A Trying Breath by Ephemere
Past Featured StorySummary: A horrifying experience has been pushed aside, and people try to get on with their normal lives. But that experience soon turns into distant memories. Distant memories soon turn into haunting nightmares. When nightmares turn into reality, what can a certain group of Hogwarts students do to keep a certain redhead from slipping away? D/G story you've never quite seen before. Contains trips to the library, snogging, unexpected romance, and dreaming Gryffindors.
Categories: Long and Completed Characters: Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Other Characters, Ron Weasley
Compliant with: OotP and below
Era: Hogwarts-era
Genres: Action, Drama, Humor, Mystery, Romance
Warnings: None
Series: None
Chapters: 9 Completed: Yes Word count: 70478 Read: 47523 Published: Mar 05, 2005 Updated: Jun 05, 2008
Chapter 2: Revelations in a Broom Closet by Ephemere
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

~*~Chapter 2~*~

Ginny's mouth opened and closed several times before she could actually grasp the fact that she was stuck in a broom closet with Draco Malfoy. She knew she had to say something. The truth might be nice, but no, that seemed too easy. After all, what good would come of that? Why on Earth did Malfoy need to know about Ginny's sleep disturbances? Distracted by these thoughts, she didn't quite realize how comical she looked.

"Ginny, Ginny, Ginny." Draco smirked playfully and stepped closer, making her back up more and more. "Has anyone ever told you that you make such an adorable fish? Just pucker your lips a little more, and I think you've got it. But you know," Draco's smirk turned devilish; by now he had her backed up against the wall. "I much prefer you as a girl. It's a little difficult to snog a fish, you see. But, girls? I think I've got them covered." Draco's face was lethally close to hers. His fingers found their way between the strands of her red hair. She bit her lip and felt her chest rise and fall slightly faster than she would have liked. Before she could stop herself, her eyes darted down to his lips, which were only a matter of centimeters away. A wide grin spread across his face, noting the kind of reaction he was getting out of her. With one hand resting on the wall next to her face, he leaned in a little; then he stopped. He looked back to her eyes. They seemed to be pleading. So he leaned in some more, focusing on her mouth; then he stopped. Now only millimeters stood between them. Ginny fought the urge to jump up and close the distance. Draco beamed at her obvious unrest. "You were saying?"

"Hmm?" That was just about all Ginny could get out of her throat.

"You were just about to tell me what's been happening to you."

"Oh. Well," Ginny closed her eyes for a moment and tried to catch her breath. What is wrong with me?? This is Malfoy! "Erm, it might be easier if you just, backed up a little. Please?" She placed her hand firmly on his chest and pushed until he was a suitable distance. Then she looked up into his amused face and sighed. Seating herself on the ground against the wall, she finally found her voice. "What exactly would you like me to tell you?"
Draco frowned in thought. "Well, let's just start from the beginning. Was the incident a few days ago the same as what happened over the summer?"

"Yes, pretty much. I don't think there was any real difference."

"All right, then. What happened? Were you sleepwalking?"

"No, actually, I was wide awake both times it happened. It was more like - a trance."

"A trance?"

"A trance. I felt as though I basically knew what I was doing, just not why I was doing it. It was as though no one else was there, and I was just moving towards him. I could even feel myself moving. The only thing is, I couldn't seem to come to grips with any part of myself. Even my voice was caught in my throat. But he kept calling out to me. I kept hearing his voice, and we were talking. Or at least, communicating. I don't know, Draco! It's all so confusing. But then all of a sudden, as soon as I managed to regain some sort of control over my mind, it all just ended. Just like that. The dream, or whatever it was, was over. And the next thing I knew, I was waking up somewhere entirely different." Ginny stopped and looked down at the floor. She immediately regretted having opened her mouth in the first place. It took her a second to realize just how determined Draco Malfoy really was. She was sure he would have found everything out anyway, and this way was just much easier, not to mention probably less painful. Ginny's eyes were stinging with tears waiting to be shed. She didn't normally tell people anything about herself. She was so used to being the one everyone turned to and confided in, but not the one to let out her own troubles. All of a sudden, with Draco standing in front of her, piercing at her with his gray eyes, she felt very vulnerable. As though she were naked in the middle of Trafalgar square...with pigeons staring at her. Hmm, that's slightly sickening to think about.

