“You’re an idiot,” Draco hissed vehemently as he shook off a thick layer of snow.
“Shut up and get inside! Quickly!”
Ron didn’t wait for his compliance. He grabbed him roughly by the collar and dragged him inside. There was no time to protest. Ron slapped a hand over his mouth and started shuffling him out of the room and through a short hallway.
Inside the house was so hot it felt like Draco’s skin was burning on contact with the air after being stuck out in the cold. Inside his two coats, he started to sweat. He pawed futilely at the hand Ron still had clamped over his mouth as they ducked into what looked like a laundry room.
When the door shut behind them, it barely had an impact on the sheer volume of the voices shouting and singing through the house. Which only made Ron’s attempt to keep him quiet a waste of time, compounding the indignity of being silenced like a child.
It took more of his self control than Draco wanted to admit not to stamp his foot like one.
“Do you have them?” Ron hissed as he pulled his hand away.
Draco fixed him with his darkest glare, made possible only because the burning warmth inside the house had melted away the stiffness the cold had given his features.
“Really? You think I Apparated into a snowstorm and battled my way to the back of this bloody house only to arrive empty-handed? What do you take me for? Some sort of idiot? You’re the idiot for forgetting to bring your presents! You’re just lucky I hadn’t left for mother’s yet!”
Ron slapped his hand over Draco’s mouth again and looked worriedly at the door, as if Draco’s words would bring the wrath of Molly Weasley down on them at any moment.
Draco slapped his hand away and dug around in his pockets. He was sorely tempted to claim the wind had taken them, just to see Ron’s face. But if he did that then it would only backfire on him. Ron’s temper was long burning and stubborn.
When he drew the shrunken presents from his pocket, Ron made a broken sound of relief, more a sob than anything, and took them to shove into the pocket of his hideous button-up jumper.
“You’re a lifesaver,” he breathed, swaying close only to jerk back. He bit his lip and glanced around the room. “They’d have been brutal if they found out I left the presents behind. Would have started up all that rot about me being too hopeless to have my own place again.”
Draco mourned the lost kiss and tried not to show it. A few drunken liaisons didn’t make them anything. It didn’t entitle him to anything. But bugger it all, he’d just braved a snowstorm, he deserved a good snog.
“You are hopeless,” he snorted, remembering the time he’d dropped by to find him wandering the place in his pants because he’d forgotten to do the laundry for three weeks.
“Sod off,” Ron muttered, punching his shoulder lightly. “Actually, do sod off! We need to sneak you back out before anyone sees you.”
Draco shook his head. “Still not ready to tell them you’re friends with the big bad Death Eater?”
Predictably, Ron’s face turned scarlet. “Don’t call yourself that!”
With a casual shrug, Draco fought the urge to touch Ron’s face. He did so love to poke at his cheeks when he looked like a tomato. It always garnered the most amusing responses.
“Anyway, they know we’re friends,” Ron continued, turning away from him and moving to the door. “That’s not the part I’m worried about.”
“Oh?” A shiver of excitement passed from the crown of Draco’s head to the soles of his feet. They’d so far managed to avoid talking about those few nights. Nothing had really changed, so it wasn’t urgent, but not knowing where they stood was slowly driving him insane.
Ron turned just as he stepped closer. His face was still scarlet. “How exactly am I supposed to explain that yeah, we’re friends, but sometimes we....well...you know.”
Draco bit back several insults about Ron’s maturity. “Do I know?”
“You bloody well should know,” Ron huffed. “You started it.”
After a brief war with himself, Draco just couldn’t stop himself. “We’ve been over this. I fell on you. Accidentally. I wasn’t coming onto you! You had your bloody Quidditch kit all over the floor, and as graceful as I am after several glasses of wine, there was no avoiding—”
“Graceful?” Ron snorted. “Just last week you tripped over the corner of the rug in your own damn bedroom, and you were stone cold sober!”
Draco opened his mouth and then shut it again. Sneaky little bugger. “Oh, spying on me getting changed after we got caught in the rain, eh? I seem to recall leaving you in the guest bathroom on the other side of the flat.”
