In order for Draco to regain control of his assets after the war, he is required to marry. For Draco, this can mean only one witch - Pansy Parkinson. Who, you may ask is the Ministry liason for both Malfoy and Parkinson? Ginny Weasley.
Categories: Works in Progress Characters:
Blaise Zabini (boy), Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Pansy Parkinson, Ron Weasley
Sep 05, 2007 Updated:
Sep 06, 2009
A/N: This plot is by Felicitas, who I hope is well pleased by the way I’ve fleshed this out. I’ve taken some drastic liberties with the characters, though, be forewarned. For instance, Ron is neither repulsed nor maddened by Draco. I prefer a sane Ron. This isn’t the first time I’ve made him this way; see His Girl for another example of ‘calm Ron’. Harry is being punished by me, and he isn’t allowed to speak unless it’s strictly necessary. He gets enough screen time in the books, I think. My thanks go out to freedachickens, for the PI beta, and Miran, who looked at it and said nice things, even though she was busy.
1. Chapter 1 by Persephone33
2. Chapter 2 by Persephone33
3. Chapter 3 by Persephone33
4. Chapter 4 by Persephone33
5. Chapter 5 by Persephone33
6. Chapter 6 by Persephone33
Chapter 1 by Persephone33
Draco Malfoy sat in a small, dirty room in the Ministry of Magic awaiting his fate. By merely looking at him, a casual observer would never know that beyond the door and across the hall, a group of witches and wizards comprising the Wizengamot were determining his fate.
Two other wizards sat in the room with him as allies, albeit unlikely ones. It was Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, not Pansy or Vincent or Gregory that had testified on his behalf. He had worked for the side of the war that had won, thankfully. He has even saved a few lives and now he sat between two of his fellow soldiers, waiting for his solicitor to make an appearance and tell him whether he’d be spending the next few years in a private room in lovely downtown Azkaban or be released of all charges.
He never guessed that it would be somewhere between the two.
He was a little peeved that his fellow Slytherins hadn’t showed, Pansy in particular. They’d always been close, but he got the distinct feeling that she disapproved of his latest political move. Siding with Gryffindors evidently warranted prolonged silence from her.
Ron looked over at Draco and shrugged. “Buck up, mate. Harry testified for you. In those people’s eyes, Harry can do no wrong. They fall all over themselves for him.”
Harry rolled his eyes but remained silent.
Usually one to come in a room in a flurry of expensive robes and bits of parchment, Blaise Zabini entered the room in an uncharacteristic slump. He placed a sheaf of parchment on the centre of the table and gazed steadily at the blond man on the other side. “You’re a lucky bastard, you know.”
Draco knew his friend well enough to realize that it wasn’t going to be all good news to follow and didn’t relax visibly like the wizards on either side of him.
Blaise sat in the rickety chair, pinching the bridge of his nose and, after screwing up his face in thought, sighed deeply.
Draco remained impassive for several moments before he could no longer remain silent. “Do you think we could dispense with the histrionics, and perhaps, just perhaps, you could tell me what went on in there while I’ve been out here?”
Blaise sighed again, and it proved to be Draco’s last straw. “Speak, Blaise, right now, or I’ll show you that I don’t need my wand to show you pain.”
Blaise then nodded and set his attaché case on the table, producing Draco’s wand. “Against better judgement, and at the risk of my safety, I’ll return this to its owner,” he said with a smile.
Draco reached for his wand, and the moment his fingers touched it, “Rosewood. 11 ½ inches, core of Dragon Heartstring,” he heard Mr. Ollivander say in his ear. He felt the magic course through him and was immediately more at ease than he’d been in months, since the charges were first brought against him. His body visibly relaxed, and he settled back in his chair, which creaked ominously.
“Feel better?” Ron asked.
Draco couldn’t help it. He smiled at the trio of men surrounding him. “Much.” Then he directed his attention at his closest friend. “Speak,” he commanded.
“It was all due to my brilliance, Malfoy,” Blaise began.
“Yes, and I’m sure I’ll get the bill to prove it, Zabini. Get on with it, you git,” he said without malice.
The solicitor cleared his throat. “Cleared of all charges,” he stated.
Ron stood and whooped, Harry sat back and smiled, but Draco merely raised an eyebrow. “And?”
“And… they put you on probation.”
Ron sat back down. “That won’t be too bad, Malfoy. Some community service or you teach the elderly to play the drums or something, right?” he joked.
Draco repressed the urge to strangle Weasley. He was, after all, grateful for his help. Strangulation wouldn’t be a proper thank you. He mentally reminded himself to have a house elf write a note, before inwardly shaking his head of superfluous thoughts. “What sort of probation?” he directed at Blaise.
“You’ve been put under restrictions,” Blaise continued in a businesslike manner. “Who you talk to and where you go will be monitored by the Ministry. Your holdings, home, and the Malfoy fortune have been locked down, and you have to meet certain requirements before you can get them back.”
“Will they need to watch him take a leak, as well?” Ron asked incredulously.
Draco wondered briefly if saving Weasley’s life had been worth it.
“Ron,” Harry reprimanded mildly.
Blaise continued speaking, “They’ve prohibited all contact with Slytherins.”
Draco looked affronted. “You’re joking.”
“No, I’m not. You’re only talking to me because I’m your lawyer and Harry ‘I saved the bloody world’ Potter is sitting right there.”
Draco frowned. “What requirements will have to be met before I can go home? Before I have control of my inheritance?” he asked.
“You have to get married.”
Draco was stunned. “Please be joking.”
“No. No, they were quite firm on this. There is no appeal. They feel it will create stability. You’ll be less likely to return to your wicked ways if you were attached to a ball and chain,” Blaise said wryly. “No marriage, no money. You have to be married.”
“That’s the most asinine thing that I’ve ever heard.”
“It is the Ministry,” Blaise replied.
“To whom?” Draco asked.
“To whom will I have to marry?”
“Oh,” Blaise murmured, shuffling through the parchment, “they didn’t say.”
“That was kind of them, wasn’t it?” Draco sneered.
“Bastards,” Ron spat.
“Ron,” said Harry warningly.
“What am I going to do?” Draco whispered to the room at large. The three other men looked back at him without answers.
“What am I going to do?” he repeated to himself.
“Get married?” Ron suggested helpfully.
“Ron,” Harry sighed again.
Blaise took another piece of parchment out of his case. “I’m afraid there’s no way ‘round it. They were very clear on that point.”
“Who will I marry?”
“Oh, Draco, there are lots of girls to choose from, and you’re not altogether unfortunate looking,” Blaise began.
“Thanks so much. You know how much your opinion means to me,” Draco retorted.
“So,” Blaise continued smoothly, “it’s just a matter of choosing someone.”
Harry slid the parchment over to him and handed him a quill. “Perhaps if you made a list?”
“A list of potential brides?” Draco asked.
“Right.” Draco exhaled heavily and stood up, throwing down the quill. “This is ridiculous,” he spat.
