in. 

Only when a dry finger presses in alongside two of Draco’s does Draco pull off, but it is only to bury his face in Ron’s thigh and whimper. 

“C’mere,” Ron says gruffly. 

There’s a bit of a tussle about who gets to be on top, but Draco pleas prettily enough that Ron lets himself be pushed back and settles his hands on Draco’s hips as Draco slowly slides down onto his cock. 

He braces his hands on Ron’s chest as he rocks himself fluidly onto that thick cock. He could make a nice show of it, if Ron wasn’t so intent on touching every inch of him. If Ron wasn’t pushing up onto his elbows, or reaching out to pull Draco down into a kiss. Instead, Draco’s movements are clunky and impeded by Ron’s greedy hands and mouth. Bliss overwhelms any irritation he feels. Ron’s tongue is hot and wet beneath his ear, his fingers spread wide across Draco’s back beneath his shirt. 

Only the feel of Ron’s hands at his buttons breaks through the haze of his pleasure. His hands shoot out to grasp Ron’s wrists, but Ron’s whispered, “Let me,” loosens his grip. 

Ron has scars, after all. And Potter. And Granger. But they’re the scars of heroes. Badges of honor for the victors. The marks upon Draco’s flesh are not so honorable and he closes his eyes against the feel of cool air against his bare chest. His shoulders hunch in reflexively, but Ron’s hands are warm and soothing on his chest. Down his arms. 

He doesn’t fight when Ron rolls them over. He is caged within Ron’s arms as Ron gazes down at him. At the scars Potter left on his chest. At the blight Voldemort left on his arm. Draco caresses the arms on either side of him, over the faint white scars. 

“See? You’re beautiful,” Ron says appreciatively. Tongue traces one nipple, then the other. Lips press over each harsh line marred into his flesh. Meet his own lips, by the end. Draco sighs into Ron’s mouth when Ron begins to move. He is as slow and gentle as waves on the beach, with none of the frenzy they shared when walking through the door. Ron sinks down onto his elbows, pressing himself closer to Draco. 

Ron is sweet. Too sweet. Draco feels too exposed without his shirt on. Ron sees and feels his scars, and now he’s deep inside Draco in a way that feels more than just physical. A way that feels frighteningly intimate. 

“Stop,” he gasps out. “Please, stop.” 

Ron hastily pulls out of him and Draco nudges an arm away and rolls out from under him. Fumbles for his shirt. Pulls it back on with shaky hands. He can’t quite manage the buttons and settles for holding the front closed in one fist. 

“Draco?” Ron asks nervously. His hand is warm and hesitant on Draco’s back. “Are you okay?” Draco doesn’t respond. Doesn’t know what to say, or if he can even form words right now. His head is buzzing and all he can do is stare at the wall. Ron wraps a careful arm around his chest and settles his chin on his shoulder. “I’m sorry.” His lips press softly against Draco’s neck and Draco’s eyes fall shut. “Here, take mine.” 

Ron’s faded blue t shirt is much too large on Draco, but it’s comfortable and Ron politely looks away when Draco pulls it on. He pulls his own shirt over top, its long sleeves covering the mark, and the extra layer feels like a shield. Ron throws out unsure suggestions — if Draco wants to leave, if Draco wants him to leave, none of which Draco respond to. 

Draco does want to leave. He wants to hide. In the same instant, he doesn’t want to be away from Ron. He wants Ron to hold him again. And though it takes Ron a while to read his silences, nervous as he is, eventually they end up beneath the blankets. Ron tucks Draco into his arms where it is warm and safe. 

Neither sleeps for a long time.

When Draco wakes, Ron is snoring quietly into his hair. The arm and leg that trap him against Ron are heavy and sweaty, but Draco doesn’t mind. He nuzzles closer into Ron’s chest and breathes him in. Listens to the thud thud of his heartbeat. Traces patterns on his back blindly, wondering if he can connect freckles without looking at them. 

Thinking back on the night before is embarrassing. Embarrassed that he fell to his knees barely through the door, like some trollop. Embarrassed that he let Ron see him without his shirt. Embarrassed that he reacted the way he did, unable to bear the feel of Ron so far inside of him. Draco can still feel him there. In his gut. In his chest. In his head. 

As Ron slowly wakes, he pulls Draco closer and mutters unintelligibly. When his blue eyes blink blearily open, Draco glances nervously away, but then forces himself to properly meet them. Ron’s gaze is so warm and unguarded, Draco can’t help but kiss him. Can’t help but whisper, “I’m ready.” 

This time, Ron holds him close and fingers him open. This time, Draco squirms around so that his back is to Ron’s chest and Ron is spooned close behind him when he presses inside. This time, Draco’s shirts stay on. Ron’s hand slides beneath the fabric to rest over the scar tissue. It’s almost more than he can bear. 


Ron is still too slow, too soft, too sweet. It might be called lovemaking, if one didn’t know better. 

Nothing changes after.

Draco still turns up at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes to harass Ron. Ron still turns bright red and still stumbles over his heated words. Still drags Draco out to the alley or the storeroom or the restroom to vent his passions.

Ron still turns up at the apothecary, though he asks for lube more often than medical potions. They still bicker at the counter, then retire to Draco’s office beneath Flora’s knowing eyes. 

They venture out into Muggle London. To gay clubs. And cheap hotels. 

They can’t stop insulting each other, or fighting. Can’t keep their hands off each other. Can’t stay away for more than a day or two. 

Only…everything changes, after.

It isn’t only clubs and hotels, but dinner at pubs or dessert at ice cream parlors. Or ice cream for breakfast, one leisurely morning. 

They play chess at the Muggle park. Ron is really quite good, even with inanimate chessmen. They visit a Muggle cinema, which Draco reluctantly admits to enjoying. They see a local band play at a bar. 

Draco’s never spent so much time around Muggles. 

In fact. He hasn’t spent so much time in any public setting these past four years. And he’s missed it, even if it isn’t Wizarding circles. Even if it means greasy food and bad music. 

Even if it means his traitorous heart skipping a beat when Ron grins at him.

“He must be great in the sack,” Astoria comments one August afternoon. 

Draco and Astoria are taking a stroll through the rose garden while their parents talk weddings and grandchildren in the parlor. Draco can’t help but wonder if he and Astoria will marry. The prospect never seemed so scary before, but now…

Now it bothers him.

“Potter’s trained him well,” Draco says with more amusement than he feels. He doesn’t like to think of Potter. Does not like to remember that Potter is the reason this all began. Does not like to remember that Weasley belongs to Potter. 

Draco’s never hated him more, and never felt so reluctant to punish him. 

“Hmm,” Astoria says, her tone far more knowing than Draco cares to hear. “You know, it needn’t ruin anything.” At Draco’s dubious look, she explains, “It won’t have to come from you, darling. We’ll say it was an anonymous source. We can have Blaise spill the beans about your birthday.” She gives his arm a little pat and her eyes sparkle excitedly. “He can’t blame you at all. Potter will be devastated. And, if all goes well, he’ll leave Ron all sad and alone for you to pick up and dust off.” When Draco doesn’t respond, she gives him a little shake. “He’ll be all yours, Draco darling! I’ll have my story and you’ll have your revenge and your lover. And Weasley, well. He’ll be out from under Potter’s shadow. Everyone wins!” 

