The Unexpected Path Of Love by rae_grace
Summary: Ginny Weasley and Draco Malfoy have their share of action in the disputes between their two families. After a rainy afternoon Ginny is amazed at what she discovers about Draco. Over the next few weeks Ginny finds herself continuing to think about that one night, the man, who's eyes she can read so well and the closeness developing between them. COMPLETE!
Categories: Long and Completed Characters: Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Other Characters, Ron Weasley
Compliant with: None
Era: Hogwarts-era
Genres: Angst, Romance
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: Yes Word count: 17165 Read: 12591 Published: Mar 23, 2006 Updated: Mar 25, 2006

1. A Quick Discovery by rae_grace

2. Quarrels and Quidditch by rae_grace

3. Torn Apart By Circumstance by rae_grace

4. Making The Hard Choice by rae_grace

A Quick Discovery by rae_grace
Author's Notes:
I would like to dedicate this story to my friends Cookie, B-girl and Pink Angel! Thanx for putting up with me!! I hope everyone else enjoys too!! I would also like to thank Icy, who did an amazing job editing this for me! Thank you! I hope you all enjoy!

********

The rain hadn’t stopped yet. It had been raining the day that the students arrived, and it had continued the entire week. By the time the weekend came all that she had wanted to do was spend the day reading under a cozy blanket. So that was what she was doing.

Ginny had spent the afternoon reading, and had become so absorbed in her book that she had skipped lunch. Soon supper would start in the great hall and though her book was almost done, Ginny knew that if she didn’t eat, she would have to sneak down to the kitchen while everyone was asleep.

Finally getting the will power to rise from the alcove by the window, she threw her blanket onto the bed and put her bookmark into the dog-eared pages of her book. After throwing the book down too, she stretched and left the room in the crumpled clothes that she had been lying in all day. She didn’t take the time to put on her faded robes that hung beside her bed.

Today, Ginny could have cared less about appearances. She was happy to go down to dinner without brushing her hair or tidying her dress. Of course, she had always had hand-me-down robes that were faded and worn, but Ginny made sure that she was always clean and tidy. This morning she hadn’t felt that it mattered. At breakfast she had gone down early in her pajamas and then spent the entire day in her room. Why get dressed up now for just one meal?

As she walked into the Great Hall she looked up to see the rain falling down from the ceiling above. Though the magic drizzle didn’t soak the students, by now it had dampened everyone’s spirits. She turned toward the Gryffindor table and searched for an empty seat, luckily there happened to be one near Ron, Hermione and Harry. Ginny walked over, sat down, and began eating.

“Well, the ‘monster’ has risen,” was Ron’s first remark.

“You can’t even say ‘hello’ before you tease me, you’re rotten,” she shot back at her brother as she began to eat the food that the table was laden with. “And since when have I ever resembled a monster?”

“Well, your style right now is close to it,” he replied with a smirk. “You have the worst hair I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s not that bad, is it? I couldn’t be bothered,” Ginny asked, thinking that looking in the mirror before she had left may have been a good idea after all.

“I don’t know. I’ve seen worse, but it does look like you haven’t brushed since yesturday,” Hermione kindly answered over the top of a book. “Nothing to worry about, no one really cares; it seems like most of us spent today in our common rooms anyway. This rain has to stop soon or I think we will all go mad.”

“I know! If it doesn’t improve by Quidditch time it will be a very depressing season,” replied Harry, shoveling mashed potatoes into his mouth.

“Harry, that’s a month away. If it hasn’t stopped by then, I swear I’ll throw myself from the highest tower,” Ginny groaned at the prospect of the rain continueing that long.

“And then you’ll be looking for another new chaser.”

“A new keeper, too, ’cause I’ll be the second one off that tower,” Ron added, making everyone laugh at the notion of both Weasley siblings leaving Harry to find new players for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Ginny stood to leave, having finished her meal in record time.

“I can’t believe you’re done already,” Hermione complained.

“Yeah, don’t you like us, sis?” Ron asked, pretending to pout.

“Of course I do! But there is a book upstairs that is calling for me to finish the last six pages. I may be down in the common room later though. If I feel like it,” Ginny then left the group behind to finish their own suppers.

She had eaten enough, but if she got hungry later she knew that Grace Jansen, her roommate, had a personal stash of goodies under her bed that she would be happy to share.

************

When she’d left the Great Hall, she had intended to go upstairs and continue reading. However, as she was making her way towards Gryffindor tower, she discovered that the peaceful quiet of the halls made her want to wander. So Ginny continued to stroll through the beautiful castle that was as much her home as it was her school.

While most students may have worried about getting caught wandering the halls during dinner, Ginny found it calming to know that the chances of being bothered were very slim and so she walked on.

She became lost in her own mind. At times she had stopped to look at paintings, tapestries or other school artifacts. Ginny had kindly given a few lost first years directions when she has found them enadering aimlessly in the halls. She remembered having the same problem her first year.

Hours after the feast in the Great Hall had finished, Ginny continued to wander, content being alone.She thought back to dinner, and it was surprising that everyone was so happy, especially her brother and his friends. They were all so threatened by the Dark Lord now, but at Hogwarts everyone seemed to be able to forget what might happen so soon in the future; able to forget what Harry was going to have to fight against.

Since her 3rd year when Harry had taken hold of the portkey and come back with the horrible news that he-who-must-not-be-named had returned, the Dark Lord’s power had only become more and more threatening.

He was rumored to have total control over all of the Dementors, which left the Ministry with the problem of having to guard all the prisoners in Azkaban. His group of Death Eaters had grown and become more lethal than before. They had started to kill again after the Ministry had accepted that Voldemort was alive. Few muggle born wizards were safe anymore.

In spite of this, the students at Hogwarts seemed to be oblivious to the horrors in the world around. Some even had families in hiding, but it still seemed that everyone was willing to laugh as long as they were surrounded by the comfort and safety of Hogwarts.

Even though Harry had the burden of knowing that most wizards thought he was the only one who could kill Voldemort, he was still able to relax and enjoy himself while at Hogwarts.

As she thought, Ginny walked up to a set of doors that seemed to lead out onto a balcony. She looked through the glass at the rain that continued to fall. It seemed like it had stared to fall harder during the time she had spent discovering more of the school. It was her sixth year at Hogwarts, but Ginny knew that she had never been to this part of the castle before. If she had, she either didn’t remember any of it or it looked drastically different at night.

The rain that was falling called to her. All she wanted to do was walk out the doors and get soaked by the falling rain. "It’s so beautiful," she thought to herself, "even if it hasn’t stopped."

Slowly she put her hand onto the brass doorknob so she could walk out. As her tiny hand pushed down on the large handle, the glass door swung open. At first she just stood there in the doorframe listening to the sound of the raindrops hitting the roof and walls of the castle. The sound had been magnified when the door opened. Her next step was unsure and led her out onto the stone of the balcony. The rain hit her head, shoulders, arms, and everything else at the same time, drenching her within seconds. It ran down her forehead and cheeks. The feeling was brilliant. Ginny smiled and laughed, throwing her arms up into the air and closing her eyes to let the feeling of the rain take her over.

When she opened her eyes again she walked to a banister made of stone carved to form hearts and spirals. The balcony’s structure was breathtaking and as she looked out at the grounds of the school she released a small gasp.

The view was just as breathtaking. It was the most spectacular view she had ever seen even as the rain soaked her and the earth. She was able to see most of the castle itself as well as the lake and the forbidden forest. Hogsmeade was visible, off in the distance with the lights of the town still shining. Ginny was in awe.

She could have stood there for the rest of the night even if the rain continued or the night sky became too dark to see. Ginny didn’t know where she was exactly, but she already knew that she wanted to come back. Well, actually, she did have an idea of where she was. She could see the Gryffindor tower from where she stood looking out. She began to laugh again.

Suddenly a hand placed its weight on Ginny’s shoulder. Ginny spun around in panic and as she did, let out a small scream. Having completely turned to face whoever thought it would be funny to sneak up on her, Ginny was shocked to see the last person she would had expected.

Draco Malfoy’s hand was still on her shoulder. By instinct, Ginny had grabbed it with both of her own hands. The look on Malfoy's face scared Ginny more than she’d ever want to admit aloud. Not that it mattered really because she knew that Malfoy was well aware of the affect his appearance had made. He glared down at her and his silver gray eyes shot daggers into her heart. The rain that had seemed warm was now making her shiver.

As Malfoy looked down at the shivering and soaking form before him, a sneer came upon his face and his glare continued. It seemed to Ginny that they stood there without moving for hours, but then it couldn’t possibly have been longer than a few minutes.

When time finally started to move again, Draco pushed Ginny into the hallway and closed the door to the balcony.

“Well, Weasel, aren’t you a sight. You look like a drowned cat. How long were you standing out there, anyway?” Draco spat at her, a smile on his face told Ginny that he was enjoying this immensely.

Getting her wits back, she started to shape an answer. “I don’t really know, but why you had to sneak up behind me for no reason is beyond me, Malfoy. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

She didn’t know if that was completely true since she knew nothing about the balcony that she had been standing on, but she wasn’t about to give in to Malfoy, especially after he had scared her so badly.

“I snuck up on you, as you put it, Weasel, because you are out of bed past curfew and it is my duty as the Head Boy to make sure that people like you, who have such a blatant neglect of the rules, get put in detention.”

