Rhapsody by distempered
Summary: Ginny and Draco share a secret love of music. Will it be enough to break down predjudiced walls and bring them together?
Categories: Long and Completed Characters: None
Compliant with: None
Era: None
Genres: Romance
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 16 Completed: Yes Word count: 40153 Read: 44646 Published: May 06, 2005 Updated: May 06, 2005

1. The Overture by distempered

2. Preludes by distempered

3. Movement in D Minor by distempered

4. Saturday Night Rag by distempered

5. Variations by distempered

6. C'mon Get Happy by distempered

7. Swing, Daddio by distempered

8. Play It Again, Sam by distempered

9. How Strange The Change by distempered

10. Twilight Hymn by distempered

11. Dissonance by distempered

12. C Diminshed by distempered

13. Crowd Me With Love by distempered

14. Song of Discord by distempered

15. I Gave You My Music by distempered

16. Perfect Authentic Cadence by distempered

The Overture by distempered
Disclaimer and Author's Note: Canon characters do not belong to me. All music will be cited in the bottom author’s note. Thanks for reading!

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Rhapsody


Prologue - The Overture


Aristocratic hands played a C major scale to ensure the tonality of the piano. Satisfied by its quality, the hands rubbed together and then poised themselves above the keys in B flat major position. A long, elegant neck rolled to remove itself of the kinks that had settled there. Then, he began to play. The notes rang out clearly and smoothly, capturing the young man’s mood. He felt infinite when he played, like there was no one else in the world. He closed his eyes to the outside and ignored everything but the light touch of his fingers to the keys and the music that settled in the air.

Ginny usually passed by the Room of Requirement without so much as a second glance, now that she had no reason to frequent it. Harry Potter had taken care of the Dark Lord and all was right with the wizarding world, which meant that there was no reason for meetings of the DA. Ginny went back to her quiet life at Hogwarts for her 7th year, and she quite liked it that way. So, it surprised her that she was now taking quick, but stealthy steps toward the door to the room, eavesdropping, as it were, on the person inside.

The music coming from inside was sweet, like the aftertaste of chocolate. After she could take it no longer, she pressed on the door to open it, praying that the door would not squeak and disturb the musician. It didn’t, so Ginny took that as a sign that she could go into the room and watch. She entered softly, but nearly gasped when she saw Draco playing the piano. How could such entrancing music be coming from someone like him? She stepped further into the room, very intrigued, and then walked right up to the piano.

Draco’s eyes were still closed, and his head swayed slightly as he tickled the ivories. In all honesty, Ginny found herself thinking that if she could ignore the fact that it was Malfoy, this could be the single most beautiful moment she had ever witnessed. But, Ginny’s musings came to an end as the piece did – Draco opened his eyes.

He quirked an eyebrow and affected a bored sort of drawl. “Can I help you?” He wasn’t used to being observed, especially in this, his private sanctuary.

Ginny could think of no response, so she chose to retort, only slightly maliciously, “What are you doing here, Malfoy?”

“Playing the piano,” he replied, turning back to the keys. “And, I was promised privacy, so if you don’t mind.” He jerked his head toward the door, before beginning to play again, this time a tune Ginny recognized for it was one of her favorite jazz compositions.

“Gershwin. Nice choice,” she said, as he moved out of the glissando into the opening notes of Rhapsody in Blue. His response was to glare at her and once again nod towards the door. She rolled her eyes and thought, ‘well he certainly hasn’t changed.’ She moved away from the piano, but stopped in the doorway and turned around.

“You’re very good.”

Draco was getting very much into the piece, but her compliment managed to break through the wall of music. He still was not particularly thrilled with being listened to. The Headmaster had promised that he would not be disturbed if he chose to practice his instrument there at Hogwarts. After he had been cast out of the family, Draco had taken up residence at the school and was now assisting wherever his help was needed. The experience had not particularly changed him, as people are hard to change, and he had to work hard to acclimate himself to the idea of helping. And if there was anywhere where he could not pretend, it was in the Room of Requirement with his piano. And now, here was this upstart little Weasley ruining his moment of solitude. But she had complimented him, and he supposed that he should oblige her with a response.

“Thank you.” He hoped this would satisfy her curiosity and she would leave immediately. But, being a Gryffindor or a Weasley, she of course would continue to pester him until she got some real attention.

Ginny walked back up to the piano, this time standing behind him and following his fingers as he played. “How long have you played?”

“Since I was five,” he replied, his affected drawl disappearing as he tried to concentrate on giving Gershwin’s music the attention it deserved. “Now would you mind? I was alone on purpose, Weasel.”

Ginny sighed at his childish name-calling. “I’d have thought we were past all that, Malfoy, but it seems nothing can get past that shell of yours. Enjoy your solitude, you prat.” Ginny walked back over to the door and opened it. She turned around one last time and, finding Draco completely absorbed in the rhapsody, thought, why do I even bother?

She walked out of the room and very nearly slammed the door behind her, but chose not to, if only out of respect for the music.

Ginny loved music and had for as long as she could remember. She would sneak off to the store room where her father kept all his Muggle artifacts and would sit there for hours, playing records and singing along. Her favorite styles were jazz and swing. Secretly, Ginny dreamed of singing in a big band or a jazz ensemble, but knew how impractical such dreams were. She was expected to follow the rest of her family; choose a nice wizarding career – even if it was as silly as Fred and George’s joke shop.
But that didn’t stop her from wishing. So Ginny would cultivate her voice in secret…and it seemed as though she had found another secret musician. She only wished it wasn’t someone as unpleasant as Draco Malfoy.

The last notes of Rhapsody in Blue danced into the air and Draco sighed as they slowly died away. Ginny’s words were all but forgotten, as he began to hum the rhapsody to himself and carefully closed up the piano. He walked reverently to the door, so as to preserve the magic. He opened the door and stepped back into the real world. He only paused for a moment to watch Ginny walk down the hallway.

----

A/N: Rhapsody In Blue belongs to George Gershwin.
Preludes by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter One – Preludes


Ginny Weasley was sitting at a little table in the library, pouring over some ancient text in research for a Potions essay. Her 7th year had just begun two weeks ago, and Professor Snape had already begun unloading homework on the N.E.W.T.-level Potions students. Although she would never admit to it out loud, Ginny secretly was glad for the obscene amounts of homework. It made everything normal again.

At the end of term, Harry’s 7th year, the Boy Who Lived fulfilled the prophecy that had been set down. A climactic battle took place; the world took a great hit and casualties were immense on both sides. Most families lost someone, but the loss was dearest in Ginny’s own family. After being made Minister of Magic, Arthur Weasley became an even greater target. He was captured and killed, and later, George disappeared. He was never found. Fred had yet to recover from the loss; it was almost like he had lost his soul mate. Bill was also lost, fighting the good fight. Mrs. Weasley was coping as best she could – remaining strong for the sake of the rest of the Weasley clan.

Harry and Ron decided to leave the wizarding world after the defeat…too many bad memories. They struck out on their own. The last Ginny had heard, they were in France. Had she been done with school, she was very much inclined to go with them, but her mother made her promise to finish. The finishing touch was Fred’s insistence. He said he wished he had stayed for his seventh year with George to have that one last year. Ginny decided to stay, and Hermione remained behind as well. She had chosen not to go with Harry and Ron because she felt that she no longer belonged in the Muggle world. She had seen and done too much for anything other than wizarding research to be normal for her. She was currently helping to rebuild the Ministry. She wasn’t exactly happy, but she was getting there.

Of all the changes that taken place to all of them, none seemed as drastically unchanged as Malfoy did. He was still a bitter, angry, mean, typical Slytherin – at least on the outside. When he was finally discovered as a traitor in the Death Eaters’ ranks, Draco was moved to safety at Hogwarts and had remained there since the end of the war. His mother had died in December of his 7th year, and his father was somewhere with the Death Eaters that had managed to survive. Before he had disappeared, he legally disowned Draco, and since that time, Draco had been unable to access his home; not that he particularly wanted to. So he had taken to doing odd jobs around the Hogwarts campus, in exchange for room and board. It was something he had significant trouble adjusting to, but it had to be done, and Draco performed his tasks with dignity.

Ginny’s reaction to the tragedy could be considered unhealthy – she had basically repressed her emotions down into her stomach, and she only let them out when nobody was watching. Everyone knew that much of her family had been broken apart by the war, but nobody seemed willing to talk about it. Her best friends had tried, but Ginny had tried to make light of the situation with inappropriate humor, so they backed off. Now she was throwing herself into her studies and her secret hobby just to keep the bad memories out of her focus.

Ginny doodled absently on her notes. She wasn’t concentrating very hard anymore. Instead, she caught herself thinking about what had occurred earlier that week in the Room of Requirement. She had caught him playing the piano – and playing beautiful besides. Ginny smiled a little, excited to know that Hogwarts had another secret musician in its midst, although she wished it was anyone but Malfoy. But, still, the prospect was promising.

“And just what are you smiling about, Gin?” asked a voice, bringing her out of her reverie.

“Nothing,” she replied. She slid over a little to allow her friend to join her. Charlie Lovett pulled up a chair to sit next to her. Charlie was Head Boy and had been one of Ginny’s closest friends throughout school.

“Oh, come on, share,” he wheedled.

“Really, nothing. Can’t a person smile if she wants?”

“I guess so,” he conceded, laughing. Then, the two friends were joined by two others – Elizabeth Becket, forever falling in love with whoever, and Jordi Walsh, the rational balance to the group. “Hello ladies,” Charlie said.

“Ginny, please tell Elizabeth that she needs to stop obsessing about that boy,” Jordi said by way of greeting as she sat down opposite Ginny.

“Oh quiet, Jordi!” Elizabeth exclaimed, her cheeks reddening. “Honestly, he’ll hear you!” She sat down next to Jordi and elbowed her in the stomach. Jordi doubled over slightly, but came up laughing.

“Who is it this time?” Ginny asked, raising her eyebrows as she scanned the library to see who Elizabeth had set her sights on.

Elizabeth sighed and motioned for her friends to lean in. “Draco Malfoy,” she whispered, and then quickly put her finger to her lips to shush them.

Charlie looked utterly aghast. Jordi just rolled her eyes and took a book from her backpack. Ginny didn’t know how to reply.

“Well, don’t just sit there looking at me like that! What do you think? Isn’t he delicious?” Elizabeth continued, incredulous that they would have no response.

“Malfoy, Liz, really?” asked Charlie, scratching his forehead.

Ginny looked away from the group for a moment and glanced around the library until she saw him. Draco was indeed there, and was indeed not very far away. He was re-shelving a section of books. Ginny watched him for a little bit until he turned around and caught her looking. She turned back to her friends.

“I never thought I’d be attracted to a Slytherin!” Elizabeth exclaimed, and then quickly covered her mouth, hoping that Draco hadn’t heard her. Ginny rolled her eyes.

“Just because someone is or was a Slytherin, doesn’t stop them from having the right to be attractive. It’s more like ‘I never thought I’d be attracted to a Malfoy,’” Ginny said, matter-of-factly.

“Did I hear correctly, Weasley? You’re attracted to me?”

Draco’s slick voice cut into their conversation abruptly and Ginny turned in her seat to look at him. His eyebrows were raised to accompany his mocking tone. Elizabeth had gone suddenly very pale and Jordi just laughed at her.

“No, Malfoy, it’s Lizzie here with the crush,” Charlie replied for Ginny, and he stood up to be at eye level with Draco. She shook her head a little bit and bit her bottom lip. Charlie nudged her.

“I was talking to Weasley, I believe.” Draco put his hands on the back of Ginny’s chair and rocked it back so that he was looking directly at her upside down. “So, you’re attracted to a Malfoy, is it?”

“Lizzie is in fact the one with the crush. I merely noted that just because you were a Slytherin does not mean that you are any less attractive than anyone from any of the other Houses.”

“Glad to hear you are so diplomatic in your allotment of attractiveness, Weasley.” He slowly let her chair back down. “I must be getting back to my shelving.” He started to walk back around to the shelf he was working on. He paused quickly and shot a sly wink at Elizabeth, and then got back to shelving.

Elizabeth nearly swooned and Jordi had to pinch her on the arm. Ginny smiled and pulled Charlie by the arm so that he was sitting back down. “Oooh, Lizzie’s in love,” Ginny teased. Elizabeth swatted at her playfully.

“Stop it! I just think he’s cute is all.” She flushed a deep pink. Jordi poked her in the side. “Cut it out! Ugh, come on, let’s go grab some lunch.”

Jordi, Charlie, and Elizabeth stood up. They started to leave when they noticed that Ginny hadn’t gotten up with them. “Aren’t you coming, Gin?” asked Charlie, slightly concerned. He, more than the others, noticed that Ginny was still inwardly grieving.

“Yeah, go on ahead and save me a seat. I have to check this book out for my Potions essay.”

“Okay, we’ll meet you down there,” Jordi replied.

Ginny walked up to the front desk and after her friends had left, made a sharp right and sought out Draco in the shelves.

“Something I can help you with?” he asked with disdain.

Ginny narrowed her eyes at him. “I was going to give you a compliment, but you can forget it now,” she replied, meanly.

“Will do, Weasley.”

Ginny rolled her eyes and turned quickly on her heel to leave the library. I don’t even know why I try, she thought to herself. A little noise of frustration escaped her as she walked out to join her friends for lunch.
Movement in D Minor by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Two – Movement in D Minor


“So let me get this straight,” Ginny said to Jordi. “She’s intentionally trying to get detention with Snape?”

“Yup,” Jordi replied seriously. She raised her eyebrows. “I believe she’s gone completely mental.”

Ginny was stunned. Hers and Jordi’s best friend Elizabeth had, over the last few weeks, moved on from Draco, and her newest flavor of the moment was none other than their Potions master. Yes, Professor Severus, greasy-haired, sallow-skinned, long-nosed git, Snape was now the love of her life.

“I am inclined to agree with you. Strongly,” Ginny managed to squeak out. Then she started laughing. “Oh gods, this is unbelievable, Jordi!”

“What is so unbelievable?” asked Elizabeth, coming up behind them and flicking Ginny on the back of the head. “He’s so dark and mysterious. He’s got those long fingers and oh the way his robes billow when he walks. And that voice! It’s like that intensity in the eye of a tornado.”

“How eloquent,” Jordi said. “If it weren’t for the fact that you are describing SNAPE, I might be inclined to agree with you. Harry Potter I understood. George Weasley I understood. Hell, I even understood Draco Malfoy to a point, but Snape? The man’s old enough to have fathered you. Ginny, back me up on this.”

But Ginny had stiffened in her chair. Jordi looked at her strangely and then realized that she had mentioned her brother George. She exchanged a quick glance with Elizabeth who frowned at her. “Oh, Ginny, I’m sorry,” Jordi said quietly.

Ginny shook off her discomfort and an affected smile graced her lips. “It’s fine,” she said. “It’s fine. Er, I have to run to the library for a bit. I’ll be back.”

“You want us to come with you?” Elizabeth asked. Ginny just stood up rather quickly and shook her head sharply. She flashed the girls a smile and left the room.

Once outside the common room, she walked briskly down the hallway and headed for the Room of Requirement. Whenever she needed a moment or two alone, she had gone there because it always gave her what she needed – a large sofa and some paper to tear as she cried. She reached the room and without hesitating opened the door, rushing inside and slamming it behind her. She slid down the door and buried her face in her arms.

Then, as if it were out of a movie or a nightmare, a haunting melody began to play, filling Ginny’s ears with beauty and fear. She looked up, horrified to see Draco playing again. However, this time his eyes weren’t closed. Rather, they were fixed directly on her. Ginny realized that he had been in there and she had disrupted him yet again. He had started playing to get her to notice that someone else was in the room.

“I – I’m sorry Malfoy. I didn’t know anyone wa – was in here,” she said, furiously rubbing her eyes to keep the tears inside. Malfoy would not be allowed to see her cry.

He continued playing his sad song, but said in reply, “Well, someone is. And that someone wishes to be alone.”

Ginny bit down on her lower lip. “Well, this someone needs to be alone as well. Do you think maybe you can come back later? I – I won’t be very l – long,” she said, her words hitching as the tears threatened madly to fall. The combination of melancholy and embarrassment was proving too much for her.

“Weasley, I was here first. Ergo, I get to stay. Go take your sob story somewhere else.”

He glared at her, and that was enough to drive Ginny over the edge. A great white couch appeared in the center of the room with a large stack of old Daily Prophets, and Ginny ran to it, tears streaming down her face. Draco played an ugly chord, startled out of his concentration by her display. He didn’t know what to do. Emotion had always alluded him in times like this. Actually, Draco could not recall a time when something like this had ever happened at all. He absolutely did not know what to do.

Ginny, meanwhile, had settled herself on the couch and was slowly tearing an old gossip column into strips. Her tears were slowing as she concentrated on evenly ripping the page. She took long, deep breaths, and as she tore the last strip, her tears disappeared.

“Weasley, are you okay?” The words sounded foreign to his ears, even as he said them, like he was being presented by a new piece of music. He started to get up from the piano bench, but sat back down quickly. He wanted to remain safely distant.

Ginny turned to him when he asked his strange question. “Yes, of course,” she said, quietly. “I’m just fine.” She gave him the same smile that she had just given her friends moments ago.

“Like I care,” he replied, except it came out awkwardly. He looked at her, and she stood up and walked toward the piano. He seemed to regain his composure then. He cracked his knuckles and then began playing his melancholy song again.

Ginny had reached the side of the piano by the time he began to play again. She listened for a moment, quietly, but then the sadness of the piece caught up with her.

“I think that if you continue playing that song, I may need more paper.” Draco looked at her and smirked. But, he changed his tune. He didn’t know why, but he just did it. The song was ‘I’ve Got the World on a String.’

Ginny smiled, a real smile, and said, “Harold Arlen! Nice choice.”

Draco looked momentarily shocked. “You know Arlen? Nobody knows Arlen,” he said, his voice full of surprise. Then, he shook inwardly trying to rid himself of the idea that he was actually impressed by a Weasley. “I mean, Harold Arlen’s work is brilliant, isn’t it? Not too many people know him by name.”

“I’ve always been saddened by that. I mean, the man wrote the score to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and all those great classics, and people attribute it to everyone but Harold Arlen.”

“Yes!” Draco was growing more passionate by the moment. Ginny could see that music really incensed him. She made a small mental note that they had more in common than just talent.

The song ended and Draco struck up another – another Arlen song. This one was a gorgeous torch song called ‘Stormy Weather’. Ginny’s eyes closed and before she could stop herself, she was singing along. She had a rich, jazzy alto voice that perfectly complimented the words and mood of the song.

Don’t know why
There’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Been rainin’ all the time


Draco looked up at the red-haired girl with honest to goodness wonder in his eyes. Her voice was like musical gold. He couldn’t find where all the power came from in her tiny body. For him, the end of the song came much too quickly, so he smoothly segued into one of his favorite Rodgers and Hart songs. If she knows Arlen, she’ll certainly know Rodgers and Hart, he reasoned in his head.

Ginny opened her eyes and just watched Draco for a moment. His hands seemed to float over the keys, gently kissing them to produce clear ringing notes. When he looked up, she noticed irritation in his eyes, which she took to mean he was angry that she had sung. She started to walk away.

“Don’t stop singing. I’m not playing for my health, you know,” he said, teasingly. He brought the song around to the top of the phrase again and nodded for her to begin, assuming she knew the words. She did.

Falling in love with love is falling for make-believe
Falling in love with love is playing the fool
Caring too much is such a juvenile fancy
Learning to trust is just for children in school

I fell in love with love one night when the moon was full
I was unwise, with eyes unable to see
I fell in love with love everlasting
But love fell out with me


Draco played the last few chords as Ginny’s last note hung in the air. A moment passed as the music finally died out, and Ginny was the one to break the silence.

“So, you like jazz?” she asked, tracing a little circle absently on the piano.

“I do,” he answered. He watched her hand for a moment and then looked up at her. “You’re pretty good.”

Ginny was shocked. Was that…a compliment? She chose not to make a scene about it, however, and simply said, “Thank you. And you’re not so bad yourself.”

Draco smirked and raised a hand airily. “One does what one can,” he said, and then his persona returned. “Hadn’t you better be moving along? It is way past your bedtime, little girl.”

Way to ruin a perfectly nice moment, Malfoy, she thought. She walked towards the door and just as she was leaving, she heard the pounding sounds of Beethoven’s 5th. A smile played at her lips. What a contrast – just like him.

When he was sure that she was truly gone, Draco tore his eyes away from the keys. That was interesting, he thought. A Weasley with talent.

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A/N: I've Got the World on a String and Stormy Weather belong to Harold Arlen. Falling in Love with Love belongs to Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.
Saturday Night Rag by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Three – Saturday Night Rag


It was early evening on the second Saturday in November, and Hogwarts was just ending what been the longest Quidditch game in over a decade. Well, to be more precise, Seekers Edmund Woolf and Rachel Kirshner had ended the game by colliding and knocking each other off of their respective brooms. The Snitch had landed in Rachel’s outstretched palm, giving Gryffindor a win that was sure to be challenged. But, none of that mattered at the moment, as the two unfortunate Seekers were now being taken to the Hospital Wing. Ginny told the rest of her team to change out of their gear and then meet her in the Hospital Wing.

She was slightly rattled. Being team captain, she felt for some reason that this was her fault, that somehow she had caused Rachel to be ruthless in her pursuit of the Snitch. But she dismissed that thought quickly, reasoning that it was stupid to worry and Madam Pomfrey would have them back on their feet in no time.

She passed through the doors to the Wing and ran immediately to Rachel’s side. The poor girl had had the wind knocked out of her and a mighty bump swelled on her forehead.

“Did we win the match?” she asked, dizzily, eyes focusing anywhere but at Ginny.

“You bet, Rachel, nice catch,” Ginny replied, almost laughing at the sheer absurdity of it all.

Then, Madam Pomfrey came up and interrupted their moment. She shooed Ginny out into the hallway, where she ran into the rest of the team.

Ginny shrugged at the Quidditch team. “I guess we’ll have to wait until later to go visit her.” A few of them looked distressed, but Ginny just smiled and said, “She’s going to be fine. Pomfrey’ll fix her and Edmund right up. Now, let’s go celebrate a Gryffindor win, eh?”

There was a cheer from the group, which was met by shushing from Pomfrey inside the room. The Gryffindors headed back down the hallway to celebrate their fractured win.

----

It was nearly midnight by the time the party had dwindled to a few remaining students. Ginny decided that this would be the perfect time to sneak back to the Hospital to make sure that Rachel was okay. Not only was Rachel a friend, but she was a damned good Seeker to boot.

Covering herself in the spare Invisibility Cloak that Harry had given her, she snuck out of the portrait hole and walked quickly up to the Hospital. It was not until she was safely inside did she remove the cloak. She dropped the cloak on the floor and started walking quietly up to Rachel’s bed but froze, noticing that she was not alone.