“Right,” Draco says dully. Everyone. Astoria will have the story of her life, and Draco can’t fault her for wanting it. She’s been sitting on this secret for months for Draco’s sake. And it’s true that Potter will be hurt. Heartbroken. It’s precisely what Draco wanted. Worse still for Potter to know how easy it was to seduce his boyfriend. For him to know that Ron kept coming back for more. 

And maybe Potter will leave Ron. And maybe Draco can claim Ron as his own. For some reason, this is more tempting than the revenge is. To have Ron all to himself. To not have to think about Ron crawling back into Potter’s bed. To not see the smiling couple on the covers of magazines. 

But Ron will be hurt. Ron will be heartbroken. Ron stands to lose his best friend of over a decade. The man he loves. Ron stands to lose the respect of his friends and family. And the general public. Ron stands to be publicly humiliated. 

It’s Ron who will pay the price more than Potter will. The knowledge of this twists painfully in Draco’s gut. 

“Please don’t run the story,” Draco whispers. 

Astoria sighs dramatically. “I won’t.”

“No, I mean ever.” 

They stop in the garden path. Astoria takes him by both shoulders, her blue eyes searching his face. Draco can’t meet her gaze, but whatever she sees is enough.

“Oh shit, Draco,” she says and she hugs him. 

In September, Ron visits the apothecary with a brown sack lunch. There are homemade sandwiches, crisps, apples, and lukewarm butterbeer. Draco clears off his desk and spells the door locked. 

“Are you gonna be his apprentice or something?” Ron asks once he’s demolished two sandwiches. At Draco’s confused look, Ron clarifies, “Snape, I mean.” 

“Merlin, no,” Draco says. “Me? A potions master? Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite good, but do you know what those fumes to your skin? Your hair? And do I look like the sort of wizard who wants to be trapped in dark, smelly places all day every day?” He runs careful fingers through his fair hair, reassuring it that he won’t let harm come to it. “I wouldn’t be even this close to potions if I had any other choice.” 

And, chances were, he might one day break down and ask for an apprenticeship. At least potions master has more prestige than apothecary manager. Oh Merlin. Draco hasn’t thought that far ahead. Is this really what he’s going to do his whole life? 

Ron’s brows furrow. “What do you mean, you don’t have a choice?” 

Draco quirks his brow. “You’re not serious?” Ron glares at him. Draco rolls his eyes. “Death Eater, remember?” Ron had thrown that insult in his face early on, but hasn’t since the first time. Though Draco was well used to hearing it, somehow coming from Ron was worse and he visibly flinched in response. Now Ron sticks to pleasanter insults like ‘pointy nosed git’ and ‘spoiled mummy’s boy.’ “No one wants to hire a Death Eater. Except Severus, of course.” 

Severus Snape, rescuer of Death Eaters and Death Eater spawn. Pansy and Greg have both worked here in the past, as well as Flora’s twin sister Hestia. Theo actually is apprenticing, helping to fill simpler orders while Severus works on more complex potions. 

It’s no wonder people come in to gawk. It’s called the Death Eater Zoo or Voldemort’s Apothecary by self-congratulatory bigots. It has a reputation for poor customer service, but high quality potions. Severus approves of the former reputation, partly from amusement, and partly to encourage his employees to defend themselves. 

Of course, there are those who patronize the apothecary out of respect for Severus. Harry Potter fills all his potions needs at Snape’s Apothecary, and is happy to tell anyone who will listen. And his ongoing support of Severus, and determination that he be seen as a hero, has prompted others to stop by. Granger and Longbottom are other important customers. Molly Weasley herself has stopped by on occasion, for potions she could not brew herself. 

“Are you — are you serious?” 

“Do you think I’d be here if I had other options? I thought you knew me,” Draco teases.

Ron has that gaping fish look again and Draco picks at his sandwich rather than look at him. 

“I — ahem. Well, what — what would you do if — if you could?” Ron asks. 

Draco shrugs. “I wanted to be a healer, but…” The words are on the tip of his tongue, and try as he might to swallow them back, they fall out anyway. “They preferred Potter over me, can you imagine?” 

“Merlin,” Ron breathes. 

Draco had been better qualified in every way, he wants to say. Wants to remind Ron that Potter had to hire Severus to tutor him in potions. To tell him how grating it had been to see Potter turn up several times a week in the trainee healer robes that had been meant for Draco. 

Instead, he says, “Working for the bank might be nice. Or…well,” this one’s a bit embarrassing, but he ploughs on and confesses, “apprenticing with Malkin or Twilfitt would be nice.” 

Ron grins. “My little fashionista.” 

Of course, there’s no good in dreaming about what cannot be. The apothecary is what Draco has. Maybe one day he will find work elsewhere, but he’ll never be a healer or a banker or a fashion designer. 

“What about you, then? The Auror force wasn’t all it was cracked up to be?” Draco asks. 

The look on Ron’s face tells him he isn’t pleased by the change in subject, but he allows it. “I guess not. I dunno. I liked it well enough, but I kept thinking about what Harry said when he left. About how he’d done enough fighting in his life. That always stuck with me, and when George offered me co-ownership of the shop, well…I didn’t know I’d be a glorified stock boy.” He rolls his eyes and Draco snickers. “But…it’s family, you know? And it’s fun. I dunno if I made the right decision. Law enforcement is important work. Feels a bit silly to work at a joke shop after everything, but…” Ron struggles to finish the sentence and after a moment just shrugs. 

That was the most galling part of Potter’s most recent career change. Law enforcement and medicine were important careers. Helpful. Spreading more good in the world, as all proper do-gooders should. But the hero abandoned the fight, fled to St. Mungo’s to mend rather than destroy. Now he does neither. Now he flies on a broom all day (another excellent career choice Draco will never have), chasing snitches and basking in applause. 

With Ron’s perspective, Draco can maybe understand. The war had left its mark on them all. They might be the heroes, but they had fulfilled their duty. Why continue to fight if they didn’t have to? Doesn’t Ron deserve a bit of joy? A bit of laughter every day? Doesn’t he deserve to be safe? 

“Isn’t it a little tempting to be a kept man? We both know Potter can afford it,” Draco teases, not for the first time. It’s lost its effect over time and Ron only snorts and stuffs a third sandwich into his mouth.

Draco wants to pry. Wants to know more about their relationship. About why he stays with Potter. 

Wants to know, and is scared to know. And is scared of pushing Ron away. Instead he takes a bite of his apple and chews it for a long time.

They have another weekend getaway in October and Draco splurges on a nicer venue. They share champagne and fruit in a large bath and don’t get clean at all, because the champagne and the fruit fall into the tub when Ron decides to fuck him. After, Ron cuddles him in the cold, filthy water while Draco complains about his sore elbows and knees, about how they wasted expensive champagne, how the water is polluted with come and juice. Ron grumbles about how high maintenance he is and kisses his temple.  