“Since when have you ever cared about the rules, Malfoy? Whoever decided that you’d be the Head Boy was seriously ill. Anyway, it can’t be that late, is it? I’ve only been wandering around since supper,” Ginny said, suddenly becoming aware of the water she was dripping onto the floor.

"It couldn’t really be past curfew that was ridiculous? If the idiot was right then she had been wandering for more than four hours.’

“That explains how you managed to get to this side of the school. Weren’t paying much attention to where you were going. Doubt then you even know where you are.”

While some may have thought that the last part of Malfoy’s speech was a question, Ginny saw it for what it really was: a statement and an insult. She knew him too well to think any differently.

For her brothers, fighting with Malfoy was reserved for drastic situations, but Ginny was unique. She fought with Malfoy for fun. It was a way to get out bottled up emotions. Little of what he actually said about her and her family hurt anymore.

At first Ginny had only fought back when he had started, but as time progressed she had begun to pick as many fights as he did. The things they said could be biting. Ginny had never really been scared of Malfoy and that was a dangerous thing. Ginny and Malfoy had a history of constantly bickering with each other. They shot remarks back and forth in the hall nearly everyday. They were also known for public verbal fights that normally drew a large crowd and got them both detentions.

When the fights were really bad things could get nasty. Once one of their ‘spectators’ had been turned on when a 3rd year had the misfortune of muttering something to his friends that neither of the combatants had liked. Both had gotten two weeks of detention that time, but usually only considerable points were deducted from their houses. They had a bizarre relationship and she would be the first to admit it.

Suddenly Ginny was snapped out of her dreamy state literally. Draco fingers were millimeters from her face snapping away as their owner drawled something about her being ‘completely incompetent’ and ‘truly listless'. At that Ginny shocked the pompous git by trying to bite the fingers he had been clicking in front of her face and to her amazement she bit down on flesh.

“What the bloody hell did you do that for, Weasel?” Draco whined the only way a Malfoy knew how to, with a sneer and a deathly look in his eyes. He quickly pulled his fingers away from the vicinity of her mouth.

“It’s your own fault for invading my personal space. Anyway you’re the one who didn’t have his guard up,” she said calmly, secretly enjoying his annoyance.

“I didn’t need to know you have sharp teeth, Weasley! You could have saved that for some other night. Anyway, you have detention for a week. With Filch if I can manage it. It would have only been one night, but then you decided that sinking your fangs into me would be fun.” All of his annoyance was suddenly gone as he revelled in her shock and anger.

“I can’t believe you. You come here and treat me like trash and then when I fight back I end up in detention for a week. It’s your own fault that there’s blood dripping off that finger of yours! You’re just extremely lucky that I didn’t take it right off. THERE IS NO WAY I AM GOING TO DETENTION FOR A WEEK BECAUSE YOU CANT KEEP YOUR FILTHY NOSE OUT OF OTHER PEOPLES’ BUSINESS AND YOU DAMN WELL THINK YOU OWN THIS BLOODY SCHOOL!!” Ginny had shocked even her. She hadn’t expected to be so affected by this turn of events. Detention was annoying, but really not that bad especially she was head of her year. Even if it was dentention with Filch!

No, it wasn’t the detention that had gotten her so angry. It was the look in his eyes when he caught her on the balcony. The way the intensity of that look had increased as he accused her of being lost and then again just now when he had told her about the detentions she had gotten for no reason. That look irked her. It was the first time she had seen it in her adversary’s eyes and it scared her; truly scared her. For the first time in her life, she was willing to admit that Draco Malfoy was more powerful then she would ever be.

Something had changed in him. She wasn’t entirely sure how she knew this from just one look, but somehow… she knew. It was a look that told her she was trapped and that he was in charge. It told her that he enjoyed seeing the pain and fear in her own eyes and above all, it told her to run. She wasn’t dealing with the same old Draco anymore.

Ginny just stood there staring into those icy eyes as the information fitted together. When she finally moved, she looked around at her surroundings trying to find a quick escape, but just walking away would not work. The evil look in his eyes told her that he would follow. If she tried to run, there was no way he wouldn’t catch her. Next she thought she could hex him, but then she remembered that her wand was in her robes and her robes happened to be hanging in her room. She had no more ideas. Well there was one, but talking herself out of this didn’t seem like the smartest idea.

As she formulated in her mind what to say, Ginny realized one last thing, Malfoy knew that she was looking for a way out and he was enjoying her struggle. She also knew that Draco hadn’t just been doing his regular Head Boy duties, he had been hunting for students to torture. Of course with her luck, Ginny had presented herself as an easy target.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Malfoy,” she started, looking to be as docile as she could manage. If anyone came around the corner now Ginny would never live it down. She was scared, but being obedient to a Malfoy was definitely her last choice of rescue. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you or tried to bite your finger. It was very rude and not very considerate. I would like you to know that I am truly apologetic.” She hoped this worked or she would be in some serious trouble with no way out of it. She had chosen to be as tactful as possible and had brought out her mental dictionary to sound as dignified as she could, but there was no way to know how he would take this sudden change of tone.

As she looked up into his face again she realized that she had truly stunned him with her words. She could all tell this from his eyes. She had learned long ago that the only place to find any emotion on a Malfoys’ face was through their eyes and as time went on she found herself constantly staring into his mesmerizing. As he realized what she was doing he blinked and all emotion that had been there disappeared.

His next words came with scorn and anger. “If you think that will get you out detention, weasel, you’re sadly mistaken.” He slowly started to advance on her position as he continued. Though he got closer he had not yet started to invade her space. “If anything it will get you more for not having any backbone. There’s only one thing a Slytherin hates more then a Gryffindor and that’s a Gryffindor with no gumption.” He had finally gotten too close, but Ginny wasn’t about to move. She stood her ground, continuing to look into the eyes that would tell her when it was time for a new plan or when time was simply up and she had no escape.

Ginny didn’t know how to answer, but she was going to try anyway. “Draco, I really am sorry. The detentions are fine, they aren’t a problem, and I really shouldn’t have been out this late.” She added to herself, ‘for my own safety.’

“I’ll even do them with Filch if you think that’s best. Just let me go back to my common room, please. Please, Draco, please let me go. Don’t hurt me.” She had started to plead with him as the final words escape her mouth. She had no more pride left, all she wanted was leave and do it fast. Draco had changed since last year; something about him was…she didn’t know what, but then in the back of her mind Ginny put things together as Draco answered her pleas.

“Look at you plead, you’re pathetic. If only there was someone to witness this brilliant display of docility. I can’t wait to tell all the Slytherins about a Weasley begging a Malfoy for sympathy. It’s too good to be true, but… you may go, Weasley, you’ve provided enough entertainment.” He said, as if he was commanding his family’s house-elf, but Ginny didn’t really notice.

She had been given permission to leave, but as she started to connect the dots she barely noticed. He was still towering over her directly in front of her chest, but it no longer bothered Ginny. Draco’s father was Lucius Malfoy, and he was Lord Voldemort’s right hand man. Ginny now knew what to call the look that haunted Draco’s eyes now. It was a look of pure evil and guilt. Draco had done something that even Ginny had thought was beyond his capabilities. Draco was mean, nasty, annoying, and extremely egotistical, but never to the point that she had thought he would do this. There was only one way for Ginny to prove her theory and she wasn’t leaving until she had.

Quickly Ginny grabbed Malfoy's left arm, lifting it high enough for her to be able to push back the sleeve of his white shirt. She moved as quickly as possible so that he wouldn’t have time to stop her. It seemed like time stopped as she pushed the fabric with her shaking fingers. She wasn’t sure why she cared about what she would discover, but she did, and she knew that it would be something very important.

She gasped as she looked at the hideous dark mark on his arm. Thinking that he would retaliate when she found out, she braced herself, but nothing came. She couldn’t stand to look up, but just stared at his arm, realizing the gravity of the situation. During the summer Draco had become a death eater just like his father, he worked for Voldemort now and somehow that changed Ginny. She was dazed and what she did next she never understood.

“Oh, Draco, you could have been a great wizard.” She whispered without thinking through her words. Slowly she bent down slightly and brushed her lips again the black ink that stained his otherwise perfect arm.

Finally he spoke softly and without much malice, “You figured it out fast, much faster then I thought you would, but you’re in trouble now, Weasley. I trust you won’t tell anyone about this encounter, now will you? Well, that’s a good girl.” His voice was silk, but Ginny had again looked up at his eyes and she knew the truth. Her actions had startled him and even though she knew his words were true, they were also superficial. He knew Ginny wouldn’t tell anyone because she knew if she did, life would be over.

Ginny turned and ran down the hall, tears steaming down her face for no apparent reason as she headed to the safety of her bed.

************

After that night, Ginny hadn’t known what to think. She had felt so much in those short minutes, but confusion was all there was now. She had thought it over most of the week, but there was still no answer to the simple question: why?

Why had she felt that he had disappointed her? Why had she cried? Why had she so tenderly kissed the mark on his arm? The biggest question, though, was: why hadn’t she told anyone about Malfoy’s obvious allegiance to the Dark Lord?

She had started small and began answering all the questions that swarmed in her head. Did she like Draco romantically? No, but something had formed between them because she was surprised to find that he had hurt her. It was like her innocence had been taken away. She would never be able to bicker with Malfoy again without the feeling that it all meant more. It made the threat to her safety and family a reality. He had become that threat.