“You forgot to give me a towel.”
“Bollocks,” Draco snorted. “I can’t believe you were peeping on me, you absolute—”
Ron slapped a hand over his mouth and turned to the door. “Did you hear that?” he hissed.
Draco pulled his hand away. “You owe me for this, Weasley.”
The look Ron gave him sent a pulse of heat right to his crotch. “We’ll see, Malfoy.”
If they weren’t standing in the laundry room of the Burrow, Draco just might have snogged him, lack of alcohol be damned. He was at the point he could admit he didn’t need to be drunk to want Ron. If only the idiot would catch up or put him out of his misery.
For a moment, it looked like Ron was thinking the same thing, wanting the same thing, but then he turned away and opened the door a crack. Draco used the moment to visibly cringe. To scrunch up his face and give in to the frustration before smoothing it out again.
“Coast is clear, let’s go,” Ron whispered, taking his wrist without warning and tugging him out of the room.
Unlike the mad rush from the back door to the laundry, they went slowly. Ron stopped every few steps and listened, eyes comically wide. Every action and expression was adding up to a mountain of material for Draco to spring on him the next time he got uppity with him. In fact, he was feeling cheery at the prospect of so much future teasing he almost didn’t mind what he’d gone through to drop off the presents.
“You remember where the wards end?” Ron asked as they reached the back door. He squinted out the frosted over window. “It looks bad out there.”
And just like that, Draco’s mood soured again.
“I’m well aware of how wild it is. I just traipsed through it to save your pride, remember?” he muttered, eyeing the snowstorm outside and suddenly feeling very reluctant to leave the warmth of the Burrow, even if he was more than ready to leave the sound behind. That was Harry’s singing he heard from down the hallway, and it was dreadful.
“Right, right,” Ron muttered under his breath, peering down the hallway to where the sound was coming from, presumably the living room. The door was closed, but Draco could still hear Harry murdering a Christmas song with a clarity he would rather not have.
After a moment, Ron turned and grabbed Draco’s collar, dragging him close. The heat of his kiss burned even hotter than the air around them. It burned hotter than any kiss they’d shared before, and Draco’s mind was clear and focused to take it all in. When it ended, the heat receded until Draco almost felt cold again.
“I do owe you for this,” Ron muttered, his face resembling a tomato again.
Before Draco could so much as draw a breath to respond, Ron reached behind him and yanked the door open.
Snow and frigid air gusted in so forcefully they stumbled and struggled to stay upright. Open doors banged down the hallway as the wind whipped them shut. The room turned into a white flurry, and Ron cursed and struggled with the door. When it shut, it almost seemed like the wind remained for a moment, whistling and throwing snow in their faces.
When everything settled, the house was silent.
“Bugger,” Ron muttered weakly, leaning against the back of the door and looking down the hallway like he was staring down the Grim.
The door at the end opened, revealing the brightly lit living room and several people vying for space to peer down the hall.
“Ronald Weasley! What are you doing letting all the cold in!” Molly screeched, pushing past the others and shuffling down the hallway. All along the way she tutted and muttered under her breath as she took in the snow and debris that was scattered down the hall. “And who is this?”
When she reached them, she peered up at Draco. Respectfully, he pulled off the woollen beanie he’d nicked from Ron’s flat when he’d picked up the neglected presents.
“It’s the bouncing ferret!”
With Molly still so close, and peering at him with such scrutiny, Draco managed to stop himself from glaring down the hall at George.
“He was just...” Ron’s voice cracked and faded, and Draco thought ‘to hell with it’. There wasn’t really any other explanation for Ron sneaking him in and out of the house. Not one more innocent than the truth at least.
“Ronald forgot to bring his presents so he asked me to pick them up and drop them off,” he said, letting Ron’s pitiful moan soothe some of the anxiety that came with so many Weasleys staring at him at once. “I was just about to leave again, I’m due at my mother’s.”
