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Life is a Great Adventure

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Life was a great adventure!

Ron banged his head against his desk. Life was a bore, that was what it was. Maybe he had been spoilt. Being Harry Potter's friend had meant seven years of excitement and danger. Becoming an Auror while there had been Death Eaters at large had kept him on his toes.

Now, five years since the fall of Voldemort, everything in the wizarding community was quiet. Aurors were being used to help old ladies who miscast spells or to admonish young wizards about the dangers of improperly used objects (which usually meant they were using products bought at the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, but Ron tried not to mention the twins around the office.)

For a time, he had had Harry and Hermione with whom to commiserate. Well, Harry mostly, because Hermione thought that each new book she read was a new adventure. Harry, on the other hand, had shared his boredom, but then he'd finally gathered the courage to ask Ginny to marry him, and they did, and finally, they settled down. Recently, the most electrifying discussions revolved around the colour scheme to use in the nursery of their soon to arrive firstborn.

Ron banged his head again. He was doomed to a life of tediousness and monotony. The owl chirped in agreement. What? The owl? Ron didn't have an owl, at least not in his office. With a frown, Ron reached for the message neatly tied to the bird's leg.

I have something you want.
Meet me tonight at The Ashwinder in Knockturn Alley. 11pm
Come alone.

Ron looked at the message again. He should report this; they were required to report all suspicious letters, but honestly that had stopped being an issue two years ago when the last of the Death Eaters had been sent to Azkaban. He really should report this. There was only one course of action possible.

Ron grinned. He was going to The Ashwinder alone.


Ron entered The Ashwinder at exactly 11 pm. He looked around the dirty pub. Everything looked grey and dangerous, just like the snake after which it was named. The old chairs and tables looked ready to go up in flame like ashwinders' eggs.

He looked straight ahead when he saw the bar keeper come his way. Aldis was a middle age wizard who looked like he hadn't seen a shower most of his life. His scruffy, black beard reached his waist, it was tied in several places, and sported an accumulation of beer, salt and peanuts.

"Mr. Weasley, nothin' is wrong," Aldis said, his beady eyes shifting around the room.

"I'm not here on official business," Ron replied.

"You're not?" he asked in shock, and then he perked up. "Blimey! Famous Auror like yew oughtn't be seen in a place like dis. It ain't right. You ought ter go ter The Leaky Cauldron."

Ron snorted. "Don't talk cobblers. I'm not staying long enough to scare your... customers." He could name most of the customers present, having arrested all of them at one point or another during his five years with the Division of Magical Law Enforcement. They were petty thieves, and con artists. Nothing he was interested in at the moment. "I'm here to see someone."

Aldis's eyes went wide. "You?"

Ron's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean?"

"He left somethin' fer you." Aldis scrabbled back behind the bar, and picked up a package. He ran back to Ron. "Here."

Ron looked at the package, wondering if he should pick it up, but Aldis didn't seem affected by the package. "Who gave it to you?"

"Can't say, Mr. Weasley."

Ron stepped closer, using his height to intimidate the bar keeper. "If you don't tell me, I will make sure that there are Aurors sitting here every night. Now, who was it?"

"You don't understand. I can't tell you." Aldis looked around the room, and Ron could tell that he was scared. "He used magic," he added in a whisper.

Ron understood immediately. This was Knockturn Alley and no one was afraid of magic, unless it was Dark Magic. "If you see him again, contact me before he can do more magic."

Aldis nodded, but Ron knew that it would never happen. This man had been careful, and Aldis would be more afraid of Dark Magic than of an Auror.

Ron stepped outside the Ashwinder. Knockturn Alley smelled of booze, vomit, and dirty. He held a mysterious package. Someone had recently performed Dark Magic. Ron smiled: life was getting more interesting.


Ron Apparated to his flat. It wasn't much, just a living room and bedroom, with a small kitchen and an even smaller bathroom. It wasn't even well kept, but he never brought people over. He used to, a long time ago, but too often people left with souvenirs that ended up being sold in the wizarding community.

The final straw had been the day that his mother had shown up with pants that looked remarkable like the boxers he had lost (the red and blue ones with a small hole on the right side), and informed him that there were reproductions (hole included) being sold at Madam Malkin's. After that, no dates ever set foot into his home.

Standing now in his empty flat, Ron put the package on the coffee table, walking around it. After a few moments, he took out his wand, and began to cast every spell he knew to detect curses and Dark Magic, but he could detect nothing. Finally, he opened the brown paper to discover a leather journal.

Ron ran his fingers over it. Even he could tell that it was expensive and belonging to someone with good taste. He cast more spells, but he could only feel the lingering trace of a privacy charm.

Finally he opened it, and gasped:

This journal is the property of
Draco Malfoy.

If you have broken my charms,
I will haunt you down, and destroy you

Ron sniggered. Leave it to the little bugger to be an arrogant arse even in his journal. However, the thought was soon forgotten when he looked at the date on the first page: 5 June 1997.

After leaving Hogwarts, there had never been any reports about Draco Malfoy or Severus Snape. After the war, they found plenty of evidence indicating that Severus Snape was following Dumbledore's orders when he cast the Avadra Kedavra and that all he had done was aimed at bringing down Voldermort.

Dumbledore had even left a document, describing how Draco Malfoy had been forced by Voldemort to commit some crimes while still a minor. Having been almost killed by said acts, Ron didn't think Malfoy should be forgiven, but to honour Dumbledore's wishes, the Division of Magical Law Enforcement had broadcast messages through the WWW and the Daily Prophet informing Snape, Malfoy, and the wizarding community that the Minister had issued a full pardon to both of them. However, they never reappeared, and their fate had become the last unsolved mystery of the war.

Now, this mystery could be solved. Ron sat down and began to read. Malfoy was meticulous in his writing, almost like Hermione, covering every detail from the moment he woke up, to how horribly Pettigrew's tea was. It was a boring account of everything that he did, which didn't amount to much.

Between a yawn and the next, it became obvious that Snape had kept Malfoy safely hidden away. However there was one thing Malfoy had: information. Ron read about raids he had known through the Order, about politics among the Death Eaters, about Bellatrix's insane brilliancy. Malfoy didn't have to witness the events first hand to understand how this people thought; he'd grown up among them, and he understood them on a visceral level.

"I knew it!" he exclaimed when he read that both Snape and Malfoy had survived the war and decided to leave Britain.

Ron turned the page, trying to learn what happened next, but there was nothing. The pages were blank, however they were not pristine. Malfoy had written something, and then it had been deleted. Ron took his wand again, trying to think of spells that could make the ink reappear, but a knock on his door made him jump. No one came here. The only people who visited (Harry, Hermione, and his family) had access through the Floo.

He put down the journal, and went to the door, his wand still tightly held in his hand. Things might have been boring recently, but he knew better than to become complacent. He opened the door and gasped when a hand landed solidly on the wooden surface, flung it wide, and Draco Malfoy walked inside his house.

"Do close the door and your mouth, Weasley." Draco took his cloak off and rested it on the armchair, wincing a little at the state of things. He picked up the diary, and raised it to show it to Ron. "Did you enjoy my gift?"

"You!?!"

Draco raised an eyebrow. "Who else? Who would have had access to my journal and made it past my privacy spells? You still haven't said if you enjoyed it."

Ron crossed his arms in front of his chest. "I don't know; I didn't get to the end yet."

Draco smirked. "It is quite frustrating not to know how it ends."

"You could tell me the end," Ron rebutted.

"And take all your fun away. Doesn't Mr. I'm An Important Auror Weasley want to discover the ending by himself?" Draco asked with false innocence.

Ron knew that he should have stunned the little bastard, and call for back up. He knew that he should have reported the first message the moment it had arrived. He knew it and he opened his mouth to cast the spell, instead what came out was, "I thought you reserved titles for Harry."

Draco sneered. "Please, he's all domesticated. I had thought of going to him first, but he has no more interest in mysteries than I have in women."

"Always knew you were a pouf," Ron muttered under his breath.

"And quite proud of it," Draco replied. "But see, even you aren't denying that the Boy Who Lived is no more. He wants to be normal, have the family." He sighed dramatically, before dropping down on the couch. "Normality is so overrated, don't you think?"

"Leave Harry alone," Ron replied out of habit, knowing that he hadn't really answered the question, but he would not agree with a Malfoy, even if the ferret was right.

"That's exactly what I'm doing. I came to you, remember?" Draco leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees. "Look, it's simple. You help me, and in return, you save the world and find out about me and Severus. The perfect solution. If this isn't something in which you are interested, tell me now and I will try someone else. I believe my half-blood cousin works with you; she might be interested."

Ron frowned. He didn't trust Malfoy, but he also wanted to know in what Malfoy was mixed up. Ron sat in the armchair, staring at the blond. "Saving the world?"

"I knew you'd like that," Draco drawled out.

"Stop with the commentary, and tell me what happened."

"It's a long story."

"I have time," Ron said, determined to find out what was happening before getting taking Draco to the Ministry.

