The plan had been foolproof. Except, of course, for the fact that he was now lying in a bed, dry, warm, and very much alive. So evidently, he was a fool. Somehow he should have incorporated the possibility of marine herbology students engaged in underwater research off the northern tip of the Isle of Lewis, their on-beach camp warded against Muggles— or Malfoys, under the effect of both calming and delayed sleeping draughts, planning to drown in that exact area of isolated, bitter coastline. He pursed his lips, glancing down to the Prophet that lay on the seat of a chair placed at his bedside. An attendant had left it for him two days ago. Since no-one had come to visit, it was still folded just as neatly as when he'd first placed it there after reading Rita Skeeter's overly-excitable article about his rescue. As Draco returned his gaze to the ceiling, pondering the light fixture, he decided that being at St. Mungo's for a short time was bearable. At least so long as he didn't have to share the room.

"Oh, bloody hell!" he heard from just outside the door.

Draco lurched up into a seated position, his pulse thundering.

"Not him," the voice in the corridor whined.

"Fuck," Draco muttered, looking wildly around the room for a way to escape.

"Come now, Mr. Weasley," the medi-wizard cajoled. "It's only for a day or two while you undergo your evaluation. It's not as though Mr. Malfoy has anything contagious."

Draco realised he was gritting his teeth and gripping the rails at the side of his bed. The door opened. Ron Weasley glowered in the doorway, anger causing his face to flush the unseemly colour of an overripe tomato.

"Maybe not," Ron growled, "but he's still Draco Malfoy, an alive Draco Malfoy, and that's bad enough."

"Fuck you."

"Not on your life."


The medi-wizard, a mountain of a man, stepped into the room and gave them each a stern, reproachful look.

"Obviously you know each other and aren't on the best of terms. Well, you're going to have to grin and bear it. The breakout of bloodcurdle means we have to quarantine several wings of the hospital. I assure you that the situation is temporary."

"It better be," Draco said, glaring at Ron, who hadn't moved away from the wall. "Or instead of you lot having to worry about me offing myself, you'll have to keep me from committing murder."

"With your success rate, I'm not exactly worried," Ron sneered, crossing his arms over his chest.

"If need be, I'll have you both restrained to your beds," the medi-wizard threatened, his meaty hands moving to his hips.

Ron looked at Draco, an ugly smirk forming on his mouth. "Malfoy might really enjoy that."

Draco's lips curled, a retort ready on his tongue when the medi-wizard boomed, "That is enough! Mr. Weasley, you will refrain from provoking Mr. Malfoy or I'll have to result to measures I'm normally only forced to use on our youngest patients."

"That would be fitting," Draco said. "He is a child."

"Honestly!" the medi-wizard exclaimed before he marched Ron over to a bed on the other side of the room.

Ron undid his bathrobe and Draco was surprised to see that he wore only a pair of loose, blue hospital pyjama bottoms. Far more surprising was the amount of wiry muscle in his chest, though the freckles all over his torso ruined the effect. Well, that and Ron Weasley's face above it, his brows still furrowed in displeasure.

"Can I trust that you two will be civil?" the medi-wizard asked as Ron picked up a blue tunic and pulled it on.

"I don't know that I'd go that far," Draco drawled, easing back into his nest of pillows. "But seeing as how I don't have my wand, you can trust I won't hurt him."

"Unless I asked you to," Ron said, leering at him.

"In your darkest dreams, Weasley."


The threat hung in the air, menacing enough that Draco decided temporarily to back down. He kept his mouth shut.

"Right. Now. Would either of you like anything to read? Are you hungry?"

"Actually, I'd like to go and take a walk. I'm allowed to walk in the gardens as long as I stay in sight of one of the nurses, correct?" Draco asked.


"I'll go, too. I can keep an eye on him. Help him, I mean— notify someone if he wants to harm himself."

Ron gave Draco a challenging look and Draco sighed. The medi-wizard quirked his mouth to the side and scrutinised Ron before nodding slowly.

"You'll both be monitored, so I can't see the harm in it. I'll get one of the orderlies to accompany you outside."

Moments later, the door closed behind him. Draco pushed down his bedspread and stood, pulling his bathrobe off the back of the nearby chair and wrapping it around his body.

