Ron Weasley And The Dragons
Ron recognises this place.
It is the landscape of his nightmare.
From the volcanic earth it looks molten from above, but once they land Ron can assert for himself that it is, at least for the moment, quite solid to the barren horizon, Ron knows it all. He can even spot the place he stood, the slightly raised island amongst the shifting desert earth. This deja-vu unnerves him, and consequently he is silent as he climbs from the Bluetail's back.
Draco has consented to release his spell, and the blood is still rushing to Ron's feet, causing a pins-and-needles like sensation. Ron digs his hands into his pockets, and kicks a loose red stone. It tumbles along the ground, and then falls down a crack in the rock. Ron waits for the noise of it clattering against the ground below. There's nothing, no sound. He walks to the edge of the crack and peers down. All he sees is blackness.
Where are we? he asks the dragon.
A plane of existence accessible only to dragons. And those they bring along, too. You're the first two humans to come here, in the past millenia. This is the place where the true dragons live the ones who haven't decided to have an easy life, and let themselves be captured by your human-type. The real dragons, let me say.
Oh. Hardcore dragons. Ron smirks. So where are they, then?
They'll come, soon enough. We just have to wait.
The dragon bats its wings, and Draco, who has been sleeping for the past half hour, blinks awake. Yawning, he stretches lazily Ron hates the way that Draco can act so bloody cool, no matter what his situation. Draco swings his legs off the dragon's back and jumps down beside Ron. He saunters over, flipping his silver-blonde hair as if he's modelling on a cat-walk.
"Let me guess. They don't have room service here, right?"
"This your sort of place, then?" Draco wrinkles his nose, and whistles. "Gosh. How utterly un-romantic. Now I see why you can't keep a steady relationship to save yourself."
"Well, there's the cauldron calling the hat black," says Ron.
Draco sniffs, regally. "My stars, Weasley. Do you want for me to pack my suitcases for my guilt trip right now, or do you want to probe through my emotional baggage first? Listen: Harry understands me. He knows what I'm like. And let me remind you that we're still together, despite everything. Despite you." He lingers on the last word, making it sound almost like an accusation.
"Despite you-, you mean," says Ron. "And the hell if I know why he puts up with it. Like I said before, Harry's too "
"Good for me, yes, I know." Draco is purposefully airy. "I can see that an orphan child-star has so much to lose by hooking up with a wealthy, attractive "
Ron snorts. "Quit blowing your own trumpet. There's no one here for you to impress."
"Isn't there?" Draco leans his hands on his hips and stares Ron down; Ron looks away. "I thought as much," says Draco, presently. He sidles away, and crouches down beneath one of the dragon's wings.
The Bluetail has lowered its head to the dusty floor, and now closes its eyes. It appears as if it's about to go to sleep. Ron suddenly remembers he hasn't had a wink of sleep since going to work a day ago or was it two days ago? No wonder I'm tetchy, he thinks. He doesn't feel tired, exactly; but his head has been aching for the past few hours.
"Are you coming, Ron?" Draco drawls, from the shade of the dragon's wing. He pats the dusty ground by his head. "I need a pillow."
"You must be joking," says Ron. But he walks over, and lays himself down beside Draco though as far from the man as the overarching span of the wing permits. The soil is remarkably comfortable, and nicely warm. Draco regards him, with a pitying expression.
"Good grief. I don't bite, you know."
Ron recalls the interlude at Dragon Rock. "I beg to bloody differ."
Draco shrugs. "I was young and irresponsible then."
"Right. And now you're a changed man."
"No. I'm just more discreet. But if you're going to be so standoffish.." Draco yawns, elegantly, and folds his arms. "Wake me when something interesting happens."
Ron watches Draco sleep. Draco sucks his thumb. Ron chews his nails.
It's not that Draco isn't attractive, or that Draco isn't intelligent in his sassy, sluttish way. It's just that something about Draco is almost as unnerving as this weird dragon-land, and that seeing Draco here makes Ron remember his dream, in all its steamy sordid detail. Ron swallows thickly, and turns his gaze away; he stares up at the scaley arc of the wing.
"Come in, Potter."
It's early morning, and Harry has been dragged uncerimoniously from his bed by the house elves. Apparently Lucius has invited Harry up to his study a place which he'd previously made perfectly clear to Harry was a Potter-free zone. Harry doesn't know what to think. The Malfoys seem to be being genuinely nice to him today; or as nice as they can be. Perhaps perhaps slapping Lucius has proved something to them; that Harry Potter isn't going to accept their bullying any longer.
Except he has lied for them, now. He's told Cornelius Fudge everything the Malfoys wanted him to hear. But, Harry thinks, it was for a good reason. It was to save Remus and Serverus' lives. Surely that makes it okay. Surely
"Where's Draco?" Harry asks, standing infront of Lucius' desk, his fingers clasped politely behind his back.