Standing at the window, Draco was staring out, moonlight illuminating him softly. Ginny was stricken by how, well, how lovely he looked. It seemed that he figured no one would be in the Wing that late and had, therefore, done away with decorum. His arms were folded across his chest, putting a crease in the dark grey jumper that was just slightly too small for him. He wore black chino trousers and a pair of silver-rimmed glasses. His hair, which had been gelled earlier that day, had now fallen loose and framed his face. His expression was fixed intensely at something outside, and Ginny noticed that a clipboard dangled precariously from his fingers.

Not wanting to disturb the moment, Ginny reached down to pick up the cloak and then leave, but as she did so, the clipboard slipped out of his grasp and clattered noisily on the floor. Draco winced at the noise and turned around to see if any of the patients had woken up. Ginny stood up quickly and met Draco’s eyes.

“If memory serves, even 7th years have curfew, Weasley,” he said, raising his eyebrows lazily.

Ginny just stared dumbly. She didn’t understand how someone so at peace just moments before could suddenly turn and say something mean. She shook herself a bit and then replied. “I just wanted to make sure that Rachel was okay, and Pomfrey kicked me out earlier, and I didn’t think anyone would be here, and I--"

“Does your mouth always run like the Hogwarts Express?” he asked, an amused smirk playing at his lips.

Ginny felt herself redden, but said, “Only seems to happen around you.” She smirked back at him, hoping she’d made him uncomfortable. “I might ask what you are doing here so late.”

He rolled his eyes and then remembered the clipboard was still on the floor. He bent down to pick it up, his hair falling into his sightline. Ginny took that moment to give him another once-over. Draco was still crouched on the ground, but he looked up at her, causing her to flush once again.

“See anything you like?” he asked, arrogantly.

A moment of discomfort passed through her eyes, but she dismissed it. What’s the matter with you? It’s Malfoy for Merlin’s sake! “Not particularly,” she replied, haughtily. But, that was a huge lie, as Malfoy had never looked so good. Ginny closed her eyes briefly, and willed away the image of Draco as he was now, replacing it with the Draco hexing first years and calling Hermione Mudblood or hurling insults about her family. When she opened them again, Draco had turned around and was looking through the Hospital stores.

Rachel momentarily forgotten, Ginny’s curiosity was peaked and she walked up behind Draco. He was crouched down again, so Ginny for one time in her life was tall. She stood looking over his shoulder as he took potions off the shelf and made notes on his clipboard.

Irritated by how close she was standing, he tilted his head back to look up at her. “I thought you wanted to make sure your friend was okay.”

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“In a moment, I’ll be hexing you, if you don’t back off.”
Ginny knelt down behind him and pointedly put her chin on his shoulder. “Why, too close for comfort?”

Draco stiffened for the briefest of seconds and then shook her off. “Not in the slightest. Go check on your mate,” he replied.

Ginny laughed and Draco noticed how musical it was. She rocked back on her heels and stood up. She walked over to Rachel’s bed and sat down on the edge of it. Rachel was sleeping peacefully, the bump on her forehead gone.

“I’m real sorry about this Rachel. But you’ll be fine in the morning,” she said.

Draco stood up and walked over to the bedside. “What’d you do to her?”

Ginny rolled her eyes and then glared at him, saying, “I didn’t do anything. She got knocked out during Quidditch today.”

“And, aren’t you wonderful for coming here, risking detention, and making sure she’s okay?”

“Thank you. I am.”

Draco’s mouth twitched and he very nearly smiled at her audacity, addressing him like that. He bit the inside of his lower lip to quell the inadvertent smile. Then he replied teasingly, “Did you forget, however, that I am a member of this staff? And as such, I feel duty-bound to inform the Headmaster of your rule-breaking.”

Ginny was absorbed in watching his mouth. Was that…could that have been a smile? A real smile? Then the reality of what he’d said snapped her back from her reverie. “You wouldn’t really, would you? I mean, I’m not hurting anything and I’ll leave you alone and I’m sorry and oh boy, here I go again.” Her face flushed again, and she pinched her arm. “Stop yourself!”

Draco laughed…an honest to goodness laugh. “Come now, Weasley. I thought that we’d established that you weren’t attracted to me.” He quirked an eyebrow, and then turned back to the stores.

“I most certainly am not!” she said, loudly. Then she cursed and glanced around to make sure no one had awakened. “I most certainly am not,” she said again, quieter this time. She walked right up to him and tapped him on the back. He turned around, an amused expression on his face.

“Whatever you say, Weasel.”

“Ugh, there you go again! You are impossible,” she said, exasperated. She stalked toward the window, remembering suddenly that when she’d first walked in, he was staring very intensely at something out those windows. She folded her arms in the same fashion he had. “What were you looking at before?”

“The Forest,” he replied, absently. He pushed his glasses up on top of his head. “Weasley, it’s late and I’m trying to work. Now, get out before I have to remove you physically.”

“What’s in the Forest?”

Draco made a little noise of frustration, but continued cataloguing.

“What’s in the Forest?” she asked again, her voice more pronounced.

Draco stood up. “Out, Weasley!” he said.

She just laughed and pointed out the window. “Was it that shimmering in the trees? Or how about the moon?”

She’s enjoying this! Little Weasel brat, he thought. Well, time to fight fire with fire. Ginny was engrossed in looking for what Draco had been looking at and didn’t notice his stealthy approach from behind. He grabbed her by her upper arms and lifted her away from the window. She was light – he noticed that right away. He plopped her down, unceremoniously, behind him. “Out. Now.”

Ginny had gasped when he picked her up. When he put her down, she rubbed her arms where he had touched her. “That hurt, you git!”

“My sincere apologies,” he said, wryly. “Now get out of here. Go back to your rooms. Go to bed. It’s nearly 1:30 already.”

Ginny was stunned into silence. Was it really that late? Then, she felt horrid for ignoring Rachel. She vowed to come back the next day, and hopefully he wouldn’t be there again. She started to leave, when she heard him drawl, “Good night, Weasel.”

She paused in the doorway and turned around. Draco hadn’t turned around; he was still cataloguing. So he didn’t see her looking at him again, looking at how the sparse moonlight put a glow on him…looking at how the glasses changed his face somehow, looking at the way his brow furrowed in concentration…looking.

“Good night Draco.”
Variations by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Four – Variations


November 11th

Ginny was practicing with the Quidditch team. The wind, sharp and cold, blew fiercely and Ginny wrapped her Quidditch robes tightly around herself. Her team was good, and she knew it. She had taken over as captain two years ago – Harry was a bit too busy to be bothered with something as trivial as school Quidditch. She had been nervous at first to take over the team. But over the two years they had really learned to trust her, and she had put together a good group of players. Rachel had been the real find. Harry was the greatest Seeker the school had seen since Charlie Weasley, but Rachel was lithe and quick, and her reflexes were spot-on.

Ginny watched as the team flew around, practicing flying formations. Ginny played lazily with the Quaffle, sometimes calling out instructions, but basically just watching the players. She flew down a little ways and tossed the Quaffle to one of the other Chasers.

“Let’s run the Hawkshead Formation, guys. On three,” she called out, landing gracefully on the ground.

The team flew into motion and Ginny sat down in the bleachers to watch them. She was absorbed and didn’t notice that someone had sat down next to her.

“It’s a real shame. All this practice and Slytherin is still going to beat you,” Draco said, eyes on the Chaser who had just fumbled the Quaffle.

Ginny turned to him and glared. “My team is unstoppable, and you’re just jealous that my Seeker is twenty times better than you’ll ever be.”

“Weasley, you have wounded me to the heart,” he said, sarcastically. He raised his eyebrows at her and then got up again.

----

November 17th

Draco was in the library, reading. His glasses were slipping down his nose and he pushed them up, frustrated.
Damned infernal things, he thought irritably, removing the offending glasses. He pinched the bridge of his nose as the sudden change in sight gave him a twinge of a headache.

“Something wrong?” Ginny asked, standing over him trying to glance at what he was reading.

“You just seem to pop up everywhere, don’t you Weasley? Just can’t stay out of other people’s business?” he said, meanly. Then he turned around and she was gone.

He put his glasses back on and began to read again. But, they had somehow been tightened. He smiled softly.

----

November 21st

Ginny was sitting at breakfast, staring absently into her food. A strange feeling was pervading her thoughts. Charlie nudged her shoulder and she was roused from her thoughts.

“Knut for your thoughts, Gin,” he said.

“I was just…thinking,” she replied, her brow furrowed. “But I – that’s strange – I don’t remember what about.”

He raised his eyebrows at her. “You okay, kiddo?”

Ginny smiled to indicate that she was. When he was safely turned back to his breakfast, she shot a discreet look up at the Head Table. Draco was not looking at her. She found herself to be quite disappointed.

----

November 29th

It was snowing, the very first snow of the season, and Ginny felt like a little girl again. It was early Sunday morning and she was the first person in Gryffindor Tower to wake and greet the day. Not wanting to waste what she considered a perfect opportunity, she bundled herself in her warmest clothes and her Quidditch robes and headed outside to fly in the crisp, cold weather.

Once she got up in the air, however, she realized that this may not have been the best idea she’d ever had. It was much colder up in the atmosphere and after a frigid fifteen minutes, she circled down slowly to land. Her teeth were chattering unmercifully as she made her way back into the school. Meeting the warmth caused her to shiver violently and wrap herself deep into her robes.

“I sh-sh-sh-should have b-brought a c-c-c-cloak,” she said to herself, heading towards Gryffindor tower. Suddenly deep warmth filled her to the core and she exhaled deeply. She looked around.

“You looked cold, Weasley. Don’t you know better than to play in the snow without a coat on?” Draco drawled, although anyone who knew him well would say that there was much less disdain in his tone than usual.

Ginny didn’t answer right away, choosing to gape at his appearance instead. He was wearing the insufferably small jumper again – the jumper that made her painfully aware of how well-built he was. The sleeves of his robes were pushed up to his elbows, exposing his lower arms. His hair was gelled and he wasn’t wearing his reading glasses. Ginny found herself missing them and the way his hair had fallen down back at the infirmary.

“Well, are you going to thank me or just continue undressing me with your eyes?” he asked, a smirk playing at his lips.

Ginny felt flustered, but replied, “I – er – thanks. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” he answered. As he started to walk away, Ginny caught up with him to walk beside him.

“What happened to your glasses?”

“I only wear them when I read.” He wasn’t sure why he answered, or even why he allowed her to walk beside him. But he did. “I’m not reading right now, am I?”

“No, you’re not – I mean, well what I meant was, I like them. You – you look good in them.” She flushed a deep crimson and prayed that he wouldn’t look at her. But, being a Malfoy and unused to compliments from a Weasley, he did look at her.

He just raised his eyebrows and laughed. “You’re a hopeless case, Weasley, just one of the many who have fallen for my considerable charms.”

“And you’re an arrogant prat. So we’re even,” she said, and then brushed past him. She walked quickly back to the Tower, trying to ignore the fact that she was grinning like an idiot.

----

December 3rd

Draco was overseeing one of McGonagall’s detentions. The little second years were dutifully scribbling away, copying lines, so Draco’s attentions could be otherwise diverted. He’d drawn his lean legs up onto the desk, crossing them, and leaned back in the chair.

For a while he just stared at the ceiling, but his thoughts kept returning to a specific something, so he pulled out his copy of Catcher in the Rye and began re-reading it. He became so engrossed in the book that he didn’t notice when Ginny walked by the room. She paused in the doorway, seeing him relaxed and reading and, best of all, wearing the glasses.

She glanced around and discreetly shot a warming charm at him. Then she hid up against the hallway wall, satisfied when she heard him cry out in surprise. She took off down the hallway again, not noticing that he’d gotten up to find the culprit.

He watched her walk down the hall, tingling with warmth.

----

December 9th

Draco was playing angrily in the Room of Requirement. His normally gentle touches to the keys were replaced with embittered pounding. Today was the year anniversary of his mother’s death, and although he carried no love for her, sickening guilt in his stomach caused him to grieve and pound into the piano.

Ginny walked in the hallway past the room and, hearing the angry music, wanted to rush inside and comfort the musician. But, she only knew of one person who played the piano at the moment and the idea of comforting Draco Malfoy seemed highly inappropriate and wrong. Ginny surprised herself by, somehow, some little part of her still wanted to.

She was just about to open the door, when Charlie came tearing down the hallway.

“Gin, Gin you’ve got an Owl, you’ve got an Owl and it’s been pecking at everyone so please come and deal with it!” Following Charlie was indeed Pig, like a bomber missile, aiming straight for Charlie’s head.

Ginny laughed and reached out to snatch Pig out of the air, her Chaser reflexes shining through. “Come on now, Pig, that’ll do.” She took the letter off Pig’s leg and unfurled it to read.

She went stiff for a moment and then let out a loud shriek of unadulterated joy. Draco played an ugly, pounding chord and then opened to the door, prepared to hurl abuse at whoever had disturbed him. But he was greeted by the sight of Ginny jumping into Charlie’s arms and kissing him soundly on the mouth, so he simply turned back around and began pounding yet again.

----

A/N: There was a brief reference to the movie Babe which does not belong to me.
C'mon Get Happy by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Five – C’mon Get Happy


It had been a full two weeks since Ginny received the letter from her mother informing her that George had been found and had been found alive, and Ginny had been running around on clouds since that day. She’d been so shocked and elated when she first got the news that she jumped full-on into Charlie’s arms and kissed him. And through the days as the Christmas holiday drew closer, Ginny seemed to be doing a lot of spontaneous kissing of people, as well as a lot of singing.

But of all the people that had been offering her congratulations on the news and praising the voice that had seemingly come out of nowhere, the one person that Ginny had hoped would say something was strangely quiet.

The truth was that Draco had actually been avoiding Ginny, as much as he tried to deny it to himself. Ever since he saw her kissing that little sod, he’d wanted nothing more than to shut himself away and ignore the fact that there ever was a girl named Ginny Weasley. Although why he cared certainly did escape him.

It dawned on him that he shouldn’t be letting an upstart little Gryffindor, especially a Weasley, get under his skin like that. And so, when he saw her coming down the hall, two days before the end of term, with a jump in her step and singing “I’m Just a Girl (Who Cain’t Say No)” in that throaty alto of hers, he did the only thing he thought natural. He ducked into a classroom and discreetly shot a Trip Jinx at her. Really, it was only natural.

Ginny fell with a surprised little squeak and skinned the palms of her hands. Draco walked swiftly out the classroom and stood over her.

“So clumsiness runs in the genes, eh Weasley?” he drawled, extending a hand to help her up.

She took the proffered hand gratefully and winced as he gripped her wounds. But when she was standing again, she was grinning from ear to ear. “You know something Draco? There is not a thing you can say that will bring me down! I’m so happy I could shout from the rooftops!”

“Or sing?” he asked, amused.

“Yes! Sing, sing, SING!” she replied and then trilled out a lovely C note. She laughed when he quirked an eyebrow at her. “What? Don’t you like my singing?”

He rolled his eyes, but inside said ‘yes’. He then noticed that he was still holding her hand and what’s more, she had entwined her fingers in his. Or had he done it? He let go quickly, so quickly that she jumped. A shy blush crept up her neck, and she turned around to start walking again.

Get a bloody hold on yourself Malfoy, he scolded himself as he watched her dancing down the hallway. He then spun on his heel and walked off toward the Great Hall to help with the decorating. Thank Merlin for Christmas holiday.

----

Ginny had reached the Gryffindor common room and burst into the room in the middle of a rousing rendition of “Luck Be a Lady.” The occupants turned to gape at her and when she had finished, they applauded.

“Merci, merci,” she said, in a mockery of a French accent. Then she spun around in a giddy little twirl. She very well would have fallen over, had Charlie not chosen that moment to enter the common room and catch her.

“You really ought to be more careful, Gin. You’ve got about two hours before term ends and you can go home to see George. Wouldn’t want to end up in the hospital wing, now would you?” he chided playfully. He set her back on her feet and she turned around quickly to face him.

“You know…we had all just given up hope that he’d be found. I mean, I suppose Fred never totally given up, but we all just assumed the worst for so long. But now it’s like the whole world has opened up again. Mum said Ronnie and Harry are going to come home for Christmas and Hermione is joining us too and it’s going to be just one huge happy family again.” Tiny tears began to escape as emotion took a hold of her. Charlie reached up to wipe them away with his thumbs, and then he cupped her chin with his hand.

“The whole world has opened up,” he repeated and then softly kissed her. It was the gentlest, most delicate of sensations and Ginny, rather than back up quickly, found herself eager to continue. Little voices in the back of her head told her that kissing Charlie was NOT going to make her forget about whom she’d rather be kissing, but she somehow managed to shut those up.

“Ooooooooh!” A high-pitched squeal interrupted Ginny and Charlie, and they broke apart somewhat awkwardly. Ginny flushed and Charlie just laughed at her. Elizabeth hopped like a mad bunny up to them and gripped them both by their arms.

“I have been waiting for this moment forever!” she said, punctuating it with a huge grin and a gentle pinch to each arm.

“Lizzie here has told me many times just how perfect we are for each other, Ginny. It has been drummed into my ears almost every day for 6 years.” Charlie rolled his eyes at Elizabeth, but then looked quite seriously at Ginny. “Point is I really do like you, Gin.”

Ginny was dumbstruck. She had never really seen Charlie as anything more than a friend, but she had to admit to herself that the signs were all there. Charlie had always been protective of her, ready to help in any situation, a shoulder to cry on – a true best friend. But looking back on their years of friendship, Ginny had to see that underneath it all, there was a desire in Charlie to be more than just a best friend.

Having kissed him in the hallway the day she found the letter must have encouraged him to come out with it, she reasoned. He must have assumed that her feelings must be the same as his. Well, that wouldn’t do! She had to tell him that she only thought of him as a friend.

Ginny opened her mouth to respond, but then stopped herself. How did she explain kissing him just now? Yes, he did kiss her, he started it, but how did she explain kissing him back. The fact was that she – had – kissed – back. Her inner voice piped up.

You know why you kissed back, Ginny.

“Quiet!” she hissed and then looked up at Charlie, embarrassed that she had spoken aloud to herself.
“Well, what do you say? Will you be my girlfriend?” he asked, taking her hand and drawing it up to his lips to press a kiss there.

Ginny was torn. She liked Charlie well enough and being his girlfriend didn’t mean she was throwing in her lot to get married or anything. And yet, Draco had been so encouraging lately…but NO! He was Draco Malfoy, for Merlin’s sake, and as such he was just a cunning Slytherin. What was she thinking? Of course she would say yes to Charlie. She wanted to…didn’t she?

“Sure, Charlie,” she said softly and then smiled up at him. “Yes.” Charlie picked her up and spun her about, before setting her down and kissing her again. Elizabeth squealed and ran off to the 7th year girls dorm to tell Jordi.

“Erm, well, I have to go finish packing before bed, but uh, I’ll – I’ll see you tomorrow before I leave then?” she said, trying to suppress a blush and all sorts of emotions. He nodded, kissed her once more, and then went off to his Head Boy suite.

Ginny sighed and walked into the dorm. She was immediately accosted by Jordi and Elizabeth.

“Oh Ginny, we are so happy for you!” exclaimed Elizabeth.

“Yeah, it’s like the fates have intervened – your qi is happy,” Jordi added.

“My qi?” Ginny asked, stifling a snort of laughter.

“Yeah, it’s like, your essence. We’re talking about it in Divination.”

“Okay guys, let’s not go overboard.” Ginny moved to her trunk and began throwing things in it, trying to ignore the little smile that kept coming to her lips.

“Look at her, she can’t stop smiling,” Elizabeth said. “She’s in loooooove.”

“Charlie and Ginny sittin’ in a tree,” Jordi sang.

Ginny turned around to face her friends with a look of impatience crossed with amusement. “You two are absolutely impossible. You do know that, right? But you are the best friends a girl could ever ask for.” She opened her arms and drew the two girls into a hug.

“Well this will be good news for Rachel,” Jordi said. She broke apart from the hug to change into her nightdress. Elizabeth agreed and got her pajamas from her dresser.
“What do you mean?” Ginny asked quizzically. She reached into her trunk to pull out a nightdress and started to change.

“Well, she had this idea in her head that you fancied Malfoy, but now that you’re with Charlie, she can feel free to pursue him. Don’t know why she’d want to though. Aside from his looks, he’s not got much to offer,” Jordi said, laughing.

“He’s got plenty to offer,” Ginny said before she could stop herself. Jordi looked at her oddly and Elizabeth turned around to stare openly. “I mean, I would assume he would have something to offer.”

“You don’t…no, no way. I refuse to believe it.”

“Gin, surely you don’t fancy Draco?”

“No!” she said, a little too quickly. “No I don’t fancy him. You’re out of your gourds, both of you. I’m with Charlie. I like Charlie. I’m just saying everyone judges everyone else so quickly around here, especially the Slytherins. They can’t all be bad, can they?”

“I suppose not. And besides, Lizzie had a crush on Malfoy not too long ago, isn’t that right Liz?”

Elizabeth blushed and answered, “Stop it! That was just a phase. I really do like Mark Denton now. Oh, he’s so cute with his sparkly green eyes and his freckles.”

She was interrupted by Jordi tossing a pillow at her. Ginny laughed, glad that the subject had been changed.

After a brief pillow fight, the girls settled down to go to sleep. Ginny buried herself in blankets and she thought about how wonderful things were going to be now that George was home and Draco was her boyfriend. Her eyes widened at that thought…Charlie, Charlie was her boyfriend.
Her last comforting thought was this: at least Charlie will take my mind off of him.

----

A/N: I'm Just a Girl (Who Cain't Say No) is from Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical OKLAHOMA! and belongs to them. Luck Be A Lady is from Frank Loesser's musical GUYS AND DOLLS and belongs to him. Chapter title is from Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg's song Get Happy.
Swing, Daddio by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Six – Swing, Daddio


Draco sat down stiffly at the piano bench. He rolled out his neck and stretched his aching back. He had slept fitfully the night before, perturbed by snatches of dreams that never quite fit together. Something was bothering him, but what he could not figure out. He reached his arms out as far as they could go before settling his fingers above the keys. He was in no way prepared for piano-playing at this moment, but he reasoned that perhaps something familiar and comfortable would shake away his soreness.

He jerked into the opening notes of some Rachmaninoff – the obscenely fast and complex music always served to focus his mind better than the languid jazz he normally played to unwind. He quickly realized, though, that the aches in his muscles and stiffness in his fingers were not especially suited for Rachmaninoff. The music sounded very awkward to his ears. At first he thought that the piano was somehow out of tune, but then he looked down and noticed that he was not playing the piece in the right key. He made a very un-Malfoy-like noise of frustration and slammed his hands down on the piano.

Draco got up and paced the length of the room for a few minutes, trying to relax and get his groove back. He rolled his neck, stretched several times, cracked his knuckles and rolled out his wrists, before sitting back down to try again. This time he chose a modern Muggle tune. He began playing, and while it wasn’t as relaxed as he wanted it to be, it was much better sounding than the Rachmaninoff had been. He began singing to himself to keep the rhythm of the music flowing.

