Preparation
by Jain

Written for Lori for the Cross-Gen Ficathon.


"I've gotten the scores from the assessment tests you and the other students in the Accelerated Auror program took last month," Kingsley said by way of greeting when Ron entered the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. "Overall, the six of you performed better than expected. The Ministry liaison I spoke with spent most of the meeting patting his back."

"Well, that's good. Can I tell Ginny? It's only she's been begging to know if she'll be able to enter the program next year, or if the Ministry's planning to can it."

"Feel free to tell anyone you like, though I imagine it'll soon enough become common knowledge. The Ministry's probably composing a self-congratulatory statement to the Daily Prophet as we speak."

Ron snorted, and Kingsley's mouth twitched in response.

"Yes, well, be that as it may, the test also revealed some...shocking deficiencies. I was under the impression that you'd covered Concealment and Disguise last year."

Ron blushed and studied the floor at his feet. "It's just my hair that makes me stand out," he muttered. "I'd have no problem if it weren't for that."

Kingsley arched an eyebrow at him. "Whereas I blend in with the crowd, Mr. Weasley?"

Ron raised his eyes to look up at Kingsley: taller even than he was, the muscles of his shoulders and arms solid enough to be visible through his loose robes, candlelight gleaming softly on his bald, brown head and causing his earring to glitter. He swallowed. "No, sir."

"Yet somehow I managed to receive above average marks on Concealment and Disguise. I'm not in Tonks's league, of course, nor even Mundungus's, but I doubt that you would recognize me on the street if I did...this." There followed a series of quick wand waves and muttered incantations, until Kingsley slouched before him--that was the only word for his stance--in slightly torn jeans and a Raging Pixies shirt. The earring was gone, though a ring glinted on his right thumb, and a swath of tight braids hung past his shoulderblades.

Ron gaped at him.

"Would you?" Kingsley asked, arching his eyebrow again, and even that familiar expression looked different on him.

"Probably not, sir."

Kingsley grinned at him, a quick flash of teeth. "Definitely not. I observed you during your last Hogsmeade practicum disguised like this--standing entirely out in the open, I might add--and you barely glanced at me."

"Oh," Ron said. He knew better than to try to plead his case; according to Kingsley, at least, no circumstances were extenuating enough to allow for failure.

Kingsley's wand traced another blurred set of movements, and his robes returned and hair disappeared. He held his thumb in front of Ron's nose. "Why this?" he asked.

Ron looked cross-eyed at the thumb ring. "Because it's easier to change like to like."

"That's right, and when your concentration's taken up with a mission, you don't want to worry that your hat might suddenly revert to a belt buckle. Any other reason?"

"Er..."

Kingsley let him flounder for a long moment, then said, "Disguises work better if you distract people from the things you don't want them to notice. Even though my hair changed, my face remained the same--effecting changes on that level is beyond the ability of all but metamorphmagi and the most talented of wizards--so I wanted another point of interest to draw an observer's concentration."

"Like the way you made your jeans ripped, so that people would stare more at your legs, which they can't see when you wear your robes."

"That's right," Kingsley said, looking pleased and a bit surprised. "One point to Gryffindor."

Ron felt his face grow warm, though he tried to hide his embarrassed pleasure. Kingsley very rarely awarded points during Auror training sessions; the last time Ron had received any had been in October.

Kingsley fixed him with an intense gaze, making Ron blush harder. All Kingsley said, though, was, "You're right that your hair's your most noticeable feature, but that's easy enough to conceal. Hair takes well to Pigment Charms; add them to your weekly practice, and you should be fine. Your freckles are a bit trickier."

"Why's that?" Ron asked before he could stop himself, and tried not to cringe. If he could only manage to keep his mouth shut, Kingsley might explain himself without Ron's flaunting his stupidity first.

"Because skin doesn't take well to Pigment Charms. It's generally easy to shift your skin tone within its natural spectrum, which works tolerably well for most people, but which doesn't do a thing for you if you're trying to conceal freckles. There are potions that can do that, of course, though it would be a nuisance having to carry one constantly just in case you get into a tight spot."

"Yeah, it would." Especially if he had to brew the potion every time he needed it. Ron thought furiously. "Y'know, my brother Charlie spends a lot of time in the sun, and he's got so many freckles that he almost looks tanned. You think that might work for me? I mean, is there a way to increase the number of freckles I have until they just look like my skin tone?"

