Wishes For Your Soul by Lirie Halliwell
Past Featured StorySummary: The idea of "renting" her soul out to anyone - let alone a former Slytherin nemesis - did not sit well with Ginny Weasley. But circumstances always tend to go askew and when she finds herself in a dire position, Ginny has no choice but to relent, accepting the deal and the seven wishes offered as payment.
Categories: Long and Completed Characters: Blaise Zabini (boy), Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood
Compliant with: All but epilogue
Era: Future AU
Genres: Humor, Romance
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes Word count: 31950 Read: 39560 Published: Jun 13, 2008 Updated: Jul 22, 2008
Story Notes:
Great kudos and fluffy kitten to jandjsalmon for the betaing. Thank you, woman ^_^

1. *** first wish *** by Lirie Halliwell

2. *** second wish *** by Lirie Halliwell

3. *** third wish *** by Lirie Halliwell

4. *** fourth wish *** by Lirie Halliwell

5. *** fifth wish *** by Lirie Halliwell

6. *** sixth wish *** by Lirie Halliwell

7. *** seventh wish *** by Lirie Halliwell

*** first wish *** by Lirie Halliwell
Author's Notes:
This is the first out of seven installments of this story. The second scene might appear slightly on the darker side, but the entire story is a humor romance.
*** first wish ***





“So, do we have ourselves a deal, little girl?”

Clenching her jaws, Ginny stared long and hard at the inquiring former Slytherin before her. “No, Malfoy, I am not selling my soul to you, no matter how much you offer.”

“Oh, come off it, Ginevra! It’s not like I’m asking to forfeit the damn thing for good. I’m just asking you to lease it, temporarily, for the sake of progress. And it’s not like you’ll be doing it for free. I think seven wishes are more than enough to cover the inconvenience.”

“Inconvenience?” Again she glanced up from the letter she had been writing. “You want to cut out a chunk of my soul, Malfoy. I think it would be a bit more than ‘a little inconvenient’ for my person.”

“Please! You don’t even use it,” Draco scoffed dismissively. “I bet a Galleon you can’t even tell me where exactly on your person it’s located.”

“Maybe you have no need for a soul in your everyday existence, but I sure as hell do!” Ginny barked, still incredulous that the bastard had brought up the issue. As if human souls were a matter of such meager importance that they could be used as some second-hand merchandise for the convenience of mad magical experimentalists.

“Honestly, Weasley, I give you my utmost sincerest promise, I would even swear it on the Malfoy Code, that whatever I take of your soul shall promptly be replaced where it belongs as soon as I am done using it,” he said in his most faithful imitation of truthfulness. “I’ll even compensate you if there was something amiss.”

“Something amiss? Something amiss? You plan on having ‘something amiss’ while playing around with a chunk of my soul? And then you wonder at the reason the majority of St. Mungo’s Head Healers scamper away when you pass them in the halls?”

“That is just a coincidence,” Draco injected almost defensively. “Each and every time.”

“Oh?” Ginny arched a brow, stifling a smirk. She knew how secretly sensitive Draco was about the rumors of his mental health, all with the abundant familial history. Still, if he had the audacity to bother her with such things, she would take pleasure in needling him. “Is it a coincidence also that Healer Brombey was admitted as a patient in his own ward two hours after his last session with you?”

“Healer Brombey was a weak and lonely man,” Draco intoned placidly, repeating the same words he used relentlessly when countered with accusations. “His mind was never completely stable and the breakdown was bound to happen sooner or later. I had neither hand nor influence in his situation.”

“Whatever helps you sleep at night, Malfoy,” she spoke with careful nonchalance, returning to her letter, leaving enough lingering suspicion in the air to unsettle the Slytherin prat.

“In any case,” Draco stressed pointedly, letting her know he knew very well what she was trying to do. “We are diverting from the subject.”

“We didn’t have a subject,” Ginny blurted disinterestedly, not tearing her eyes from the parchment. “It was only you talking and me trying to ignore the incessant babble.”

“No, we did have a subject, Ginevra. Subject of you giving me your soul. So, you think Thursday would be convenient for you?” he asked plainly, summoning a small dragon-hide clad organizer with the help of his wand and beginning to flick through the pages. “I have Wednesday all filled up, but I think I could move some things around this Friday if it’s better for you.”

Ginny sighed heavily, placed down her quill and took off her reading glasses, staring at Draco for a long moment before speaking again. “Malfoy, you are delusional and compulsive and I pity your house elves for how anal you must be as well.”

“You can’t prove anything,” he reminded her with a smile. “Neither can my father’s retainers and so I remain free. Now, about that soul of yours—“

“Malfoy, I am not giving you my soul and that is it! Stop it, already!”

