For Us to Miss or Seek
by DragonLight


The Beginning

"Scrooge."

Ron glared.  "Not funny, Harry.  I am not.  If I were I wouldn't donate to that orphanage you're so fond of running."

Harry raised one eyebrow.  "Is that what you think?  Tell me, Ron, are you even going to be at the Burrow for Christmas or do you have a meeting scheduled?"

Without even a second thought, Ron pulled his planner toward him and started leafing through the pages.  He stopped when he heard Harry sigh.  "What?  You asked and I'm checking."

Harry shook his head.  "I don't believe you, Ron.  You shouldn't have to check.  But I guess you don't understand that."  Harry pushed himself up out of his chair and headed toward the door.  "I'll see you later.  I have to go and help your dad hang up some fairy lights; he tried to magic them on and blew some of the fuses."  He paused.  "Of course he might like your help instead of mine, but I can see you're busy."

And Ronald Weasley was indeed back to work before the door even shut behind his best friend.  For Work was what Ronald Weasley did.  All he did.  And at the end of each day, he would count all the Galleons that he had made and give himself a pat on the back.

No one could tell Ronald Weasley that he was poor or not good enough any longer.  Or that he'd always be in Harry Potter's shadow.  Ronald Weasley was an important man.

Ronald Weasley was a rich man.

And when it came down to it that was all that really mattered to Ron anymore.

On the other side of London -- in a building very similar to the one that Ronald Weasley was in, poring over his accounts -- was Draco Malfoy.  Like Ronald Weasley, he was also a rich man.  An important man.  And when it all came down to it that was all that ever really mattered to Draco.

But unlike Ronald Weasley, Draco Malfoy didn't have anyone to call him 'Scrooge' (not that anyone would dare) or to remind him that Christmas was about family and friends and not at all about net worth.

One would think that two men with so much in common would get along famously.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Weasley and Malfoy competed all year long, year after year.  Vicious letters were exchanged by owl almost every day.  They spent more time in boardrooms arguing with each other than they did in their own homes.

But then again, who wanted to go home to an empty flat?

Draco Malfoy insisted that he liked his cold townhouse in London just fine, that the silence did wonders for his plotting and planning and scheming.  Ronald Weasley, on the other hand, avoided his home as much as possible.  He avoided it so much, in fact, that he hadn't even unpacked most of his boxes after two years.  The important thing to him was that he owned it.  It was his and no one could take it away.  Instead he would go to Harry's flat, drag him out of bed at the most ungodly hours, and ask to sleep on his couch.  Harry had the type of lived-in flat that felt like home.  

Of course if Ron ever stayed at his flat it might look lived-in as well, but Ron didn't dwell on that.

So it was no surprise that a frigid Christmas Eve found these two powerful, important, rich men alone, counting their Galleons and patting themselves on the back for jobs well done.  

And so our story begins...

Christmases Past

Draco blinked blearily at the clock on the far side of his office.  It was almost one a.m.  Thinking that perhaps he should call it a night and go home, he opened yet another file and looked down at it.  He'd go home after he finished this one.  Of course he wouldn't, though.  He had said that same thing to himself before the last dozen files, and yet he still continued.  Feeling somewhat stiff, he stood and crossed his office, stretching his arms above his head as he walked.

"I would've thought you'd be waiting to see what everyone got you.  Like you used to."

"Or what you could steal from the others."

Draco jumped at the unexpected chill in the room as much as from the sound of the voices.  "Don't you two have better things to do rather than haunt me?"

The ghosts of Crabbe and Goyle looked at each other before turning back to Draco.  "No," they said in unison.

Draco shook his head.  Crabbe and Goyle were stuck perpetually looking like they had when they had died:  two stocky seventh year boys in torn black robes with blood splattered on face and hands.

"I didn't think so."  Draco paused and leaned over his desk so he could sign his name with a flourish.  He wouldn't let the appearance of two former schoolmates keep him from turning a profit.  "So what brings you here of all places?  I thought you didn't like this building."

"It's Christmas."

"We couldn't let you spend it all alone."

"I was hoping that you'd have some plum pudding."

"And then tell us how good it was."

A half-smile almost managed to find its way onto Draco's face.  Almost.  "Not tonight.  I have work.  Try again next year.  I'll schedule you in."

"But we're hungry," Crabbe complained.

"You're ghosts."

Crabbe floated toward him, but got stuck in the middle of Draco's desk.  Of course he forgot that ghosts could float through things and started flailing his arms and wailing.  Draco, fed up with the nonsense, stepped away from where Goyle was helping his ghostly companion.

"It's almost like our sixth year, isn't it, Draco?"

