When Ginny and Harry get engaged, Draco must finally face his feelings about her... or risk losing her to another wizard.
Categories: Works in Progress Characters:
Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Severus Snape
HBP and belowEra:
Apr 01, 2006 Updated:
Jan 04, 2008
1. Chapter One by smprsgrrl
2. Into the Sun by smprsgrrl
3. Walking Away by smprsgrrl
4. Days Go By by smprsgrrl
5. We'll Never Know by smprsgrrl
6. Undone by smprsgrrl
7. Better Luck Next Time by smprsgrrl
Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter are owned by JK Rowling and her friends. I'm making no profit from the publication of this story. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This is my take on the D/G/H triangle. It is set post-HBP - which means there are spoilers from the book! All chapter titles come from Lifehouse's self-titled album (including this one).
One last thing... if you don't like the story, send all complaints to Rainpuddle. She's the one who encouraged me to write it.
I was young but I wasn't naïve
I watch helpless as you turn around to leave
And still I have the pain I have to carry
A past so deep that not even you can bury…
It seemed that Potter had finally bucked up and asked the littlest Weasley to marry him. Draco calmly folded the paper and placed it on the table. Despite the inner turmoil he was feeling, the Malfoy knew it was imperative he not let his godfather know how the news affected him. He reached for his tea and drained the cup. There would be time for his unruly emotions tomorrow when he returned to Hogwarts. Besides, it wasn't like Ginevra knew how he felt.
Severus Snape watched the younger man carefully. Because he'd known Draco since birth, it was very easy to read his emotions. He'd seen the article about Potter and Ginny Weasley that morning and had intentionally left it out so Draco would see it. The former professor didn't often involve himself in the lives of his students, but he was certain that there was no better witch out there for Draco. After knowing the girl, he was left questioning why she hadn't been sorted into Slytherin. She'd been the best Potions student in her year, regardless of her house. He'd heard from Headmistress McGonagall that she'd been Head Girl her seventh year. It didn't surprise him at all.
Today, however, he was concerned with the present and not the past. Years ago at Hogwarts, he'd seen the mutual attraction between her and Draco. After McGonagall had hired her to teach Transfiguration, he'd assumed their attraction would bring them together. Her continued attachment to Potter was not something he would have predicted.
Not that he spent any time thinking about it.
"You'll be returning to Hogwarts tomorrow?"
"When do classes resume?"
Draco eyed Severus, wandering what he was getting at. "The students will be returning next weekend and classes will resume on Monday. The schedule has hardly changed since you were teaching."
The Potions Master continued on as if Draco hadn't spoken. "Have you given any thought to next year? Will you return to Hogwarts?"
The blond refilled his tea cup and took a long sip, while he pondered the question. Before, it wasn't even a question – he would be returning. That decision was easy, because that's where Ginny would be. But if she planned to marry Potter, he knew she would likely leave the school. "I'm not sure. I might try something new."
Draco shifted in his chair. "Yes. I do have other options."
Severus raised an eyebrow in question. "Such as?"
"I could resurrect my father's company. Or work for the Ministry. As I said, I do have options."
"Or you could continue teaching, as you've done the last six years." The black haired man reached for the paper, and turned it face up. Potter and Ginny Weasley were smiling at them. "And Ms. Weasley?"
"What of her?" Draco questioned. "I don't see how the two things relate."
Severus knew he would have to be careful with his wording. If he wasn't, Draco would shut down completely. "There was a time when I thought you might have…cared for her."
"Why would you think that?"
"It was just an observation." The older man sipped his tea. "Do you have any thoughts on the matter?"
Draco wondered if he looked as uncomfortable as he felt. He'd thought he'd done a fair job of hiding his feelings for the littlest Weasley. "On Weasley? Or Potter? Or their engagement? What exactly are you asking, Severus?" When his mentor did not respond, Draco continued on, "I think she could do loads better than Potter and I think he is more in love with being a Weasley than being her husband. As for their engagement, I can't say I'm surprised. If I remember correctly, she's been hung up on him since before my second year.
"On the matter of where I care for her or not…yes, I do. Or I did. However, it's something I've always wanted, but knew I'd never have."
His silver eyes drifted to his left arm and the Dark Mark there. "At school, I was absolute git to her and her family. And while she no longer holds me responsible for Dumbledore's death, I hardly expect she could accept that I was a Death Eater. Besides, there is the aforementioned attachment to Potter."
"Just because you have the Mark doesn't mean you're destined to a life of loneliness."
"I hardly think you're the one to offer advice on this subject."
Severus shifted in his seat. "I'm not alone because I am marked, but simply because it suits me." He paused for a moment. "I should have never allowed him to mark you."
Draco waved this away. "You and I both know the Dark Lord was punishing me because of my father's failure. There was nothing you could have done to stop him. It was the same reason he gave me that suicide mission. He knew I couldn't kill Dumbledore. If not for the vow Mother made you swear, I would have died after sixth year."
This was not a topic they discussed often, for good reasons. The retired professor still felt the guilt from the role he played in Dumbledore's death. But perhaps now was the time – it'd been seven years. When he started to speak, his voice was very low. "After your mother came to me, I immediately went to Albus. We discussed every possible scenario and he knew it was likely he might have to sacrifice himself."
"Why?" Draco cut in. "Why for me?"
"We watched you closely that year, Draco. While you assisted Voldemort, every task you completed was half-hearted. You didn't want to succeed. I watched your confrontation with Albus and when you dropped your wand, I knew I would have to complete your task. You would have been killed otherwise."
"That still doesn't explain why." The younger man desperately wanted to understand the sacrifice the old professor made.
"Lily Potter gave her life for love of her son. Albus knew someone would have to do the same for you. We needed you on our side, even if you were only at Hogwarts teaching." Severus grew quiet, before adding, "He knew I would not have been able to complete my task had you perished. You and your mother are the closest I have to family, and I could not have continued knowing I could have stopped your death."
It seemed like Draco had lost his voice. He now understood why they never talked about that year and the decisions they made. Those decisions were still affecting their lives. "Thank you," was his whispered reply.
Into the Sun by smprsgrrl
Thanks for the great feedback... and to Rainpuddle for being such a fantastic beta.
Into the Sun
Draco looked around the staff meeting, bored out of his mind. McGonagall's biweekly meetings usually passed swiftly, but today it just seemed to drag along. He knew it had more to do with the hideous yellow diamond Ginny was wearing than the Headmistress. Every time he looked up, the ring winked at him. What had Potter been thinking?
They'd been back at Hogwarts for three weeks now. Besides dinner, he'd hardly spoken to Ginny. The two were the only relatively young teachers on staff and often sought each other out for conversation. However, it seemed Ginny was so busy planning her wedding (he'd heard her confess to endless conversations with her mum via Floo) that she didn't have time for him. He was hoping to grab her after the meeting – even if he didn't know what he was to say.
In an effort to distract himself, he looked around the table. Other than himself and Ginny, the staff at Hogwarts had hardly changed since he'd been a student. Of course, it was impossible to keep a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for more than one year, but that was to be expected. Binns was still the History of Magic teacher. Draco often heard the students complain how boring he was. Trelawney left the Divination position after he'd finished his second year of teaching. Firenze had stayed on at the request of the Headmistress.
Madam Hooch was still there, teaching the first year students to fly. Flitwick continued to teach Charms and he was still the head of Ravenclaw. The other teachers remained the same. When he first came to teach there, Draco found it uncomfortable to socialize with his former professors. Of course there was the age difference, but also because he was trying to fill Snape's shoes. When he was asked to take over for Slytherin house, he'd been doubly hesitant. He'd finally agreed when McGonagall pointed out that none of his former classmates remained. When she had hired Ginny to teach Transfiguration, the redhead had immediately taken over Gryffindor house.
Draco forced his attention back to the Headmistress. It sounded like she was finishing up. He reached forward and rolled his parchment up. Looking up, he saw Ginny staring at him. She smiled warmly and he nodded in return. When McGonagall finally finished, Draco stood and stretched. He was eager to get back to his office and get some work done. Madam Pomfrey had requested several potions for the hospital wing.
