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Title: Celebrate Life
Author name: Icarus
Author email: email@example.com
Summary: The aftermath of the battle.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Copyright © 2004 by Icarus Ancalion. All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced in whole or part without the author's explicit permission. Ask, guys. I'm easy to reach and usually quite generous.
Author notes: Thank you to Cordelia V for the most impressive beta review and many suggestions as well as fascinating observations. And for everything else, too.
There was a faint filter of daylight, which made Ron squint blearily. The light should not have been there, and it had a greenish colour like it was filtered through a beer bottle. His bed felt… too low. Close to the floor. Which was odd. Ron frowned as he stretched with a groan, feeling every muscle in his body. The bedding felt strange too, soft and plush, and he was at the wrong angle for their bedroom. He sat up, dazed, mentally looking for the clock that he was already sure wasn't there.
He was in a tent.
Right. Six miles from the battlefield.
They hadn't room for everyone. So he and Draco had gratefully accepted the old military tent from the Grindelwald campaign. No sir, they didn't mind sleeping outside; it had been a long time since they'd even seen outside. No sir, they didn't mind sharing. Yes sir, they could Transfigure their own beds.
Or bed, in this case, though no one needed to know that. Contrary to their boasts to each other, they had just stripped, curled up and collapsed together, bone-tired in a way Ron had never experienced, pressed to the blankets with the full lead weight of gravity.
Ron took a deep breath. His ribs hurt a little, and he coughed.
There was a faint scent of green, mist, and of mud. Ron wondered what season it was.
Draco was sprawled beside him, still out like a light, hands curled into loose fists. His back was luminous pale against military green blankets, though he had a huge purpling bruise over his entire shoulder. There weren't enough Medi-wizards to Heal minor wounds, though Draco had demanded that they at least fix his nose: "what do you mean it isn't a 'serious' injury?" Ron smiled at the memory.
He shifted, and felt the pull of scabbing from the burns he hadn't even bothered to show the Medi-witch. He flexed his arm experimentally. Other than the fact his entire body felt like lead, he seemed all right. Which was damned amazing.
There was a fumbling sound at the tent flap. Then someone cleared their throat.
"Harry!" Elated, Ron dove for his clothes just as light streamed in and the tent door opened, framing the jagged image of Harry Potter, his hair standing up worse than ever.
"Oh hell." The tent flap dropped. "Sorry, Ron. I didn't think you'd have anyone in there."
"Um. I - I'll be out in a sec, just let me get some clothes on…."
Ron was still buttoning on his shirt as he ducked under the tent flap that fell behind him. "I can explain…" he began.
"A blonde, huh? You work faster than Seamus used to." Harry laughed and grinned as he dragged Ron into a painfully tight hug, thumping his back. Smiling and unable to speak, Ron vaguely realised he hadn't recognised Draco. Harry pounded Ron's shoulder, swearing, "Don't ever, ever do that again… disappear like that again, not ever…."
Ron grinned from ear to ear, and made stupid promises no one could keep in a war, before his mind caught up with something Harry had said.
"Seamus… used to -?" Ron tried to speak around the lump in his throat. His mind filled with vivid scenes of battle and all the horrible ways Seamus could have died.
"Well, he's married now," Harry shrugged; then his hand went to his temple in consternation. "Wait, that didn't happen until after you --?"
Ron slumped with relief. "Assume I know nothing, Harry, and I might make it through a conversation without a heart attack."
Harry breathed a laugh. "We wouldn't want to lose you just when we got you back." His face briefly turned serious.
He looked the same, bright green eyes that were almost scary-strange; though in the past, Harry's gaze would have dropped to the floor right about then, if you stared too long. Now he was steady, stoic, thin shoulders squared, jaw taut. There was something in the way he stood that just seemed… tired. Ron looked at his eyes, and it clicked. That familiar manner of men who'd seen the destruction of the Ministry. He knew without asking that Harry had seen a lot worse than just that one battle.
"It's been bad?" Ron asked in a soft voice.
Harry shook his head, brushed it off. "We've got them. We outnumber the Death Eaters five to one these days. And without the Ministry, I don't think they can finance this war. Did you know the old pure-blood families abandoned Voldemort, months ago?" Harry grinned devilishly. "Probably one too many Crucios. He doesn't treat his people well."
Ron stared into nowhere as he said, "No. No, he definitely doesn't."
Harry's face saddened again.
"Look. Ron, if I'd known where… if - that you were…" Harry's voice faltered over the implication they'd written Ron off as dead, running his hand through his hair. "We could have, maybe…."
"Don't kid yourself, Harry. Or me," Ron said. His voice was unexpectedly harsh to his ears. "You wouldn't have come any sooner."
"I would have tried." Harry's jaw was set, intense.