Why had she been triggered by this event? He had always been an enemy. Why was it strange that the selfish prat would shock her into the reality around her? Why had it not been Harry fighting with Voldemort or her family’s involvement in the Order? Why had it been what she had expected from Malfoy, son of a death eater?

She had avoided him all week, much to his annoyance. She was always with someone and he was never able to approach her. She changed her route to classes each day so that she wouldn’t have a regular schedule. She knew that he wanted to talk to her… or really, she knew that he wanted to threaten her, which made her desire to stay away from him even stronger.

He seemed to be around every corner she turned, but so far he hadn’t caught her. She was becoming completely paranoid about where she went and whom she was with, but no one else seemed to have noticed that Ginny had become quite the socialite the past week.

She knew that she’d have to let him talk to her eventually because it was driving her insane avoiding him constantly, but she had just needed some time to think or he would get the better of her. She would give into whatever he wanted just to get him off her back.

Looking up from her lunch, Ginny was very aware that behind her, Malfoy’s eyes were drilling into her back. She didn’t need to turn around to know that he had been watching her. In fact, she had noticed that he – and a few of his fellow Slytherins – had been observing her intently for the last few days. It was time to give Malfoy his chance or he would start getting angry soon.

As she got up from her seat and walked out of the great hall she made it a point to show her shadow across the room that she was going to be alone. She also quickly told her brother exactly where she was planning on going and that she would be back in the common room in about an hour. Then she exited the doors, wondering if Malfoy would take the opportunity that she had so graciously given him.

Slowly she walked up the stairs without any apparent care. She was headed somewhere specific. She had discovered that the balcony from the previous weekend was very close to the Gryffindor common room, which would be good for her if things turned sour. She hoped that Draco wouldn’t bring any friends along, because if he did, she had just made a very poor decision.

When she reached her destination, Ginny opened the doors, stood on the balcony and waited. She had decided on the way up that if he didn’t come within ten minutes he would lose his chance and she would be gone.

The rain had stopped on Wednesday and the view from the balcony was only more beautiful. The sun shone on everything in her view and the chill in the air from the upcoming fall weather was barely noticeable. She smiled as she watched the silhouette of Hagrid walk from his hut up to the castle. She could also see other students on the grounds talking with friends and working on homework. Nothing had changed for them, they were all still happy.

Ginny found it hard to laugh now. The situation was the same, people were still in trouble; death would soon come if defenses weren’t built. Ginny finally saw that. She saw the situation with new eyes. She finally understood what others still hadn’t realized – serious changes would have to be made if they were going to remain safe.

Again, a hand placed itself on her right shoulder as it had the last time she had stood on the balcony. This time, she didn’t jump or scream, she had been expecting it.

“What have you wanted to tell me, Draco?” Ginny asked calmly, acknowledging the person standing behind her.

“Nothing, Weasley. Just wanted to see how you’ve been feeling.” He replied from behind her. He had made sure there was no emotion in his voice.

Ginny laughed sarcastically at his lie. “I’ve been fine. I managed to avoid you all week though it has been quite the feat. I’ve been dodging behind corners and inviting myself along on other people’s outings. Makes you very tired, really. So stop being polite and tell me what you want. I don’t have the energy to be nice.”

“Alright, I’ll gladly be direct. Who have you told?” Draco spat, still standing out of view.

“No one.”

“You expect me to believe that, weasel.” He was getting irritated and that wasn’t good. Just like she had told someone where she was going, he most likely had also done so, but unlike her, he had a way of calling his 'associates' from a distance. Not good.

“My name is Ginny or… Ginevra, if you really must. I’m telling you the truth. Why wouldn’t I?” she was determined to be calm and for some reason to convince him of the truth.

“Why should you? You’re the daughter of a Weasley. You are my enemy. It would be to your advantage to tell all of those whom are protecting you.” He still had his hand on her shoulder, and was standing behind her, but he had calmed down it seemed and was no longer worried about being jumped by an auror or something to that effect.

“True, but I know that they already consider the Slytherins a threat. I wouldn’t be informing them of anything. We already know that most of your parents are death eaters and that you are informants and possible future death eaters yourselves. It wouldn’t be big news,” she had also truly calmed down. He hadn’t brought anybody else along to gang up on her.

“Still not a good enough reason, Ginny.” He had finally lifted his hand from her shoulder, but he continued to stand behind her.

“Then tell me what I have to do to convince you, because I really can’t stand you being my shadow,” she turned around after she noticed that he had actually used her name. When she had completely turned she found that she was looking into his gray eyes once again. “Why did you think I’d know? You said that night that it had taken me less time than you expected. What did you mean?”

She had caught him off guard again by changing the topic, and even though he didn’t show it externally, she knew because it was all in those damn eyes. Anything he didn’t want to say out loud was put into those eyes. While most people didn’t pay enough attention, Ginny seemed to be pulled toward those eyes, which let her know so much more about him. As she continued to stare, she realized that underneath the shock of her words was the same evil that had been there Saturday night, but it was no longer as evident, not as potent.

“I just knew,” he stated. “You have the annoying habit of knowing too much for your own good. I’ve also noticed that you are able to see things that most people don’t want you to recognize. I don’t know if that is a magical gift you possess or just an ordinary social talent, but this summer it was apparent to me that if I was able to keep you from finding out then I would easily fool everyone else. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened so the two of us will just have to work this out.”

“It’s your eyes, you know. You’re good at hiding any physical reaction, but if anyone else took the time to look in your eyes they’d know everything you hide, feel, want, care for and a great deal more.”

“What are you talking about? None of this matters anyway. You ask what you can do to convince me of the truth and I have an answer for you, weasel.” He had returned to using that insulting name, but it didn’t bother her much right now. She wanted to know what he had in mind.

“Alright, what is it then?”

“If you would not interrupt me, I would happily tell you. It is as much a deal as it is a solution, dear.” Ginny was surprised. Where the heck had that come from? Dear? Now that was just wrong. “We’ll start with me believing you when you say you’ve told no one this week, but from now on you’ll wear this.” He pulled a delicate necklace out of his robes and held it up for her to see. A solid silver heart hung on a chain of silver. The chain wasn’t that long and seemed that it would only drop down about where her chest met her neck. It was so beautiful. He continued as she admired the jewelry.

“Now I know it’s a bit too rich for your taste, Weasley, but it was the cheapest I could purchase without tarnishing the Malfoy name. It is enchanted and you will wear it at all times. If you are to tell someone your little secret, the charm will transform and will not change back whatever you may try. If you are not wearing the necklace whenever I see you during the day, I will naturally assume that you are hiding it from me. And if you think that you can get away with telling someone if you’re not wearing when you inform someone, you are mistaken. After you touch it for the first time, it is connected to you, and it will still transform. The last thing you need to know is that the necklace is not enchanted with dark magic, but a very common and very useful charm called Allineare Onesta. If you’re extremely curious about how it works you will find information on it very easily in the library. Now good night, Miss Weasley, I’ll be watching you.” He placed the necklace down onto the nearby ledge of a stone pot, leaving it there for her. Then he turned on his heel and walked away silently.

“You’re an arrogant prat. Managed not to give me any choice didn’t you, Draco?” She was talking to thin air.
She looked down at the heart and chain. At least he had some taste, or there would have been no way she would have worn it. It was silver, almost. There was a glow about it that made it shimmer in the light, though that could have been the particular charm he had used. It was actually quite striking, and she knew that she would never have seen or – let alone bought it – if it weren’t for Malfoy. Which, of course, was something she would never admit to him, though.

At that, she reached down to pick up the necklace to wrap around her neck where it would lay most of the time from now on. Before her fingers touched it she realized something strange. Draco had said that as soon as she touched the silver accessory, she would be connected to it. However, instead of handing it to her or putting it on her neck, Draco had placed it on the stone so that she would have to pick it up of her own free will. Draco had given her a choice. It wasn’t obvious and if she hadn’t noticed it wouldn’t have mattered, but it was still a choice. She could leave and never put it on. It was her decision. She could just walk away and leave it right there, yet she knew that Draco would be very angry and her only chance would vanish.

This wasn’t what she wanted. She would do anything not to have to make this choice, but he had put it on her shoulders. As she thought, she realized that her only other choice was death, which wasn’t acceptable.
With a wavering hand, she reached out and touched the necklace and it was done. Slowly she picked it up and opened the clasp. She reached around her neck and closed the deal, so to speak. She wasn’t about to lose the heart so she put a sealing charm on the tiny metal parts so it wouldn’t open accidentally.

Looking once more at the horizon and the happy students, Ginny turned and walked off the balcony and closed the door. A part of her freedom was gone now, but only a little piece. She could still be happy and be loved. It was true, Malfoy would keep a close watch on her, but then again, she would be watching right back.
Ginny walked back to the common room clutching the new piece of jewelry with her hand and sub-consciously playing with the heart.
Quarrels and Quidditch by rae_grace
It had taken her over a month and a half to get to the library. Homework, Quidditch practices and helping plan for the Halloween feast had all kept her from doing research on a certain spell.

Draco had backed off, no longer following her everywhere, but he still continued to look over her shoulder to make sure that she was keeping her side of the deal. Most days it was a quick glance that she was able to push to the back of her mind. Still other days, Draco was lucky he kept his distance because all she wanted to do was walk over and smack that sneer off his annoying, egotistical, handsome, gray eyed, chiseled…err – cruel, pale, ugly face.