“Not ‘giving’, woman, ‘renting’. Seven wishes are never to be trifled with.”

“I am a witch, Malfoy, quite a capable one at that. I have a profession I enjoy and a family that loves me. What can you possibly offer me that I cannot get myself?” she demanded half-heartedly, growing tired under Draco’s continuing assaults and the spurring headache.

“I am a Malfoy, a Slytherin and quite wealthy. A lot, Ginevra, believe me. A lot.”

“Oh bollocks, Ferret, you can’t buy happiness,” she scoffed, rolling her eyes at his clichéd beliefs. “Didn’t you learn anything from those Disney movies they showed us in Muggle Studies?”

“They were made by Muggles, Weasley. I obviously slept through them.”

“Walt was a wizard, you dimwit. And a Slytherin at that. How the hell you got a full mark on your NEWTs I shall never understand.”

“Yes, yes, all right. But think about it, Ginevra. Seven wishes. Anything you want in the entire world could be yours – that little white cottage in the countryside to settle down in, some of the rarest potion ingredients for your pharmacy to make the healing potions for those poor sick children in St. Mungo’s, trips around the world to learn of other sorts of magic there are out there, all to better yourself and help you better the world…”

He was speaking softly, alluringly, each promise forming itself from the swirling fog that surreptitiously crept out of the tip of his wand and clouded her mind. His eyes were imploring, piercing and ostensibly sincere; his voice open, even and so appealing. He was speaking to her of things she had been dreaming of, secretly and not so secretly, but it was all becoming real before her eyes as he flicked his wand. The fog from the visions before her was softening her mind, because she found herself wondering how badly she needed her soul anyway, and if she couldn’t spare it for a few days. Eyes glazed, she gulped and glanced at her charmer, realizing she was looking into a snake’s eyes, yet nonetheless being unable to withstand the sweetest poison of temptation.

“No, I don’t think—“ But even to herself she didn’t sound that convinced anymore.

“Ginevra, I could even help you help yourself,” he whispered eagerly, feeling her loosening countenance. “Not all the wishes must be so humane. No one should judge you if you ask for recognition in yourself and your work, some personal vendettas dealt with and even… even to draw the attention of some of the more eligible bachelors in our society.”

Here the luring trill of the bewitching viper gave a crooked note and the whole song became as heinous to the ear as the sight of the snake to the eye. Ginny snapped out of the stupor and pierced the serpent with a deathly glare that would have caused a lesser man to quiver and back away, at the very least.

Draco mentally kicked himself. He should’ve known who he was dealing with. He should have known that suggesting something less than complete altruism, complete personal sacrifice for the sake of ‘Greater Good’, let alone something as outrageous and sinister as a little bit of selfishness, would yank the redhead back to the side of reason. He really had his own stupidity to blame.

“Why did you come to bother me with this nonsense, anyway?” she snapped more irritably than before, putting on her fine-rimmed glasses and averting her attention to the letter on the desk, the still swirling pink fog that desperately attempted to placate her again, ignored like a lost and unwanted puppy. “Go buy something shiny for one of your playthings and take their soul, I’m sure they wouldn’t even notice it is gone.”

“Ginevra, I am experimenting with Unicorn magic,” he breathed exasperatedly, as if the sole act of having to explain himself seemed ridiculous. “Do you really think it would really weave placidly with the essence of an…” He smirked here, his features curving into an almost inappropriately suggestive expression. “… Experienced woman.”

The moment comprehension hit her, Ginny’s cheeks reddened. The blush spread furiously, down her neck and up to the tips of her ears, while her hazel eyes flashed red and the quill with which she’d been writing, all the while trying to ignore her conversant, snapped with an echo.

The painfully obvious manifestation of Ginny’s embarrassment hardly fazed Draco, and his smile only broadened. Oh, he knew very well that the dangerously thin ice he had been traipsing on a moment ago was instantly vaporized by the boiling dark waters beneath the surface, but that was just part of the fun of teasing a sleeping dragon. He absolutely ridiculously delighted in the way she burst out, sweeping everything on her path out of the way with the ferociousness of her temper. It made him feel warm and fuzzy for some odd undecipherable reason that his Head Healers found alarming.

When Ginny finally managed to speak, her voice was quiet and velvety, albeit a bit strained. “Malfoy, try to imagine all the colorful ways I can cause irreversible damage to your scrawny body. And now try to calculate the exact amount of time it will take me to reach my wand. In case you’re having trouble with your calculus, you have exactly three seconds to get the hell out of my office before my blood begins to boil.”