"We all did what we had to do." Even if that included - god - working for the other side. Working against Harry when he thought about it, though he'd only pushed paper. Ron rubbed his eyes against the too-bright sun. "It's all right."
Harry gave him another of those tired looks, and nodded. "Yeah." He glanced up at the sky, and didn't look like he believed it. He chewed his lip, then patted Ron's shoulder gingerly.
"So. Now that you're alive again," Harry gave a wry smile as Ron snorted, "we thought we'd have a party. Seamus is calling it the 'Life After Death Party', the sick bastard."
And Ron burst out laughing, feeling the sting of tears as he dug at the ground to try stop them, dammit. It was so good to be back. Luckily, Harry's eyes had a hot shine, too. He wasn't faring any better. They stood there a long moment, dangerously on the verge of looking like fools.
Finally Harry huffed, glancing around. "Okay. I'm supposed to be in a post-battle 'shred' right now."
"You know. Go over all the fuck-ups. Get shredded."
Ron snorted. "There were a few." Like nearly turning Draco into a ghost.
Harry rolled his eyes and shook his head knowingly. "There always are. But I couldn't go ten more minutes without seeing you and, you know, saying hello at least." Harry gave him a bright look, seeming more and more himself as he straightened, raising his eyebrows. "In fact, if you were asleep this time, I was going to wake you up."
"Uh, yeah, kinda glad you didn't do that," Ron said, cringing back at the tent. Really glad. That would have been a shocker.
Harry snickered. Then he sighed, as the shine in his eyes built again. "God. It's incredible." Harry clapped his shoulder. "You rest. Or… whatever." He grinned. "I'll come back and find you later tonight. Severus dug up something really horrible for us to celebrate, and he swears no one will be left standing after just three glasses. We need all the Gryffindors there to prove him wrong." He nodded his chin at Ron's tent. "Sorry to break up your, um, private party."
He shook his head again, and spread his hands as he started to move away. "I don't know how you and Seamus do it. Girls take forever to warm up to me!"
"Just lucky I guess," Ron said in an abstracted voice, scratching the back of his neck. That and the minor matter he'd been sleeping with Draco for eight months. Though Harry had always been too damned serious for casual sleepovers anyway.
Harry turned around, walking backwards and narrowly missing a tent stake as he added, "Oh! And Ron -- watch your back. I hear Draco Malfoy's around. Get this: first he was a Death Eater. Then he was on our side. Then he disappeared -- and now that we've won, he's conveniently back again. He changed sides like a yo-yo!" Harry laughed.
Ron grinned after him with a puzzled expression. "Like a what?"
But Harry had already trotted away with a wave, skipping between the tents.
Ron glanced down and realised he'd buttoned his shirt up sideways, and fixed it as he ducked back into the tent. He found Draco sitting up on his elbows, the sheets pooled to his bare waist, blinking sleepily. The green from the tent made him look sickly.
"That was Potter."
Ron waited, hands paused on his buttons, unsure how to answer that.
Draco continued in that same flat voice. "You didn't tell him about me."
Ron didn't know how to answer that either. He continued unbuttoning his shirt, and then kicked off his trousers. He slid in naked under the sheets. The bed was softer than theirs, and seemed a bit unsteady.
"What do you think you're doing?" Draco said in an irritated tone.
"You made me a promise."
"I'm not your private trollop." But a slight smile hinted at the corners of Draco's mouth as he edged over to make room in a rustle of blankets. He rolled onto his back, arm draped over his forehead. "And I'm on top." He peered at Ron from under his arm.
Ron wriggled his hips happily into a more comfortable position on the weird flannel sheets. "Suits me."
Someone walked past their tent, the shadow rippling across its surface as they passed. Ron glanced up, followed the shape as it flickered by, then decided to ignore it. He felt strangely embarrassed to be naked in front of Draco right then. Draco had also stopped.
Several more people passed, their vaguely intelligible conversation rising as they drew close then crossed on their way to somewhere else. There was a disappearing clink of something metallic.
Draco leaned close to Ron. "I feel like I'm having sex in a dorm."
Ron gave him a toothy smile. "Shhhh. Mum might catch us…." he whispered as Draco fumbled his way on top. "We could do it outside now though." Ron blushed.
Draco smothered a snicker. "Aren't you the kinky one."
He rolled over Ron's legs heavily, his grunt from the effort gusting in Ron's hair. His breath was foul, but Ron didn't particularly care; he gestured vaguely, face flushed, grinning as he mocked giving orders to the soldiers. "Carry on, whatever you're doing, don't mind us…." He dissolved into soft snickers.
"Never knew you were such an exhibitionist." Draco smiled above him, hair tenting over Ron's face in blond spikes. He edged himself between Ron's thighs, rocking forward, his warm cock pressed into the curve of Ron's thigh, soft where he slotted along Ron's hip.