When they finally regain energy, Ron picks him up and tosses him still wet into the bed and pounces on him. Hauls him into all fours and takes him. Ron doesn’t bother with cleaning spells after, and Draco is too blissed out to complain about sleeping on wet sheets or the come that dries on his thighs. (He does when he wakes up, though, and Ron is too half asleep to be charmed by it. They have a nice row that ends with Ron coming on his face and Draco coming down Ron’s throat.) 

Only when Ron’s properly exhausted Sunday night can Draco manage a proper shower in peace. He sleeps on the couch to retain his cleanliness. Ron squeezes in to join him in the middle of the night. It’s a tight fit, but Ron is warm and smells like home so Draco cuddles closer. 

By Monday, Draco is exhausted and sore and stupidly happy. His good mood is dashed that afternoon when Flora pops her head in to warn him that Potter is there. 

Draco doesn’t come out of his office, not even to use the restroom, for the rest of the day, but Potter is everywhere after that. He pops into the apothecary several times in the following weeks, and when Draco heads to the joke shop he sees Potter through the window. Ron and George are behind the counter with Harry and Ginny in front of it and the four of them are laughing and something clenches in Draco’s chest. 

Maybe Ron is fucking Draco, and maybe they play chess and dance and argue about Quidditch, but Potter is the one he shares his life with and the one who’s part of his family. 

Potter’s the one he shares covers of magazines with. Witch Weekly has a shot of them laughing together in the grocery store with a reminder about how maddeningly in love they are and speculating whether Ron will propose soon. Astoria gives him a sympathetic pat to his shoulder when he sees. 

Potter’s the one he’s in love with, Draco remembers bitterly when he sees them in the Leaky Cauldron. It’s a Friday night and Draco’s there with Blaise. They pass by Ron and Potter’s table on the way to their own. Ron is slouched casually in his chair while Potter is leaning forward, chatting animatedly. Ron’s eyes meet his as they pass, then flick to Blaise and he frowns. Draco eyes Potter who looks up at him with a scowl. 

“He’ll never leave Boy Wonder for you, you know,” Blaise tells him when they’re seated.

“I know,” says Draco. 

And if Blaise hopes the reminder will tempt Draco into his bed, it doesn’t work. Draco returns to the manor alone and thinks about Ron falling into bed with his boyfriend. And wonders if he’s picked out a ring. And he wonders what his voice sounds like when he tells Potter he loves him. And wonders if Ron tells Potter how pretty he is in bed. 

And he wonders if he made a mistake, telling Astoria not to run the story. If he made a mistake sparing Ron at the expense of his own heart. 

But he doesn’t take it back. He curls up around his pillow and tries (and fails) to sleep.

In a state of sleep-deprived insanity (and unbearable insecurity), Draco owls Ron the following morning. What surge of insanity drives Ron to accepting his invitation, Draco isn’t sure, but he does know he is surprised and stupidly pleased when Ron steps out of his Floo. Ron’s eyes flit nervously around the sitting room as Draco stares at his pale, freckled face. He doesn’t look as if he slept any better than Draco. Potter probably kept him up all night, the lucky bastard…

Any ill will he harbors towards Potter is forgotten when Ron surges forward and swoops Draco into a needy kiss. Draco squeaks into his mouth and tries to hold on as Ron backs him towards the couch. “No! Ron, take me to bed!” 

“I want you now!

Ron’s still pressing him against the arm of the couch, so Draco shoves at his chest and growls, “Bed!” 

Fine!” Ron shouts. Draco yelps as Ron grabs him and hauls him over his shoulder. “Where’s the bloody bed?”

Ron’s shoulder digs hard into Draco’s stomach, and both his legs and head hit the doorframe as Ron carries him from the room. Draco slaps at his arse and yells at him to “Be careful!” Draco’s too tense and uncomfortable to enjoy being carried like this. Couldn’t Ron have carried him bridal style instead? It is surely more dignified and less painful than this?

Still, it is a good position in which to grope Ron’s arse. And it is a fine display of Ron’s strength. Particularly when Ron throws him onto the bed of the nearest guest room. There’s something a bit thrilling about being tossed around like a ragdoll, though he still glares at Ron and calls him a careless brute. 

“I thought you liked it,” Ron retorts and since Draco does, he kisses Ron rather than confess. 

Ron rips into Draco’s clothes. The dragonhide boots are thrown across the room, the button of his trousers pops off, and he swears he hears a tear in his silk shirt. “Ronald!” Draco sputters and quickly runs his fingers through his ruffled hair. “Show some respect!” 

Ron pays as little regard to his own clothing, tearing them off and dumping them to the floor, but his entire wardrobe likely cost less than Draco’s one outfit. Draco points this out, of course, but Ron ignores him. Rather than speak, Ron shoves him onto his back and crawls over him to kiss him silent. 

It’s as Ron kisses down his neck and chest that Draco realizes he’s shirtless. Ron mouths at his scars and Draco’s hands fly to shaggy ginger hair, but he uses his grip to pull Ron closer rather than shove him away. Draco stares up at the ceiling, heart racing, head buzzing. Daylight is pouring in through the window and Ron can see him and is kissing him there. 

Is here with him, flaws exposed, rather than perfect pretty Potter. 

“Are you fucking Zabini?” Ron asks. The words are muffled against Draco’s skin, but he’s not moving now. His fingers clench and unclench against Draco’s ribs, his breath stuttered against Draco’s spit-slick skin. 

Ron is jealous. Vindictive pleasure courses through Draco, as well as the terrible urge to encourage it. Equally, he wants to swear that no, he’s not, he doesn’t even want anyone else. Hasn’t thought of anyone else or even looked at anyone else since this began. 

The “no” he gives is embarrassing enough, but Ron relaxes against him and continues kissing his way down Draco’s stomach. So Draco says, “Just you,” like a fool and sighs when Ron licks broadly up his cock. 

“Have you? Fucked him, I mean,” Ron asks. His tongue flicks out against the head of his cock and Draco can’t stop himself from hissing, “Yes.” 

Draco has questions of his own. Was there anyone before Potter? Anyone besides Draco he’s cheated with? Must be. He fell to Draco’s charms too easily and has no shame with regards to his indiscretions. Draco hopes not. He hopes he’s the only one that could draw Ron away from his beloved. He hopes he’s special to Ron in that way. That he has some claim to Ron, however pitiful. 

But Draco stops thinking of anything with Ron’s mouth on him. With his slick fingers probing inside of him. Readying him for more. Draco’s fingers tangle in Ron’s hair, pushing him down onto his cock as he pushes himself down onto Ron’s fingers. He can’t think of anything but how badly he wants Ron, how he needs him. 

Too soon, Ron grabs Draco’s wrists and pulls his hands away. He holds them firm and crawls up to pin them on either side of Draco’s head. He dips down to kiss Draco’s bare forearm, then a lingering kiss to the faded Dark Mark. Draco stills beneath him and turns his head to look. Ron gives it a second, gentler kiss then moves to Draco’s lips. 

“Do you want him?” Ron asks. 

Draco’s brows furrow. “Who?” 