Molly stared at him for a moment, then turned a dark look on Ron. “Ronald Bilius Weasley!” she snapped. “Tell me you weren’t about to send him out into that storm!”
Ron visibly gulped and didn’t respond. Draco filed that away as another thing to mock him for at an opportune moment. Maybe if the git dared to bring up the rug incident again.
“If I could just trouble you for a pinch of Floo powder, I can be out of your hair at once, Mrs Weasley,” Draco said smoothly. That was preferable to battling the storm again just to get past the wards to Apparate.
“Oh, the Floo went down two hours ago, dear,” Molly said gently, reaching out and brushing some snow off his left shoulder. “Look at you! You must be freezing! Come in properly and get warm. Ron, fetch him something warm to drink!”
One strong grip was exchanged for another as Molly wrapped a firm hand around Draco’s upper arm. When she began leading him down the hallway, he threw an alarmed look over his shoulder only to receive the same in response from Ron.
“Now, Ronald!” Molly snapped. “I didn’t raise you to be a poor host!”
Ron scrambled through another door, leaving Draco alone as he was escorted down towards a room full of Weasleys and the Weasley-adjacent.
By the time Molly stripped him of his coats and scarf and sat him in a threadbare armchair by the fireplace, Harry and George were whispering together. He didn’t like the look of that one bit. They both knew he and Ron were friends, they’d been present several times Draco had been spending time with Ron. They were either about to prank him, or they were suspecting there was something more to his friendship with Ron.
The latter was...inconvenient while he and Ron still hadn’t sorted it out themselves.
“Here,” Ron grunted, appearing from nowhere to push a steaming mug of something at him. He then hid his face behind his own mug.
Draco glanced up at him, wondering if his sudden reticence was because of their first sober kiss, or just because he was prickly about his mother scolding him.
“I can’t believe you waded through that mess out there just to help out our idiot of a brother,” George commented, wandering over and leaning against the other side of the armchair. “How’d you get into Ron’s flat if he wasn’t there, by the way?”
Ron choked and spluttered on his drink. Draco rapidly rethought and questioned the significance of possessing a key.
“I broke in, obviously,” he sniffed, lifting the mug to his face. The rich aroma of hot chocolate and sweet spices immediately made his mouth water, and he took a grateful sip.
Even though they’d been friends for some time before that first drunken shag, he’d avoided too much contact with Ron’s family. Seeing George and Ginny and Harry sometimes while he was with Ron was one thing, being trapped inside their house was another.
“You’ll have to stay until they fix the Floo network,” Molly said, reappearing from carting off his outerwear. It was on the tip of Draco’s tongue to ask where she’d taken his things, but then he saw the tray of Christmas tarts she was holding and thought better of it. It wasn’t likely she’d hold his things hostage until she decided he could leave. That was more something Ron would do. Had done. Git. “The weather is only getting worse.”
“Say, have you eaten lunch?” Arthur asked from his chair across the room, squinting at the watch on his wrist.
“Of course he hasn’t, he was on his way somewhere else,” Molly said, shaking her head. She gave his arm a gentle pat. “Have a tart while I make up a plate for you, there’s plenty left!”
Draco took a tart, but before he could protest the rest, she’d bustled away again, disappearing through the sea of faces still staring at him. He didn’t know all of them, and no one was offering introductions, so he ignored them in favour of looking at Ron.
Ron looked like he’d swallowed something foul, but he was staying close to Draco’s chair, almost sitting on the arm of it in fact.
“Bloody nice thing you’re doing for Ron,” Ginny commented from the sofa. “Braving a blizzard is a lot to do for a casual friend.”
Draco bit into the Christmas tart he’d taken from Molly to keep himself from saying anything. They knew. They absolutely knew and now they were toying with him. Or Ron. Or both of them. Who called anyone a ‘casual friend’? They had to know.
“He owed me one,” Ron said gruffly. “Lost a bet.”
One day, Draco really needed to teach Ron how to lie convincingly.
“I would have refused,” Ginny sniffed.
“Yeah, well, you’re a shit friend aren’t you?” Ron muttered, too quietly for Ginny to actually hear across the room as the others started talking again.