Ron tipped his chin up, gazing at the glow-y soft green of the strange tent. Ron rolled his head on the pillow, smiling and languid. "Do you remember… you remember on my desk?"
Draco's smile flashed. He edged between Ron's legs, wincing as he circled his crotch against Ron' cock, with the prickly slide of hair and the press of warmth.
"So. You wanted someone to walk in on us then?" he breathed.
"Yeah. I hoped it would be Eunice. Just to see the look on her face -- Draco, let me be on top. You aren't even hard."
"I will be in a moment." Lines of pain creased the corners of his eyes as he raised up higher on his arms. "Just have to be rid of --" he winced "-- some minor distractions. It's all mind over matter."
Ron fumbled to his side to get out from underneath, bumping Draco's leg. Draco crumpled in a heap on top of him with a yelp, "Augh! Ow, ow! Fuckfuckfuck!" He coiled around his knee, writhing in pain. "You trying to kill me?"
Ron threw off the blankets. Under Draco's hands, his knee was dark, swollen like a Quaffle.
"Christ! What did you do?!"
"It was a war!"
"You had them fix your nose when your knee looked like that?!"
"Technically I hadn't seen it yet…." Draco scowled up at him.
Ron sat up and grabbed his shirt off the floor and hunted for an armhole, his hand sweeping down the fabric. "Dammit. We're going to the hospital right now."
"No." Draco bent over his knee, sucking in a breath. "Oh fuck…."
"No! I've got the rest of my life to go to the hospital!" Draco said fiercely.
Which shocked Ron into silence. Draco, eyes squinting with pain, stared up at him, determined.
"Oh." Ron said, blinking. "We have wands now."
"Shit…" Draco spluttered a tight laugh. "I can't believe you forgot."
"Like the time we forgot to get dressed."
Draco laughed weakly. "Ling-er-ie…."
Ron chuckled a little, stood and found the Death Eater's wand on the floor. He stared into space, tapping it in his palm. Finally he confessed, "I'm drawing a complete blank on healing charms." He cringed. "It's been a while."
"I never took them."
"Ah!" He aimed the wand at Draco's knee, and although the faint glow was more orange than it should have been, he watched the relief wash over Draco's face as the numbing charm took effect. "That won't heal it," Ron reminded him softly.
Ron slithered back onto the bed, kicking aside the shirt. He stretched out, leaning up an elbow as he took Draco in, unsure what to do.
It was dim in the tent, and Draco was outlined in a soft greenish tent-glow, his feet still tucked under the blankets. A sheen ran across his stomach, and outlined the bright curve of one arm. Faint curls of light caught in his crotch. Soft light smoothed over the muscles of his chest, defined and hard from training, and followed the sharp outline of his jaw. His straight mouth was shadowed, but Ron could see it anyway, from memory. Ron's lips parted.
Draco reached over, and his fingertips stroked Ron's chest, veering delicately around the sting of a burn. Then dropped.
Ron swallowed. With a coarse, tired finger, he gently mapped the smooth planes of Draco's chest… his arms… traced the line of his lips with his thumb, knuckle smoothing along angular cheekbones. Then his hand slid into fine hair, combing it back from Draco's face. Draco simply watched him.
Greenish-tinged blond lashes traced the motion of Draco's eyes as he slowly gazed up the line of Ron's body, his legs, pausing at his crotch - which made Ron smile - then along his battered torso, to his face. Ron's chest swelled and he leaned back a little, rather proud of the shape he was in; they'd trained for months and he had never looked this good. Ron raised his eyebrows at Draco, who gave him a cocky half-smile.
"You look like shit."
"Oi -- you fight a war and see how you look!" Ron said. "And you're purple, by the way. I've never seen you so bruised."
Ron's heart jumped into his throat as he realised that that wasn't true. Just when he'd seen Draco worse hung in the air between them. All the months in the Ministry seemed like a very vivid dream.
Finally, Ron nudged him. "Elf."
"That's a stupid nickname." But a smile threatened.
"Yeah. You like it." Ron stroked his hair fondly, and Draco's eyes shut, tipping his chin. Slowly, Ron leaned in to kiss him. It felt exciting and strange.
Another conversation drifted past them. But they kept kissing, with gusts of nervous breaths.
Draco lifted up and crushed his lips - hard - against him, almost painful. With a shaky breath, he pressed forward, and guided Ron onto his stomach. He wrapped his arm between Ron's legs, stroking his cock, his slim forearm squeezed between Ron's cheeks. Only blokes did that for some reason. Or only Draco, Ron wasn't sure, he wouldn't know. Draco bit his neck, his cheek, his chin, his shoulder… Ron reached for the wand to conjure some oil, but Draco shook his head, and borrowed it and conjured something different. "This is the nice stuff," he murmured. "To hell with cooking oil."