Not bothering to question the disgusted look on Ginny's face, Draco crouched in front of her. He kept his eyes steadily fixated on hers. He knew that whatever it was that was bothering her was not something to be taken lightly. Draco had had a little experience with the Dark Arts. After all, you don't grow up with Voldemort's most trusted minion as your father without noticing anything. Lucius Malfoy was hell-bent upon making him into the "finest Death Eater to fill his father's shoes." Although the thought of killing masses of people for pleasure was always a comforting thought, Draco had other plans for his life. Granted he was no saint, and didn't particularly care much for Muggles; all the same, there had to be a better way to make a living. Just sitting and watching Ginny's face was another reminder of why his father's life could never be for him. How can anyone cause so much pain, yet find so much peace? Draco just sat and studied Ginny for what seemed like an eternity. She absolutely oozed of dark magic. There was something more going on here; he could just feel it. Draco lifted a heavy arm to bring his hand under her chin. He gently forced her face up to his level, and sucked in his breath when he saw her face in the dimly lit closet. Her eyes were red, and tears stained her perfect cheeks.

"Ginny. I need you to tell me something." He wanted very much to wipe her face clean and snog her senseless, but of course, decided against this. Oy, Draco! Knock it off. She's just a Weasley...Draco snapped himself out of his daze and pressed on gingerly. "I know it probably hurts to have to think about this. Still, I need to know. You said there was another man there? Who came to you?"

"Draco, don't make me do this. You have no idea how much it hurts. I don't see how that even matters at all. It's probably some stupid dream that I'll get over anyway." Ginny started shaking at the thought of having to tell Draco everything about who had come for her. Seeing her state, Draco took her shoulders in his hands and held her firmly. He lowered his head till their eyes were completely in line. She could read a look of reassurance, mixed with apprehension.

"You just need to understand something. This is extremely important. Whoever it was, he is obviously very dangerous. I can't say exactly what it is that you've been experiencing, but I can tell that it has a lot to do with very powerful dark magic." He slipped his hands into hers and gave them a protective squeeze. "These 'dream sequences' may just be affecting you for now, but you never know what could happen. Soon enough, it could manifest itself into something much bigger. So please, Ginny, who was it?" Ginny was floored at the sincerity she saw in his face. His eyes were pleading with her, and it hit her that this wasn't just some recurring nightmare. Draco Malfoy, the veritable Ice Prince, was anxiously staring at her, begging her - Draco Malfoy was BEGGING. This can't be happening.

"I - you wouldn't even understand." Ginny shut her eyes in an attempt to make everything disappear around her.

"Try me." It failed.

Ginny forced her mouth to open, and could feel the sound developing at the base of her throat. She would take this leap of faith. She would trust someone for the first time since... Then her lids slowly lifted to reveal two upturned eyes. Her gaze met his. It must be those eyes. It's those gray eyes that sparkle silver. They're so beautiful, so sincere. A far-away smile tugged at the corners of her mouth, and Ginny remembered what it was like to trust someone with full force. She remembered how good it felt to confide entirely in one person and know that everything was just fine. She remembered how hurt she said she would have been if those perfect eyes ever betrayed her. She remembered how wrong she had been: it didn't hurt to be betrayed; it killed her inside. There was the guilt, the pain, the suffering, the tears; what was all of it for? A few moments of pretending that she could trust unconditionally? Everything came crashing down in Ginny's head. It was as though her naïveté had been shattered all over again. She relived that horror of finding out that she had chosen the wrong friend. Her pupils dilated, and her jaw dropped. She paled considerably as she realized the gravity of her potential mistake. She had almost broken her promise to herself. She had almost risked her own life and the lives of everyone she loved, all for an ephemeral moment of security.