I am colorblind
Coffee black and egg white
Pull me out from inside
I am ready I am ready I am ready I am…

Taffy stuck and tongue tied
Stutter shook and uptight
Pull me out from inside
I am ready I am ready I am ready I am fine


He became so absorbed that he didn’t notice, once again, as the door to the Room of Requirement opened quietly and Ginny stepped inside. If she had been shocked when she had discovered him playing the piano, she was utterly flabbergasted to have found him singing as well. Although it wasn’t necessarily the best voice, it had a very distinct quality to it – an atypical tonality with a sort of breathy delivery.

Ginny tiptoed up behind him, careful not to alert him to her presence. She observed that he was sitting very rigidly; she could almost envision the knotted muscles in his back and neck. She ran an experimental finger down his vertebrae, and when he didn’t flinch or, thankfully, stop playing and singing, she settled her hands on his shoulders and began to rub out his tension.

Draco thought he imagined the feather-light caress down his back, but he couldn’t ignore the kneading of his neck and shoulders. He blanched and abruptly stopped singing, ending the song with a dissonant chord. Ginny reeled backward and he turned around to look at her.

“You looked tense,” she said, calmly.

“What are you doing in here?” he asked, trying to slow his panting breath. It would not do to have her see him so vulnerable.

“I heard you playing and then singing and I was curious,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. In truth, however, Ginny was incredibly nervous. As soon as she had returned from home after Christmas, the news of hers and Charlie’s getting together had spread like wildfire through the Gryffindors and on to the rest of the school. It had been two weeks and she had barely seen hide or hair of Draco, and she was beginning to think she’d never hear his music again. She longed for it, but now that she was here in this room with him, she began to feel very uncomfortable.

“I don’t sing. You must be imagining things,” he drawled, slipping into his comfort zone. He turned around again and toyed with the keys for a minute. His back was still smarting, and he did a funny little twist to try and rid himself of the kinks. It didn’t work, and he let out a sharp gasp.

“May I?” she asked. She stepped up and a little stool appeared behind the piano bench. She sat down on it and started massaging lazy circles. “Where did all these knots come from?”

“Rough night,” he answered shortly, immersed in the feel of her hands soothing his muscles. He hissed as she dug her fingers into a particularly large knot. “Oh gods where did you learn to do that?”

“Many brothers and years of Quidditch,” she replied, giggling softly. “And I did not imagine you singing before.”

He rolled his eyes, although she couldn’t see it. “Fine, you caught me. I’m musical.”

“And it’s very surprising. You have an interesting voice.”

“You can say ugly – I’ll try not to be too offended.”

“I didn’t say it was ugly.”

“Nowhere near as pretty as yours.”

“Was that a compliment?”

“Did it sound like one?”

“Yes.”

“Well, then it was.”

Ginny smiled and continued working his back before she moved up to do his neck. “Enjoy this while it lasts. Massages feel good when you’re having them done, but afterwards they hurt like hell.”

“I’m enjoying.” As if to prove it, he started to play some scales. “Any requests?”

“I want to hear you sing again,” she said, coyly. She got up off the stool and moved so that she was sitting next to him on the bench. She felt him slide just that much further away and was disappointed. Then she remembered Charlie and flushed. What was she doing, flirting with Draco this way? She had a boyfriend!

“I told you that I don’t sing. What I meant was that I don’t sing for an audience.”

“That’s fine. Pretend I’m not here.”

“I can hardly do that with you sitting next to me, now can I?”

“Sure you can! I’ve seen you ignore much more.”

“Well, I bet your boyfriend would hardly like it if he came in and saw you sitting here with me.”

So there it was. He knew. And from the way that he had said the word ‘boyfriend’ so casually, Ginny could only assume that he didn’t care at all – and that depressed her totally. She got up off the bench.

Draco inwardly cursed himself for making her get up. But no, no she shouldn’t have been sitting there. She was happy with that little tosser, and it wasn’t like he cared anyway. He didn’t care.

Ginny stood on the side of the piano, watching Draco’s hands drift over the keys. She could tell he was just itching to play.

“Play me something swingy.”

“Swingy?”

“Yes, swingy. You do know what swing is,” she said, speaking slowly as one would to a child.

He narrowed his eyes at her and then swept into a song. Ginny reddened. Oh why this song? Why this song all the swing songs in the world! she thought. She bit down on her lip to keep from singing. Draco noticed her discomfort, so he began to sing for her.

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore


Ginny couldn't help but laugh - Draco did NOT have the voice for swing.

“What’s the matter, Ginny? Don’t know the words?” he said mockingly and then continued singing.

Ginny didn’t answer because she was too caught up with what he’d said. He’d called her Ginny. He had never called her Ginny before. He didn’t seem to notice that he had. She was sure he wouldn’t have continued singing if he’d noticed.

“Has my talent got you tongue tied?” he drawled as the song came to a musical break. He glanced over at her. She seemed lost in thought, so he played the next chord inordinately loudly and she jumped.

“I believe I asked you a question,” he said, raising a lazy eyebrow. Ginny inwardly shook herself and smiled.

“Not in the slightest. I just don’t like this song. How about another?” she asked.

He smirked and then began playing something else. Oh much better, she thought, grinning. She began to sing along, snapping her fingers to keep rhythm.

Down with love the flowers and rice and shoes
Down with love the root of all midnight blues
Down with things that give you that well known pain
Take that moon and wrap it in cellophane


Draco couldn’t help himself. He shook his head, smiling at her. “You’re quite a puzzle, Weasley.”

She stopped singing. He’d called her Weasley again. He looked quizzically at her.

“I think it’s safe to say that we’re friends now, Draco, so please call me Ginny.”

He rolled his eyes. “Fine. You’re quite a puzzle, Ginny.”

She smiled and starting singing again. Draco segued into instrumental swing piece. Ginny’s mouth dropped open, as he was improvising.

“You write music, as well?”

“I breathe music,” he said, seriously.

“I think you're the puzzle, Draco.” He laughed and just continued picking out notes and seamlessly creating melody.

“Erm, would it be out of order to ask if maybe we could do this again sometime?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, can you play for me, and I’ll sing? Will you…will you accompany me? I mean, it’s hard to practice without a piano and I only plunk notes and it’d be much easier to work on stuff with--”

“Sure,” he interrupted. “If you think it would be beneficial, I mean.”

“I’d like that. Very much.” She smiled shyly. He glanced up at her and gave her a wicked smirk.

“Two words – Malfoy charm,” he said and she laughed, musically.

She was just about to sit herself next to him again, when a knock came at the door.

“Ginny? Are you in there?” Charlie’s voice crashed through the shell of music, discordant with the 4/4 swing. Draco stopped playing and ran a hand through his hair. He looked reproachfully at the door and then motioned for Ginny to answer it.

“Yeah, Charlie, it’s me. Come in.”

Charlie swept into the room and immediately attached himself to Ginny’s lips. It was only when Draco snorted ungracefully that he noticed they weren’t alone in the room. Ginny pulled out of the kiss and Charlie turned to glare at Draco.

“Malfoy? Gin, what’s Malfoy doing in here?”

“Well, I was playing the piano until your girlfriend came in and bothered me, Lovett.”

“Gin?”

“I heard him playing and I wanted to see who it was,” she said.

“And here’s me wanting to keep it a secret. So, keep your gob shut, Lovett, or I’ll shut it for you.”

“Draco!” Ginny exclaimed. Charlie just laughed and put a protective arm around Ginny’s waist.

“Sure thing Malfoy. Your secret’s safe with me. Now, come on Gin, it’s nearly dinner and I want to spend some time with you beforehand. I’ve got a Head boy and girl meeting with Dumbledore and Courtney afterwards.”

Ginny rolled her eyes at the intended double entendre. “All right, let’s go. Wouldn’t want to bother Draco anymore.”

Draco’s response was to begin playing again and glare them out the door. He glared as Charlie’s hand slipped from Ginny’s waist to further down, but he smiled as Ginny smacked at him. He glared as she twined her fingers in Charlie’s and glared as he kissed her cheek, before shutting the door.

He stopped playing – the knots in his back had returned. Frustrated, he got up and left, slamming the door behind himself. A little lost first year yelped as he stalked past. Draco rounded on her.

“What House are you from?”

“Gr-gr-gryffindor,” she squeaked.

“Bloody Gryffindors. The Great Hall is that way,” he pointed down the hall, “and five points from Gryffindor just for being one!”

The little girl took off at a run and Draco called after her, “Five more points for running in the halls!” Then he stomped off toward his room – so much for the massage. He was now in quite a bit of pain.

----

A/N: Colorblind belongs to the Counting Crows. L.O.V.E. belongs to Bert Kaempfert and Milt Gabler. Down With Love belongs to Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg (yes, I have an Arlen fetish). For those interested in Draco’s singing voice, please listen to Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes. No Lies, Just Love in particular.
Play It Again, Sam by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Seven – Play It Again, Sam


Ginny was sitting at the piano, plunking out random notes. She had been sitting in the Room of Requirement alone because Draco was late for their practice session. Of course, she had a nagging feeling that she knew why he was late, and she most certainly did not want to think about that.

Today was Valentine’s Day and the castle was abuzz with romance – and to be honest, it was making Ginny more than a little sick, as well as another feeling that was certainly not jealousy. Today was supposed to be romantic and wonderful, but Ginny just felt awkward. It didn’t help that she’d had a little fight with Charlie just a little while ago.

Ginny and Charlie had been leaving the Great Hall after dinner, hand in hand. Charlie gently stroked Ginny’s hand with his thumb and kept nibbling playfully on her earlobe and neck. After a few moments, with Ginny feeling more and more ill at ease for reasons she didn’t want to explain, they had reached the corridor where the Room of Requirement was.

“Well, here’s me,” she said, unlacing her fingers from his and starting to walk toward the door.

“What? What do you mean?” he asked. He had a very confused look on his face.

“It’s Saturday night. Draco and I practice on Saturday nights. You know that,” she explained.

“B-b-but it’s Valentine’s Day, Ginny!” he spluttered. “It’s Valentine’s Day…you know romance, cupid, all that mushy junk you girls love.”

“I know that it’s Valentine’s Day. But, it’s also Saturday, and we have practice. It’s like a--”

“Date?” he finished for her. “Gin, I had…plans.”

“Charlie, we’ve only been together for about a month and half. We aren’t married, you know.”

“I know that, but damn it, Ginny, you’re my girlfriend, and we are supposed to spend Valentine’s Day together.”

“And we will! I’ll only be there for two hours. Can you spare me two hours?”

Charlie huffed impatiently. “Gin, I bet he isn’t even going to show up tonight.”

“Why do you say that?” she asked, trying to keep her voice casual.

“Rachel’s been chasing after him forever. He’s a hot-blooded male. I’m quite sure he’s got more on his mind than playing a few tunes with you.”

“He’s not like that,” she defended, not realizing that this was not what Charlie wanted to hear.

“I’m sure that he is, Ginny. But, fine, two hours and not a second more, yeah? I want to be with you tonight.” His voice had softened and he looked almost pathetic. He really was cute, Ginny had to admit to herself. And she really did like Draco, Charlie, Charlie, she liked Charlie.

But now here she was at the piano, and Draco was almost a half an hour late. She was beginning to get nervous. If he didn’t show up soon, she’d have to forego their session to hang out with Charlie. She most definitely did not want to do that. Then her heart jumped into her throat, as someone fumbled with the doorknob. She heard a muffled ‘who locked this?’ and then an ‘Alohomora’.

Draco walked in looking disheveled. His hair was all over the place and his jumper sleeves were pushed up. The dress shirt he wore beneath it was not tucked into his trousers. Ginny noticed little beads of sweat on his forehead.

“I surely hope I didn’t inconvenience you,” she said suggestively, while praying that her mind was just running away with her.

Draco looked himself over quickly and realized where her mind was. He started to laugh.

“Sorry I’m late. Severus asked me to help him blasting apart bushes, and it took a little bit longer than I thought it would. I had forgotten how randy everyone gets.”

“You don’t have to apologize to me,” she said shyly, inwardly trying to convince herself that she was not relieved that he wasn’t off snogging Rachel.

“I wasn’t aware that I had,” he said airily, and then joined her on the piano bench. She rolled her eyes and settled her hands on the keys. She started playing the bottom half of “Heart and Soul.” She was glad when he started playing the top half.

“The only song in the world that everyone, regardless of talent, can play on the piano,” he commented. He cut off the song with a glissando that grazed her fingers as he passed them. “Not to cut short our duet, but we only have an hour and a half, because I bet you’re just dying to get back to your boyfriend. You know, I’m actually surprised that you’re here.”

“I – how did you – I mean, yeah we’re doing something later tonight,” she said. “Erm, what do you want to work on?”

“That is entirely up to you, milady. Pick your poison,” he said, cheekily.

“Aren’t we in a good mood?” she said, giggling as he pretended to flip out the tails on a tuxedo coat and sit down again.

“I haven’t gotten much playing time this week, so I was actually looking forward to tonight.”

“And the last two weeks you weren’t looking forward to it?” she asked.

“Of course not! Don’t you know how much of a burden this is for me?” he drawled, but then he smiled to show Ginny that he was joking. He began playing the “Moonlight Sonata.” Ginny was content just to sit and watch him for a few minutes. He was so at ease, truly in his element as a musician. She loved the way his hands just floated over the piano, swooping down to play the keys at exactly the right moment. She loved the way that his eyes would close, seemingly involuntarily, and his upper body would sway ever-so-slightly in time with the rhythm.

“So do you have anything you want to sing, Ginny?” he asked quietly, eyes never opening and music never breaking.

Ginny wanted to say that she just wanted to watch him play. He looked so at peace, she didn’t want to disturb it with her singing. But instead she asked, “I thought, in the spirit of the day, how about ‘My Funny Valentine’?”

“It’s almost like you read my mind,” he said, glancing casually at her. The sheet music appeared, and he glanced over it quickly. It had been a while since he’d last played it, but it all came flooding back to him as his fingers danced across the keyboard. Ginny stood up, wet her lips, and started the song.

My funny Valentine
Sweet comic Valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Un-photographable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art

Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart

So don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little Valentine stay
Each day is Valentine’s Day


Even after having heard her sing so many times before, Draco still could not understand where it all came from. She had a breezy sort of delivery that he had to admit was quite intoxicating, but she also had a very powerful emotional bite in her tone. But she was so tiny! He figured that he could pick her up with one arm with little effort. So where did the power come from?

“You know, all joking aside, you really do have a beautiful voice,” he said when she had finished. “Honestly, my word, as a gentleman.”

Ginny flushed a deep crimson and covered her mouth with a fist to hide her idiotic grin. She mumbled a ‘thank you’ as a new piece of music appeared on the piano. Draco’s brow furrowed as he looked over the pages. Ginny knew that he had never seen it before, and she admired the way he took to the task of learning it. He attacked the pages whole-heartedly, penciling in notes and fingering the keys.

“I’ve never really done much of these modern songs,” he said, conversationally. “I mean, most of them are Muggles anyway.”

“But you have to admit that their music is a lot better than anything we’ve come up with.”

“I intend to change all that,” he said.

Ginny smiled. “Me too,” she said. “But, you can’t discredit all Muggle music. You were singing one the other day, that day I caught you singing.”

“Momentary lapse of judgment.”

“Fine, fine, you stubborn thing.”

“Ginny, what type of music is this?”

“Rhythm and Blues – R & B for short, except this is actually from a musical play.”

“I like it. It’s…different,” he said. “Look at this though,” he motioned for her to join him on the bench again, “do you really think you can sing this? I mean, it looks like it’s written for a belter. You have a distinctly jazzy voice, and while I have no doubt that you can sing Porter and Arlen, this is…well…different.”

Ginny affected a look of disdain. “So you think I don’t cut it, is that it?”

“I’m not trying to demean you, Ginevra, I’m asking if you can sing this song.”

“Do not call me Ginevra ever again,” she said, horrified. He rolled his eyes and looked pointedly at the paper.

“Can you belt?”

“I can belt. Play the damn song.”

Draco raised his eyebrows, but started the song with a smile on his face. He’d glanced over the lyrics briefly, and this was quite an interesting pick for her.

And I am telling you
I’m not going
You’re the best man
I’ve ever known
There’s no way I can ever go
No no no no way
No no no no way
I’m living without you
I’m not living without you
I don’t wanna be free
I’m staying I’m staying
And you and you you’re gonna love me


If he hadn’t been trying so hard to concentrate on playing the song, Draco would have been gaping openly at Ginny. She certainly wasn’t lying when she said that she could belt. The song came to a much too quick close, and Draco played the final flourish.

“I told you I could belt,” she said, a bit hoarsely. “Except I don’t think I warmed up enough tonight.”

“That – was – huh, I don’t have any words.”

“What? The king of snark doesn’t have a snappy comeback?”

“I don’t do snark – that would be my godfather.”

“Snape’s your godfather?”

“Yes,” he said, shortly, and then he started to play something unfamiliar and classical.

“What’s that?” she asked, hoping to bring the subject back around to something that made him happy. She sat back down on the piano bench.

“It’s called ‘Theme for Lovers’ by Francisco de los Rios. He was a Spanish composer in the late 1800s, in the wizarding world. It was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.”

“It’s beautiful.” She began to sing wordlessly to the composition, adding harmony. Draco looked up at her. He was absolutely captivated by her – by the way her fiery locks looked wind-swept even indoors, by the way her cheeks were slightly flushed from the music, by the way her eyes sparkled.

“You are,” he said. Ginny stopped singing, and then he noticed what he had said. “Your voice, I mean, your voice is beautiful.”

Ginny turned her body to look directly at him. “You already said that,” she said slowly.

“I know.”

Ginny could feel a blush rising in her cheeks and bit down on her bottom lip to quell it. Ginny Weasley! What are you doing? You have a boyfriend! her inner voice yelled at her.
Draco was not looking at her. “You should probably go. Lovett’ll think I’ve kidnapped you or something worse,” he said softly.

“I guess – erm – I guess I’ll see you next Saturday.”

“Yeah.”

Ginny left the room feeling very odd and very confused. She headed up to Gryffindor tower to find that Charlie had set up a trail of rose petals to his bedroom. She followed them and he was sitting at a little table decorated with candles and a lace tablecloth.

“I told you I had plans. Happy Valentine’s Day, love,” he said, smiling a lopsided grin and ushering Ginny to the table.

“Thanks Charlie. This is really nice,” she replied, her tone hiding the fact that her head was in a frenzy of thoughts.

----

Draco was still in the Room of Requirement. He folded his arms and laid his head there, feeling very confused. Get a hold on yourself, Malfoy. She’s got a boyfriend.

Then he smiled wickedly. “Since when did that ever stop you before?” he asked aloud. But even as he said it, something in his stomach made him feel bad. This one’s different.

Several sheets of blank staff paper appeared on the piano. Draco began to play something new, a wordless tune that had been plaguing him. He paused every so often to write the notes down on the sheet music. “Happy Valentine’s Day to me,” he whispered.

----

Note: Heart and Soul belongs to Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser. The Moonlight Sonata belongs to Beethoven. My Funny Valentine belongs to Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going is from the musical DREAMGIRLS written by Tom Eyen and Henry Krieger. Francisco de los Rios does not exist – and if he does and wrote a song called ‘Theme for Lovers’ it is entirely coincidental. The ‘snark’ exchange belongs to my good friend Mandi and I. Chapter title is from the movie Casablanca which does not belong to me.
How Strange The Change by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Eight – How Strange the Change


“Reggie Baker is like a dream come true! How can you not see it, Ginny?” Elizabeth was mooning over yet another boy while Ginny was trying to study for her N.E.W.Ts, when Jordi burst into the Gryffindor common room with uncharacteristic exuberance.

“Ginny, you have – to – come – downstairs right now!” she panted. Ginny threw her Transfiguration notes into the air and made a noise of aggravation.

“What in the world? I’m trying to study! N.E.W.Ts are in three months!”

“No time to explain! Right now, let’s go!” Jordi turned around and ran back out the portrait hole. Elizabeth and Ginny exchanged glances and followed her.

They had reached the hallway that led to the stairs to Gryffindor Tower when they heard it. Someone was laughing hysterically, while someone else was shouting obscenities. The three friends looked at each other, and Jordi tried to stifle the laughter that was threatening. They turned down a corridor and there they were.

Ron Weasley, with his legs dancing all over the place, was the one screaming curse words – and the object of his ire was none other than Draco Malfoy, laughing so hard he could hardly breathe.

“Draco, what did you do to him?” Ginny shouted. But Draco could not answer, as in fact Ron had jinxed him into laughing. Draco’s face was turning bright red, and he clutched at the wall for support. It was then that Ginny, as well as Jordi and Elizabeth, realized that the boys were both under a spell. The three of them shouted Finite Incantatem, simultaneously. The force of it not only stopped the jinxes, but it knocked both Draco and Ron flat on their arses.

Draco roughly picked himself up, breathing heavily to get his air back, and turned to leave. Elizabeth stepped in front of him to keep him from going with a giddy grin on her face.

Ginny turned to Ron. “What just happened, Ronnie?”

“Don’t call me Ronnie, Ginny,” Ron hissed, as Jordi and Elizabeth burst into laughter and Draco scoffed.

“Why were you fighting just now?”

“Ginny, I have something to attend to,” Draco said, making to leave again, but Jordi joined Elizabeth in blocking his way.

“Why is he calling you ‘Ginny’? WHY ARE YOU CALLING HER ‘GINNY’?”

“Maybe because that would be her name. Would you rather I called her Weasel like you?”

“Bu-bu-but I – you – what?” Ron stammered. He looked back and forth between Ginny and Draco. Ginny bit down on her lower lip to keep from laughing. “Ginevra Molly Weasley, what have you been doing?”

“Nobody gets to call me by my full name except Mum, Ron, and what are you talking about? How did this all start?”

“He said you have a talented mouth!” Ron howled, lunging for Draco. Jordi and Elizabeth stepped in front of Draco while Ginny grabbed onto the collar of Ron’s jumper. He yanked back and nearly knocked Ginny over.

“Actually, Weasley, I said that she has talented vocal cords. I was complimenting you on your gene pool,” Draco said coolly with a hint of sarcasm.

“What’s he talking nonsense for Ginny? What is the Ferret talking about?”

Just then, though, Harry Potter walked up and surveyed the scene before him. He walked up behind Ron and removed Ginny’s fingers from his neck.

“What’s going on here?” he asked. His green eyes bored into Ginny’s.

“Harry, you’re here too?”

“Yep,” he answered, and then he picked Ginny up in a spinning hug. He put her down, and Ginny wobbled a little dizzily, so Harry put an arm around her waist to steady her. Draco schooled his features into a mask of disdain, although inside he was fighting to rip Potter’s lanky arm right out of its socket. And then, unfortunately, Charlie chose that moment to return from a Prefect meeting and paused in the hallway, staring pointedly at just exactly where Harry put his arm.

“What’s all this?” he asked, voice slightly on edge. All eyes turned to Ginny and she felt like she wanted to sink into the floor. She slipped out of Harry’s grip and faced all her friends. She felt like she was being pulled in a million different directions all at once.

“Okay. First things first, Ron, Draco didn’t mean anything by telling you that I had talented vocal cords. He just meant that I have been singing a lot lately, and he’s probably annoyed with it. Secondly, Ron and Harry, I want to know why you are both here. And thirdly, Charlie, nothing happened so don’t get your knickers in a twist.”