He was halfway to the dungeons when he heard her behind him. She hadn't called after him, but Draco knew from the footsteps who it was. He slowed his stride and allowed her to catch up. The redhead fell into step beside him. "Hullo."
She repeated the smile from before. "What're you up to today?"
"Pomfrey needs me to brew her some potions. I thought I might do that, and then some grading."
"You could ask McGonagall for a seventh year student to help you with that, you know."
"I could," he agreed. "But then what would I do with myself?"
"Spend time with your favorite Transfiguration professor?"
He stopped and looked down at her. "Does McGonagall want to spend time with me privately? Pervy old girl, that one."
Ginny laughed at him. "Not her, you prat. I thought you might like to spend time with me."
Draco could feel his heart start to speed up. If only she knew. "You've been busy since we returned from hols." His gaze drifted down to her left hand. "I suppose congratulations are in order."
The redhead blushed. "Thank you."
"Did Potter pick the ring out himself?"
"It's…very interesting. I haven't quite seen anything like it before." Actually, he had. When he was a small child, his mother would sometimes take him to Gringotts to retrieve jewelry for a party. There was always a section of the vault for the Malfoy family jewels, many that were hideous like her engagement ring.
She made a face, but didn't say anything more. It shouldn't matter to her if he liked the ring or not. "Would you mind if I come with you? I'd like a few hours away from wedding books and emergency Floo calls from Mum."
"Let's go." He started walking again, leading the way to his workrooms. When they arrived he held the door open for her, letting her enter first. Draco watched when she retrieved a stool from the other side of his work table and sat down on it. "By all means, make yourself at home."
"Thanks, I think I will," she quipped. Ginny watched as he began to gather materials to begin working with. "I never asked what you did for break. Or did you stay here?"
"I spent a fortnight with Mum at the Manor and then visited Severus for the last week. It was wholly uneventful."
"Mine too," she agreed. Draco looked at her pointedly, and she shrugged. "Except for that one day it was uneventful."
He nodded, but didn't say anything more. The redhead was content to watch him work. It took her mind off things she didn't want to think about.
"I didn't realize you and Potter were so serious."
Ginny smiled. "Yeah, he kind of surprised me. I wasn't expecting it."
She frowned at his tone. "What does that mean?"
"Nothing," he answered. "Weasley, should I point out you've been bloody in love with him since I've known you?"
"I have not!"
"You have so!" Draco wasn't paying attention to what he was doing and sliced his finger. "Fuck!" He immediately dropped the knife and sucked his finger into his mouth.
Ginny was immediately off the stool and at his side. She pulled his finger from his mouth to check the cut before getting a towel from the sink. Draco allowed her to wrap his hand, before pulling away. "It's fine."
"Do you need to go to the hospital wing?" she asked. "I'll take you."
"It's fine, Weasley." When she reached for his hand again, he jerked away. "Leave it alone."
He withdrew his wand and cast a quick healing spell. The blond watched as his skin knit back together. "There. It's fine." Draco retrieved his knife and began slicing again.
The redhead let it drop. "What're you chopping anyway?"
"Mandrake roots for restorative draught. Pomfrey complains she's completely out, even though I make her some every other week. I don't want to know why she goes through it so quickly."
"Oh." Ginny could feel the awkwardness between them, and she wasn't sure why. Since she'd started teaching at Hogwarts four years ago they'd fell into an easy friendship. They'd both matured since they were in school together. "Draco, what's going on?"
He looked up from his table. "What do you mean?"
"You. Something is going on with you."
He shook his head in denial. "I'm fine."
"No, you're not. You've been avoiding me for the last three weeks. I don't understand why." Ginny got off the stool and went to his side. "Did I do something?"
Draco looked down, her brown eyes pleading with him to be honest. "Gin—" he started. Her engagement ring caught his eye, and he shook his head. "It's me, not you. I've just been distracted recently."
"Oh." She knew he was lying to her, but she didn't know why. "I guess. Anything I can help you with?"
"No. Just a lot of family stuff."
"I see." Ginny reached up and kissed his cheek. "I should probably leave you alone so you can work. I'm sorry for bothering you."
"You didn't," he told her. "Bother me, I mean. It was good to talk to you."
She nodded. "Yeah, it was. But why do I get the feeling that we didn't talk at all?"
Draco watched, dumbfounded, as she left. How was he supposed to respond to that? The door closing pulled him from his stupor. He pushed any lingering thoughts of Ginny from his mind and focused on his work.
Walking Away by smprsgrrl
Ginny wrinkled her nose at Hermione when she walked out of the dressing room. "It's not…"
"Right," Hermione finished for her. She immediately went back to the room and closed the door. She pulled the fluffy white dress robes off and put them back on the hanger. The brown haired witch replaced her clothes before going back out to her friend. "This is another shop we can mark off the list. Unless you want to look?"
The redhead shook her head. "I think we should find your dress first."
Hermione frowned, but didn't say anything. Why wasn't Ginny more excited about her upcoming wedding? Of the two of them, Ginny was far more romantic, but so far she'd exhibited a definite lack of enthusiasm concerning her engagement. Hermione had hardly passed a day without thinking of her wedding since Viktor slipped the ring on her finger last fall. "Gin, is there something wrong?"
The other woman looked up. "No. Why?"
Her friend sat down beside her on the settee. A shop attendant immediately appeared with a tray of tea and biscuits. Hermione smiled and reached for one. "You've been engaged for almost three months, and you rarely even talk about it. You don't seem to care."
"I care," Ginny told her. "Harry and I are getting married after you and Viktor, though. I think the two of you should be the focus right now."
"We could share, you know. It isn't as if only one couple can be engaged at a time."
Ginny nodded. "I know. But you deserve all the attention right now. I know the fuss that will be made about my wedding. You got engaged first, and you're getting married first. It's only right."
"I guess." Hermione still wasn't convinced, though. There was something wrong with the other witch, and she didn't seem to want to share. "How are things at Hogwarts?"
"The same as always. Time seems to stand still there. Even though Dumbledore has been gone for years, it's like it never changed."
"And working with Malfoy? Is he still…"
"Malfoy?" Ginny finished with a smile. "He's the same, too. Not completely insufferable, but he definitely has his moments."
"Ah." Hermione found it curious that talking about Draco Malfoy made Ginny smile. She made a mental note, but decided not to press the issue. It was likely just stress and nothing more. "Should we try again?"
Ginny replaced her teacup and stood. "Yes."
As the exited the shop, the older witch attempted to turn the conversation back to Harry. "What're your plans for Valentine's Day?"
"Harry won't tell me. He wants it to be a surprise."
Hermione smiled. That sounded more like the Ginny she knew. "Do you have the whole weekend off, or will you go back tonight and leave again tomorrow?"
"The whole weekend. Mum had some wedding stuff she wants my approval for, so after I leave you, I'm going to the Burrow. I'll stay there tonight, and then Harry and I are meeting up tomorrow evening." Ginny eyed the other witch suspiciously. "Did he tell you anything?"
"No. He knows I'm a terrible liar and couldn't keep it from you."
The redhead wasn't convinced, but she didn't press. "It's nice to have a day off. That is one thing different from when Dumbledore was headmaster – McGonagall acknowledges that we have families outside of Hogwarts and encourages us to see them. Teaching is my job, not my life."
"I can see both sides, I guess. Professor Dumbledore was in charge of the school during a time of crisis. In those days, we were always on the brink of war. He needed all of the professors there to protect us. McGonagall is extremely fortunate to run a school during peaceful times. She can allow the professors to leave on the weekend and enjoy a life outside of Hogwarts."
Ginny nodded. "I see your point. But I'm grateful to have the time off. And to not be involved in the war any longer."
The two witches walked towards the last dressmaker in Diagon Alley. If they didn't find something there, they would have to go into Muggle London. Hermione crossed her fingers that they would find the dress. She knew Viktor was at their flat, waiting for her, and she was more than ready to join him.
The redhead reclaimed her spot outside of Hermione's dressing room, flipping through pictures of various wedding robes. The problem was that none of the robes looked like her – they were all too… pretty. She wanted to look like a real person on her wedding day, not a doll.
