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PhD by twiddlekinks
1: Introduction by twiddlekinks
Title: PhD
Author: twiddlekinks
Abstract: Featuring Ginny Weasley as graduate student in training, and an icy blond Slytherin as her supervisor. Toss in a couple of science jokes or nerdy pick-up lines, and there’s the perfect protocol for passion. (Er…)
Rating: Naughty, for some eventual smutfilled action

Chapter 1: Introduction
Ginny Weasley, graduate student in training, meets the PI from hell.

Ginny Weasley, redhead extraordinare, from The Women’s College of Surry, one of the few wizarding/research universities in England, was standing in front of MIT. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The big kahuna of scientific research. She almost fainted.

“Hey, baby --,” came a cheery chirp. “Are you the square root of two? Cuz I’m irrational when I’m around you!” Ginny spun around to face …the spitting image of Harry Potter.

“Harry???”

“Er… who?” The dark-haired boy with emo-black-glasses looked startled. “Actually, my name’s Rob.”

Upon closer inspection, Ginny found that he was indeed not Harry. For one thing, he was a little shorter. For another thing, he was Asian. Upon closer inspection of the crowd around her, she found that they were all Asian.

The not-Harry guy grinned at her. “Actually, no. Sorry to detract from any fetishes you might be savoring, but MIT’s not all Asian. The student body is 30% Asian. But right now you’re just standing in a middle of a Japanese tour group. They come here often, you know.”

Ginny gulped. A few cameras went off in her direction. Deciding wisely to ignore them, she turned to Har – Rob. Harrob?

“Rob.”

“Er… yes? How do you do?”

She grinned. “Bamboozled out of my mind. How do you know MIT so well?”

“Oh, that.” He grinned back at her. “I went here for undergrad. New?”

She nodded. She stuck out a hand. “I’m Ginny. Ginny Weasley.”

He grinned (again) and stuck out a hand. “Pleased to meet you, Ginny-Ginny Weasley.” Then he calmly tucked her hand in the crook of his arm, and proceeded to show her around.

MIT was a whole new world. Not only did people here flatter their school with the nickname of “Hell,” but they also tossed around complicated mathematical terms in the corridors and discussed complex scientific theories on the staircases. And there was a totally different language: The buildings were all numerical – her first class was in 54-100. She was a “Course 7 grad student” taking 7.06 (Molecular Cell Biology) for a refresher, and she had to TA 7.27 (Principles of Human Disease). Her students were majoring in 6, 10, and/or 15.

Luckily, most of the graduate students in the biology department spoke in “normal” English. She quickly became friends with a sparkly Chinese gal named Vickie, who shared her profound love of clean lab equipment and autoclaved glass. Vickie’s expertise, however, was in stem cell research. Ginny wanted to exterminate microbes of all kinds, or at least figure out how to prevent diseases in general. They were both searching for their first rotation, where they would each try out a lab, perhaps do a little project for the professor, and figure out if that was the place to spend the next four years writing a thesis. Ginny started carrying around her resumé and peeking into various corridors around MIT, reading the posters adorning the walls. There were so many possibilities… How could she choose? But between classes and Vickie and Rob, the scariness of being in a new place was wearing off.

It turned out that Rob was actually a second-year graduate student, working in two labs – one was computer science, and the other was microbiology. Apparently, he was trying to determine various genomic sequences of bacteria and virus species. Ginny got quite excited at the mention of bacteria and viruses. After she’d settled down, she began her classes in the biology department, and then one day begged Rob to show her his biology-based lab. He agreed readily, of course.

As soon as she walked into that lab, she knew that it was the right one for her. The refrigerators said “Viral culture!” and the incubators were labeled: “Macrophages only,” or “Radiation experiments only.” And, to top it all off, the glassware sparkled beautifully in the rays of the setting sun over a spectacular view of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“I think I’d like it here,” Ginny said. She pored over the posters adorning the walls. Even more perfect – the lab was working on anthrax. If you’re going to go for one virus for a thesis, might as well get right to it, she thought. “I want to meet your PI,” she declared.