To sodding Hell with those eyes! Ginny mentally screamed at herself. The pain was too much to feel again.


Leaves were gently drifting to the ground, slowly covering the grass in an array of autumn colors. Each one seemed to be illuminated by a different ray of sun. They burned in vibrant hues of reds and oranges. There wasn't a soul in Hogwarts that could have taken just one look at the radiating beauty of the Grounds. It was truly addictive. The setting sun cast a golden haze over everything. Even the coldest of hearts would have melted under that luminary's prowess. The palest of faces would have turned golden. The saddest of eyes would have danced with fire. The most helpless of souls would have come home, just to bask in the radiance of that late afternoon sky.

Ron leaned his head back till it rested on the trunk of the tree, and stretched out his legs. He was exhausted. Quidditch practice had been especially rigorous today. It had actually ended quite a while before, but Ron wanted to fly around for a little bit longer, trying to figure out the best game plan for the first match of the season. He felt a little overworked, but he wouldn't have traded his position as captain for the world. Taking in deep, soothing breaths, he let his eyes rove across the grass before him. Every time he came back, it was like coming home. Of course, the Burrow was his real home, but returning to Hogwarts just seemed like returning to the norm. Everything would essentially remain the same. There were the same annoying gits, the same professors (with the exception of the Defense Against the Dark Arts professors; they could never seem to stick around), the same excitement over Quidditch, and the same friends. This year, however, despite the apparent constancy, so much was different. It was as though everyone was a new person to him. They hadn't really changed; he had just changed the way he saw them. The precious friends with whom he had stayed up late at night to talk would never be the same. The precious memories of when they were so much younger, and didn't have a care in the world, would never be relived. The precious moments when he could see her smile, and make her laugh, without being bombarded by new and unfamiliar emotions, would be forever gone. There was so much that he needed and wanted to say, but so few ways to do it. The closer and closer the three of them got, the more and more alone he felt. Ron knew they loved him, and he knew he loved them. He loved them both. But nothing would be the same. He lifted his head from the trunk and gently banged it back down. Why does everything always have to change? Gods, what I wouldn't give to just go back to the way things were before.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of crunching leaves coming from behind him. Reluctantly, Ron leaned forward a little and turned his head to see Harry and Hermione crossing the Grounds to his tree. They both looked flushed, and were panting as though they had run here.

"Ron! Finally found you!" Harry somehow managed to get the words out through his breaths. Ron instantly shot up, forgetting any fatigue he may have felt before.

"Why? What's wrong? Is everything all right? Hermione, are you hurt or something?"

"No, no, Ron. Harry and I are fine." Hermione nervously glanced at Harry before continuing. "This isn't about us."

"Oh," Ron breathed a sigh of relief, but soon stopped himself. "Ginny. Is it Ginny? Did she faint again? What happened?"

"Calm down Ron. She didn't faint. Well, at least not again. We just think that we may have a clue as to what caused her little mishap the first time. We think it has something to do with...Malfoy" he swallowed the last part in fear.

"What was that Harry? Sorry, mate, I couldn't hear you right."

Harry and Hermione shifted uncomfortably under Ron's baffled gaze.

"He said, we think it has something to do with Malfoy."

"WHAT?? Malfoy made my sister faint?? What did the little bugger do to her? Just tell me where he is and I'll kill him. I swear, I will."

"Yes, Ron, we are well aware of that." Harry quickly jumped forward to stop Ron from storming back indoors and wreaking major havoc. Hermione came up to the other side of him, and they each grabbed a shoulder and pulled him down until all three were comfortably seated on the ground. Then the two of them took turns narrating the events of the day and their theories about Draco Malfoy.

"Well it does seem logical that he would somehow be connected. And despite this urge I have to pound his skull in, I think a more rational approach is in demand here. If this does involve Malfoy, there must be something huge that Ginny's hiding from us. Otherwise she would have talked to us. After all, it's not as though she fancies the bloke."