"It's the middle of the night," Draco complained.

"You picked the time. Start talking," Ron answered.

Draco sighed, but leaned back, giving the impression that he was getting comfortable. "Voldemort had found a stone. Much like the philosopher's stone, it would have made him immortal. However, unlike the philosopher's stone, it required a price. The stone is a Dark object that feeds on a person's soul. As you can imagine, Voldemort didn't really have much to give, and he decided to use it only in the direst of circumstances.

"He entrusted the stone to Severus. He was to carry it with him during the battle with Potter. There was a whole ceremony involved-"

"The altar in the middle of the battlefield," Ron exclaimed.

"That's right. The stone was placed on the altar, and spells were cast so that no one but Voldemort and Severus could reach for it. Severus made a few modifications to allow me to get to it.

"Of course, we couldn't just take the stone and leave. That would have been suicide. I was to wait until Voldemort and Potter were duelling, when it became clear that they were nearing the end of their duel, I was to take the stone. That's what I did, and when Potter cast the final curse, Voldemort tried to summon the stone, but it wasn't there. He finally died. Permanently.

"Severus said that we shouldn't destroy the stone, but we needed to protect it. He never explained the reason for that, but we've kept the stone all this time. However, eighteen days ago, the stone disappeared. Severus started looking for it. I haven't heard from him in almost two weeks.

"As you can imagine, whoever stole it must have known of its existence and must be unscrupulous enough to steal it. Considering that the stone feeds on the soul, you can see the potential for disaster." Draco took a deep breath. "And that's the short of it."

"Why aren't you looking for Snape and the stone? Why come to me when Snape seems so important to you?" Ron asked, but the decision had been taken already. He would help, because they couldn't afford another Dark wizard.

"Because I'm not an idiotic Gryffindor. Severus is too paranoid to ask for help and now we have no idea where he is. I have no intention of putting myself at risk for the wizarding community. They can rot in hell, for all I care. I just want Severus back." Draco stood up, cold, grey eyes fixed on Ron. "If you plan to help, pack up your things and let's go. If not, I've already wasted too much time."

Ron glared back, but stood up. "You said 'we'. Who else is involved?"

Draco smiled brightly again. "My mother, of course. We've been living at Malfoy manor since the end of the war. That's where we're going. All the information we collected before Severus disappeared is there."

Ron froze in shock. They had searched everywhere, sent out messages, contacted foreign ministries to locate Malfoy and Snape, and they had been living under their noses all along. Now, he'd gain access to their hiding place; he'd be allowed into Malfoy manor and made privy of some of its secrets. There was not need to think things over. "I'll need a minute to pack."

As he put his things in a trunk, Ron realised that life was getting more and more interesting.


Draco insisted that they Apparate directly into the manor. Since Ron had no idea where into the mansion they should arrive and not wanting to be killed by whatever hexes and curses they had in place, he was forced to hold on to the Ferret.

The rumours about the contents and feeling of Malfoy manor were varied and colourful among the Aurors, but they had not prepared Ron for the sense of familiarity that assaulted him as they arrived to the house. It reminded him of Grimmauld Place, only cleaner and with no troll legged umbrella stands or house elves heads.

Before he could take a better look around, a blond woman came toward them. She moved in haste, holding her robe up as not to trip, and yet each movement was graceful and aristocratic. "Draco, any news?"

"No, I'm sorry, Mother."

She sagged a little, but then she saw Ron, and her back straightened again, and a smile appeared on her face. "This must be Mr. Weasley. Welcome to our home. I wish to express all our gratitude for your assistance."

Draco snorted. "No need for niceties, Mother; I've convinced him already."

Narcissa smiled at him, it wasn't the same smile, politeness had given way to warmth and love. "Dear, one must never forget manners." She turned to Ron again. "You must be tired. Draco will show you to your room." A warning glance was directed at Draco, stopping his complaints. "I want Severus back as soon as possible, but lack of sleep isn't conducive to clear thinking. Mr. Weasley can learn all of the details in the morning."

"Thank you, Mrs. Malfoy." The words sounded foreign on his tongue. Weasleys didn't thank Malfoys, but then Malfoys didn't go to Weasleys to save the wizarding community from Dark wizards. "Sleep is a brilliant idea. We can continue this with a clear mind."

"Like you ever have a clear mind," Draco murmured. He would have argued with Ron about the importance of starting the search for Severus right this very moment, but he knew better than to argue with his mother. "Let's go, Weasley."

"Goodnight, Mrs. Malfoy," Ron said politely.

"Goodnight, Mr. Weasley."

Ron followed Draco through dark halls lined by portrays of the Malfoys. They were a blur of images and voices, and Ron forgot most of them by the time they reached the room he'd be occupying. He looked around, and the room was as big as his entire flat. He wondered if Malfoy was trying to impress him, but the blond seemed to think that this was normal. "Well... goodnight, Malfoy. I'll see you in the morning."

"Goodnight." Draco walked out of the room but a 'Father is rolling in his grave' could be heard before the door was closed.


Ron woke up a few hours later. He was used to early morning, and his body refused to let him sleep past a certain hour. He got dressed, and opened the door of his room, unsure if he should attempt walking through these halls without escort. He wanted adventure, not death.

Before he could decide his next course of action, a house elf appeared in front of him.

"Janky bring Mr. Weasley to dining room." The little being turned without waiting for a thank you, but Ron doubted that thanks were ever mentioned in this house. They walked through a different part of the house, or at least he thought so, because he couldn't recognise anything.

When they reached the dining room, Narcissa was already sitting there. "Mrs. Malfoy."

"Good morning, Mr. Weasley. Please join me. If I know my son, it will be a while before he'll grace us with his presence." She waved her wand and the chair next to her moved backwards. "I believe there is a few things the two of us need to discuss without Draco."

Ron took the seat, intrigued by her words. "What is it that you don't want your son to know?"

She smiled, and Ron could tell that she thought he had the manners of a troll, poured him a cup of tea, and then sat back in her chair. "Mr. Weasley, you do know about my family. You knew Sirius, even if for a short time; you knew Bella, and I'm certain that you know the way we were raised. I learned spells to torture and kill before even starting Hogwarts. It was part of our education.

"I've protected my son from all of that. He could be a good politician, better than his father ever was, if only he were interested. He can be a great asset in this search because he understands the people you are searching for, he also understands Severus better than anyone, even me," she finished with a soft smile, leaving Ron to wonder why she should have known Snape better than her son.

"I don't understand-"

"What I'm saying," she said, cutting him off, "is that if you plan to be in any sort of conflict, I suggest that you leave my son out of it, and you involve me." She changed her expression when she heard footsteps, and smiled at her son. "Dear, I didn't expect you so early."

Draco sat on a chair, and laid his head on his bent arms. "I told Janky to wake me when Weasley got up. Bloody hell, this is inhumane."

Narcissa laughed. "It is almost nine."

"Only nine," Draco exclaimed, raising his head to scowl at Ron. "Why did you have to get up so early?"

"I usually get up earlier," Ron answered, not sure why he was defending himself from such mad accusation.

"That is wrong. Janky, coffee," he commanded.

"You could do it yourself," Ron observed.

"And I could wait until my house elf does it for me." Draco picked up the cup that was being handed to him, and drank the dark liquid. "Still inhumane."

"Weren't you the one who wanted to stay up last night?" Ron mused.

"You have to understand, Mr. Weasley, that my son has no problem with staying up all night. It's getting up that presents a problem. Isn't it true, Draco?" Narcissa asked.

"Mother, don't start. I don't see why it's important whether I sleep during the night or the day."

"No, Dear, the problem is that you spend all your time with those so called friends-"

"Yes, where exactly do you spend your time and with whom?" Ron asked. "We've been looking since Voldemort died, we've visited all of your friends, and we couldn't find anything."

Draco snorted. "I only live in England. I am, however, quite capable of Apparating to other countries."

"You don't have a license," Ron replied stubbornly.

"I doubt that would be my biggest problem if the Aurors found me. Janky, toast and jam," he said bored. "I've been spending most of my time away."

"You've been wasting your time," Narcissa said calmly. "Those boys are only interested in one thing."

"I thought we decided that they were interested in three: drugs, sex and rock and roll," Draco drawled out.

Narcissa rolled her eyes. "You do know that your generation did not come up with that, yes? However, that does not mean that you have to follow suit. One day, you'll wake up, too old to go clubbing, alone and what will you do then?"

Draco's eyes narrowed, his voice becoming colder. "Father played by your rules, and what did he achieve? He's dead, Mother, dead and forgotten. When I'm too old to enjoy life, then I can die too, knowing that I've done everything I want, and bugger all the rules."

"No need to use that language," Narcissa remarked.

"No need to pass judgment on my life," Draco answered, with a fake smile. He stood up, taking the toast. "When you're done, meet me in the library, Weasley." He bit into the toast as he walked out.

"Still charming as always, I see," Ron remarked sarcastically.

Narcissa smiled over the rim of her tea cup. "He can be very charming; he got you here."