Ron took the quill and pulled the parchment over to him, scribbling down some names.
“What about Susan Bones? She’s alright,” he suggested.
“A Hufflepuff?” Draco shrieked. “Are you joking? Not on a bet.”
Ron crossed out a name. “Then Hannah Abbot is out, too, then.”
Draco’s head snapped up. “Well, Abbot does have an exceptionally nice set of--” He interrupted himself, “No. Absolutely not.”
“One of the Patil twins?”
“Only if they’ll come as a matched set.”
“I will not have your leftovers, Weasley.”
Ron scratched through several names. “I suppose Hermione’s out, then?”
This was met with a horrified look and a retching noise.
“Right. Tracey Davis?”
“She’s a Slytherin,” Draco said dismissively.
“So?” Blaise asked.
“So, you said I couldn’t be around Slytherins! Keep up!”
“No, no. You can be, it just has to be with an approved Ministry escort,” Blaise read, correcting himself.
“Oh, Draco replied. “Still. No. Tracey Davis is too…”
“Too,” Harry finished.
“Quite,” Blaise agreed.
“Daphne Greengrass?” Blaise suggested. “She’s a pureblood, even.”
“So’s Weasley, and I’m not going to marry him, either,” Draco said sarcastically. “Greengrass is a slag. She’s seen more tail than a centaur at the back of the herd.”
“Yeah,” Ron said, having an epiphany. “Parkinson. You’re mates. She’ll understand.”
Draco shifted uncomfortably. “Pansy’s not really speaking to me right now. She wasn’t at my trial and hasn’t responded to any of my owls. But yeah, she’d be my first choice. I can’t just go see her, I suppose?”
“No,” Blaise replied, “you’ve got to have an escort. Your Ministry approved escort is--” He stopped, shuffling through the stack in front of him. “Ah. Ginny Weasley.”
“Oh, that’s lucky,” Ron said. “Gin’s great.”
Harry looked sceptical.
Another Weasley, Draco thought. He wasn’t sure he could stand the first one he’d collected.
“It will all be fine, Draco,” Blaise reassured him. “You’ll meet with Miss Weasley, and then go see Pansy and get her help. She’s never been able to say no to you. You’ll get married, get your inheritance, and continue to live your bloody charmed life, I’m sure.”
Draco nodded. Ron clapped him on the shoulder. “Let’s go meet my sister.”
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 2 by Persephone33
Thanks to Freedachickens, for the beta.
Remember, I'm punishing Harry. He isn't allowed to speak much. That's his penance for Deathly Hallows.
Ginny sat, dumfounded, looking at the scrap of parchment that Harry had just handed her, complete with the official Ministry of Magic letterhead at the top.
“You’re joking,” she prompted desperately.
Harry shook his head.
Ginny sighed, and her shoulders sagged. “Of all the former Death Eaters I could be saddled with.” She looked up hopefully. “Couldn’t I at least have Theo Nott?”
Harry shook his head again.
“Well you’re helpful, aren’t you?”
Ginny frowned at him. “What? Did Lord Voldemort rob your powers of speech before he was a stain on the moors of Scotland?”
Startled by his outburst, she waited for more, meeting his eyes in a staring contest of sorts, but apparently he was finished speaking for the day.
Ginny rolled her eyes, then scanned the parchment once more, and asked, more to herself than the mute in front of her, “They’re here then?”
Just then, Ron stuck his head around the corner. “Alright, Gin?”
Guh, Ginny thought. If he hadn’t turned noble, she would know how to deal with him. Years of hatred were barely overshadowed by saving her brother from certain death.
The two wizards entered the room. Ron studied his sister’s expression. He could tell that the littlest Weasley was displeased. “We’ve brought you your newest assignment, Ginny.” He chuckled a bit hoping to lighten the mood.
“Thank you, Ron, Harry,” she said dismissively. “I’ll be able to take it from here.”
Harry looked pityingly at Draco. Ron slapped his back bracingly. “Sometimes it helps to not look directly in her eyes,” he whispered from the corner of his mouth.
Draco smirked, and Harry and Ron turned to go. At the door, Harry turned to cast long look at Ginny and Draco before exiting.
The door closed, and Ginny murmured, “He gets weirder every day.” She shook her head and gestured to a chair. “Have a seat, Mr. Malfoy. Will your solicitor be joining us?”
Draco sat and glanced toward the door vaguely. “Yes, he was supposed to be here, but I don’t think it’s necessary for us to wait on him. He’s a bit too protective of me as it is.”
She mirrored his facial expression. “You have a lot of protection, don’t you, Mr. Malfoy?”
His smirk intensified. “Mr. Malfoy?” he asked in a teasing manner. “Surely we’re on better terms than that? Please, call me Draco.”
Oh, Merlin. No. Please, don’t bring it up, she thought.
“After all, I did save your brother from the killing curse.”
And there it was. It took the git all of thirty seconds of being in the same room before mentioning why she had to be nice to him. She gazed at him, about to tell him that she still didn’t trust him and it might take years for her to forgive what a giant arse he’d been in school when he did something she was totally unprepared for.
Her breath caught in her throat at the complete transformation of his countenance. Where moments ago he was haughty and superior, hard and unyielding, now he looked completely different. His grey eyes crinkled slightly at the corners, his lips curved up, and she noticed that he actually had a dimple in his right cheek. Her stomach did a mini-gymnastic routine. Draco Malfoy looked approachable, friendly, like someone she’d want to be friends with, spend time with, take home to meet her mother—
Stop, Ginny instructed herself. Not going to happen.
She nodded once. “Alright, D-Draco.”
“See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?”
She forced herself to control her own breathing. Steady, girl. In. Out. “Of course not,” she replied. She was the picture of the consummate professional. And had her voice not cracked on the last word, she would have sounded it, too. Pull it together, Gin, she thought to herself. Death Eater. Auror. Task at hand, you stupid girl. Perhaps not looking at him would be best.
She turned her attention to the papers in front of her. “I’ve read your file and understand that you want to begin visitation to Pansy Parkinson of Sussex?
His face fell. Not that she noticed. Or regretted it. “Yes, I do.”
Quill poised, she gazed at him intently, willing herself not to want him to smile again. “May I ask why?”
“I have to convince her to marry me.”
Ginny was caught by surprise and had to school her expression quickly to remain neutral. “I hadn’t realized that you were dating. Not that it’s any of my business.”
“Then, if I may be so bold?” she prompted.
“Not at all, Ginevra.”
Oh, Merlin. He called me Ginevra. Stop it. That’s enough. Listen. He’s still talking.
“It’s for the conditions of my parole. And pardon. To gain freedom, my inheritance, and my home, I have to marry.”
Ginny arched a brow. “And Parkinson said yes?”
“Not yet. But she’s the only suitable pureblood.”
Ginny stiffened. “Is she? I see.” Okay. This was more familiar ground. She chuckled to herself. Same old Malfoy. You can take the boy out of Slytherin, but you can't take the Slytherin out of the boy.