At the back of the magazine, she found one she could see herself wearing. It was a strapless A-line dress robe with a dark green satin band around the waist. The edges of the dress were also trimmed with the green. Even though she knew it wasn't appropriate for her wedding, she found herself tearing the picture from the magazine. After checking that no one was watching, she folded it into a square and tucked it inside of her cloak pocket.
"Ginny?" Hermione called.
The redhead put the magazine aside and went to the door. "Yes?" She could hear the other witch sniffling. "Hermione, is something wrong?"
"No," she sniffled. "It's absolutely perfect."
Ginny smiled at her friends' voice. "You found it?"
"Yes." Hermione looked herself over in the mirror. This was it. "I'm coming out, okay?"
"Okay." Ginny stepped back, waiting for her friend. When the door opened, she couldn't stop her gasp. It was a Chiffon sheath – with very little frills. Delicate spaghetti straps held the dress on her shoulders and the empire waist was covered in tiny pearls. From there, it fell straight to the floor. As Hermione turned, Ginny could see the simple ruffle and sweeping train down her back. The robe was stunning. "It's amazing, Hermione."
The older witch nodded and smiled through her tears. "I don't think I've ever loved something so much."
"I'm glad we came here, then. Should I get the attendant?"
Hermione nodded. "Yes. This is the dress."
Ginny smiled at her one more time before leaving to find an attendant. She felt slightly jealous of how amazing Hermione looked in that dress. Ginny also knew it had a lot to do with her inner glow as well – something she hadn't quite mastered yet. She was marrying the man of her dreams, and yet… The redhead stopped that train of thought. She and Harry were very happy, and they would be very happily married in August.
When she returned, Hermione was admiring herself in the mirror. She stopped to watch as the dressmaker went to assist her oldest friend. The woman started poking and prodding the bride-to-be and making notes on a parchment about adjustments that needed to be made. Through it all, Hermione continued to smile. Other than the night Viktor proposed, she couldn't remember a happier moment.
The next day, Ginny found herself slowly going out of her mind. Since the moment she had walked through the door the previous night, Molly Weasley hadn't stopped with the wedding plans. Privately, she was beginning to think she and Harry should elope.
"Mum, can we stop?"
"Ginny—" her mother started. The older woman stopped herself, though. Her daughter looked exhausted. "Yes, love. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, just tired. I didn't sleep well last night."
Molly nodded. "Why don't you go take a warm bath and have a nap before Harry arrives? You have hours yet."
"What about all of this?" Ginny asked with a sweep of her arm. "I'm not sure when I'll be home again before the end of the school year."
Her mother pressed her hand to her cheek. "Don't worry. I'll take care of it."
The young witch knew she shouldn't, but she allowed herself to be persuaded by her mother. "Alright, then I'm going to go up and have that nap. Harry's supposed to be here at seven, so could you make sure I'm up by five, and I'll take the bath then."
Ginny climbed the backstairs and immediately went to her childhood bedroom. It looked exactly the same. Instead of going to the bed, she went to her chair and the cloak she wore the day before. She retrieved the picture she'd torn from the magazine from the pocket and studied it. The dress robes were beautiful, but completely inappropriate for her wedding. Yet, she'd taken the picture from the magazine for some reason. Ginny replaced the picture and went to her bed. She pulled off her boots and slid between the blankets. When she closed her eyes, she could picture herself in those robes.
She'd secretly worried the ivory would wash her out, but she looked radiant. Her skin was glowing like Hermione's had the day before. The green sash around her waist emphasized how slim she was – and the trim was beautiful. Ginny couldn't remember herself ever looking so happy.
When she opened her eyes, Ginny knew she would never wear those dress robes. She would never look like the woman in her mind. It just wasn't… her. Or, rather, it wasn't her and Harry. The robes would have been too Slytherin for his liking.
The redhead closed her eyes again, pushing aside that last thought. She didn't want to think about Slytherin, or anyone associated with it right now. It was Valentine's Day and Draco should be the last thing on her mind. Instead, she'd been haunted the last two days by him.
Ginny could feel tears begin to leak from the sides of her eyes. She had to stop thinking about him. She had to.
Several hours the young redhead stood in front of the mirror in her bedroom. She didn't look any better after a three-hour nap and a bath. Ginny straightened her skirt one last time before going downstairs. She could already hear Harry talking to her family.
As soon as she entered the room, Harry went to greet her. He kissed her cheek and hugged her close to him. "Hello, love. Happy Valentine's Day."
"Harry," she sighed and closed her eyes. She felt balanced when she was with him. "You're early."
"I wanted to catch up with your parents," he explained. "But we can leave if you're ready."
"Let me get my cloak."
"I'll get it," her fiancé offered. He went to the closet in the hall and retrieved her black wool cloak. Harry held it for her while she slipped her arms in. Once it was on, he helped her button up the front.
Ginny waited a few more minutes, while Harry chatted with her father, before saying, "Harry, our reservation."
He nodded. "Right. Mr. Weasley, it was good to see you again."
Arthur Weasley patted his future son-in-law on the back. "It was good to see you again, son. You should come by more often."
"I'll try," he promised. Harry reached into his cloak and pulled out a Portkey. "Are you ready?"
Ginny nodded. Reaching forward, she touched her hand to the oversized button as Harry wrapped his arm around her waist. He whispered the spell and they were immediately being pulled inward.
Once they were gone, Molly went to her husband's side. "Did Ginny seem alright to you, love?"
Arthur frowned. "I suppose. Why, did she say something?'
"No," she answered. "It was just…" Molly stopped herself, not sure of what she wanted to say. "It is probably just nerves, that's all. Forget I said anything."
Days Go By***
Draco looked up from his book when he heard the knock on his door. He glanced at his clock and frowned when he saw it was after eleven. Bloody students. It was probably a first year that had a nightmare. He thought about ignoring it, but knew he would hear about it from McGonagall if he did.
He marked his page in the book and stood slowly. Whoever it was knocked it again and Draco growled. He jerked the door open and was surprised to find Ginny standing there. "Weasley?"
She didn't smile at him. "Can I come in, Draco?"
The blond stepped aside so she could enter. He watched as she seated herself in the chair he'd just vacated. "Weasley, are you okay?"
Ginny nodded. "Yeah, I'm okay."
She wasn't acting like herself. He watched her carefully, unsure of what to say. This wasn't like her at all. "Do you…Can I get you something?"
Her head was buried in her hands, but she shook it anyway. Draco watched as she pressed her palms into her eyes and sighed loudly. "I shouldn't have come here."
The redhead looked up at him. "I shouldn't be here. Actually, this is the last place I should be, given the circumstances."
"Circumstances?" he repeated. "There are circumstances?"
Ginny nodded. "Even though you don't know what they are, yes."
She wasn't making any sense to him, which Draco thought was better. It wasn't often she showed up at his rooms, invited herself inside, and talked in riddles about special circumstances. This had never happened before. Draco made his way over to his supply of Muggle alcohol and poured her a drink. "Drink this," he instructed. "It's sweet and it'll help settle your nerves." When her shaking hands wrapped around the tumbler, he let her hold it and got himself a bottle of firewhisky.
He watched as she sipped the drink slowly, his curiosity piqued by her appearance. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"It depends," she answered.
"Whether you want to talk about what's really bothering me or what you can actually fix."
"Let's start with what you can fix: Zachary Parkinson is driving me mad." Ginny finished the rest of her drink and winced as it burned going down her esophagus. She thought about asking for another, but didn't. Given her recent state-of-mind, getting pissed with Draco was not the best of ideas. "Today in class, he transfigured Zelda Whitehorn's spare quill into a snake, and then laughed when she picked it up and it hissed at her."
Draco was careful to not let her see his amusement. In fact, that was probably a prank he would have tried while he was at Hogwarts. "Weasley, it was probably a joke."
She rolled her brown eyes at him. "I'm sure. It was easily fixed, though. What concerned me more was that he walked out of class when I gave him detention and deducted points. Of course, that was after he called me a 'meddling bint' and promised to 'talk to his father and have me sacked'."