Draco glared but didn't answer.  He had no recollection of what Goyle was blabbering about.  Crabbe had never got stuck in the middle of furniture while at school, a fact that actually amazed Draco.  But he was sure Goyle would take the opportunity to help Draco remember.  Dying had made him quite talkative; after all, Draco couldn't threaten to kill him if he said something stupid.

"You remember.  That time both Crabbe and I got stuck in the door when we were looking for you, and caught you boffing Weasley."

Draco bit the inside of his cheek.  "That.  I remember..."

***

It had all started with an argument.  Everything between them always started with an argument.  They had been in one of the small storage rooms that could be found throughout Hogwarts, screaming at each other, when Ron spun him around and pushed him against the wall.  Hungry lips fastened onto his neck.  Lips that he didn't even know the taste of, lips that he suddenly decided he wanted to savor.

Draco's breath hitched, and he bit his lip to stop a moan from escaping.  Oh god... oh god.  Those lips trailing up his neck, that tongue tracing patterns on his skin.  Ron's smell of soap and sweat and chocolate frogs.  He never thought he'd get enough.

He never thought that Weasley of all people would be someone he'd want.  He could feel Ron's cock pressing against his arse and Draco jerked back, increasing the pressure.  A groan against his skin, warm air chilling the trail of saliva Ron had left.

And then hands, moving from his waist where they had been pushing him against the wall to lift the edges of his shirt.  Long fingers tickled and stroked the tender skin of his stomach and chest, going up to pinch at his nipples and make him groan into the wall.  "Fuck."

"Is that what you want, Malfoy?"  Ron's voice was breathy.  Obviously this was having an effect on him as well.  As if the press of a hard cock against his arse wasn't clue enough.

Draco nodded.  Please, please, please.  Not that those words would ever pass through his lips.  They wouldn't.  Never.  And certainly not for Weasley of all people.

Draco bit on his lip again as Ron thrust against him, bit down harder as Ron's hands undid the clasp of his trousers and one wrapped around his cock.  He wouldn't groan.  Wouldn't give Weasley the satisfaction.

But he was.  He was pushing against Ron's palm, droplets of precome being spread down his shaft making each stroke smoother than the last.  And then Draco pressed back and felt Ron's erection shoving harder against him.

Ron was panting into the crook of Draco's neck, each push of breath rustling the hair at the nape of his neck as he stroked and strained against Draco harder and faster.  Draco bit down on his tongue so hard that he could taste blood when the heady scent of their arousal pushed him higher yet.

He shuddered when he came, finally letting himself moan, and he reveled in the feel of Ron's hips jerking shakily and his grunt as he came, his chest flush against Draco's back and Ron's hand going lax on Draco's softening cock.

The next thing he knew, Draco was being turned around and Ron's tongue was being forced into his mouth.  Lifting his hands he moved them to push Ron away, but didn't, instead threading his fingers through Ron's hair and bringing the kiss under his control.  He clutched the strands of red hair and he could feel Ron wince, but that couldn't end the kiss.  It would end when he was ready.  But he didn't want it to end, for with its conclusion reality would once again intrude.

But it had to end.  He nipped at Ron's bottom lip and then ran his tongue over it before pulling away.

Ron looked at him, still breathing hard and looking flushed.  "Merlin's balls," he breathed.  "That was... that--"

Draco started as the door opened and Crabbe and Goyle both tried to fit their rather substantial girths though it at the same time.  Without looking at Ron, he refastened his trousers and fixed his shirt.

"Thanks for the good time, Weasley.  I'm sure that all the stupid Gryffindors want to hear how Weasley takes it up the bum."

Ron's eyes narrowed.  "This isn't done, Malfoy!"

And it wasn't.  That had only been the beginning, but not of a fight.  Instead it was the beginning of arguments turning to trysts.  Of heated looks and quick gropes.  It had been the beginning of something.  Draco was just never quite sure what that something was.

"You never did tell us if Weasley was any good."

"He was Weasley," Draco snapped.

"Oh," said Goyle, looking disappointed.  "Are you sure there isn't any plum pudding?"

~///~

On the other side of London, Ron was dealing with his own ghostly Christmas visitor, but unlike Draco, he didn't mind.  Too much.

"You always looked good in maroon, dear."  Molly Weasley held out a pair of ghostly knitted socks.  "I wanted to make you a jumper, but I can't."

No matter how much he wanted to, Ron couldn't take the socks.  They couldn't ever leave his mother's hands, though the color changed according to the intended recipient.  "I didn't -- don't look good in maroon, Mum."

"Of course you do.  I never understood why you didn't think so.  Maroon flatters you."

"It makes me look pale."

Molly tutted and knitted a bit more.  The mechanics of ghostly knitting made even less sense than real knitting to Ron.