“Oi, Ginny, that was great,” Jordi said, applauding. Elizabeth elbowed her and pulled her off to the side of the hall. They started whispering to each other and Draco took that moment to sneak away down the corridor.

Ron’s face was almost purple with anger – Ginny could tell that he wanted to let loose with a stream of curse words again. Harry just shook his head slightly. “Ginny, Ron and I stopped by because Dumbledore Owled me, and also we wanted to visit before we left again.”

Ron let out a long breath that he had been holding for quite some time and added, “Keep away from the Ferret, Ginny.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “Will do, Ronnikins.”

“And stop calling me Ronnie!”

“Will somebody please tell me what just happened?” Charlie asked, encircling Ginny with his arms from behind. Harry quirked an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. Ginny had to fight the urge to squirm away.

“Erm, well, Jordi ran in the common room saying we had to come and see, and we got here and Ron and Draco were fighting over something, so we unjinxed them, and then Harry walked up, and then you did. And that’s pretty much it.”

Harry laughed, and Jordi and Elizabeth walked up to the group. Elizabeth stood conspicuously close to Ron, who had to smile in spite of himself.

“You hexed Malfoy? Oi, I wish I’d seen that,” said Charlie. “Ever since my girl here started running around with him, I’ve wanted to let him know what’s what.”

Ginny raised her eyebrows and disentangled herself from Charlie’s grip, as Ron squeaked out some gibberish.

“Why are you so threatened by Malfoy, Charlie?” she asked, in an even tone.

“I’m not threatened, Ginny. It’s Malfoy for Merlin’s sake,” he said, sharing a laugh with Ron and Harry. Jordi and Elizabeth noticed that Ginny was getting upset.

“Hey, Gin, let’s go get back to studying, huh? Only three months, right?” Elizabeth said, taking Ginny by the elbow.

“No, I’m not quite finished here--”

“Ginny, let’s go,” Jordi interrupted.

“Wait, before you go back, Ginny, Harry and I are going to America.”

“What? WHAT IS GOING ON?” Ginny was floored by the amount of things that could happen in such a short amount of time. She wanted to run away, right then and there. She looked over her shoulder and saw that Draco had disappeared. She ran a hand through her hair. I really need to talk to him, she thought. Then she addressed Ron again. “Ron, that’s so far away! At least France and Germany are on the bleeding continent. What are you going to do in America?”

“Same thing we did in France and Germany, Gin,” Harry replied. “We’re trying to…forget.”

“I guess I can understand that,” she said. “But, America’s different. It’s far away and there’s far more trouble over there.” Impulsively, she reached up to give Harry a quick hug. “I bet we wouldn’t ever see you again.”

Harry wrapped her in his arms and almost answered, when Charlie interrupted them. “Hey, these arms are mine, Ginny,” Charlie said playfully, tugging her back to him. He shot a dark look at Harry, who raised an eyebrow again. Ginny bit down on her lip and then turned around to Charlie.

“Charlie, will you go back with Jordi and Elizabeth? I’ll meet you guys back there and we can study for Transfiguration,” she said in her sweetest voice. He smiled and gave her a quick kiss before linking arms with Jordi and Elizabeth to return to the common room.

Ginny walked between Harry and Ron to lead them back to the entrance hall. Ron was the first to break the comfortable silence.

“Ginny, please tell me that you haven’t been running around with Malfoy!” he exclaimed, stopping them from walking.

“Are we still talking about that? What if I have been? I’m 17 years old, Ron. You can’t dictate who I’m friends with.”

“You’re friends with him?”

“I didn’t say that, Ronnie.”

“Gin, it’s Ferret face Malfoy!”

“Ron, that ferret thing was four years ago. Maybe it’s time to move on,” she said sarcastically. She could hardly believe that she was even having this conversation. “A lot has happened and a lot of things have changed. I think you of all people would know that,” she added, seriously.

“Come on, Ron. Ginny has grown up – even I can see it,” Harry said, taking Ginny’s hand in his. “She can make her own choices, which is actually another reason why we’re here.”

Ginny looked down at Harry’s hand holding hers and then casually glanced over at Ron. Ron grinned awkwardly and forced himself to look Ginny in the eye.

“Right, er, Gin, we, erm, that is to say, Harry wants, and I agree--”

“We want you to come to America with us,” Harry interrupted. Ginny’s mouth dropped open, and she tugged her hand out of Harry’s grip to cover it.

“Yeah, Gin,” Ron said, seemingly recovering himself. “Hermione’s still being stubborn about it, but we figure if you agree, she’ll come around as well. So what do you say?”

“Wait, you just want me to come to get Hermione to go?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Not at all, Ginny,” Harry answered, slipping an arm around her shoulders as they began to walk again. “We want everyone to come, to start over in a new place, a new country. Leave the past behind.”

“I – but – this is a really big decision. I – I have N.E.W.Ts in three months and I want to finish school and -”

“You don’t have to make the decision right away. We’re not leaving for another three weeks – have to tie up loose ends and all that, but think about it.”

“THREE WEEKS! I can’t very well make a decision like this in three bloody weeks, Ron. I really do want to finish school.”

“What’s there to finish, Ginny? We’re going to start over in America. Ron and I have been living like Muggles; you can learn, just as he has, to live that way.”

“What?” she whispered. “What are you going on about?”

“Think about it, Ginny. A whole new world without all the bad memories,” Ron said. He and Harry exchanged glances. Harry stepped close to her and drew her into an embrace.

“Hermione’ll come and we’re going to ask Luna and Neville. We’ll all be together to start over.”

“Why are you so touchy all of a sudden, Harry?” she asked, ignoring the thoughts of America and concentrating on the fact that Harry kept holding her. She stepped out of his embrace.

“What’s wrong, Gin?”

“I don’t understand what’s going on here. I mean, you show up, hex Draco, and drop this bomb on me…and now you’re acting like, and you want me to give up everything I’ve worked seven ye – ugh, I need to go. I – I have to think.”

She abruptly turned around and headed back to the common room.

----

Draco had escaped into the Room of Requirement. He started playing his composition, but he was distracted. Does the whole world conspire to keep me away from her? She is like this untapped treasure that nobody sees the potential of. Leave it to Potty and Weasel to trample her underfoot. He played his song, imagining Ginny’s voice in his head.

----

Ginny flopped into a chair in the common room and started massaging her temples with her thumbs.

“Something wrong, baby?” Charlie asked. He walked up behind her and replaced her thumbs with his. “What happened? Did Harry do something?”

“Ronald was standing right there. I hardly think Harry would try anything with Ronald standing right there,” Ginny snapped. Then she sighed and continued, “I’m sorry. They just – they asked me to come to America with them.”

“That’s great, Ginny! I’ve always wanted to visit America,” said Elizabeth.

“They want to leave in three weeks.”

“What? Why?” Charlie spit out. He walked around to kneel in front of Ginny, taking her hands in his. “Did you say yes? Are you going to leave us, Ginny?”

“Do you really expect me to have made a decision? I just heard about not fifteen minutes ago. I’m not rash.”

“Sorry, but I don’t – we don’t want to lose you, Gin. There’s only three months of school left. Why can’t they wait?” Charlie said. Elizabeth and Jordi nodded their agreement.

“Look, I’m not in the mood for studying just now. I need to think.” She got up to go into the dormitory. Charlie started to follow her, but Jordi pulled him back down.

“I think she needs to be alone for a little bit.”

----

Note: Chapter title is from Cole Porter's Every Time We Say Goodbye. I was working under one assumption with Harry in this chapter. I realize that he seems a bit out of character, and for that I apologize. I’ve always had a bit of trouble characterizing him because he is so complex. So the second assumption is that the war really took a toll on Harry’s character. He is so eager to start anew that he’ll do anything to do it, explaining why he’s so touchy with Ginny (aside from the fact that she’s totally hot) and why he and Ron have been everywhere but England.

Reposted as of May 27, 2005 to fix canonical error.
Twilight Hymn by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Nine – Twilight Hymn


After two solid weeks of studying, worrying, and barely sleeping, Ginny’s mental state was becoming slightly imbalanced. Where before she had been singing and joyous, she had now taken to working through meals to get her homework done and hardly taking a second away from work – and even that wasn’t enough to finish the many assignments and essays. Late at night, Ginny would try to sleep, but her mind was engaged in considering the offer from Ron and Harry. They had been Owling her in turns asking if she’d made her decision yet, and Charlie, too, had been pestering her for an answer.

So it really came as no surprise when Ginny destroyed a potion in Advanced Potions class.

The explosion was quite deafening, but it was nothing compared to the heavy silence that choked the air as Professor Snape stalked deliberately slowly up to her station. “Detention Miss Weasley,” was all he said, but it may as well have been a death threat from the way Ginny reacted. She burst into hysterical tears and ran from the room, straight up into the Tower. She dove onto her bed and buried herself in her comforter.

Twenty minutes later, Jordi ran into the room. “Ginny? Are you okay?”

Muffled sobs issued from beneath the blanket in answer.

“Ginny, really, it’s not so bad. It’s just a detention,” Jordi said, taking a tentative seat on the edge of the bed.

Ginny peeled back the covers, sat up, and glared daggers at Jordi. “It is not just a detention, Jordi! It is everything happening all at the same time. How can I possibly be expected to make all these decisions, while studying for N.E.W.Ts, captaining Quidditch and practicing my music?”

“I understand that you have a lot on your plate right now – we’re all feeling the pressure, Gin.”

“Ugh, I know. You must think I’m selfish. Well, maybe I am!”

“You aren’t selfish,” Jordi said, sliding further onto the bed. “Have you talked to your mum?”

“I – what?” Ginny furrowed her brow.

“Your mum. Have you talked to her about America?”

“No…no I haven’t! Aw, Jordi, what would I possibly do without you?”

“Spontaneously combust, I’d imagine – rather like that potion,” Jordi said, grinning wickedly.

“That was a pretty terrific blast, wasn’t it?” Ginny said, shaking her head a little.

“I’ll say. You should have seen the look on Snape’s face when you ran out of there.”

Ginny groaned and fell back on her pillows. “Detention with Snape – I’ve never had a detention with Snape before.”

“It won’t be so bad; Snape doesn’t oversee his own detentions anymore.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “All right, then, detention with Filch. I guess I can handle that. Well, I guess we’d better get going to dinner. A last meal!” she finished dramatically, dragging herself out of bed.

“Detention with Filch indeed,” Jordi muttered under breath.

----

Ginny steeled her resolve in front of Snape’s classroom door. Snape had sent her a note at dinner, telling her to be at his classroom at 8. Doesn’t oversee his own detentions my foot, she thought. She sighed and pushed on the classroom door. It was empty, so Ginny sat down at the first station to wait.

Five minutes passed…then ten more with no sign of Snape. Ginny sighed dramatically. Just then the door to the classroom opened again, and in walked Draco.

“Can’t put a simple potion together, Ginny?” he drawled, staring pointedly at her.

Ginny stifled a shiver from his intense gaze. “Waste of time, potion-making…a singer doesn’t exactly need to be making potions,” she retorted.

He laughed and walked up to her station. He placed his hands on the table, leaning over her. “So you fancy yourself a singer now?”

“I am one. I’m going to – I’m going to be one…someday,” she said defiantly. “I – wow – I just decided that, right now.”

“Glad I could be of some help,” he answered. He walked up to Snape’s desk and removed a piece of parchment from it. “Okay, so Severus wants you to re-make the potion and then write an essay explaining what you did wrong.”

Ginny frowned. “And I assume I’m not going to get any credit for this?”

“Of course not.”

Ginny shook her head. “Great, just bloody great. I don’t even know what I’m doing! That’s part of why I messed up the potion in the first place.”

Draco walked over to the supply cabinet and removed the various ingredients she would need. He placed them at her station, as she got up to find a spare cauldron. “Only part?” he asked, when she had sat down again. He pulled up a stool to sit in front of her.

Ginny sighed and looked up at him, momentarily too lost in the fact that he was being extraordinarily nice to her…and was sitting extraordinarily close.

“Well?” he asked. He reached into his robe pocket and put on his glasses. He picked up Ginny’s Advanced Potions Making textbook, scanning the pages for the potion she would have to make. “Are you going to tell me, or am I going to have to hex it out of you?”

“Why do you care?” she asked, before she could stop herself.

He looked up from the book, quirking an eyebrow. “You said it yourself, Ginny, we can safely be considered friends now. Don’t friends inquire after each other?” he asked, an amused smile playing at his lips. Merlin’s beard, but this girl can be remarkably daft, he thought. Well, despite her talents, she is still a Weasley.

“Well, thank you, but I really should concentrate on this potion,” she said, awkwardly. The truth was that she wanted nothing more than to confide in Draco, but her pride kept her from doing so. He was still a Malfoy, after all. Despite the fact that he had been very encouraging, he was still Draco Malfoy.

“Suit yourself, Weasley,” he said, but his tone was teasing. “Now, do you remember where you went wrong earlier?”

“You’re going to help me?” she asked, eyes glinting mischievously. “What would your godfather say about that?”

“He’d probably say something along the lines of ‘you’re acting like that know-it-all Granger,’ and take points away from Slytherin to spite me.”

“He would never take points away from a Slytherin,” she said, giggling.

“You’re right, you’re right – he’d take them away from Gryffindor instead. Now come on, I don’t have all day to baby-sit a little girl who can’t put a potion together, regardless of how well her vocal cords work,” he said, pushing his glasses up on top of his head and pushing up the sleeves on his work robes.

“I am not a little girl – and thanks for the compliment, however backhanded it was,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“If you’re not careful, they are going to roll right out of those sockets, Ginevra.”

“What did I say about calling me Ginevra?” she warned, but her tone contained only a little menace.

“I don’t quite recall. Now, first things first, you have to cut up the Dionysus petals into 3 and one quarter centimeter pieces. Wait, do you have your dragon hide gloves? The juices, it’ll burn if you touch it.”

But, being a Weasley or not concentrating properly, Ginny did not have her dragon hide gloves. She looked up at Draco as she sliced up one of the petals, and the essence splashed onto her hands. Ginny bit down on her lower lip, hoping Draco wouldn’t notice her blunder, but her hand started to burn very painfully. She yelped and her hands started to shake.

“Damn!” Draco cursed and quickly reached for his wand. He muttered a cooling charm and then took her hand in his. He lightly stroked the inflamed area as the burn slowly cooled away. Ginny’s hands stopped shaking, but Draco did not stop his light caresses. Ginny closed her eyes for a moment to savor the experience, but they flew open again. What is the matter with me? I’m with Charlie! She lightly pulled her hand away.

“Thanks,” she said, careful not to look him directly in the eyes.

“Let’s try and reign in your natural clumsiness and get back to work, yes?” he said, quietly. “So we have the Dionysus petal pieces, which are the reacting agents, and now we need the stimulus. These unicorn horn scrapings bond with the Dionysus petals – the purity reacts with the volatile substance, diluting its potency.”

“Wait, wait, slow down – I can’t write that fast,” Ginny said, scribbling notes on a piece of parchment.

“Tsk tsk, Ginny, are you really going to copy down everything I say and turn it in as your own work?”

“I fully intend to do that, yes,” she said seriously, but her eyes were shining with mirth. Draco smiled, and then turned to the cauldron to set the water to boil. The blue flame quickly heated the water to the desired temperature. Draco put in ten millimeters of crushed doxy wings. Keeping his eyes on the cauldron, he motioned for Ginny to put in the unicorn horn scrapings, but Ginny misunderstood his wordless gesture and put in the Dionysus petals instead.

“NO!” Draco shouted. He raced around the little table and grabbed her away from the cauldron.

“What the – ?” she said. He threw her to the ground, just in time for the cauldron to explode, even worse so than it had that afternoon. The mixture splashed all over the station table.

Ginny’s eyes widened as Draco covered her head, holding her close to his chest. She was breathing heavily. He pulled away slightly, still holding her and looked directly into her eyes. He spoke, mouth just inches away from hers.

“That was close.”

Ginny unconsciously licked her lips. “Too close,” she whispered, huskily.

Draco leaned a little closer. He was almost brushing her lips. “You should be more careful.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, licking her lips again.

“Don’t apologize,” he replied. He closed his eyes, and Ginny thought that the world was standing still. But he simply stood up and helped her to her feet. “Let’s try again.”

Outwardly, Draco was his normal cool, collected self. But inside, his heart was beating rapidly. She had been so close and she kept licking those damned lips of hers! But she’s with that sodding Lovett and Potter had his bloody mits on her. Like he bloody well owned her!

Ginny bit down on her lower lip. “I really made a mess of things. I’m not just cut out for this potions thing. It’s just that everything is so confusing,” she said, sitting back down at a different station with a different cauldron and new ingredients.

“It isn’t that difficult, Ginny. Honestly, all you have to do is be careful,” he said, cleaning off his glasses and then putting them back on.

“I wasn’t talking about the potion exactly,” she admitted. “I – well – it’s just that Harry and Ron have asked me to go to America with them. And everyone is pestering me to answer, and all these things just keep piling up and I’m really and truly confused.” Ginny took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She found that she felt better just for having said it all. She didn’t look up at him, and began chopping up the Dionysus petals again.
Draco uncharacteristically let his emotions play freely across her face, taking advantage of the fact that she was concentrating on chopping. So that’s Potter’s plan? To take her away from here? To hide her away from the world – bury her talent in the dirt. He began angrily scraping some of the unicorn horn, but when he spoke again, his tone was even.

“Well, do you want to go?”

“What?”

“Do you want to go – to America?”

“I told you I haven’t made a decision yet,” she said, putting down the knife.

He stopped scraping and looked up at her, fixing her intently with his steely gaze. “Don’t think about Potter or your brother. Don’t think about Lovett or your friends or anyone else. Think about you. Do you want to go to America?”

Ginny cast down her gaze. She hadn’t thought about that at all – she had been thinking about it in terms of everyone else. Did she want to go? A part of her did – a little part of her wanted to go with Ron, Harry and everyone else to start over. But it was only the smallest, tiniest piece of her.

“No – no, I don’t.”

“Then there is your answer.”

“Draco, it’s not as simple as all that.”

“Yes it is. You don’t want to go to America, so you aren’t going to go to America,” he said smartly, giving her a smirk.

“But what about Charlie and Harry and Hermione and everyone? And…”

“And what? Who cares about them, Ginny?”

“I do – they are my friends. But…well…wouldn’t that be selfish?” she asked softly.

“It’s not selfish to not do something that you don’t want to do.”

Ginny cocked her head. “Wait, what? You lost me,” she said, a giggle escaping.

“What, are you slow? It’s not selfish if you don’t want to do something so you decide not to do it.”

“I guess that makes some sort of twisted sense,” she answered, considering him carefully. “All right, so it isn’t selfish, but it still doesn’t answer the whole question.”

“And what might that be?” he asked, raising an eyebrow with that self-satisfied smirk still playing at his lips.

“The whole question is ‘why can’t I get this bloody potion to work’ Draco.”

He laughed and picked up the unicorn horn again. “It’s because you’re a Weasley. I don’t think a Weasley has ever passed Advanced Potions…much less anything else,” he said, baiting her.

“I’ll have you know that Percy got top marks in all his N.E.W.Ts and Bill…” She trailed off, not wanting to bring up Bill.

“And Bill…” Draco pressed.

“Never mind,” she said, picking up her knife and finishing the Dionysus petals. “So I’m guessing I put the unicorn horn first? It was the doxy wings combined with the Dionysus petals that made the cauldron explode.”

“What’s wrong?” he asked, a bit unsure why he wanted to press the matter so much. Maybe it’s that you don’t want to see her hurting?

“Bill’s dead, no use in dredging up the past just to placate you,” she said, rather bluntly.

“Oh,” Draco replied. “Well, then, yes I had put the doxy wings in and the combination of the two volatile substances caused it to explode. We need the purifying power of the unicorn horn to dilute the mixture before we add the Dionysus. You getting all this?” he asked, trying to lighten the mood again.

“I thought you said I couldn’t copy you,” she answered, biting down on her lower lip.

“That would hardly be very Slytherin of me,” he said haughtily, handing her the quill. “Although I suppose a noble Gryffindor like you wouldn’t dream of cheating.”

“Oi, I know when to take help if it’s offered – even if it is a dishonest form.”

“I’ll make a Slytherin out of you yet, Weasley.”

“Because that is exactly my goal in life, Malfoy, to become a Slytherin just like you,” she said, sarcastically.

Draco laughed and measured out the crushed doxy wings and put them into the new cauldron. “Now the horn scrapings,” he said.

Ginny reached over the table to empty in the scrapings, brushing Draco’s arm as she did so. She could almost swear she felt him shiver when she touched him, but from his unchanged appearance, perhaps she hadn’t. She gathered up the sliced petals making sure that she didn’t touch the juices and dumped them into the cauldron. They both leaned over to watch the potion form.

“Look, there, do you see how the petals seek out the scrapings? They are attracted by their very opposite nature. See how they bond like that?” Draco explained, eyes fixed on the swirl of colors beneath him.

Ginny was transfixed by the display – it really was quite stunning to watch. The petals and scrapings danced together in the water, colors issuing from their wake until they fused together and became still, melting into the potion. Eventually all the pieces were paired together and sank into the mixture. The potion was a murky brown color, belying the beautiful swirls from before.

“What happened?” Ginny asked, breathlessly.

“We need to add the final ingredient,” he answered quietly. He picked up a vial of clear liquid. “These are phoenix tears to seal the bond forever. Two drops – no more.”

Ginny took the vial and carefully let two drops fall into the potion. For a moment nothing happened, and then a beautiful note trilled in the air – phoenix song – and the potion changed from the hideous brown color to a dazzling gold. Ginny let out a gasp when she heard the music. Instinctively, she grabbed Draco’s hand until the song died away.

“That was amazing!” she cried, letting go Draco’s hand and picking up an empty vial to put a sample in. “Thank you so much for your help. I don’t think I could have done it without you.”

“I’m sure you could have. It really isn’t that complicated. You just needed to concentrate,” he answered, starting to clear the materials away. He paused and looked at his watch. “Wow – it’s almost midnight.”

“It’s okay; this was probably the best detention I’ve ever had. You can be an awful lot of fun when you loosen up,” she said, shyly.

Draco smiled genuinely at her. He walked around the table and helped her down from the stool. When he had set her down, she stepped quickly, but her foot got tangled in her robe and she started to fall. He caught her effortlessly.

“You really are a clumsy little thing,” he said. He was awfully close to her again, his arm wrapped securely around her back, and the other supporting her head. He was holding her in a dip.

“It’s in the genes,” she whispered. He set her right again, but she didn’t let him go.

“Wait,” she gasped out.

“What?”

“Thank you…for everything,” she said quietly. The world was losing focus around her; all she could see were his pale grey eyes, boring into her. She leaned closer, her minding screaming at her to stop, but she ignored it completely. This would be right, it had to be right.

Their lips had touched only slightly, but the sensation was instantaneous. Ginny felt tingles running up and down her spine. She moved closer, effectively deepening the kiss. She felt Draco’s arms wrap around her and she got up on tiptoe to try to reach better. He got the hint and picked her up – she was so light! – her feet dangling a few inches from the ground. Gods, but it was perfect.