Draco cocked his head to one side. “Can you think of another pure-blooded witch who’d agree to marry me on such short notice?”
Ginny thought for a moment, running through a myriad of responses to that question and dismissing most of them as insane. “I suppose not,” she replied in clipped tones. More gently, she began, “Mr. Malfoy, you do know her activities of late, don’t you?”
“What happened to calling me 'Draco?” he asked.
Oh, Gods. Do not blush. You will NOT blush you silly –
Too late. She could feel the blood starting at her chest and moving up her neck, making her face flame. “Sorry. Right,” she breathed.
Draco shifted a bit in his chair. “I haven’t spoken to Pansy in awhile. I know she hasn’t been a model citizen. I shall endeavour to encourage her otherwise.”
Ginny studied him, noticing the differences in him. He was uncomfortable. He was frowning slightly. She raised an eyebrow. “Because you’re on the straight and narrow, now, are you?”
Oh, please, don’t smile.
He smiled charmingly. “Of course.”
At the same time, Ginny repressed a snort and forced herself not to go into a puddle of goo. Just because an attractive man smiled at her was no reason to act like a mooning schoolgirl. Merlin, how long had it been? She needed to get a date. Soon.
“Right then,” she replied, businesslike once more. “Here are the times that the Ministry will make me available to be your escort. You can owl me the times most convenient for you.” Their fingertips brushed, and both of them pulled back, feeling a shock erupt where they touched.
Draco looked at her curiously, as if he was seeing her for the first time. “Al-alright.”
“Conveniently enough, I’m Parkinson’s liaison, as well. She’s an unpleasant one, at least to me. I think you’ll have your work cut out for you, Mr. Malfoy.”
Ginny was getting a little annoyed at her stomach; its flip-flopping every time he purred his name was getting irritating. “Right. I’ll expect your owl, then.”
He left, and Ginny rested her cheek on the cool of her desk. “Well, that went well,” she mumbled.
After she calmed slightly and chastised herself for reacting like such an idiot to Draco Malfoy, of all people, Ginny furrowed her brow and studied the file on her desk. Pansy Parkinson had also narrowly escaped Azkaban, but unfortunately, Pansy had shown absolutely no remorse for her part in the war. Ginny wasn’t sure but had heard rumours that the Parkinson trust financed the whole of the Department of Mysteries. The Ministry wouldn’t let her through the door but would take her money, evidently, and keep her out of prison in exchange.
No, Pansy definitely hadn’t changed her ways. She wondered briefly if Harry and Ron weren’t wrong about Draco. It was so much easier to have that perspective about the smarmy git when he wasn’t sitting four feet in front of her smiling, though.
Smiling. Pfft. Yeah. Like I buy that, she thought.
He was the same as ever, he’d just trained the muscles in his face to do a new trick. Look at what he was trying to do! He was trying to get a pure-blood to marry him. For money. Yep, he was still the same. Harry was too trusting, and Ron had a blind spot when it came to Draco. A little noise escaped her throat, somewhere between a growl and a whimper. She’d just have to keep a close eye on them both.
She walked aimlessly down the corridor, pondering Draco’s – Malfoy’s - situation. She rounded a corner and was met by a rather dishevelled Blaise Zabini.
“Ah, Weasley. You’ve met with my client?”
“Yes,” she replied appraising him. “Our meeting just ended a few minutes ago.”
“Ah. Yes. Well. Sorry about that. Pressing Ministry business. Do let me know if there is anything I can do, Weasley.”
Ginny made vague affirmative noises and continued around the corner to Hermione’s office, only to find the girl looking suspiciously flushed.
Hermione straightened quickly and gathered a sheaf of parchment, stacking and restacking them, making sure that the edges were even.
“Busy day?” Ginny inquired.
Hermione looked up and blushed. “Erm, no. Not really.”
“Was Blaise just in here?”
“What? Oh, Zabini? Yes, he was in here, briefly.”
“Department of Mysteries stuff. Pressing business.”
Ginny smirked at the number of times she’d heard that euphemism in as many minutes. That must be what the kids are calling it these days, she thought. I could do with some ‘pressing ministry business.’
Hermione cleared her throat. “How was your meeting with Malfoy?” she squeaked.
Ginny filled her in on the particulars, and Hermione winced. “Marry her? Of course I can’t say much, but I know that Parkinson’s untouchable. There would be parts of the Ministry that couldn’t function without her. Or rather, her money.”
“Well,” Ginny replied, “I’m just there to prohibit collusion, not to save Malfoy from marrying her. There’s only so much I can be responsible for.”
“Hermione?” Ginny began, “the next time the Ministry has ‘pressing business,’ you may want to make sure you re-button your shirt right, after the meeting’s over,” she said seriously, leaving the other woman’s office with a smirk.
Chapter 3 by Persephone33
Thank you to Freedachickens, who would be rich if she had a nickel for every set of quotation marks she added in this chapter. She's a beta queen.
Schedules were arranged, appointments were made, and a little less than a week later, Ginny found herself escorting Draco Malfoy up the rough hewn steps of the Parkinson estate. There had been very little conversation between the two as they walked from the apparition point in the village, and it was a few moments before Ginny realized that she was several steps ahead of Draco. She turned back and found him standing still, face inscrutable, hands shoved down into the pockets of his robes, staring at the imposing front door of the manor before him.
Ginny simply waited. This was his sickle, and he could spend it as he saw fit as far as she was concerned.
His gaze wavered to Ginny, and his eyes held hers for a moment. All at once, his face fell into an expression that was, for Malfoy, almost apologetic.
Ginny smiled. “It’s not as if you are walking to your death, Mr. Malfoy. Only marriage.”
“Draco,” he said absently, then chuckled mirthlessly. “Yes. It’s not as if she’s some misandristic soul-sucking harpy that will try to emasculate me at any given opportunity. He paused. “No, wait. Yes, she is.”
Ginny giggled involuntarily.
Feeling pleased with himself for having made her laugh, he sighed deeply, ducking his head and looking at her through his fringe. “I don’t know if I can do this,” he murmured.
“Sure you can,” Ginny said bracingly. “Be charming. Smile.” That’s what works on me, anyway. “Down on one knee, ring, question, done.”
“Right, of course,” he said, retrieving the pompous air that usually hung about him like a cloud. “Although, it may take a bit longer than that, even for me,” he added with a wink. He brushed by her and rang the bell authoritatively with an air of impatience.
After several moments, a house elf answered the door, took their coats, and showed them to a solarium where the lady of the house sat lounging in a high backed chair. Her expression was frightening, like a predator about to toy with its prey. She didn’t even so much as glance at Draco.
“Weasley. What a surprise. Here to check for Dark objects? To pry up the floorboards in the drawing room? To look behind the family portrait for a safe filled with Galleons that the Ministry knows nothing about?” she asked with a snarl. “Bloody parasitic government,” she muttered.
“Lovely to see you, as well, Parkinson,” Ginny replied evenly.