Kingsley nodded thoughtfully. "That's not a bad idea. You'll want to try Proliferus, and you'd best do it in the infirmary the first time in case something goes wrong. Let me know how it goes. And in the meantime...your reaction time for Apparation's still too slow. You might want to imitate your older brothers for the next month or so until Apparating becomes more of a reflex."

"All right," Ron said, and then stifled a sigh as Kingsley took a Charmed Chime out of his desk drawer and set it to 'Random.' It looked as though he'd be spending the next hour chasing himself around the classroom, despite his promise to practice Apparation outside of class.


For the first year since they'd arrived at Hogwarts, Hermione hadn't bothered giving Ron and Harry study schedules. They just did schoolwork and revision all the time, minus the requisite Quidditch practice one evening a week.

Ron's books were strewn about the floor, where he was lying on his stomach to label his star chart for Astronomy. The common room fire was a warm, crackling distraction at his left side. He'd barely noticed it while doing his Charms and Transfiguration assignments, but now he found his mind drifting off his work and back to his most recent Auror training session.

"Harry?"

"Mmm?" Harry asked, not looking up from the scroll on which he was scribbling furiously. It looked as though it might be a Divinations essay, and Ron shuddered in sympathy.

"Is it possible to cast a conditional Claustrophobia Hex?"

"Maybe," Harry said, rolling up the Divinations essay and starting on the one for Potions. "Why d'you ask?"

"I'm trying to think of a reason for when every time you're with someone, the room feels too close and warm."

"Well, I wouldn't entirely discount your idea, considering you've just gotten back from seeing Fred and George two weeks ago. More likely, though, you just like the person."

"What?" Ron sat up so fast that he narrowly missed banging his head on the end table. "That's impossible. I've liked people before, all right, and it never felt like this."

"Well, maybe you like this person more, or differently."

"Like whom differently?" Hermione asked, plopping down on the sofa next to Harry.

"Ron won't say." The two of them exchanged meaningful glances, and Ron scowled. Just because his pash--if that was even what it was--was obvious enough that he felt half-convinced Kingsley spent all of their Auror training sessions laughing silently at him, that was no reason for his best friends to mock him, as well.

"Ron won't say because it isn't true," he said.

"Right," Harry said skeptically, turning back to his Potions homework.

Ron slid his own Potions text open, since it was always best to do the homework for his hardest class when Hermione was available to help if needed. It was ridiculous to think that he might have a crush on Kingsley. Kingsley was twice his age--literally; they'd celebrated his thirty-fourth birthday in June at Grimmauld Place--and Ron's Auror instructor, and so by the book that he seemed almost humorless.

He wasn't humorless, though, Ron reminded himself, thinking of the time that Kingsley had told him about the Auror-trained bodyguards whose company Fudge required before he would leave his house. His dark eyes had glinted with amusement, and his mouth had curved into a half-smile, the corners quirking upwards and his bottom lip softening into a lush bow...

Ron cleared his throat. "Harry? Just for the sake of argument, what if we were to say that I did like this person?"

Harry grinned down at him, and Ron resisted the urge to smack him with a cushion. "Then I think you should do something about it. Tell them, or kiss them--ouch." Harry rubbed his side where Hermione had elbowed him.

"I couldn't do that," Ron said, horrified.

"Why not? I mean, you must have some idea that...this person...likes you, too, right?" Harry said.

"No, not at all," Ron said glumly.

"You might be surprised," Hermione put in.

"Yeah?" Ron asked, feeling hope swell tentatively inside him. Hermione was more than just clever; she understood people, and if she really thought he might have a chance with Kingsley...

Hermione nodded. "I agree with Harry. Only maybe you should try telling...this person...first, and work up to the kissing later."

"Yeah, I think maybe I will." Ron started shoving his books into an unsteady tower--the stack of Auror training manuals taller than the books for all of his other classes combined--and noticed Harry doing the same with his books. "You're done your homework already?" he asked, surprised.

"Er...no," Harry said. "I...thought I might go upstairs."

"If you just want quiet, you needn't bother. I've some things to look up in the library."

"Oh," Hermione said, sounding startled. She and Harry exchanged another glance, only Ron couldn't even begin to interpret this one.

"All right," Harry said uncertainly. "See you later, then."