Lucius steeples his thin fingers over his desk top, and observes Harry over the triangle of his raised indexes.
"Well?" says Harry.
"I haven't the faintest idea," says Lucius. "Perhaps you should ah. Check this." He reaches for his wand, and taps it solemnly against the wood of his desk. Within seconds a tome has detached itself from the others on the shelves of his library, and is fluttering down to rest by Lucius' hand. Harry doesn't make a move to reach for it.
"What's that?" he asks.
"A Draco-watching portfolio." Lucius smiles. "But before I let you have it, Potter you and I are going to have a little talk."
"Are we?" says Harry.
"Yes, we are."
"Are you sure?"
"Only fools are positive," says Harry, shortly.
"Are you sure?" Lucius asks.
"Yes, I'm positive," says Harry, and then slaps a hand against his forehead. "Ah, shit.."
Lucius takes advantage of Harry's mild confusion. "Narcissa and I have been discussing your relationship with Draco at length," he says. "How long has it been, now? Nine years, hm? About time you two decided to settle down, I would say. Now that we're assured of a heir, and you aren't getting any younger "
"You want me to marry your son?" Harry splutters. "That isn't even legal."
"You're talking to a Malfoy, remember," says Lucius, simply.
Harry struggles. This is something he'd never anticipate, not in a million years. Lucius suggesting he should marry Draco? Lucius doesn't even like him, as far as Harry knows. What brought on this change? Harry wonders. I sure as hell don't think I slapped him that hard.
"I just think and Draco seems to think, too that the marriage deal is well.." Harry tries to explain. "It's a bit tacky. I mean, it's more of a hetero gods, I don't believe I'm saying this " he stares away, at the corner of the room.
"Draco could do worse than you," says Lucius, calmly. "At least you aren't a horse. You have no idea how difficult it is to get people to make an exception for inter-species marriages. Though I believe the laws remain true in some areas of America and New Zealand.."
"Oh, thanks," says Harry, affronted.
"It would be a lot simpler if you agreed to do it," says Lucius. "Our only other alternative seems to be adopting you as our son."
"Your what?" Harry squeaks.
"You would be a credit to the family," says Lucius. "Pity about the looks, but we can't have it all." He reflects. "Well, some of us do," he admits. "But the fact is, Potter, you have been living on our generosity for some time and since you seem to be returning to your heroic escapades of yesteryear, we would very much like it if you would be a hero under our name. It would be ah. A political move. Not that we don't treat you like our own son already."
"You ground me, you tease me, and you hold out on my pocket money," says Harry, in a tense voice. "Yes, I can see that."
"Don't make me send you to your room, boy," says Lucius, sharply.
Harry scuffs his boot against the ground. "I'm twenty five," he says.
"Yes, Potter. Which is why we've decided to consult you first, and then make the arrangements."
"I already have a father. Sirius "
" has been missing in action for seven years, Potter. And at times like this, you need family. A poor orphan like yourself.."
Harry loses it. "This is part of one of your little plans, isn't it?" he snaps. "One of those nasty little things you do, pretending it's all for my own benefit, when really it's just to make you look good, or help you out with something, and then I end up feeling like an idiot while you get all the credit, or all the kudos, or whatever it is you're after this time. I'm right, aren't I?"
"Can't put one past you. That's my boy," Lucius drawls.
"I'm not your boy. And what is it this time?" Harry stamps over to Lucius' desk, and leans his hands on the surface. Lucius withdraws slightly. "You aren't going to use me as cannon fodder, or for some Dark Arts spell, or maybe try and pry Voldemort out of where ever he's hiding, or or what?" He trails off to a question because Lucius' calm smile has grown broader, and both his eyebrows are raised, to suggest the affirmative.
"It does- have something to do with Voldemort, doesn't it?" says Harry, slowly.
"Of course," says Lucius. "What do you think would draw the little bastard out of his shell as surely as finding out his ex-right hand man had adopted his worst enemy?"
Ron wakes up. There's someone curling up against him, someone's pale arm wrapped around his body. He strains to see who it is and catches the glimpse of silvery hair.
Draco. Bloody Draco. In his sleep, the man has managed to traverse the distance which has separated them, and is now snuggled up underneath Ron's right armpit, like a child squirreled against their parent for warmth. And Draco is cold, too, in spite of the warm volcanic air..
"..bugger," says Ron, under his breath.
I think you two look cute together, comments the dragon.
Didn't I tell you to quit talking about that? Ron snaps.
He's all sweet when he's asleep, the dragon continues. You can almost forget what an asshole he is when he's awake.
Almost, says Ron, wearily.
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