Pansy blew a raspberry and rolled her eyes.
“Charming, as always,” Ginny murmured under her breath. She moved past Draco. “She’s all yours.”
“What,” Pansy asked, with an air of distaste, waving a perfectly manicured hand in Draco’s general direction, “is this about?”
Ginny looked at Draco, who shrugged and focused on the girl in front of her. “Why don’t I let you two discuss that?” Ginny retreated to the far end of the room to give the others the illusion of privacy and busied herself with inspecting some hanging ferns.
“Pansy,” Draco intoned, by way of greeting.
“Filth,” she retorted.
His shoulders sagged. “Pansy, don’t.”
Whatever restraint that Pansy had broke with a rush of emotion. “How could you?” she asked, screeching. “How could you leave us all? You abandoned us. We were your friends, your family, you traitor! You abandoned us! You’re no better than Weasley, over there. A blood traitor.”
Pansy continued on for a few more minutes, railing, berating, and condemning, while Draco sat silent, not moving.
When she got tired of calling him every foul name she could think of, her conversation took a new turn. “Do you think it’s not possible that I don’t know why you’re here? Now that I can be useful to you, you’re here to ask me for a favour. Well, I won’t do it, Draco Malfoy. I won’t help you because you certainly didn’t consider me when you jumped ship to help the speccy fuckhead ruin our way of life, did you?”
“That isn’t true,” Draco said quietly, so quietly Ginny had to strain – unobtrusively, of course, as she was supposed to be giving them privacy – to make out his words. “That isn’t the way it happened at all.”
“What?” she shrieked. “Are you saying that you didn’t leave your friends, your classmates, the people that you had lived with for seven years hanging out to dry?”
“I asked you to come,” he continued in the same quiet voice.
She rounded on him. “I had responsibilities, Draco. Just like you did. People depended on me. Lives were at stake. Or don’t you remember?”
Draco sat heavily on a chair next to Pansy, his head in his hands. “Please stop.”
“No,” she said cruelly. “I don’t think I will. You need to hear what you did. You left, and people died. People depended on you to know what to do, and they died. They're gone, and they’ll never come back. They were my friends, Draco,” Pansy said with a catch in her throat. “They’re gone because of you.”
Draco raised his head out of his hands and looked at Pansy through bleary eyes, looking thoroughly miserable. “I—I’m sorry Pansy. I am. If there had been any way I could have done it differently, I—”
“Time’s up,” Ginny interrupted. “Sorry, but I’ve got to get back to the Ministry. We’ll be back next Tuesday, Parkinson.”
“Looking forward to it, as ever, Weasley,” she replied sarcastically. “Do us all a favour and leave the traitor at home next week. I have no desire to have him infect my home ever again.”
Ginny gazed at the woman, pale face devoid of any emotion. “If you don’t like how the Ministry is handling things, make sure you fill out the questionnaire that comes in the mail. Check the ‘My Auror Liaison is a Bitch’ box, and your complaint will be handled in the order in which it was received, with all the priority it deserves. Good day, Parkinson,” she said pleasantly.
She hauled Draco out of the chair he’d collapsed into and steered him to the entrance hall, grabbing their cloaks from an overloaded elf and exiting the house quickly to the silence of the front lawn.
They were halfway to the Apparition point when Draco spoke. “You might’ve told me beforehand that I only get fifteen minutes at a time.”
Ginny frowned at him. “Why did you let her talk to you like that?”
He shrugged. “Why not?” he asked. “She was right.”
“She most certainly was not right,” Ginny retorted indignantly. “You did the right thing during the war, Malfoy. It wasn’t easy, what you did, turning your back on everything you knew. I’m sure there were repercussions. I’m certainly sorry for that. But you saved lives as well.” She stepped more closely to him and touched his arm lightly. “I’m personally more grateful to you than you’ll ever know.” Her eyes met his and held them, willing her words to undo the visible damage done by Pansy’s acerbic rant.
He said nothing, and they began to walk towards the Apparition point again.
Ginny exhaled heavily. “I still don’t know why you let her talk to you like that. I would have hexed her good and proper several times over.”
Draco smiled softly, watching the ground as he walked. “Ah, with Pansy, you just have to let her go until she runs out of steam. She was almost finished. It’ll be better next time.”
“Next time?” Ginny asked incredulously. “You’re really going back?”
“I don’t have much of a choice, do I?”
Ginny frowned. “There are always other choices, Draco. They just may not be ones that you’re willing to make right now.”
He looked startled and confused, a dead sexy combination in Ginny’s opinion.
“So what choice would you make, were you in my position, Ginny?” he asked, gazing at her intently.
She shook her head. “Oh, no. I couldn’t begin to know how to handle this situation. Lets face it. With my family, I’d never be put in this position, would I?”
He frowned and began walking past her. “No. No, your family never made any bad decisions that culminated in a Ministry inquiry and consequent judgement, you’re right.”
She caught his sleeve. “I meant the money, Mal-Draco. I have no reason to marry for any other reason than love.”
He looked as if the idea had never occurred to him. “Marry for love?” he asked.
She laughed. “Yes, people do it all the time.”
By looking at him, she could tell that he was thinking very hard, his expressions were changing so quickly that she couldn’t keep up with them.
He had just begun to speak when Ginny interrupted him. “You’ll want to go next Tuesday, then? I’ll owl you with the times that are best for me.”
“Yes, of course,” he replied softly, studying her curiously.
“Well, then. Goodbye,” she replied and left him with only the sound of her abrupt Apparition.
Chapter 4 by Persephone33
Ginny sat in her office thinking about Draco Malfoy, the man that she was a liaison for. It’s insane to fancy him, she thought, Insane. I can’t have feelings for him. I’m supposed to escort him. It’s absurd, and it has to end now. Whatever happens in the future, I must be a professional. I must.
Weeks passed, and although Ginny faithfully escorted Draco to Parkinson manor each week, he was making absolutely no headway with his fellow former Slytherin. Pansy was sometimes rude, always cranky, and never let Draco forget how he let her down during the war. To his credit, Draco kept trying with a tenacity that impressed Ginny. However, true to the vow she made to herself, she remained silent when Pansy railed at Draco and always let him determine their departure time.
She did allow herself to chat with him a bit on their way to the Apparition point each Tuesday. Their conversations had gone from forced and stilted to easy and comfortable. They covered old school friends, favourite foods, Quidditch strategies, and even how big they wanted their families to be someday. She learned that he liked playing Chaser more than Seeker; he had a soft spot for banana pudding, and wanted to alternately strangle the life from and buy a pint for her youngest brother, just as she did. They had a lot in common, in addition the fact that he was absolutely gorgeous and also seemed to like her. It’s so hard to be good, she thought, while she was watching him tell a story about Harry, Ron, and a pig outside of Hogsmeade. He’s perfect. The only trouble was that it was her responsibility to supervise his courtship of a convicted war criminal, who, incidentally, hated him. Oh, yeah, there’s that sure, but past that…
Twelve weeks. Twelve Tuesdays. Tuesdays were quickly becoming Ginny’s favourite day of the week. Draco did incredibly romantic things for Pansy, though she ruined them all without fail. He suggested afternoon broomstick rides; she broke the brooms into splinters with her wand. He brought chocolates; she threw the box at his pristine white dress shirt. He brought her flowers; she sprinkled Bulbadox powder on them. He practically begged, pleaded, and cajoled; she was rude, hateful, and consistently unforgiving.