"You haven't said anything about the new office, Mum."

The ghostly figure of his mother made her way around the office, floating through expensive furniture and putting her head through the painting on the wall that hid Ron's safe.  Gliding back to where she had materialized, she stared at Ron.  "Well, I don't rightly know what to say, Ronald."

"Look at all the stuff.  This sofa was made by a renowned wizard furnishings maker in Italy, and the desk is hand-carved mahogany with really complicated spell work crafted in.  And the painting in front of the safe was done by a famous artist.  It cost me a good bit to get him to paint the Hogwarts landscape with Hogsmeade in the background.  He charged extra for each person from the village I wanted."

Molly leaned over her knitting, appearing not to be listening at all, but she was.  "Well they're all nice things, Ron, but... don't you have any pictures of your brothers or sister?  Of Harry?  Hermione?  Your father?  Me?"  Her voice wavered at the end.

"Yeah, they're..."  Ron had to stop and think.  He had them -- or he had had some, anyway, before he had moved his office into this new building.  Furrowing his brow, he thought of the places the pictures might have got to, and then he remembered.  Hurrying over to an adjacent room, he pulled out a box and started rummaging around.  Within moments he had pulled out a stack of dusty pictures in old frames.  "Here."

Molly floated over to him and looked down at the dust-covered bundle in his hands.  "Ah yes.  These are good pictures, Ron.  I always liked that one," she said, pointing at the top picture.  "That was the year you actually wore the jumper I had made you for Christmas without saying a word.  I thought you might have liked the higher neck.  Kept you warmer, no doubt."

Ron flushed pink.  That wasn't really the reason he had worn it, but he wasn't about to tell his mum that.  Had he tried to wear a scarf inside the house, everyone would have known.  "No doubt."

"Do you still have your jumpers, Ron?"

The question hit Ron like a rogue bludger.  It knocked his breath right out and left him grasping for words.  His mother had never asked him about the jumpers before, and he didn't really want to tell her.  It was the only action that he truly regretted, burning them all.  If he had known that his mum was going to die that year, he wouldn't have.  He always thought he'd have a new pile of jumpers within a year or two.  But now he had none.

"They're at home, mum... I... They aren't really appropriate for coming to work."

"Of course, dear."  Molly reached her hand out and held it close to Ron's cheek.  Ron longed for the feel of his mother's fingers against his cheek, for a hug, but those were things that he couldn't have any longer, and he took the false touch with a heavy heart.

"I'll talk to you soon, Mum."

Molly nodded and started fading out.  She was probably going to wish his dad a Happy Christmas, or maybe he was going to head over to Ginny's or Percy's or... She had a lot of people to say hello to on Christmas, and Ron tried not to envy their time.  They were family, after all.

Sinking down onto his expensive couch, he thought of the reason he had burned all those jumpers.  It wasn't really right for him to have done so, but he had been so angry...

***

"So that's what I am, Malfoy?  A good fuck?!"

Malfoy nodded and turned his back to Ron.  Ron swallowed, trying not to look at the expanse of bare back and slender neck.  Draco's hair just brushed the back of his neck, and Ron could still see the marks he had left there only hours before.  The reddened skin fading as quickly as their... whatever they had.  

"Don't you even have the decency to tell me why?"

One shoulder rose in a shrug and Malfoy still wouldn't turn to face him.  Stepping angrily into his pants, Ron glared at him.  He fastened his trousers and pulled the shirt over his head, making his hair a mess that would rival Harry's.  He didn't care.

"You're kicking me out and won't even look as I leave.  Some prat you are, Malfoy."

Malfoy rolled onto his back and pillowed his head on his arms.  "You should have known that a long time ago, Weasel.  Why would I match myself with a poor, useless sod like you when I can marry rich?  I could be with someone that understands my station in life.  You never can."

Ron shook his head.  "That's rich.  I should have known that there wasn't a decent bone in your body.  You'll never change."

"Neither will you.  You'll always be the poor wretch begging for money."

"I never asked you for a Knut, you damn idiot."

"I wouldn't have given you one."

Grabbing a book off the dresser, Ron threw it at Malfoy as he headed toward the door.  "Fuck you, Malfoy!  I wish you a miserable life with whatever pure-blood bitch you tie yourself to."  The door slammed, and that was the last time that Ron had looked at Malfoy as a lover.

Later that night, Ron looked at himself in the mirror.  A Weasley jumper that was a tad too big -- in case he grew more, jeans that were a little too short.  A shirt he had filched from Harry; it was snug, but he didn't mind that.  And shabby robes.  To Ron's eyes he looked worse off then Professor Lupin ever had.  Not for the first time, Ron decided that he hated his family, and wished that he was anything other than a Weasley.  If he was someone else... from a family with power, maybe, maybe he wouldn't have been kicked out of that bed by a spoiled little rich prat.