Ron looked at her gob smacked, knowing the futility of protesting the veracity of her statement. One Draco Malfoy had been able to convince him to step alone into Malfoy manor, and not a soul in the world knew where he was. He had finally lost his mind.


Draco raised his eyes from the papers in front of him. "Did my mother warn you about keeping me safe? Or should I ask how badly did she threaten you if harm were to befall upon me?"

Ron frowned, confused. "How did you know what she said?"

Draco laughed. "I know my own mother, Weasley. She's convinced that I'm a poor delicate soul who needs to be protected. She forgets that my aunt Bella and Severus have taken turns at teaching me things since fifth year. Not that I have any interest in being in the middle of a battle, mind you."

"So you'll hide behind your mother and Snape?" Ron asked without hiding his condemnation for such action.

Draco shook his head, smirking. "I'm hiding behind the one who is actually paid to fight crime." He pointed one finger toward the other man. "You. Feel free to do your job, Weasley. I'll happily sit on the sidelines, and wait for Severus to come home."

Ron sat down, looking at the papers on the desk, but his mind was elsewhere. "You and Snape... I mean your diary-"

"Journal."

Ron rolled his eyes. "Fine, journal... you implied..."

Draco sighed. "As much as I enjoy rendering Gryffindors speechless, you have a job to do, so yes, I always wanted Severus... well not always, but long enough. Unfortunately the man is extremely straight, and currently sleeping with my mother."

Ron made a face. "That's... it's disgusting."

"Mother seems to be happier now that she has someone in her bed again," Draco commented.

"God, Malfoy, how can you even think-"

"Hey! Unless you're all adopted, your parents had sex at least seven times."

"Six... Fred and George are twins...." Ron shook his head, wondering how Malfoy could throw him off track every time. "I want to know about your life, everything you've done in the past say two months, anything out of the ordinary."

Draco scowled. "I don't see how-"

"Look, you've had that stone for five years, and nothing happens. Suddenly it disappears. Something must have happened recently that led to its theft," Ron said calmly, trying to approach this like he would any other case, but the glare in Malfoy's eyes was enough to make him angry. "I know what I'm doing; just answer the damn question."

"Shouldn't we focus on what we know? Follow Severus's papers?" Draco insisted.

"Snape would know things that aren't there, and I doubt he'd put everything on paper, or you'd have found him by now." Ron shook his head. "Our best chance is to find who took the stone, and to know that I need to find out with whom you spoke."

"How do you know it's me?"

Ron rolled his eyes. "Does your mother know about the stone?"

"She knows now; we told her after it was stolen."

"So only you and Snape knew about this. Do you know how paranoid the bastard is? Tell me, what are the chances that he let it slip?"

The scowl became bigger. "I admit that it is unlikely, however, it's not impossible."

Ron snorted. "Right, and it's possible that I could become Minister of Magic, but the probabilities are close to nothing, so instead on wasting my time on what Snape has done, I will focus on what you've done. So let me start again, what have you done in the past two months, focus on anything that you consider out of the ordinary?"

Draco glared for a moment, but then sighed. "Nothing out of the ordinary. I wake up around noon, eat, then Severus insists that I work with him for a few hours, he teaches me different things, then I exercise for an hour, light meal, go swimming, then I nap, then I have dinner with Mother and Severus, and around ten I go to Amsterdam, it's already eleven there. We hang out in bars and clubs, we leave around four or five their time, go for breakfast, and then I come home and go to sleep." He shrugged. "I told you; nothing out of the ordinary."

It was hard to keep a straight face. In training, they had been taught not to react to statements made by either victims or criminals, but Ron could feel his eye twitch at Draco's words. "Nothing out of the ordinary," he muttered. "Right. Why don't you tell me who is this 'we' who hangs out with you?"

"Oh, I don't know," Draco started. "You know how it is. People join; people leave; people join again. We're not a sect, Weasley. We're people who want to have fun."

Ron took a deep breath, trying to remember one of Hermione's lectures on restraining his temper, or possibly all of them, to refrain from strangling the other man. "Is there someone who's been 'in' this group longer then other?"

"How do you expect me to remember? You know that weed is legal there. Add some potions, and things get... nebulous."

"Of course." Not strangling him, not killing him, he mentally repeated, trying to keep his expression calm. There were days like this that he regretted becoming an Auror, because if he weren't, he could have hexed the little ferret. "All right, then we have only one option. Tonight, we'll meet these friends of yours."

Draco's annoyed expression turned into a smirk. "You wouldn't fit in, Weasley. You're not one of our kind."

"What? The murdering kind? Or is it the drug addict kind?"

Draco banged his fist on the table. "I never killed anyone, and I'm not a drug addict."

"Then, what kind? The blood traitor? The Gryffindor? What stupid label will you be using now?" Ron demanded.

Draco smirked again. "The cocktail drinking, weed smoking, party going poufs."

Ron locked his eyes with Draco's. "You're right; I'm not the cocktail drinking, weed smoking, party going type, but don't worry, I'm not interested in your arse. I have a job to do, and we'll pretend to be friends and more until I can get the information we need from these people. Now, give me those papers." He didn't wait for an answer before standing up and collecting them. "I'll hand them back before we leave tonight. Now unless you have something important to tell me I have work to do."

Draco was still looking at the other man, feeling completely dumbstruck, when the door closed, signalling Ron's departure.


Ron entered Hoppe and was assaulted by the smell of lager. The next thing he noticed was the sand on the floor, and all the people standing around. Draco grabbed his hand, and pulled him into a second room where young people crowded the tables and a band played Muggle music that Ron didn't recognise.

As he walked, Draco picked up a chair that had been recently vacated, without even asking if the man was coming back. He motioned to Ron to do the same, and rolled his eyes when Ron refused. Draco went to a table occupied by five blokes. "Move over," he ordered as he stuck the chair in their circle. "People, this is Ron. No scaring him off, or I'll be upset." The edict was met by snorts and even a middle finger, but Draco didn't seem fazed. "Oh sod off, you desperate perverts. Do sit down, Ron," he continued.

Ron was watching, noticing the subtle change in Draco. The blond looked more relaxed, his posh accent less obvious, although it returned full force when he addressed Ron. Ron did sit down as he'd been asked, but he certainly did not expect Draco to sit on his lap and wiggle until he found a comfortable position. "Nice to meet you," Ron said, his voice shaky.

"Draco has no manner. My name is Daan," a dark haired man with a thick accent said.

"Draco has plenty of manners, however he's still unsure if he should subject a friend of his to you lot," Draco said with a smirk, "but since I must. You already know Daan. The rest are Lars, Max, Niels and Rick."

"Hello, everyone," Ron said, trying to put names and faces for future reference, later he'd have to find out last names and run them in the Auror database to see if anyone had a record. "And the empty chair?" he asked pointing to the spot between Max and Niels.

"Oh that's-" Daan started, but then grinned. "And here he is."

Ron turned and stared surprised. "Justin?"

"Ron? Good lord, what are you doing with Draco?" he asked with an amused smiled. "And how are you, love?" he leaned and pressed his lips against Draco's before going to his seat.

"I'm fine, and Ron has finally succumbed to my charm. It did take me longer than usual," Draco said.

Justin sniggered. "Yes, you've been trying since you were eleven."

"I have not." His pout turned into a smirk. "I was more interested in Potter's arse."

"You and everyone else," Justin rebutted.

Draco sighed. "Really it's a shame that he's so..."

"Straight, and married to my sister?" Ron finished for Draco.

"That too, but I wanted to say insufferable, a self righteous prat who can't see that he's as prejudiced as the rest of them, and that he is famous thanks to the fact that he could stop a curse with his forehead. Never mind that his fame is completely overrated, since so many people helped him, and they never got any credit."

"It's good to see that you've grown up, and can now think of Harry in an objective manner," Ron said grinning.

"Fuck off, Weasley."

"You don't really want me to, Malfoy" Ron answered.

"No, what I want is to forget about Potter," Draco said, reaching for one of the glasses and draining without asking about its contents.

"Here." Justin lit a joint, took a hit, and passed it to Max. "Smoke this, you'll forget some things, at least."

"Is that how you forgot to inform the Ministry about Draco's whereabouts?" Ron inquired with a smile.

Justin shrugged. "It's not my job, is it? It's none of my business either. Ministry said that Draco and Snape were exonerated. If they don't want to be found..." He shrugged again.

"You know, I'd need a few kilos of pot to forget Potter," Draco said, changing the subject.

Niels chuckled. "No, you only need a few drinks to get sloshed."

"I do not!"

"Yeah, must be another one of those rules, right? Malfoys don't get sloshed?" Ron asked. He was having fun, teasing the blond when he couldn't answer.

"No... well, yes, I'm sure Father would have agreed with that, but I don't get drunk. I learned long ago not to drink too much," Draco said.

"Unless you count that night with Thomas," Rick said, as he passed Draco the joint.

Draco frowned, as he took a hit. "I don't remember."

"That's because you were wasted," Justin answered. "You were rambling all night. Thomas was the only one who had the patience to put up with you."