The day after she had first put on the necklace, he had been waiting at the door to the great hall to make sure she had accepted his conditions. Of course, if anyone else were to have seen him they would never have thought he waited for the littlest Weasley. For Ginny it had been a little too obvious. As she had passed, a sneer came across his face. For now he was in control and was quite happy about it. She had been annoyed for days after that. She couldn’t get him out of her mind.

She slammed the next book down onto the table, getting a sharp look from Madam Pince, the school librarian. She was getting frustrated, this was the eleventh or twelfth book she had pulled from the self and they were slowly getting thicker.

Draco had said this dumb charm was common, but after two hours in the dusty library, you could have fooled Ginny. If she didn’t find it soon was going to have to ask for help and that would tick her off even more. She had given up lunch for this silly expedition into the massive tombs the library held. Because Malfoy had said that it wasn’t dark magic, she doubted it would be in the restricted section. Unless he had lied…

If she asked Madame Pince, then she would probably have to go into great detail about why she wanted to research the charm. Then again, if she went to ask Hermione, who knew the library backwards and forwards, she would also have to explain herself, but with the added inconvenience of having to go find her.

It was going to have to ask Madame Pince. If she spent any more time in the library she was going to go insane! Anyway she had to leave soon to warm up for the Quidditch game against Slytherin soon. This day was getting worse and worse.

She approached Madame Pince’s desk – where the old woman glared down at students who had the audacity to touch books in the library – and tried to think of something to say to her.

“Excuse me, Madame Pince. I was wondering if you could tell me where to find information on a certain charm,” Ginny started cautiously. She wanted to get this over and done with.

“Something you heard about in class no doubt. What is its name, dear?” Ginny couldn’t believe her luck. Madame Pince was staring over Ginny shoulder at a group of what looked like 4th year Hufflepuff boys. They were nuts enough to goof around under Pince’s watch and as soon as Pince had helped Ginny, the boys would be thrown out.

“Ahhhh, it’s called Allineare Onesta,” Ginny told her, checking her paper to see she had gotten it right.

“Simple, deary, look in a book called, “True Honesty: Spells and Charms That Reveal and Hide the Truth by Dorothe Siment”. I believe you should find it from there. Now if that’s all, I have business to take care of,” she said without taking her eyes off the boys behind Ginny.

“No that’s all, thank you,” Ginny answered, writing down the title and thanking Merlin for being so kind.

As she searched the shelves she played with the necklace itself. At first she had been paranoid about losing it, she hadn’t wanted Malfoy to suspect her of telling someone. She had only taken it off when she slept placing it into her small jewelry box that she locked. She also used a binding charm on it regularly so that it wouldn’t fall from her neck.

She had forgotten to wear it one morning, but as soon as she spotted Malfoy at breakfast, she had turned around and ran back to the Gryffindor tower. He must have noticed but had never said anything to her about it, as ten minutes later she walked back into the great hall with it on.

She had formed a habit of playing with it, which had made it quite obvious that she now wore it everyday. Two days after she had first received the pendant, Ron, Harry, and Hermione had noticed, so she had been forced to come up with a semi-lie to placate them. Something about seeing it in Hogsmeade once and how some Ravenclaw boy had tried to woo her with it a year or two before, but she had turned him down so she hadn’t worn it until now. Ok, maybe the term semi-lie was being loosely used, but she wasn’t about to tell them the truth. Ron would go mental and try to kill Malfoy at the breakfast table. Not to mention she’d have told them about Draco’s secret which would be totally pointless since that was why she was wearing the dumb necklace in the first place.

What a vicious circle, one of these days she was going to throttle Malfoy even if it was the last thing she did.
She found the book without much hassle. As she flipped through the pages she easily found the charm she wanted.

It had the largest section in the book. So Malfoy got a point for it actually being commonly used. As she skimmed through, she had to admit that he also got more points for it not being dark magic, and also for all the other properties that he had described.

She read the entire six pages or so and then left the library and headed upstairs to drop off her books. He had not lied or left out anything important. Malfoy had told her everything she needed to know. Most everything else in the book had been about when Allineare Onesta had been used by certain wizards.

After going to the tower, Ginny headed toward the pitch. On the way she was wished good luck by almost everyone who passed her. The Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws all wanted to win against Slytherin, which lead to a great deal of moral support for the Gryffindor players.

It was a good day for the game. It was damp from the rain that had fallen again last week, but the sun was out and everyone was cheerful, knowing that the matches would start to be a ‘freezing affair’ when the weather changed.

Ginny could tell everyone was excited. The last two years, with Harry and Malfoy captains of the opposing teams, Quidditch games between Gryffindor and Slytherin were the best the school had ever seen. They were also some of the most dangerous. The teachers often had to decide whether they were to give out detentions or cheer on their team.

McGonagall and Snape had quite a heated rivalry based on the outcome of the Quidditch games. Gryffindor had been successful in taking the House Cup from Slytherin last year, so Snape wanted it back but McGonagall was reluctant to give it up. She tried everything to spur on the Gryffindor team so that the awards would remain in her office. It had all been quite funny, but then it was strange that the teachers had time for such trivial things.

Ginny shrugged it off as she continued down the path to the pitch.

The players would be the only ones there this early. Turning the corner, she walked into the Gryffindor changing room to put on her robes and to hear Harry’s pre-game speech. He was quite good at them.

What she saw when she entered the room was definitely not what she had expected. She could feel the red climbing its way up her entire body. ‘I probably match my hair’, she thought. Simultaneously, Ginny managed to let out a small scream and shut her eyes tightly. She tried to move, she really did, but it just wasn’t happening.

Before her, Ginny had found the entirely male Slytherin team getting changed for the game. They were in varying states of undress. What they were doing in the Gryffindor changing room she had no idea, unless she hadn’t walked into the Gryffindor changing room, but the Slytherins’ instead. Which Ginny knew, she’d never live down.
Standing there, with her eyes shut, trying to forget the scene before her, Ginny could hear the rustle of towels and clothing as it was quickly pulled up in front of some particular parts.

She wasn’t sure, but she had the feeling that she had whispered something to the effect of, ‘Dear Merlin, I’m scarred for life.’ Which was quite true since seeing the Slytherin Quidditch team like this was definitely the last thing she had ever wanted.

Soon, though, the fear that she had walked into wrong changing room was quelled as Harry rushed up, taking her by the shoulders and leading her back out the door. Shouting out behind him at the same time, “Ron, I told you to wait by the door and stop the girls. You bloody idiot. Look what you’ve done to your sister.”

Right then Ginny did the unimaginable, which seemed to stop Harry right in his tracks. Standing in the door Ginny had started to laugh. Not a giggle, not a snicker, but a sound that was a true laugh. Loud and clear, but then she stopped as she heard the response to Harry’s outburst and it wasn’t Ron who replied.

“She doesn’t seem too bad off,” Draco drawled, “Take her outside Potter, we’ll be done in a minute and then your ladies can change. You might think about putting someone on guard though, so we don’t have a repeat performance. Someone better then Weasley.”

She would have probably kicked the twit at that even if it did mean having to open her eyes again, but Harry dragged her outside instead.

“Sorry,” Harry said sheepishly as Ginny opened her eyes and sat down beside the wall, “but it really isn’t your brother’s fault. I told him to do that and then five minutes later I told him I needed help with the damn brooms.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Ginny muttered. Somewhere between her laughing and Malfoy insulting her brother the mental image had disappeared. None of it really mattered. The day was still bright, the stands were starting to fill up and in the distance Ginny could see Snape and McGonagall heading towards the pitch already bickering about who was going to win. A smile formed on her face. Turning to Harry, she continued, “Why are they using our change rooms?”

“I don’t know, something about showers and charms going awry. I guess ours is the only room that hasn’t been all messed up. Don’t know the details, just that Dumbledore asked us to share best we can. Well, anyway, I’ve still got to go fix those brooms or we aren’t going have a game. Can you look out for the others?” Harry answered.

After telling him she’d ‘keep watch’ Harry retreated back into the showers still looking rather flustered. Ginny was content sitting in peace. She wasn’t in peace for much longer, however, as the Slytherin team paraded out. Ginny hadn’t needed to stop her fellow chasers since as usual they were late.

Walking out first, Draco Malfoy led the group as she watched from her seat on the ground. What morons they all were. Just as she thought this, Malfoy turned around and caught her eye, stopping everyone behind him in the process. Could the bloody git read minds too? At this Ginny couldn’t help herself, she smiled. Which seemed to successfully irk Malfoy for some strange reason.

Ginny suddenly felt powerful and thought that stirring up trouble would be fun. “Sorry ‘bout that. Not that it was my fault.” She smiled again.

“No problem. Hope we haven’t scarred you too badly.” Why was it he could make her blush so easily? Draco continued before she was able to think about it. “You’re right though it wasn’t your fault, it was your git brother’s.”

Ginny wanted to pound his pale face off, but instead she decided that being civil would look a whole lot better.

“Good luck with the game.” She started to rise from the ground only to find his hand lying on her shoulder once again. He held her down and leaned over.

“Not that we’ll need it, but thanks. You don’t want to wear that while you’re flying. You’ll strangle yourself.”

He had moved his other hand to the heart hanging around her neck. Ginny could feel the eyes of the entire team watching Malfoy’s actions. She suddenly realized that these were the ones that had helped Malfoy shadow her the first week.