Ron didn't acknowledge that getting kicked out of that bed hurt.  He wouldn't, because he didn't give a rat's ass about Malfoy.

Angry, Ron grabbed up all of the jumpers his mum had ever made him and shoved them into a chest.  Dragging the chest behind him, he brought it outside and started a bonfire.   He wasn't going to let the Weasley name hold him down anymore.  He was going to show Malfoy that he wasn't to be discounted just because of his family.  

Ron stood there until every jumper burned down to nothing but ash.

~///~

Christmases Present

Ron rubbed at the back of his neck, finally deciding to abandon his work and head home.  Whether that was his home or Harry's, he had no idea.  He didn't really want to go back to his flat, though that was nothing new, and Harry would kill him if he woke him up before dawn on Christmas.  So Ron wandered the streets, not sure of where to go.

He was looking at a Christmas display in the window of a department store when someone bumped into him.  Turning, he looked down at the man picking himself up off the ground.

"Malfoy."

Draco was straightening his cloak.  "Weasley.  I wasn't expecting the displeasure of running into you."

"The feeling is mutual."  Ron glared.

"As much as I would love to stay and chat," sarcasm dripped off every word, "I really should be going."  Draco brushed past him without another word and made his way down the street.

Only debating his next action a moment, Ron turned and started following Malfoy.  Perhaps he'd see Malfoy get in trouble with whatever tart he was keeping; that would be a good Christmas present indeed.  Keeping his footfalls quiet, Ron stayed a discreet distance away.  There was a quick stop at the Leaky Cauldron where Draco picked up a Prophet before continuing on his way home.

Three quarters of the way to Malfoy's townhouse, Ron almost changed his mind, deciding that Malfoy would have Apparated home, that he wouldn't have walked all that way, but still he followed.  It never occurred to Ron that maybe Malfoy was walking home for the same reason that he was.  That he was trying to postpone stepping into his house because once the door closed behind him, he really was alone.

But no one can avoid something forever, and eventually Malfoy opened the front door of his house.  Ron, for his part, stepped down the side alley and climbed over the garden wall.  Quietly, he crept up to the window that had just jumped to life with light.  Crouching beneath it, he watched as Draco threw his cloak over the back of a chair and went over to his desk.  Malfoy bent down to pull open a drawer and pulled out a very familiar looking maroon jumper before heading over to the plush sofa in the room and sinking down onto it.

It was confusing, seeing Malfoy pull on a jumper that Ron would never suspect him of wearing.  It was his jumper, if he wasn't mistaken.  The little wavy band of gold wool around the edge of the sleeve was something that his mother had added in to all his jumpers ever since he'd been sorted into Gryffindor.  But Ron had burned all the jumpers, he remembered doing just that, had in fact been thinking about that incident earlier that night.  And now Draco Malfoy had one on.  It was too big for Malfoy's more slender body and he had to scrunch up the sleeves so his hands could hold the paper in front of him.  That was even more proof.  What was Malfoy doing with one of his jumpers?

Ron closed his eyes and thought about this new turn of events.  There was only one way that Draco could have gotten his hands on one of Ron's jumpers, and that was when Ron had slammed his way out of the room when Malfoy had kicked him out.  He had probably been wearing one when he had shown up and never put it back on.  Though why Malfoy would be wearing it was beyond him.  Malfoy hated him.  He hated Malfoy.  They made that quite clear all the time.  There wasn't anything between them any longer.  There would never be anything between them again.

Ron moved away from the window before standing up and turning to leave.  Climbing over the garden wall, he dropped back down to the pavement.  He had no idea why he had followed Draco in the first place and no idea why the sight of him bundled up in his last remaining Weasley jumper left him shaken.  Figuring out his motivation for either would take more introspection then he was ready for, so shaking his head, Ron started walking again.

~///~

Ron never realized that Draco had spotted him out of the corner of his eye, and had gone over to the window to catch him.  By the time that Draco had discarded the jumper and got to the window, Ron was climbing over the garden wall.

He could have knocked on the door.  Draco would have only been a bit of a prat.  It was Christmas, after all.

Swallowing, Draco grabbed his coat and started outside.  Two could play this spying game.  Shoes pounding along the pavement, Draco rushed to catch up with Ron, and once he caught sight of him, he stopped and ducked behind a post box.  Ron wasn't headed back to his flat, that was for sure, but Draco had no idea where he was headed because he wasn't going toward Potter's flat either.