Draco had just barely parted her lips with his tongue, when alarm surged through her body. Oh gods, what am I doing? She went slack and Draco set her down on the floor.

She was breathing heavily and couldn’t speak. She was relieved when Draco spoke first.

“I’m sorry,” he said. It was so simple and so achingly real that Ginny almost wanted to kiss him again just to make that tone in his voice disappear.

”It was my fault, Draco,” she said softly. “I shouldn’t have – I mean, I didn’t mean to.”

He wouldn’t look at her. “You should go, I’ll finish cleaning this up.”

“But, what about--”

“I’ll see you tomorrow in the Room of Requirement,” he said, voice suddenly businesslike. “Is 7:30 all right?”

Ginny looked away. “7:30 is fine,” she answered, tone matching his. She knew she could trust his discretion, and so she just left the room, ignoring the twinges of pain in her heart.
Dissonance by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Ten – Dissonance


Being that the next day was Saturday, Ginny decided that it would be perfectly okay to lay in bed and ignore everyone until it was time for her to meet up with Draco for practice. When Elizabeth had come in early that morning, Ginny feigned ill; although, from the way her stomach was churning, it may not have been such a lie. She was unbelievably, ridiculously, utterly confused about what had happened the night before. She didn’t want think about it, but every thought that passed through her mind was of Draco – Draco holding her so close, Draco keeping her safe, Draco’s eyes watching the potion combine, Draco’s kiss. And with each stray thought, the knot in her stomach tightened until she was doubled over with pain in her bed.

“Ginevra Weasley, you cannot very well lay in this bed all day,” Jordi called, as she stepped into the room. She sat down on Ginny’s bed and yanked the covers back to look at her. “Merlin, Ginny, you look a right awful wreck! Draco didn’t get you drunk last night, did he?”

Ginny’s eyes widened considerably. She sat up slowly, with a look of horror plastered on her face. “How did you know I was with Draco last night?”

Jordi shrugged. “I had detention from Snape with Draco last month.”

“So why didn’t you tell me that Draco was Snape’s overseer?”

“Didn’t particularly seem important,” she answered simply. After a few moments of Ginny just sitting there, trying to digest that Jordi hadn’t told her about Draco, Jordi sighed and said, “So, are you going to tell me what happened to make you hide in room, or I am going to have to track down Malfoy?”

A pained expression played across Ginny’s face, and she brought her knees up to her chest, resting her chin there. “I really corked things up, Jordi,” she confessed. If she could trust anyone, it was Jordi. Jordi looked away for a moment, and then she smiled an unsettling sort of smile.

“I see,” she said. She turned back to look Ginny straight in the eye. “Have you told anyone besides me?”

“I haven’t even told you yet,” Ginny said, frowning a little bit. How could Jordi possibly know so much?

“Come on, Gin, it’s quite obvious. He asked you out! I can tell he fancies you, and yesterday he must have asked you out, and from the way that you are carrying on in here, I can only assume that you said yes, despite the fact that you are already dating Charlie.”

Ginny hid her face in her knees. “Not quite, Jordi,” she whispered.

“Yeah well you didn’t…no, you didn’t snog him…did you?”
Ginny looked back up and nodded.

“Ginny, how could you do that?” Jordi shouted.

“I don’t know!” Ginny grabbed at the covers to try and hide beneath them again, but Jordi held fast. “It’s just we were working on the potion together, and he saved me from it exploding again, and it all just sort of happened so quickly!”

“Ginny, you cheated on Charlie! He really likes you and you bloody well cheated on him!”

“I know, I know!” she howled. “I didn’t mean to though. I told Draco so and everything. I’m just so – I don’t know what to do.”

Jordi ran a hand through her jet-black hair and exhaled deeply. “Did you snog him or did he snog you? Who made the first move?”

“I did – but I made him stop too. Jordi, help me. I really have no idea what I’m supposed to do. Should I tell Charlie? Oh gods I don’t want to do that.”

Jordi looked intently at her friend. She could tell that Ginny was truly regretful and all broken up about what she had done. Ginny looked up with little tears in her eyes. “I think that you have to talk to Draco. And most importantly, you have to figure out exactly what you feel for him because you can’t string Charlie along, Gin.”

Ginny shook her head. “I know, and I feel really awful about it. I do like Charlie and I…” She trailed off because no matter how many times she said it, no matter how much she tried to force herself into feeling something, the fact of the matter was: she had never felt so much as a flutter when Charlie touched her. With Draco, the sensation was so deeply intense, even from the tiniest little touch of his lips or the brush of his fingers.

“And what, Ginny?”

“I don’t know, Jordi. I want to be sure, but I just can’t be. I don’t know what to think about anything. IT’S DRACO FUCKING MALFOY, FOR MERLIN’S SAKE!”

Jordi’s eyes widened at Ginny’s vulgarity. She had never heard Ginny say anything worse than ‘damn’ before. “He’s really got you messed up, hasn’t he?” she asked.

“I’m sorry, Jordi,” she whispered.

“Look, Gin, you’re my best friend and I fully intend to support you in whatever decision you make. But, Charlie is my friend too, so you need to make up your mind quickly. If you don’t tell him about this Malfoy business in two weeks, I will.”

Ginny wanted to protest, but in her heart she knew that Jordi was right. Jordi always was the most diplomatic among them.

“Jordi, when did I become so codependent?”

Jordi laughed and rolled her eyes. “You’re not codependent, Ginevra. You made a mistake – people make mistakes. You’re only human, after all.”

“Yeah, I guess…I really put my foot into it this time though. Well, at least I made one decision. I decided I’m not going to the States, at least not right away.”

Jordi smiled brightly. “Excellent! I am so glad! Seriously, we would all miss you way too much. And besides, you can’t very well leave me to take the Potions N.E.W.T all by my onesies, can you? What made you decide?”

Ginny looked away for a moment, but there were no secrets between herself and Jordi. “Draco.”

“What? Okay, now you definitely need to tell me what happened!” Jordi scrambled up onto the bed further so that she and Ginny were sitting directly across from each other. “Let’s ignore the bad stuff, so tell me, was it all romantic-like?” she asked, grinning from ear to ear.

“Oy, you’ve been hanging around Lizzie too much lately,” Ginny admonished, but she was smiling as well.

----

Draco went into the Room of Requirement early that day, almost two hours earlier than he told Ginny to meet him there. But there was no piano in sight, as he sat down on the large armchair in front of the roaring fire. Although it was the end of March and the air was getting warmer, Draco could not get the chill out of the room, no matter how hard he tried. After a few moments of staring into the fire and massaging his temples to rid himself of the headache that had settled there, he sank out of the chair and landed rather ungracefully on the fluffy rug on the floor. Ginny wasn’t due for an hour and forty-five minutes, and Draco felt he could afford a few moments in true character.

He stretched out languidly, and then he settled himself with one arm behind his head and the other on his stomach with his legs crossed at the ankles. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to purge his head of all the thoughts that kept running through it.

He didn’t want to think about her; there was no reason to think about her. She had made it abundantly clear the night before that kissing her was a mistake, and yet…well, he just could not stop thinking about the way she made all the little hairs on the back of his neck stand on end when she’d brushed his hand leaning in to finish the potion. He couldn’t drive away the feeling of her body pressed close against his, her hot breath warming his chest. He couldn’t ignore the electricity that surged through him when she had brushed her lips against his. He couldn’t forget how absolutely perfect that small act of intimacy had been.

Draco let his eyes close, imagining that Ginny was sitting there with him. She was singing softly, adding her unique harmony to his new composition. He smiled for a moment, but then he opened his eyes. “Get a bloody hold on yourself, Malfoy. She’s just a stupid girl.”

He didn’t know why she affected him so much. Frankly, he didn’t want to know – it was enough that it happened, and it needed to stop. His lip curled into a sneer. “She’s some girl you snogged. You’ve snogged loads of girls, most of them already attached at the time. Why is this one any different?” The sneer disappeared and was replaced by a soft frown. He didn’t want to answer that last question. If he was honest with himself, he didn’t want to know what that answer would reveal.

Draco began to feel pangs of pain behind his eyes, so he closed them again. He nestled a little into the carpet, wishing for a blanket. A white afghan blanket appeared and he pulled it over himself for extra warmth – it really was awfully cold in there. The warmth from the fireplace quickly became cloying from his close proximity, and he drifted off to sleep.

----

Dinner in the Great Hall passed without incident, although Ginny’s eyes kept rising to the Staff table. Draco was absent, but no one else seemed to have noticed. After about the fifth time that Ginny had looked over at the head table, Jordi discreetly pinched her leg under the table, causing her to shriek. But other than that, dinner passed without incident.

It was almost 7 o’clock when they were finished eating, and Ginny’s stomachache from earlier that morning was back in full force. She didn’t even know why she was going back to see him. It was only going to be awkward, or worse…she might end up kissing him again. Deep inside, she knew that was a very likely possibility, but she didn’t want to think about that until she had spoken to Draco.

Ginny and Charlie walked hand in hand, slowly, down the maze of hallways on the way to the Room of Requirement. Ginny was burning to say something, but she couldn’t find any words.

“So what are you two working on tonight?” Charlie asked, swinging Ginny’s hand back and forth.

“I’m not sure, we just sort of wing it most of the time,” she said, quietly. “I was thinking maybe some Porter. We do a lot of Arlen, Gershwin, and Rodgers and Hart, but we haven’t done Porter in while.”

“Wait, what? Who are all these people?”

Ginny sighed. “Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, George and Ira Gershwin, and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were all American Muggle composers in the Tin Pan Alley era. They wrote some of the greatest music in the world, especially Harold Arlen. Arlen is my favorite.”

Charlie raised an eyebrow at her. “I still have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Well maybe if you listened carefully,” Ginny said, testily.

“Hey, just because I don’t listen to random American music from some forgotten time!” he said, playfully. Noticing, however, that Ginny was less than amused, he put on a pout and took her other hand so that she was facing him. “Come on now, I didn’t mean it.”

Ginny rolled her eyes, and Charlie laughed at her. “Really, Ginny, I’m sorry. Right, I have a really spiffing idea! Why don’t I come with you and listen to you practice?”

Ginny considered the idea for a moment. Draco had never expressly forbidden bringing someone with her to practice, although it had pretty much been understood that they worked alone. She had a feeling that Draco would be angry, but she didn’t think she could bear to be alone with him. She was almost afraid of what she’d do if she was alone.

“I guess that would be all right,” she answered, slowly.

“Guess? Guess nothing, it’ll be brilliant! I’ll get to hear my girl in her element. Come on.” He started to walk quickly down the hall, very nearly dragging Ginny behind him.

“Aren’t we eager?” she said, mockingly under her breath. The knot in her stomach tightened and she began to feel like she had made a very, very bad decision again. But it was too late to change it, as Charlie was set in his way and they had already reached the Room of Requirement.

Charlie barged in without ceremony. “Oi, Malfoy, you in here?” Ginny groaned. This was not going to be good.

“Draco?” she called softly. The room was dimly lit by the fireplace, but Ginny didn’t see the piano anywhere. Maybe he wasn’t going to be there… “Draco, are you here?”

“Malfoy, you here or not, mate?” Charlie called. Ginny walked over to the fireplace and saw Draco laying there. “Ginny, I don’t think you’re practicing tonight,” Charlie said loudly from the other end of the room.

“Charlie, shut it,” she hissed. “He’s asleep.”

Draco had shifted drastically in his sleep. He had curled himself into a ball, pulling the blanket tight around himself. Ginny knelt down beside him and placed a tentative hand on his forehead. He was very warm, but Ginny wasn’t sure if it was from sleeping so close to the fireplace. She noticed that he was shivering ever so slightly. She moved her hand from his forehead to behind his neck. He was burning up.

“Draco,” she whispered, “wake up, Draco. You have to get up.” She placed both her hands on his cheeks and softly kissed his forehead. Just then, Draco shot awake, grasping onto her left wrist almost painfully. She gasped when he sat up, still holding fast to her arm.

His eyes searched her out in the relative darkness. “Ginny?” he whispered. Ginny nodded wordlessly, staring directly into his fever-bright eyes. He dropped her arm but reached out to hug her close to him. Ginny sat stiffly, wanting to embrace him back, but Charlie was right there in the room. Just as she thought of him, he started to walk up and Ginny quickly shrugged out of Draco’s grip.

“You awake, Sleeping Beauty?” Charlie said, smartly. Draco just looked up at him with confusion written on his features for a moment, replaced quickly with his usual look of disdain. He used Ginny’s shoulder to help himself stand up, and when he was standing, he reached back down to help Ginny to her feet.

“Isn’t she quite the little nurse,” he said, looking quite intently at Ginny. She noticed that the fever seemed to have dissipated some. His eyes weren’t shiny anymore, although he was still rather flushed.

“Must get it from her mum!” Charlie said, laughing and clapping Draco on the back. Ginny saw Draco wince. She bit down on her lip to keep from saying something she would probably regret. She was deeply unsettled by how tightly Draco had hugged her…and by how good it had felt. She had felt tingles running through her hands when she felt his forehead and cheeks, but when he had engulfed her in his arms, it was like an explosion of pleasure had burst through her veins.

The piano had appeared and Draco made his way over to it. He sat down at the bench and ran his fingers lovingly over the keys. He looked significantly at Ginny, but she did not sit down next to him on the bench like she normally did when they were first starting out. He hid his disappointment.

“Did you warm up, or shall we do some scales?” he asked, nonchalantly.

Ginny was aching to sit next to him. The fire in her body had all but disappeared when he stepped away from her, and she wanted it back, but she couldn’t sit there…not while she was still with Charlie. “Scales, please,” she said, false brightness in her tone. Draco quirked an eyebrow, but said nothing as he began to play some arpeggios for her.

After about a half hour of warm ups, Ginny told Draco that she wanted to work specifically on Porter. Draco smiled – Porter was always a fun challenge for singers as he was quite fond of the list song. But, as he played and Ginny sang, he started to feel ill again.

Instead of closing his eyes to feel the music, he kept them fixed on the sheet music, not daring to look up at Ginny. Charlie kept pawing at her, holding her, touching her arms throughout the entire practice. Ginny was beginning to feel nauseated.

“Draco, are you all right?” Ginny asked, as he started perusing the music to “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love).”

“I’m fine,” he said evenly, although his fever was returning again, and the pounding headache had come back in full force at his temples.

“Are you sure?”

“He’s fine, Gin, he just said he was fine. Now come on, I want to hear this next one,” Charlie said. Draco glared at him, but began to play the opening of the song.

Charlie wrapped his arms around Ginny’s waist and rested his chin on her shoulder as she started to sing. Although it was imperceptible to Charlie, as well as anyone else who might have heard it, to Draco, Ginny’s voice sounded strained, almost strangled. She had been stumbling over notes all night. And likewise, to Ginny, the accompaniment while technically perfect lacked the passion that Draco had always been able to evoke. Charlie pressed a kiss to Ginny’s cheek and she, caught off guard, stopped singing entirely. Draco pounded a chord, effectively cutting everything off.

“Do you think maybe you could keep your bloody mitts off her for longer than two seconds? It’s impossible for her to sing well with you pawing her!” he snapped.

Taken aback, Charlie let go of Ginny and raised his hands in surrender for a moment. Then his eyes narrowed and he took Ginny by the hand again.

“Who are you to tell me anything, Malfoy? Ginny’s my girlfriend and I can touch her if I very well please.”

“Excuse me?” Ginny said, disengaging her hand from Charlie’s. Draco raised an eyebrow lazily, although inside he was burning to hear what she would say next.

“Gin, what’s the matter, love? Are all musicians this temperamental?” Charlie asked, laughing nervously.

“I don’t appreciate being spoken about like I’m some sort of object that belongs to you. I may be your girlfriend but that doesn’t give you the right to touch me whenever you so please,” she said evenly, folding her arms across her chest.

“Hey, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you or anything – look can we talk about this somewhere else?” he asked, jerking his head in Draco’s direction.

“Oh please, don’t mind me,” Draco drawled. He moved out from behind the bench, made a little exit bow and started to leave.

“Wait, don’t go!” Ginny said quickly. “We haven’t worked on the surprise song yet.”

“A surprise song? What’s the occasion?” Charlie asked.

“It’s a surprise, Lovett. You do know what ‘surprise’ means, don’t you?” Draco asked, strolling back toward the piano.

“Yeah, Charlie, it’s a secret. Would you mind giving us about twenty minutes? I’ll meet you back up in the common room and we can work on those Charms practice N.E.W.Ts.”

Charlie looked confused for a moment, but he shook it off. “Sure thing, Gin. Don’t be too long though.” He smiled at her and then left Ginny alone with Draco.

As soon as Charlie left the room, the piano disappeared as did the chair from earlier and the rug on the floor, leaving absolutely nothing except Draco and Ginny. Ginny felt like her nerves were going to do her in right then and there before she even got a chance to say anything. But she stood firm.

I am an empowered young woman. I made a mistake and I am now going to atone for it. But, then a mean voice spoke up. Was it really a mistake, Ginevra? Ginny shut her eyes tightly – of course it was a mistake. Besides the fact that it was the most amazing feeling she had ever experienced in her entire life, it was a mistake.

“Draco, I--”

“Did you do that on purpose?” he asked, an edge tainting the evenness in his tone.

“What?”

“You heard me, Weasley. Did you do it on purpose? Did you bring that little tosser here on purpose? Did you intend to dangle him in front of my face?”

“No – I just--”

“So it’s that you just don’t trust yourself alone with big bad Draco Malfoy, is it? Think I’ll try to bewitch you into shagging me?”

Ginny avoided his eyes, but shook her head no, essentially confirming that that was in fact the exact reason she had brought Charlie with her that day.

Draco smirked evilly. He backed away slightly so that he was leaning casually against the wall. “Hit it right on the button, haven’t I?”

“Draco, you’re being unfair,” Ginny said quietly, not looking up at him.

“Unfair? Unfair? Life is unfair, Weasel. You can’t just run around doing as you please because there isn’t always going to be someone to pick up the pieces.”

Tears started to form in Ginny’s eyes. She willed herself not to cry, begged herself not to cry, but they started to fall slowly down her cheeks. She reached out slowly, aching to touch him again. It had felt so good before; it had even seemed to make him feel better. His hands balled into fists and he turned around so that he didn’t have to see her.

“Don’t touch me. I can’t hate you if you touch me,” he said, his voice choked…strangled somehow. Ginny had never heard anything like that ever come from Draco. This was Draco Malfoy – strong, impenetrable. What had she done to him? The ache in his tone only made her tears fall harder.

Draco ran his hands up the wall and rested his forehead against it. He could feel the headache and fever returning even worse than before. But he couldn’t let her see it.

What did I do? How did this happen? How could I have done this to him? Ginny’s mind was racing with terrible thoughts. She didn’t understand how she could have been so blind to it all.

“I think we’re done here, Weasley,” he said, recovering himself. He turned around to face her again, and Ginny could see his fever shining brightly in his eyes again. His face and neck were flushed, and she glimpsed tears in the outer corners of his eyes. She reached out to touch him.

“Don’t touch me. I said we’re done here,” he said with obvious effort. He looked as though he wanted nothing more than to touch her. But, he turned on his heel and started towards the door.

He hadn’t walked more than three steps when he suddenly sank to his knees with a strangled cry of pain. He sprawled out on the floor, eyes fluttering as he tried to focus on something. Ginny ran up to him and knelt down quickly beside him again. “Go – get – Severus,” he hissed between wracking shivers. Ginny didn’t need another word.

She ran into the hallway and started sprinting toward the teacher’s quarters. She wasn’t sure what time it was, but she figured someone would be there and would be able to find Snape for her. Luckily, Snape was on patrol that night, so she ran headlong into him when she rounded the corner. He knocked her soundly to the ground, but she barely felt it. She just stood up quickly again.

“Professor, it’s Draco, he’s sick, you have to help him!” she gasped out. Snape looked at her darkly, but hurried after her as she ran back to the Room of Requirement. He opened the door and seeing Draco passed out on the floor, immediately conjured a stretcher, levitated it, and brought Draco to the Hospital Wing.

Ginny shoved herself into the Wing after Snape and took a seat next to the bed Snape put Draco in. Not caring who saw or what might happen, she took Draco’s hand in hers. She didn’t notice as Madam Pomfrey came running out of her quarters in her dressing gown, nor did she pay any attention as Snape took the frantic medi-witch by her arm and dragged her into her office. After a few moments, the two emerged, Poppy looking only slightly grim and Snape with a full-fledged smirk on his face. Ginny did notice, however, when Snape started to leave the room.

“Where are you going? Is no one going to fix him?” she said, almost hysterically.

Snape stared at her with a look of amusement in his normally stoic eyes, but he did not answer. Pomfrey huffed impatiently, but started looking through her stores for a fever reduction potion – not that it would particularly do much good.

“Do you think that this is funny, Snape?”

“10 points from Gryffindor for your impertinence, Miss Weasley,” he said, the trace of amusement still readily apparent. He walked over to Ginny in the chair. “He’ll be all right.”

Ginny, not letting go of Draco’s hand, reached out with her other hand to grab Snape’s arm. “You’re his godfather, aren’t you going to do something?” she asked, incredulously.

Snape raised a knowing eyebrow and said, “If you’ll kindly let go my arm, I will be able to retrieve the antidote that much more quickly, Miss Weasley.”

Ginny let him go and returned her gaze to Draco. He looked so pathetic; his body was still shaking and his eyes were shut tight against the fever. And yet, Ginny still could not ignore the pins and needles in her hand.

Snape paused in the doorway. “Miss Weasley, if I am correct in my assumption that you planning on staying here until I return, I might suggest you make yourself useful.”

“What can I do?” she asked petulantly. Then she looked around and noticed that Pomfrey had disappeared. “Where the bloody hell did Pomfrey go?”

“No need for language, Miss Weasley. If you’d rather he continue to suffer, I can just stand here until your childish tone disappears long enough for me to explain.”

She sighed. “What can I do?”

“Get into the bed and hold him. I’ll be along in a minute.” He swept out of the room before she had a chance to answer.

Ginny was thunderstruck. What on earth could that possibly do? It was positively indecent and coming as a suggestion from Snape no less? However, none of the thoughts in her rational brain seemed to matter, as within seconds, Ginny found herself laying in the bed, Draco fitting perfectly up against her with his arms around her stomach. She let out a long shuddering breath. She was wholly on fire.

----

Note: Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love) belongs to Cole Porter.
C Diminshed by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Eleven – C Diminished


Morning broke very late for her that day, but as Ginny’s eyes fluttered open, it felt as though she had only been asleep for an hour or so. In that one brief waking moment, Ginny laid there in blissful ignorance. She snuggled tighter into her worn patchwork afghan, but then realization surged through her. She sat up quickly and was immediately forced back down. It felt like gravity was weighing even more heavily on her than normally. Her body was almost a dead-weight to her.