Rob looked at her, startled. “I don’t think so.”

“Er… why?”

“Oh, he’s positively demonic. Rants and raves and is a complete loon. Though apparently, he brings in the big bucks and knows how to write grants, and his lab publishes the most papers out of any of the labs here… but he’s kind of a killer to work with. Has the funkiest tattoo, too… And that secretary…”

Ginny didn’t care. She wanted to work on anthrax, and she was going to work on eradicating this threat to the world. She brushed Rob aside, and went to the office next to the lab. Knocked on the door, even. A harsh “Come in!” was heard. Rob gulped. And then Ginny was inside.

~*~

A dark-haired woman dressed in something very short was sitting at the desk, typing at the desk, red elongated nails clacking on the keys. “Do you have an appointment?” she asked haughtily, not missing a beat in the rhythm.

“Actually, I’m a first-year graduate student,” Ginny replied. “I’d like to talk to the professor about his research.”

“Ah, here for a rotation, possibly?” The woman brightened. Ginny suddenly noticed that the secretary was about her age. “We haven’t had a newbie in the lab for ages. There might be a lab bench available this month, though. I believe that Paul’s presenting his thesis some time next week.” Wobbling on four-inch heels, she swept over to another door. After some fierce pounding, she cried, “Yo! Professor. A student! Fresh Blood!”

“Enter!” came the brusque reply. The secretary opened the door, and Ginny was inside.

~*~

The place was pristine. A bookshelf was laden with books and various journals, organized alphabetically. His desk was clean, with stacks of papers laid precisely along the edges. A wall was neatly adorned with quite a few diplomas. Undergrad at Oxford. PhD at MIT. Professorship at both Harvard and MIT. She whistled mentally. This guy had to be quite the bright one.

The chair was facing away from her, and she could hear the steady rhythm of computer keys, yet again. “Just a moment,” came the curt greeting. A British accent! "How refreshing," Ginny thought. Americans had such odd intonations.

Then the chair turned, revealing a wiry man with shockingly light hair and liquid silver eyes, wearing a matching silver tie over a crisp dark green shirt. Ginny gasped.

It was Draco Malfoy.

He raised his eyebrow. “My dear, I’ve interviewed many students, but I don’t often elicit such a surprised response at my luscious good looks. Are you quite well?”

Ginny closed her mouth and nodded. Running a hand through her hair irritably, she didn’t know what to do. “Dangnabbit,” she thought. “I knew I should’ve looked more carefully at those posters. But who could pay attention to the names on them when the research itself is so cool?”

“Why don’t you take a seat?” Malfoy – Professor Malfoy – gestured to an economical looking piece of furniture in front of his desk. “Now, are you a graduate student? Good. Thought you looked a bit young for a second. My lab doesn’t take undergrads.” He sniffed. “Where’s your resumé then?”

Ginny was suddenly glad that she’d been carrying her maroon folder everywhere. She drew out a piece of paper. Her entire life, in statistics and awards, floated before her eyes. She laid it on the desk of the man in front of her.

He skimmed through it, speaking softly as a mental monologue seemed to pass through his electric gaze. “Hmm… experience working with microbes. Ah, Honeycomb – good woman. I met her at a conference last February. Best researcher in England. Interesting stuff involving microbial genetics, which I’m assuming is your forte. And for three years? Your own project and a few papers. And a grant, as well? Ah, an international fellowship. Not bad, not bad. Though you could definitely use a bit more focus in the viral department. Too much focus on bacteria – who cares about them, anyway?” He tossed her an affable grin, and she started. He frowned, then kept reading. “I must admit, dear, that you look too good on paper. There must be some catch.” Suddenly, his eyes glanced to the top of her paper. “Ah.” He looked up. “There it is. You’re a Weasley.”

Suddenly, his eyes widened. “Impossible.” He gazed at her face. Ginny knew that she had become quite similar in appearance to a bright, incredibly warm tomato. And that the red on her cheeks was clashing horribly with the red in her hair. The professor looked at her for a long second.

