Ginny looked down at the letter in her hands. It wasn't possible. It just was not possible. There was absolutely no way that Draco Malfoy, the same Draco Malfoy that had reduced her to a quivering mass of nerve endings just days before, was the man that had just sent this letter. Or at the very least the man who authorized its being sent. She read through it once more, her tears only held back by the wave of anger that threatened to overwhelm her.
This letter is to inform you that your verbal contract with one Draco Malfoy is null and void, according to Goblin subcontract 405H, in conjunction with Magical Agreement 16g. There was no written receipt for your claim on the half of said portrait. Any claim you may have had is now defunct.
Thank you for your inquiry,
Whitehead, Boyett and Blacksten, Attorneys at Law
He'd used her.
Used her. In the worst way possible. He'd taken what she had to offer, duped her and then seduced her, all in a completely premeditated manner. And the worst thing about the entire debacle was not what he'd done to her personally, but what he'd done to the children in the youth ward at Mungos. Ginny looked out the glass window from her office that overlooked the ward and felt a wrenching in her stomach. She'd failed them. All of them. And all because she'd trusted the wrong man.
She'd thought that she'd meant something to him. That this project would be something that they could work on together, that it could be something that they'd share. The fact that she'd put all of her trust in something that he'd said and then slept with him, like the sort of scarlet woman that Ron was always going on about, was inexcusable. So inexcusable that she was going to have to go into her superior's office and explain to her why the plan in which she'd sunk all of the pediatric wing's capital had indeed, not come to fruition, like she'd promised.
Clenching her jaw, she took out quill and parchment and scribbled a missive, then charmed the entire envelope red, and said the incantation to turn it into a howler.
YOU SELFISH, SELF-RIGHTEOUS, SUPERCILIOUS BASTARD. THE LOATHING I FEEL FOR YOU IS BUT A DROP IN THE OCEAN COMPARED TO WHAT AN ARSE YOU ARE FOR TAKING MONEY OUT OF THE HANDS OF SICK CHILDREN. SOME OF THEM MIGHT DIE WITHOUT TREATMENT, TREATMENT WE NO LONGER HAVE THE MONEY FOR BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHEATING, CONNIVING SHITE-FACED PIG.
I HOPE ALL THAT MONEY KEEPS YOU WARM AT NIGHT, BECAUSE NO GOOD WOMAN WILL EVER HAVE YOU, AND I'M CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO BE STUPID ENOUGH TO FALL FOR YOUR LIES EVER, EVER AGAIN. YOU CAN ROT, DRACO ORION MALFOY. YOU'D BETTER HOPE THAT YOU NEVER NEED TREATMENT WHEN I'M ON CALL, BECAUSE I'D PROBABLY LET YOU DIE.
HATE FILLED AND BEYOND ANGRY,
GINEVRA MOLLY WEASLEY
CHIEF OF PEDIATRICS
Draco closed his eyes, ears still ringing due to the magically magnified and completely brassed off voice of Ginny Weasley echoing off the stone walls of the dungeon. He opened his eyes enough to see the red enveloped letter rip itself into tiny pieces, and frowned.
He decided to pen a reply.
Whatever happened to the old saying, 'Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far?''
Her reply came swiftly.
Speaking softly is overrated. And if you come around again, I'll show you that my 'stick' (or wand, I'm assuming is what you meant) is exactly the right size, you piece of shite. TRY ME.
He stood in the laboratory as he read her latest missive, taking a break from his cauldron. Draco had decided on doing the bulk of the work himself on the gold potion, as he really didn't feel that he could trust anyone else.
And he'd told his solicitors as much when they'd advised him not to cut Ginny Weasley out of their would-be contract. They'd told him of the legal ramifications of his decision, but he'd known that she wouldn't try to retaliate, that she'd accept the letter from his legal representation as truth. What he hadn't expected was the complete and all-encompassing anger from her. He'd supposed that she'd be hurt that he'd used her knowledge to get what he wanted, and Draco did feel a twinge of guilt about the way things had ended. He hadn't really intended to invite Ginny Weasley into his bed, but she'd initiated it, and he'd never really been one to say 'no' in that instance, no matter the circumstances.
He sat heavily on one of the wooden chairs that surrounded the work table, and frowned more deeply. A battle was raging inside him; he knew that this money, this power that he'd gain from the gold potion was what he needed to earn back respect the respect of the Wizarding community, but there was also the unexpected wrinkle of Ginevra Weasley. He remembered their time together at Hogwarts fondly, but knew at the time that nothing could come from that particular relationship. When she'd ended it, he'd thought, no harm, no foul. But after having spent time with her again, having had a taste of her once more, Draco really fought with himself over his decision to cut her out of the potion.
He'd give charitably to St. Mungos.
And he didn't need the redhead. There were plenty of other girls who fit the bill. Who were beautiful and smart, and who gave as good as they got.
Well, no, damn it all, there weren't.
Draco exhaled heavily and got up from his chair to have another go at the potion. He'd get this right. The potion, the family name, Ginny. All of it. He was a Malfoy, after all. And the Malfoys didn't make mistakes. Well, not mistakes that couldn't be easily corrected.
Unfortunately for Draco, any attempt over the next six months that he made to get near Ginny were met with a stiff arm and a thrown hex, some that hit their mark, he was sad to say. In that time, he'd perfected the gold potion and boosted the European magical economy, earning a place in the hearts of the people for the Malfoy name. He made the cover of magazines, was asked to sit on the board of directors for several companies, and had an endless supply of leggy blondes that accompanied him to various charity events, to which he gave generously.