"See you," Ron echoed, his mind already distracted with the problem of where to search for the information he needed. Fred and George had made a joke once about seducing McGonagall as soon as they were of age, and he thought that they'd said that teacher-student relations became legal then, as well, but it wouldn't do to approach Kingsley unless he was sure. Not to mention that none of the training manuals he owned discussed the legality of Auror instructors becoming involved with their trainees. This whole telling Kingsley idea definitely required preparation.


Two weeks later, he still didn't feel prepared enough. He'd had to ask Hermione's help in finding the information on interrelationships within the Auror department, and she'd dropped the relevant booklet on his lap one evening in the common room before saying, "Is that all you needed? Because I'm supposed to be meeting Terry Boot in the Astronomy Tower about now."

Ron had looked at her, puzzled. "The sky's overcast tonight. You won't be able to observe anything for Astronomy."

"That's the point," she'd said tartly, and whirled out the portrait hole.

Ron and Harry had stared at each other helplessly. "What's all that about?" Ron had asked.

"It's just...stress," Harry had said, getting to his feet. "I'd better go after her."

And the next day Hermione was back to normal, and she and Harry were dating, which made Ron really happy for the both of them, even while he thought it very intensely weird.

It also made him want to resolve the whole Kingsley situation more than ever, since there was only so much handholding and hugging you could observe between your two best friends before you started feeling a bit lonely. Somehow, though, he kept managing to put it off.

He was a coward, that was all, Ron thought bitterly as he stepped into the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. The candles had blown out, and he fumbled his wand out of his pocket. "Lum--"

The wand was knocked out of his hand and Ron was shoved up against the wall before he had time to turn around. He tried to twist out of his assailant's grasp, but he was pinned too firmly, and even as he struggled his arms were pulled above his head and his wrists were pinioned against the wall by one large hand.

His mind raced frantically; it seemed impossible that Death Eaters would choose him as one of their primary targets, despite his friendship with Harry. Either he'd stumbled across this one accidentally, or this was a full-scale invasion. It made sense that they would strike then; Dumbledore was visiting Beauxbatons, reviving old ties and seeking support for the coming war.

Ron tried to calculate the odds of Harry and Hermione's evading capture. He'd last seen them in the Gryffindor common room, which was nice and public, but there was a more than decent chance that they'd snuck up to the seventh year boys' dorm as soon as he'd left. They were both strong wizards, of course, and Harry was a genius at Defense, but the main body of Death Eaters would be converging upon them.

He was in the middle of trying to decide whether the Death Eaters would try to subdue McGonagall or avoid her notice when the hand that wasn't pinning him to the wall raised a wand to his neck. Ron stiffened, and the Death Eater leaned closer.

"I think it would be a bit redundant to repeat Moody's warnings about constant vigilance at this point, don't you, Mr. Weasley?" Kingsley Shacklebolt asked quietly.

The hand that was holding his wrists released them, and Ron spun around as a murmured spell lit the chandeliers. Kingsley bent to pick Ron's wand up off the floor and handed it to him.

"I thought you were a Death Eater!"

"If I had been, you'd be dead right now," Kingsley said.

This was undoubtedly true, but Ron rather thought it missed the point. "So I can add getting jumped to my list of weekly exercises for this course?" he demanded.

"Not weekly," Kingsley corrected with a mild smile. "Only when you least expect it."

Ron opened his mouth to protest further, then shut it. If he could be taken that easily, he probably did need the training in Perpetual Readiness or whatever the Auror department called it. Besides, it would almost be worth having the piss scared out of him on a regular basis if it meant that he could have Kingsley pressed up against him full-length when he actually knew that it was him.

Though he wouldn't put it past Kingsley to recruit others for the task. Ron pictured Flitwick leaping out from behind a door to pin him against the wall and stifled a giggle.

"Is something amusing, Mr. Weasley?" Kingsley asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Just imagining the when I least expect it part," Ron said.

"Ah. Well, I wish I could say that you oughtn't be surprised in your bath too often, but I don't like to make guarantees."

And that image was more than enough to make Ron blush bright red.

Kingsley observed him with a sardonic expression on his face. "Death Eaters don't generally bother with social mores," he said.

"It's not them," Ron muttered. "It's you."

Kingsley's gaze sharpened, and then he busied himself with tucking his wand inside his sleeve and testing how smoothly it released when shaken down into his hand. "Considering that they're the ones who'll be throwing hexes at you on a daily basis, I think you should worry more about them than about me."