Ron frowns down at him. Blue eyes are so full of so many emotions that Draco blinks slowly, sobering by the second. He never has a chance to pull his thoughts together because Ron kisses him again. And again and again as one hand reaches down to guide himself inside. Draco keens into his mouth. Clings to his back and shoulders. Winds his legs around Ron’s waist and uses them to pull Ron deeper and deeper. 

It’s almost too much. Ron’s bare skin against his. Ron’s arms around him. Ron’s cock inside of him. Ron panting into his mouth, into his neck. Ron breathing, “Draco, fuck,” into his ear. Too much pleasure spreading through him, too much when he’s so vulnerable. Too much of Ron that he holds closer, knowing he’ll never stay. 

It’s worse than the first time in the hotel. But he doesn’t tell Ron to stop. Instead he says, “More. Please. Ron. More.” 

The jealousy and insecurity never fade, but Draco lives with them. It’s easy to ignore the worst of it. Draco has actively ignored many unpleasantries over the years. At least these come with a gift. On the whole, Draco is the happiest he’s been in far too long. 

Now he has Ron’s smiles to balance out the glares of strangers. And Ron’s embrace to chase away the chill of of angry slurs. There are games of chess beneath a clear blue sky to look forward to when he spends too much time is his dimly lit office. There are nights laying in bed with Ron, side by side, fully clothed, listening to music, and he calls that peace to mind when facing the most vengeful customers. 

Magazines like Witch Weekly and Cosmic Chronicle continues sharing rumors about Ron and Potter that Draco can barely stand to look at. Draco isn’t sure why Witch Weekly considers their ice cream date newsworthy, or their double dates with Granger and Delacour, or Ron’s appearance at Potter’s first game. They speculate about weddings and children and more. 

Just after the new year, Cosmic Chronicle hits on the truth. There is a photograph from the Peacock Room of a tall ginger and a slim blond on the dance floor. Draco knows it’s them, and the Chronicle names them. But even the movement of the photograph never gives a good view of their faces. No other publication shares the story, dedicated as they are to their beloved ‘Rarry.’ And when Draco asks what Potter had to say, Ron shrugs sheepishly and says, “He didn’t believe it.” 

Still, Potter must suspect something. He’s a frequent customer at the apothecary. Flora tracks his purchases at Draco’s request. Dreamless Sleep, Skele-Gro, migraine relief, muscle relaxers, lubricant. Flavored lube, charmed lube, glow-in-the-dark lube, a little of everything and it has Draco seething and quite sick to his stomach. 

It is near Valentine’s Day when Potter comes to restock his lube. (How is Ron keeping up with both Draco’s and Potter’s sex drives? Maybe Draco should have Flora track Ron’s purchases, too.) Flora is sick that day, leaving Draco to suffer the masses.

And there he stands, behind a grumbling middle aged woman. Potter makes a big show of looking anywhere but at Draco. Surely the jars and vials aren’t that interesting. The customer, on the other hand, has eyes only for Draco. Narrowed hazel eyes tracking his every movement. Careful hands that try not to touch his when he takes her money. Hands that scrub vigorously at her robes when their fingers accidentally brush. Draco knows his face is pink and he hates that it is and he gives the customer his nastiest smile in return. 

“The filth they let in…I never…” she mumbles under her breath. 

There is a wall, of sorts, in his head to block these interactions out. They bounce off and don’t burrow any deeper. Worse insults are slapped away. He feels like his mind develops hands to bat at their words. Anything to keep them at the surface. Somewhat aware, without letting them in. 

It doesn’t always work.

“You know, there’s an apothecary on Diagon,” Potter says. 

Draco and the customer both turn to him in surprise. Potter smiles coldly at the customer. “Plenty of other places to do your business, yeah? Places where you don’t have to abuse the staff?” 

The customer leaves without another word and without her change. Potter places his little vial on the counter as Draco takes his time putting the sickles back into the till. Breathing steadily. 

“I don’t think Severus would appreciate you driving off his customers,” Draco remarks acidly. 

Potter smirks. “I’m sure Severus wouldn’t mind driving off a few himself.”

Which is true enough, so Draco sniffs and gives him his total. And for all Potter has been sniffing around the apothecary, he doesn’t ask any questions or level any accusations. He does stare steadily at Draco when Draco isn’t looking. And Draco is too scared to look at him much. He feels those eyes on him. And though Potter was always pants with mind magic, Draco gathers all of his memories of Ron in a protective shield. Just in case. 

Potter nods at him before he leaves and Draco watches him go. He thinks, belatedly, that he should have thanked Potter. And that he should feel something other than anger at his interference. 

No one asked Potter to step in. Draco’s never asked for Potter’s help at all. It isn’t his fault Potter is such a do-gooder. And Draco hates him for that, too. For being so good. So pure. So bloody perfect. 

Only he’s not so good. Not so pure. Not so perfect. 

Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year. Draco ignores the newstands for his own sanity. And celebrates by letting Ron rut between his thighs on his lunch break. And because Ron will surely be busy tonight, Draco makes plans with Astoria instead, to sulk about their failed love lives. She’ll let him mope about Ron, and he’ll listen to her whine about Gabrielle or Ginny or whatever bird she has her eye on these days. They’ll drink themselves silly and eat chocolate until they’re sick and it will be a fabulous bonding experience, Draco is sure. 

It is on his way to Astoria’s that Draco remembers leaving his cashmere scarf in the office. It’s not cold enough to need the scarf, but it’s new and soft and he wants to show Astoria. Besides, it’s expensive and he’s not leaving it there all weekend. 

He has a key, of course. He doesn’t think twice about heading right for his office. 

But the door is half closed. And he hears voices. 

Draco’s steps slow. He can’t make out the words, but it sounds like an argument. Severus’ voice is unmistakable. 

Curiosity (and fear for his scarf), drive Draco forward. 

The voices are quieter, but no less intense. Draco hardly dares to breathe as he inches closer. His hand is on his wand, just in case (though what he can do that Severus can’t, he doesn’t know.) 

“Severus, please. I need you,” the second voice says. Only then does he recognize who it is. That it’s Potter. 

“You foolish — arrogant — !” barks Severus. Through the crack in the door, Draco spots Severus advancing on Potter. Watches Potter reach out tug him forward. Potter’s hands in Severus’ hair, Potter pressed up on his toes to reach Severus’ mouth, Potter kissing Severus. 

And Severus kissing him back. His arms wound tight around Potter’s middle.  Kissing him like he’s the air he needs to breathe. 

Draco can’t look away. Can’t move. Can’t even think as Severus groans into Potter’s mouth. As Potter scrabbles ever closer. As Severus bends his knees to scoop Potter up. Draco blinks as they disappear from sight. From the sound of it, he imagines Severus has deposited Potter onto his desk. There’s a soft sigh. Then a whine. The rustling of robes. A murmured word from Severus that Draco can’t make out. Potter saying, “Please. It’s been too long. Please.

The scarf can wait, Draco decides, and quietly retreats (and silently prays he won’t find stains on his scarf come Monday. Or anywhere else, for that matter.) 

Potter and Severus? Draco presses his hand to his mouth against an incredulous laugh. 

