Disclaimers:  I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters.  This story is purely for entertainment purposes only.  I am
making no money from this.

Notes:  Draco answers Ron’s question.

Family Secrets

Part Nineteen

“Draco Malfoy . . . will you marry me?”

The words had been simple and yet Draco was dumbfounded.  Ron . . . Ronald Weasley . . . he wanted to marry Draco?  It
was unthinkable.  Draco simply wasn’t worthy of him, didn’t deserve to be loved by him . . . did he?  Draco was confused.

Still, Ron was waiting patiently for an answer.  But Draco couldn’t come up with one, couldn’t think of one single thing to
say.  He opened his mouth time and again, but nothing fell forth, not one decent, coherent uttering.

Ron watched him, then suddenly began fumbling around in his robes, eventually pulling out a small black box.  He pulled off
the lid and held the box up to Draco, a nervous smile set on his face.  “I . . . I know it isn’t a ring, but I figured that just about
everyone gives a ring for an engagement and I wanted to do something special for you.  So . . . well, I got this.”

Draco reached out, his hand trembling as he swept his fingers over a fine piece of craftsmanship.  It must have cost a fortune,
Draco thought, eying the delicate bracelet within the box.  Silver and gold bands coiled and intertwined around each other, a
solid cuff, yet for some reason Draco found the graceful design of the cuff to appear woven . . . a single, albeit small,
shimmering ruby at the very center, all but catching his eye as he looked at the item.

“I had it made especially for you.”  Ron whispered, his eyes showing fear in them.  Did he think that Draco would spurn him .
. . is that what he was afraid of?

Draco picked up the bracelet, just holding it in his hand.  For some reason he was afraid of breaking it, as if it would simply
shatter within his grasp.  “It’s beautiful.”  Draco found himself saying with an awed whisper.  Then he shook his head, taking
a breath.  “But we hardly know each other.  We’ve only been on one date.”

Ron smirked.  “I know how I feel.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have asked you to marry me.”  He rose to his feet, scratching his
head.  “I know it’s quite sudden . . . but I honestly do love you . . . I don’t know how long I have, but I do know I love you.  
You’re intelligent and kind, sweet and caring . . . even if you try not to show that side of yourself to anyone else.  Maybe if we
hadn’t been at odds in our first years, we might have gotten together a good deal sooner.  But those things happened and they
can’t be changed.  And even if this was our first date . . . well, we have been living together for two weeks.”

Draco’s heart was thumping in his chest.  Cunina had migrated from Draco’s hand, to sit atop his shoulder and watch the
scene playing out before her with feline curiosity.

“I . . . I don’t know what to say.”  Draco uttered, his body beginning to tremble under Ron’s gaze.  “It is sudden . . . but I . .
.  I can’t say no.  But I also can’t say yes.  It . . . I don’t . . .”

Ron’s hand brushed across Draco’s cheek.  “I don’t want you to answer right away, not if it puts you in this state.  Take your
time.  Consider everything.  I’ll be patient and wait as long as you need me to.  If you don’t want to marry me, return the
bracelet.  If you do . . . I’d be the happiest man alive seeing you wear it.”  He smirked.  “It has a protection charm on it . . .
and it’ll mold to your skin, according to the saleswoman.  She said you wouldn’t even be able to feel it.”

He was rambling, Draco could see that.  But of course he was . . . this was a very tense moment for him.  Ron had every right
to be nervous.  After all, he had just asked Draco to marry him and still he waited for an answer.

Draco took two shaking steps forward, wrapping his arms around Ron’s body, laying his head down on the other youth’s
shoulder.  In that instant, Draco felt no fear.  He knew what was in his own heart.  A smile pulled at his lips as he slipped the
bracelet onto his wrist behind Ron’s back, feeling a brief tingling sensation as the piece jewelry all but sank into his flesh,
becoming an extension of his arm.  The ruby pulsed with a vibrant light briefly, then faded, only to sparkle in the afternoon

“I do love you.”  Draco whispered, pulling back and raising his hand to caress Ron’s cheek.

Ron smiled, then his eyes got so wide that they looked ready to fall out of their sockets.  He grasped Draco’s palm in a gentle
grip, turning his arm to look at his wrist.  “Y-You’re wearing it?”  He took in a sharp breath.  “Does that mean ... ?”

Draco nodded, his heart doing a somersault as he saw the pure joy in his lover’s eyes.  “I’ll marry you, Ronald Weasley.”  He
grinned, sweeping forward and kissing Ron deeply.

Ron’s arms came to circle his body and he sank into the embrace, content in Ron’s arms.  The redhead stumbled back, falling
to the ground and taking Draco down along with him.  Draco snickered against Ron’s lips as he moved to straddle him,
ignoring the sting of Cunina’s claws digging into his shoulder as she tried to regain her balance.  Draco was happier than he
could ever remember being.

Only when Cunina mewled in his ear, did Draco pull away from Ron, both of them reduced to panting for breath.  “Come on.”  
Draco smiled, grasping Ron’s hand and getting to his feet.

“Where are we going?”  Ron asked, his brow furrowing as he studied Draco.

“You don’t think that I’m going to let you get away with buying me this exquisite symbol of affection without getting you a
matching one in return?”  Draco questioned, not waiting for Ron to answer.  He gave the redhead a peck on the lips, smiling
brightly.  “Besides, I want everyone to know we belong only to each other.”

Ron’s ears quickly turned a dark pink.  However, he did follow as Draco led him back into Hogsmeade, Cunina still perched
atop Draco’s shoulder.  Ron pointed out the shop where he had purchased Draco’s bracelet, and a short while later they
emerged from the store once again, Ron now wearing one that was identical in every way to Draco’s . . . except for the simple
fact that the jewel set in Ron’s was a sapphire instead of a ruby.

As they happily strolled through the gates of Hogwarts, Draco turned to look at Ron.  “You know, you’re going to have to
write your mother about this.”

Ron stopped dead in his tracks and Draco only laughed, turning to walk backwards as he watched Ron’s reaction.  He knew
that Ron hadn’t even told his mother about the baby yet, that he was far too nervous and afraid of her reaction.  Draco, on the
other hand, had filled his own mother in on just about everything.  He enjoyed relaying things to her and getting supportive
letters back.

Ron blinked, then smirked and gave Draco a half glare.  “Oh, you’re going to get it now.”  He smiled, stalking toward Draco
with a not-too menacing grin.

Draco eeped halfheartedly, raising his hands in mock defense.  “Careful, I have a kitten!”  He announced, picking up Cunina
and holding her out to Ron.

Ron only laughed, easily sweeping Draco off his feet, carrying him through the front doors of the school, both of them
ignoring the stares and giggles that the other students gave their way.  Draco laughed, merely content to lie there in Ron’s
arms.  He set his head against Ron’s shoulder, a smile on his face as he petted Cunina.  He was happy.

To Be Continued . . .