Ron pushed up into Draco's hand as something warm and tingly was smoothed along his cock, tightening around him, snug. "Oh…."
"Yeah. We've been horribly deprived without magic," Draco said in his ear.
"Oh," Ron said insensibly. His mouth opened as he fell over onto his back, legs spread and debauched, stroking himself. He flashed on an image of Draco going down on him in their kitchen, sinking to his knees, backing Ron against the cold edge of the sink. Ron's trousers had been open in a V and….
He slowly blinked open his eyes, and found Draco watching him with a pleased expression.
"Good stuff, hmm?"
Ron only moaned. And stroked harder.
Then he was up on his hands and knees with Draco warm behind him, sweat sticking to his back, hands everywhere, pressing into him, the familiar fierce sharp pain.
"Yes, oh yes, that again." Ron drove back against him, saying under his arm. "Do it again. Dammit, you're so good. Draco, drive me, ride…" But Draco was taking his time, pushing in slow. "Slow? You cruel fucking bastard! You know I like it so hard, want to have your dick up to my eyeballs --" Draco's hands dug into Ron's shoulders, blunt fingers squeezed, the crescents of his nails blood-hot as he pressed harder. "-- ah, ah fucking great you are, you're wonderful, you're beautiful. Oh-so-smooth, so sexy you're sexy, oh yeah. Yeah, I'm gonna take you to the moon and keep you there." Draco moaned, finally losing his cool, motion erratic.
"…keep you with me always, my beautiful, beautiful -- ah, Fuck!" His eager thrust gave Ron that searing hot jolt he wanted.
Draco pumped excitedly as Ron panted, "Gimme your arse, I want your arse, I want our mirror, I want to see you with me, on top of me over me in me… oh -- oh yeah…." he hung his head blissfully between his arms, shaking it, spreading his knees further. Deeper. "You love me don't you?"
"Yes -- yes, I do," he panted, "now shut up or everyone in the camp will know what we're doing," Draco whispered, half-laughing, his gasps hot in Ron's hair and chin buried in Ron's shoulder.
"I don't care oh fuck, I wish I could suck you while you do that." Draco's arm wrapped around his chest, pounding hard, his breaths punctuated Ron's loud moans.
Draco sped, his own voice lost in curses and sharp peals of laughter. He suddenly stopped, hips squeezed against Ron, his fingers dug deep into Ron's shoulders, that sound unmistakable. Ron vaguely wished he could see Draco's face as he came, mind washed with hot sensation. "… we're gonna do this on a mirror, a whole fucking mirror bed…."
Sweat dripped down his shoulder as Draco rolled over, shaking with suppressed laughter. "Oh god. I'm going to miss that."
He wiped his eyes with the inside of his arm, and then took Ron's cock in his hand, stroking. Ron rolled onto his back like a satiated cat.
Ron breathed heavily beside him, arched into Draco's hand.
"Huh? Miss what?"
The sun slowly shifted along the walls. An unreal passage of time, out of sync with their world. They dozed hazily in and out of sleep. Lay back on the pillows, staring, over-tired in a dizzy sort of way. Ron was still sore, but the aches now mixed with a different kind of burn. He was gonna feel that for a week.
They touched and kissed, hands gently exploring injuries - the occasional hiss of pain, "sorry" - as Ron memorised every part of Draco's body with his lips. The curve of his hipbone. His cock, limp and reddened against his thigh, small where he nuzzled. The blunt hair on his legs.
"You know what I said back there, at the Ministry?" Ron's face flushed hot. Their arms were stretched over their heads, fingers laced loosely together.
"Shh." Draco's fingers rocked Ron's, stopped him. And they slept.
The tent was nearly dark. Rather than conjure any light… magic still felt foreign… Ron simply fumbled for his trousers on the floor. His belt buckle clinked too loudly.
Draco shifted under the covers and breathed a sigh.
He was awake. Draco rose like a shadow against the faint light glowing through the tent as he sat up and silently watched Ron dress, his elbow leaned on one knee. Wordless, Ron pulled on his trousers, socks; then bent to pull on his boots.
At the tent flap Ron hesitated, toying with it. He turned and murmured, finally, "They're, um, having a party tonight. Harry and everyone."
Draco didn't say a word.
"You can come if you like," Ron added without changing his voice. He knew better than to push it.
He could almost see Draco smile in the dark. Not one of his nice smiles. "Right," and there was a little snort of laughter, "Potter."
Ron stared at the dirt floor of their tent before looking up again. "Snape'll be there."
There was a long stifled silence.
Finally Drace breathed, his voice soft, almost gentle, "I'm afraid I'm busy this evening."
Ron chewed his lip and tried to read Draco in the dark. Then he nodded, and stepped outside into the cool night air.