Potter cheating on Ron. 

Potter cheating on Ron with Severus. 

If Potter is going to cheat on his attractive, kind, funny boyfriend, why would he choose such an older, unattractive lover? Blaise would take Potter to bed in a heartbeat, Draco knows. Between his fame, fortune, and moderate looks, Potter could have his choice of partners. 

It’s a little insulting to Ron, actually, that Potter didn’t choose better. Though Draco supposes it’s insulting that Potter would cheat on him at all. 

He’ll be heartbroken, Draco thinks. He could be mine. This will devastate him. I could have him. 

Draco stumbles out of the apothecary in a panicked daze. He rubs his eyes. Quite forgets where he’s going or what he should be doing. Advice, he thinks. Astoria. Astoria will know what to do. Astoria — 

“There you are!” 

Draco’s heart sinks.

Ron stands at the corner of Knockturn and Diagon and smiles at him nervously. Blue eyes flick to passersby. Freckled face turns pinker and pinker. Draco swallows around a lump in his throat. 

He can’t let Ron see them. He has to get him away. 

(Or he can urge him to go inside. Can ask Ron to accompany him in retrieving his scarf.) 

Ron frowns. “Are you alright?” 

Draco doesn’t know what to do. He needs Astoria. He does not need Ron, but Ron is here, and Draco can’t stop himself from shaking his head. Can’t quite form words. 

Ron reaches out for him when Draco draws nearer. Firm hands steady him as serious eyes peer at him. “What’s the matter? Draco? What happened?”  

“Nothing, I — there’s something — can we — somewhere private — “

“Yeah…Yeah, c’mon.” 

Really, he should talk to Astoria first. But he already knows what Astoria would say, doesn’t he? She’d slap him upside the head and tell him to drag Ron into the apothecary. And probably ask him to get a picture while he was at it. 

Ron steers him down the street towards the joke shop. Ron never lets go of his elbow. Draco is vaguely aware of George and Angelina watching them. Ron leads him towards the back of the shop, but nudges him towards an unfamiliar staircase and up to his brother’s flat. Places a jar of Floo powder in his hands. 

“Number 12 Grimmauld Place. I’m right behind you,” Ron says. 

Perhaps he should have been clearer that he’s safe, that there’s nothing really wrong with him. He let Ron guide him down Diagon and through Wheezes and it only occurs to him when he steps out of the fireplace that he’s in Potter’s home. At least Potter will be preoccupied for a bit. 

When Ron steps out of the Floo, he doesn’t stop until he’s in front of Draco, cupping his face, eyes searching. “Draco, what is it? Are you sure you’re alright?” 

Draco swallows. “I — yes, I just. I have to tell you…” 

This is going to crush Ron and Draco knows it and he hates himself for starting this conversation. Things have been fine as they are. He was fine to let them continue. But this is his chance, he thinks. Potter has someone else. Ron has someone else. Surely they’ll realize they don’t belong together. 

This is his chance, and he can’t let it go. 

“I saw Potter. With Severus,” Draco says. Ron’s brows furrow. “They were — they’re —“ Draco swallows. “They’re together. They’re probably shagging on my desk as we speak.” 

Ron’s jaw drops. “S-Snape? Harry and Snape?” 

“I saw them kiss and Severus carried him to the desk,” Draco explains in a rush. “It’s…it must be ongoing. Potter — he said, ‘it’s been too long’, or something like that.” 

“Merlin. I’m going to be sick,” Ron says. He sinks down onto the couch and rubs his face. Draco gingerly sits beside him and awkwardly pats his knee. He isn’t sure the proper protocol for informing one’s lover that their boyfriend is cheating on them. “Are you sure?” When Draco nods, Ron cringes. “But he’s so — so greasy. And — and rude.” 

“I know,” Draco says sympathetically. So unlike Ron, who is soft and vibrant and warm. 

“I can’t believe he didn’t tell me,” Ron mutters. 


“I mean, it’s not like I’ve told him about you,” Ron concedes. “But — c’mon! I’ve been worried about how to tell him, and he’s screwing Snape!

Draco blinks rapidly as his brain attempts to process this information. “You were going to tell him about me?”

“Uh, yeah,” Ron admits nervously. His eyes fall to the floor and he rubs the back of his neck in such a shy manner that Draco would kiss him silly if he wasn’t so confused. “You’re…well, important to me, Draco. You’re both important to me, so I was…Well, I dunno. I hadn’t fully figured it out yet.” 

Draco shifts around to get a better look at Ron. The green tinge to his face is gone and steadily reddening. He looks to be working up a proper rant, so Draco speaks before he can get going. “You’re upset he didn’t tell you?” 

“Well, yeah!”

“Not that he’s…actually sleeping with Snape?” 

“Well, that’s pretty gross, yeah.” 

Still, there is something not quite right with Ron’s statement. “But you were going to tell him about me?”

Ron stares blankly at him. “Um. Yeah?”

“So it’s…?” How to ask this without it coming across wrong? “You have an open relationship, then?” 

Briefly, Ron looks more confused than ever, but his expression soon hardens and he shifts away from Draco. “What?”


Growing horror and disgust in his bright blue eyes. “You think I’m with Harry?” Draco’s mouth opens, but nothing comes out. This is happening too quickly for his brain to keep up. Ron stands and moves to the other side of the room in a fury. “You think I’m with Harry? You think I’m cheating on you? No, no. No. You think I’m cheating on Harry with you, is that it?” 

Furious heat reddens Ron’s face and neck while Draco feels his own color drain away as coldness spreads within. Oh no. No, no, no. 

“You think I would cheat on someone I love?” Ron shouts. “Who do you think I am?” Ron laughs bitterly. “No, no, I know. The question is: who the fuck are you? What kind of lousy scumbag sleeps with someone’s boyfriend, eh?” 

Draco shrinks against the couch as Ron advances on him. No, no, no, no, no. He’s going to be sick. 

“Is this how Slytherins get their rocks off, huh? Screwing with people’s lives?” Ron demands. 

“Ron, wait,” Draco rasps. To his horror, he can feel tears pricking his eyes. He sits up straighter and Ron backs away as soon as he moves. “What was I supposed to think? The whole world thinks you’re an item! You’ve never denied it.” 

“We don’t talk to the press!”

“You let everyone think it, Ron! And — you’re always having double dates with Granger and Delacour!”

“Hermione’s our friend! Fleur’s part of the package now. That doesn’t make it a ‘double date’ that makes it — it’s just friends hanging out!”

“And you’re always on dates on your own, too! Dinners and ice creams and — and Quidditch matches, before Potter was playing!”

That’s because we’re friends, Draco!” Ron shouts. “I know you don’t know what it’s like having friends, but friends generally do things together.” 

“And you’re always running off to meet him. You live with him! And the way you look at him! You can’t tell me there’s nothing there!”