Draco put his best smile on, passed the joint to Daan, and stood up. "Excuse us a moment." He grabbed Ron's hand, and pulled him along until they stepped outside. "You wanted something out of the ordinary, and you found it."

Ron sighed. "Would you stop being so dramatic? You got drunk; it happens. It's not an offence to your manhood, you know?"

"I.Do.Not.Get.Drunk. When I was seven, I went into Father's private collection and opened a bottle that cost a fortune. When he found out, Father made me drink the entire bottle, and then he kept handing me glasses of liquor until I got sick and started throwing up. Then, he made me clean my vomit while the house elves stood there, banging their heads because they weren't allowed to help me. I've never got drunk after that day."

"Your father was a bastard," Ron said, shocked.

"We're not discussing my father's parenting skills."

"No, he was a bastard in general," Ron rebutted.

"He was my father," Draco said stubbornly. "Can we move on to the important part? I never get drunk."

"So, this Thomas, who is he?"

Draco shrugged. "No idea. He showed up one day, hung around with us for a while, then disappeared, and then reappeared again. It's not unusual, so I didn't pay attention, but.... He was English, he should have gone to Hogwarts, but I couldn't remember him from school, not that I paid attention to most students."

"No, only to Harry," Ron said

"He did have a special place in my heart," Draco said smirking. "You came second, though, even made a special song for you."

"And what a charming song it was, but of course, I came after Harry," Ron said with a bitterness he tried to squash.

"Jealous?" Draco asked, and Ron was surprised that it wasn't a mean accusation. Draco sounded genuinely curious.

Ron shrugged. "I'm used to it. Even you, and we know how much you love Harry, checked him out before coming to me. It's how things are."

"I picked you in the end," Draco said with a smile. "And of course, Malfoys only pick the best."

Ron couldn't help but smile, and refrained from mentioning just how badly the Malfoy choices were during the past war. "All right, we can leave this discussion for later. We need to concentrate on Thomas."

Draco try to concentrate, thinking back to the night he was supposedly drunk. "I don't remember anything. In fact, even though I've seen him plenty of times, I can barely remember his face."

"Some sort of confundo," Ron opined. "Okay, let's go inside, and see what they remember. Follow my lead. I don't want to make them suspicious if they are working with him."

Draco sniggered. "Do you know how much they'll smoke tonight? They won't remember anything."

"Still, someone went after you specifically, drugged you somehow. It won't hurt to be careful. Now, let's go." He took Draco's hand, and walked back inside.

Suddenly things had changed. Someone had targeted Draco, which meant they had to have some knowledge of the stone. It also created the presumption that they wouldn't be above hurting Draco if need be and that they wouldn't shy away from hurting Snape. When they arrived, Ron sat down again, pulling Draco on top of him.

"Lovers' tiff was solved, yeah?" Max asked.

"It wasn't-" Draco started.

"It wasn't that bad," Ron said. "Of course, it doesn't mean that I don't want to find this Thomas. Say, Justin, do you remember this bloke from school?"

Rick laughed. "Draco Malfoy is finally settling down with a protecting boyfriend and everything."

Draco gave him two fingers, but Rick only laughed harder.

"I don't remember him, Ron. I kept looking at him, thinking that I should have known him, that he looked familiar, but..." Justin shook his head. "I could never place him."

"I wouldn't worry," Lars said. "He disappeared...mmmm... about three weeks ago, when he returned he seemed to have moved on. Lots of different tricks. He got a new place near Sinners in Heaven, says it's closer and allows him to bring Muggles who can't Apparate."

"Must have had enough of Draco's babbling," Daan teased.

Ron felt the blond tense, and he tightened his hold. "It's his loss," he said, not knowing why he was trying to help Draco, but then everything in the past twenty four hours had been anything but normal.

"Sinners in Heaven is a club on Wagenstraat," Draco whispered in Ron's ear. "I remember where the house is now."

"Speaking of Sinners, should we go?" Max said.

"It's too early," Justin said.

Ron looked at the clock on the wall, informing them that it was 11:00pm. If this was early, he'd never get some rest, and then Draco leaned in, his lips brushing against Ron's ear as he spoke, "We can look at his flat while they're at the club; they'll never know." Ron wasn't sure if it was the closeness of a hot bloke (even if said bloke was a Malfoy) or the words themselves, but he wasn't tired anymore.

They didn't find Thomas that night, but between illegally entering a flat and one too many casual groping while they danced, Ron learned one thing: life with Draco around would never boring.


Ron spent the next two days at his office, running the names of the people he had met. He spent the nights with Draco, dancing and partying, but with very little success on the investigating front. On Saturday night, Ron found himself at Malfoy manor again. However, he did not expect to have Draco Malfoy dress him like a doll. "I can send the Aurors to search for this Thomas," he said swatting Draco's hands away.

"Don't be daft! You said it yourself that he's probably wearing a glamour, and if he thinks the Aurors are looking for him, then he'll disappear and we'll never find Severus," Draco said, while he opened the top buttons of Ron's shirt.

"How do you know he's going to be in this place?" Ron asked.

"Look, you said that the flat looks like he's still there, at least partially. Tonight, it's Saturday, and if he is in Amsterdam, like you think he is, then he will be at Power Zone. It's the club where all wizards are on Saturday night," Draco explained for the tenth time in the past hour. "And the only way not to raise his suspicions, it's for us to look like a real couple, going dancing. He knows I go there."

"You do see the flaw in your plan, right? If he really went to Hogwarts, then he knows that there is no chance that we'd be together."

"You're being an insufferable twat, that's what you are. You knew me in school, right? Did you ever think I would shag a Mudblood? Of course not, and yet, Justin and I have had the occasional fuck.... There, that's perfect," Draco exclaimed as he magically tightened Ron's trousers. "He'll think we're a couple because we'll make him believe it, and because Daan and the rest already think we are."

"I'm an Auror, I'm supposed to report your presence in London," Ron said, although he understood that it had nothing to do with the problem at hand. He didn't think he could go through another night during which the occasional touches weren't so occasional, and kissing Draco Malfoy was part of the act, not when Draco had a thing for sitting on his lap. At least his trousers had hidden his erection the past nights, but these trousers hid nothing. He needed to find a way to stop this insanity and get his division involved. "We should go to my office."

Draco raised an eyebrow. "Whatever for? I have a full pardon from the Minister."

"So why don't you show your face in public?" Ron pressed.

"Because a pardon doesn't guarantee that some nutcase who supported Voldemort or hated him decides that I should pay for my crimes." Draco laced his fingers behind Ron's neck. "Now, will you stop asking questions and pretend to be my boyfriend?"

Ron sighed. "All right, but when this is done, you will come to the Ministry with me."

"We'll see." Without giving him a chance to reply, Draco Apparated them both.

They arrived in a special room reserved for wizards inside the Power Zone. Draco took his hand, led him toward the balcony. From up here, they could see both the Muggle and wizarding area. There were different dance floors, separated by Plexiglas walls. Lights of all colours painted the dancers in broad strokes, until they seemed magical creatures, swaying to the beat.

"He'd never go there," Draco said into Ron's ear.

Ron turned, and smirked. "You mean he's an arrogant bastard who wouldn't mingle with Muggles, do you?"

Draco smiled back. "Touché." Then he kissed Ron. Not just a peck, but a full blown kiss, lips parted, tongue sweeping inside Ron's mouth.

Ron didn't push him away, instead his fingers went to Draco's hips, gripping harder than he should, pulling the other man closer. He needed to remember why they were here, that this was a role, and that it was Draco Malfoy he was kissing. Sighing, he pulled back. "We need to find him."

Draco smirked. "He's here. Downstairs, wizard section, sitting on a couch, he was looking up here. Why do you think I kissed you?"

Ron felt a little stub of... anger, annoyance. He wasn't sure, but act or not, he didn't like to be used. However, he put a smile on his face. "Then it's time you introduce me to your friend," he replied.

"Are you sure?" Draco asked with a frown. "Shouldn't you ... I don't know, follow him in the shadows?"

"No, I shall sit with him all night, and when he's ready to Apparate, I'll cast a nifty little spell they teach Aurors, so we can go where he goes, and then we start following him 'in the shadows', unless you think he will start something in the club."

Draco huffed. "No need to be rude."

"I wasn't being rude." Ron took Draco's hand, as he started to walk downstairs. "I was educating you, because in this field, I happen to know a little more than you, but when it's time to pick out the best weed, I'll be sure to ask you."

Draco seethed, but there was little he didn't answer. Ron knew that the blond was quite capable of going into a tirade, but for once nothing Draco could say would negate the truth of Ron's words.

Never one to give his enemies (or friends) the satisfaction, Draco put his best smile on, and brought them to where Thomas was sitting. After the introductions, Draco secured a seat for them near Thomas, with whom they spent the rest of the night, before Apparating after him to the alley behind his building.


Draco followed Ron into his bedroom. "Why couldn't you cast some spell and see who he truly is?"