"What's your game, Weasley?" he asked, easing his feet into his slippers.

"No game. Just bored."

Ron had also wrapped his St. Mungo's bathrobe around himself and tied the sash. The man was a bit of a brute, Draco realised to his momentary discomfort. Tall, verging on burly. It had been several years since he'd truly looked at his former nemesis, and Hogwarts robes disguised all sorts of builds. Draco had never put much stock in his own physical prowess: magical skill should trump any muscular imbecile who might come at him. As Draco opened his mouth to ask Ron why on earth he, too, was at St. Mungo's, the door to their room opened and an orderly stood, expectant.

"Come with me, and no funny business," she said, a northern lilt to her voice. "Boris warned me about you two."

Draco pulled the sash tighter about his waist. "Admission to the show's two Galleons," he said crisply. "Pay at the entrance to the gardens."

"Me taking you down's worth at least four," Ron insisted, resting his palm against the wall.

"You two! Courtesy, please."

Draco didn't deign to look at Ron, he simply walked past the orderly and into the corridor, the soles of his slippers making a determined thwap with each step. His ire at having to share a room with Weasley, even for a few minutes, increased as he neared the doorway helpfully marked "Gardens this way." He actively resented Weasley's plodding footsteps right behind him. Ron's presence made his own humiliating experience at hospital feel like a gigantic farce.

The wizarding world shouldn't care whether he lived or died— he certainly had quit keeping up with anybody aside from a very select group of former friends, and even that was from a far distance. He wanted for his period of observation and evaluation to be over. He would tell the healers what they wished to hear, and then he would be free to return to his solitary life, however long he decided that life should be.

"Twenty minutes, sirs," the orderly chirruped. "And you should know, Mr. Weasley, you'll be monitored. We're not spying, just making sure you're safe."

Ron grumbled, and a bleak smile settled on Draco's lips. Once he'd awoken and discovered that instead of in oblivion, he was in a psychiatric ward of St. Mungo's, he'd had to put the concept of privacy in a treasured box deep within himself. Let Weasley squirm under the scrutiny. He personally didn't give a fuck.

There were a few other patients strolling along the paths, one leaning on a cane. The 'sky' overhead was a hazy blue; a butterfly skipped through the air. Draco swatted at it. He glanced over and saw Ron had jammed his hands into pockets in his bathrobe. There didn't seem to be anything physically wrong with him. He remembered the medi-wizard saying that he was being evaluated, so evidently he was off in the head— more than simply being himself and Potter's former sidekick, that was.

"So what's so wrong with your life that you tried to do yourself in?" Ron asked.

"None of your fucking business."

The language held more bite than he felt, but habit was habit.

"I know. Thought I'd ask anyway."

They walked in an uneasy silence for a time until Draco couldn't help himself and said, "Why are you here?"

Ron looked sidelong at him, gazed off into the distance, and then back at Draco.

"Do you really want to know?"

"No. Yes. What in Hades else is there for me to be curious about? I'm biding my time to get out of here and disappear."

Ron snorted. "Good luck with that."

Draco gestured to a bench. Why he felt compelled to be civil to Weasley he wasn't certain. It could only prove that he really was depressed, or simply didn't care enough about anything that even Weasley's company wasn't as annoying as it had seemed a few moments ago.

"I like sex," Ron stated as he took a seat next to Draco.

After a pause, Draco replied, "So?"

"A lot. Too much," Ron continued, fidgeting with the sash on his bathrobe. "It's a compulsion, really."

As disturbing a revelation as this was, Draco couldn't help but be intrigued.

"You're a sex addict," he confirmed, ensuring there was an element of incredulity in his voice.

Ron coloured, but set his jaw and gave Draco a defiant look.

"Yes. Surely it's not that shocking."

"Up until this very moment, I must admit I've never given your sexual life any thought whatsoever. I'd like to keep it that way."

A shy smile rose to Ron's lips. "You may say that but you don't mean it."

"Oh, I do. You going at it with some witch is a revolting thought. Let's drop it."