“Harry and I are not together!” Ron shouts. “No matter how much I wanted it, he was never interested in me! I spent years in love with him! Like a bloody idiot! Then you came along and —“ 

Draco holds his breath as his traitorous heart leaps hopefully. Ron laughs again, that cold lifeless laugh, as he rubs his face. “Bloody hell. Draco, you — you changed everything. And it didn’t mean anything, did it? You’re only with me because of Harry, aren’t you? What? Did you want information? Revenge? Was it a prank? What the fuck was this, Draco? What the fuck have you been doing the past…what’s it been? Nine months?” 

“Ron, no, I —“ He could lie. He could. It would be better to deny all charges. Ron isn’t with Harry, of course he isn’t. Ron’s too good. It never made sense that it had been so easy. And he seems as if he cares for Draco, and that’s what he wants. He wants Ron to love him. He wants Ron for himself. 

And he hates himself for it, because he so clearly doesn’t deserve Ron. 

“I’m sorry,” Draco whispers. “I just — Ron, I love you.

“Don’t!” Ron snaps. “Don’t you dare. Don’t fucking say that.” 

“Ron, please.” 

“Get out!”

“No! Listen. Ron, wait! You don’t understand. I didn’t do anything. I wanted to hurt him — “

“Draco, leave!

“— but then I couldn’t hurt you, so I didn’t. See? I could have ended this all ages ago, but I didn’t, because I love you!”

“So what was tonight then, huh?” Ron demands. His eyes have always reminded Draco of summer skies, warm and bright. Tonight they are hard and cold as sapphires. Beautiful, yes, but distant. Draco reaches out to him, but Ron jerks away from him. “You came here to rub it in my face that my ‘boyfriend’ was cheating on me.” 

“That’s not what it was! You deserved to know!” Draco defended. “You deserve better!”

“Do I?” Ron snaps. “The lowlife that cheats on the man he loves, he just deserves the world, doesn’t he? That’s what you think of me, isn’t it? Disloyal bastards like us really deserve each other, don’t they?”

Draco’s face crumbles and he ducks his head. Ron looks away from him. As if the sight of Draco is more than he can stand. Being Draco is more than Draco can stand. He is cold and sick and dizzy. Everything is frozen. Unable to think. Or act. Words are beyond him now. 

What he wants more than anything is the warm safety of Ron’s arms. But Ron is closed to him now. Ron’s arms are folded across his chest and he stands tall and firm against Draco. 

“You need to leave,” Ron says after a moment. 

And because Draco can do nothing else, he does. The tattered remains of his pride and his hope and his heart stay behind as he Floos away. 

He is in tears when he falls out of the Greengrasses’ Floo. Daphne finds him and shouts for her sister. The three lock themselves in the drawing room with Daphne pouring the wine as Astoria holds Draco and strokes his hair and coos comforting words at him. 

Draco wants his mum. Her floral perfume. Her soft hair and her soothing voice. He wants his mum but he’s too ashamed to tell her what he’s done. 

Astoria’s nearly as nice. Her breast is just as soft. Her hair the same golden blond. And she loves him, however rotten he is. 

“I fucked up, Stori,” he sobs. “I fucked up so fucking bad.”

“Shhh. Draco, it’s alright. You’re only human. People make mistakes. It’s alright. It’ll be alright.” Astoria kisses the top of his head and holds onto him tighter. Draco squeezes his eyes shut. Tears streak down his cheek and onto Astoria’s pale pink robes. They’re silk. He tries to turn his face away, but Astoria gently presses him back down. “It’ll be okay. Everything works out in the end, my love.” 

But things don’t always work out, do they? And Draco’s mistakes have never been fixed. Never forgiven. He pays for them all to this day. 

There are no more nights at the Peacock Room. No more chess at the park. No surprise lunches in his office. Or weekends at the hotel. 

Draco has only his office. He tracks their inventory and marks their expenses. He brings his own lunch and eats alone. On weekends he stays with Astoria and drinks wine and lets their mothers gossip about wedding bells. 

Their unsubtle hints worry the open wounds of his heart. Because he can’t help but think of a future he might have had, if he hadn’t been so stupid and so selfish. Can admit to himself, now, how he wants a future with Ron. How he would have been happy spending the rest of his life with the tasteless, tactless prat. 

And though Astoria tries not to mention her blossoming romance with Ginny Weasley, Draco encourages it. Because that hurts, too, and he wants it to hurt. Astoria can have the Weasley of her dreams and Draco can’t. 

Ron is more out of reach now than when Draco thought he was with Potter. And that’s one more knife to the gut, isn’t it, the article that comes out the week after? 

RARRY ROMANCE A FARCE! is on every headline. 

“We didn’t think we owed it to anyone to comment on the true nature of our relationship,” Potter is quoted as saying. “The public made its assumptions, and we didn’t correct them. Our private lives are no one’s business but our own. Only, it’s recently come to our attention that this misleading information has hurt people close to us, which is why we wanted to clarify: Ron and I are best friends, nothing more.” 

Severus hasn’t said a word to Draco. Draco isn’t sure what he would say or do if Severus tried. He doesn’t know what Severus thinks of him and what he’s done. And Draco can’t help but wonder what Severus has thought all this time. If things are serious between him and Potter. If it ever bothered him, seeing Potter with Ron on the covers of magazines. If he’s ever been jealous. Or hurt. 

And he wonders, when Potter keeps coming round, if it was for Severus all along. Or if, maybe, he had an inkling about Ron and Draco, and (rightfully) mistrusted Draco. If he’s waiting even now for a chance to hex Draco on Ron’s behalf. 

Draco’s tempted to let him, when Flora warns him of Potter’s presence. But when Potter pokes his head in five minutes later, Draco tenses. One hand flings off his thin reading glasses while the other flies to his wand. He’s feeling emotionally masochistic, but he’s decided he doesn’t actually want to be hexed or cursed. 

It isn’t fair that Potter manages to look so menacing when he glares, short and scrawny and bespectacled as he is. Potter leans casually against the doorframe, as if he owns the place (and, sure, why not? He is shagging the owner, after all.) “Severus says you’ve been moping,” Potter informs him uncomfortably. 

“I have not!” Draco shrieks. 

Potter’s lips twitch and Draco glares at him, mentally dares him to laugh. Instead, Potter schools his expression and crosses his arms. “Do you actually love him, then?” 

That is none of your concern,” Draco retorts. 

Potter appears unimpressed by this. “Right.” He hesitates. Appears to wrestle with something. Then sighs, and turns to leave.

“Has he said anything? Is he alright?” Draco blurts. 

For a moment, Potter considers him, and Draco wants to bite his head off. It’s been weeks since he’s seen or heard from Ron, and Draco needs to know. 

“You should talk to him,” Potter says. 


Potter does laugh, then, and Draco scowls at him petulantly. “I was coming here to tell you that, anyway. The two of you need to talk.” He watches Draco another moment before reluctantly adding. “You’re not the only one who’s been moping.” Then, a glare. “But if you hurt him again…”

“What? You’ll Expelliarmus me?” Draco snorts.

“No. I’ll have Severus poison you.” Potter gives him a winning smile and steps out of the door.

“Wait! Potter! Did you two actually shag on my desk? Potter! Come back here! I need to know!” 