The sight that met Draco's eyes was shocking. He was almost positive that she was going to tell him. He saw it in her eyes. They softened for just a fraction of a second. Then the strangest thing happened. Draco looked down at her hands in his, and saw them trembling. This petite redhead sitting before him was shaking violently. Ginny looked as though she had just seen the ghost of a forbidden lover. Draco was clearly confused, and slightly taken aback. Part of him wanted to just get up and leave the more than slightly odd Weasley. Yet at the same time, something kept holding him back. Draco willed his legs to move, and stand up. Nothing seemed to be happening, though. So he simply resorted to watching Ginny with heightened curiosity.

For the first time in his life, Draco was at an entire loss for words. He had never seen anyone this afraid before. What made it worse was the fact that he knew that no matter how bad her fear was, it was probably warranted. Draco could only imagine what Ginny was going through. He now just acted on impulse. The sight of this quaking girl in front of him was far too much to bear. He gently pulled Ginny closer to him, and rested her head on his chest. Then he stretched his legs out, and maneuvered himself behind her, so he was seated against the wall, and she was leaning against him. Draco then pulled her closer and cradled her in his lap. Ginny buried her head in his chest and gripped at the front of his robes with her hands. His hands were gently stroking her back, soothing her trembles away. She sucked in air and breathed heavily, in an attempt to calm herself. He tried to give her as much of his warmth as he could. The two of them sat like that for what could have been hours. Neither one seemed to care about the passing time. They simply reveled in the deafening silence, which spoke more clearly than any words ever could have. The cloud of tension that hung over their heads slowly dissipated. The ice in her tears melted in the warmth of his chest, not for the first time. All that remained was the visible shadows of two troubled souls. There were no more words, only dreams.


Draco slammed the door and stormed away from Malfoy Manor, his cloak billowing behind him in the wind. He didn't stop marching in a fit until he had gone so far that he had to pause to check where he was. Looking up and down the darkened street, Draco realized just how late it was. He forced air into his lungs and sighed in frustration. Slowly his brow straightened as he calmed himself down.

'Bloody spawn of Satan had to be MY father,' Draco swore at the air and kicked a rock. He shoved his hands in his pockets and continued his walk, at a much more relaxed pace this time.

It was always that moment that came three seconds after he woke up every morning that was the most painful moment of the day. In the few seconds that he lied in bed, caught between sleep and wake, Draco had to force himself to remember the world he was returning to, from his world of dreams. And for those three seconds he prayed, and was almost sure, that his last name wasn't Malfoy; that he had some other father: some father he could be proud of. But those hopes always crashed down before they even properly formulated. Draco was always left disappointed: he was a Malfoy; he would stay a Malfoy.

He had been so confused as a child. He thought growing up to be the most valued Death Eater was the only life for him. Pleasing his father and eventually Voldemort was the only priority on his list. All of that held true until one day, two years ago to the day, when Lucius Malfoy went too far. Voldemort had just risen to power again, and Lucius and the other Death Eaters were called back into service. Draco couldn't have been more excited. He eagerly awaited his opportunity to serve the Dark Lord and prove his worth.

He had been out all day with Crabbe and Goyle, wreaking his usual havoc and being his usual obnoxious self. Draco came in, exhausted from a hot day's worth of fun. He went tramping through the door, past the foyer, and into the entrance hall. All the while he was calling out,

'Mum! Mum, come look and see what I've found!' Draco was holding the most beautiful piece of obsidian that he had laid eyes on. He proudly held it high, and searched for his mother. His foots sounded past the entrance hall, and into the kitchen: empty. He walked through the door at the other end and found himself in the parlor: empty again; out the parlor and onto the terrace: no one; back inside and down the narrow hallway to the dining room: still no one there.

'She's taking a nap,' he decided firmly, suppressing a nagging sensation in the back of his head. He made his way up the stairs and down the hall, past the bathroom, past his bedroom, and stopped in front of the master bedroom. Right as he reached to place his hand on the knob, a sense of foreboding gripped him and the hairs on his arm stood up straight. Draco slammed the door open and whipped his head around, almost afraid of what he'd see. The crashing echo of the rock dropping to the ground filled the mansion as soon as his eyes stopped searching, and rested on the object in desire.