"I don't think you have to worry about being sacked. McGonagall will back you up."
"That's not what I'm worried about. I'm worried that I might physically harm him if I have to deal with him. So that's kind of why I'm here. I gave him detention for two weeks, but can't face the idea of actually supervising it. Filch supervised his detention tonight, but he'll be out of the castle tomorrow and the next day, so I was hoping you could…"
"Cover for you?" Draco finished. When she nodded, he said he would. "Not a problem. I have some cauldrons that need to be scrubbed. Besides, I'd like to have a word with him as his Head of House."
"Thank you." Ginny knew she'd done what she'd needed to do, and probably should leave, but she didn't want to. Things had changed between them since she'd become engaged, and it wasn't often that she and Draco could openly talk. But things seemed to be okay now. However, the silence stretched between them. She struggled to find a topic that was safe. She knew that confessing she couldn't stop thinking about him would not be good.
"How is your family?" Draco finally asked. He only hoped she wouldn’t bring up Potter.
Ginny smiled in relief. "Good. Dad was promoted and is now heading up his department at the Ministry. Mum is busy, too."
"Wedding planning?" he guessed.
She nodded. "Yes. Every few days I'll get an owl from her with different designs and her thoughts on them. Sometimes I wonder how we'll get everything together by August."
"You are getting married rather quickly. Aren't Granger and Krum getting married this summer as well?"
"Right after this term finishes. When I was home last, Hermione and I went into Diagon Alley and bought her dress. I also found some designs I liked."
"I see." Draco finished his firewhisky and stood up to get another. "Would you like something more to drink?"
"Can I have some water?" She again thought about leaving, but decided against it. "Hermione's really excited. Every time I speak with her, she has some new wedding detail to tell me. She and Viktor are good for each other."
He returned with her water. "I was surprised by that, honestly. I always thought your brother had a thing for Granger."
Ginny smiled. "I think he did, at one time. But Hermione and Ron would've killed each other. If not for Harry, I sometimes wonder if they'd be friends at all. I guess she knew that."
"But Krum?" Draco questioned. "It's rare that young love will last."
"True." She absently ran her finger over her engagement ring. "But I've seen them together, and somehow they work. I would have never guessed Ron would fall for Pansy, but he did."
"You have a point." He watched as she played with her ring and wondered if she was thinking about Potter. "It's been what, three years now?"
The redhead nodded. "Yup. I wonder if they'll ever marry, though."
"Maybe. Knowing Pansy, it's probably not something she is worried about. I see her occasionally and she seems very happy."
"She and Ron make each other happy." Ginny swallowed the last of her water, before changing the topic. "What about you? It seems that everyone from school is finally settling down. Are you seeing anyone?"
He shook his head. "Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever marry, so then I wonder what the point is."
Ginny was surprised by this. "Maybe you haven't met the right person yet. You're too young to rule out getting married. And what about the Malfoy line? You can't just let it end."
"The line wouldn't end with me. I do have cousins who would carry the name on. As for me…I think I have met the right person, and it turns out she's married to some other bloke."
"Oh." She was stunned into silence for several moments. For the last four months, she'd done nothing but think of Draco and now it turned out he was hung up on someone else. Ginny clinched her left hand closed and felt the diamond dig into her palm. The pain brought tears to her eyes. "I'm sorry, I didn't know."
He wasn't looking at her and missed her reaction. "There's no reason for you to apologize. I had multiple chances to tell her how I felt, and each time I was a coward. If anyone is to blame, it's myself."
An awkward silence stretched between them, neither of them wanting to deal with the obvious questions. Ginny wanted to know who his mystery witch was, but couldn't bring herself to ask. Draco dug his nails into his thigh, silently berating himself for what he'd told her. He cleared his throat, before shifting the conversation back to her. "You said you found a robe for your wedding?"
In her mind, Ginny could picture the dress she loved so much, and knew she would never have an opportunity to wear. "I'm beginning to learn that you may find the perfect dress, but sometimes it isn't right."
"That doesn't make any sense, Weasley."
She held her empty glass out to him. "Can I have another?"
"No. What you gave me before."
Even though he thought it was odd, Draco refilled her glass. His brow furrowed when she drained the glass quickly before standing. "Weasley?"
"I need to go," she told him.
"Because I've just realized I can't trust the one person who has always taken care of me."
"Potter?" he questioned.
The redhead shook her head. "Myself." She handed him the glass before fleeing his rooms.
The next night, he held Zachary Parkinson far longer than he should have, but he wanted the boy to understand he was never to treat another teacher like that. Draco told himself it had nothing to do with Ginny Weasley. It was more about respect. The result was the same, though – when he'd finished, the first year had scrubbed every surface of the Potions room. Draco had let him go ten minutes before curfew.
On his way back to his chambers, he was surprised to run into McGonagall. She looked like she was waiting for him, but he didn't know why. "Headmistress."
The older woman smiled at him. "Draco. I was hoping to speak with you."
Draco stopped and nodded. "What is it?" Surely she hadn't heard about Zachary Parkinson's punishment already?
"I received a letter of the most interesting nature today. It was from Severus."
"Severus?" he echoed. "Is he okay?"
She nodded. "Yes, child. He is fine. However, he was being…meddlesome. He brought to my attention something that has been going on for sometime, but I was choosing to ignore."
The blond crossed his arms over his chest. "I don't understand."
"For as long as I can remember, it has been frowned upon for staff members to fraternize. While there may have been the occasional dalliance, it's never been a problem, until now. I need your help solving that problem, Draco."
Draco raised an eyebrow at his old teacher. She couldn't possibly be speaking about him and Ginny.
"Do you know what I'm speaking of?"
The older woman raised an eyebrow at his response. "Draco, you forget I've known you since you were eleven."
"What're you implying?"
"I've made some observations in the last several years, concerning you. When Severus recommended you as his replacement, I admit I was hesitant. If not for the letter from Albus explaining everything, I probably would not have agreed. However, since you first joined the staff, I've been happily surprised. You've been very successful here, Draco.
"I've also known Ms. Weasley since she was a child and had none of the same reservations I had with you. Her intentions have never been anything but clear. But I've noticed that she has not been herself recently."
"How does this involve me?" Draco interrupted. "Besides, I think Weasley is going through a lot right now, and is probably just distracted."
"Distracted," she echoed. "I suppose one could call it that."
"I think you should be having this conversation with her."
"Perhaps. However, I wanted to know your feelings on the matter first."
"Headmistress, I don't have any feelings on the matter. I'm not even sure what the matter is."
"Do I have to spell it out for you?" she questioned. "Every time you look at her, it's obvious you care deeply for her. Yet, you sit back and do nothing."
He was not having this conversation. Not in the middle of the hallway, not with McGonagall of all people. "Weasley and I are friends, nothing more. In case you missed the news, she's engaged to Potter."
The former teacher frowned at him. "I'll forgive your tone this once, Draco. It's obviously a touchy subject for you, but I can help you. Just remember you can't sit idly by and expect everything you want to fall in your lap. If you want something, sometimes you have to work for it." She looked at him fondly. "If it helps at all, I don't think your attachment is as one-sided as you think. She cares for you a great deal."
The blond watched as the older woman turned away from him. He thought about calling her back, but stopped himself. If he did, he'd have to admit to her that she was right about his feelings for Ginny. That would mean he'd have to say the words out loud, to another person. Telling Severus was one thing, telling McGonagall would be another.
Draco continued into his rooms and sank onto his bed. None too gently, he hit himself in the forehead with his fist. What was he going to do?
Funnily enough, the only person who might have an answer for him was the one person he couldn't ask. Ginny could never know about his feelings. Even if he thought he could tell her, the mark on his arm reminded him that he couldn't.
We'll Never Know by smprsgrrl
many thanks to Rainpuddle for the fabulous beta***
We'll Never Know
Draco thought he might be going out of his mind. It'd been two weeks. Two bloody weeks since Ginny showed up in his rooms, talking in riddles. Two weeks since McGonagall told him his attachment wasn't as one sided as he thought. Two weeks of avoiding the redhead, afraid she might pick up on his inappropriate thoughts.