"Well, you're the one throwing hexes at me on a weekly basis right now," Ron said very reasonably.

"It's all about intent," Kingsley said.

Ron took a deep breath. "So when you burst in on me while I'm bathing, will your only intention be to prepare me for some Death Eater doing the same later?"

"It's the only sufficient reason to justify my doing so."

"Even if I w-wanted you to have other reasons for it?"

"Even then," Kingsley said. "Take out your wand. Your Patronus still isn't--"

"Why not?" Ron interrupted.

Kingsley sighed and looked at him very seriously. "Because you're too young to be making that sort of a decision."

"It's not illegal. I looked it up. Well, with Hermione's help."

"The fact that it's not against the law is hardly going to persuade your mother that it's all right for her youngest son to take up with a man twice his age."

"Are you trying to tell me that you're scared of my mum?" Ron asked incredulously.

"There's no shame in having a healthy respect for Molly Weasley," Kingsley said grimly. "Besides, this time she'd be right."

"I'm of age, you know. And in another year I'll be an Auror and fighting people like Bellatrix Lestrange as part of my daily routine. You know Mum, she still fusses at Bill as though he were a kid, and he's been out of the house for fifteen years. I don't have time to grow up as much as she'd like."

"You shouldn't rush into anything just because you're afraid you might die," Kingsley said in his slow, deep voice. "You're not an Auror yet, and even if you complete your training, the job still isn't synonymous with a suicide mission. As I can personally attest."

"I'm not being fatalistic, or anything," Ron protested. "I'm just making the point that I'm an adult now, and we could wait until I'm fifty, for all the good that would do, and Mum would still act as though I'd only learned how to tie my shoelaces yesterday."

"Being an adult and being ready for an adult relationship are hardly the same thing. Even if your mother's wrong about the first half, she can be correct about the second."

"You know, if you're going to reject me, I'd rather you do it yourself than have my mother do it for you," Ron said sharply.

There was a long silence. "I'm sorry," Kingsley said.

Ron shook his head, though not as a rebuff. "Just because I've never dated someone seriously doesn't mean that I'm not serious about you."

"Are you?"

"Yeah." He met Kingsley's eyes unflinchingly, and something Kingsley saw there made him smile a little. Ron felt himself relax, suddenly certain that things would be okay, even if they didn't turn out exactly the way he wanted.

"All right, then," Kingsley said quietly. "I suppose we might try a date. I don't think that Madam Puddifoot's is to either of our tastes, but the Three Broomsticks serves an excellent dinner, if you've never had the pleasure."

"Well, not that I dislike the idea, or anything, but I really have too much schoolwork to go on a date at Hogsmeade. Couldn't we just...get to know each other here? In your rooms, I mean, not here in the classroom."

Kingsley laughed, and Ron flushed bright red, mortified. "I didn't mean..." he began, even though he sort of had.

But Kingsley shook his head, still chuckling. "No, it's all right. I just remembered once again what it was like when I was in Auror training. You'd think that being an instructor would keep me from forgetting."

"Oh. So...would that be all right, then?" he asked awkwardly.

"Certainly. When would be a good time for you?"

"Um, well. Now?" Kingsley arched an eyebrow at him, and Ron blushed again. "It's just that I'm actually caught up with my work for once, and tomorrow's Quidditch practice, and the day after I have Potions, which means I'll have a ton of homework, and--"

"Now is fine, Ron," and Ron was so shocked at being called by his given name after a year of Mr. Weasley that he almost didn't notice that Kingsley was holding the door open for him.

They walked the short distance to Kingsley's quarters in silence, and Ron turned away politely when Kingsley leaned in to whisper the password to the peacock carved on the lintel.

"I'm afraid I had tea just before our lesson, but I can get you something if you'd like."

"No, thanks. I'm fine."

"Then why don't we have a seat on the couch?"

Ron nodded and took a step towards it, before he stopped, feeling a bit ridiculous. He already knew Kingsley--they'd been working together for the Order for nearly three years, and he'd been Ron's Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and Auror instructor since August.

"Is everything all right?" Kingsley asked.

Ron turned to him and smiled nervously. "Perfect," he said, and kissed him.