From the outside, Draco looked like a statue. He stood rooted to the ground, his hand glued to the knob. His every muscle was frozen stiff and his eyes were fixated on one point. The blood coursing through his veins raced to his heart to keep it from stopping. He felt as though his brain had been slammed against the inside of his head, and could hear his pulse echoing in his ears. His lids grew round and framed his dilated pupils in two flaming silver circles. Utter shock was the only force that kept Draco from collapsing.

There was his mother, lying on the floor. Her head was turned to one side, a mass of blonde silk clouding her face. Her arms were haphazardly thrown about to either side, and her legs were tangled in the mess of her robes. There was something else that made the picture worse. Draco couldn't bring himself to realize what it was, until he took a step closer and saw the small pool of red spilling from the base of her skull.

'Mum?' Draco's voice gingerly broke the infinite silence. He summoned up all his energy and forced his feet to move closer to the still body of his mother. He immediately dropped to his knees, and leant over her, watching with the same expression of abject shock. Draco closed his eyes and filled his lungs in the hardest breath he had ever taken. Then he opened them up again, and tried to curb the sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach as he reached his hand out to draw the hair away from her face. Most fortunately, he found her eyes closed. Looking into his mother's lifeless eyes would have been far too much for him to handle. Suddenly Draco jumped back. He thought he felt something on her face. He put his hand back to her cheek and realized what he felt: warm breath. Every muscle and bone in his body relaxed tenfold and his stomach settled itself once again. Draco closed his eyes and turned his face upwards.

'Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,' he breathed the desperate words. The rest of his actions happened in quick succession. He slipped his left forearm under the nape of his mother's neck, and his right arm went under her knees. He then adjusted so he was on one knee, and slowly rose to his feet with his mother gently resting in his arms. Draco carried her to the adjacent bathroom and stopped in front of the bathtub. Maneuvering his arm so he could pull out his wand, he muttered some words to the tub and it filled with scented soapy water. He worked silently and without thinking, taking off his mother's robes and slowly placing her in the tub. Then he dropped his cloak, removed his boots, and rolled up the legs of his trousers. Draco seated himself on the edge of the tub, straddling his mother's back, with his feet resting inside the water. He grabbed a washcloth and gently scrubbed the blood away from the back of her head. He took up a mug sitting next to the tub and poured soothing hot water over the wound until it was clean. Under his hands Draco could feel his mother stirring back to life. Suddenly the knot in the pit of his stomach returned. He did not want his mother to know that he had found her like that; he was too afraid of both the look in her eyes when she found out, and the explanation that she would give him. So he quickly jumped out of the tub, grabbed his cloak and boots, and disappeared from the room.

The sharp intake of air shook Draco's lungs. He tried to walk off the desire to kill someone, namely his father. That wasn't the last time Draco had seen his mother beaten. Narcissa later explained to her son that she wasn't the right woman for Lucius. She wasn't the woman he thought he had married. Lucius had taken her on as a bride, thinking that she would be a beautiful slave to his every whim. She would beget his heir and help him in his servitude to the Dark Lord. She was only half the woman he thought she was. Narcissa was beautiful, but she was no slave. She did give birth to Draco, but she still refused to side with the Dark Lord. Narcissa never went to a Death Eater meeting, consistently claiming some sort of illness or impairment. Of course, she was mostly telling the truth because Lucius would beat her to the point of handicap every time she refused to attend.

Draco forced himself to breathe as the infuriating thoughts boiled their way back into his mind. He never understood why his mother was so hell-bent upon staying away from Voldemort. All he knew was that his mother represented one of the few constants in his life. She was the only force that could keep him alive. If she had a problem with being a Death Eater, then there was no way he could do that to her. He was thinking all this when his father walked in the room. Draco knew himself too well to just sit there. He immediately stalked out of the room, worried that he may do something drastic if the two of them were forced to be in the same room with his mind in that state.