After the initial conversation with the Headmistress, she'd approached him again about the matter. The second time she offered to arrange for a weekend away for the both of them. The Slytherin in him was wary – McGonagall, a Gryffindor, helping him steal Ginny away from Potter? Wasn't Potter like family to her? Draco could remember her blatant favoritism of Potter, Weasley, and Granger in school and wondered what had changed.
Still, the offer was tempting. A whole weekend without the distraction of students, duties, and her fiancé? It was more than tempting – Draco couldn't stop thinking of the villa his family owned on Crete. The weather would be perfect for a weekend holiday. He and Ginny could spend days on the beach, lounging, and nights out on the town. It would be a vast improvement over Scotland in mid-April. He could hardly remember the last time he'd seen sunshine.
He pushed the thoughts from his mind. It wasn't to be, and the sooner he accepted that the easier things would be for him. Draco had already decided this would be his last year at Hogwarts. As things now stood, he couldn't be around Ginny and not be with her. Seeing her on a daily basis now was torturous, and he could hardly imagine what it would be like after she married Potter. There was the possibility she wouldn't return to Hogwarts; but, Draco knew she loved teaching and wouldn't think of quitting. She'd mentioned to him they would be buying a house in Hogsmeade and Potter would Apparate to London every day.
The blond stood, unable to sit and think of Ginny Weasley anymore that day. He had other things he needed to do. Earlier that week his solicitor had sent him a stack of papers to look over and sign dealing with the Malfoy estate. He should attend to that and stop thinking of the redhead. Even if she was likely making the biggest mistake of her life. Who was he to tell her whom she should or shouldn't marry?
Draco sighed and ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He glanced over at his desk and the papers once more, and decided to take a shower before dealing with them. Perhaps, if he was lucky, he might distract himself for the rest of the evening.
His mind made up, he reached for his tie and started to loosen it. Next came the white oxford he wore beneath his robes everyday, and then the plain undershirt. He left his belt and trousers outside the bathroom door and his boxers beside the shower. The blond got in the giant stall and turned the water on, momentarily shocked by the cold. But soon steaming hot water was rushing over his body, and Draco found that his mind was clear for the first time that day. The pulsing water seemed to awaken another part of his body, though, and desperate for a reprieve Draco offered himself the only relief he could.
After his shower, Draco didn't bother redressing. He wasn't expecting anyone and his solicitor wouldn't know he signed the documents in his robe. Besides, as soon as he finished he planned on going to bed. Tomorrow was his free Sunday, and he'd made plans to meet his mother for lunch in Diagon Alley and then do some shopping. However, his morning was his and he planned to sleep most of it away.
He was on his last stack of papers when his fireplace turned green. Perfect. He'd forgotten he hadn't yet doused the fire and it was connected to the Floo network, even if very few people could contact him that way. He stood and made his way over, expecting his mother or Severus. They were the only two who bothered at this time of night. Instead, he was greeted by a familiar redhead. "Weasley?"
"Would you mind if I popped down for a bit, Draco? I need to talk to someone."
Draco knew he would regret it later, but he nodded. "That's fine. Are you coming through, or will you walk down?"
As soon as her head disappeared from the fire, Draco threw off his robe. He went to his drawers and pulled out an old Slytherin Quidditch practice shirt and pajama bottoms. He'd just pulled the t-shirt over his head when she knocked. Before he answered the door, the blond took a moment to compose himself. He was twenty-six years old, for Merlin's sake. Why was he acting like a schoolboy with his first crush?
He opened the door before she could knock again. "Weasley."
The redhead gave him a weak smile. "Draco. Thanks for letting me come by."
He nodded and stepped aside so she could enter. Draco watched as she made her way to his chair in front of the fire and seated herself. "Can I get you anything?"
"No, I'm fine." Ginny closed her eyes and sighed loudly.
Draco busied himself by making a drink and pulling the second armchair closer so he could sit with her. He knew she would start talking when she was ready.
"Do you ever wonder…" she paused and he noticed she was playing with a charm on her necklace. "Do you think you can be in love with two people at once?"
He felt his heart drop into his stomach. Did she have feelings for someone besides Potter? Still, he answered her. "Yes, I think so."
Her brown eyes opened to look at him. "Really? Has it ever happened to you?"
"Then why do you think it's possible?"
Draco took a swallow of his Firewhisky to put off his answer. The liquid gave him courage as it blazed down his esophagus and settled into his stomach. "My mother. She has been with my father for thirty years – supporting him, loving him – but I have no doubt that she loves Severus more."
Ginny raised an eyebrow at his statement. "Then why is she still with your father?"
He shrugged. "For a multitude of reasons, I imagine. Even though my father was never particularly faithful to her, he demanded she give up any other liaisons. In the beginning, she didn't mind. She was really in love with him. But as I got older I noticed how they interacted with each other. My mother respects my father, but she loves my godfather. However, she's been Narcissa Malfoy for so long; she wouldn't know how to be anyone else."
"Does your father know?"
"Probably. I learned a long time ago there isn't much my father doesn't know." He took another swallow of the alcohol. "What's this about?"
"It's just—I sometimes think there are two Harry's, and I'm not sure I'm in love with both of them."
Draco didn't comment, and waited for her to continue.
"Despite the fact that we're both very private people, Harry enjoys the spotlight. I think part of the reason is because of his childhood. I know it was horrible for him, but I don't think he understands that I'd like to be able to go out for dinner without a bloody entourage of people following us."
"That makes sense."
"Maybe I'm being unfair. Do you think I'm being unfair?"
"No," he answered. "I think you're being reasonable. Even the most public people need to have some semblance of privacy."
"And then we argue about it, and it's horrible. I think part of the reason is that Harry can't imagine his life without those people – almost like he isn't normal if someone isn't following him around with a camera. Personally, I don't want all of Britain to know how I prefer my meat cooked. It isn't any of their bloody business."
He watched her carefully, noticing several things. The oddest of them all was that she wasn't wearing her engagement ring. "What's really going on, Weasley? It's obvious to me you're upset, but you aren't telling me why."
"I told you—"
"That might be part of it," he interrupted. "But that certainly isn't the entire problem. There's another problem, something you aren't telling me. If you want my help, you have to be honest."
Ginny pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes, trying to push back the tears. She didn't want to do this in front of Draco. "It's just—I'm not sure."
"About what?" he pressed. "What aren't you sure about?"
She remained silent, hoping he would change the subject. As the quiet stretched between them, she knew she would have to confess. "Harry. I'm not sure about him."
Draco let out a breath he hadn't known he was holding. What did that mean? "Weasley—"
"No, Draco. That's not all."
"Ok, then go on."
"I'm not sure I'm in love with him anymore. Honestly, I'm not sure I have been for a long time."
"What are you planning to do?"
The redhead shrugged. "I don't know. I don't want to tell Harry, or anyone else, until I'm sure. If I call off the wedding now, it might be the biggest mistake of my life. But if I go through with it, I might be making an even bigger mistake." Her eyes widened. "You won't tell anyone, will you? Especially not Pansy, because she'll tell Ron."
"I won't tell anyone," he assured her. "But you have some decisions to make, Weasley. Your wedding is in less than five months. If you don't want to marry him, then you need to decide quickly."
"What would you do?" she asked.
"I'd have never become engaged to Potter in the first place."
The redhead laughed at him. "Of course not. But if you were in my situation, if you were engaged to someone you weren't sure about, how would you proceed? Would you tell the person you were having doubts? Or keep it to yourself in hopes of figuring everything out?"
"You know that Malfoys rarely marry for love, right? I'd likely not have a choice in the matter."
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, I know. But if you did have a choice and you realized you might not really love the person. Would you marry them still?"
"It's hard to imagine myself in this situation, because it's so unlikely. I think it's highly unlikely I'll marry for love, but you're different from me. You have that option. If not with Potter, then someone else. Weasley, I've watched my parents put on a show my entire life and since I consider you a friend, I would wish better for you."