Fear blanketed her, and she looked around. Jordi and Elizabeth were standing by her bed talking to one another in low voices, but they stopped and rushed into action when they noticed that Ginny was awake. Elizabeth ran to the front of the bed and lifted Ginny into a sitting position, while Jordi grabbed a vial of pale blue liquid from the desk.

Ginny tried to speak, but even her mouth seemed incapable of working properly to form words. Elizabeth opened her mouth gently, and Jordi forced the contents of the vial down Ginny’s throat. Ginny coughed and spluttered for a moment, but swallowed. After about ten minutes, she was finally able to speak again. Her body felt almost normal again.

“Where’s Draco?” she asked hoarsely, just then noticing that she was in her own room and not the hospital wing. She remembered being told to lie down next to Draco, remembered him immediately pressing against her and embracing her, remembered feeling like her body was on fire, and then nothing…

Jordi and Elizabeth exchanged worried glances, but the smile on Jordi’s face when she turned back to Ginny gave her away. “Draco is okay, Gin. Pomfrey gave him clearance to leave the hospital this morning.”

“Okay, then how did I get back here? Draco and I were practicing and then he got sick and Snape took him to the hospital wing and then…” she trailed off. So many questions were plaguing her mind, the most pressing of which was why it felt so good to have been laying next to Draco.

“Snape carried you in here at around midnight last night, Ginny. The whole Tower was in a bloody uproar about it. Charlie nearly went off his nut when he saw how limp you were. It was…it was really scary,” Elizabeth said, voice trailing off into a whisper.

“Snape brought me back here? Wait, I don’t understand. What exactly happened?” Ginny got out of the bed, but stumbled a little bit as she tried to walk toward the door. Elizabeth caught her and forced her to sit back down again.

“Snape said that you’re going to be a little weak until the potion is able to fully run through your veins.”

Ginny shot her a dirty look, but as she was really helpless to argue, she pulled herself further back onto the bed again. She motioned for Elizabeth and Jordi to join her there. They sat down, and Ginny calmly asked them, “Will you please tell me everything that happened from the time Snape brought me here until this morning?”

Jordi sighed. “Charlie came back in here at around ten o’clock. He said that you were going to join us up here in about twenty minutes so we could go over Charms or something. I got a little suspicious, but I figured you were just talking things through with Draco.”

“Suspicious about what, Jordi?” Elizabeth interrupted, but Jordi silenced her with a look.

“When you didn’t come back, we started to get a little nervous, but I told Charlie that it must just have been taking a little longer than you thought it would. But eleven o’clock rolled around, and then eleven thirty and eleven forty-five without any word from you, and Charlie started tweaking out. He assumed the worst, but I told him that I was sure you were alright. Then at about five past midnight, the portrait hole opened and Snape came in carrying you,” explained Jordi.

“You looked like a rag doll or something, Gin, it was terrifying. But, Snape had a weird smirk on his face. Charlie ran up to him and tried to grab you away from him, but Snape wouldn’t let him. So Charlie went into his suite and hasn’t come out since,” Elizabeth added.

“Snape carried you into the dorms and put you on your bed. Then he handed me the potion and told us to give it to you when you woke up in the morning. He said you’d feel really weak for about an hour while the potion worked its way through your body, but then you would be okay. But he didn’t tell us anything about what caused all this,” Jordi finished. “So would you mind explaining what the bloody hell happened to you?”

Ginny had listened to the explanation with a stoic expression on her face. Then her eyes narrowed and she bit down on her bottom lip to quell the obscenities that threatened to burst out. She took a deep breath and began. She described how she and Charlie had found Draco in the Room of Requirement, how she had knelt by him noticing how feverish he seemed in his sleep. She told them about how Draco had embraced her when he woke and how she had felt like her body was going to explode with pleasure. She mentioned how he seemed to feel better and could even play, but then how the fever returned. She smirked a little when she told them about how Charlie had been all over her and Draco had defended her, but then she got to the part where Draco fell ill again. She told them how Snape had brought Draco to the hospital and then Pomfrey disappeared. Then she hesistated, not particularly wanting to tell the girls about what had happened next.

“Wow,” Elizabeth said breathlessly.

Jordi raised a questioning eyebrow. “And that was all? I believe something is missing.”

“You know me too well, Jordi, it’s really quite frightening,” Ginny quipped. “Well, I was sitting next to the bed, holding Draco’s hand, and Snape told me he was going to get the antidote, but that I had to get into the bed with Draco and hold him.”

Elizabeth’s mouth dropped, incredulous at how improper the suggestion was. “And did you do it?”

“It was almost like I couldn’t stop myself. I climbed into the bed and, within a second, Draco was pressed up against me with his arms around me. And I felt that same strange fiery sensation…and that’s all I can remember,” she finished, looking away from the girls.

Elizabeth couldn’t speak but to make stupid little noises. But, Jordi looked deep in thought. She started chewing furiously on her thumbnail.

“Jordi, what?”

“It has to be – but he would have had to – then again it makes sense…oh you are joking!” She was talking mainly to herself, but suddenly recognition flashed over her features. “I know what happened!”

Elizabeth then turned her shocked gaze on Jordi and Ginny scooted forward. “How could you possibly know what happened?” Ginny asked.

Jordi flashed her a knowing smile. “It was the Dionysus Potion.”

Ginny cocked her head, while Elizabeth, not having taken Advanced Potions, was completely lost. “Explain,” Ginny commanded.

Jordi laughed for a moment, finding the situation unbelievably comical. Jordi was a Muggle-born witch, only the second one in her entire family line, and for her to be explaining a potion to two pureblood witches almost had her in stitches. Of course, Jordi had always been a very diligent Potionsmaker, and in fact, she hoped to make her wizarding career out of it.

“Ginny, I’m surprised you didn’t figure it out yourself…this is probably going to be on the Potions N.E.W.T. But anyway, the Dionysus Potion is a very potent--”

“Binding potion,” Ginny finished for her. “I know that, but that doesn’t explain what happened.”

“You asked me to explain, Gin, so let me explain!” she exclaimed, but her tone was more of teasing than anger. Ginny huffed impatiently, but folded her arms over her chest and allowed Jordi to continue.

“The Dionysus Potion is a very potent Binding potion. The ingredients are total opposites at first, but when mixed together with the right stimulant and sealed by the phoenix tears, they fuse together and can, if an antidote isn't administered, Bind something forever.”

Ginny vaguely remembered reading all that in her Potions text. Even more so, however, she remembered the effects of the potion because it was used on Harry. They Bound Harry’s spirit inside his body, so that he could effectively kill the Dark Lord without causing damage to himself. It had worked, but Ginny couldn’t help but wonder if the potion and antidote had done some permanent damage to Harry, as evidenced by his strange behavior towards herself. But she forced herself to pay attention to Jordi’s explanation.

“However, under a specific set of circumstances, making the potion can be a very powerful…aphrodisiac,” Jordi said, mischievously winking at Ginny. “I think we can safely say that when you and Draco came together to make the potion, those circumstances were met.”

Elizabeth started giggling. Ginny just stared at Jordi, highly not amused. Jordi continued, “Gin, you described how tingly you felt while you were making it and how you randomly grabbed his hand while the phoenix was singing.”

“That would actually explain a lot,” Ginny admitted slowly. Realization was dawning inside her. “That would explain why I kissed him even though I was with Charlie and why it felt so electric every time I touched him!”

“Ginny!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “You kissed Draco Malfoy and you didn’t tell me!”

“Well if what Jordi says is true, it wasn’t my fault that I kissed him. I was under the influence of the potion. This makes me feel so much better,” Ginny said, although it actually made her feel quite worse. The sensations she felt with Draco were artificial…she didn’t like that one bit.

“Actually, that’s not entirely accurate,” Jordi said quietly. Ginny and Elizabeth focused their attention on Jordi once again. “I said you had to satisfy the circumstances…and the circumstances dictate that in fact you and Draco are…well…” she trailed off.

“What? You can’t just leave it there,” Elizabeth cried. She was now as thoroughly interested as she had been in Matthew Davies earlier that week.

“When two people work on the Dionysus potion together, they are often creating a bond as strong as the one in the cauldron between them. But when the two people making it are of certain dispositions, that is when the aphrodisiac kicks in. They are two people, as unlike each other as night and day, who share one common element and a very deep-seated passion for it and…each other.”

“Oh.” It was all Ginny could say.

“Wait, I’m confused, does this mean that…oh.” Elizabeth looked back and forth between Ginny and Jordi. “This is like a bleeding soap opera. We just need Ginny’s long lost twin sister to walk in the door.”

As if on cue, the door to the girls dorm opened, but it was not Ginny’s long lost twin sister, but Professor Snape. He walked into the room and, seeing Ginny was awake, smirked. He was twisting another vial of the blue liquid in his long fingers.

“Glad to see that you survived the night, Miss Weasley. I had hoped that you would wake earlier, but then again, he Bound himself to you pretty tightly.”

“So Draco did test the potion, eh Professor?” Jordi asked.

“So it would seem, Miss Walsh,” he answered. “Incidentally, you are the only one who got full marks on your paper and potion sample. Are you as in-depth on all your other assignments?”

“Afraid not, sir. Potions capture my fancy much more than anything else.”

“Excuse me,” Ginny cut in, “but did you say that Draco Bound himself to me?”

“I hadn’t gotten that far yet, Professor. I had just finished explaining about the…side effects of creating the potion,” Jordi said, rolling her eyes. “Oi, Lizzie, maybe we’d better go see if Charlie has stopped sulking yet.”

“No, I want to know what happens!” Elizabeth said. Jordi dragged the poor girl off the bed and shooed her out into the hallway. “We’ll be back in a tic, Gin.”

Snape handed Ginny the vial and took a seat at a desk chair. Ginny stared him down beadily. “So, are you going to tell me what happened, or am I going to have to guess?”

“Easy, Miss Weasley, wouldn’t want to upset your fragile nerves.”

“Oh for Merlin’s sake, will you stop beating around the bush? How did he Bind himself to me?”

Snape raised an eyebrow, but began explaining. “It appears that after you left the dungeon after your detention, the desire you had created by brewing the potion together was at a fever-pitch. Draco was drawn to the potion, and likewise you would have been if he had left first, and he drank some without another thought. And, since his thoughts were overwhelmed with you, he was Bound to you.”

“And that is what made him sick? Not being able to be near me?”

“Not being able to touch you. Did you not notice how his fever and headache dissipated when you touched? Draco knew it as well; that is why when you woke him, he hugged you.”

“How do you know about that?”

“He told me so this morning, after I had admonished him properly for expressly going against my orders.”

“Your orders?”

Snape smirked. “I forbade him from making the potion with you. I should have known he would disobey me. I know him a lot better than he knows himself.”

Ginny contemplated that for a moment and then dismissed it with an airy wave of her hand. “Get back to the Binding. So when he hugged me, it made him feel better. I can only assume that’s why you made me lay with him in the hospital wing.”

“Very good, Miss Weasley. If only you caught on this quickly in class,” he said, sarcastically. “That also explains why you are so drained this morning. Draco drew a lot out of you in a small amount of time. The potion I gave you will last you until the end of the day. Take the other one tomorrow, and you should be fully back to normal.” Snape got up then and made for the door.

“Wait, are we still…or is he still…”

“I gave him the antidote last night before I brought you back here. He is no longer Bound to you.”

Ginny nodded slowly. Then why did she still feel so tingly at the mere thought of Draco? She decided that she had to see him again to find out exactly what was going on.

Snape opened the door to the dorm and Elizabeth fell in against him. She looked up as he caught her with a look of mild amusement on his face. She reddened in utter embarrassment and straightened herself. “So you’re through talking then?”

He stared pointedly at her, and then swept past her out the door. She bounded into the room and jumped back onto the bed. Jordi followed a few seconds later.

“So was I right? Did he Bind himself to you?”

“Yes,” Ginny answered distantly. Elizabeth squealed next to her and hugged Ginny sideways.

“That is the most weirdly romantic thing I have ever heard.”

“What are you going to do, Gin?” Jordi asked.

Ginny knew exactly to what Jordi was referring. The answer was so blatantly obvious, but Ginny was engaged in an absolute war in her mind. In the end, she came to the conclusion that there was no need for her to be questioning herself. Her heart may have led her in the wrong direction before, but she had grown up. And this time, somehow she knew that she was not wrong.

“I’m going to undo something,” she replied, determination evident. Elizabeth looked confused again, but Jordi just smiled and nodded her encouragement. Ginny returned the smile, got up quickly and, after a brief unsteady moment, left the room walking straight-backed and proud.

----

Charlie was pacing up and down the length of the common room. Since a few moments before when Jordi and Elizabeth had practically knocked down his door, telling him that Ginny was awake, and more importantly okay, he had shoved himself into some clothing and then ran out into the common area. He had wanted to run straight up to Ginny’s room, but he knew the staircase would melt away from him. So he contented himself with his pacing, waiting for Ginny to finally emerge. He would hold her, kiss her, and make sure that she never scared him like that ever again.

After what felt like an eternity, she came down the stairs walking sedately. Her face was oddly devoid of emotion, and it took all Charlie had in him to keep from rushing up the stairs and grabbing her right there.

“Ginny!” he called, when the wait seemed like it wanted to rip him apart inside. “Ginny, thank Merlin you’re all right! I was so worried!” He dashed over to her as soon as she was at the bottom of the stairs. Ginny put up a hand, however, to keep him from touching her.

“I have to talk to you,” she said seriously. She brushed past him and looked around the common room. Lunch had just ended, so most of the students were enjoying their Sunday somewhere on the castle grounds. The weather outside was positively gorgeous. Ginny was glad of it; the common room was empty except for the two of them.

“Talk indeed,” Charlie said, jokingly. “When Snape dragged you in here last night, I was so scared for you. Will you tell me what happened?”

Ginny took a seat on the large stuffed couch in front of the fireplace. She drew her knees up to her chest and rested her chin there. Charlie came and sat down next to her, turning her body to face him, but she looked purposefully away. “I guess we can start there,” she said quietly.

“Ginny, what’s the matter?” Charlie’s tone grew serious. “Will you please tell me what happened to you last night?”

Ginny ran a slightly shaking hand through her long red hair. She gripped tightly behind her head. “It starts with my detention two days ago.” Charlie reached out to take her hand from behind her head, but she shook it free. “Please don’t touch me right now.”

Charlie furrowed his brow, but let his hands drop into his lap. Ginny turned finally to look at him. “Gin, what - ”
Ginny cut him off by placing a hand in front of his mouth. “I don’t want to be with you anymore. I don’t think I ever did.” Charlie took her hand and roughly cast it aside.

“What are you talking about?”

Ginny sighed. An odd thought crossed her mind – why was she not crying? It seemed like an occasion for crying. But she could not. She could find no reason to cry. “We have to end this,” she said matter-of-factly.

Charlie pushed himself off the couch wildly and shouted, tone reaching hysterics, “Where did this come from? We were fine yesterday! We were totally fine! And today after some weird thing that you won’t tell me about you’re breaking up with me! Does this have to do with…” and here he spoke very quietly, “what happened with Malfoy last night, Ginny?”

Ginny had only reacted inwardly to Charlie’s outburst. She wasn’t afraid; she knew Charlie would never hurt her no matter how angry he was. First and foremost, Charlie was her friend. She took a deep breath and when she spoke, it was in a dull, flat voice devoid of any emotion whatsoever.
She described to Charlie everything that had happened that weekend, leaving nothing out. She told him about brewing the Dionysus potion at her detention, about kissing Draco afterwards, about healing him with her touch, and about the Binding. When she had finished, she looked straight up and Charlie. He sat down lifelessly next to her.

“So let me get this straight, Ginny, let me see if I have it all down pat. Because you were bewitched by a potion that you put together with Malfoy, now you fancy yourself in love with him. Do I have it?”

Ginny narrowed her eyes at him. “No, you’ve managed to completely skewer it. Did you even listen to anything I just said?” she said evenly.

“Did you think it was funny? Dangling me on a string like that while you dallied about with Malfoy? I’ll bet you two had a good laugh after I left last night.”

“I never meant to string you along. I was just confused and misguided and I’m sorry for that, but everything is clear now. And I should never have gotten involved with you when my feelings so clearly lay elsewhere.”

“Ginevra Weasley, you are nothing but a conniving bitch!” he spat, standing up and starting to walk away.

Ginny was momentarily stunned by his cruel words, but she shook it off. “Charlie! I am trying to make this right, but I can’t do that if you walk away. You need to understand. Hell, I need to understand it myself. But I can’t fix it if you don’t hear me out.”

Charlie turned around again, angry tears shining in his eyes. “What is there to say? You don’t want me, and you want that stupid shit instead. Why did you even let this begin if you wanted him all along? Well, why don’t you run off to Malfoy, eh? I bet he just can’t wait for my leftovers,” he said meanly.

“Don’t you dare speak of him that way! He’s been nothing but a gentleman throughout this whole sorry affair.”

“A gentleman?” he said, reaching a hand up to brush away a lock of hair from in front of Ginny’s eyes, but she backed away. He laughed. “A real gentleman – snogging a girl what’s already taken – that’s nothing but bad form, Ginny. Hardly gentleman-like.”

“I’m so – no, no I’m through apologizing. There’s no point. You’re going to think what you want, and that is just fine with me. But we are finished, and if I were you, I would stay away for a while.” With that, Ginny turned on her heel and left the common room. She paused briefly in the hall, waiting to see if Charlie would follow her. When he didn’t, she found herself laughing. She sank down against the wall, laughing hysterically for about a minute. Then, she got up and walked down the hallway to look for Draco.

She felt free. A huge grin kept springing to her lips and her cheeks kept growing hot as she blushed. She asked randomly passing people if they’d seen Draco, and finally a fourth year Ravenclaw mentioned having seen him out near Hagrid’s hut. With a spring in her step, Ginny began to make her way out onto the grounds.

----

Draco was working in Hagrid’s garden. He languidly moved his wand through the air blasting out the weeds. It was good, cathartic work. His energy had grown exponentially since that morning when Severus had administered the last of the antidote to the Dionysus. But Draco did not want to think about that. He felt like a fool. He had always excelled at Potions in school, so how could he have ignored the warning signs? He had known that Ginny and himself could possibly satisfy the conditions, but he had argued fiercely against it. He might have felt something for Ginny, and it might be considered passionate, but Ginny was with Lovett – therefore she could hardly be passionate about Draco.

He ran an agitated hand through his gelled hair, effectively mussing it. He rolled his eyes, and then continued working in the garden. He didn’t notice Ginny standing behind him until she placed a hand on his shoulder. He jumped at her touch as sparks of electricity crackled inside him. He turned around abruptly to face her.

“We need to talk,” she said quietly.

“What about?”

“You know perfectly well what,” she answered. She took him by the hand and led him out of the garden. They reached a small grove of trees that afforded them a little privacy. Ginny took a moment to realize just how beautiful the early-spring weather was. The sun was just barely starting its descent, and many of the students were still running around the grounds or making their way over to the Quidditch pitch. Ginny smiled as she sat down in the shade of the trees. Draco remained standing, so Ginny sighed and stood back up again.

A sudden attack of shyness overtook her just then, and she blushed, not exactly knowing where to begin.

“If you haven’t anything to say, I have work to do,” he said, but showed no sign of wanting to leave. His fingers itched; he wanted to take her right there and kiss her, or even just hold her close and never let her go. He shook his head trying to rid his betraying body of its desires and just focus on the clear thoughts running through his head. She was still with that bloody tosser; he would not allow himself to follow her like a lovesick puppy for the rest of his days.

“You know what happened with that potion, and what happened when we made it.”

“Yes,” he answered quietly.

“Why did you help me make it then?” she asked, stepping closer to him.

“I couldn’t help it,” he said, voice even softer than before. Then he said in his normal tone, “It doesn’t matter what happened. Obviously you were bewitched and that is that. Now hadn’t you better be getting along to your boyfriend? I’m sure he’s worried sick over you.” He turned to go, but Ginny ran around and stood in front of him.

“Why does everyone run away from me when I try to talk seriously with them? Draco, Charlie and I are through. I broke it off,” she said defiantly.

Draco raised his eyebrows, considering this for a moment. Then narrowed his eyes at her and said, “So you run right off to me for a rebound snog, is that it?” Even as he said the words, his insides twisted in protest. That was not how he felt and his body, his heart, knew it. But he was too proud, much too proud. He would not let her affect him like that.

Ginny shook her head, frustrated at his restraint. All she wanted to do was touch him, claim him for her own, but he was making excuses. “That isn’t right and you know it. Draco, this,” she gestured between them, “doesn’t happen everyday. Why can’t you just give in? I can see it in your eyes. What is so wrong?”

He looked her up and down for a moment and then burst out, “In case I haven’t already made it impossibly clear, let me spell it out for you. I’m attracted to you, Ginny. I want you more than I have ever wanted anything. And it isn’t only your talent. It’s your spark and your sincerity and the way you just wouldn’t leave me alone and the way…the way you draw out something in me that I didn’t even know was there until you came along.”

“Then why--”

“Why can’t we be together? It’s because of what I just told you – I want you. And I can’t want you.”

“And why not? Is it because I’m a Weasley? I had thought we were past all that. Your family pitched you out, Draco, how can you still hang onto those ridiculous pureblooded notions of yours!”

Draco turned away from her. “People don’t change, Ginny,” he said quietly. Inside, Draco wanted to drop down on his knees right there and latch onto her legs, holding her there with him forever. But his pride had taken a severe hit. He wouldn’t allow himself to confess his true reason for not wanting to be with her. He considered it childish and ridiculous, what he was feeling, so it was better for her to think him a cold-hearted pureblood racist than to know the truth.

Ginny walked up behind him and wrapped her small arms around his waist. “I refuse to accept that, Draco,” she said simply into his back. He allowed her to remain there for a moment, before he disentangled himself from her grip. He turned around to face her, mask of indifference firmly in place.

“Must you continue to throw yourself at me, Weasel? It’s highly unbecoming,” he said, voice dripping with disdain.

Ginny looked intently at him for a moment. Then she slapped him across his face. “Why do you have to pretend? Why does it matter? I know I’ve been stupid, latching myself on Charlie the way I did, but I only did it because I was afraid of you. Well I’m no longer afraid, Draco…I suggest you stop being afraid of me.” Ginny felt very empowered. She smiled as Draco’s hand flew up to his cheek, his mouth dropping in a highly un-Malfoy-like gesture.

Ginny seized that moment to draw him against her and kiss him swiftly. She smiled against his mouth as the electricity she had attributed to the potion was still there. That meant it was true – there was passion between them. She shivered slightly, and Draco wrapped her in his work robes, pressing her tightly against him. He continued to kiss her, and she lightly separated his lips with her tongue.

But this time, it was Draco who stopped the kiss. He let go of her and stepped backward until he was leaning casually against a tree. He crossed his arms over his chest. “Don’t think that changed anything, Ginny. I’m not about to jump into anything with some little girl who can’t make up her mind.”

“I’m not a little girl, Draco, so don’t patronize me.” She walked up so she was standing close to him again. “And don’t even pretend that you didn’t feel it. It’s electric, what we have between us, how can you ignore it?”

Draco took a deep breath – she was standing much too close. “Just forget it, Ginny, it’s over. Just forget it.” With that, he brushed past her, took his wand out of his pocket, and began blasting apart the weeds again.