Draco looked around. Aside from George, Ginny, and Harry, the rest of them seemed to ignore his presence entirely. Even Hermione, who was sitting near the tree with that ghastly cat on her lap as she read a book. Who brought a cat with them when visiting for Christmas day?
It was probably preferable to having their full attention on him, but he still found himself feeling a little insulted. They hadn’t even greeted him.
“You know, I could eat again,” Ron said suddenly. “I might have more lunch too, come on.”
Someone snorted, but Draco was more preoccupied by the pitiful way Ron tugged at the sleeve of his robe to try and get him to move. When he didn’t, Ron gave him a look. Draco moved.
“This is a nightmare,” Ron hissed under his breath as they left the living room and crossed the hallway to the kitchen.
Draco refused to state the obvious, and looked around instead. The kitchen appeared to double as a dining room, and the table was a mess. His fingers itched, but he shoved them into the pockets of his robe. Even if the Weasleys were poor hosts, he was a good guest.
“Ah, I was just about to bring this out.”
Molly came over from the kitchen bearing a rather large plate piled with food. While Draco stared at it, she managed to clear a space on the table and set it down. She seemed to ignore Ron entirely as she turned to Draco and sighed.
“I’m sorry you’re missing Christmas with your Mother, dear,” she said. “Do you need to send word? A Patronus might be the only option left now.”
Draco looked between her concerned expression and the plate piled with food. She didn’t seem even slightly displeased to have him there.
“I’m terribly sorry to impose,” he said, rather than admit he’d lied to Ron and had in fact been intending on skipping family Christmas that year. “I’m sure I can make it past your wards to Apparate.”
“Nonsense! I won’t send anyone out into a blizzard like that! You are more than welcome here.”
With a parting pat to his arm, she left the room before he could say anything further.
“I’ll just get my own plate then,” Ron muttered under his breath.
Draco sat down at the table and stared at the mountain of food in front of him. “You could just Apparate me back to my place. The wards allow side-along, don’t they?”
Ron sat next to him. “Nah, there are too many off us built into the wards as exceptions. You really are stuck here until the Floo is up again.”
Without shame, Ron plucked a roast potato from Draco’s plate with his bare hands. Draco’s look of judgment fell flat. Ron was beyond shame when it came to his eating habits.
“What happens if the storm doesn’t get better and the Floo doesn’t go up?” Draco asked. The answer was obvious, but he wondered if Ron had realised yet.
Ron shrugged and continued to steadily, and surprisingly quickly, demolish Draco’s plate. “There’s plenty of space. Mum and Dad always made space for our friends to stay. There’s an extra bed in my old room.”
Draco watched him eat. A disgusting experience, of course, but oddly riveting anyway. The amount of food Ron could put away had always fascinated him. For the most part, it never showed. For all his efforts, Draco found a layer of softness on his own belly if he didn’t watch what he ate. It was getting a bit thicker since he’d become friends with Ron, actually.
Probably for the best then that being friends with Ron somehow made him care less about it at the same time.
“Don’t suppose I’d get away with retreating to your room until the Floo comes back?” he asked, resting his elbow on the table and propping up his chin with his palm.
Ron snorted. “You ? Retreat? Scared of my family, are you?”
“I’m not quite sure how to behave around them given we are friends that, how did you put it? Sometimes....you know.”
The look Ron gave him was worth speaking with such a lack of maturity. The quick look at his lips after even more so. Good. Ron was thinking about that kiss by the back door as well then.
“I’d rather that didn’t come up,” Ron said slowly, glancing around and staring at the door to the hallway. Molly had closed it behind her, but after everything Draco had heard from Ron about his family, he wasn’t surprised Ron didn’t seem to trust it.
“Yes, I suppose it would put a dampener on things if they learned you liked to bed Death—”
“Don’t call yourself that!” Ron interrupted, grabbing Draco’s collar and pulling them so close their noses touched. “You are more than one moment from your past!”