"Okay. I wish there was a place I could go to figure this out. Some place where I'm not Harry Potter's fiancée."
The trip to Crete immediately popped into his mind, but he held back. "Can't you go on holiday when the term ends?"
"No. Hermione's wedding is two weeks later. Maybe I'll take my next weekend off and go away somewhere by myself to think."
"When is that?"
"The week after next. I was supposed to go wedding shopping with Mum, but I'll get out of it. I can probably afford a few days at a hotel in Muggle London. I should have some privacy there."
Draco nodded. "Yes." The next words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. "I also have that weekend off, and was planning on visiting my family's villa on Crete. You're welcome to come if you want."
"Draco, I couldn't possibly impose on you like that."
"You wouldn't be. The villa is huge – you'd have your wing, I'd have mine. You'd only have to see me if you wanted."
"It sounds lovely, but still—"
"If not for yourself, then go for me. I'd feel better knowing you weren't holed up a hotel in Muggle London. I won't be able to enjoy myself if I have to think of you in those miserable conditions."
"Draco." The redhead was surprised by how much she wanted to accept, but she also knew some of her issues with Harry were coming from her feelings for Draco. "I just…can I think about it?"
He nodded. "Of course. Take the week and consider it, and if you want to go, I'll arrange everything with my steward."
Ginny gave him a genuine smile. "Thank you."
"I didn't do anything, Weasley, so there's no reason to be thanking me."
"But you did. You always do." She stood and moved toward the door. "I should go up to bed."
Draco rose behind her and went to the door. "Goodnight, Weasley."
She turned and kissed his cheek. "Goodnight, Draco. Thank you."
Once she was gone, he went to his bed to lie down. He was a bloody idiot. That's all there was to it.
A/N: I need to up the rating a bit in this one... we'll call it 'naughty' because of a somewhat-love scene between Harry and Ginny. ***
Thanks to Rainpuddle for the beta, and to those of you who take the time to reply, I really enjoy reading your comments.
Hermione Granger studied the younger woman across the table from her carefully. She had known Ginny Weasley since their early years at Hogwarts, and they'd become friends almost immediately. Even now, they hardly went two days without some sort of communication. All of this went to prove that something was definitely wrong with the redhead. She just wasn't herself anymore.
"Hmmm?" She didn't lift her eyes from the article she was reading. "What is it, Hermione?"
"Is everything okay?"
Ginny stopped reading, but kept her eyes on the paper. If she didn't look at the other woman, maybe she would believe her. "Yes, everything is fine."
Hermione didn't respond immediately, unsure of what to say. It wasn't the first time Ginny had lied to her, and probably wouldn't be the last, but the older witch knew this was important. Whatever was going on with the redhead was too big to ignore. "Ginny, will you put the paper down and look at me?"
At first she hesitated, and then complied. Ginny knew what was coming next, and momentarily thought it might be a good thing. It would be nice to not carry her doubts around anymore.
"Okay," Hermione continued. "I need you to be honest, okay? It's obvious that something is wrong, and I understand you may not want to talk about it, but I promise it'll make you feel better if you do."
"Hermione, you don't have to talk to me as if I'm a child."
The brunette frowned. "That wasn't my intention."
Ginny sighed loudly. "I know. I apologize."
"I'm just concerned, Gin. I've ignored it for a while, hoping you'd work out whatever it is, but I can't any longer. Something is wrong. Why won't you tell me what it is?"
"Hermione, I would if I could, but I can't. I'm not even absolutely sure what it is myself."
"But you have an idea?" her friend questioned.
The redhead nodded.
"Then what do you think is wrong? If you tell me, then we can come up with a solution together."
"It's not that easy. This isn't just about you or me, Hermione. It involves so many more people and I don't want word getting out."
"Do you think I'll tell someone?"
The younger witch shook her head. "I don't think you'll want to. But if I tell you what it is, I don't think you'll be able to stop yourself."
Hermione frowned. "Is it about Harry or Ron?"
Ginny nodded once. "Which is why I can't tell you. If I do, then you'll want to tell them. And I'm not ready for Harry to know."
"Don't you see, I'm trying to stop you from having to choose between your friends? If you don't know, then you can't tell him."
"But I do know something," the brunette argued. "What's to stop me from going to Harry after I leave you and telling him I think something is wrong?"
The other witch paled at her suggestion. "You wouldn't—"
"No, I wouldn't. Because we're friends, Gin. If you don't want me to tell them, no matter how much I want to, then I won't. Honestly, I'm more concerned about you than them right now. Can't you just trust me?"
Ginny stayed quiet, silently considering her options. She knew her friend had a point, and Hermione was loyal to a fault. If she told her, though, she'd have to trust the other woman would remain loyal to her and not Harry. It was a risk she would have to take. "Okay."
"I'll tell you," the redhead conceded. "But if a word of this gets out, then I'll know it was you. Only one other person knows and I don't think they're talking."
Hermione was a little hurt Ginny had told someone else, but wisely kept her mouth closed. She waited for her friend to start talking.
"I have a confession to make. Before Harry asked me to marry him, our relationship wasn't on the best of terms. We were so busy we rarely saw each other. And when we did, it seemed we argued more often than not. Our most common argument was my continued employment at Hogwarts. Harry doesn't seem to understand that I love my job and want to continue teaching. The last time I saw him before winter holiday we'd actually agreed we needed to take a break. We didn't tell anyone, and agreed we'd revisit our relationship while I was home on holiday.
"Harry, however, had other plans. Instead of discussing anything with me, he opted for a flashy proposal in front of my entire family. As I looked around the room, I saw how happy everyone was and felt like I couldn't say no."
"Why not?" Hermione inquired. "Your parents would have understood."
"Would they?" Ginny questioned. "Mum has been planning this wedding since I was ten years old. She was already disappointed because you and Ron couldn't find a way to make it work, so all of her hopes were pinned on Harry and me. I couldn't break her heart."
"Gin, it's your life. You can't let other people influence such big decisions."
"I know." The redhead stopped when the waitress came over to refill their tea. "The funny thing, though, is that after we initially became engaged, I was happy. I really do love Harry. Yes, I had some doubts, but I thought we'd have time to work through those issues before we were married. Then we set a date that was so much earlier than I expected, and now I'm planning a wedding I'm not sure I want. I'm lost, Hermione. I keep telling myself if I just breathe then I'll get through it, but it's not enough. As the wedding gets closer and closer, I become more and more panicked. I don't think I can marry him."
The older witch wasn't sure what to say. She'd thought perhaps Ginny was having some doubts, but nothing on this level. "Do you love him?"
"Yes," she replied immediately. "It's never been an issue of love."
"Then what's the problem?"
Ginny frowned. She wasn't sure how to put this. "Hermione, what does it feel like when Viktor touches you?"
The brunette smiled. "Electricity."
"What?" Ginny asked, confused.
"Nothing. I know this is cliché, but it feels like magic. Sometimes when we're together, I forget to breathe."
"I've never felt that. When Harry holds my hand, or kisses me, or puts his hand on my back, I don't feel any of that. It may be a stupid romantic notion, but I want someone to set my skin on fire with his touch. I want someone who supports me, no matter what. I want someone who wants a wife, not someone to stay at home and raise children."
"Hermione," she whispered. "I don't want what my parents had. I know they love each other, but I refuse to stay at home and raise a houseful of children. I want to live my life, not watch as it passes me by."
Even though she felt like she was betraying Harry, the brunette nodded. "If Harry doesn't give you that, then you should find it. Don't settle if you think something else is out there."
"Thank you." Ginny felt the lump in her throat ease away. "Now I just have to tell Harry."
"How are you going to do that?"
"I'm not sure," she admitted. "Sometime after this weekend."
"This weekend?" Hermione questioned. "I thought this was your duty-free weekend."
"It is. But I'm planning on going away to decide if I'm absolutely sure about this. I don't want to wake up in ten years and realize it's the biggest mistake I've ever made."
Hermione thought she'd already made up her mind, but didn't say anything. "Where are you planning on going? I doubt you'll get very much quiet at the Burrow."