“What do you know? Let go!” Ginny was glad that had come out as fierce as she had wanted. She placed her hand around his wrist and pulled his arm away from her with what little force she had. She knew he was stronger and could have easily stopped her.

She was surprised when with the same movement she had used to remove his hand he lifted her up from the ground. The force he had used puzzled Ginny, as it was gentle and smooth. She was now staring at his chest, grumbling mentally about being so damn short.

Dropping his wrist she began to turn, but was stopped by the words he whispered not so quietly to her. Ginny was now convinced that every one of his teammates was aware of her involvement in his affairs.

“We wouldn’t want you to lose it, would we?”

Ginny shouldn’t have said anything else, she should have walked away, but all she wanted to do was hurt him- wound him- the best way she could. The words came out of her mouth like venom. All the things she had wanted to say for the last two months forced their way to the surface, but she limited herself to one sentence. A sentence that held all the emotion that she wanted to convey to him. “It wouldn’t matter, you’d still possess the keys to the ‘prison’.”

Hearing the voices of her teammates coming up behind them, feeling the tears build up in her eyes and noticing that Malfoy had finally relaxed his body in a way so that he was no longer holding her there, Ginny turned and finally walked away.

She was going to make sure that Gryffindor won the game, if it killed her. She knew if she used half the anger he’d provided they would win. He may be in control, but she wasn’t going to let him win the game too.

Ginny had hoped for an exciting game, and she had gotten her wish. It was fantastic, but the fans were enjoying much more that the players. It had been brutal from the beginning; with both teams seeming to play the same two square meters of sky and everyone determined to win.

Such competition made the chaser’s job difficult and dangerous. The ‘Gryffindor girls’- as Harry had nicknamed them- were taking a good thrashing with the beaters aiming specially for their heads. Ginny had never played a game like this before, and she was starting to wonder if anyone else on the field had either. She was starting to have trouble keeping up with her racing heart.

Players were moving so fast, Ginny was shocked that Neville was able to keep up with their movements from the booth. The crowd was a blur and so were many of the players. Gryffindor was barely leading in points and catching the snitch would still be pointless. Harry seemed to be spending more time protecting his players from bludgers than searching for the snitch anyway. Ginny had found it quite funny at first that the players seemed to keep changing positions, but after some time she had realized that it was hazardous not knowing who you needed to avoid. She was sure she had bruises on every part of her body by now, but she found it surprisingly easy to forget them and keep playing.

Right now she was racing toward the hoops on the opposite side, following Mary Bryds, who had the quaffle for Gryffindor. It was passed first to Kate Jackson and then to Ginny as they weaved their way up the field. When they finally had made it to the other end, Ginny saw the opening that they needed. Rocketing the quaffle back to Kate, the girl was able to make a shot for the left hoop.

“And Gryffindor has scored again! Making the score 140-100 with Gryffindor in the lead!” Ginny heard Neville’s comments, but paid little attention to them as the Slytherin chasers were headed back the other way, quaffle in hand. This was getting tiring. Couldn’t Harry catch the snitch soon? No sooner had Ginny thought this than she saw four streaks of color headed her way. The first one was gold, then maroon and green. The last was black. Ginny glanced around and quickly realized she was doomed.

The snitch was coming right towards her, its two seekers in hot pursuit. The last direction that she may have used for escape was blocked by a bludger that was conveniently aimed at her head. With the rest of the players also in close proximity, there was no way to escape. She also found in her quick assessment that she was higher then she would have expected.

Ginny knew that there was nothing to do except be as small as possible as the two hulking boys passed her and hope that the bludger didn’t break any of her bones.

It was going well at first, the snitch passed without Ginny even noticing. Sadly, Harry and Malfoy’s passing was a little more obvious. The boys seemed to realize her tactic and did their best to swerve around her.

As Malfoy passed Ginny had an indescribable want to catch Malfoy by the robes and pull him off his broom. Her logical side stopped her before she did, though, as it wouldn’t have helped Harry any since Madam Hooch would most likely stop the game to give Ginny a penalty.

Ginny watched their descent and noticed that everyone had stopped playing below her and was watching in silence with the rest of the crowd. This was Ginny’s fatal mistake. In the few seconds she had taken, she had forgotten the bludger. It pounded her in the back taking the wind out of her lungs for a moment. Ginny hadn’t been ready for the impact. The force from the hit had easily tossed her head first off her broom. She was headed for the ground and there was no way for her to stop it.

Since the stadium had been completely silent as everyone watched the action of the seekers, everyone heard Ginny’s piercing screams.

She could feel the attention turn to her, but little else was disguisable from the raging fear that was consuming her. She barely heard her own screams or felt the tears start to stream down her face. She tumbled head over heels, unable to keep upright. She could feel hands grasping at her hair and clothes, trying to catch her… but the nearby players’ reaction times were too slow and none of them succeeded.

It lasted forever with the time going on and on. Ginny did have some vague idea, though, that the ground was getting closer as she came level with the stands and the crowd that watched in horror. As she started to accept her fate she closed her eyes as tight as she could.

The face that Ginny found facing her against the darkness of her eyelids was the last she had expected. It was his fault. It was completely his fault. Why did those gray eyes still taunt her now that she was falling? It wasn’t fair.

Suddenly a piercing pain shot through her left arm. She was sure that her shoulder had been pulled out of the socket, but it could wait. She could live with the pain in her shoulder because Ginny had stopped falling and someone had hold of her right hand. Barely.

Just then Ginny realized that the crowd had let out a deafening cheer for her capture. She opened her eyes hoping that it would be anyone, but the one person that she knew it was. The same gray eyes that had haunted her visions met her.

Draco had her by the hand, but sweat from playing was making it hard for him to keep it in his grasp. His hand was so much larger than hers and stronger. Ginny looked down to find to her relief that she was no longer so far from the ground that if he dropped her she’d be hurt. It seemed as though he had waited until almost the last second to save her.

When Ginny looked back, Draco was no longer looking down at her. Instead he was facing where the game had begun again. Kate and Mary had gotten the quaffle back and were headed to the Slytherin end. Then Ginny saw what really concerned Draco. Harry, after seeing that Ginny was safe, had continued to chase the snitch, which had now positioned itself so that it was hovering nearer to Draco than Harry.

Ginny knew what Draco wanted to do. He wanted to drop her to the ground, knowing that she now wouldn’t be hurt by the fall. He wanted to drop her and then beat Harry to the snitch. Ginny really didn’t care about the game anymore, but she knew what she didn’t want. Ginny didn’t want to be dropped again.

“Please,” Ginny could only manage the one word, but it was enough. Draco looked back down at the girl he held in his grasp. She was so emotional that someone in the stands would have known she was shaking.

In a split second he made his decision. Draco slowed the broom even more and then lifted his other hand from the handle. Leaning down he grabbed Ginny’s left hand and pulled her up as if she weighed nothing at all. Draco then brought her up onto broom sideways in front of him. Ginny surprised herself even more when she happily melted into his chest and started to shed even more tears.

“Thank you,” it was all she could think of to say, but she meant it. At that moment she didn’t want to leave the safety he provided so she continued to cry into his chest.

Everything about his manner seemed to accept her, unlike when they had fought earlier that day. His muscles were relaxed and to her surprise she heard him shushing her in the softest, gentlest voice she had ever heard him use.

“Shhhh, quiet now. No more falling today. I promise. Shush little one, you’re safe. You’re going to be fine now, Ginny. You remind me of a kitten.” The last part he seemed to say more to himself than Ginny, but she decided to ignore it. He had one arm wrapped around her loosely and his other hand was calmly brushing the back of her hair. An even more disturbing fact for Ginny however was that she now had her own limbs clinging to his neck and chest. Again she pushed it aside to examine later.

She had never noticed how much bigger he was than her. He must have been at least twice her height. She probably looked just like a doll in a child’s arms, but she was in his arms instead.

Ginny finally realized that the game had ended. Harry had caught the snitch while Draco saved and comforted her.

Pulling away slightly, Ginny wiped away her own tears and looked up into Draco's face, but this couldn’t be Draco. Could it?

“Well then, let’s get you back down on the earth,” he continued as gently as before. “You’ll have to get your arm looked at by Madam Pomfrey. I suspect that I pulled something when I plucked you out of the air like that. Well, there we go, ground, safe, ground,” he chuckled as they finally placed their feet on the soil again.

His mindless chatter perplexed Ginny who had never considered Draco to be in anyway mindless. Then she realized what he had done it for. Just as he had kept a firm grip of her the entire time they flew down so that she knew she wouldn’t fall. He had also kept her mind busy so that she couldn’t think of falling at all. He had purposefully made her feel safe. This really couldn’t be Draco. It wasn’t possible. Had she really been so upset she had gotten such a gentle reaction from him? The answer was yes and she was still shaking.

“Thank you,” she managed to stumble out again. Ginny could hear the commotion behind her and knew that her fellow teammates were coming. Ginny didn’t know what to do now, but things were solved as Draco took control of the situation as always.

“You didn’t even lose your necklace. Imagine that, I was wrong.” He smiled and then turned to walk away. Ginny probably would have stood there gaping at his retreating back forever, but she was not allowed that luxury as her team pulled her toward the hospital wing. They were all talking about the game, their win and her fall. They were all so very loud.