Gryffindors might be the brave ones, but Weasleys are stubborn. Ron must have received the same nudge from his not-boyfriend, but he doesn’t act on it. Draco goes right home after work and waits hopefully by the fire, but Ron never comes.

As he trudges up to bed, sad and alone, he reminds himself of the hope Potter gave him. Potter urged him to talk to Ron. Potter told him that Ron was moping. He can’t wait around for Ron and run the risk of losing him for good. It’s time for him to take advantage while he still can.

Malfoy pride works against Draco, but it’s his Slytherin ambition that drives him forward. However difficult the task, and however little he might deserve Ron, he can’t give up. Malfoys take what they want. He can always work on the deserving bit after. 

The next morning, when she brings by coffee, Astoria seems pleasantly surprised by Draco’s burst of energy. He feels more awake, more present, than he has in a long time. He greets her with a kiss on the cheek and a sly smile that has her beaming. 

“Stori, how does one go about romancing Weasleys?” Draco asks her cheerily.

‘Romancing’, not ‘seducing’?” Astoria teases.

Draco scoffs. “Well. Clearly I’m good at that.

“Too good,” Astoria agrees and pinches his chin. “Hmm. Well, you might try for a little open honesty.” Draco blanches and Astoria nods sympathetically. “Tragically unsubtle, these Gryffindors. And food. He likes to eat, that one.” She smirks. “Stores it in his arms, does he?”

“I daresay what isn’t feeding his cock is feeding his arms, yes,” Draco agrees and chuckles when Astoria slaps his arm. 

“Pick a fight. Air out your grievances. But keep a cool head,” Astoria tells him, very businesslike. “Control the situation. Insult him a little, but not too much. Round it all up with a pretty ‘I love you’ bow and have fabulous makeup sex. Then live happily ever after.” 

“I said ‘talk to him’ not ‘yell at him’,” chimes in a third voice.

Draco hadn’t even heard the bell above the door, but there’s Potter, stepping up beside them with a frown. His hands are shoved into his coat pockets and Draco eyes them, wondering if his wand is at hand. 

“We’re not open yet,” Draco informs him primly. 

Potter eyes Astoria pointedly, who in turn tsks and loops her arm through his. “Relax, hero. We’re plotting romantic gestures.” 

“You could try, oh, I dunno. Dinner,” Potter supplies. “Flowers.” 

Draco rolls his eyes, but Astoria perks up. “Would he like flowers, do you think?” Potter laughs and Astoria gives his arm a shake. “Would Ginny like flowers?” 

“Thank you for the coffee, Astoria,” Draco says with a shooing motion. Astoria (very maturely) pokes her tongue out at him, gives Potter a cheeky little curtsy, then trots off. 

When she has to unlock the door to let herself out, Draco smirks at Potter who blushes. The blush deepens when Severus sweeps downstairs and barks at Draco to get to work and for Potter to get the hell out, they don’t open until eight a.m. 

As if Potter hadn’t obviously spent the night in the flat upstairs. 

“You’ll talk to him, yeah?” Potter prompts. 

“Yes. I will come round tonight, if that is amenable?” 

“Yeah, sure,” Potter agrees. Green eyes flit to Severus, who meets his gaze, just before Potter turns to leave. Severus’ eyes follow him out the door and Draco cannot stop from grinning.

“Good for you, sir,” Draco says.

Severus glowers at him. “I do hope you plan on working today rather than mooning about.” 

“I do not moon!” Draco snaps. Severus snorts unkindly as he heads to his basement workroom. “I don’t!” 

Ron glares when he sees Draco at Grimmauld Place that night. Glares at him, then glares at Harry (“You might as well call me Harry, if you’re gonna stick around”), who he is sharing a glass of wine with. 

Ron makes quite a show of huffing and puffing as he jerks off his coat and throws it onto the empty armchair. He stomps out of the living room without a word. 

“I told you surprising him was a bad idea,” Harry says.

“Shut it,” Draco snaps. “I brought food.” He goes to take a sip from his glass, but pauses to say, “And wine.

Harry gulps down his own wine, probably to stop whatever smart remark was on the tip of his tongue. Draco wishes he hadn’t. Immature squabbling would be a nice distraction from what he came to do. 

“Go on. Go get him,” Harry urges. He looks uncomfortable and doesn’t quite look Draco in the face. “I’ll be…y’know, here…if you, well, if you need anything.” 

The determination that bolstered him all day is flagging now, but Draco gathers it around him as he stands. The energy that fuels him is erratic, and the wine has done little to settle his nerves. Draco squares his shoulders all the same and heads for the kitchen.

Predictable as ever, Ron Weasley. 

Ron’s mouth is full and he’s chewing moodily. He went for dessert first, the heathen. He doesn’t even have a plate! He’s just holding a little slice of cake in hand as he pokes through the bags and boxes spread out across the counter. 

Draco is appalled. His heart flutters, all the same. 

When Ron sees him, he chews his food quickly and struggles to swallow. Draco can’t let him get the first word in. “You have frosting on your face!” he snaps. “And — what is on your shirt? Did you spill something? Do you not know any cleaning charms?” This sounds less like foreplay fighting and more like nagging, but Draco can’t stop. “And you need a haircut! And — really, I should have taken you shopping long before now. You can’t just wear t-shirts every day.” 

Ron swallows his cake and stares wide-eyed at Draco, as if Draco has lost his mind. He rather feels like he has. 

“And you’re poor!” Draco throws out. Now Ron shifts on his feet, hands on hips, eyes narrowing. “And you don’t even appreciate a good wine. I don’t know why I bothered digging through the cellar today. Potter’s gulping it down like two sickle beer, and it’s not as if you’d know the difference.” 

“Is this why you came? To insult me?” Ron shouts.

“No! You just drive me to it!” Draco shouts back. “Look at you! You make the stupidest faces, did you know? And you say the stupidest things! You never make any sense! You just sputter like a buffoon! And you work in a bloody joke shop! How am I supposed to bring you home to mother like this?”

“What — Draco, what the bloody hell are you on about?”

But I want to! I want you to meet my mother. And I want you to come to Astoria’s dinner parties with me. I want to eat at the Leaky with you, so everyone can see what a slob my boyfriend is!”


“That’s what I said!” Draco rubs his face. Thankfully Ron appears too flabbergasted to be able to do anything other than gape. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this. All I wanted was to get revenge on Potter. Or, well, Harry. I hated him and it was stupid. It was — awful, okay, it was awful. I’m not a good person. I’m a judgmental, vengeful twat. But I love you. And I’m sorry for hurting you. I didn’t — I didn’t want that. You didn’t deserve it. And you deserve better than me, but I’m a selfish prick and I’m here because I want you back. Even though you have chocolate smeared on your face and you eat with your hands like a child.”

“Oh, shut up already,” Ron says. Then, disgustingly, he wipes his hand across his face and licks up the icing he finds there. Draco wrinkles his nose. Ron snickers. 

Then, amazingly, Ron holds out his arm. “C’mere.” 

Draco shuffles over and lets Ron pull him close. Winds his own arms around Ron’s middle. Nuzzles into his neck as Ron kisses his hair. 