This was the part Ginny wasn't exactly sure how to explain. Since she'd accepted the offer three days, she couldn't think of a good reason as to why she should go to Crete with Draco. "A week or so ago, I was talking to Draco—"
Ginny nodded. "Let me finish. A week or so ago, I was talking to Draco and told him much of what I told you just now. He and I have an uneasy friendship and out of obligation he offered me a place to go and think. I thought about it, and decided it might work out."
"Where are you going, Gin?"
She looked down at her hands in her lap. "His villa on Crete."
"What?! You're going to Crete to stay at Draco Malfoy's villa?"
"Keep your voice down!" Ginny looked around, hoping no one heard. The last thing she needed was her private business to end up splashed in the gossip rags. Or worse, the press showing up on the island to harass her. "It's not like we're going on a romantic getaway. Draco was trying to be supportive and offered me the use of his home."
"But he will be there?" Hermione questioned.
Ginny nodded. "Yes, but he promised he would leave me alone."
The brunette studied her friend, suddenly wondering if she believed the things come out of her mouth. "Gin, this is Malfoy. It's a bad idea. What would Harry say if he knew?"
"He can't know! You promised. He can't know."
"I won't tell him, but I think you should."
"You should at least see him, Gin. It's entirely possible he's about to have his world turned upside down. You owe him that."
Ginny considered her friend's words, before sighing. "You're right. I'll go see him tonight."
Hermione smiled brightly. "You won't regret it, Ginny."
The redhead couldn't bring herself to return the smile. "I hope not."
Ginny Apparated directly to Harry's flat when she left Hermione. She still wasn't decided if she would tell him or not, but she did owe him this visit at least.
Her fiancé was sitting at the table, reading the paper and eating bangers and mash. When he heard the pop from Apparation, he looked up. "Ginny." Harry stood and went to greet her. "What're you doing here?"
She smiled up at him, genuinely glad to see him. The redhead could feel a rush of emotions when he leaned down to kiss her. "I just wanted to see you."
He touched his hand to her cheek. "Is everything okay? You look anxious about something."
Ginny shook her head. "No, everything is fine. I just missed you."
Harry smiled at her. "I missed you, too."
She looked past him and saw his dinner. "Were you eating?"
"Yes. But I'm done now." Harry took her hand and led her to the couch. "Let's sit in here."
Ginny allowed herself to be pulled down. She immediately turned towards him for a kiss, hoping to lose herself in him. He kissed her back fervently, one hand going to her hair. The redhead moved them so that Harry was laying on top of her, his weight pressed down on her. It felt good to have something so solid to hold on to. Ginny brought her hand up to his back and urged him closer. "Harry," she gasped.
He broke the kiss and moved to her neck. "What do you want, Gin?"
She shuddered when he took her ear between his teeth and pulled. Even though she hadn't come over her for this, Ginny knew where it was going. They'd been very traditional with their relationship and had never made love before. She'd always thought she wanted to wait until their wedding night, but if he continued as he was, Ginny thought tonight might be nice as well.
Harry brought his free hand up to her breast and started kneading it through her shirt. "Love, what do you want?" He left her neck behind to move lower, his mouth covering where his hand had just been. "Can I take your shirt off, Gin?"
"Y—yes." Ginny reached down at helped him pull it over her head. His mouth immediately latched onto her nipple and he suckled it through her bra. "Harry." She brought her hands up to his head, intent on pulling him closer. She wanted him.
Or did she? That seed of doubt began to creep up and suddenly she was fully aware of what was happening. "Harry, maybe we should stop."
He moved his hips against her. "I don't think I can, Gin. I want you so much."
He continued to move his hips against her, thrusting into her stomach. Ginny could feel his erection each time he moved, hard and wanting. It was obvious he wanted this – and maybe, just maybe, if she gave him this, then he wouldn't pressure her about anything else. Ginny started to lift her lower body to meet his thrusts. He started thrusting harder and chanting her name. She closed her eyes and hoped it would end soon.
A short time later, Ginny felt a gush of wetness hit her stomach. She looked down to see Harry holding his shrinking member and a puddle of white something on her stomach. She had to fight hard to not gag. "I'm so sorry," he began immediately. "I thought—I was going to…put it in, I swear, Ginny. And then I couldn't stop myself. And I just…oh God."
She reached up and brushed his hair back. "It's okay, Harry. Don't worry about it." Ginny couldn't look down at her stomach and what he left there. "Could you get me a towel, please?"
He was up immediately, tucking himself back into his boxers and jeans. "Of course."
Ginny fought back tears as she waited for him to return. When he did, she immediately wiped herself clean and replaced her shirt. She and Harry sat there in an awkward silence, each waiting for the other to speak. Finally the redhead couldn't take it anymore. "I should get back to Hogwarts."
Harry stood and walked her to the door. He wasn't sure what he should say, still embarrassed by his showing. "Ginny, I'm sorry."
She leaned forward and kissed him quickly. "It's okay, Harry. I'll see you soon, okay?"
"When's your next weekend off?" he questioned. "I want to see you again. Maybe we could try—"
"I'm not sure," she cut him off, not wanting to know what he wanted to try. "I'll owl you when McGonagall tells me."
He accepted her answer with a nod. "I love you."
Ginny gave him her best smile. "You, too. I'll talk to you soon."
Harry leaned forward and kissed her again. "Okay. Thank you for tonight, Ginny."
She stepped away from him, suddenly unable to breathe. They'd made a huge mistake tonight, and she didn't know how to tell him. "Good night, Harry." She lifted her wand and Apparated away.
When she got back to her suite in the castle, Draco's hawk was waiting for her with a letter. She took it from him and gave him an owl treat. The bird took one bite of it before spitting it out on the floor. "Just like your master, I see."
Ginny unrolled the parchment. Written in his practiced script, she saw their travel plans for the next evening. The redhead sighed. Before she'd gone to Harry's, she had decided going to Crete was a bad idea. But since then, she knew this was exactly what she needed. She needed to go away to find the courage to be honest with Harry. Which was going to be so much harder after tonight.
Taking a moment, she scrawled Sounds good. I'll see you tomorrow on the bottom of his note and gave it back to the hawk. The bird immediately flew out the window, presumably to deliver the note to Draco. Ginny stood there for a long time, studying the darkness. When she finally went to bed, her last thought was if she could Obliviate that day from her memory.
Better Luck Next Time by smprsgrrl
I realize it's been a ridiculously long time... and maybe the next update won't take 18 months or so.
Better Luck Next Time***
He was bloody miserable.
When he had initially proposed this trip to Ginny he thought they might take in some of the sights of Crete together. He knew she was having second thoughts about her wedding to Potter and now seemed like the perfect opportunity to try and get between them. However, if Ginny was going to sit in her room and brood, Draco would have been better off staying in Scotland. At least there he wouldn’t be waiting to see if she needed anything.
She’d seemed fine when he’d last spoken to her, so all he could figure was that something had happened with Potter since then. Draco knew it was too much too hope that they had called the whole thing off, but whatever it was Ginny didn’t seem to want to talk. She’d been quiet when she met him that morning in the Great Hall and her mood hadn’t really improved since. When they arrived he had immediately suggested a walk along the beach, but Ginny begged off with a headache and he hadn’t seen or heard from her since. It was enough to drive him mad.
He was considering going out without her when she emerged from the guest room. Draco noticed immediately that she had been crying. “I would ask if you’re okay, but you’re obviously not.”
The redhead offered him a weak smile. “That’s what I like about you, Draco. You don’t lie.”
He shrugged. “I don’t see the point. Is there anything I can do?”
“I don’t think so.”
“We can go home if you want. It’s not a problem.”
“No!” Ginny told him. “We came all this way—”
“Weasley, there’s no point in being here if you’re going to sit in your room and cry. You can do that at Hogwarts.”
She just stared at him. “Honesty,” he reminded her. “You like that about me.”
“You’re right. About everything. I’m trying to get away from everything, not sit around and think about what’s wrong with my life. So what do you want to do?”
Draco grinned at her. “That’s a dangerous question, Weasley.”