Ron unbuttoned his shirt, trying to keep calm. "Because I told you that he would notice, and he's more valuable to us if he doesn't think we suspect of his involvement. We need to find out who he's working with."

"Are you sure your spells will work?" Draco insisted.

Ron sighed. Then he sat down, and took his shoes off. "As I have explained - three times in the alley, and twice in your hallway - we will know the moment he leaves his flat. We will also know if anyone, other than the trick he took home, enters his flat."

"But are you certain?"

"Bloody hell, Draco, it's my job. I think I know how to cast a few surveillance spells by now. I'm not useless." He shook his head, fighting the anger he was feeling. No one questioned his abilities, not anymore. He wasn't just one of the Weasleys, he wasn't Harry Potter's friend; he was an Auror and a damn good one.

"I'm sorry."

Ron looked up, shocked. "Did you just apologise to me?"

Draco shrugged. "I might have," he said dismissively.

Barefoot, Ron covered the distance, standing in front of Draco, towering over him. "You did apologise. That alone is worth all the work I'm doing here."

"Don't get too excited," Draco replied with a smirk.

"I can't see what else could get me more excited."

"How about-" Draco cupped Ron's arse, pulling their bodies closer. He tilted his head up, stretching to reach Ron's lips. They had played the part of the loving boyfriends all night, kissing and touching, but somehow this felt different, more intimate. Draco enjoyed each second his tongue glided against Ron's, dancing around each other in erotic steps. He moaned when Ron pushed him away. "What?" he asked annoyed.

"The show is over; you don't need to keep acting," Ron said coldly. He would not let Draco play him, not anymore. He'd done it long enough when they were kids.

"Maybe I'm not acting," Draco said with a smirk.

Ron held him by his shoulders. "I don't know what you think you're doing, Malfoy, but I'm here to find Snape and that stone. Now, get some sleep, because we don't know when we'll have to follow your Thomas."

"He's not my Thomas," Draco muttered, trying unsuccessfully to push away the anger he felt at being dismissed so easily, but they both knew that Draco had no choice but to accept Ron's wishes at the moment. "Fine, have a good night, Weasley."

Ron watched Draco storm off from his room. He had no idea what he'd done now nor did he intend to find out. It was late, he was sleepy, and he had a feeling that things were about to get a lot more interesting. At the moment, he didn't mind a complete boring ending to this night.


Ron regretted the moment he had wished for a boring night. It became obvious that they wouldn't solve this as quickly as he hoped, and he was forced to return to London to ask for an unpaid leave. His chief wasn't too happy about it, but Ron had never taken a single vacation and he was able to get two months off.

When he returned to Malfoy mansion informing the Malfoys that he would continue the investigation, Draco insisted that his family pay for the salary he wouldn't earn. Ron didn't like the idea of taking money from the Malfoys, but he didn't know how long this would go on, and he needed to pay his rent.

The days after that moved ever so slowly. He and Draco followed Thomas from his home to cafes to bars to clubs and back home. Two weeks later, they were back at the Power Zone with Draco's friends. Again, Thomas seemed happy to sit in a couch with a different trick (and they all were blond and slim, Ron noticed). Draco, however, seemed unaware of the resemblance. He seemed unaware of the world, too busy at torturing Ron.

Draco wiggled his arse as he settled on Ron's lap, and then nuzzled the redhead's neck.

"Would you stop it?" Ron hissed, thankful that the music would stop the words from reaching the others.

"I'm not doing anything," Draco said with a smirk.

"Draco!" Ron said, the warning clear in his voice. He gripped Draco's wrists and pulled Draco's hands away from his neck. "What did you take?" he asked.

"Nothing," Draco answered without missing a beat.

"You went to the loo, and you haven't kept your hands or tongue off of me since you got back. Your pupils are dilated, and you offered to suck my cock twice already. What have you taken?" Ron insisted.

Draco slumped against Ron, nipping at his jaw. "Nothing, some potion...," he said. "I don't know what it was, Lars gave it to me, but I'm fine. I feel fine, I feel better than fine. Take me dancing... or just take me."

Ron rolled his eyes. "I should be enjoying this more than I am," he murmured under his breath. In the past he would have jumped for joy at the thought of humiliating Draco, and there was no doubt in his mind that Draco would be duly humiliated when the potion wore off, but at the moment, Ron felt annoyed and worried.

He stood up, forcing Draco on his feet. "Night," he yelled to be heard over the music.

Thomas looked at them and smirked. "Your night will be good."

Ron hadn't forgotten that Thomas had drugged Draco, and Merlin knew what he'd done to the blond. The licentious look on Thomas's face gave Ron too many bad ideas of what might have happened, and Ron closed his fingers into a tight fist, ignoring the urge to hit the bloke.

"Come on, Draco; let's go," he said ignoring everyone. Fighting the blond, who seemed intent to go to the dance floor, they finally reached the apparition room, and Ron Apparated the both of them to Malfoy manor.

Thankfully they were able to avoid Narcissa and the house elves as they made their trek to Draco's room. It would have been difficult to explain why he was spooned behind Draco as they walked. No one would have believed that it was the only way to get the blond to move.

"I don't want to go to sleep," Draco whinged, as he was unceremoniously pushed on the bed.

"Good, because I haven't asked what you want." Ron thought about calling the house elf to get Draco undressed, but the effort of talking to the elf wasn't worth it. He pulled off Draco's expensive moccasins, before moving to his equally expensive shirt (the man's clothing budget could support an entire country in Ron's opinion), and then he reached for the trousers, but thought better of it. Those denims were so tight that they were probably spelled on.

"Unless you get me naked, I plan to go out the moment you leave this room."

Ron's head snapped up at the calculated tone. "What are you on about?"

"I am going out and getting laid, that's what I'm on about."

"The potion..." Ron frowned. "You aren't high, are you?"

"I might have been," Draco said, shrugging. "It was nothing too powerful. I told you I was fine, but you refused to believe me. It was easier to go along with your foolish notions than to convince you that I was not high."

"You made me leave-"

Draco jumped off the bed, and stood right in front of Ron. "And what? Nothing will happen there, and you have cast so many spells around Thomas that he can't piss without you knowing. There is no bloody reason why we need to be there every bloody night."

"You're the one who insists on going out. I thought you wanted to find Snape," Ron answered.

"I do. However, I do not want to be stuck with you for the duration of this investigation." Draco began to pace, turning his head to stare at Ron from time to time. "Do you know how annoying you are? You've been attached to me for two weeks, touching and kissing, and fucking growling, growling for Salazar's sake, when people got too close."

"You could be in danger." He would not let Draco accuse him of any improper behaviour. So he might have enjoyed some of the kissing, but that didn't mean anything. "I was trying to protect you."

"I don't give a fuck."

"Excuse me?" Ron asked, incredulous. "You don't care? You? You, who won't even show his face in England in case someone might hurt him. You, who refuses to look for a man he admires so much. Of course you care."

"Well, not anymore," Draco replied. "I don't care when I haven't gotten laid in over two weeks. I've tried my bloody hardest to get you to fuck me, since it's obvious that you won't let anyone get near me, but you seem too thick to understand. Now, unless you plan to shag me senseless, I'll go find someone willing to do just that," he finished, taking a deep breath after his tirade.

"You... did... I... Did you just ask me to fuck you?" he finally stuttered.

Draco rolled his eyes. "It took you long enough," he said sarcastically.

"And in your warped brain, does that make any sense? I mean did you really expect me to believe that you, Draco I'm God Malfoy, wanted me-"

"What? No titles for yourself? I'd say Ron I'm Dense Weasley."

"Fuck off."

Draco smirked. "Been trying to, however you pose a problem."

"Why would you want to?"

Draco raised one eyebrow. "Low self-esteem, Weasley? Why does that not surprise me?"

Ron groaned. "That's not what I meant. You hate me, remember? You've hated me since before you even knew me. Our families have hated each other since before we were born. So why me?"

"My father is dead, we're not children, you look pretty good, and as I've explained, there is no one who has the balls to fuck me with you around. Would you be my first choice if I were free to go out? Probably not, however, you're here, I'm here..." Draco shrugged. "It's this or I go out."

"You're blackmailing me into fucking you. You do understand that, right?" Ron continued.

"No, I'm giving you options. You are free to go to your room and ignore what I do, or-" Draco leaned in, his lips brushing against the sensitive skin of Ron's neck, while his hand pressed against Ron's groin. "We could both have a pleasant evening."

Ron opened his mouth to tell Draco that he wouldn't be used, but then closed it again. They were blokes, and this wasn't about love or caring. They'd be scratching a common itch; they'd be using each other. The fact that Draco was attractive, with a very firm arse, only improved things. "Get naked, Malfoy. Even magic can't take those denims off."

Draco's smile turned ferocious as he popped his jeans open. "About time, Weasley."

Ron ignored the words in favour of action. He started to take his clothes off, but it became almost impossible when Draco lay in bed, naked, fingers around his cock, with a smug grin on his face. "God... Draco..."