“What do you want, Weasley?” He asked this question very quietly. Was he quivering? Surely not… The great Draco Malfoy would never… Was this where he’d been after all of these years? He’d disappeared at the start of the war, when Voldemort had unkindly interrupted all schooling. After five years Harry had killed Voldie and then Ginny had been able to return to school and go through undergrad at the ripe young age of 22, but not before chicken pox had taken Bill. A childhood disease, she’d learned. She had immediately insisted that they all get the vaccine. And no one had even heard of a vaccine before –

Ginny realized that she was getting off topic. And what was she here for? What did she want? Ah, yes. “I want to develop a vaccine for anthrax.”

Malfoy looked surprised. Ginny felt an unreasonable surge of joy. “I beg your pardon?”

“I want to work in your lab, er, Professor. I’m going to develop a vaccine for anthrax.”

“There’s one out there already, Weasley.”

“Sir, with all due respect, I’m going to develop a safe vaccine for anthrax.”

Malfoy’s eyebrow quirked up, and she could have sworn that his lip was tilting up, too. “Oh, really? And how do you propose to do that?”

“You’re going to help me, of course.” She hadn’t been able to stifle a retort. She told herself that the old, shy Ginny had been left behind in Hogwarts her fourth year. This was confident, smart, and research-oriented Ginny. And if she had the resources of a brilliant MIT professor, then perhaps she could help save the world…

And yet, this brilliant MIT professor happened to be one of the smarmiest gits she’d known at school. She gritted her teeth. He was probably going to refuse her, just because of her last name. Memories flew by, of taunts and hexes and curses, of white blond hair and a pointy nose and flashing silver eyes and Quidditch bruises and --- "Okay, Ginny. Off topic," she told herself. Still, she should have been more polite. He was a professor after all. But Malfoy was saying something:

“Very well, Weasley. We’ll give you a try. You start tomorrow. Lab meeting is at 730. AM. 56-970. Read these.” He handed her a folder of papers. It was huge and heavy. She almost dropped it – quite a few trees killed, there. He ushered her out the door and smirked. “See you tomorrow morning, Weasel.” And the door slammed in her face.


~*~

(Note#1: A “PI” is the primary investigator – he or she is in charge of the lab, writing grants to get money, etc. A “personal statement” is like the entrance essay for grad students. You basically need to write about your experiences, your research, what you’ve done, what you want to do, and why you’ve picked that particular university.)

(Note#2: No, I’m not currently enrolled at MIT. I might’ve been there at one point or other, though…) ;)

(Note#3: Course 7 = biology. 6 is Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 10 is Chemical Engineering, and 15 is Management.)

(Note#4: The lab might be loosely based on a real lab at MIT, but the research is something I completely made up. I don’t think anyone at MIT is currently working on anthrax research, but I didn’t want to attribute any of my fictional stuff to a real professor, just in case the disclaimer isn’t enough. There also isn’t a Room 56-970. There IS a building 56, but it only has eight floors.)

(Note#5: Yes! I’m Asian! And the two sidekicks in this story are, too. Mwahaha….)

Author’s Ending Notes: 8/2/05
First of all, I must confess: This idea was totally the spawn of real life. I’m a graduate student and I just started working in a lab at a highly prestigious university, and most of the other people the lab remind me of Harry Potter’s world. (I probably need to lay off the fanfic.) No, seriously – we’ve got a tall, blonde Narcissa Malfoy; a pert and smart auburn-haired Ginny Weasley; a somewhat stuffy but with the glasses and dark hair Harry Potter; a knowledgeable and somewhat nervous brunette Hermione Granger; a soft-spoken but smart Cho Chang; a sports and drinkin’ lovin’ Ron Weasley; and even a nurturing Neville Longbottom. *Sigh* I do wish we had the Draco Malfoy, though… that’d make it perfect! :) That said, this fic is my blend of sorcery meets science.
I was going to post a prologue called “Abstract,” but it’s a tad on the expository side, so if you really want to see how Ginny got to where she is and if you’d like to read more about her love of autoclaved glassware, check out my livejournal, specifically this entry.


This story archived at http://www.dracoandginny.com/viewstory.php?sid=3251