“I trust you, Draco.”
“You might be the only one.” He ran his eyes over her. “First, you need to go change. We’re going to the beach and then out for a late lunch. If you didn’t bring a bathing suit, then check the closet in your room. The clothes in there should fit you.”
She nodded. “Okay. Give me twenty minutes?”
“I’ll be waiting.”
True to her word, the redhead was ready in less than half an hour. Draco met her in the front hall wearing a pair of black swimming trunks and long-sleeved white t-shirt. He noticed immediately that she was wearing something from the closet he’d had furnished for her. Draco could only hope she was wearing one of the bikinis under the sundress.
“Does this look okay?”
“I won’t be embarrassed to be seen with you today, Weasley.” The blond smirked at her and held out one of the canvas bags he’d had one of the house elves pack for them. “Carry this, will you?”
At this point, Ginny was used to his biting comments and knew he was giving her a compliment. She took the bag without protest. “What’s in here?”
“Towels, water, a portable Wizard’s Wireless transfigured to look like a Muggle radio, and whatever magazines Dinky packed. I thought we might find a spot you like on the beach and sit for awhile. You can swim, if you like.”
She tucked her wand into the bag she was carrying. “I guess I’m ready then.”
Draco opened the door for her. “Follow me.” He led her down a path behind the villa, which was mostly shielded from the others by a tall hedge. Before an opening in the hedge, Draco stopped and turned, wand in hand. He whispered a spell and tapped Ginny’s forehead and then did the same for himself. “It’s a sun protection spell. You don’t want to get burnt while you’re here.”
“Are you ready?”
“Close your eyes.” Draco took her by the elbow and led her onto the beach. He moved so that he was standing behind her, looking down on her face. “You can open them now.”
Ginny couldn’t help the gasp that escaped her throat. “I’ve never seen anything more beautiful.”
His eyes were on her face. “It is amazing.”
She looked up at him and smiled. “Why is the beach so deserted?”
“It’s only May, so it’s still early. The Americans won’t be over for another month at least, and most Europeans don’t holiday until August.”
“Oh.” Ginny smiled at him again. “So why are we here now?”
“You needed to get away.”
“Oh. Right.” The redhead broke eye contact with him and looked back to the crystal blue water. It was the most beautiful place she’d ever seen. And they only had to share it with a handful of people. “So what now?”
“Whatever you want. Do you want to go for a swim or a walk?”
“A swim, I think.”
“Okay.” Draco led her over to a spot on the sand where he put down the bag he was carrying. He took out his towel and spread it out before slipping off his shoes. He took out a bottle of water and turned to hand one to her when he saw her. She was busy tying her hair back in a ponytail and didn’t notice him staring.
She must have brought that suit with her, because he sure as hell hadn’t approved that one. All week he’d been seeing her in something skimpy and black, but he was suddenly realizing that something less skimpy but gold was so much better. It was a two-piece suit, but the top covered more of her breasts than it exposed and the bottoms were cut like boy-shorts. The color matched her skin perfectly and with her hair tied back away from her face, she couldn’t have looked better.
Ginny frowned when Draco sat down on his towel and pulled a book from one of the bags. “Aren’t you going to join me?”
“I wasn’t planning on it, actually.”
“I don’t like to swim outside. Even with the protection charm, my skin is too sensitive.”
“Draco,” she pouted. “Why did you give me an option if you knew you couldn’t swim?”
He looked up at her. “Just because I can’t doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. This is your holiday. Go, have fun. I’ll be here.”
The redhead looked toward the sparkling blue water of the Mediterranean and considered her options. She knew he was right, but she still felt guilty for leaving him there. “Are you sure?”
“Stop being so bloody noble, Weasley, and go have fun. I’m a big wizard now, I’ll be fine.”
She rolled her eyes. “Fine.”
Draco watched appreciatively as she took off running towards the water before lying back on the towel and closing his eyes. Fucking hell, this had been a bad idea.
"Wake up." Ginny pushed his shoulder again. Since when had Draco become such a heavy sleeper? "Draco!"
"I want to go now," she told him impatiently. The redhead looked down the beach at the photographer and sighed heavily. This was not what she needed.
Draco noted the tone of her voice. "What's wrong, Weasley?"
"Nothing. I'm just ready to go."
He narrowed his eyes. "Don't lie to me. What happened?"
She pointed toward the man with the camera. "I can't have my picture taken here." Ginny considered briefly telling him that she'd told Harry she was staying at the castle for the weekend, but hesitates. Instead, she added, "Not with you."
"I see." The blond tried not to let her words sting him. Of course, she wouldn't want her picture taken with him. "That's fine. We can return to the villa, then."
He stood and turned to away from her. Draco ignored the painful squeeze in his chest. He was a stupid fool for thinking she would ever care for him. "Come along, Weasley."
Ginny had no choice but to follow him, unsure how to get back. She could feel the wall he'd erected between them, but had no clue as to why. When she finally caught up to him she asked, "Did I do something wrong?"
"Oh." She frowned. He refused to look at her. "Are you sure, because—"
"Leave it alone." He quickened his stride and knew she would practically have to run to keep up with him. The rest of the walk was made in silence.
Once they reached the villa he spared her a glance. "I'm going to take a shower."
Her soft words stopped him. "I can't do this, Weasley."
Ginny touched his right arm and turned him so they were facing. "Do what? What did I do? Tell me so I can fix it."
He could feel the heat radiating from her body and knew if he took one step forward they'd be pressed together. "You really don't know?"
She shook her head in response. "Tell me."
"You said—" He looked away momentarily and sighed. "On the beach, you told me that you couldn’t have your picture taken with me. Why not?"
"Oh." She smiled up at him. "Honestly, Draco. Why didn't you just ask? I saw Harry last night and I didn't tell him I was coming here with you. Instead, when I got back to the castle, I planned on owling you and canceling the weekend, but I changed my mind at the last minute. So Harry thinks I'm at Hogwarts, and he'll know I didn't tell the truth if there is a picture of me here."
"And he'll be even more upset that you're here with me," he supplied for her. "You left that part out."
Ginny nodded. "Yes. You and Harry have never exactly been friends."
"That's one way of putting it." He smirked at her. "Say, what happened with Potter last night? Something made you decide to come today."
She could feel the blush rise to her cheeks. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Drop it, Draco." The redhead turned away from him and towards the kitchen. "If you're going to shower, then I'll make us lunch."
"Never mind that. Go change, and we'll go to town and get lunch."
She started to protest, until he silenced her with a look. "You're on holiday until we return to the castle tomorrow night. You will not cook or clean while you are here. Is that understood?"
"What about the photographer?"
Draco withdrew his wand and murmured an incantation before tapping her head. Ginny felt the magic wash over her. "You look good as a brunette."
The former redhead pulled at her long hair and could see that he hand changed it to a rich, dark brown. "Will it change back?"
"I'll change it back tomorrow. You'll also wear sunglasses while we're outside. No one will recognize you. Now go change."
Ginny smiled sweetly up at him before hurriedly kissing his cheek. "Thank you, Draco."
They arrived back at Hogwarts via Floo after dinner on Sunday. Draco came through first and was there to help Ginny out of the fireplace. They were both busy cleaning themselves off when he noticed the parchment waiting on his desk.
"I need to speak to McGonagall tonight, so I'll let her know you've returned." Ginny went to his bedroom door.
His eyes scanned his letter. "I'll accompany you. According to this, she needs to see me right away." He dropped the letter on his bed and they left the room.
The easy banter they'd developed since the previous morning continued as they walked through the castle. Once they reached the gargoyle the guarded her office, Ginny said the password and they went up together.
Draco was surprised to find his mother and Severus in the office. He left Ginny's side and immediately went to his mother. Snape walked toward the family he considered to be his own and Ginny stood frozen at the door. She was unsure as to what she should do.
"Mum, what happened?"
Narcissa Malfoy only shook her head. Draco swung his gaze to the man he trusted the most. "Severus?"
"Draco, I'm sorry."
Finally, McGonagall said, "Mr. Malfoy, your father passed away this morning."
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