Draco’s breath caught in his throat. “How poetic,” he murmured, fighting the urge to kiss him. “Didn’t think you had it in you.”
Ron’s gaze dipped for a moment before he let Draco go and put distance between them. He turned back to the plate of food but Draco couldn’t look away from him. All the days between those drunken shags, they’d never really been any different with each other, but suddenly Ron was acting different.
It was like an itch under Draco’s skin.
It couldn’t just be the presence of his family. They’d spent time with Harry and George since at least one of those drunken nights together.
“You used to call me your pet Death Eater, remember?” he said, glancing at the door and hoping they wouldn’t be interrupted. This conversation was long overdue.
Ron choked and spluttered for a moment, his face turning red. “That was a joke!” he gasped. “A terrible fucking joke! I was an arse for that, I’m still surprised you didn’t hit me for it.”
Draco waved a dismissive hand. “I can recognise a joke when I hear one. I’m not some delicate, easily offended flower like some Gryffindors I know.”
And really, better a Death Eater pet than chased out of every room he entered. That casual association with Ron had changed his life for the better, even before it had been more than an awkwardly shared table at a charity dinner because someone had royally screwed up the seating plan.
“Prick,” Ron muttered, pushing the plate away.
Draco looked it over. He’d eaten before getting Ron’s Patronus about the presents. Stuffed himself, really. He doubted he’d be hungry for hours. Pity. Molly’s cooking really did look as good as everyone said it was.
“Pity the weather is so awful,” Ron muttered a moment later. “Having you around would have made our Christmas Quidditch match a lot more interesting.”
“I wouldn’t be here if the weather wasn’t so awful,” Draco said, watching him closely.
Ron looked over at the door, hiding his expression. Draco’s fingers itched to grab his chin and turn him around.
“We should go back in,” Ron said, standing and brushing a hand down the front of his shirt. “I suppose I should give them their presents now that I have them.”
Draco stood and bumped their shoulders together. “You’re welcome,” he said, lest Ron forget the trouble Draco had gone to, and his own admission that he owed him something for it.
Draco breathed deeply as Ron shuffled him into his bedroom. As much as the day had not been the horror he might have imagined, he was glad to be alone. Or alone with Ron, at least. They really had all acted like him being there was completely normal, so instead of any kind of awkward silence, it had been just too bloody loud. And Harry had started singing again at one point.
It was enough to drive him to drink.
Instead, he’d declined every offer, even the fascinating and potentially dangerous small, dark bottle Charlie had offered him when Molly and Arthur were distracted. Ron had declined all offers as well, he’d noticed.
The Floo hadn’t come back on. The storm had only worsened, until the house was creaking from the wind and the occasional draft of frigid air made it past the weather wards to make them all shiver.
After several drinks there had been a round of dares for someone to go outside. Watching Molly scold them before they could even try had been oddly entertaining. Ron had thought so too, snickering by his side.
In fact, Ron hadn’t left his side all day.
Everyone had been acting like Draco being there wasn’t odd, but Ron, Ron had been acting very odd.
All day Draco had wanted to turn and grab him by the collar and demand to know why he was suddenly acting weird. The time for that had surely been after the first time they’d had sex in a drunken haze on Ron’s living room floor. Surely things should have been weirdest when they’d woken up to face what they’d done.
Not now, not after it had happened more than once and their friendship had never even changed.
Once they were alone, and even if it made being stuck there for the night horribly awkward, he turned to Ron the moment the door was closed.
“Why are you being so bloody weird today?” he asked, crossing his arms and fixing Ron with an intimidating stare.
Ron just scoffed and walked around him. He flicked his wand around and the air got a little warmer. The curtains slid shut, blocking out the sight of the dark flurry outside. The sound was still there though, a whistling howl, the creak of the house when the wind gusted particularly strong.
When a response didn’t come, Draco looked around. Ron’s room was exactly as he’d expected. He wasn’t sure if that meant Ron was terribly predictable, or if he just knew him very well. Either way, it was comforting. It was like Ron’s bedroom at his flat, only messier.