What was more disturbing to Draco was that his imagination, quite against his wishes, had presented him an image of himself pinned him against a wall, Ron— or someone with a body like his— pounding away in him. Ron must have seen something flicker in his expression, because he grinned and said, "Who said it was witches I was after?"

Draco bolted up from the bench and strode away, his stomach churning. Obviously being unconscious even a short time in the frigid sea had damaged his brain. Weasley being here was torture. He'd go to the head of the ward and demand that he be given his own room again. He heard Ron calling after him, but ignored it as an orderly hurried toward him.

"Mr. Malfoy! What's the matter?"

"I demand to see the head of the psychiatric ward. Immediately."

"Malfoy! I was being an arse."

Ron jogged to his side, and Draco sniped, "As usual." He turned his attentions back to the orderly. "Now."

"What is the problem?"

"I cannot share a room with Weasley. He's provoking me."

"I didn't mean to," Ron insisted.

"Your breathing is a provocation."

The orderly gave Draco a patient look. "Mr. Malfoy, we do prefer that our patients continue to breathe. But I'll have the Head come and see you after you return to your room."

Draco huffed, but could see he was in a losing battle.

"So be it. Weasley, piss off."

Ron threw up his hands in surrender, though an unapologetic look was on his face.

"The gardens are large enough for both of us. See you later."

He walked off to an area with rocks and a waterfall. Draco tugged at his bathrobe, straightened up and walked to a space as far away from the waterfall as he could get.

Back in the room, they ate their respective dinners in silence. Ron was far from a quiet eater, however, and every slurp and chomp grated on Draco's nerves. Never had he wanted to cast a silencing spell as badly as he did now. He consoled himself by recalling what the head of ward had told him, which was that Ron would be moved to another room after breakfast.

"D'you have anything to read?" Ron asked once their trays had been taken away.

"Only a Prophet," Draco said curtly. "Two days old."

Ron made a disgruntled noise.

"There's a common room down the next corridor," Draco suggested, hoping Ron would go away for a while. "There are some games, and even a modified Muggle television."


Ron heaved a sigh and lumbered out of the bed. Draco busied himself with calling for an orderly, mostly as a distraction from Ron's standing and stretching. It irritated him that he found himself glancing at Weasley's exposed abdomen; granted, it had been far too long since he'd had a recent shag. His libido was evidently as twisted as his mind.

After Weasley left the room, the orderly arrived and Draco asked for the day's Prophet. Reading it from cover to cover occupied him for much of the evening, once he got to the crossword puzzle. He'd forgotten to ask for a quill, so he called for the orderly a second time, who admirably tried to cover up his peevishness. Weasley returned with an evening attendant who proffered a tray of desserts. Draco declined, but Weasley helped himself to several ginger biscuits and a small carton of ice cream.

"Watching your figure?" he cajoled from a chair, having propped up his feet on his bed. Draco found he couldn't keep from staring at the soles of his slippers; the man's feet were enormous.

"No. Just not much of an appetite for anything," Draco said. Well, his traitorous mind interjected, your carnal appetite seems to be fully functioning, albeit truly disturbed if you're considering WeasleyÉ as anything.

Ron shook his head, a near-rapturous expression on his face as he spooned more ice cream into his mouth.

"Don't know why you're denying yourself," he said. "You could stand to fill out a bit."

Draco's lip curled. "How touching, Weasley. I didn't know you cared."

"I don't." Ron shrugged, turning the spoon over in his mouth before slowly pulling it out through pursed lips. "It was just an observation. You look like the wind could blow you over. Some blokes like that, I guess."

This topic made Draco exceedingly uncomfortable, but he wasn't going to give Weasley the satisfaction of knowing that.

"I wouldn't know," he lied outright, pointedly picking up the day's Prophet again and sightlessly gazing at the crossword.

"That's not what I've heard," Ron muttered under his breath.

Draco refused to take the bait, ignoring him. Ron's presence loomed as large as his sturdy frame, however, and Draco realised after a time that he was obsessing about Weasley's hands. Large feet, large hands— what else about him…?

Much earlier than normal, Draco announced that he wanted to go to bed.

"But it's only nine-thirty!" Ron exclaimed, indignant.

"You don't have to stay here."

"Too right. I'll go back to that room and watch that Muggle-ish box. Strange stuff on it, sure, but it's better than lying here in the dark."