Ginny needed quiet and she needed to be alone. She needed to think, desperately. Why had all this happened? It wasn’t just the fall that had bothered her, but rather all the things that Malfoy had done after the fall. It didn’t make sense. None of it did, especially the part where he admitted he was wrong. That was just…wrong.
Torn Apart By Circumstance by rae_grace
Author's Notes:
I can't beleive that I'm finally getting to post this story! I've had it in my files for ages and ages! I hope you're enjoying it so far! There's only one more chapter left. I would love to hear your comments! Good or bad!
“Ow!”

That was the word her brain had refused to stop shouting to her. Everything ached, everything! Madam Pomfrey had taken care of her arm and wrist and also the fracture in her shoulder blade from where the bludger had hit, but she had told Ginny that the rest of her woes would heal fine of their own devices. What a joke! Ginny couldn’t move. If she moved her eyelashes somehow it triggered a reaction in her forearm, which triggered something in her stomach and on and on…

The only thing that made her pain more bearable was watching everyone else who had played the day before contend with the same symptoms. Even the Slytherins, even Draco, seemed to be favoring a certain limb or winced ever so often when they moved their head.

“Draco.” This word, too, had been floating around in her brain much too often since yesterday’s events… in fact, his name had been in the back of her mind for most of year!

When she’d finally found enough time to think the night before she hadn’t known where to start. The only conclusions she had been able to make were extremely vague. She had really only managed to prove that Draco Malfoy was one HUGE mystery and thinking through any of his actions was extremely pointless.

So Ginny had decided to drop it. There was no reason for her to keep going over the same thoughts again and again, always getting the same incomplete answers. The only problem was she just couldn’t leave it alone. The only thing that interrupted her thoughts was the throbbing aches all over her body.

It didn’t make any sense. The last two months were just strange and things had happened that shouldn’t have. Even though Ginny knew somewhere in her heart that keeping Draco's secret could mean life or death for her friends, somehow Ginny had been able to rationalize the purpose even now after the situation had gotten more heated.

At that precise moment, Ginny was again nudged from her dream state, but this time it wasn’t from the pain in her shoulder or calf. A small gray owl had softly hooted while sitting on the table in front of her. Ginny had been so absorbed she hadn’t noticed that the mail owls had arrived in the Great Hall. Everyone around her had started to open his or her mail. The owl in front of her seemed to be the only one left in the hall and it had been patiently waiting from Ginny to notice her.

A smile slowly flowered across her face as she petted the sweet owl. “I’m sorry, didn’t mean to keep you waiting.”

As Ginny started to lift her head she realized she had never been sent anything with this owl before. She petted the beautiful gray feathers that adorned the owl. The gray reminded her of something, but she couldn’t quite place it. As she took the parchment from the owl’s leg she was soon able to make the connection between the feathers and a certain somebody’s eyes.

The expensive paper unrolled smoothly in her hands. When it had finished she was left with a slender red rose sitting in her lap. It had grown larger from the folds of the paper as it had unfurled. A quiet gasp escaped Ginny’s lips. Quickly she looked around, but no one seem
ed to have noticed her. It had puzzled Ginny that everyone seemed to have forgotten the events of yesterday so quickly. Hogwarts was usually a beehive of gossip, but this time, not even her brother had asked her what had happened on the Quidditch pitch.

Ginny glanced back at the parchment and read a message written in the most beautiful writing she had even seen.

Dear Ginevra,

I hope you are feeling better. You seemed to be very shaken yesterday, but your brother and friends have probably taken very good care of you. I suspect that Madam Pomfrey has left you in the same aching state as the rest of us. I hear it is her way of punishing us for being so tough on our bodies.

The owl’s name is Adora. I thought that you might like her. You may keep her if you wish. I suspect that she will like your quiet disposition as much as you will hers. I understand however if you don’t want to keep her, she may be hard to explain to your family. Have a good day, Ginny. Don’t run into any armor as you daydream in the halls.

Your Humbled Keeper,
Draco Malfoy

P.S. I wish for you to excuse me my rude behavior before the game. The rose is an enticement for your forgiveness.

How he was able to make her smile and frown in just one simple passage she would probably never understand. She looked up at the beautiful bird before her and was forced to smile again. He definitely had a knack in gift giving, though.

“Well Adora, would you like to be my owl?” The owl gave a small hoot in reply. Draco had been right. She did like the sweet, quiet owl very much. “Well then I have a message for you to deliver if I can find a pen. Ron do you have a pen I can use?” Ginny bent down and pulled out paper from her bag on the floor.

“Sorry, Gin, my stuff’s upstairs.”

“Never mind, I found one.”

Ginny sat back up and started her message in her imperfect writing.

Dear (Mal) Draco,

Thank you for the owl and the rose. Adora is very charming and it’ll be my pleasure to keep her. You’re right about the aches, I can barely move without pain shooting through my muscles, but it’s probably the same for you. I’d like to accept your apology, but I need to talk to you first. I need to understand first. Would you meet me at seven tonight at the balcony?

Ginevra

P.S. Please don’t send another owl, just come.

‘Well,’ thought Ginny. ‘That last part was should be direct enough to get his attention!’ Ginny wondered if he would come or not. She really needed to ask him some questions before she could accept his actions. If she didn’t, things would get more confusing as time went by.

She needed as many answers as she could get before she went off her rocker. The only person who seemed to have the answers was Draco, but as she wasn’t going to walk up to him and just start up a conversation. A nighttime rendezvous was the only option.

Checking that Draco had left the great hall already and attaching the note to the gray owl’s leg she whispered,
“Don’t take this right away, Adora, give it to him in about an hour, alright?” The owl hooted again and nudged Ginny’s hand. Ginny picked up a piece of bacon from the table and fed Adora, then the owl lifted herself from the table and soared out of the open window near the ceiling.

Ginny watched her gorgeous gift leave with such beauty. Ginny had always wanted an owl of her own and now she had gotten one from the most unlikely of people. Maybe she’d have some of her answers by the time she went to bed and maybe she wouldn’t. You could never depend on Draco Malfoy.

************

The night fell on the castle like a comfortable blanket. Ginny had always had a strange attraction to the dark. It had never scared her as a child. The shadows had never harbored monsters, but dreams of the sweetest kind. At night the darkness had been a blank canvas for dreams, stories and hopes for her future. At night she was not innocent; at night she let herself remember the past. Ever since Tom Riddle had shown the world to her, in his own way, she had no longer felt na´ve. However, during the day, when everyone expected her to be little ‘baby’ Ginny, she would continue to act like a child. She felt more like herself at nighttime. She could let herself be Ginny Weasley; the person who would one day gather the courage to tell her family the truth.

She wasn’t evil, demented or tainted. The only difference was that the Ginny at night was much more independent, outspoken and had her own ideas for her future. Her mother wasn’t ready to see her as a woman yet and Ron wasn’t ready to stop protecting her yet and that was all right, but the time would come sooner or later.

After eating, Ginny had proceeded towards the balcony up in the towers. Her footsteps echoed in the quiet hallways. For the first time, the darkness of Hogwarts spooked her. She was worried that Malfoy wouldn’t arrive and that she wouldn’t get the answers she needed. Another part of her didn’t want him to show. She had no idea how he would receive her. She was hoping for sweet and understanding Draco, but she was pretty sure she was going to get cool and annoying Draco and if she were really unlucky she’d end up with cruel and harsh Draco. The guy had way too many moods. He was worst than some of the girls she knew.

The thought put a smile back on her lips. A mental picture of Draco standing in the middle of preening group of employed fashion experts amused her greatly. What made it sillier was that Draco most likely had done just that on more than one occasion.

Turning the corner, Ginny faced the doors that lead to the balcony where it had all begun. She glanced back through the glass and saw a vague silhouette of a man who had always been strong, yet moody. For the life of her, Ginny wanted to understand him; she wanted to know more. She always had. Her small hand started to turn the handle of the door once again.

“You came,” she let the door close again behind her.

“Of course, I did. I was taught never to refuse a lady’s request,” he turned toward her, a small smile gracing his face. Ginny saw the humor that twinkled in his eyes making her smile along with him. The Draco that met her was willing to talk and willing to be there.

“If I’m what you consider a lady, there isn’t much hope for anyone else,” Ginny came to stand beside him at the railing. “I don’t know where to begin. I ask you here and then I don’t know what I want to say. You must hate me.”

“Hate is a strong word.”

Ginny looked up to him and then out at the beautiful scene that was before them. She had always supposed that hate was the only emotion that Draco ever felt with any regularity, but she was beginning to think she was wrong. The look in his eyes proved this, he looked at her with friendship and almost with…love.

“Yes it is,” she continued. “I want to thank you for catching me yesterday. I don’t think I’ll ever be able thank you enough. You saved my life. Then giving me Adora was very thoughtful; she’s so beautiful and I don’t think anyone has ever given me a rose before. It made me happy all day. I’d like to apologize also. I was rude before the game, very rude.”

“You felt threatened; I’m the one who should be apologizing for the incident. I provoked you knowing full well what I was doing. I brought your reaction on myself.

"I hope that you’ll forgive me, rosebud,” the affectionate name was unexpected, especially when delivered with such an off-hand manner. It prompted another smile to grace Ginny’s face.

“Rosebud? No one’s ever called me that,” Ginny couldn’t stop smiling and she noticed when she looked up that Draco was not offended, he almost seemed happy she wasn’t upset.

“That’s why I sent the rose. You’ve always reminded me of that flower, especially yesterday. I think it’s the color of your hair and your petite frame, but your character reflects it too. You have the soft petals and the spiky thorns,” a smile that matched Ginny’s flashed across Draco’s lips. Tonight his attitude invited her in and his body language increasingly relaxed with every sentence they uttered.