Yet each time he tried to attempt to come close to Ginny Weasley to make amends, he only got hexes thrown at him for his trouble, a few of which, to his dismay, landed on their intended target. He tried letters that came back jinxed, flowers, which came back as mulch, and chocolates, which he could only assume she kept, but he never heard a word back from her.
Even when he donated 50 million galleons to the pediatric wing of St. Mungo's, Ginny hadn't even given him as much as a glance at the ceremony. It was if he didn't even exist for her. He decided that getting hexed was worth it. He had to see her, and he had to see her now.
Casting his very best shield charm, he entered the hospital and marched straight to her office, and gave a cursory knock before entering.
"Ginny, " he began, "I have to see you--"
"You supercilious bastard!" she shrieked. "Get the hell out of my office!"
"Wait!" he shouted as a stinging hex barely grazed his shoulder. "I come in peace!"
"I don't care if you've come in the whole bloody thing, I want you out of my hospital." Ginny threw a burning jinx at a toe that happened to be peeking out from behind one of her chairs.
"Ouch!" he shouted again. "Truce! Truce!"
She put down her wand and looked at him expectantly. "You have one minute."
"Good," Draco said, an air of relief about him as he stood properly. He smoothed his robes and cleared his throat. "I'm glad to see you've come to your senses and decided to listen for once."
"Tick tock, Malfoy," Ginny said, narrowing her eyes. "Forty-five seconds."
"Right," Draco said with a short nod, deciding that he'd do better to simply get on with it. "I wanted to tell you that... well, that I was-" He closed his eyes and swallowed hard. "Wrong."
Ginny sniffed, unimpressed. "Wow," she said, sinking into her chair and folding her arms over her chest. "That sounded like it hurt."
"I mean it. I made a poor decision in that... whole... area."
"Mmhm. You slept with me to get what you wanted, Malfoy."
He frowned and raised a finger. "No, technically, I got what I wanted and then I slept with you."
Ginny's eyebrows nearly reached her hairline. "And this is supposed to endear you to me somehow?"
He exhaled heavily and glared. "You're not making this very easy, you know."
"Why should I make this easy?" she asked. "You were an arse. You admitted you were wrong. I'm simply waiting for the rest of it."
"The rest of what?"
"She shook her head in disbelief. "You're such a- a Malfoy. Two words. Just two little words.
"I regret what I did," he offered.
Ginny pursed her lips. "That's five."
"I truly wish I'd made a different decision regarding you and the entire potion situation."
Ginny stood slowly and picked up her wand.
"Alright!" he said, putting his hands up in surrender. "I'm sorry. I'm very, very sorry. I shouldn't have done it. I'm an arse."
Taking her seat again, she put down her wand and directed her attention to the pieces of parchment that littered her desk. "That's what I've been saying for months." Giving him a cursory glance, she bit out, "You can go, now."
Draco's disappointment showed on his face, and he approached her desk. "I can't stop thinking about you, Ginny," he said softly. "What can I do? How can I make this right?"
"You can't fix this," she replied. "You can't fix me. And you can't always have whatever you want, despite your upbringing."
Draco's lips pressed together in a line and he involuntarily bowed his head. He'd ruined it. His chance with her, a chance for them to be together. Really together. Reaching in his pocket, he pulled out a single piece of parchment, re-sized a rather bulky package, and left a vial with the silvery fluid of Pensieve thoughts.
"Of course," he said, his voice hoarse. "I'll go."
From the corner of her eye, Ginny peeked at his retreating back, part of her gleeful that she'd finally bested him, and the other part sad to see him give up so easily. She thought about him, too. It had just been easier to channel those feelings into hate than admit what they really were.
She found herself staring at the closed door through which he'd left for several minutes, thinking about all the ways they'd gone wrong. Finally, her eyes drifted down to what he left on her desk. Unfolding the familiar looking piece of parchment, her eyes widened as she saw that it was the potion that Draco had pulled out of the frame surrounding Paolo Marconi's portrait. She hurried around the desk and quickly unwrapped the brown paper from the package to find Paolo's soft brown eyes gazing back at her.
"Ah, cara," Paolo said. "Malfoy, he is gone, no?"
"Yes," she replied, picking up the vial. "He's gone."
"He was sorry, cara mia. He asked what he could do, and I told him that no amount of money was worth sacrificing the love of a beautiful woman."
Ginny nodded, not quite believing what she thought she saw.
Paolo continued. "I suggested that if he were truly sorry, he would give it all to the one who made it possible. To bare himself to her, and let her decide his fate." The portrait's canvas eyes drifted down to the vial in her hands. I see he did just that. I watched him removed those," he said, nodding at the silvery liquid. "His memories of making the potion. All of them."
Ginny dropped the vial on the desk and let the parchment flutter to the floor as she rushed to the door, yanking it open only to stop short, as Draco was filling the doorway.
He tried unsuccessfully to look smug as he said, "I knew you didn't really hate me."
She glared and turned to move away, but he caught her by the wrist, and pulled her close, threading his hand into her hair and placing the other at her lower back. His voice was husky as he murmured, "If you tell me you don't feel anything at all, that you don't think about me as well, I'll go, Ginny. Say the word."
She opened her mouth to form a rebuttal, but the words were lost as his lips claimed hers, and she was paralyzed in the feeling of the moment. Draco held her close and kissed her until she was breathless, and her eyes closed as he moved to whisper apologies and promises in her ear, as the portrait that started it all looked on in approval.
Author notes: I hope you enjoyed it, or at the very least that it gave you a few chuckles. Reviews are always appreciated!
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