Draco tamped down the sting of jealousy he felt at the thought of Potter.  For a time, after they had split, Draco had actually thought that Harry and Ron had been lovers.  He'd kept close tabs on them both for just that reason, but then Harry had gone and announced to the world that he was a confirmed bachelor who wanted only to dedicate his life to making sure that other Muggle raised children didn't suffer a similar fate as him -- Draco rolled his eyes -- and the assumption of Harry and Ron in a clandestine affair had faded.

Over the years, Draco had watched Ron succeed in his business endeavors and his personal life.  Like Draco, Ron now graced the list of people that must be invited to the most important social functions in the wizarding world.  And like Draco, he avoided them all.  Ron didn't need social power to stay on top of things.

A fact which Draco bemoaned.  It would have been much easier finding out about Ron's current trysts had they been in the public eye.

Ducking behind a bush, Draco watched as Ron climbed the steps to a run-down, half-painted building with a shabby little playground area in the front of it.  He recognized it, but couldn't place it.  There were definite spells on the building and grounds that he could sense, and leaning a bit to the right, Draco saw the sign above the door form the letters of "Potter Place" just as Ron slipped through and shut the door.

Why had Ron gone to Harry's little orphanage he had no clue.  But soon, Ron came back out, a little wide-awake boy running in front of him and leading him straight over to the swings.

"Push me, Ron!  Please!"

Draco rubbed his forehead.  Something was off.  Hunkering down, he settled himself into watch.

As Ron pushed this little insomniac, the boy started to demand a story.  Ron shushed him and started talking in low tones.

"Once there was this little bratty kid named Timothy--"

"No no no.  Not about me!  I know my story!"

Ron chuckled and started again.  "Once there was a prince.  He was a very snooty prince, always demanding that everyone give him his way and go out of their way to do everything for him."

Draco felt the blood in his veins starting to go cold.

"And one day this prat prince finally met his match.  There was a knight who never let the prince boss him around, and they fought all the time because of it.  One day, the prince made this knight one of his most trusted advisors and shared many of his deepest secrets with the knight.  The knight was pleased to be treated as an equal to the prince, for no one had ever treated him as such before, because he came from a poor family."

"I like the knight!"

Ron ruffled the boy's hair.

"You keep talking, and you won't hear the end because Ms Parry will come out and eat me alive for sneaking you out."

"'Kay!"

"Well, everything was going fine for the knight and the prince until the day the prince realized he had trusted a peasant.  You see, it was something the prince had always known, and at first it had kept the prince from being friends with the knight, but they overcame that and... I can't tell stories.  I've mucked it all up."

"No!  Keep going, please, Ron?"

"Anyway, the prince told the knight that he was from too poor a family and he had to leave."

"I don't like the prince anymore."

"Well, princes can be that way.  The knight resolved that he'd never let anyone treat him as the prince had treated him ever again.  Because the prince had been important to him, you see."  Ron went quiet and just pushed the little boy in his swing for a minute.

"What did the knight do?"

Shaking his head, Ron looked up at the sky.  "The knight went to another country and became a prince himself.  Or at least tried to.  Maybe he didn't quite become a prince, but he became as important as the prince."

"Did he ever see his friend the prince again?  Did the knight and he make up once the knight was important?"

"No, Timothy.  The knight forgot the prince and made his own life.  He didn't need the prince anymore."

"That's a sad story."  Timothy yawned.

"I suppose.  Do you think that you can fall asleep now?"

Timothy nodded, and Ron brought the swing to a stop and picked the little boy up.  "Now no telling Harry that I was here, got it?"

Pillowing his head on Ron's shoulder, the little boy nodded.

"Good."

At the door, Ron handed the boy over to a woman, most likely the director that Potter had hired.  A quiet scolded took place, and Draco enjoyed a quiet thrill as Ron turned red knowing just how much of him actually turned red when he was embarrassed.  Caught up in his memories and thinking about the story he'd just listened too, Draco never saw Ron leave.  When he shook himself out of his reverie all he saw was a deserted play area and a closed door.  His spying for the night was at an end.

~///~

Christmases Future

It took Draco until dawn to fall asleep, his eyes finally falling shut from exhaustion when the first rays of pale sunlight seeped through the curtains.

When they opened, he found himself standing in the middle of his office, except it looked rather bare as if... Someone had taken his Italian Renaissance painting, and his Persian rug... and... He'd been robbed!

"Alas poor Yorick, I knew him... well."

The burglar must still be there.  Draco spun around and stopped short.  Potter and Ron were standing in the middle of the shambles of his office, but they looked so... old.  Something was not right.

Draco stormed toward them, his demand that they return his things right this instant dying unvoiced on his lips as he walked right through them.  This was weird.

"Harry, be quiet."

"Fine.  Though I don't know why we're here."