"Suit yourself."

Once Ron was out of the room again, Draco took a couple of deep breaths. Weasley's presence was disconcerting, and the evidence pointing to him being a fellow poof should have encouraged Draco not to give anything away about his own sexuality. Not that he had any intention of chatting with Weasley about the clubs he frequented, but apparently Weasley knew enough about them to purportedly know that Draco was there at all. Had Weasley actually seen him one night? The thought was both horrific and oddly tantalising. Weasley had always seemed so ordinary, so common. So non-queer.

"He is a sex addict," Draco murmured as he got out of bed and went to the in-room loo. "Maybe he doesn't care one way or another."

After his ablutions were complete, he turned off the light and lay down in his bed. He knew he wouldn't be able to sleep for a while, but having peace and quiet was preferable to Weasley's invasive attempts at conversation. An hour or so went by before Weasley returned. Draco heard him brushing his teeth and taking a piss before going to his side of the room, spared from running into anything by the dimmed light spell cast near the door. Draco had tried some wandless magic the night before to make the lights go completely out, but to no avail.

He lay still in his bed, listening to Weasley get comfortable, and for his breathing to even out. There was something surreal about having Weasley so close, in such unexpected circumstances. His very presence after a long period of celibacy was, to Draco's distress, causing totally inappropriate thoughts to dance uninvited into his imagination. He let his hand skate down his stomach and down underneath the waistband of his pyjama bottoms. His fingers drifted further to play in his wiry pubic hair before circling the base of his cock. He was careful not to make a sound, sparing only a fleeting thought about how only two days ago he'd planned to be dead, never again to enjoy this particular pleasure. Slowly he eased his hand down the shaft, then back up, closing his eyes as it hardened under his touch. While he was focussed on his task, he kept his senses on alert, wondering — hoping? — if Weasley was really asleep. He'd just begun to speed up the pulls on his cock when he heard Weasley get out of his bed. The thought of getting caught made his pulse race; his almost certain belief that Ron would be desperate to join in caused the blood to pound in his ears. He licked his dry lips and turned his head, opening his eyes to see Weasley standing there in the near dark.

"You want this," Draco managed, his voice strained.

There was an affirmative moan.

"Say my name," Draco found himself saying. "My first name." Merlin, but he was getting off as much by telling Weasley what to do as he was by the thought of how mad the situation was. That, and the very real possibility of them being caught by a nurse or orderly sent on rotation to check in on them.


The word was an anguished hush. Draco's cock pulsed in his grip.

"And beg, Weasley."

The palm that had drifted to the sheet just above Draco's erection paused in its descent. Ron made a low, keening sound.

"Please. Please, Draco. Fucking Merlin, fuck," Ron whispered, resting his wide hand so that only the thin sheet separated their skin from touching.

This was insanity, Draco knew, but he was delirious with the captivating power Weasley had surrendered.

"I'm— it's yours," he said, correcting himself. "Suck it, use your hand, whatever you want. Just keep quiet."

The sheet was pulled back before Ron clambered up onto the bed. He tugged Draco's bottoms halfway down his thighs, then he straddled him, his gaze flickering up to Draco's face. Lust transformed Ron's features. He wasn't handsome, but his raw desire caused Draco to decide he was moderately attractive. That and the muscular planes of his body, which Draco liked very much indeed. He half expected Weasley to chant his name, but Ron silently lowered down and swallowed his cock like a starving man at a feast.

"Nnnnnngh," Draco said as the head of his cock slid across the roof of Ron's mouth. Ron fellated him with fervour, licking and sucking, lapping the shaft with his tongue. Draco felt an instinctive need to hold onto Ron's shoulders or to grasp his hair in his hands. Instead he squelched the movement by forcing his hands under his own thighs. He squeezed his arse, shoving up into Ron's mouth, murmuring, "Take it. Take it," under his breath.

Head bobbing, Ron moved a hand to cradle Draco's sacs in his palm. At this Draco groaned aloud, his cock throbbing as Ron's mouth moved up and down. Hot, wet, delicious suction; the only focus Draco had was what was happening between his thighs. The large fingers massaging his balls moved to grip the base of his shaft. Draco whimpered and felt Weasley's low laugh around his prick. When Ron began pistoning his hand and sucking on the crown, Draco knew it would be only a few moments before he came.