After Pansy had thrown half of her great-great grandmother’s tea set across the room, shattering two of the place settings beyond a Reparo, Draco decided it was time to leave and nodded Ginny towards the door.
Screeches and cries of, “That’s it; retreat, coward!” rang clear behind the closed door.
Ginny shook her head, staring at Draco. “It’s about time. I was wondering if you were waiting on a written invitation to leave. I was considering sending you an owl from across the room.”
He shrugged. “She wasn’t that bad today,” he replied, startling slightly when something crashed against the door behind them.
“Let’s go, Draco. Live to fight another day and all that.”
“She’s crazy, you know.”
Draco shook his head. “No, I think she just really doesn’t like me.”
Later in the week, Ginny went to Parkinson Manor alone. When she was shown into the drawing room, she was met with a different sight than she was used to. Pansy was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor, surrounded by photographs. When Ginny’s eyes found her face, she realised to her horror that the girl had been crying. Pansy saw her, stood quickly, and wiped her eyes. When she spoke, her voice lacked the venom it usually held. “I wasn’t expecting company today, Weasley. What do you want?”
If Ginny had to pick an adjective to describe her demeanour, she’d have chosen ‘resigned.’ “Parkinson? Are you alright?”
Pansy squinted at the redhead. “No, I’m not bloody alright, Weasley,” she answered softly. “I’m crying in front of the enemy,” she said in disgust. “I’ve lost my bloody mind.”
“I’m not the enemy.”
Pansy gave a wry smile. “You’re not? You’re my best friend now? Is that it?”
Ginny shook her head. “No. But I have come to talk to you.”
Pansy motioned to a part of the room not strewn with photos. “Fine. Have a seat. Talk. Tea?”
“No, thank you.”
“Do you mind if I?”
“Of course not.”
Pansy rang for tea and then thumped the elf that brought it in. She glared at him and bent down poking a finger on his chest. “I haven’t forgotten that you let her in without telling me first. We will discuss this later,” she said ominously. The elf poured two cups for the girls then scuttled out quickly. Pansy settled in her seat, peering at Ginny over the edge of her teacup.
“Well, Weasley?” she prompted softly. “I did fairly well in Trelawney’s class, but my inner eye is a little rusty. I’ll need you to actually speak.”
Ginny was disconcerted. She knew exactly how to handle Pansy when she was horrible but was completely out her element with this new, subdued version.
Pansy grew impatient. “Spit it out, Weasley,” she said a little more loudly. “I don’t have all day.”
That’s better, Ginny thought. “I’ve come to talk to you about Malfoy.”
Pansy closed her eyes and placed her teacup on the table. “I really, really don’t want to talk about him, Weasley. Can’t I interest you in a cursed ring? It’s killed seventeen Muggles or something. I’ll go find it for you right now.”
“No, Pansy. This needs to be said.”
The dark-haired girl laughed mirthlessly. “I can see that you are unstoppable. Do carry on.”
Ginny dove in head first. “Why are you making him suffer? You and I both know that you’re going to marry him. This act of loathing him is just making you both miserable.”
Pansy stood and crossed the room, hugging herself. “You have it all figured out, don’t you Weasley? It must be so nice to know everything.”
Ginny frowned and decided tea wasn’t such a bad idea. “I don’t pretend to know everything,” she said, taking a cup.
“Please. If you were any smugger you’d be Granger.” She turned to face her. “Let me tell you a little something you don’t know. I’ve been reminiscing as of late, looking back on snaps from Hogwarts. I loved him then, did you know that? I really did.” She bent down and picked up one of the photos and handed it to Ginny.
The younger Pansy and Draco were sitting in the Great Hall, photo Pansy giggling and kissing his cheek and looking at him adoringly, while photo Draco rolled his eyes and scooted away.
“But he didn’t love me.” She smiled sadly. “He didn’t even like me. He still doesn’t. I remind him of all the bad things in life. The things he managed to be smart enough to escape. I see a piece of his soul die every time he comes through that door, and yet he persists. I’ve done everything I can to repel him. I’ve taken nastiness to an entirely new level, and still, every week, I have to watch him come in here and humble himself before me. I make him miserable,” she continued, “and I refuse to watch him die on the inside little by little just to make myself happy. I won’t do it. I can’t. I love him too much.”
Ginny continued to drink her tea in silence, listening to the other woman talk.
Pansy sat down, found Ginny’s eyes, and smiled. “I know this is terribly uncharacteristic of me, but he’s very persistent, and so are you. You make stubbornness into an art form. I have a request, Weasley. Stop bringing him here. Make him find someone else.”
“I can’t. It’s my job.” Ginny finished her tea and put it on the table.
“You don’t care if I destroy him? You want him to be miserable?”
“No,” she replied, “of course I want Draco to be happy, but--”
Pansy stopped her. “Draco? You call him Draco? Oh, I see. Draco. You two have become chummy then, eh?”
Ginny flushed scarlet. “No! It’s not like that.”
Pansy nodded. “Alright.” She moved to Ginny’s chair and picked up her empty teacup, peering into the depths to inspect the dregs. She smiled sadly. “Oh, Ginny, I think it’s exactly like that.”
A few days later, Draco and Ginny exited the Parkinson manor again after being witness to another massive fit from Pansy. Up to this point, Ginny had stood her ground at not interfering. But after receiving several covert, pleading looks from Pansy, Ginny decided that perhaps she would try to help the girl.
“Draco?” Ginny asked. “It’s been three months. If she doesn’t like you by now, it’s kind of unlikely that she won’t like you in the future. I’m pretty sure that today’s tea set was Limoges.”
Draco smiled. “Straight from Louis XVI, I believe.”
“You’re joking. Give it up, Draco.”
He rounded on her, suddenly serious. “This is my life, Ginny, don’t you see? This is the only life I know! How do you think ‘Draco Malfoy, former convict’ would get along without money? Do you seriously think that the Ministry would hire me? Do I actually have marketable skills? No. I know society. I know deceit. I know which one is the fish fork and which one is the salad fork, but I don’t know how to live without money. I think I deserve to have my house and my mother’s belongings back. I made my amends for the horrible things that I did, and now I’m trying to follow the blasted Ministry’s guidelines for getting my old life back and marrying Pansy Parkinson is my last hope.”
“But you haven’t even tried any other girls!”
“Yes, I have. At every turn, there’s been a deep and resounding no. No one wants me. No one.” He shrugged, calming a bit. “Pansy’s sure to wear down eventually. Every time she’s ever been put out with me, it’s only ever taken time to get back into her good graces.”
