Ron Weasley And The Dragons
"They don't know what's wrong with me," Hermione says. "I just turned green. And ever since then people have been getting sicker; I'm not sure if I have anything to do with it, or not. But it started happening as soon as I arrived."
"Should I, um, be covering my mouth or something?" Harry asks.
"I don't know, to be honest," says Hermione. She sits up she seems well enough, despite the discolouration and reaches for a glass of water. "It's all very strange and a lot of strange things have been happening. Whilst you were away in Africa, there's been all sorts of coverups at the Ministry."
"More people fucking on broomsticks?" Harry perks a brow. "Gosh. We must have started a trend."
"No, no. Not like that. I mean rains of frogs and rats, and that sort of thing. And rivers turning red. The Thames was crimson for a while, according to the wizards; they only just managed to cast an illusion over it before people started noticing. I think the Muggles blamed it on a strange reflection of the sun, or something. Still, it's all very worrying."
"Ominous," Harry agrees. He remembers the sudden solemnity of Lucius' attitude as he left the study, the squeeze of his shoulder could Lucius have something to do with this? he wonders. But it isn't like Lucius to break the rules, not so openly. Harry rubs his chin, thoughtfully.
"No one's said anything about Voldemort, have they?" he asks.
Hermione sits bolt upright. "How did you know about that?" she asks, in a high pitched voice. "I only heard because they were wheeling me past a discussion room at the time. It's supposed to be a big secret. They don't want to scare the wizard community unnecessarily."
"Lucius told me that he'd been getting requests from the Death Eaters to join them again," says Harry. "And he started talking about um, getting Voldemort to come out of hiding, or something."
"What? Lucius is doing this?"
"No. He's actually against Voldemort this time or at least, that's what he says. And I know, I know, the man can't be trusted. But he seemed genuine when he spoke to me. I mean really genuine. It was almost as if he was scared he'd give too much of himself away." Harry frowns. "And if Lucius is rattled over this, I'm guessing it isn't going to be good.."
Hermione clutches her blankets tighter about her chest, repositioning herself with her legs crossed. "I don't want to distrust your judgement on this, Harry," she says, "but I don't like Lucius. If I know him like I think I know him, he'll be elbow deep in this mess."
"I've lived with the Malfoys for seven years," says Harry. He sits himself at the end of her bed, his brow furrowed behind his glasses. "I know when Lucius is unnerved by something. He starts acting weird. Nice, I mean. He offered to adopt me."
"Excuse me?" says Hermione.
"Excuse me?" Hermione shrieks.
"My gods, Hermione." Harry presses his hands over his ears. "Look, I have been living with him for ages, and they do treat me like their son. And as I won't marry Draco I guess this is sort of their way of making me part of the family. But Lucius also wanted to do it to show Voldemort that he wasn't going to be part of the Dark Lord's plans any longer."
"Or maybe he wanted to show You-Know-Who that he had the famous Harry Potter hanging off his You-Know-What," Hermione snaps. "How could you, Harry? Doesn't the memory of your family mean anything to you?"
"Of course it does," Harry says, starting to feel annoyed. "But I realise I need more of a family now, than I ever did before. Sirius is gone, and the Malfoys have protected me for the gods know how long. This isn't about my parents. This is about me and what's good for me. I mean, maybe it won't work out but maybe it will. I'd like to find out."
"Oh whatever." Hermione throws her hands in the air accidentally dropping her blanket. She's naked underneath, and Harry swiftly averts his eyes. "You'll be siding with You-Know-Who next, I bet."
"Don't over-react," Harry cautions her.
"What's next, eh, Harry Potter? Or should that be Harry Malfoy? Are you going to become a Death Eater too?"
"Lucius isn't a Death Eater "
"Oh yes he is!"
"Oh no he isn't!"
"Oh yes he is!"
"Oh no oh, for the gods sake, Hermione, stop it. I've made my decision. You can either try to be understanding, or you can " Harry shrugs. "Look, we shouldn't be talking about this now. Tell me what else you heard about Voldemort."
"I will not," Hermione snaps, her eyes blazing. She prods him in the chest with a green finger. "How do I know you aren't a spy? Actually how do I know that you're the real Harry Potter, eh?"
"In our sixth year you carved R.W. for H.G. into the wood of your bed," says Harry, simply. "Oh, and you used to buy the Witches Weekly in plain covers and hide it in a copy of Lady Grimoire's Handbook For The Astute Witch. And you still kept a centrefold of Mr. Amazing Smile in your diary, even after you found out what a fraud he was "
Hermione relents. "Okay. Maybe you're the real Harry Potter."
"Of course I am!"
"Sorry," Hermione sighs. "It just sounds strange. You talking about becoming a Malfoy and all that. I guess you have been living with them for a long time. You'd know them better than I would."