"I told you.  I need to find something."  Ron started rooting through boxes.  With cold certainty, Draco realized exactly what he was looking for.

"If it's still here.  The estate people didn't waste anytime, did they?"

"The estate people wouldn't want this.  Trust me."

Draco had to smile.  As if anyone else would want that old jumper.

But Potter wasn't paying Ron any attention.  Instead he was instead touching things of Draco's that Draco felt he shouldn't be touching.  That is to say, anything that he was touching.  "The man only died twenty-four hours ago.  You'd think they'd have a little more respect for the dead."

Ron shrugged and moved onto another box.  "There aren't that many people left in this world who respected Malfoy."

"That's assuming there was one."

Ron nodded and looked away.  Draco could feel the desire to hear him say that there was one person at least who did, but Draco knew those words would never pass Ron's lips.  He'd done a marvelous job at making sure that Ron would never respect him again.

It was only then that what they were saying sunk in.  He was... he was DEAD!

"God, Ron, look at this.  Malfoy was a bigger Scrooge than you.  A true Ebenezer, this one."  Potter was flipping through the account books that were open on Draco's desk.  He must have died -- Draco choked a bit -- while still at the office.

Ron was glaring.  "I am not a Scrooge.  I'm shrewd."

Both Draco and Potter rolled their eyes.  Draco knew perfectly well that Ron's business transactions weren't that much different from his own.  Besides the occasional philanthropic donation, of course.

Draco moved away from the duo searching his things.  He felt rather detached from the whole situation, truth be told, and couldn't figure out why this was happening.  Had he gotten caught up in one of Dumbledore's deranged time scandals?  But Draco hadn't seen the Headmaster since he finished at Hogwarts.

"Found it!"  Ron pulled out a threadbare maroon bundle out of a box and stuffed it into his satchel.  "Come on.  I want to pay my respects."

"For what?!  Ron, this is Malfoy!"

"But think of all the business I'll have now that my major competitor is gone."

With a nod, Potter followed after Ron, and Draco, deciding he didn't want to be left in this dreary office alone, followed as well.

The cemetery wasn't far.  Draco remembered it being much further, and perhaps it was, but being dead -- Draco choked again -- perhaps distance was somehow changed.  Once there, though, Draco realized that he couldn't go past the old wrought iron gates.  He didn't want to see a monument erected where no one would mourn.  It was already obvious that no one cared that he was no longer alive.

Not even the one person that Draco had thought might.

When he woke, Draco was covered with a fine sheen of sweat.  Just a dream?  Just a dream.  He sighed with relief as he looked through the windows.  If that was a glimpse into his future, it was most definitely not a future he wanted to live.  Not that he was alive in it, but he still didn't want that to happen.

But he had already doomed himself to growing into a lonely old man.  The only person that had accepted him, knowing full well the extent of his faults as well as his attributes, was no longer there with him.  Draco had pushed him away as hard as he could.

~///~

Ron stared at the gifts in his living room.  Just stared.  One would think that Harry and Hermione would go for something a little less obvious.  Tossing the copy of 'A Christmas Carol' that Hermione had given him over his shoulder, Ron moved toward the large mirror he had uncovered.

Truth of Desire.

Ron,

For Christmas, I thought that you'd like to figure out what it is that you actually want.  'Cause it can't be the life that you have now.  This mirror has a shard of Erised in it.  You do remember that thing, I hope.  Anyway, the rest is a truth mirror.  When you look into it, it should show you what will happen if you follow through with your desires.

We love you, Ron, and want you to be happy.  And you're too much of a Scrooge right now to be happy.

Love,
Harry

PS -- Don't forget Christmas Dinner.

Ron looked down at the note and then at the mirror.  Harry had finally gone round the bend.  He was not a Scrooge.  He was just busy.  Everyone was busy.  Even Draco was busy.

He was not a Scrooge.  Bloody wanker.

Grumbling under his breath, Ron stepped in front of the stupid mirror and saw... himself standing in front of a stupid mirror.

Harry was wrong.  It was obvious that Ron was being true to his desires.

Ron was wrong.

In the mirror, the door to Ron's flat opened and Draco came through it, his customary smirk on his face.  He said something that the Ron in the mirror replied to as he waved at the mirror before he turned away.

As he watched, Ron saw himself move from mirror to Draco, looping his arms loosely around Draco's neck as he leaned in to kiss him.  Why was he kissing Malfoy?!

Sucking in a breath at the same time as his mirror counterpart, Ron gazed through the silvered glass as Draco raised himself up slightly to suck at the tender spot right behind Ron's ear.  As he watched, Ron moaned, glimpsing the Ron in the mirror do the same.