Ginny searched frantically for a name he was sure to have overlooked. “You can’t have tried everyone. What about Marietta Edgecomb?”
“Despite the fact that I can’t look directly at her face without retching, she said no.”
“Rivals Millicent Bulstrode in weight class, has a face made for the Wizarding Wireless, and yet she turned me down flat.”
“Millicent, as well, then?”
“She threatened to kick my arse if I so much as mentioned it again, and I have a healthy respect for her right hook. And Granger is hot for Blaise. Potter already suggested it. Believe me, I’ve exhausted every option.”
“Said hell, no.”
He laughed. “Said she wouldn’t have me shoved up her--”
“What about me?” Ginny interrupted.
He stilled at the interruption, smiling and frowning at the same time. “You? You wouldn’t say no, Ginny? You’d endure the stares of people that’ll never see me as anything but a Death Eater? You could put up with people talking behind your back?” The smile left his face suddenly, leaving only a scowl. “Or is it the money? Tired of being poor, Ginny? Exactly how far would you go for a nice set of dress robes and a fancy house?”
He was silenced by a stinging slap across his cheek. “How dare you?” Ginny cried, unable to stop the tears that filled her eyes. “How dare you say that to me?” She squared her shoulders and looked him in the eye. “Good luck, Mr. Malfoy, with your little project here. Someone else will be handling your case from now on. Goodbye.”
And she was gone.
Draco was left alone at the Apparition point. The wind whipped his hair into his face, and a sudden realisation dawned on him.
What have I done? he thought. Had she been serious? He sighed. Merlin, I’m a gigantic arse. I’ll fix this. I have to. He went off to find Ginny, and hopefully to make things right.
Pansy's not all bad, huh? I happen to have a very soft spot for the old girl.
Please review, if you are inclined to do so.
Chapter 5 by Persephone33
Thaks to Freedachickens, for the quick beta.
Draco arrived at the Ministry the next Tuesday, flowers in hand, ready to apologize to the redhead. He’d had a week to think it over, and he realized that the answer to all of his problems had been staring him in the face for almost four months. She’d kept him company, nursed his wounds when Pansy had gotten violent, laughed at his jokes, given him advice when he’d asked and sometimes when he hadn’t, and, in the end, he’d treated her no better than the dirt beneath his feet. But, if there was one thing he’d learned in the past year, it was how to apologize. He was nearly a professional.
When he opened the door to her office, he was met with the sight of an entirely different redhead than the one he’d anticipated.
Ron Weasley sat behind his sister’s desk, looking far less jovial than usual. “How’s probation?” he asked.
“Longer than I expected.”
Ron nodded. “I would’ve thought you’d close the deal by now.”
Draco looked bored. “Yes, well, it’s been a little trickier than I imagined.”
“Right. Well, come on Casanova, bring your flowers. Let’s go try to woo Parkinson with our charm.”
“Yeah,” Ron replied, “Ginny’s sick or something. She asked me to fill in for her. That’s alright, yeah?” he asked.
Draco nodded distractedly. “Yeah.”
Ron was much less chatty than Ginny usually was; in fact, he didn’t say more than a few words to Draco the whole trip. He said nothing when they reached the grounds and stayed uncharacteristically quiet as the house elf showed them into the solarium.
“You’ve quite a collection of those, Draco,” Pansy said from her seat by the window. “You have more Weasleys than I have complete tea sets.”
Draco approached her and gave her the flowers he’d intended for Ginny. “Have you two ever formally met? Pansy Parkinson, Ron Weasley.”
Draco glanced at Ron and was amazed to discover that the other man was blushing furiously. Pansy placed the flowers on the table beside her and extended her hand to the other man. Kissing it, Ron murmured, “Charmed.”
Draco was shocked again when Pansy replied, “Oh, absolutely.”
The blond man stood, mouth agape at the other two people in the room. You’ve got to be bloody kidding me, he thought. I’ve been trying to get her to smile for four months, and Ron Weasley does it with, ‘Charmed’.”
Pansy’s attention shifted to Draco, and immediately her expression changed to distaste. “Close your mouth, Draco. It’s unbecoming.” Ron released her hand, and she gestured to the chairs across from where she’d been sitting. “Please sit, gentlemen. Tea?”
Ron nodded politely. “Yes, please.” He shot Draco, who was still too stunned at Pansy’s behaviour to speak, an incredulous look. “Draco, mate? Tea?”
Draco stared at Pansy, then Ron. “If she promises not to throw it at my head, then yeah, okay.”
Ron chuckled. “For someone who’s always droning on and on about manners and the like, that was a little lacking.” He turned to Pansy. “Sometimes, beautiful women make a bloke nervous,” he said with a wink.
Pansy giggled. Draco closed his eyes. He was developing a headache.
“And where is my usual liaison, Mr. Weasley?”
“Please, call me Ron.”
Draco rolled his eyes.
Pansy smiled softly and nodded. “Ron, then. Where is Ginny?”
Ron frowned. “She sent me an owl that she was ill, today.”
Pansy’s expression mirrored Ron’s, and she glanced briefly at Draco. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
An elf brought in the tea service. Pansy poured as they sat in silence, with Ron nudging Draco with his foot and nodding his head in Pansy’s direction.
Finally, Ron broke the silence.
“The tea is fantastic.”
Pansy smiled at him. Draco rolled his eyes again.
“You’ve a beautiful home.”
“Thank you,” she replied.
“Yes,” Draco interjected. “She has a slew of servants to clean up the messes she makes when she has her tantrums. No broken crockery today, I see,” he said peevishly.
She gazed at him steadily. “The day is still young, Draco,” she replied placidly.
Ron looked as Draco as if he were an idiot. “Must be nice to have help, though.”
Pansy nodded. “Aside from your sister,” she said in a sweet tone, “and him,” she spat, “the elves are my only company.”
“That’s criminal!” Ron exclaimed. “A gorgeous creature like you? You must have hundreds of blokes queuing up at the door.”
At his remark, Pansy blushed. Draco thought he might be sick. Pansy shook her head. “No, no one comes to see me much. Only people on Department of Mysteries business.”
Ron nodded sagely. “Great work you’ve done there. We really appreciate you at the Ministry.”
Passing him a platter of pastries, she flashed him a brilliant smile. “It’s so nice of you to say that. It began as reparation for war, of course,” she said, ducking her head demurely, “but it’s become a cause I really believe in.”
Ron accepted a scone and put a dollop of jam and cream on the plate.
At that, Draco had had enough. “Are you bloody kidding me? Who are you?” he asked Pansy. “Where’s the harpy who’s been throwing china at my head like a Bludger? What is this? I can’t believe that you’re being nice to him, Pansy!” he shouted, gesturing wildly at Ron.
Ron stood toe to toe with Draco, squaring his shoulders. “Maybe she’s being civil to me because I’m not acting like a complete arse, Malfoy,” he said firmly.