That is what brought Draco Malfoy to this particular part of the street this time of the night. He was silently fuming his way along, when a glint of red caught the corner of his eye. He turned slightly and saw a great deal more of red. Draco narrowed his eyes into slits, and slowly made his way across the street. He pulled his wand out by instinct, and crept down the alleyway, staying close to the wall. After taking a few more steps, Draco could clearly see that there was a girl sprawled on the ground. His head quickly darted around to make sure there were no prowlers, and that the apparent assaulter had left. Then he sprinted over to the body, and knelt next to it. Draco swallowed hard before reaching out a hand to draw the hair aside. A sickening feeling of déjà vu coursed through his veins, as he feared the worst. Pushing away the fiery tendrils and turning the body so she was face up, Draco could easily recognize the poor girl.
'WEASLEY??' Draco's astonished voice echoed into the barren street. He gingerly reached up to her face and touched the bruise on her forehead. 'What the hell happened here?' Then his eyes drifted across her face and he saw the bruised lips and tear-stained cheeks. Draco's eyes sparkled and widened as he jumped to the obvious conclusion. Filled with rage, he sprang to his feet and bounded out of the alley. Draco ran aimlessly up and down the street, not quite sure what he was looking for. All he knew was that it took a sick bastard to try to rape Ginny Weasley, and no one was going to get away with it.

Having searched the vicinity to his satisfaction, Draco suddenly remembered the reason for his anger. He quickly darted back to check on Ginny. Sitting on the ground next to her, Draco's anger quickly left him, and he was soon filled with another entirely different emotion. His fingers gently stroked her arm, in an attempt to wake her. But this Weasley seemed to be quite a stubborn sleeper. So he instead resorted to taking in the sight of her lying helplessly on the cold ground, the extremely cold ground. Draco shivered through his robes, and only wondered how cold she must be. He immediately pulled her towards him, and rested her against his chest. Cradling her softly, Draco scrunched Ginny up as close as he could. Then he wrapped his cloak around the both of them and rocked her back and forth. The whole situation amazed Draco partly because he was appalled that ANYONE would try to harm Ginny, and partly because he found himself caring so much.
'What's the big deal with her anyway?' he asked himself. Then he looked down into her face and watched her sleep. She looked so peaceful. It was as though this beautiful bundle in his arms was the last sacred piece of goodness left. She represented everything pure that remained in this corrupt world. Even her name, 'Virginia,' showed her purity. If just one spot tainted her perfect image, Draco would be sure that there is nothing sacred. As if she were trying to respond, the girl in his arms began stirring. Draco immediately snapped himself out of his dreams and returned his full attention to the matter at hand.

'Ginny?' Draco's voice sounded much more shaky than it had in his head. He continued to hold her tentatively, but she turned into him more. Draco was a little startled by the blind show of affection, but a grin threatened his lips. He heard her breath deeply and saw her lashes part to reveal two of the richest pools of honey he had ever seen. Draco thought she was beautiful before, but now? His jaw fell slightly before he quickly caught himself and regained his composure. 'Are you all right?'

Ginny jumped slightly at his gruff voice. She suddenly realized that she wasn't in heaven with angels holding her, but was wrapped in the arms of...DRACO MALFOY?? A mixture of fear and confusion crossed her face, but was soon dispelled as the blonde Slytherin tucked a strand behind her ear. She could have sworn she saw him smile - not smirk - but smile a second ago.

'Ginny? Are you all right?' The tone in Draco's voice showed her that this wasn't the first time he was asking her this question. Not being able to form words, Ginny just nodded in ascent. He cocked his head to the side a little, an amused expression playing across his face.

'Do you want to tell me what happened?' Draco tried to hide the building anger in him, but didn't do so well, because his hands visibly tightened around her body. She apparently sensed his apprehension, and decided that it was best to leave this a secret. So she shook her head and buried it in his robes, wrapping her arms around his neck.
Draco nodded his head once.
Right then, he thought to himself. She doesn't want to tell me what happened. It must involve someone that she doesn't want beaten up. Potter. I swear, Potter, if you've so much as TOUCHED Ginny...I will kill you. Draco smirked at his "sharp" deduction, and then smirked wider at Ginny's apparent attempt to burrow a hole in his chest.