He'd give anything to be on the other side of that mirror.  Of course that made sense since he was looking into a mirror of desire.  Ron shuddered as his hand brushed across his hardening cock trapped in his pants.

He was going to kill Harry.

Draco, in the mirror, was working on Ron's buttons, undoing each one as he slowly pulled Ron toward the couch.  His mirror self didn't seem to be putting up much of a fight at all as he pushed Draco into the cushions.  His hair falling into his eyes, Draco turned his head into Ron's palm, placing small kisses along Ron's life line.  As he had in the past, as he could have done in the future.  Ron shifted uncomfortably and glanced away from the mirror for a moment.  When he turned back, his fingers -- in the mirror -- were twisting locks of Draco's hair around his fingers as he plundered Draco's lips, kissing them until they were bruised.

Heaving a sigh and flinching at the pang of loneliness that coursed through him at the sight, Ron unfastened his trousers and slipped his hand past the band of his pants, smoothing his palm along the shaft of his cock.  Forcing himself to swallow, he watched as he banished Draco's clothes and ran a hand along Draco's thigh before hooking his arm around it.

Then Draco caught his gaze, and he fisted his prick while his mouth hung open in fascination.  Draco's head was thrown back and he was staring at the mirror while his Ron suckled on his neck and collarbone and nipples.  Ron could almost taste the salt and nut flavor of Draco's skin in his dry mouth, and he licked his lips as he stared into those wanton eyes that weren't looking at him at all.

Ron could pretend otherwise, though.  He slowed his hand on his cock, drawing out the strokes and wanting to extend this entirely surreal experience.  His breath hitched as his hand smoothed the drops of precome over the head.  Oh god.  Draco was still staring at the mirror as he arched up against Ron, his pink lips opened on a gasp as Ron entered him.

"Fuck," Ron breathed.

Mouth hanging open, Ron watched as he rhythmically pushed into Draco, knowing that the mirror Ron's bottom lip was trapped between his teeth, just as his own was, even though he couldn't see his face in the mirror since it was hidden in the crook of Draco's neck, breathing in the smell of Draco and perfumed soap.

Squeezing his prick tighter and harder, he could almost pretend that it was him thrusting into Draco, and not a mirror version of him.  His eyes squeezed shut and his breath coming in shorter gasps, he quickened the pace of his hand on his cock, but he wanted to see Draco come, so he forced his eyes open and met the heated gaze of Draco's ice colored eyes.  Draco's hands were fisted in his Ron's hair and his tongue was just peeking out between his teeth.

He could almost hear the groan Draco made as he came and sped up the slip of his hand on his prick just as Ron in the mirror sped up the slide of his cock into Draco.  Grunting, they both came at the same time, and Ron had to grab onto the edge of the mirror with his free hand to keep his balance.

Through lidded eyes, Ron watched Draco smooth his mirror self's hair back and press a kiss lightly to the shell of his ear.  Turning his head to the side, Ron saw the image disappear and be replaced with his own face, red and sweaty, his eyes dilated.

Shit.

Part of him wanted to look back at the mirror straight on to recapture that scene, the calm, warm and apparently loving afterglow.  But that was another Ron.  Not him.  So instead he picked up the edge of the cloth that had been covering the mirror and used it to dab at the sticky mess.

Sort of like his life, now that he'd used Harry's mirror for a purpose he was sure Harry hadn't expected.  Well at least he had learned what it was that he desired.  Draco.

But there was no way that he'd go back to the little idiot.  Not after Draco had thrown him out of bed that night.  If Draco didn't need him, didn't want him, then Ron certainly didn't need or want Draco.  No matter if the mirror showed otherwise.  He didn't need Draco to be happy.

He was already happy.

And maybe if he kept telling himself that enough then he'd believe it.  Damn Harry and his stupid mirror.

Looking back at the mirror, still at an angle so it only showed his reflection, Ron debated what to do.  Harry would probably expect him to owl Draco or something.  Even if Harry couldn't stand him.

But he didn't have to.  Draco's eagle owl soared through the window and dropped a letter on Ron's lap before flying off.  Reaching out for the envelope with a shaking hand, Ron stared at it.  What could Draco want at this hour?  Did he?  No.  Probably business.  Men like them didn't stop.  Even on Christmas day.

~///~

Draco's shoulders sunk when the office door opened and he knew that he had just lost some ground.  Ground that he really didn't have in the first place.

"Ronald."

"Draco."  That was it.  One word and no inflection.  How was Draco supposed to handle this when he didn't know what Ron's reaction was going to be?

"You said that you had something for me."

Draco nodded and lifted the box he had on his lap up onto the desk.  "I'm willing to start negotiations for the contents."