Ginny couldn’t get over it. Draco Malfoy, THE DRACO MALFOY, had developed an affectionate term for her and somehow they where calmly sharing time together that didn’t include them screaming at each other. Ginny liked it.

“Well, I like it. It’s definitely better than Weasel.”

“Good. You said you had questions,” Draco was ready to get down to business.

“Yeah, I don’t know if you’ll have the answers though, but I guess…well I guess if I’m going to get them anywhere it’s going to be from you.”

“If you ask, I will answer. If I can.” He looked down at his hands where they rested against the stone of the banister. The smile was gone, but he didn’t seem to be angry. It was regret that had caused his mood to change.

“Alright,” she didn’t know what would be appropriate to ask first. She decided to start not with the query that puzzled the most, but the question that would explain why this had all started in the first place. “Why did you take the dark mark?”

Draco smiled sadly and Ginny was worried she had started badly. “You don’t start easy do you? Go right to the hard questions. I’m glad for the challenge. I became a death eater for a multitude of reasons, one of which was that it was simply expected of me. Another reason that comes to mind is that it was what I have been raised to do. But I guess those aren’t really the reasons that you want to hear, are they? You knew those things already didn’t you, rosebud? Well, I really did it so that I’d have a chance of surviving. If I hadn’t chosen a side I would be a target for both. So I chose.”

“Then why that side?”

“The only person I’m afraid of, Gin, is my father. It was easier going with him than against him.

“In some vague way I understand, I guess. I wish I didn’t, though. I wish I’d never guessed; I wish I never lifted up your sleeve.”

“Why?” Draco’s voice had gotten even softer because he wanted to understand just as much as she did. It was only fair she answer his questions too.

“I don’t know. Maybe I just think that I wouldn’t be hiding now, that I wouldn’t be lying to the people I love.
I don’t even understand how I knew.”

“I think I have an idea,” Draco started, but paused, though, wondering if telling her was the right decision.

Finally, after a painful silence, he continued, “In your first year, Gin, you were connected to The Dark Lord more than anyone realized. I have a suspicion, that you do realize, to some extent, the connection between yourself and the Dark Lord. My mark connects me to him. You sensed his presence around me. It’s a presence you know almost as intimately as I do. You sensed it and subconsciously put it together. It was enough for you to want to check my arm.”

Ginny understood. Though she didn’t feel it anymore, there had been a time when that presence was almost all she had known. She felt the flood of emotions rise to the surface and her quick temper flare. Draco silently waited for an answer. “I hate him. I confided in him my entire world and he used it to his own advantage. Voldemort is disgusting and he has no heart. His presence is connected in my mind to a time in my life when I was used. He took my childhood away. How can you stand to be connected to that filth?”

“If they only knew your power,” was Draco’s only response. Ginny took a moment to wallow in her bad memories.

“If who knew?” asked Ginny, who sounded sharper than she had expected.

Draco sighed. “Your family, Dumbledore, and Potter.”

“What power, Draco? I have no power. I’m just a regular witch.” The idea that she had any special abilities was absurd, especially if it was her family that would have to accept them. To them she was still a girl and even if she could help them they would never let her if it meant she would be in danger.

“Don’t underestimate yourself, Ginny. You are not an ordinary witch.” Another smile crossed his face as he continued. “You are intelligent and compassionate. You are beautiful, so beautiful that you can make the Weasley hair a blessing. You possess bravery and are trustworthy, but most of all, Rosebud, you are forgiving,” An emotion entered Draco’s eyes that Ginny had seen on many others’ before, but never in Draco. “You have given the most unlikely person a second chance. For that, you deserve the world, and, Gin, if I could give it to you, I would.”

A large lump had developed in Ginny’s throat and she now had difficulty swallowing it. Ginny didn’t know what to say for once. Draco had surprised her. By showing his feelings he had triggered Ginny into realizing her own.

Draco’s eyes had shown his love for her and his words a beautiful tenderness. Ginny was astounded by the same feelings rising to the surface of her own heart. Had all these years of fighting hidden something bigger? Something much more dangerous? Ginny could never believe that.

“You didn’t answer my question!” When Ginny regained her voice, icy tones escaped. When she continued, her confidence was gone. “Uh… what power do I… do I have that could help them,” Ginny stammered out. Even to her ears the words sounded forced.

Draco seemed not to take offence from her harsh words, but his eyes always betrayed him - he looked hurt. “Ginny, you can tell a death eater by just meeting them. If you could prove your ability to the Ministry, they would be able to destroy Lord Voldemort’s followers. You could help them destroy Lord Voldemort,” his voice cracked as he proceeded, though his voice stayed soft. “It would put your life at great risk. There would be death eaters everywhere that would want you dead. The Dark Lord himself would want you dead.”

Draco’s voice seemed upset and worried. As his words were released, Ginny realized that he would be one of those death eaters that would hunt her if she were to tell others of her ability. The idea seemed to bother him as much as it did her.

“That’s silly,” her voice was weak. “It could never happen. I could never be that accurate.” Yet in her mind she knew that her concentration had always been superb.

Draco seemed to want to accept her words even though he knew that they were not true. “You’re right, anyway you’d never be able to prove it to the Ministry.”

“Exactly, they don’t believe anyone.” Following her words was a loud silence. They both had reacted in the same way. Deny, Deny, Deny!

Both had seen the truth in Draco’s words, but for some strange reason neither had been willing to leave the calmness that surrounded them into the reality that faced them. They had realized a deadly thing. They enjoyed each other’s company and they had fallen in love without knowing. But they could never be together without bringing themselves pain.

Draco was the first to speak, but started with some difficulty. “Do you have any more questions, Weasel?”

“Why would I have any questions for you, Ferret? Sod Off!”


It was the only way. The words were callous, but pain filled both sets of eyes as they stared at each other. It had to end. In two days their relationship had become something that could kill them. Neither wanted to end it, but they couldn’t continue down this path. Could they? No! No matter how much it hurt they had to become rivals again.

“Fine, goodnight.” Draco turned and left his ‘rosebud’ standing on the balcony. Tears started to stream down her face and she started to question what had happened. She thought she understood now. Draco had fallen in love with her in the years they had spent together at Hogwarts. She had fallen in love with him too. They had admired each other’s abilities.

Ginny continued to cry for ages. She mourned something she hadn’t known that she wanted desperately until she couldn’t have it. Her hand fondled the necklace; his first gift, as her mind recollected the memories he had given her in such a short time.
Making The Hard Choice by rae_grace
Well this is the last chapter! I wrote this fic ages ago and only had to post it so it hasn't taken long! I hope you all enjoyed! I've been getting great reviews and I want to thank you all for your input! I hope I'll have something new to post soon, but knowing my drive it may be awhile!

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After a sleepless night Ginny was certain she didn’t want to go to classes. She was crabby, sad, hurt, bitchy and tired. When Hermione came to get her in the morning she faked illness, which wasn’t hard after crying all night.

What little sleep Ginny had gotten was plagued by dreams of a perfect world and a certain prat’s face. She was ready to explode. The last person she wanted to see was Draco and the only way she could do that was to stay in her dark room forever.

She didn’t blame him. She was furious with the rest of the world. She wanted to mangle and maim anyone who had the guts to walk through her bedroom door.

Hermione left, but she had woken up Ginny’s roommates, who were now bustling around the room. Their happiness made her more and more depressed until she was again weeping behind her bed hangings.

“Wait, shh, shh. Do you guys hear that? Gin? Gin, are you okay?” Ginny’s reaction was too late to stop Grace Jansen from coming over to her bed and pulling the hangings away.

“Oh Ginny! I thought you told Hermi’ that you weren’t feeling well. Did she even see you?”

“I’m NOT feeling well and why does matter if Hermi’ saw me or NOT?” Ginny was being nasty, but she really didn’t care since she was sickeningly sweet every other day. And anyways she wasn’t enjoying the pitying looks – and sympathetic silence – that her roommates were giving her. Lucky for them, she didn’t have the strength the punch each of their delicate noses.

“Well, we just wouldn’t think that Hermi’ would leave you looking like this,” chirped in Mary from behind Grace.

Ginny was going to make sure that while passing the quaffle to Mary next game it was going to ‘accidentally’ knock her unconscious.

“SOD OFF! Don’t you lot have anything better to do than bother the sickly?” Ginny pushed herself up from the pillow and walked across the room to where the garbage bin was located.

“I don’t think you’re sick,” this voice was from Monica Dawson who was sitting on her bed and seemed very sure about her words.

“Look at me. I’m a mess, I didn’t sleep all night and I can barely breathe,” Ginny spat, adding a fake sick voice and blowing her nose at the end for added effect. She was slowly losing her patience and if these nosey bimbos didn’t hurry up and leave soon, she was going to do something she should regret, but probably wouldn’t.

“Moni’s right! You’re not sick, but you are a mess. My guess is some bloke broke your heart last night.” Kate had finally joined the conversation, but her only response from Ginny was a deep growl from her throat. Kate continued anyway. “If you don’t stop being so hostile I’m going to think I’m even more right. So you better get dressed or go see Madam Pomfrey.” The look on Kate’s face was killing Ginny; all she wanted to do was rip it off.

“I’M NOT GOING TO SEE POMFREY!”