“I wasn’t the weird one anyway,” Ron muttered a few minutes of awkward silence later. “They were.”
Draco turned to him. “What do you mean?”
Ron shrugged and leaned against the wall beside one of the windows. “I dunno, I just...I was expecting...”
Even with the reinforced warming charms Ron had cast, Draco felt cold.
“You were expecting the ‘he’s a Death Eater’ response, weren’t you?”
Ron looked down at the floor.
“For all that you scold me whenever I dare call myself what I was, you thought your family would treat me that way?” Draco said, walking closer until Ron looked at him again. “They already knew we were friends, right? Have they said things to you to make you expect they’d be cruel?”
“No. I don't know, alright? I just...it wasn’t what I expected,” Ron muttered. “I’m thinking.”
Draco sighed and looked around the room again. Ron was incommunicable when he was thinking deeply, and he obviously was now.
“Today really would have been better with some Quidditch,” Draco said as he wandered over to look at Ron’s old Quidditch posters.
As soon as the weather cleared up he’d drag Ron out somewhere and go flying with him. That always grounded them both, and he still had a present for Ron sitting in his flat until he got the nerve to give it to him.
Ron might love Quidditch to the extreme, but Draco still wasn’t sure he’d accept an expensive, still to be officially released in England, next generation broom. It had been such an impulsive purchase, but when he’d bought one for himself, he’d bought one for Ron too, without even really thinking about the impact it might have.
“I wish I’d known about your room at Hogwarts,” he murmured, more to himself than Ron. “So much material. Ginger hair, obsession with Chuddly Cannons. Stuffed animals. It would have been too easy.”
There was a snort from somewhere behind him. “Then you would have got bored and moved on.”
Draco wandered over to the bed that was obviously Ron’s, given the ugly orange blanket on it. There was a stuffed bear poking out from under the pillow.
Ron always seemed like such a stoic, brash idiot of a man. It was always the oddest feeling to see anything that contradicted that image.
On a whim, Draco tugged the teddy bear out and flopped onto his back on the bed, holding it above him and taking it in. It was an ugly, raggedy looking thing. Its limbs had fallen off and been sewn back on multiple times, judging by the rough, visible stitches.
“What’s its name?” he asked.
“Doesn’t have one,” Ron answered, moving over to the bed. He snatched it away before Draco could stop him.
“You didn’t name your stuffed toys?” Draco asked, watching as Ron put it away in a drawer. “Boring. I gave mine three names, at least.”
“Of course you did,” Ron snorted.
Draco laughed. “Of course, I was a poncy, spoiled little brat.”
“Still are. You just have a few other qualities that make you more bearable now,” Ron said, shaking his head at him.
“Oh? And they are?” Draco asked, feeling a quiver in his gut. That was an opening to take the conversation elsewhere. The way Ron had been glancing at his lips all bloody day, he better well take it or Draco might snap.
Ron stared down at him and gnawed at his lip. For once, Draco just waited and didn’t prompt him.
“Your sense of humour isn’t half bad,” Ron finally said, bumping his knee against the edge of the mattress.
“I had a sense of humour back then too,” Draco said with a scowl. “It was just too refined for you to appreciate.”
Ron snorted. “Sure you did. I particularly liked the time you dressed as a Dementor and Harry kicked your arse without even getting off his broom.”
A wave of humiliation rose in Draco’s throat, but he let it wash over him and then fade away. Merlin only knew how they’d managed to move past all the stupid shit he’d done in school. The least he could do was not act too petty when it was brought it up.
“Well, I enjoyed the time you cursed yourself with your own broken wand.”
Ron grimaced. “Ugh, don’t remind me. That was disgusting.”
“Yes, you are rather disgusting at times,” Draco snorted. “I wish you’d chew with your mouth closed more often.”
“I wish you’d eat more sometimes, you’re too damn skinny,” Ron said, leaning down and giving Draco’s stomach a gentle prod. “I’m always terrified you’ll snap like a twig if I’m too rough with you.”