Ginny hesitantly lifted her head a little, and pried her eyes open. They stung and were sticky from crying. She took in her surroundings. Hmmm, I seem to be in a broom closet. Her eyes skeptically surmised the area and determined that there was no reason for her to be waking up in a broom closet. Right, then. I should probably leave now. Ginny tried to get up, but found that shifting her weight forward was more than a simple task. She looked down and realized that a pair of hands was locked around her, and her legs were tangled with two more legs. Well, this is an interesting development. She turned on to her stomach and looked to her side. Ah, Draco Malfoy. Well I guess there is a reason for me waking up in a broom closet: I fell asleep in it, next to Draco Malfoy. Ginny narrowed her eyes in thought at her "angel" lying next to her. Who would have thought? Ginny laughed to herself at the irony that of all six of her brothers and Harry, none of them were the ones to find her. No, it had to be their arch nemesis, the boy whom they've despised since day one. She reached up and flicked some hair off of his face. He's really not all that bad. All Ginny could remember was waking up and desperately convincing Draco that this had nothing to do with Harry. Still, something seemed to be nagging her at the back of her head. She remembered falling asleep against Draco in the alley, but she also remembered waking up in Draco's bed, with him sleeping in a sofa. She knew that she had left her home late at night, but she also knew that she had snuck back in early in the morning. Something didn't add up. But before Ginny could get too far in her calculations, her thoughts were rudely interrupted.
Draco's arms tightened around her and he turned a little, forcing Ginny to lie sprawled across his chest. She could hear him groan a little before he opened his eyes.

"AACK!" Draco yelled at the sudden sight of red and jumped back a little. Ginny, finally released from his grip, stood and straightened herself off. Draco watched with amusement as the previous nights events came back into his memory.

"Draco? You wouldn't happen to have the time?"

"Time? Oh. Yes." Draco quickly checked his watch. 5:15 AM. "Bugger! Ginny, we'd better get out of here unless we plan on being attacked by the entire Gryffindor House, not to mention a few professors." Draco stood as he said the words and briskly made his way over to the door. Ginny followed behind, too caught up in her own thoughts to say anything.

Draco grabbed Ginny's hand, and they stealthily made their way down the hall, narrowly escaping Filch twice. It was still very early, so the only people that were out were the couples that were sneaking back to their rooms from the Astronomy Tower. So far Draco and Ginny had gone unseen. They quickly ducked behind a rather massive knight to hide from a Mrs. Norris. Ginny was a little more than flustered from being pressed against Draco's chest. She looked up into his eyes and decided to mouth the words that had been bothering her since they woke up.

"Draco." Her voice was almost unintelligibly soft. "I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry. I know you only pulled me in there because you wanted to prevent something bad from happening. And I know that I should have just told you. It's just that it's a little hard to tell, sometimes, whom to trust. I mean, I have so much trouble deciding whether or not I can put my faith in people that I end up pushing them away. So I usually end up lonely anyway. I will tell you what's been going on. After all you deserve that much, considering how much trouble you've taken to make sure this doesn't end in mass destruction. I just have to convince myself that I can trust you first." Ginny's eyes never left Draco's, and they revealed much of her fear and vulnerability. She sighed, deciding that no matter how she felt, telling him would be the only answer. All she could do now is pray that she was right about him.
As if on cue, Draco reached a hand out and stroked her cheekbone. Then he smirked lightly, before leaning in a little.

"Who ever said that mass destruction was all I cared about?" he whispered into her nervous ears. Both of them smiled involuntarily, and Draco led her out from behind the statue. They were too busy with themselves to remember why they had been hiding in the first place. Draco was still dragging Ginny behind him when he smacked into a slightly taller Quidditch captain.

"Malfoy." Ron growled at the other boy. "Is there a reason you're holding my sister's hand?"
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