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Flowers of Death by twilight_maiden
Note: I said that this story was fully canon-compliant, but to some fans that may not be true. I do not consider what JKR says in her interviews to be canon. I have kept some things from the interviews (such as Draco and Astoria) but have changed others to my own convenience. If this bothers you, please take the compliance rating with a grain of salt. Thanks, and enjoy the story!
The Gala by twilight_maiden
Chapter One- The Gala
Draco Malfoy stifled a yawn as he surveyed the ballroom as haughtily as he could. The Ministry of Magic galas his father forced him to go to seemed ridiculous to him, seeing as the Malfoy family had fallen out of favor in the Wizarding World ever since the result of the war. He never danced, anyway, not expecting to find a partner. Women had simply not interested him for years now. Not since Pansy Parkinson, at least.
That hardly stopped his mother from hoping, however. “Draco, darling,” she said, gushing as she ran towards him from the opposite end of the room with two girls in tow. “These are the Greengrass girls. Don’t you remember them from the dinner party we once had? Why don’t you be a gentleman and dance with them?”
The words were friendly enough, but Draco could see the cold glimmer in his mother’s eyes and sense her exasperation in the fact that he was still unmarried at twenty-four. Grudgingly, he attempted to get a closer look at the twin girls in front of him. One had curly blond hair and bright green eyes, and she giggled nervously from behind the frills of her pink robe. The other one looked much more different, choosing to sport a black bob and daringly cut yellow robes. Her black eyes bore into him, as though daring him to pick her.
Draco shrugged and laid a cautious arm on the shoulder of the blonde one, who laughed nervously and introduced herself as Astoria. He led her out to the floor, absently picking at a loose thread on his teal dress robe. Scanning the marble floor for a face he recognized, he noticed Millicent Bulstrode and Mandy Brocklehurst talking in a corner, both who worked as Unspeakables. Blaise and Theodore were near the pumpkin juice, deep in conversation. Also, a lone redhead was laughing at something Creevey was saying, and for a second he couldn’t recognize her. Then his jaw dropped open in shock.
It was Ginny Weasley.
Only it wasn’t the Ginny Weasley he remembered. The old Weasley girl he used to mock was small and mousy with a thin curtain of red hair adorning her shoulders. That little girl had shrunk under his gaze and crossed to the other side of the corridor when he walked down the same one as her. Now red curls fell halfway down her emerald-robed back and her brown eyes sparkled with confidence, her freckles having faded into her face. Yet Draco noticed the guarded way she protected her stomach. Was she ill, or was she hiding something?
“Draco?” Astoria anxiously touched his face with a pale hand, blinking her enormous eyes at him. He shook his head away from Weasley and returned to his dance partner, though she proved to be a very dull conversationalist. Most of her talk was about her pureblood acquaintances and the happenings of the Ministry of Magic society pages, and Draco found himself half-listening, half-letting his eyes stray to young Weasley.
A new song came on, Who Let the Trolls Out? It was very jazzy, and Draco found it impossible to waltz to. Daphne now walked up in front of him, hands on her hips defiantly. “Will you dance with me now?” she asked impudently. Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed his sleeve and pulled him into the middle of the floor so quickly he hardly had time to gasp.
“What the hell are you doing?” he hissed as she serenely gazed over at the punch table, acting as though nothing unusual was happening.
“My parents will stew me alive if I can’t find a boyfriend by the end of tonight,” Daphne hissed back. “Hopefully you aren’t like the rest of the airheads I’ve met today.”
Draco cocked one eyebrow. “So you want me to dance with you, pretend I’m your boyfriend, and not hex you for dragging me out here when I could have been dancing with your much more pleasant sister?”
“That’s about right,” Daphne said, pulling a cigarette out of her pocket and lighting it, causing Draco to wrinkle his nose in disgust at the smoke. “Want a fag, Draco?”
He shook his head and led the dance in silence, trying to keep his eyes from straying to the low cut of her robes. His mother was watching this whole exchange with a disapproving eye, while his father wasn’t looking any kinder. Finally, the song ended, and Draco made his way to the punch table, then sighing as he saw Daphne at his heels.
“Why are you following me?” he asked incredulously. “Go and chat up Goldstein or something. I’m busy.”
Daphne gave a dramatic sigh of her own. “I knew you just like the rest, Draco,” she said sadly. “Obsessed with money and only wanting a plaything out of women. I’m ashamed.”
With those last stinging words, she walked off towards the direction of Astoria. Pansy looked just like her, Draco morosely thought. “Funny to see you here, Malfoy,” he heard a familiar voice say. Turning around sharply, he saw that it was Ginny Weasley, casually pouring herself a glass of pumpkin juice. “I didn’t think you’d be out of Azkaban by now, seven years later.”
“Where’s bodyguard Potter?” Draco sharply retorted. “Dumped you for a more attractive woman, most likely. I, personally, wouldn’t touch a redhead for all of the money in Gringotts. Double that if the redhead’s also a Weasley.”
To his surprise, Weasley turned white and dropped her glass, sending shards of glass all over the ground. She suddenly ran away from him and out of the heavy doors, slamming them as she went out. Draco watched her go with a certain sense of satisfaction. Who knew that Weasley was so sensitive? Apparently looks were the only things that had changed about her.
Also to his surprise, his father came over to him, looking stern. “What was that, Draco? Go outside and be a gentleman to the lady.”
“Father, she’s a blood traitor!”
“I don’t care if she’s a Mudblood! Do you want people to say that not only are the Malfoys dark, but they’re also poor-mannered?”
Glowering but cowed, Draco made his way across and got his cloak, draping it over his shoulders as he went. In the small courtyard outside of the specially-installed ballroom, Weasley was there, blowing her nose with a worn handkerchief. He rolled his eyes at the prospect of comforting her, but sullenly attempted to put a hand on her shoulder.
She jerked back so violently he was knocked flat on his back in the snow, blinking confusedly. “Don’t touch me, Malfoy!”
Weasley was shivering profusely now; apparently she hadn’t a cloak to cover herself with. Nor did she look especially beautiful now. Her cheeks and nose were flushed, her eyes were swollen, and snot was dripping down her face. It was obvious that she had been crying, though she was mopping her face with her sleeve.
“Are you really so thin-skinned?” Draco asked.
“Just shut up and go away,” she feebly said, sniffing.
“Maybe you should heed her advice,” he heard Daphne say. Draco didn’t see where she had come from. Oddly enough, she came over to Ginny’s side and awkwardly patted her back, saying soothing words. “Don’t listen to him, Ginevra. Men aren’t worth time like that, especially not men like him.”
She spat out the last word with particular venom, as though it had bitten her. Draco looked on and attempted to peat her on the head like a child, because at the moment, Weasley was behaving like one.
Something in the Weasley girl seemed to have snapped. She whirled around once more, looking truly threatening in her fury. “Diffindo!” she shrieked, before anyone could stop her.
She swished her wand around sharply, and before Draco had time to react, the force of the cuts hit him. All he was aware of was the pain, and the blackness that engulfed him.
What he didn’t see was Daphne kneeling down and muttering Ferula, bandaging the cuts that left crimson marks on the falling snow.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.