“You are an insulting, prissy little shit, you know?” Ron tells him. His hand rubs soothingly up and down Draco’s back, taking the sting out of his words. “You complain way too much. And you might be the rudest person I know.” 

Draco tries to push away from him, but Ron holds him tighter. 

“You’re a lying, manipulative little bastard and you broke my heart, you know?” Ron tells him. “But…well, I fucked up, too. I was sort of using you to get over Harry. Then I went and fell in love with you, like a bloody idiot. And I was ashamed of it. Of you. I didn’t know how to tell you how I felt. And I didn’t want anyone to know we were together. And that — that wasn’t fair to you, Draco. 

“You are so self-absorbed, and so insecure at the same time. And I hate that. And the way I was treating you…you didn’t even care, did you? You were just content to be my second choice, weren’t you? My dirty little secret?” Ron’s voice breaks there, and Draco’s eyes are stinging. He burrows his face deeper into Ron’s neck, less for comfort now. He wants to hide. 

Ron’s always made him feel so seen, even when he wasn’t using his words. This confirms what Draco has always felt. That Ron knows him too well, and it’s dangerous. He feels naked. Exposed. Ugly. 

“You were just going to let me, and I was going to keep doing it,” Ron says gruffly. “That’s horrible. And I don’t want that anymore. I want to meet your mum. And — and I want you to meet mine. I want you to come to the Burrow with me. And I’ll go to your girlfriend’s poncy dinners, and you’ll come out for drinks me and mine. I want you with me, even if the barkeep gives me the stink eye because my boyfriend is such a whiny git.” 

“Boyfriend?” Draco whispers.

“Yeah,” Ron says. “I mean, you really suck cock like a champ, you know?”


“Hey, I’m in the middle of a love confession here,” Ron laughs. 

“I like your cock,” Draco sighs. “It has freckles.” 

“…does it really?” 

The idea that Ron doesn’t know about the freckles on his dick is a shame. It is also amusing. Draco giggles. Ron snickers into his hair. Quiet laughter that grows louder, feeding on each other’s energy, until Ron is roaring and Draco is clinging to him and wiping his tears off on Ron’s shirt. 

They’re laughing, then they’re kissing. Ron’s hands on his face. Mouth warm and soft. They have to break for more giggles until the levity fades and desire grows. Draco gasps as Ron presses him against the counter, and it is only when his elbow hits a to-go box that he turns his head away. “Wait! You’re going to get me filthy!”

Undeterred, Ron mouths down his jaw and neck. “That’s the plan.” 

“You can come on my face, fine, but I don’t want icing everywhere!” 

Then Ron’s hands are on his arse, kneading, pulling him closer. Ron’s hard cock pressing against his until he groans and thoughts of messy food flee his mind. 

What remains is: “Wait. No. Do you forgive me?” 

“Am I not allowed to fuck you until I forgive you?”


“Then yes, I forgive you.”


“Ron, please be an adult!” Harry calls tiredly from the next room. 

Which means Harry heard the entire conversation. Draco and Ron share a look of complete horror. Draco hopes his expression doesn’t look half as ridiculous as Ron’s does. Though he can feel he’s at least half as pink. 

“We’re…we’re okay now?” Draco asks. 

“Yeah. I mean. I dunno. I’m still upset. And I’m not sure I trust you just now,” Ron admits. “But I do love you. And…I want us to make a proper go of things.” 

It isn’t precisely what Draco wants to hear, and he huffs. Still, it’s not as if he’s been trustworthy. Step one is complete: Ron is his. There will be time for him to earn that trust. To earn Ron’s love.

The touch of Ron’s hand on his cheek and the soft press of his mouth are so tender that Draco feels worthy, whatever his mind tells him. It’s easy to relax into Ron’s strength, and trust in his sweetness, and forget every worry he’s had. 

The physical side is easy. The touch of their hands. The slide of their cocks. Resting in Ron’s arms after. If only they could live in a bubble of soundless touch, just the two of them. 

Ron is still an idiot. And Draco is still rude. And sometimes playful bickering turns to real arguments and hurt feelings.

Their lives do not blend easily. No one — not Ron’s friends or family, not the press — like or trust Draco. The Burrow is too rowdy, as are the pubs Ron and his friends frequent. To Draco’s circle, Ron is a joke to be treated with polite indifference or patronizing smiles. 

Their closest friends at least try. Astoria adores Ron. Harry and Hermione tolerate Draco, and he gets along fabulously with Fleur. 

And it helps, that Astoria supports them. And that Harry and Hermione want Ron’s happiness. It helps, when the general public thinks Ron can do better than an ex Death Eater, and, though less common, the wealthy elite think Draco above a classless blood traitor. 

Nothing is easy. And Draco questions often if they should even be together. But he isn’t ready to give up. Whatever work it takes is worth the love Ron gives him. 

It is for that love that Draco attends the fifth annual Victory Day Gala on Ron’s arm. They look fetching together, in their fine robes of dark blue (Ron) and dove gray (Draco.) They arrive in a group with Harry, Hermione and Fleur, and Astoria and Ginny. 

Draco doesn’t feel like Death Eater scum, because it’s easy to ignore the mutterings when he is laughing with his boyfriend and their friends. Draco doesn’t feel unwelcome, or unwanted, or worthless with Ron’s hand in his and Ron’s proud, joyful smile shining on him. 

The only hiccup in the night is when they see Severus Snape in the atrium. Though always invited, Severus has never attended any of these Ministry functions, not even his own Order of Merlin ceremony. Draco sighs when he sees him, and Ron nudges Harry just as Hermione grabs his arm. 

Harry stares at his lover in open astonishment. Severus’s mouth twitches in amusement as he beckons him impatiently. Harry’s mouth twists in annoyance even as his eyes brighten and he obediently trots over to him.

“They’ll be front page news, I suppose,” Draco gripes. 

“We stopped being front page news weeks ago,” Ron laughs. 

The wine is still bad, and the food is still bland, and the guests are still self-righteous. The speeches are still dull. And the table is as full of gossip and flirtation as the one he sat at last year. Only this year he dances with Ron. And their insults are (on the whole) fond. 

It is only when they sneak out of the ballroom that they argue.

“Not the restroom. It’s filthy. And tile is not easy on the knees!” Draco complains. 

“Come on. It’s our anniversary!” Ron cajoles.  

“Yes, but you’re mine now, I don’t have to impress you anymore.”

“Come on! That loo is special!” Ron snaps. 

“There’s a perfectly serviceable sofa in Muggle Liaison!” 

They compromise by stealing a cushion. Ron kisses him breathless when the loo door closes. They kiss and kiss and nearly forget why they’re there. Only when the cushion falls out of Ron’s hands do they remember and they laugh. 

Ron takes his time fluffing the little cushion and positioning it just so. It’s all rather silly, but Draco is touched all the same and he smiles as he sinks down to his knees. 

As he opens Ron’s robes, he feels Ron’s fingers stroke softly through his hair. And when he looks up, Ron’s eyes are soft as they watch him. Draco bites his lip and smiles and works faster to pull out his cock. He needs it in his mouth before he says something foolish and sappy.

It is rather romantic, isn’t it?