"Finally learning your place in life, Weasley," Draco answered without any bite, but it was enough to pull Ron out of his reverie.

Ron took the rest of his clothes off, and jumped on the bed. He grabbed Draco's wrists and pinned them by his head, before covering Draco's body. Lying like this, their different builds was even more marked, and Ron became aware of how easily one could hurt Draco if the blond didn't have his wand. His stomach lurched at the thought of Thomas in this same situation.

"You're growling again," Draco remarked, watching him carefully, "and you weren't thinking about me."

Ron blinked. "I was... Thomas... I'm sorry."

Draco looked up in defiance. "You will be if you don't put your cock in me. Anything else is not your doing."

"How can you...?"

"What? Worry about what happened? And how would that change things? I've fucked Thomas before. If it happened, then it would be no different," Draco said coldly. "I'm more concerned with what I might have told him."

Ron lay there, unable to understand how someone as good looking as Draco could go from man to man, being nothing more than a plaything. His own one night stands could be counted on the fingers of one hand; sex and emotions were always connected for Ron, but Draco had a very different outlook on things. Anonymous fucks against dirty toilet walls seemed the rule in Draco's world, but Ron rarely followed rules.

He released Draco's wrists, and propped himself on an elbow, while his hand slid down Draco's body, tracing his collarbone, playing with his nipples, down to his stomach, and over his hipbone. Throughout he kept his eyes on Draco; grey eyes looked back with suspicion and lust, but Draco stayed unusually quiet.

His lips followed his hands as he kissed the hollow of Draco's throat, nipped on hardened nipples, fucked Draco's navel with his tongue, before sucking on one hip. Each new touch evoked a different noise, and Ron tried to memorise each one, savouring the responses he was getting.

"Weasley, stop teasing..."

"Not teasing, Draco," he said, as his face hovered over Draco's crotch. He enjoyed watching Draco's muscles clench in anticipation. He was tempted to wait longer, but then he took pity on Draco. His lips slid down Draco's erection, and the other man bucked under him. That wouldn't do at all. Ron pinned Draco's hips to the mattress as he slowly went down, pulling back up. He started a leisured rhythm, never taking him in completely, never fast enough to bring relief, while his attention was focused on Draco's face, watching for the sign that he was pushing too far.

He didn't have to worry, because Draco grabbed his hair, and pulled him up and kissed him. This was different from all their kisses; Draco meant this kiss. Their lips slid against each other, their tongues snaked around one another, and Ron never wanted to pull away, but again Draco had other ideas.

"In me. Now."

"You need-"

"I need for you to get your prick in me, Weasley." Draco stretched to one side, and grabbed something from his nightstand. "It's Muggle lube, warms too, better than any potion Severus taught me how to make."

"Good Lord, must you mention Snape now?" Ron shivered, but his cock didn't seem affected. He uncapped the tube, and poured the clear gel in his palm, before spreading it over his erection. "Are you sure-"

"I do this often enough to know what I need, Weasley," Draco said arrogantly. "If you could, before I die of old age."

"Always so bossy?" Ron snapped.

"I'm being nice, Weasley," said Draco with a smile.

"Scary thing is that I believe you." Ron shook his head, but smiled as well. Why he had expected that sex with Draco would match any of his previous experiences in this field was beyond him. Sex with Draco was like everything else with Draco: a constant battle. He couldn't resist making his point as he pressed his cock against Draco's arsehole, breaching him ever so slowly, fighting both Draco and himself with the unhurried pace he set until Draco wrapped his legs around Ron's waist, and pulled him toward him.

Ron's eyes widened at the moan he heard. "Are you all ri-" The words died in his mouth when he saw at the murderous look Draco was giving him. "Of course you are," he murmured, knowing full well that admitting any weakness, no matter how human, was not something Draco did easily. "But we do this at my pace, or I'm leaving."

"God, Weasley, I'm fine. If I knew you'd be so difficult-"

"What would you do?" Ron snapped his hips, driving deeper into Draco. "Do you want me to go?"

"Bastard!"

Ron smiled. "And proud of it."

"You're learning," Draco remarked, recognising one of his standard answers thrown back at him.

"From the best prat in the world," Ron answered, and he expected an answer, but then he pulled out and thrust back inside, and Draco's words turned into a long sigh. Ron decided that he liked this sound better than the constant complaining, and he did it again, and again, shifting his angle until the sigh turned into a loud moan.

"Again..." Draco gasped.

"Yes... sir..." The sarcasm never made it into his voice as his breathing quickened, and he pushed inside Draco, stroking his prostate with each thrust.

Draco looked so perfect, sweaty and breathless. His chest heaved as his pink lips parted to let the softest sound escape. A flush covered his normally pale body, and his eyes were as dark as the midnight sky, while his long silvery hair spilled onto a dark pillowcase. Ron knew that he would never forget the way Draco looked at the moment.

"Touch me... God... your hand."

Ron stilled, his control slipping at the need he heard in Draco's voice. His fingers curled around Draco's length, and began to stroke him, his pace increasing quickly. He leaned over, nuzzling Draco's neck. "Let go... let me see you come... so close..."

"Oh God... bloody hell..."

Draco stilled, and Ron raised his head, watching as all the tension finally drained from his lover, before Draco slumped against the mattress with the most placid smile on his face.

Ron rested his hand firmly on the mattress, as he moved in and out of Draco's body. It didn't take long before he was coming, too, an instant of perfect bliss that left him tired and completely sated. He rested his head down, a breath away from Draco's. "Happy?"

"For now," Draco answered, sounding very much unlike the demanding tyrant he usually was.

"Well, if I must sacrifice myself for the good of the wizarding community..." Ron trailed off.

Draco laughed. "I'm sure that's the reason.... You have too much energy after sex."

"It's called stamina," Ron answered.

"It's called stupidity. Accio wand." Draco cast a cleaning spell, and when Ron rolled away, he grabbed his arm. "Stay... if you want."

Ron moved to the middle of the bed again, pulling Draco to him. "Good night." Draco grunted, and squeezed Ron's hand in answer. It was enough to put a smile on Ron's face.


Draco groaned as a hand shook him awake. He swatted the hand away. "'M sleepy; go 'way."

"C'mon, Thomas is moving," Ron said, already getting dressed.

Draco cracked his eyes open, trying to read the clock, but the room was too dark. "What time is it?"

"7:13," Ron said, tossing a robe toward Draco. "Now, get moving, or I'm leaving you."

"Fuck... we've slept less than four hours."

Ron started to lace his boots. "I'm leaving in a minute," he said, ignoring Draco's complaints.

"Sod off, Weasley." With a sigh, Draco got up, and put his robe on. He slipped his shoes on, and spelled his hair in place. "Fine, I'm ready, but if he's gone fucking-"

"He went home around 2am and he's leaving at 7am. He's not going tricking." Ron locked his arm with Draco's. "Now, I'm casting a spell to make us invisible, but he can still hear us. So make no noise, understood?"

Draco rolled his eyes. "Yes, Weasley."

Ron cast the spell with his free hand, and tightened his grip on Draco. "I can't see you either without casting magic, so don't let go or I'm leaving you behind." Without waiting, he Apparated them both to Hogsmeade. He looked around, until he felt Draco nudging him, turning him toward the Shrieking Shack. He waited until Thomas went inside to check the structure.

"Why aren't we going in?" Draco asked.

"There are privacy spells at all doors and windows. They'll know if we go in. There is another way." He wrapped his arms around Draco and Apparated them to the gates of Hogwarts. "Come on, we need to move." He partially let go, but kept Draco's hand in his.

Ron led them straight to the Whomping Willow, opening the passage that they had found years back. "Very few people know about this passage. I doubt they would have cast a spell on this entrance," Ron explained as they walked through the dark and musty passage.

He opened the entrance, and quietly slipped inside the Shack. He felt Draco's breath against his neck as they stood at the entrance of the drawing room. Thomas had his back to them, standing in front of an older man. He was wearing a very traditional robe, expensive and richly adorned. His salt and pepper hair was cut short. He wore gold bifocals, and he had a pocket watch in the front of his robe, the gold chain pinned over his left breast. "Did you find Snape, yet? The stone is useless without him," he asked, his voice echoing in the empty house.

Thomas shook his head. "I've been trying. I keep going back to the club, talking to Malfoy, but he doesn't know."

"Nonsense," the old man said, waving his hand. "Snape has been with the Malfoys since leaving Hogwarts. They must know."

"With all due respect, Sir, I don't think so. Malfoy was truly worried about Snape, looking for him. Something has happened."

"Then you'll find out what happened. If you don't..."

Thomas bowed down. "I will. I assure you I will, Sir."

"I expect an answer soon." With that, the man Disapparated.

"Sodding bastard," Thomas muttered before leaving with a pop.

"I know who that man is," Draco said.

"Finite Incantatem!" They became visible again. "Let's go home, and we'll talk." Ron Apparated back to Malfoy manor followed by Draco.

The blond passed him by, walking like a man on a mission until he reached the dining room. "Leopold Urquhart is behind this, Mother."

