(And here's another twinge of fannish guilt for me, because as an X-Phile, I know that Jeffrey Spender, the dear boy, is the real Ferret. *sigh*)
I've been thinking about Ron and Draco lately, not so much in a slashy way (though that's good too), but as schoolboy arch-nemeses. It's true that Harry and Draco are set up as opponents from early on, but by OotP, Harry has, by his own admission, much bigger fish to fry. Draco doesn't even really register for him, except as an annoyance.
Ron, on the other hand, seems very well aware of Draco. And Draco of Ron. ("Weasley is our king!") As well, throughout the series, Ron seems to react the most strongly to Draco. I'm pretty sure Harry has pounded Draco at least once (I'm at work, so I don't have my books and it's been a while since my last read-through, so please correct me if I'm wrong) but Ron has pounded Draco and threatened to pound Draco and had to be forcibly restrained from pounding Draco and tried to curse Draco and probably more stuff I can't recall right now.
There's a lot of heat there. (Hmm, maybe this is slashy after all.)
I've been wondering: what would the Ron-Draco relationship be like if Harry had never come to Hogwarts at all? And if this were a normal school story, without the polarizing good/evil of the OotP and the Death Eaters?
They are both from old wizarding families, even if Ron's is poor and Draco's is rich. Draco seems well aware of Ron's family from the first. They have instant animosity.
The only thing I wonder about, though, is whether Draco would have focused on Ron. Draco is pretty clearly the dominant Slytherin of his year from the beginning. But there really didn't seem to be a dominant Gryffindor until about GoF, when Harry became more prominent. (He seems to spend a lot of time in earlier books being shunned by people for various reasons, poor kid.)
Do you think that Draco would have singled Ron out in a world without Harry? I'm not sure. Do you think they're more suitably matched as opponents than Harry and Draco? I do, very much so.
You know, if either Ron or Draco has to go, I hope they go together. I love them both so much.