Heat rushed to Draco’s face. “Oh, I think I held up rather well the last time things got a little rough and tumble between us. You’re the one who gets all whiny from so much as a carpet burn.”
Ron’s face was turning as red as Draco’s felt. Merlin, they were so close to finally talking about it.
“Yeah...guess we don’t make it to a bed often enough,” Ron muttered, his gaze roaming over Draco.
Draco’s breath caught in his throat. “Probably because we’re always drunk. And we usually drink in your living room. Or a gross pub.”
“Why don’t we ever drink at your place, by the way?” Ron asked. “It’s always at mine or a pub.”
Draco sat up and shrugged. “I can’t be bothered casting protection charms on all my belongings.”
“Oh, so you’d rather break my stuff when you’re drunk and clumsy?” Ron said, resting one knee on the bed and leaning close to prod Draco’s sternum with one finger.
“I don’t get clumsy,” Draco scoffed, slapping Ron’s hand away. “You’re delusional.”
Ron snorted and shook his head. “You stubborn git. You get wobbly after two glasses of wine, why can’t you admit it?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Of course you don’t.” Ron rolled his eyes. “Bloody hell, you just can’t stand to be anything less than perfect, can you?”
Some of the heat that had been building as Ron moved closer to him sputtered out. “I’ve never claimed to be perfect. I can’t. I have a mark to remind me I never can.”
Ron’s expression fell. “I didn’t mean that. Don’t do that.”
Draco hands felt shaky, and he grabbed fistfuls of the blanket. “Do what? Remind you of what I did? Come on, there’s too much in our past to play dumb about this.”
“If that still mattered to me I never would have invited you to our Sunday Quidditch games after that stupid dinner. I’ve moved past that shit, I’d moved past it before I even saw you again and I wish you would too.”
Draco looked down at the ugly blanket. “That’s difficult when it’s branded on my skin,” he murmured.
Ron reached out and wrapped a hand around Draco’s left forearm. He didn’t turn it around to look. He didn’t lift it up, he just held it, and Draco held his breath along with the gesture.
“You know I don’t like it when you touch it,” he finally said, after an awkwardly long silence.
“You know I don’t like it when you talk about it like it ruins you somehow,” Ron countered, pressing down lightly until he was pinning Draco’s arm to the bed instead of just holding it.
Draco stared up at him. “What the hell are we doing, Ron?” he finally asked. It was a long time coming, and it was obvious that if he didn’t start this then they’d just keep dancing around it until one of them went mad.
Ron chewed his lip for a moment and then shook his head. “I’m trying to make you stop hating yourself.”
“Oh? That’s what you’re doing? With your cock?” Draco couldn’t help but snap. “You know what I’m talking about.”
With an annoyed sound, Ron let him go and then turned. Rather than walk away, he sat heavily on the bed with his back to Draco. He seemed to look around the room, and Draco could read nothing in his profile. For all that he was brash and open, sometimes Draco just couldn’t understand the flurry of emotions he held in any one expression.
“I like being friends with you,” Ron finally said, still not looking at him. “I like the Quidditch and the TV nights, and the...everything. You’re actually a good friend. We have fun.”
Draco raised an eyebrow even though Ron couldn’t see. Their TV nights usually consisted of Draco questioning every little detail until Ron threw a fit, turned off the TV, hid the remote and then threatened to never watch TV with him again.
“But I also like the sex,” Ron added, more quietly, still looking away. “I also want to snog you senseless whenever I see your stupid face. Half the time when I suggest drinking now it’s because I know we’ll wind up shagging. It's the only time we do. The only way we do.”
His directness robbed Draco of any response he might have conjured. He’d wanted to talk about this for weeks, but in all the ways he’d imagined it, he’d thought he’d have to force the conversation while Ron fought him the entire time.
“So, good question,” Ron said, turning to look at him at last. “What the hell are we doing?”
Draco did some rapid backtracking in his mind.
“You set me up,” he accused, sitting up and prodding his upper arm sharply. “You forgot your presents on purpose to drag me out here!”