"Exactly. Now tell me what you've heard."
The dragons have brought them to a small antechamber, just off the main tunnel. There's some simple bedding there, which suggests that Sally might be wrong about them being the only humans who've been in the area for the past millenia. Only one mattress, though, Ron notes, with a grimace. Then again, he supposes that even if he did decide to lie on the hard rock floor, he'd wake up with Draco curled up next to him.
In the dim light, Draco hauls his robe over his head, and begins to unbutton his shirt. He's muttering something about a shower. Ron smirks to himself, and pulls his top over his head. He crawls onto the mattress, and pulls the covers over himself. In a few minutes, Draco crawls in too.
"Get your hands off my "
"Crap, it's dark."
"You're squeezing my "
"He he. Sorry again. Gosh. This is rather comfy, though, isn't it?"
"Not with your elbow in my "
"How about this, is this "
"Argh! I may never have children!"
"That'll be a first, for a Weasley. He he ow!"
"Serves you bloody right."
"I thig I'm bleeging," says Draco, in a much quieter voice. "Heg, Ron. You gign't have to hig me thag harg."
Draco's nose is dripping; he's pinching the bridge of it with one hand and searching his robe with other, looking for his wand. Ron feels guilty; he sits up, and puts an arm around Draco's body. He remembers when Ginny used to have nosebleeds, and how it was simpler just to staunch the flow instead of using magic.
"Come on, don't be a baby. Just hold it, and it'll stop after a few minutes."
"But m' bleeging," Draco mumbles.
"It'll stop. Trust me."
Draco holds his nose, leaning his head against Ron's chest. He smells faintly of expensive aftershave; his hair is peach-scented, a feminine aroma. The man wuffles quietly, as the trails of blood running down his hand begin to congeal into sticky red threads.
"Gogs. Thag hurt."
"Sorry. Didn't mean to hit you I mean, not in the nose."
"Oh. Thag mages it okay, then?"
"No. Probably not. Is it getting any better?"
Draco releases his grip on his nose, and sniffs. His nasal passages sounded congested, but no new blood spills. He licks at his palm, distractedly, but seems unwilling to move away.
"It's better. Thank you."
"Sorry," says Ron, again. "Don't rub it, okay? Breathe through your mouth for a bit."
Draco breathes through his mouth. He seems to be leaning even closer against Ron, pushing him, even. But there's nothing sultry about him, not like at Dragon Rock. Draco seems too fragile, too caught up in his own thoughts to even think about acting sexy. Ron absently runs his fingers down Draco's spine the man's ribs are clearly visible, ridges against the white plane of his back.
"You really have to start eating," Ron mutters. "You look like hell."
"Harry likes me like I am," says Draco. "He said so, too."
"I think he probably said for what you are," Ron says. "Which is rather different."
"Whatever." Draco coughs into his hand. "I wish he was here."
"I'm not good enough for you?" Ron tries to joke. Draco is beginning to sound awfully serious, and Ron would prefer it that their conversation doesn't end up in difficult territory.
"No." Draco presses closer. "Actually," he admits, after a while, "you're better than him. I mean don't throw me off, now. I just mean I feel safer with you. Harry's the Boy That Lived, yeah, sure, okay, but he's not much protection in the home of dragons. He's not very solid, if you understand me. Not like you."
"You're saying I'm fat?"
Draco slaps Ron's chest. "That, my boy, is all muscle, I'm afraid," he says.
Ron flexes, preens. "Mhm," he says. "One hundred percent pure Ron."
"Suddenly I feel nauseous. Excuse me while I vomit," says Draco.
"Bulemia. It's what you had for dinner," Ron quips.
"Ha bloody ha," says Draco.
For some reason Ron doesn't want to let Draco go, so he holds Draco against him as he settles back on the mattress, and tucks in the blankets around both of them. Draco recurls himself under Ron's armpit again, and Ron dips the sheet down underneath Draco's chin.
They lie like this for a minute, with Draco's hands creeping around Ron's body, holding him. Ron is reminded of all those women who've stumbled in and out of his bed, and the way they'd grab at him, trying to hold him down. But Draco isn't needy in his clutching he knows Ron isn't the type to respond well to such desperate affection. Draco is simply there, accepting, at least for the moment.
"We should have sex now," says Ron, quietly.
"Yeah," Draco agrees. "Another notch on your bedpost."
"Another successful seduction in your pocket," says Ron.
"It's for the betterment of us both, really," says Draco.
"I don't love you," says Ron. "But I think I could be convinced I do for half an hour, tops."
"Okay," says Draco.
Ron sighs, and closes his eyes. Draco pulls the covers over his head.
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