Kissing Kingsley was nothing like fooling around with Justin Finch-Fletchley or Padma Patil or Anthony Goldstein. For one, he felt about twice as large as a normal person, his arms wrapped carefully around Ron's waist as though Ron were something...delicate and small. That part was just odd, though Ron admitted to himself that it was nice to kiss someone without getting a crick in his neck. And the kissing itself was better; Kingsley's mouth tasted like raspberry preserves, and opened warm and wet to Ron's tongue.

The strangest bit, though, and the one that kept distracting Ron from the otherwise amazing kissing that was going on, was that they weren't doing anything but kiss. Their bodies were pressed tightly together, but when Ron's hands started to wander, Kingsley's didn't. His erection felt like a sun-warmed rock against Ron's stomach. Ron's hips angled desperately against Kingsley's body, but Kingsley tightened his arms around him, securing him.

Ron growled in frustration, pushing Kingsley's arms away, and they dropped instantly. "Could we please get on with it?" he said, shoving Kingsley towards the bed...and to his astonishment Kingsley didn't turn the tables on Ron with one of those lightning-quick moves Ron knew from the Combat portion of his Auror training. He just went, and Ron followed hopelessly after.

His hands trembled as he stripped Kingsley of his robes and underclothes, but Ron wasn't about to delay when Kingsley might pull away at any moment. Kingsley's jaw tightened as Ron stared at him--amusement or annoyance or some other emotion; Ron couldn't tell and barely even cared. Kingsley's body was like a work of art, or like a picture in one of the magazines that Fred and George used to stash under the floorboards in their closet. Every inch of him was smooth and strong: long, muscled thighs; flat stomach; high-arched feet; curved pectorals; straining cock. Ron's eyes darted over his supine body and felt his stomach twist with fear and longing.

Taking off his own clothes was almost easy in comparison, especially when Kingsley's impassive face softened as he watched Ron undress. Ron shivered in the chill air, his cock bobbling in reaction, and tried not to catch a glimpse of his own lanky, goosefleshed body.

Instead, he stared at Kingsley some more. If he were Dean, he could paint this moment; Hermione, and he could catalogue every aspect of Kingsley's perfection until the details supplanted the overwhelming whole. But he was only Ron, and that meant that all he knew was what his eyes and hands could tell him before this first encounter was over and the memory faded, and that knowledge was a sharp hurt inside.

He let his hand drift over Kingsley's shoulder, chest, the lattice of his ribs. Kingsley's skin was warm, even though he lay naked on the neatly-made bed. His eyes were warm, too, when they met Ron's. He reached out a hand to trace the sharp curve of Ron's hipbone, and Ron sucked in an unsteady breath.

He nudged Kingsley's side, wanting to climb into the bed with him, and, rather than scoot over a foot or two, Kingsley rolled over onto his stomach. His back side was at least as stunning as the front, and only became more so when Kingsley tucked his hands and knees under himself and rose to a kneeling position. The gentle arch of his back narrowed to slim hips, and his cock hung full and heavy beneath him. Ron wanted to rub his fingers over the glistening head and didn't quite dare. He scrambled up behind Kingsley, his heart pounding madly.

Every time he'd pictured being in bed with Kingsley, Ron had imagined himself pressed into the mattress by Kingsley's solid warmth, undone by caresses from Kingsley's sure hands. The reality was almost entirely different. Still, there was something strangely right about this: Kingsley kneeling on the bed and shuddering under Ron's touch.

Ron smoothed his hands down the strong planes of Kingsley's back, tracing downwards until he cupped the warm, downy curves of his ass. Kingsley moaned encouragingly, and Ron squeezed twin handfuls of flesh. His thumbs brushed across the cleft in between, petting wrinkled skin and thicker whorls of hair.

He traced across Kingsley's perineum and twitching hole with long, careful strokes, one thumb alternating with the other, Kingsley writhing into his touch. Then he slid his hands upwards along Kingsley's back again and leaned forward to reach his arms around Kingsley's broad chest, to pinch his nipples. The movement brought them chest to back in a warm, dizzying press of flesh.

Ron's tightened nipples brushed against Kingsley's skin, though he'd barely registered that pleasure when his cock slipped between Kingsley's smooth inner thighs. He thrust forward helplessly, then pulled back and did it again, feeling the heavy weight of Kingsley's balls shifting along his cock, the hot length of their erections skimming against each other.

"Wait," Kingsley said hoarsely, and somehow Ron managed to rein himself in, a furious blush rising in his cheeks. Kingsley didn't seem annoyed at Ron's lack of self-control, though, he just said, "Look in the bedside table."