“Then I’m going to tell McGonagall that you’re skiving classes.”

Everyone else in the bedroom was tense, wondering what Ginny’s response would be. She could risk going to Pomfrey and claim she didn’t feel well and hadn’t slept because her muscles still hurt from the game, but it wasn’t worth it. The nurse would just heal her aches and send her to class with directions to go to bed early.

Ginny finally moved again and started to grumble under her breath while she looked for pieces of clothing to wear.

“Why the hell can’t people leave me alone? … I’m going to make sure she gets the quaffle in her face first… I may be going, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to look good… I’ll remember this the next time she breaks up with one of her lousy boyfriends! …”

Ginny complained, but no one seemed to hear her. After she had begun to get dressed everyone else had returned to their own business, chatting and bumbling about.

Despite the fact that Ginny wasn’t ready to be seen publicly – at least by her mother’s standards – she was the first to leave the room. She had thrown on the blouse from the night before which had been mussed and now wasn’t buttoned quite as high as it should have been. The only clean skirt she could find was from the year before and rose up a bit too high. Who cared? She hadn’t bothered with her cardigan, tie, or robes. They had all been left on the floor or hook. The beige stockings she’d pulled out were the only decent piece of clothing she wore, but they couldn’t really be seen beneath the black leather
knee-high muggle boots she had bought behind Mrs. Weasley’s back two years ago. The only attention that her hair got was a casual brush and then a run through with her fingers. Her only accessories were her necklace and her bag that contained her books, a letter from the day before and the rose that had accompanied it.

Ginny spotted her reflection on the way out of the common room, and surprisingly, she liked her appearance. She looked how she felt. Different. She looked like how Ginny should look, natural.

Her hair was especially impressive. It was the first time she had left it down since she had started to grow it out at the beginning of the year. It had once been cut to her shoulders, but now that she’d decided to grow it out, it reached to the middle of her back. Her hair had always grown quickly. The curl that Ginny normally fought by braiding her red locks everyday now gave her hair character. This was probably the first time Ginny had looked her age since she was eleven.

Running her hand through her hair, she remembered something Draco had said the night before. He had commented on the color of her locks. He had said she made the Weasley hair a ‘blessing’. Her color had grown over the years from the carroty color of her brother’s hair to a rich red auburn of its very own. She was glad that Draco liked it.

Shaking the thoughts off before she started to cry again, Ginny pushed her hair out of her eyes and left the common room.

In her wake she left the few students that had been up early in complete silence. The appearance and disappearance of Ron’s little sister had stunned them.

That couldn’t be Ginny Weasley, could it?

************

After all her complaining that morning it wouldn’t have mattered if she’d stayed in her room. Draco was in hiding. He hadn’t come to breakfast or lunch and she hadn’t seen him in the halls or coming out of any of his classes. Actually it had shocked her how well she knew his schedule.

Ginny had spent most of her day getting more and more annoyed. He was avoiding her and that pissed her off. It didn’t really make much sense since she had wanted to do exactly the same thing, but still that was what she was feeling.

That wasn’t the only thing that was getting on her nerves. Every guy in the entire school seemed to be noticing her FINALLY and it was driving Ginny bonkers. They wouldn’t stop smiling, chatting her up and basically flirting with her non-stop. To make matters worse, Ron, upon seeing her appearance at breakfast, had been tailing her all day dragging along a very disgruntled Hermione and Harry.

The combination of Draco, Ron and every other male in the student body had finally brought Ginny to her boiling point. At the moment she was heading to the great hall for supper with her ‘entourage’ in tow.

In one ear she could hear Ron bickering away about her boots, while in the other, Neville, Colin, Dean, and a few others were all vying for her attention. Behind her Ginny could also hear the faint complaints of Harry and Hermione, who by now were ready to kill Ron.

Ginny was getting a massive headache. She felt like screaming at the top of her lungs. She felt like yelling, and if she had her way, all of this emotion would be directed at a particular blond boy.

At that moment, Ginny came around the corner of the dinning room door. An icy grin had blossomed on her pink lips. She had spotted her target and she was going to hit it.

Draco had dared to come to supper, which was going to be a fatal mistake if Ginny had anything to do with it, but first she had to lose a few spectators.

Abruptly Ginny turned on her heel and faced the crowd following her. She knew that she should be nice and ask them gently and politely to give her some peace, but frankly, she didn’t feel like it.

“SOD OFF!! Get it? LEAVE ME ALONE!! GO AWAY!! Can’t a girl GET SOME SPACE?”

The look on Ron’s face would have been priceless if her mind wasn’t concentrating on other things. His newly reddened cheeks were now darker than his hair. His eyes betrayed him, though, showing Ginny his worry. “Yeah, sure Gin, we’ll go, let you have a quiet meal.” Ron rounded up the others and they went to sit down. Ginny felt sorry about yelling at the crowd, but she would apologize to them later.

Right now she had bigger things to yell at. Looking up, she caught Draco’s eye, but he looked away almost as quickly. He had been one of the few who had noticed Ginny’s outburst. Well, there was no point giving up now.

Again she turned and quickly walked over to where Draco was sitting surrounded by fellow Slytherins. Something inside Ginny mentioned to the rational side of her brain that this was insane, but the rational side just wasn’t listening. Oh well. Ginny had to move fast or she’d lose her opportunity.

Draco was in the middle of a conversation with certain Slytherin boys that Ginny knew were already aware of most of her involvement with Draco Malfoy. Close to them sat a crowd of Slytherin girls that included Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode.

Emotion was rising from the pit of her stomach. If Ginny hadn’t been so riled she probably would have thrown up. Malfoy thought he could spend the day avoiding her and survive. He had another think coming and it was coming fast. Bastard! She may as well make it a good show too!

Ginny had finally crossed the distance between them and was now standing behind Draco who was still talking with his friends however knowing him he was aware that she there.

The conversation around them abruptly stopped as Draco’s friends and the Slytherin girls noticed Ginny’s fuming presence hovering over Draco. Draco still wouldn’t turn around.

Leaning over only slightly since Draco’s frame was so tall; Ginny draped herself over his shoulders and whispered so softly that they were the only ones to hear,

“Have you been avoiding me?” Ginny’s heated breath touched the skin of Draco’s neck as the words were released and by now they had the entire hall’s attention.

“No.”

His voice was icy and his volume at a normal level so that everyone heard his reply. Somehow he only managed to make her more upset.

Unweaving her hands from where they had been playing with his blond hair behind his ear she stood up straight again. Her small hands then delivered a hefty blow to his shoulder blades that sent him toward his dinner.

Simultaneously she viciously spat still slightly hushed, “Liar!”

Well that gotten a reaction! Draco quickly rose, jumping the bench and turning around, but he stopped there. Again he had caught Ginny’s eyes, but this time he was close enough to read the message they were sending him.

The pain he saw killed him. He had caused that pain. If he had a choice, he would have kissed the tears away that were forming in Ginny’s eyes, but he was unable to carry out the actions his heart wanted to take.

His only response was weak and held little malice,

“Malfoy’s aren’t liars, Weaselette.”

“Ha! Keep telling yourself that, ferret!” Ginny was slowly losing the strength that had buoyed her the entire day.

She was now threatened with reducing back into the heaping mess she had been all through the night.

“What?”

“You heard me, you bloody git! Stop fooling yourself. NO ONE GIVES A DAMN IF THE MALFOYS ARE VIRTUEOUS OR NOT! We all know the truth.” Every gossip in the school was enjoying this though they wouldn’t have anyone to tell since all the students were present.

“You shouldn’t have been wandering the halls at night. It’s your own fault this happened.” Draco’s voice had turned icy, but he hadn’t yelled once, which upset Ginny even more.

“IT’S NOT MY FAULT! You can’t put this on me!” slowly Ginny’s voice was losing momentum as tears and realization came over her. She continued softly so the students now had to crane so they could hear. “And I can’t put it on you. No one’s to blame, but then why…why does it hurt so much, Draco?”

Ginny had finally lost all her energy, lost all her will to fight for that day, but it was fine by her if she could now just sink into his arms. A small gasp let itself out as Ginny allowed her body to do what her heart most wanted.

Draco grasped her with no hint of pulling away. He ran his fingers through her hair and whispered the words into her ear that she most needed to hear and he most needed to say. “It hurts, Rosebud, only because I love you.” Though he had whispered as quietly as possible, the next day everyone could repeat those words from heart.

Slowly he pulled away slightly to the shock of their audience. What he did next no one knew the meaning to except Ginny and maybe a few close ‘friends’ of Draco’s.

Malfoy reached down to something hanging around Ginny’s neck and took in his hand. Again he only whispered, trying to be discreet, “VeritÓ Libera. Now you are free to make your own choice, Rosebud. I will fight with you and I will fight for you if that is what you want.”

Why no one had jumped up and stopped the two sooner was beyond important for Ginny. She knew what she wanted and he was standing right in front of her. The journey wouldn’t be easy and in reality they would spend years fighting those who wished them separated, but neither of the two would ever question the decision they had made standing before their peers.

Ginny spoke slowly and with purpose, “I love you, Draco Malfoy and I will fight with you and for you.”

At that, a quiet applause was heard from the most unlikely of places. Each teacher sitting at the head table was putting their hands together for the young couple, even Professor Snape. They all wore a sad look and the only explanation for their actions were Dumbledore’s soft words, “At last someone has made the hard choice. To love instead of to hate.”

THE END
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