"And I should negotiate for something unknown?  I'm not stupid, Malfoy, no matter what you think."  Ron's eyes narrowed.  "You're up to something."

Draco removed his hand from where it resting on top of the lid.  "I'm always up to something, Ronald, but please, be my guest.  See what is in the box."

Quick as anything, Ron snatched the lid off and looked inside.  "You expect me to negotiate for something that is already mine?  You're insane, Draco."  Ron reached for the box to take it, but Draco's hand closed over his.

"Possession, Weasley.  Possession.  It is mine."  He released Ron's hand.  "Shall we negotiate?"  Draco waved at the empty chair across from him.

Ron took it, though he looked reluctant and disappointed as he did so, and Draco relaxed slightly.  He still had a long way to go.

"What do you want for it, Malfoy," Ron sighed.  "To humiliate me again?  Perhaps you want to do so publicly this time."  He shook his head.  "You can forget it.  Hang the jumper and hang you!"

"Wait, wait, wait.  I haven't even started.  It's not much, but..."

"But?"

"Why didn't you come back?"

Ron swallowed and Draco knew that Ron knew what he was talking about, but it wasn't enough that Draco knew Ron still remembered.  He needed to know the answer, to know if he still had a glimmer of hope to escape his dream.

"When?"

"After I kicked you out."

"Well that should answer your question."

"It doesn't.  You're supposed to be too stubborn to let someone just tell you to go away."

"Answer me this, Malfoy.  Why did you kick me out?"

Draco stared at him, unsure if he could answer that simple question.

"Well?  No reasons other than you're a prat?  Thought so.  I'll just be on my way then.  Keep the damn thing, I don't need it."  Ron stood up to leave.

Draco scrambled for something to say to keep Ron from leaving.  All he had to do was get him to stop for a minute and then Draco could... He'd figure that out after.

Latching onto the first thing that came to mind, Draco asked, "What are you scared of, Ron?"

"That's a stupid question that has no bearing on this conversation."  Ron was turning pink, and Draco guessed that his fear must be something that Ron found very embarrassing or silly.  But he didn't have time to figure out what it was, he had to turn this conversation around and get to his point before he lost his nerve and Ron walked out.

"Other people," Draco blurted.  "That they'll find out who I am.  That I'm not the same person I was at school."

"What?"

"It's what I fear.  That someone will see the real me.  Only one person ever really has.  But I chased him off and stole his jumper."

Ron looked at him.  Expressionless.  "That's why?"

He nodded.

"I don't... well, I do, I suppose.  But..."

"Eloquent as ever, Weasley."

"You're a stupid prat as always, Malfoy."

Draco smirked, his confidence returning now that he'd said what he needed to.  But Ron wasn't smiling.  He should be.  Things were right now.  Why wasn't Ron smiling?

"Why are you telling me this now?"

Draco blinked.  "Does it matter?"

Ron shrugged, a sure sign to Draco that it had to matter.

"I didn't want to face my future alone?"

"And it took you this long to figure that out?  What makes you think that I want to have anything to do with you anymore?"

"You followed me home."

"Oh, I followed my competitor home.  Yes, I can see how that means I still want you."

"You do."  Draco was sure about that in the way that he was sure about everything.

Ron shook his head.  "Sorry, Draco, but this isn't a risk I'm willing to take."  Ron started to the door.

Draco stood and raced toward the door, barely managing to keep Ron from walking out.  He had to catch Ron.  Ron was his snitch, and Draco hated to lose.

"I'm willing to take it, Ron."

"No."

His back pressed to the door, Draco lifted a hand to Ron's face.  "I was scared.  I was sure that you'd leave, so when I realized that I actually cared about you, I beat you to the leaving bit and sent you away.  We had been enemies so long that I was afraid you wouldn't want to be anything else."

"You hurt me, Draco."

"I know.  I'm..." Draco swallowed.  "...sorry."

A small smile crossed Ron's features.  "A Christmas Miracle has occurred.  Draco Malfoy is sorry!  Shit.  I never though I'd hear those words."

"Prat."  But there wasn't any animosity behind it.

"I learned from the biggest one there is."

"Oh, you must mean Potter."  Draco hurried on as Ron glared.  "Give me another chance and the jumper is yours."

"You know I could take it and you couldn't stop me."

Draco flinched.  "Just because you're bigger..."

"You'll have your second chance.  I know I'd be missing out on a good thing if I don't take you up on it."

Draco smiled.

"But..."

Draco's smile started to waver.

"No kicking me out of bed for no good reason in the middle of the night.  Otherwise you're dead meat, Malfoy."

"You have a deal."

A deal they sealed with a kiss.  Maybe neither of them was quite the Scrooge they feared they were.

And thus our story ends.