The wave of pleasure tore through him and he bucked into Ron's mouth. Ron swallowed while Draco gasped, breathing heavily as the tingling sensation ebbed away from his groin.

"Holy fuck," he whispered, watching Ron lick around the exposed head, a very satisfied look on his face.

"I'm good." Ron's tongue moved slowly along his bottom lip. He sat back on his heels, ran his hands through his shaggy hair and then said, "I've been told I'm bloody brilliant, actually."

"I don't even want to think about who you've been around who might have said that," Draco murmured, languorously immobile, willing away any thoughts that didn't have to do with the bone-melting orgasm he'd just experienced.

"It wasn't only one person." Ron grinned crookedly.

"I could," Drago started before thinking of how to end the sentence. "I could, you know, do something for you as well."

He'd definitely felt a similar hardness when Ron had first climbed onto his lap. He was curious about what he'd find there, given the size of the rest of him. Ron rocked against his pelvis, an inscrutable expression on his face, and then eased himself off of the bed to stand at Draco's head.

"Reckon I'll pass. I'm going to go take care of myself. Sweet dreams."

Draco made a noncommittal noise and pulled up his pyjama bottoms. Weasley had just turned him down! What in Hades was going on? Irritated at himself for caring, his turned his back on Ron. The reality and details of what he'd just done were starting to buzz around his head like hornets in a nest poked at with a stick. Better to go to sleep and deal with all of that tomorrow. Disgusted with himself, but unable to keep from doing so, he listened to Ron as he wanked. Thankfully he dropped off to sleep as soon as the episode was over. He half-awoke in the night to some noise, and in his semi-conscious state, assumed that Weasley was talking in his sleep. He rolled over and threw an arm over his head to block out the sound.

When Draco awoke, he lay still for a few moments before stretching and rolling his ankles.

"I can't wait to get back to my bed," he grumbled.

He rolled over, preparing a snub about Weasley's assumed living conditions, but the bed was empty. Surprised, Draco raised up onto his elbow, and then comprehension dawned. He'd been moved in the night. Well, all the better. Though he tried not to, he found his thoughts returning to the evening before. This required him to carefully school his features seconds later when the door opened and an attendant walked in and cheerfully handed Draco the breakfast he'd ordered last night. As he sat up and arranged the tray on his lap, he glanced over to the chair at his bedside. There was a folded piece of paper on it that hadn't been there before. Curiosity got the best of him, and he moved the tray to lean over and snatch up the paper. He unfolded it and read a street address with what seemed to be a Floo address beneath it.

Changed my mind about your offer.
Firecall me sometime. I can be discreet.

Draco refolded the paper, making it into a tiny square.

"I bet you can be," he said to the now-empty room. Then his brows furrowed. "This is Weasley," he muttered. "I didn't think discreet was a word in his vocabulary."

He shook his head and brought the tray back into his lap. After pouring milk onto his cereal, he brought a spoonful to his mouth and chewed thoughtfully. Quite despite himself, he was still among the living. Perhaps his life was topsy-turvy enough to accommodate another meeting with Weasley; he did appear to have some skill after all. Or one skill. Carefully he slid the note into the pocket of his pyjama bottoms. He'd have to keep it with him until he was discharged, though he'd taken pains to memorise the addresses.

"You're smiling!" the attendant said later as he came to escort Draco to his talk therapy with Healer Granger. Draco thoroughly enjoyed making her life as miserable as possible during their sessions, and that might have been enough to put a genuine smile on his face.

"No," he replied as they left the room. "I'm smirking."

The irrepressible attendant turned and gave him a blazing grin. "Looks like a smile to me. You must've had a good night's sleep."

Draco put his hands in his pockets, felt the note, and shrugged.

"Yes, I must have."

He tuned out the attendant's chatter as they walked, a heat of pleasure settling in his belly as he imagined Granger discovering what he and Weasley had been up to. It would make even her bushy curls wilt. He would never tell her, of course, but hinting around it could be so much fun.

The smirk deepened.

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