There was a nearly empty jar of lotion in the drawer. "Should I be jealous?" Ron asked, half-joking. He frowned suddenly. "Am I even allowed to be?"

"Probably not," Kingsley said. "Anyway, that's usually called into service as hand lotion. I'm hoping you don't mind if we use it for something else this evening."

"I don't mind," Ron said, his voice cracking slightly.

"Good."

The lotion was cold and slippery on his fingers; he rubbed them together to warm it before tracing a slick circle around the rim of Kingsley's hole. "Oh, God," Kingsley said, and then, when Ron slid a finger inside of him, "Fuck."

"You're gorgeous like this," Ron said thickly, watching in awe as Kingsley opened under his fingers. Justin had always liked to prepare himself, and Anthony hadn't liked doing this at all; the closest Ron had come to this experience before was fingering himself alone in his bed, and, as he now realized, the two just couldn't compare.

Kingsley was hot and smooth inside, and Ron traced the muscle walls, mapping the striations while Kingsley clenched and loosened around his fingers. Either Kingsley had a hell of a lot more restraint than Ron, or he was determined not to beg, but his shuddering moans and the ripples of motion as he quivered under Ron's touch were more persuasive than any plea. Ron shook with the effort of holding himself back, and then there was no helping it; he only hoped that Kingsley was ready as he slid into him as slowly as he could manage.

Pleasure exploded behind his closed eyelids and underneath his skin. The tight clasp of Kingsley's body around his cock; the sweat-slick feel of his skin rubbing against Ron's... Ron plunged into him heedlessly, feeling both centered and adrift, grasping for something solid and finding Kingsley's hot, twitching cock in one hand and his broad shoulder in another. They moved with and against each other, and it felt as though an eternity had spun out before Ron moaned and shook his release.

He collapsed against Kingsley's strong back, tense yet welcoming, still buried in his body. His face was damp with sweat, and he rubbed it between Kingsley's shoulderblades, kissing the soft skin there. Only then did he notice the still-hard cock in his right hand, the trembling rigidity of Kingsley's body. "Shit," he said, stroking it with a renewed sense of obligation. "Sorry."

Kingsley moaned and thrust into his grasp, and Ron sped up the motion of his hand, his thumb swiping over the head every few strokes. Ron's softened cock slipped out of Kingsley, but even that loss was made negligible when Kingsley cried out and his cock stuttered its orgasm in Ron's hand.

They slid to the mattress in an impossibly controlled descent, Ron still clinging to Kingsley's back. He rolled off to the side just long enough for Kingsley to turn over, and then crawled back on top of him, tucking his face into the crook of Kingsley's neck. Kingsley's arm wrapped securely around him.

They lay together quietly for a while; Ron thought about falling asleep, but the rise and fall of Kingsley's chest and the sweaty press of their skin was too distracting.

"Is that what you wanted?" Kingsley asked at last, his voice gentle and deep under Ron's ear.

"Yeah, it was," Ron said honestly. "I've been going mad watching you in class and never being able to touch you."

"And did I live up to your expectations?"

Ron grinned against Kingsley's chest. "Fishing for compliments?"

"More like fishing for a clue," Kingsley said calmly. "Ordinarily, my relationships take more than three hours to develop. I'm just trying to get a feel for what to expect next."

"Oh." Ron felt his face turn hot. "It's not...you didn't seem to mind while it was happening."

"If I'd minded, you'd have known about it. Don't ever worry that you're forcing me to do something that I don't want."

Ron nodded, but couldn't help trying to explain himself. "It's not as though it's really only been three hours, you know."

"Perhaps it was two," Kingsley allowed. "I wasn't exactly watching the clock."

Ron poked him in the side. "I meant that it's been more like three years."

"Surely you haven't been interested in me that long," Kingsley said, a sardonic note in his voice.

"No, but we've known each other that long, and I've always liked you, even if it wasn't...quite in this way."

"So, basically, you're telling me that the reason we fell into bed together barely an hour after the idea was suggested isn't that you're an impatient seventeen year-old, after all, but rather that we'd already taken care of all the preliminaries."

"Well. yes," Ron said. "Though I think that being impatient might have been part of it, too."

"What a surprise," Kingsley said, and tipped Ron's face up to kiss his forehead and his nose and his cheeks and finally, when Ron had made an indignant noise in protest, his mouth.


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