Pansy shook her head. “Tsk, Draco. Temper, temper. I don’t know why he gets like this,” she said, moving to Ron in mild exasperation, laying a hand on Ron’s arm.
Ron guided Pansy to the couch and sat next to her, patting her hand. “I’m sure he’s just having a bad day. Perhaps we should go.”
Pansy’s expression was sorrowful. “Of course. I understand.” She shot Draco a glare while speaking to Ron. “It’s been a lovely afternoon. Thank you so much for coming.” She placed her hand in the crook of Ron’s arm as she walked with him to the door, Draco following sullenly behind.
The elf brought the men their coats, and Pansy asked Ron sweetly, “Would you mind terribly if I spoke to Draco alone for a moment?”
Ron gave Draco a hard look, one than plainly said, ‘Don’t be an arse,’ and exited through the large double entry doors and out onto the stone steps, crossed his arms, and waited.
Inside, Draco rounded on Pansy. “What he hell?” he asked, exasperated. “Are you mental?”
She returned his glare with a quizzical look and then glanced at the closed door. “Draco, perhaps you aren’t the only one who finds a Weasley attractive, hm?”
Draco gaped, stunned at her proclamation. “What d’you mean?”
Pansy stepped closer to him and poked her finger into his chest. “Listen, you bastard! I’ve tried in every way I know how, to tell you that this,” she said, indicating the space between them, “isn’t working. The answer, you gigantic idiot, has been escorting you here for weeks.”
Draco searched her face. “And you’d be okay with that, Pans?”
The dark haired witch rolled her eyes. “Are you really as dense as you pretend to be?”
Draco ran a hand through his hair. “I might be. I know I have no right, but I think I may have messed that up. Ginny’s not my liaison, anymore. She quit.”
Pansy crossed her arms and began pacing. “What. Did. You. Do. Draco?”
Draco exhaled heavily. “I unloaded on her; it was pretty unfair of me, I guess. I went to her office today to apologize to her. I even brought her flowers.”
Pansy’s eyebrow nearly reached her hairline. “What? The ones you brought me, then?”
Draco looked a bit sheepish. “Yeah. Sorry about that.”
She pursed her lips. “Can’t be helped that you’re a bastard right now. We’ve more important things to worry about. Ginny’s our problem.”
Draco hung his head. “Ginny’s not the problem, I am.”
Pansy squinted at him and shoved him a little. “Who are you? You need to dig down deep and find the real Draco Malfoy and tell him to show the hell up. Now, do I have your attention?
“Good. Then here’s what you’re going to do…”
Over the next week, a flurry of owls was sent.
Feeling better? Although, I suspect that your health had nothing to do with your inability to escort the ferret the other day. Man up, Weasley. You’ve a job to do.
Your Loving Brother,
Thank you so much for the lovely tea of yesterday. It isn’t often that I get to be in the company of a beautiful woman in the course of my job.
Have you dropped me, then? Two years as a liaison and you’re scared off by a thoughtless, ill-tempered, stupid blond man? I’d thought you Gryffs were stronger than that. I’ve sent several owls and even some flowers. Forgive me, huh?
Your sister hasn’t responded to any of my owls. I’ll need another escort Tuesday. Up for it?
Go and visit the lovely Miss Parkinson and bill it to company time? Count me in.
Whatever might Miss Parkinson have up her sleeve? *snicker*
Chapter 6 by Persephone33
Yeah, this took forever. I'm the worst updater ever to update. Apologies all around.
Ginny sat in Pansy Parkinson’s sitting room, teacup in hand, eyeing the other woman warily.
Pansy raised an eyebrow. “Do stop looking at me as if I were going to spontaneously bite you, Ginny.”
“That!” Ginny exclaimed. “That right there. It’s unnerving when you’re nice."
Pansy gazed at Ginny blandly. “Yes, well, one does like to try something new every now and again. I’m giving ‘civil to the working class’ a go. Do let me know how I’m progressing, won’t you?” she asked, sipping demurely from her teacup.
Ginny met her gaze. “I find it unnerving.”
Pansy sighed. “Yes, well, I’ve nothing if not tenacity. I will endeavor to try harder.”
There was silence, then, “You’ve gone mad, haven’t you?”
Pansy sat her teacup down and tossed her hair behind her shoulder. After clearing her throat very delicately, she said, “I find that I’ve noticed the absence of your presence in the past few weeks.”
Ginny grinned. “Oh, Pansy, don’t be afraid to say it. You’ve missed me.”
“I wouldn’t go quite that far,” the other woman assured her. “As I’m sure that you’re doubtless aware, Draco has had another auror escort him here for the past two weeks."
Ginny chuckled. “Oh, dear. I do hope Ron has behaved himself.” She’d been so desperate to get out of the responsibilities of that part of her job that she hadn’t given any thought to the fact that there were some times that her brother forgot to use the manners that Molly Weasley had instilled in him.
“Your brother,” Pansy sighed, “is wonderful.” She leaned back in her chair with a contented expression on her face. “His letters are charming.”
Ginny was dumbfounded. “He’s written you letters,” she stated, in disbelief.
Pansy’s lips twisted into a smile. “He has.”
“I’m at a loss.”
Pansy’s eyebrow raised again. “Color me unsurprised.”
“Now there’s the Pansy I recognize,” Ginny said with a chuckle.
The brunette nodded. “Right. You bring it out in me; what can I say? Anyhow,” she continued seamlessly, “my point was that your brother has been escorting Draco here and you have not.”
“Yes,” Ginny uttered, unfazed.
“Let me guess,” Pansy said, putting a finger to her lips. “Draco was an arse?”
Ginny stayed silent; she merely sipped from her cup and picked an invisible piece of lint from her robes.
Pansy rose and began to pace, a frustrated expression on her pretty face. “First and foremost, before we can even begin to sort any of this out, you will have to admit that you feel something for him.”
“Contempt,” Ginny answered, looking out the window and avoiding Pansy’s gaze. “Scorn. Nausea, on occasion.”
“Stop,” Pansy commanded. “These are clearly untruths.”
“Are you calling me a liar?”
“Well, as I don’t have any sort of speech impediment, I suppose that I am,” Pansy shot back. “If the term fits,” she said with a wave of her hand.
Ginny put down her teacup and exhaled heavily, frowning. She fought internally for a moment before blurting, “He’s absolutely maddening!”
A ghost of a smile appeared on Pansy’s lips. “Yes,” she said simply. “I know.”
“He’s completely self-centered, focused solely on his own needs.”
“Mm,” Pansy replied.
"He’s hurtful and he says thoughtless things.”
“Yes, I recall,” Pansy murmured. “A real bastard.”
“But,” Ginny continued, frowning, “he’s also really intelligent, you know? And a good conversationalist. He makes me laugh without really even trying.”
“Me, too,” Pansy agreed.
“And then there’s the fact that he’s grown up rather nicely,” Ginny said, her words running over each other, struggling to get out. “I mean, he’s sort of beautiful, right?”