"Good morning to you as well, my Dear. Mr. Weasley. Draco, do sit down, and have breakfast." Narcissa smiled, calmly at the two men, as the teapot floated in the air and poured tea in two cups. "Now, tell me exactly what you know, Draco."

"Just what I said Mother. Leopold Urquhart has the stone, but he's looking for Severus. He said that the stone is useless without Severus."

She hummed. "Just as I thought." She waved her hand at no one in particular. "Well, it seems that I must pay a visit to dear old Leopold."

"Mrs. Malfoy," Ron started, "it might not be safe for you to go there."

"Nonsense. Leopold knows better than to do anything overt," Narcissa said with a smile.

"Actually," Draco put in, "they know we've been worried about Severus's disappearance. Were you to see some of your friends to see if we could locate him...."

"Perfect, my Darling. I shall start with the Parkinson, and the Montagues, and I need to stop and see the Goyles and the Crabbes. With all the people, I need to see, I'd say I'd get to Leopold... oh in two or three days, long enough for him to find out that I'm making inquiries." She smiled at Ron. "Don't worry, Mr. Weasley, I promise not too hurt Leopold too much."


"What is your mother planning?" Ron asked Draco once more. He'd been worried since she had informed him of her intention of visiting this criminal, but three days later, Ron was a nervous wreck. If his chief found that he'd sent a civilian after a probable Dark wizard, he'd have Ron's balls for lunch.

"Stop worrying," Draco said, turning another page of his book.

"That's right, Mr. Weasley. Stop worrying; I shall be fine," Narcissa said, breezing inside the room. She kissed the top of Draco's head. "I'll see you soon, Dear. Please, make sure our guest doesn't have a heart attack while I'm gone. It would be quite difficult to explain."

"Yes, Mother, I shall do my best to distract him," Draco said, giving Ron a lascivious smile.

"Very good, and now I must go." Narcissa left the drawing room, heading for the entrance hall so that she could Apparate to Urquhart manor. A house elf escorted her to the library. She smiled as she opened her arms. "Leopold, it is so very good to see you." She leaned in, kissing empty air near his cheek. "Alas, I wish it were under better circumstances," she said gravely.

He took her hands and led her to the couch. He ordered the house elf to bring them tea before addressing her again. "Yes, I've heard, Narcissa. So very terrible to hear about Severus's disappearance, and after Lucius's death...." There was no doubt that he meant to convey his knowledge on the subject, but then Narcissa knew that secrets travelled faster than the blink of an eye in her circles.

"Yes, I miss my husband dearly, but it's been five years, and Severus has been great support." She fought to keep her smile on. Maybe she could get away with melting a few of his internal organs before Weasley stopped her. Instead, she sat motionless as the house elf returned with their tea. She waved the house elf away. "It's a lady's job to pour tea; my dear mother always said that," she told Urquhart in explanation. "How have you been doing, Leopold? No one expected Leticia to leave you..." She saw the flash of anger in his eyes, and fought to keep her satisfaction hidden.

"You have no idea where Severus might be, have you?" Leopold asked with affected concern, ignoring her remark about his own wife.

"Unfortunately no. I've been asking around, but no one has heard of any news from the Ministry." She handed him his tea, and took a sip of hers, watching him carefully as he drank the tea she had prepared for him. "There is no other explanation; it must be them. I know of no other reason why anyone would be looking for him..." She put her cup down, her hand hiding between the folds of her robe, fingers closing around her wand in case something went wrong.

"Well, except for the stone, the one you have. Oh please, don't bother denying it. You couldn't. In fact, you'll notice that you can't do much of anything. At this very moment, all your organs and fluids are turning into stone. Severus does make the most wonderfully lethal potions." She smiled viciously. "See, I can't kill you... yet, but I need that stone back. So here are your choices: I can give you the antidote, not enough to actually cure you, but enough for you to get up and give me the stone. When I get home, I shall send you the rest of the cure, and you will have to trust me on that. Or I can drink my tea, wait for you to die, and then look for the stone. Of course, were your son to come home while I'm still here, I might be forced to kill him too. You do understand how tragic that would be."

Narcissa took a vial out of her pocket, and shook it in front of his eyes. "Look, just a few drops. You try anything, and you will die slowly and painfully. Open up..." She laughed lightly. "What am I saying? You can't move." She dropped the potion into his mouth and waited for it to make its way down his throat. When he could move again, Leopold found a wand pressed against his neck. "The stone, if you please. We don't have much time before you die."

He glared at her, but she laughed it off. "Now, now, Leopold, you don't want to die, do you?" She pressed her wand deeper, and he finally moved, taking her through hallways and secret passages, and finally a hidden room.

"I need my wand to open the safe," Leopold said coldly.

"All right, but you so much as turn that wand toward me, and I will kill you," she answered with a smile. "Bellatrix always did teach me the nicest spells, or I'll simply use a freezing spell and let the potion do the rest," she finished in a pleasant tone.

"Bitch," he muttered, but he used his wand to open the safe. Inside, a blue cloth, covering an object, stood out in the otherwise empty safe.

"Uncover it," Narcissa ordered.

"You won't be able to use it without Severus," he said as he uncovered a harmless looking stone.

Golden and transparent, it reminded Narcissa of a giant amber gemstone, but she knew that appearances could be deceiving it. She ordered Leopold to cover it again, before reaching for it. "Call your house elf, and order him to come with me. He's the only one who can get the antidote to you in time. As you can imagine, I have no intention of returning." She waited placidly as he obeyed her. "Oh, and Leopold, try this again, and next time you'll have no antidotes." With that, she Disapparated.

Narcissa sent the promised antidote back, although she doubted it would do Leopold much good in the end. His demise was close whether he knew it or not. Instead, she went to the library where she found her son and Ron. "Here it is. Draco, come with me. We need to make sure that no one but you can ever gain access to it."

Draco frowned, but stood up from his chair. "How will we do that?"

"Never mind that, how did you get that? He didn't just hand it over, did he?" Ron asked, and then his eyes widened. "You didn't kill him, did you?"

A clear laugh filled the room. "Oh Mr. Weasley, you don't think I am that stupid. That was more... my departed sister's style. No, I simply persuaded him. Now come along. You can come too, Mr. Weasley. Knowing the location won't help you."

Intrigued, Ron followed her, through a maze of corridors and stairs, until they found themselves somewhere in the dungeon. Narcissa pointed her wand to a door, and whispered something, so low that no one could hear.

"I have access to the room," she said as she open a door, "but only part of it. The back of it can only be accessed by a Malfoy." She handed Draco the stone. "Just cross the room, and leave it anywhere, no one but you will be allowed in there." She smiled at Ron. "And no one can force Draco to pick it up either. Any spell cast in this room would hit the caster and not a Malfoy. If you and Severus had trusted me sooner..."

Draco looked between his mother and Ron. He knew that the Auror wanted the stone. It looked like his mother knew it too, and now, it would be linked to the Malfoy family forever.

He took a deep breath. He wasn't sure why, but this felt like an important step for him, and as Draco crossed the barrier, he could feel the magic wash over him in a way that he'd never experienced before. "Any other secrets like this, Mother?" he asked as he gently set the stone on a table.

"Plenty, my Darling, and if you are finally ready to accept who you are, then it's time for me to reveal them to you." Narcissa smiled at him. "After supper, of course."


Breakfast had become a time to share theories and plan their next move. Ron wasn't sure how and when he had started to listen to Narcissa Malfoy for his plans, but he had. "We still need to find Snape."

She looked coyly at him. "I think we are closer than either of you suspects. Have you seen the Daily Prophet this morning?" she said, pushing a copy toward Ron.

He read the article she had pointed out, before sliding it across the table to Draco. "Do you think Snape killed Urquhart?"

The doors of the dining room opened, slamming against the wall, and Snape strode in, dropping a copy of the Daily Prophet in front of Narcissa. "Did you do that?"

"I wanted to, but I rather like my freedom. However, I took steps to obtain what you were trying to do. That is what you wanted, yes?" Narcissa stood up, forcing Snape to take a step backwards. "Severus, you forget that I spent most of my life with Lucius. You can fool others, but not me. You set all of this up, didn't you?"

Draco looked between the two, anger building inside him. "You mean he was fine all along, and you knew it? I worried sick about him; I went to a Gryffindor, a Weasley for help-"

"And we would have never gotten to Leopold if it weren't for him," Narcissa said, cutting him off. "Severus never got that close, did you?"

"How did you know?" Snape asked.

"Simple. No one gets inside this house without me knowing it. Severus, you forget that this is an ancestral home. The lord and the lady of the house know exactly who enters and when. No one could have taken that stone from this house."

"You gave it to Thomas," Ron exclaimed.

"Very good, Mr. Weasley. Five points to Gryffindor," Snape said sarcastically.

"Well, fuck you, Severus," Draco snapped out. "You don't get to be sarcastic after you had us... oh what am I saying, because my own mother couldn't be bothered to tell me that you were all right... you had me worried for weeks."