Ron’s face was a mess of emotion, but that only meant Draco had no chance of figuring out how he really felt. “I was going to ask you to stay. Didn’t quite manage it.”
“And then I got trapped here after you chickened out,” Draco muttered, looking around. “No wonder you’ve been weird.”
“I thought—no, I worried that they’d be unwelcoming. That would have made everything...” Ron visibly swallowed when Draco looked at him sharply.
The silence lingered.
“Made everything what?” Draco prompted.
“Easier,” Ron said, looking away again.
“They would have scared me off so you wouldn’t have had to deal with that part?” Draco muttered.
“Well what about you?” Ron asked, turning to him again. “You claim you never meant for any of this to happen.”
Draco’s face went hot. “Just because what you thought was me hitting on you wasn’t actually me hitting on you doesn’t mean I never wanted any of this.”
“Well speak up then!” Ron snapped. “What do you want? I said my piece.”
“I walked through a fucking blizzard for you! Do you really have to ask?” Draco snapped. “If you think I’d do that for any of my other friends, you’re still as stupid as I used to think you were. I’ve fucked Blaise a few times in the past and I’d never have done this for him, so it’s not the sex that made me come out here for you. Although I bloody deserve a good shag after that, you prick!”
Ron’s face went red as Draco’s voice rose at the end. “You never said anything!”
“You never said anything!” Draco snapped back even louder, throwing his arms up in defeat and flopping down onto his back again. “For all I knew, you just wanted an easy fuck when you were drunk.”
Without warning, the door to Ron’s room swung open and Harry stuck his head in. “Ron, privacy wards, please, I’m begging you. We can hear you through the walls.”
Draco’s face burned as Harry retreated as swiftly as he’d advanced and shut the door behind him again.
Ron stared at it with a constipated look on his face. “Harry’s in with George tonight,” he said weakly. “We’re fucked.”
Draco drew his wand and cast a few wards. “You didn’t put up wards? You idiot!”
“I wasn’t planning on anything happening,” Ron hissed. “We haven’t been drinking!”
Draco dropped his wand onto Ron’s cluttered bedside table and collapsed again with an angry sound. He glared up at the ceiling. The last thing he wanted was Harry knowing about this before they sorted it out. Now, no matter how they resolved it, they’d never hear the end of it.
And he didn’t even want to think about what George might say or do in the morning. Or for the rest of their lives regardless of how things turned out between them.
He’d have to give up their Sunday Quidditch games if this didn’t turn out well. He might have to even if it did.
“I should have just insisted on leaving earlier,” he finally muttered, covering his face with his hands.
Warm, callused hands gently tugged his hands away from his face. Draco’s whole body warmed at how gentle Ron was about it.
“If you had, we would both still be wondering what the other thought about this,” Ron said cautiously, leaning over him. “Although, I think I was clearer than you about what I want. You just implied how you feel.”
Draco’s face burned. “Yes, I want to snog you senseless every time I see your stupid face too. Happy?”
Ron’s lips curved into a slow smile. “So you’re not mad I kissed you by the back door?”
“Mad you opened it right after and ruined the moment, maybe,” Draco muttered.
Ron was still holding his hands, and he slowly pressed them down to the bed on either side of Draco’s head as he leaned over him.
“You know, I really don’t need romantic gestures right now,” Draco muttered, as he felt the flush on his face spread to his neck. “Just snog me senseless already, you stupid oaf.”
Ron’s grin only got wider. “Nah, I like how pink you’re getting. It’s cute.”
Draco threw his weight up until they toppled over the side of the bed. In short order, he had Ron pinned on his back, arms above his head.
“Don’t call me cute, I’m not five,” he hissed as he scowled down at him.
“Seriously? We’re finally set to use a bloody bed and you put us on the floor again?” Ron groaned, easily pulling a hand free and tapping the floor with his knuckles.
“I rather like you covered in carpet burn, it’s cute,” Draco mocked, leaning down to kiss him before they got sidetracked any further.
Ron swiftly flipped them over with a laugh. “I’ll show you carpet burn!”