Pansy giggled. “He does have a nice arse, doesn’t he?”
Ginny grinned. “Bloody fantastic. And I’m a little in love with his shoulders.” After it had sunk in just what she confided to Pansy Parkinson, Ginny’s expression went from giddy to horrified in an instant. She couldn’t seem to stop what came out of her mouth at this point, but she was fairly certain that she didn’t need to sit and have a cup of tea and a nice chat about her crush on Draco Malfoy with Pansy Parkinson, of all people.
Ginny looked down at her cup and back up at the other smirking witch. “What have you done?” she asked, knowing that something wasn’t right. Something was not right at all.
Pansy pointed her wand at Ginny, and before Ginny could react, ropes had twined out of the end of Pansy’s wand and bound Ginny to her chair. “Calm yourself. It’s just a little Veritaserum. It won’t kill you.”
Ginny’s voice was deadly. “Untie me.”
“No,” came the familiar voice from the doorway. Ginny looked up to find the face of her brother glowering at her with a bloodied lip and a bound, murderous looking Draco Malfoy in tow.
Pansy leapt up and moved to Ron’s side. “Oh, darling! What happened?” she asked, her concern evident.
“Darling?” Draco inquired, his tone incredulous as he looked from Pansy up to Ron and back again. “Darling? When the hell did that happen?”
Pansy ignored Draco, gingerly placing her hand on Ron’s cheek. The simple action made the redheaded man blush and give her a smile.
“He was a little more difficult to persuade than I thought he’d be,” Ron confessed.
“Yes, well,” Pansy said, giving a delicate little cough. “I don’t like to say ‘I told you so'…”
“Pansy, that’s at the very tip top of the list of your very favorite things on the planet to say,” Draco spat darkly. “Don’t start off your little fledgling relationship with untruths.”
“I like telling you ‘I told you so,’” Pansy continued, poking him savagely in the chest. “But I like this one.” She turned back to Ron and smiled.
Draco looked away. “I’m going to be sick.”
From across the room, Ginny cleared her throat. “I might lose my patience soon, Ronald,” she hissed, glaring at her brother.
“Right,” Ron responded, tearing his gaze away from Pansy long enough to shoot Ginny an apologetic expression. “Sorry about the extreme tactics, Gin, but Pans said it was the only way.” He smiled down at Pansy again, putting an arm around her tiny waist.
“Pans?” Draco asked, nearly shrieking. “You tell me that’s not a nickname. Tell me that right now, or I swear I’ll be sick all over your antique, family heirloom, handwoven Turkish rug.”
“Do shut up, Draco,” Pansy said evenly, not even bothering to look in his direction. “You see, Ginny,” Pansy offered, “Both of you are being stupid about the other, so I convinced your brother you needed a nudge in the right direction.”
“No need to ask how she managed that,” Draco sneered in disgust.
Pansy placed a gentle restraining hand on Ron’s chest and he relaxed from the advance he’d started in Draco’s direction. “Don’t be crass, Draco darling,” Pansy warned. “The methods to get you here were undoubtedly mine, but we both agreed that the two of you needed this.”
Pointing her wand in Draco’s direction, she murmured a spell to move him across the room and secure him to the chair across from Ginny. “A dose each of Veritaserum and a nice, strong binding spell.” She sighed happily. “Talk to each other,” she commanded.
Ron nudged her, and she rolled her eyes and sighed. “Please,” she relented, raising an eyebrow.
“Because you’re driving the rest of us mad,” Ron added, giving Pansy an approving gaze.
“True. Very true,” Pansy agreed. She kissed Ron lightly on the mouth, a soft smile on her lips. “Shall we go?”
Ron returned her smile, blushing to the roots of his hair. “Yes. Privacy for these two.”
“And for us,” they heard Pansy giggle as the two left the room.
There was an uncomfortable silence for a few moments as Draco and Ginny regarded one another warily, Draco with open curiosity and Ginny with fleeting glances.
“What happened between those two?” Draco asked, finally breaking the silence.
“Dunno,” Ginny answered. “Mad, eh?”
Before she could think to stop herself, Ginny blurted, “So apparently she’s still set on not marrying you.” Gritting her teeth against the potion, she blushed and looked down at her knees, embarrassed.
“You’re beautiful when you blush.”
She looked back up to see Draco with a panic stricken expression at the admission he’d made, and she couldn’t help a chuckle. “Thanks.”
Another horrified expression. “It’s that horrible speaking the truth, eh?" Ginny asked, tossing her hair behind her shoulder.
“Different,” he admitted. “Not altogether unpleasant.” His eyes widened as he looked at her, clearly not believing what he was admitting. “So what about you?” he queried. “Why did you leave me outside this wretched house the last time we met?”
“You insulted me,” she answered honestly.
“How?” he asked. “How was I to know that you fancied me? I’m not a seer!”
“But you are an arse,” Ginny accused.
“Yet you fancy me,” Draco said confidently.
“Yes,” Ginny bit out. She frowned. “But I don’t want to be your second choice. I don’t want to be the one you choose only after Pansy Parkinson shoots you down.”
“I never wanted Pansy,” he said defensively.
“No, you want your money,” she filled in.
“Yes, he agreed readily. “I mean no. I mean I was simply doing what the courts ordered me to do.”
“Even though there was another suitable pureblood right in front of you?”
“I didn’t think you’d ever have me!” Draco shouted.
“Well, I would have,” she informed him. “But you were too up yourself to even consider it.”
“I was not up myself!” he protested. “You were all ‘ministry employee!’ Professional, cordial and aloof.”
“Was I?” she asked, trying to remember. “Really? I thought we got on well. I guess I realized that you were funny and smart and started to resent you for selling yourself out to Parkinson,” she confessed.
“She’s not all bad,” he said, his gaze dropping.
“What?” she asked, dumbfounded. Even after all that she’d put him through, even under the Veritaseum, he was still defending her.
“Do you love her?” Ginny blurted, cursing the clear, tasteless potion and the witch that had slipped it in her tea.
“No!” he all but shouted. “I mean, I might’ve once, when we were young. But now? No. No, I don’t. I think I could love you, though.” At once, his ropes dissolved and he was free. He smiled and stood, and leaned down on the arms of Ginny’s chair.
Ginny looked up at just how close he was. It wasn’t a poetic declaration, but Draco wasn’t necessarily a poetic sort of bloke. Frowning, she replied, “I don’t want to marry you just so you can get at the gold in your Gringotts vault. When I marry, I want it to be because I’m in love and I can’t live without my husband, that we‘re miserable apart.”
“Do you love me?” he asked.
For the hundredth time, Ginny cursed the Veritaserum. “Yes,” she answered truthfully.
“And are you miserable without me?”
“A bit, yeah,” she bit out.
"Just a bit?"
"Don't push me, Malfoy," she said warningly, a smile on her lips. "There's no telling what I might do."
"No. he said, loosening her bindings. "But I intend to find out."
There's just the epilogue left! :D
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.