Narcissa raised a hand. "Enough. Let's all sit down, and discuss this like civilised purebloods."

"He isn't one," Ron said with glee, staring at Snape.

"Regardless," Narcissa cut him off. "Let's sit."

Ron was surprised when Snape went around the table and chose to sit next to Draco. The blond looked like he was ready to murder everyone present.

"I'm sorry, Draco. I did what I had to do. I knew someone was looking for the stone, I knew that he was trying to rally the support of Slytherins. I was trying to learn his identity." Snape's bony fingers closed around Draco's arm. "I didn't want you involved."

"Are you mad? How could I not be, Severus?"

Snape almost smiled, although Ron thought that it looked down right scary. "I never imagined that you would try to come to my rescue."

"Next time, I won't," Draco said. Then, he leaned in, and squeezed the man's hand, making Ron shiver. "You're important to me."

"And so are you to me. I never wished for you to get involved with a new dark wizard, Draco."

"You should have told me," Narcissa said. "This would have gone a lot smoother if you had."

"Perhaps, but I didn't want you involved either!"

"Do know who Thomas is?"

"Roger Davies," Severus answered. "He was never marked, but he'd been working for Voldemort for years."

"Bastard. We've been trying to nail him for years, but we never could find anything, and the lack of mark..."

"I'm sure I can provide some information on the subject," Snape said, before he nodded to the Daily Prophet. "How did it happen?"

"I might have mentioned to several people that Leopold was trying to take Voldemort's place, and that if I had discovered him so quickly, there was no way that the Aurors wouldn't be on his trail. Of course, we all know the negative impact such an investigation would have on us, our lives, and our children." Narcissa shrugged. "I have no idea who chose to do this, but I doubt there will be any traces of the perpetrators."

Ron felt his skin crawl. She sounded bored with the entire affair, as if she weren't discussing the death of a man. If she ever chose to take over the wizarding community, they would all be in trouble. However, there were other problems at hand. "Why couldn't you destroy the stone, and be done?"

"I wish it were that simple, Mr. Weasley. I started studying the stone from the moment I gained possession, but I haven't been able to find a way to destroy it. The stone has fed on souls for millennia; any attempt to destroy it would release such powerful magic as to affect most of Britain." Snape shook his head. "No, the stone must be kept safe and away from human souls. What I did was in effect to put a magical barrier between the stone and human beings."

"I assume Leopold was correct in his conviction that he needed you to 'activate' the stone. Why is that?" Narcissa asked.

Snape sighed, and Ron had the impression that he did not want to answer, but then he started to explain. "After Voldemort's death, I cast a spell binding the stone to me and my bloodline, knowing full well that there would be none. After I die, the stone becomes useless for all purposes. Until then only I can unlock its power... unless someone finds a way to break my charms."

"And only Draco can reach it," Ron added.

"Draco and his bloodline," Narcissa corrected.

Ron snorted. "Right! I wouldn't hold my breath."

"Then, it's perfect," Severus put in. "The stone will be nothing but a beautiful gemstone when I die, and Draco can sell it, and enjoy the profit."

Narcissa cleared her throat. "Not quite. Draco will keep the stone where it is, and he will produce an heir or many of this house's riches will be forever lost. While his brother will ensure that the stone is not activated."

Three pairs of eyes converged on her. "Brother?" Draco finally said.

"Yes, in this commotion, I might have forgotten to mention that I am pregnant." She turned to Snape. "Soon, this house will have to become Draco's. Another five months, give or take."

Snape barely nodded, and Ron was once again surprised to see the interaction between these people. When Fleur had announced that she was pregnant, there had been hugging and kissing for close to an hour. When Ginny got pregnant, his parents threw a party that lasted three days. Here, there was a nod, and arrangements for a new home.

"You don't have to go," Draco said quietly. "Neither of you. If you'll excuse me..." Without another word, Draco got up and left the room.

Ron looked between the other two for a moment, and then sighed. "I'd better go after him."

Narcissa smiled softly at him. "He does value your friendship."

Ron sniggered. "No, he values my willingness to risk my neck for him."

"Draco has a funny way of expressing what he feels," she insisted.

"Yes, loudly and obnoxiously, which is exactly what he'll do in a few minutes. Congratulations... to both of you," he added, making a face as he looked at Snape, and then he went after Draco.

He entered Draco's room without bothering to knock. The blond wouldn't have answered in the mood he was in, and Ron was surprised just how well he could read Draco now.

Draco was lying on the bed, ankles crossed, his arms bend behind his head. He was staring at the ceiling, and didn't react as Ron entered the room.

"Are you all right?"

"Fine. Severus was never in danger, my mother knew everything, I went to you for help that wasn't needed, they are having a child, they plan to move out, and I'm the last of the Malfoys." Draco nodded. "I'm perfectly fine."

"I can't even imagine what it would mean being the last Weasley," Ron said.

Draco scoffed. "Of course not, Weasley procreate faster than rabbits."

"Yeah, that's true," Ron said, unwilling to start a fight over their families. He sat on the bed, reached toward Draco, falling short of touching the blond. "Still, as strange as it sound, things aren't different. Your mother is still your mother, and Snape likes you and you like him, Merlin knows why. Soon, you'll have a brother, another person to love and annoy. Think, you're older, you'll get to boss over him."

Draco cracked a smile. "I boss over everyone, blood relationships are not vital."

"You try to, at least," Ron said with a smile. "Never did work with me or Harry."

"But it will be different. This is Severus's child," he said softly.

Ron lay down on his side, his fingers running over Draco's arm. "And you're afraid that he'll love this child more. It doesn't work that way, Draco. My parents have seven of us, and they love us differently, but equally. Of course, he won't treat you like he'll treat his son, but then again, you are a grown man, although you don't always show it."

Draco turned his head. "Why are you here?"

"I don't know."

"We fucked. That's all."

"I know," Ron said. Draco was right. One fuck did not make for a relationship. There was no reason for him to be here to comfort Draco, and yet he wanted to.

"And you hate me."

Ron smiled. "I stopped hating you long ago. I didn't even realise it until you came to my house that first night. Hate takes too much energy, and you weren't there to keep those emotions alive. I still find you completely annoying, arrogant, and spoilt."

"That's because I am, and quite proud of it." Draco paused for a moment. "What happens now?"

"I go back to my flat and my job and my very boring life saving old owls too afraid to fly down the trees... if it was only a fuck." Ron traced Draco's lips. "Your mother got me thinking-"

"She's good at that."

"Yes, she is. I was thinking that you could have found someone to fuck you. No one would have thought it strange if you had a quickie in the loo. In fact, all your friends thought strange that you were in a monogamous relationship."

"Don't flatter yourself, Weasley. It was the only way we could go back together."

"That's what I thought, too, but the thing is, we could have been in a relationship without being monogamous. No one would have cared." His hand moved down, fingers splayed over Draco's stomach. "But you chose not to fuck around, and then ordered me to bugger you. I'm starting to think that it was done on purpose."

"Who's arrogant, now?"

"I can be arrogant and right at the same time. They aren't mutually exclusive."

Draco stared for a moment, then took Ron's hand and pressed it against his groin. "Fine, I wanted you to bugger me. Can we get on with it, now?"

Ron shook his head. "No, and don't get your knickers in a twist. Listen to me first. We can fuck, as many times as you like, but I won't be part of your world of quick shags, illegal potions, and dancing until dawn. I work, I need to work, but more than that, I was raised to believe that relationships are important. The sex should be part of a relationship, of something other than pure physical need. If release is all I want, I can use my hand. With you, I want more, I want to be able to go out with you, to go to Mum's Sunday dinners, to meet my friends; I want us to be a couple."

"We don't even use our first names, and you want me to meet your family?" Draco chuckled. "Have you lost your bloody mind?"

"I've been using your name for days, if you hadn't noticed. However, I don't mean we need to do it now, but I want to know that there is a possibility, Draco. Not today, not tomorrow, but soon." Ron kissed him gently. "Your choice."

Draco's fingers rested on Ron's cheek. "Did you hear what my mother said about an heir?"

"I did, and I don't like it, but I understand, and we can deal with it in the future. I'm just asking for a few public dates, Draco."

Draco closed his eyes, when he reopened them, Ron's heart jumped at his determined expression. "All right, but I draw the line at being friends with Potter."

"I wouldn't dream of asking that of you," Ron answered, laughing.

"Well, don't just lie there. We need to go," Draco said, as he stood up.

Ron frowned. "Where are we going?"

"I will not be seen around with someone who dresses like you. We're going shopping in your last of day of freedom before you return to 'work'." The word sounded dirty on Draco's lips. "Consider it as partial repayment for all your work here. Don't worry, you still get your stipend."

Still in shock from the sudden change, Ron stood up, and followed Draco to the entrance hall and to Diagon Alley. Without knowing how, he found himself at Madam Malkin's with pins over new robes he hadn't picked.

As he stared at Draco picking clothes for him, Ron finally understood one vital fact: life was a great adventure.

At least with Draco around.