Ginny shook her head sadly. She started back toward the castle, but she paused for a moment. “When are you going to stop fighting, Draco? The war is over…it’s time for peace,” she said.

When he didn’t answer, Ginny continued walking back to the castle. Draco waited until she had disappeared through the doors before angrily throwing his wand to the ground. He stepped out of the garden and laid down in the grass beneath a large tree. He stared up at the clouds. When am I going to stop fighting? he thought.

---

Note: “His fingers itched” is from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet which very obviously does not belong to me.
Crowd Me With Love by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Twelve – Crowd Me With Love


March passed into April with a flurry of torrential rain that mirrored exactly the way Draco was feeling. He’d been avoiding the music, not even allowing himself to play because it reminded him of her. He’d always been able to distance himself from things before, but this was different. The feelings…no they weren’t feelings…pangs in his chest every time he heard some stray strand of melody or intoxicating rhythm just begging to put into his composition did nothing to soothe his frazzled state.

It was disgusting, he told himself, that he should be so thoroughly shaken by some girl. Detachment – hadn’t that been what father had always prided him on? One couldn’t very well carry on with frivolous things like emotions; emotions were for the weak-spirited. Draco had taken on a dangerous job during the war. Spying was not to be taken lightly, and he hadn’t even had the Order to confide in like Snape had. No one had known of Draco’s duplicity except for Snape and Dumbledore, as they thought if Snape was somehow caught, they would at least have someone on the inside and the less people that knew it, the more advantage they had.

So Draco had submerged himself in the shark tank with the scent of blood all over him. It took him some time to properly disengage, but when he did, he mastered it. The Death Eaters could not touch his deceitful mind. He was like an impenetrable fortress. But even the most heavily guarded places have weaknesses, and Draco’s fašade had come crumbling down one fateful day. He had managed to escape, but only just, and since then he had been at Hogwarts.

It all felt so long ago, though it was really only about a year and half, and Draco sometimes even wondered if it had happened at all. Everything was so different now.

He walked down the hallway, making his way to Snape’s dungeon classroom. Snape had requested that Draco help him reorganize his stores and replenish anything if need be. A frown came unbidden to his lips; potions were a fantastic distraction – or at least they used to be. He was startled out of his musings when someone roughly bumped him on their way past.

“Pardon me, mate.” Charlie’s smarmy tone was enough to make Draco want to forego his wand and punch the disgusting prat square on the jaw. But that was hardly detachment, so Draco just ignored him and continued walking.

“What? Got nothing to say, have you?” Charlie said, scoffing.

Draco turned around slowly, raising one amused eyebrow. “Look at that, your jealousy is showing, Lovett. Can I help it if your possessive vice-grip was no match for my considerable charm?”

Charlie’s eyes narrowed menacingly. “Maybe Ginny thinks you’re a gentleman, but you are as transparent as a ghost. I can see right through you, you slimy git, and when you hurt Ginny, just know that I’ll take care of you before the first tear falls.”

“My, my, that was almost poetry, Lovett. You ought to try that on Weasley, as your manhandling didn’t seem to make her weak at the knees.”

Charlie took out his wand. “Consider yourself warned, Malfoy. Stay away from Ginny.”

“Will do, Lovett,” Draco answered, winking. Then he spun around and started walking towards Snape’s classroom again, scowl firmly in place. How dare that little sod presume to threaten him? No wonder Ginny had pitched him; he was volatile and dangerous. Draco made a mental note to warn Ginny about him…and then furiously erased it. She didn’t need his help.

“Did you just pick up this habit, or have you always talked to yourself, Draco?” his godfather asked, reaching out a hand to draw the distracted youth into the classroom before he passed it by completely.

----

Ginny, Jordi, and Elizabeth were in the library studying feverishly for the upcoming N.E.W.Ts; or, more likely, Jordi and Elizabeth were studying feverishly and Ginny was lost in thoughts of Draco.

“I just don’t get it,” she broke in, exasperated, to Elizabeth and Jordi’s argument over the correct way to pronounce the Patronus charm. “For all that’s happened, how can he still be so stupidly stubborn?”

Jordi and Elizabeth exchanged a glance, and then Elizabeth said, “Ginny, this is Malfoy we’re talking about. That is the kind of person he’s always been.”

“I know, but if you could have just seen him. It was, Merlin, it was heart-breaking.”

Jordi smirked at Elizabeth. “He has been walking around like a bleeding storm cloud, taking away points from random Gryffindors. And earlier today, I was in Snape’s classroom helping him brew some blood-replenishing potion for Pomfrey when Draco walked by. Snape dragged him into the classroom, and well, quite unceremoniously kicked me out when Draco started ranting about a certain red-haired sprite who ‘won’t bloody leave me the hell alone!’ or something to that effect.”

“You were alone with Snape!” and “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier, Jordi!” issued simultaneously from the two other girls. Jordi just laughed at their expressions and turned her attention to her Charms theory practice N.E.W.T.

“Jordi Moira Walsh, you tell me right this instant what you were doing alone in Snape’s classroom?”

“Oh sod that Liz, Jordi, tell me what Draco said!”

“N.E.W.Ts, ladies, remember? It’s April now, we have barely a month and half before the exams start.”

“You’re insufferable! Tell me Jordi, please?” Ginny wheedled. Jordi rolled her eyes, but laughed.

“Well Draco was talking to himself out in the hall and Snape pulled him into the room. Draco said hi to me and then he sat there like a petulant little child for a few minutes while Snape and I distilled the Murtlap essence, and then Draco yelled out ‘How do you do it?’ Snape glared at him for disturbing us because you know how quiet it has to be when you’re making potions. Then Draco said, ‘no, really, how can you stand it? Day after day, doesn’t it just eat away at you?’ Snape glanced over at me, and I pretended that I wasn’t really paying attention. He got up and walked over to Draco, and then Draco said ‘she won’t bloody leave me the hell alone and I can’t get the sight of her out of my head!’ Well, that’s when Snape glared me out the door, so I wasn’t able to hear anymore of it.”

Ginny was speechless. Elizabeth squealed, which earned them a loud shush from the librarian. Jordi just smiled at Ginny’s reaction. Then, Ginny stood up and said, “I have to go.”

Jordi waved as Ginny left and then turned back to her friend to explain just exactly what she was doing alone with Snape in a classroom. “Really, Lizzie, I was just giving him a hand with replenishing his stores…”

----

Rationalizing that he would never be able to forget her if that siren song didn’t leave his head, Draco drew the sheet music for his composition out of his pockets, studiously ignoring that he’d been carrying it with him, and sat down to work it out. He was nearly finished with the piece, or at least, he presumed to be nearly finished. Sometimes the muse led him in unexpected places.

Minutes ticked away into hours, but the time was not spent idly. Draco looked down at his composition with barely disguised glee; it was quite possibly the greatest thing he had ever accomplished musically. Not quite finished, he still had minor kinks to work out of it, and of course he had to compose the ending. But he was exceedingly proud of himself. Draco glanced around the room and, thoroughly satisfied that he was completely alone, tucked his pencil behind his ear (though he would never admit that he used something so unabashedly Muggle to compose with), pushed his glasses up on top of his head and got up to stretch his aching limbs.

“Bit by bit, putting it together,” he sang quietly to himself, “piece by piece, only way to make a work of art.”

“So, you like Sondheim too?” Ginny asked as she stepped into the room.

Draco paused in his pacing and turned around to stare down the intruder. “He’s a brilliant composer. The things he does with timing and rhythm are nothing short of--”

“Magic?” Ginny finished for him. Then she changed the subject. “How are you?” she asked casually.

“Fine,” he answered. “Did you need something?” he asked sardonically, wishing she would just go away. If he didn’t have to see her, then he could detach; it was really quite simple, if only she’d comply with her end.

“It’s Saturday night – time for practice. I have a lot I want to work on,” she said, ensuring that her meaning would not be lost on him.

Draco rolled his eyes and began to walk over to the piano. “Well, I’m afraid you’ll have to save it for another day. I was ensured privacy by the Headmaster, and privacy is what I will get.”

“Nice try,” Ginny said, “but you aren’t getting rid of me that easily, Draco. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Ginny, look, I already told you how I felt, and it isn’t going to change just because you want it to.”

“And I already told you that I refuse to accept your lame reasoning,” she said, a very Slytherin smirk playing at her lips.

Merlin, she is a firecracker, he thought, and he smiled unconsciously. Ginny noticed it and her smirk changed into a genuine smile. “What was that song you were playing before I came in? It was beautiful.”

Draco had to shake off the urge to ignore her question and just kiss her with reckless abandon. He frowned and ordered himself to disengage. It was so easy to do amongst Death Eaters, even in front of his father; why couldn’t he do it for a little girl?

“It’s just something I’ve been working on. Not quite finished yet,” he admitted, reluctantly.

“Well I rather like it,” she said, and then she walked over and sat down on the piano bench.

“Thank you,” he replied, trying to convince himself that no, he was not walking over to the piano, he was not sitting down next to her, he was certainly not playing for her, and he most definitely was not enjoying her singing.

There’s a somebody I’m longing to see
I hope that he turns out to be
Someone to watch over me

Won’t you tell him please to put on some speed
Follow my lead, oh how I need
Someone to watch over me


“I thought you wanted me to go away,” she teased, when the song had finished.

“I did – and still do, Weasley,” he said quietly, ignoring the fact that he began playing again.

Ginny placed on hand on his, stilling it on the keys. He vaguely thought that he should move, but he didn’t. Ginny, encouraged, took his hand into hers, and he didn’t let go.

“People don’t change, Ginny, not just because you want them to,” he said, quietly.

Ginny sighed. “You have. I don’t understand why you won’t admit it, Draco, but you have changed.”

Draco didn’t answer. He started to get up, but Ginny gripped his arm, stopping him.

“Don’t walk away again,” she said quietly, fixing him with an intense stare.

“Give up, Ginny!” he exploded, suddenly, disengaging from her grip. He walked a few feet away. “Just give up already. Don’t you understand that it will never ever work?”

Ginny closed her eyes for a second after his outburst. “You’re probably right,” she answered. Draco looked stricken until she continued. “But why don’t we try anyway?”

Draco didn’t say anything. He just walked slowly back to the piano and sat down, beginning to play something.

Ginny did not recognize the modern melody, and if it had words, she didn’t know them. But as soon as Draco had pierced her with that longing stare of his, the music seemed to invade her every pore and she began to sing the thoughts in her head.

Pride can stand a thousand trials
The strong will never fail
But watching stars without you
My soul cried

Heaving heart is full of pain
Oh, oh the aching
‘Cuz I’m kissing you, oh
I’m kissing you, oh
Touch me deep, pure and true
Give to me forever
‘Cuz I’m kissing you, oh
I’m kissing you, oh


The song reached an instrumental interlude and Ginny took the opportunity to knock down Draco’s walls. He had said that he loved the way she just wouldn’t leave him alone. Well, she wasn’t about to leave him alone any time soon. She stood behind him, muttered a charm to remove the gel from his hair, and then slid her hands in to give him a head massage, fingers drifting casually around from behind his ears to the nape of his neck and up to the crown of his head. With no trace of gel, she was surprised to find that his hair was actually quite curly. He shivered from the light caresses, but then he tried to twist out of her touch. She stopped him by starting to sing again.

Where are you now?
Where are you now?
‘Cuz I’m, oh I’m kissing you
I’m kissing you oh, oh!


Ginny finally disengaged her fingers, as her final beautiful note died out on the air. Draco slowly spun around on the piano bench until he was facing her, an unreadable look on his face, but Ginny refused to waver.

“I’m not going to leave you alone. I can be just as stubborn as you are,” she said quietly. Draco continued to look up at her, eyes unfathomable. Ginny stared back, and said with unflinching honesty, “I want only you, and I think I always have.”

Draco put a hand up to his mouth and appeared to the think deeply for a moment. Millions of thoughts ran through his head, millions of reasons why he should just get up and walk away, but he didn’t. He stood up abruptly, towering over Ginny. He drew her into his arms and lifted her up so that she was eye to eye with him. “I guess I can’t fight forever.”

Ginny smiled and then threw her head back, laughing almost giddily. “I claim this victory for Gryffindor,” she said cheekily, as Draco set her down gingerly and looked deeply into her eyes. He was almost surprised by the warmth coming from them. She was so receptive, and he could tell just from touching her that she was meant for him and for him alone. But still, he had to be certain.

“Ginny, are you sure?”

“I’ve never been surer about anything.”

Draco looked her up and down and then smiled, the most real and honest smile he ever had. He placed a hand under her chin and tilted her head up. She stood on tiptoe and met his lips eagerly, unable to suppress a sigh of contentment. Draco smiled against her mouth and then lifted her up again. She wrapped her legs around his waist to give him better leverage, and he backed them up until they were pressed against the wall. He kissed her soundly. He felt unrestrainedly, unbelievably, almost unbearably good.

After about five minutes of blissful snogging, Draco pulled away and set Ginny down again. He stepped away to increase the distance between them. “I shouldn’t have let that happen,” he said quietly.

Ginny’s eyes widened. “And why not? I thought I made myself clea--”

“Well, for starters, I promised Lovett I’d stay away from you,” he interrupted, eyes twinkling with mirth. “I do believe I am now doomed to die by his wand,” he added dramatically.

“You are absolutely wicked!” she cried, running to close the distance back up. He caught her with a laugh and dipped her low. She lifted her head to kiss him. Then he straightened her again.

“As much fun as we’re having, I think you should get back to your dorm. It’s getting late and I expect those friends of yours are just waiting to hear the latest part of this saga.”

Ginny sighed, but took his hand, leading him out of the room. “Walk me back,” she said. He smirked and slipped an arm around her waist.

They walked the short way back to Gryffindor Tower in companionable silence, as neither really knew what to say. Ginny paused in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady and said, “I have a request.”

“Yes?”

“Tomorrow, I need you to prove to me that this really happened. I don’t care how; just do it.” Then, she pressed a quick kiss to his lips, said the password, and disappeared through the portrait hole. Sure enough, Jordi and Elizabeth were waiting just inside the common room. Elizabeth fairly dragged Ginny into the room and off to their dorm, practically bursting to see what had happened.

Draco walked back to his quarters in a distracted daze. When he reached his bedroom, he ran a hand through his gel-less, curly hair and smiled. He knew exactly how he would prove it to her the next day. He fell into his bed and, for the first time in months, slept soundly.

----

Note: Chapter title is from Being Alive from Sondheim's COMPANY. The little snippet Draco sang is Putting It Together from Sondheim’s SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Someone to Watch Over Me belongs to George and Ira Gershwin. I’m Kissing You belongs to Des’ree.
Song of Discord by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Thirteen - Song of Discord


The last weekend of April had been designated the final Hogsmeade weekend before exams, and the students were out in full force, taking advantage of the opportunity and the gorgeous spring weather. Ginny, Jordi and Elizabeth, as well as Jordi’s boyfriend Shane Fitzpatrick and his friends were making their way across the grounds.

Jordi and Fitz, as he was always called, led the way hand in hand, followed by Elizabeth between Carter Delacroix and Jacob Ridley - torn as to whom to flirt with more. Ginny and Luna Lovegood brought up the rear with Reggie Baker.

“So you’re going to sing at the Leaving Feast?” Reggie asked Ginny. She was about to answer him when Luna cut in, in that strange dreamy voice of hers.

“Charlie is coming,” she said, staring past them to where, surely enough, Charlie was walking back towards them from the front of the herd of students. Ginny rolled her eyes.

Charlie had acted malicious and ridiculous when he first found out that she and Draco were seeing each other, taunting her behind her back and openly, calling her various derogatory things until Jordi’s boyfriend stepped in. One well-placed hex was all it took. Now Charlie had been trying to win Ginny’s forgiveness again, but she was exceedingly reluctant to do so.

“Hey everyone,” he said quietly, nodding at them before intently seeking out Ginny. He walked quickly back toward her, but Fitz stepped in front of him.

“If you have something to say to Ginny, you can say it to all of us,” he said protectively.

“It’s okay, Fitz, I can handle myself,” Ginny said. She waved her friends up on ahead, with a brief smile to Jordi and Elizabeth to assure them that she would be okay. They only walked a few paces ahead, just in case, however.

She and Charlie walked in silence for a few moments, and Ginny started to feel incredibly impatient. She fiddled with the hem of her tee-shirt. Finally, Charlie spoke up.

“It’s awfully nice out,” he commented.

Ginny stopped them from walking. “I don’t want to talk about the weather with you, Charlie. Say what you want to say and be done with it so I can go have fun with my friends.”

“Ginny, I - I’m sorry. Really, for everything I’ve said and all the things I did, I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted, now if you’ll excuse me,” she said gruffly, starting to brush past him. He grabbed her by the wrist. “Let me go.”

“Ginny, please wait. Let me get you a butterbeer or something so we can talk about this.”

“What is there to say, Charlie? We broke up and then you went on a great bloody rampage to try and destroy my name! You trashed me to anyone and everyone, Charles! And now you expect me to just forgive you because you suddenly had a change of heart? Sorry Charlie, it just doesn’t work that way.”

Ginny shook him off and started to walk away again, to return to the group. Charlie sighed and watched her go, red hair flying in the wind as she caught up with her friends again.

They had reached the Three Broomsticks, and they had all sat down and ordered their drinks when Ginny finally came in. She sat down in a huff next to Fitz and Jordi.

“Did that stupid blighter not learn his lesson, Ginny?” Fitz asked, eyeing the door to see if Charlie had followed them.

“No, no, he’s just a child and I’ve taken care of it,” Ginny answered loftily. The group of friends shared a laugh, but Luna just sat there quietly.

“He’s there at the door,” she said. “He can hear us laughing at him.”

“Well, then he can hear that nobody cares for his presence,” Jacob said loudly.

“Come on, now we’re starting to sound like a bunch of Slytherins,” Elizabeth chastised.

“Oi, not all Slytherins are all that bad,” Ginny added coyly. Jordi poked her in the ribs as she blushed.

Ginny wished Draco was there. He did say he was going to meet her later, but she wanted him there now. She had been finding it increasingly hard to stay away from him for too long. She felt so comfortable and complete when she was with him. But studying for N.E.W.Ts and all the work he had to do around the castle had made it a bit difficult to spend as much time together as they wanted to.

The door to the pub opened and Ginny was disappointed to see it was Charlie, instead of Draco. Charlie walked up to their table and stood hesitantly before them. Fitz cleared his throat and started to say something mean, when Ginny interrupted him.

“What do you want?” she asked evenly.

“I want to make amends,” he answered, eyes downcast. Ginny could see a glint of light at the corner of his eyes; he was crying.

Ginny scooted out of her seat, and, with a quick backward glance to shush the table, she took Charlie by the hand and led him back outside. They walked in silence until they reached the Shrieking Shack where they could be afforded some privacy. She sat down next to him on the little bench and said, “Talk.”

He remained silent for a few moments while she just stared at him. “I don’t have all day, Charlie, so please talk.”

Charlie spoke quietly, but very resolutely. “You have to understand how I felt, Ginny. I felt like you bloody ripped my heart out of my arse. All those years, it all just burned under the surface and when you kissed me, I knew that my waiting had finally paid off. And then to find out that it was all just a misunderstanding…that you stayed with me out of pity, and all the while you wanted someone else…you can’t even know what that feels like.”

“I didn’t stay with you out of pity. I was confused.”

“Yeah, and it broke my heart when you just chucked me like that. I was so worried about you, and all you could say was that it was over. I was sad, I was confused, but mostly I was angry. I hated you for leaving me, and I hate Malfoy for having you, for being the one to make you happy. So, I got a little carried away.”

Ginny stood up, an incredulous look on her face. “A little carried away? You called me a trollop in front of all the 7th years! You wrote my name on the boys’ bathroom wall - and yes I did find out about that. I’m only grateful that not everyone took your side. You could have destroyed me, Charlie, you know that? I got a Howler from my mother about you. Well I am not going to forgive you…your apology is accepted, but I don’t think that I can possibly forgive you.”

“It’s you who should be begging my forgiveness! You are the one that cheated on me!” Charlie yelled, standing up.

“I never cheated on you, Charlie! I may have thought about it, but I never cheated.”

“You kissed Malfoy, Gin, that is the very definition of cheating.”

Ginny fell silent at that. She couldn’t argue because she had kissed Draco while she was seeing Charlie. But somehow she had convinced herself that that was different.

“You’ve never thought about it that way, have you?” he asked, somewhat snidely.

“As a matter of fact, I haven’t. And I don’t intend to now. I’m going.” She turned around to head back to the pub.

“No, Ginny, wait, don’t run off again. This - this isn’t how I wanted things to happen. I want to make this right.”

“Then make it right!”

“I’m trying. Ginny, we were friends for so long, best friends even. Please don’t throw all that away just because I made an unbelievably stupid mistake.”

Ginny considered him carefully, looking deeply into his eyes. There was no doubt that he was sincere; she had always been able to read him like a book. She closed her eyes for a second, and then took a deep breath, cleansing breath.

“Let me make it clear that I am not forgiving you, nor should you forgive me. But if…and this is a big if…if you think that we can put aside what happened, perhaps we can attempt to be friends again.”

“I would really like that, Ginny,” he said, softly. He reached out to touch her hand, but she stepped away.

“I still do not want you to touch me,” she said. He looked disappointed for a second, but he nodded his assent. Ginny gave him a small half-smile. “Let’s go back, okay? I didn’t get to have a butterbeer yet.”

Charlie grinned and motioned for her to lead the way. They walked back into the pub together and sat down with the group again. After a little awkwardness mostly between Fitz and Charlie, they began to settle back into their familiar routine, discussing the upcoming N.E.W.Ts, Quidditch, anything and everything until they began to feel normal again.

----

The group separated around lunchtime. Jordi and Fitz went off alone, Carter, Jacob, Charlie and Reggie went off to Zonko’s, and Elizabeth and Luna decided to get some sweets from Honeydukes. Ginny slipped away to meet up with Draco.
She finally spotted him walking into a small antique bookshop, one that most students tended to overlook. She smiled to herself and hurried to catch up with him.

Draco was browsing the shelves when she walked in. He ran his long fingers along the aged bindings lovingly, not seeking anything out in particular. One finally caught his eye and he took it down from the shelf. It was a leather-bound copy of Shakespeare‘s Sonnets. He opened its pages to inhale the musky scent of antiquity, when Ginny slipped her arms around his waist, pressing her face into his back. He smiled to himself, carefully set the book back on the shelf, and then turned around in her embrace to hug her back.

“Hello,” he said, before bending down to kiss her. She returned the kiss gratefully, but broke away, not wanting to make a scene in the shop. Draco chuckled as she glanced around to make sure no one was watching.

“Not too many people come here, so there shouldn’t be any prying eyes,” he said, before pulling her into a breath-taking kiss again. Ginny moved so that she could press him up against the bookcase and stood up on tiptoe to reach better. He laughed at her display of assertiveness and said, “You’ll disturb the books.”

She giggled and let go of him. “What were you looking at when I came in?”

Draco took Sonnets down from the shelf again and handed it to her. She glanced it over and said, “You continue to surprise me, Draco. There’s so much that I don’t know about you.”

“We’ll just have to get to know each other a little better then,” he said, raising an eyebrow cheekily. She playfully swatted at him for his insinuation, but she knew that he was only joking.

“Tonight is the big house party for all the seventh years before we buckle down for the N.E.W.Ts, but I can slip out and meet you in the Room of Requirement,” she said, before shyly adding, “if you want, of course.”

Draco lifted her up and she instinctively put her legs around his waist. “I want, of course,” he said before kissing her again. “I have something I want to play for you, something I’ve been working on for quite a while.”

“I’d love to hear it,” she said, as he set her down again. They walked hand in hand up to the counter, Draco carrying the large book. He bought it, and then he and Ginny left the bookshop and started walking back toward Hogwarts. They passed Ginny’s friends who waved, or whistled in Jacob’s case, and Draco felt a surge of happiness inside him. But it was swiftly crushed out when he saw Charlie smile and wave at Ginny who waved back.

“What’s all that about?” he asked, keeping his tone even. Ginny, however, noticed the change in his demeanor.

“Earlier today we sort of made up. I didn’t forgive him or anything, but I realized it wasn’t worth throwing away a long friendship just for something stupid that has been resolved.”

“Resolved? Are you mad? Don’t you remember what that stupid wanker did to you?”

“Of course I remember,” Ginny said, stopping. “I didn’t forgive him, and it’s not like we are going to ever be close like we once were, but we’ve all worked so hard for peace. I pride myself on it. I can’t just turn my back on it, even if he treated me so hatefully.”

Ginny could tell that Draco was very upset with her, but surely he would see that it was he, Draco, that she cared for. She squeezed his hand. “You make me happier than anyone I’ve ever known. Nothing is going to change that,” she whispered.

“I know,” he said, disengaging his hand from hers and slipping his arm around her waist. “I just…well, I want you to be careful, okay?”

“Mr. Malfoy, how gallant you are to take such an interest in the likes of me,” she teased, snaking her arm around him to pull him closer.

He rolled his eyes but pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

----

The party began soon after dinner had finished. The staff always turned a blind eye to it, as it was tradition for the students to blow off a little steam before having to settle down. As the dinner plates emptied, the Headmaster had stood up, dismissed the younger students and staff, and winked at the remaining seventh years before leaving himself.

Ginny spent about an hour and a half dancing and laughing with friends. She had even gotten up to sing for them with a charm making the piano play for her. After her performance, she quickly slipped out of the Great Hall and headed down to the Room of Requirement.

It was dark when she stepped inside the room; Draco had not arrived yet, so she sat down on the piano bench to wait for him. A thousand candles suddenly alit in the room causing Ginny to fall off the bench with a squeal of surprise. She cursed her clumsiness and started to stand up, when a hand reached out to pull her up.

Ginny pushed the hair out of her eyes, preparing to snog Draco senseless for the romanticism he had never shown before, but she stopped and pulled away.

Charlie gestured to the candles in the room. “You like? I did it all for you, Gin.”

“Charlie, what are you doing in here? Why aren’t you still at the party?” she asked, angrily, straightening her robes.

“I mean, I did it for you and Draco, of course.”

This is too weird, she thought. Charlie sat down on the couch that was in the middle of the room. “Ginny, come here a second.”

“No, I think I’ll stay right here, thanks,” she said, becoming very uneasy with Charlie’s continued unsettling behavior. Charlie sighed and got up again.

“Ginny, I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to talk to you.” But, no sooner had those words escaped his lips then he had closed the distance between them, taken her hand and softly kissed her.

Ginny struggled to break away from him, but the kiss was so soft and gentle that she found herself becoming disarmed by its deceptiveness.

“Well, isn’t this cozy,” came the deathly cold voice from the doorway.
I Gave You My Music by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Chapter Fourteen – I Gave You My Music


Draco made his way to the Room of Requirement that night with a mixture of apprehension and delight in his stomach. He had never felt the things he felt with Ginny before, ever. The delicious tingles in his body when he touched her, the warm sensation that came over him just to think of her, none of these things had ever happened before to him. He was always a cold, ruthless Malfoy, even after he had betrayed his father. But, now, it was like his whole dark, dreary world was opening up and Ginny Weasley was his sun.

He intended to play his composition for her; his perfect melody, his rhapsody. The nerves in his stomach were so foreign to him, that he almost thought he was ill again. But he had reached the door to the Room of Requirement, and there was no turning back now.

The door was unlocked, so he stepped right inside. He stopped in the doorway and watched as that sodding piece of vermin Lovett snaked his way over to Ginny, told her he would never hurt her, and then pressed his vile, lying lips against hers. Draco waited only a moment for Ginny to push him off, but he could see that she was disarmed somehow. So he spoke up.

“Well, isn’t this cozy,” he said, voice deathly cold.

Ginny felt Charlie smile against her mouth, and she took advantage of his distraction to shove him roughly away from her. She looked to Draco, a calm expression belying the terror inside her. How much had Draco seen?

Draco strolled towards them with all the confidence, no, arrogance of his younger years, patented Slytherin smirk on his lips.

“Draco, I can explain,” she started to say, but he held up a finger to shush her.

“I don’t need to hear any excuses from you,” he said, the coldness in his tone still readily apparent.

“Come on now, mate, we’re all adults here. I think we can treat this in the most civil and gentlemanly manner,” Charlie piped up, with a satisfied smile.

“Adults? I see only one adult here, and it is I. So therefore, I see no qualms in treating you like the children that you are. Fifteen points each from Gryffindor for your illicit meeting and your blatant disregard for the rules,” Draco answered, surprising himself with just how much his godfather had rubbed off on him. If the situation weren’t so serious, he might have laughed.

“Draco, let me explain!” Ginny said angrily. She stepped forward to get closer to Draco, but he stopped her with a defiant look.

“I’ll allow your explanation in a moment, Miss Weasley, but first there is something else I must do,” he said. A quizzical look appeared on Ginny’s face, but she fell silent. Unease settled over her, the tension in the room was exceedingly palpable.

Draco turned to Charlie, who looked expectantly at him. Charlie had presumed Draco to rage, or possibly just turn right around and leave, but this calmness was unnerving. Charlie drew himself up to his fullest height – they were about equal, Charlie only that much shorter, so it was hardly intimidating.

“Lovett, I would like to tell you a little story,” Draco finally said, staring straight into the younger boy’s eyes. “I assure you, you will find it most…interesting.”

“I don’t really want to hear anything from you, Malfoy, so why don’t you take your story and shove it up your arse,” Charlie said crassly.

Draco made a noncommittal noise before saying, “Adult, indeed, little boy. Didn’t your mother ever teach you any manners? I had thought Gryffindors were supposed to be noble. Oh well, no matter, back to my story.”

“I said, I don’t want to hear it, Malfoy,” Charlie spat. He started to brush past Draco to leave the room, but Draco gripped him very roughly on the arm and forced him backward until he was sitting on the couch with Draco standing over him.

“No reason you can’t be comfortable while I talk,” Draco said quietly, eyes flashing dangerously.

Ginny didn’t know quite what to do with herself. She was angry that Charlie had forced a kiss upon her, ashamed that Draco had seen them, and scared, now, for what would happen. Funnily enough, she didn’t care what happened to Charlie – she just did not want to see Draco jeopardize everything he had worked for. She slowly inched forward, but Draco held up a hand to stop her in her tracks. She huffed impatiently, fiery temper starting to rise up, but she just stopped, folding her arms across her chest to hear the story Draco was going to tell.

Draco began to pace, looking like a vulture circling its prey as he started his story. “At the beginning of this year, Lovett, a nosy little imp spied on my playing the piano. I sent her on her way, but she somehow managed to keep popping up and around and about when I played. I began to, well, I began to sort of fancy the idea of her coming around, adding to my music. Then, I started to fancy this little imp just for who she was. But then, a certain prat came into her life and started to tear away at my little imp.”

He looked pointedly at Charlie, slowly, menacingly drawing his wand from his robe pocket.

“This prat even went so far as to try and break my little imp. He set her up for humiliation,” Draco continued, moving forward to hold the tip of his wand between Charlie’s eyes.

“You wouldn’t dare,” Charlie said, although his voice wavered slightly as he truly did indeed believe that Draco would dare.

“Oh I would, make no mistake, I most certainly would dare,” he said, conversationally, as if he hadn’t just threatened someone. “Although, I’d prefer not to…waste of energy, you understand.”

“Okay, this is ludicrous,” Ginny spoke up, “What next, a bloody wizard’s duel over me?”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Draco said, voice still a mockery of Snape’s.

Ginny’s eyes narrowed, but inwardly, she felt the most obscene pain in her heart.

Draco turned his attention back to Charlie, who had attempted to stand up while Draco’s gaze was on Ginny. Draco pushed him back down. “Don’t even think about moving, Lovett, I’m not through just yet.”

Charlie started to speak but, seeing the look of intense hatred on Draco’s face, kept his mouth shut.

“Now, where was I? Oh yes, I was just getting to the good part.” Draco, swift as lightning, grabbed Charlie by front of his shirt and yanked him to his feet. Draco held Charlie at arms-length. “If you even so much as brush past Ginevra Weasley ever again, rest assured that I will hurt you.”

He let go of Charlie and started to turn to Ginny. As an afterthought, he spun back around quickly, curling his left hand into a fist. He connected squarely with Charlie’s jaw, satisfied with the resounding crack. He only vaguely heard Ginny gasp, absorbed in how much his hand hurt.

Charlie fell to the ground, whimpering and clutching his soon-to-be-bruised mouth. Draco shook out his hand, and then turned back to Ginny. She ran up to him, taking his injured hand into hers and kissing it.

“Are you all right?” she asked, unconcerned at that moment about whatever he might have felt about her.

“I’m fine now,” he said quietly, looking deeply into her brown eyes.

“You know, I didn’t kiss him back…I didn’t want to, anyway, and I’m sorry it happened, and I know you must hate me--” He interrupted her stream of babbling with a fervent kiss.

She was startled. “What? I – wait, I thought you were…”

“I’m going to kiss you until all you can taste is me, and no one else,” he said. His expression was intensely passionate, and the pains in Ginny’s heart began to subside.

“I thought you were angry with me,” she said softly.

“I was; I am, but I still…”

He trailed off. Did he dare to finish that thought? Was that even what he felt? So many things had changed for him over the year; he didn’t want to admit to them. Almost all of them had deconstructed everything he’d ever been taught to believe. But his father was gone, his mother was dead, and he was, according to legal records, not a Malfoy anymore. Surely he could accept himself as he was now, new…changed…happy.

“Love me?” she asked breathlessly, scarcely having the nerve to hope.

He looked through her. If he said yes, it would mean accepting once and for all that he was no longer the man he had always thought he was.

Ginny looked into his piercing eyes. They appeared restless to her, like he was thinking a million and a half things all at the same time. She slid her slender hands up his arms and asked, “Do you love me?”

Draco shrugged out of her grip and turned around. Ginny’s hands curled into fists and then dropped limply at her sides. She started to leave.

“Yes.”

Ginny froze. Draco had said yes. It was practically inaudible and he hadn’t turned around, but he had said YES. “What did you say?”

Draco spun around, passion blazing in his normally cold grey eyes. “Damn it, Ginny, I said yes, and you know it! Yes, yes, yes, I love you. I love you, Ginny!”

Ginny started to cry. He loved her – he, Draco Malfoy, had admitted to being capable of love, and it was she who he loved. Draco gathered her into his arms and brushed away her tears with his thumb.

“Don’t cry. Please don’t cry, Ginny, I’ll take it all back if you want,” he said, misunderstanding her tears.

“Never take it back! Never!” she cried, hugging him close to her. “I love you, Draco.”

He stiffened in her arms. It hadn’t occurred to him that her feelings would be reciprocal. Really, they hadn’t been truly together for all that long, but if…sweet Merlin, if she could love him…

“So…so we love each other,” he said awkwardly. It felt so foreign, and yet…so welcome.

“We love each other,” she repeated resolutely. She stood up on tiptoe and pressed a gentle kiss to his lips. “We love each other.”

Draco looked down at his little imp; she was so full of life, beauty, truth, everything and anything he could possibly want. And she was his. He smiled; he loved.

He kissed her then, forgetting that just moments ago she had been snogging someone else. He kissed her, pouring every feeling he had for her into that simple action. She sighed softly against his mouth – this was absolute bliss.

“Oh please, you’re both nutters,” Charlie piped up, dragging himself up from the floor.

Draco’s eyes narrowed. He took a slow breath in and out and then smiled at Ginny. “Why don’t you get on back to the party? I’ll join you there later, if you’d like.”

“I – well – what about--"

“I will take care of the garbage, Ginny,” he said, the Snape voice returning.

Ginny curled her lips into a peculiar sort of smile. “Be careful, please,” she whispered. She kissed him quickly again and left the room to return to the party.

Draco turned back to Charlie, who had stood up.

“Now, let’s see…how do I want this part of the story to end?” Draco asked himself, smiling wickedly.

----

June came much too quickly for Ginny’s liking. The entire month of May was spent studying like mad for the tests that would determine the rest of her life. Although she secretly still harbored her wish to make a career of her vocal talent, she understood that the chance of fame was one in a million, especially when one came from the wizarding world. She was still determined to try; but, her N.E.W.Ts would be what decided her future.

She had just finished her final N.E.W.T, the practical Defense Against the Dark Arts examination. She knew she had passed it with flying colors – it had always been her strongest subject, thanks to Harry in her fourth year and all the training she had done with the Order for the war. In fact, she was almost positive that most of her fellow 7th year students had aced the DADA tests.

Ginny and Jordi walked down the hallway, sweat dripping down their foreheads. Ginny wiped her brow with her hand, and they continued walking toward the entrance hall so that they could go out on the grounds and find some shade.

“Ginny, Jordi!”

The girls turned around to see Elizabeth running to catch up with them. “Hey, Lizzie, how do you think you did?” Ginny asked.

“Oh, fine, fine I guess. I know I aced Transfiguration and Charms, and that was pretty much all I cared about,” she said, nonchalantly. Elizabeth’s dream had always been to open a spa in the West End, so she didn’t exactly need too much magic which was actually funny considering that she was a pureblood witch. But her parents were very supportive of her decision, as long as she married a nice wizard. Lizzie was certainly up for that.

“Nice work, Elizabeth. Well, Ginny and I were just going outside, come with?”

“It’s ghastly hot out there!” she exclaimed.

“Yeah, but Fitz told me that James Farrell wanted to start a football game – shirts vs. skins!” Jordi said, raising her eyebrows.

Elizabeth had been about to ask what football was, but her eyes widened in delight. “And which team is he on?”

“Let’s go find out,” Ginny said, laughing. She shook her head. Some things never changed. Jordi and Elizabeth started down the hall, but Ginny hung back for a moment.

“Aren’t you coming, Gin?” Elizabeth asked.

“I’ll catch up in a minute,” she answered. Jordi winked at her and took Elizabeth by the arm to go outside.

Ginny doubled back to find Draco; she knew he would be waiting in the Room of Requirement for her. Since they had been interrupted the last time, he’d been waiting for the right moment to play something for her – he’d been perfecting it, or so he said, and she had been dying to hear it.

Ginny placed a Silencing charm on her shoes and walked into the Room of Requirement. He was in there, as she had thought he would be, and she tiptoed up behind him.

Draco’s eyes were closed, but before she could reach the piano, he began to play. The song was unfamiliar to her, so she remained quiet listening.

The music washed over her, resounding deeply within her. It began lightly, like a trickle of water and then a crescendo gave it a new sound. It was twisting and undulating. Draco’s fingers rolled passionately over the keys, almost as though he was massaging them. The swelling melody then became angry, furious – frustrated. Ginny felt choked up inside; she wanted to free it. But the melody soothed itself, rolling out again in waves of beauty.
She crept up closer to the piano, not wanting to disturb, but she had to see what he was playing. She couldn’t see from her angle, so she walked up right behind Draco and looked over his shoulder. There was the sheet music – raw, penciled in. Her hand flew to her mouth to stifle the emotion that threatened to surge out of her.

Rhapsody for Ginny
Composed by D. Malfoy


The music began to come to its conclusion and Ginny struggled to hide the tears that she had begun to cry.
Draco stopped abruptly, taking his pencil from behind his ear. “I just can’t get the ending,” he said. Ginny watched him try several different chords to end it, but none sounded right. Slowly she reached around him and played exactly the right final note.

Draco watched her depress the key and an overwhelming sense of completion washed over him. “That’s perfect,” he said quietly.

“It fits,” she replied. “As do you.”

He leaned back to kiss her. She smiled and said, “No – that fits.”

Draco smiled back. “Perfectly.”

----

Note: Chapter title is from the All I Ask of You (Reprise) from Andrew Lloyd Webber's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
Perfect Authentic Cadence by distempered
Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.

Rhapsody


Epilogue - Perfect Authentic Cadence


The sweltering heat that had descended during the week of the N.E.W.Ts was still upon them, but that didn’t stop Ginny from shaking as she stood outside the Great Hall. She paced back and forth, wringing her hands nervously, until strong arms encircled her from behind.

“Stop moving, little girl, you’re making me dizzy,” Draco said, brushing her hair away and speaking into her ear. The brush of his lips on the outer shell of her ear caused her to tremble in his grip, and he laughed at her.

Ginny turned around in his arms. “I am so bloody nervous,” she said.

The Leaving Feast was about to begin, and Ginny was preparing to perform for the first and last time in front of all her schoolmates. She had sang in front of all the seventh years not too long ago (although the state of most of them at the time might be taken into consideration), but Ginny was terrified because she would be singing in front of the entire school, all the faculty and staff, the parents of the seventh year students and what remained of her family. No one in her family had heard her sing before and it was that that Ginny was most nervous about.

“You’re going to be amazing. After all, how could you possibly go wrong with such a virtuoso playing for you,” he replied, raising a haughty eyebrow.

Ginny was too nervous to even chastise him; she gave Draco a wan smile and went back to going over the song in her head. Draco shook his head and leaned in to kiss her forehead.

“You’re going to be amazing,” he repeated. “I have to go in now. Good luck.” With one more quick kiss, he walked into the Great Hall.

Ginny straightened her emerald green dress robes, took a deep, calming breath, and then followed Draco into the Great Hall.

The students were all at their House Tables, all the seventh years looking resplendent in their dress robes surrounded by their proud families. Ginny glanced over at the Gryffindor table and spotted a flock of redheads. She quickly turned her head back to the front of the room; she was not ready to look at them for fear that she would throw up.

Ginny climbed up on the platform that normally held the Head Table. Today it just had a beautiful grand piano and a podium. Dumbledore smiled at her and took her hand in his. “Do us proud, Miss Weasley,” he said softly and then turned to address the crowd.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as we come to the end of another school year, I wish to tell you all how proud I am of our graduating seventh years. They have worked so hard and are now moving off to bigger and better things. But here, to give them a proper sendoff, is Miss Ginevra Weasley.”

The Hall exploded into anticipatory applause, as well as a wolf whistle Ginny was positive came from her brother George. Ginny grinned, ears reddening. She walked over to Draco quickly for some assurance.

“Beautiful,” he whispered. “Absolutely beautiful.” He took her hand in his for a moment and then pushed her away gently so she could begin. He trilled into the melancholic beginning of one of his favorite Cole Porter songs.
Ginny took another quick breath in and out and then turned to face her audience. She cast the Sonorus charm on her throat and her magically enhanced voice rang out over the Hall.

“I would like, if I may, to dedicate this song not only to all the seventh year students, but also to the former Minister of Magic and my father, Arthur Weasley,” she said quickly, before the lump in her throat could become actual tears. Then she began to sing.

Every time we say goodbye, I die a little
Every time we say goodbye, I wonder why a little


When the song came to its close, Ginny wiped the tears out of her eyes and muttered “Quietus” to remove the charm. There was no noise in the Hall, no rustling, no anything except the sound of quiet crying. Draco stood up and began to clap quietly, which served to break the ice. The entire Hall burst into thunderous applause, cheering and whistling for her to take a bow.

Ginny made a small curtsy before Draco swept her into his arms and kissed her soundly, right there in front of everyone. That more than anything made the tears flow harder until she was effectively sobbing into his chest.

“I love you, Ginny,” he whispered into her hair. “I love you.”

Ginny hugged him tightly for nearly a minute, before he broke apart gently. “I think some people want to say hello to you,” he said, turning her around. There waiting was her family - Charlie, his very pregnant wife, and their two-year-old son Bill, Percy and his girlfriend Penny Clearwater, and the Twins. Behind them was their mother, crying quietly. She brushed past them all to envelop Ginny in a hug.

“My little girl, you’re so grown up,” she gushed, nearly crushing Ginny with the force of her embrace. Ginny found that she didn’t mind, not one bit.

“I love you, mum,” she said, finally tearing herself from her mother’s grip. She was then engulfed by her brothers, George especially taking the longest time with her. “You were brilliant, Ginnerkins,” he said, mussing her hair. “Dad would be proud.”

Then, Ginny smiled and turned around to call Draco over. He hesitated for a moment, but then walked resolutely over, taking Ginny’s hand in his as he did so.

“Mum, this is Draco Malfoy…I know you’ve already met, but let me do this…this is Draco Malfoy, my accompanist and my boyfriend. Draco, this is my mother, Molly Weasley,” she said. Draco extended his hand to Molly, but she pushed it aside and pulled him into a hug as well.

“You’ve made my little girl so happy, Draco. Thank you,” she said. Draco tried his very best, but he could not hide the genuine smile that curled onto his lips.

“Mum, I have a request,” Ginny interjected. “If it’s all right with you, and the Headmaster of course, I was wondering if, well, perhaps, could Draco stay with us this summer? At the Burrow?”

Draco’s eyes flickered over to Ginny, shocked at the invitation. He walked back over to her and took her hand. “Do you mean it?” he asked, so that no one but her could hear him. “You’d…you’d let me in your home?”

“Of course I would,” she practically shouted. “Mum, would it be okay?” Mrs. Weasley looked Draco up and down and then at the glowing smile on Ginny’s face. She smiled.

“I think it could be arranged,” she answered finally. “Yes, Mr. Malfoy, would you like to spend the summer at the Burrow?”

Draco nodded slowly and then grinned, picking Ginny up and spinning her in a completely undignified circle. He set her down and coughed awkwardly. “I mean, that would be very nice of you, Mrs. Weasley,” he said.

“So it’s settled then,” Mrs. Weasley said, but it was heard by no one, as Dumbledore raised his glass in a toast.

“To you all, may we never really say goodbye.”

“Cheers,” the hall replied.

Draco and Ginny smiled at each other and then kissed gently. “To us,” Ginny whispered.

“Cheers.”

----

- Fin -

----

2nd Note: Every Time We Say Goodbye belongs to Cole Porter. Thank you to everyone who has read this, including those of you over at ffDOTnet, even though they were evil and made me take down all the lyrics. Much love to anyone who reviews...or just silently reads.
This story archived at http://www.dracoandginny.com/viewstory.php?sid=2659