“Come now, Ginevra,” he purred, not even thinking of taking cover. “I meant nothing hurtful by my words. I simply meant that the Unicorn magic I dabble with now, would work better with the pure—“

“One,” Ginny whispered, closing her eyes.

“—chaste –“

“Two.”

“—virginal magic such as yours,” Draco finished with a soothing tone that was designed years ago especially to push the seething redhead over the brim.

“Three.”

******


When Draco Malfoy awoke three weeks later in a private room in St. Mungo’s Janus Thickey ward, a tiny voice at the back of his throbbing head tentatively suggested that his conversation with the youngest member of the Weasley clan had not gone as well as one might have hoped for. Not only did he not acquire the needed agreement of said redhead to volunteer her soul for the sake of his experiments, but apparently he had managed to anger her enough for her to send him to hospital in a vegetative state for an absurdly long period of time.

Something told him he might have slightly miscalculated his approach.

It took him a full week to regain the motoric abilities that had dwindled in his dormant state; another few days to convince the healers against their better judgment that he was well enough to be released; seventy-two hours to placate his frantically worried mother that indeed he did not suffer from any lasting side effects; four hours to weasel, blackmail, threaten and basically bully the meek Ministry official into allowing him to visit his attacker on one of the restricted lower floors of the Ministry, which usually contained the unstable criminals before their trial; and eventually, five seconds to feel the razor-sharp tendril of Ginny’s wandless magic press stoically to the thin expanse of pallid skin that covered his jugular vein.

“Hello, Malfoy,” murmured the little shadow of a girl sitting across the table. “You’re not dead.”

“You sound almost happy,” he remarked lightheartedly, pressing down the nervousness that the cool feeling of an invisible knife summoned in him. “But in all honestly, Weasley, you look like shite.”

“I’ve spent four weeks in a detention cell,” she informed him plaintively. “They want to try me for attempted murder.” Pausing, Ginny evened him with an unnervingly boring gaze. “Malfoy, get me out of here, get me out of here five minutes ago.”

“Weasley, unfortunately, you overestimate my abilities. They’ve detained you and taken your wand; they obviously think you are dangerous to the public,” he spoke his mind, feeling the slight stress of the magical razor increase. “Now, I’ll obviously do whatever I can to lessen the charges, at the very least, but you have to understand that there’s a limit to my influence. Meanwhile take a deep breath and, please, pull away your magic. It is quite unnerving to talk with a knife pressing against my throat,” he stated archly, sensing the pressure on his skin dissipate. “Glad to see you’ve been practicing your wandless magic.”

“Had a lot of free time on my hands,” Ginny responded calmly, staring at him through a curtain of soiled hair. “They refused to give me books, seeing as they found parchments imbedded in your flesh three inches deep.”

Draco vaguely remembered something about thin long cuts on the side of his stomach and made a mental note to research manipulation of parchment density thoroughly in the future. Meanwhile, he found himself, as always, immensely unnerved by the fact that little Ginny Weasley wielded such magic that could knock a grown man out of this world and halfway to the next one when mightily incensed. He couldn’t help it – he smirked.

“Who taught you this magic, little girl? Some idiot, no doubt, if they hadn’t thought of teaching you how to control it as well,” he added offhandedly, boring his stare into the blearily flickering flames in the redhead’s eyes. “Of course, you should’ve thought about it yourself years ago. You cannot walk around with such force bottled inside of you, with your temper running wild. So, who was it? It wasn’t Potter, the pillock could barely transform a porcupine into a pin-cushion. Not the Mudblood either, she would never teach anything harmful, let alone such intense detrimental magic. You know, you’ll find it funny, really, but it even had slight traces of some of the more common Dar—“

Here he bit his tongue, breath suddenly catching in his throat as the thought formed itself more solidly in his mind. The outskirts of his vision blurred and the only thing he was able to focus on was the defiant glare of a little redheaded girl, who looked too dirty and too angry to be considered a respectable member of the society. A respectable member of the society that she has been up until five weeks ago when he approached her with a seemingly harmless proposition and somehow brought back up some hibernating magic, some unwelcomed memories perhaps, as well.

“Ginny—“

“Get me out of here,” she bit out, desperation adorning the anger in her voice. “I hate being locked up.”

He stared at her long and hard, his eyes slightly widened as all the possibilities of her inner turmoil rushed through his head as a forceful, overwhelming torrent. Oh, how much she must have suffered then, in the dark, miles beneath the ground, alone in a locked chamber with a snake. Oh, how much she must have hated herself now, to still be having traces of that still in her.

His stomach churned, lurching at the cruelty, and the unfairness, at the beauty of the situation. And there was always beauty in every situation, he reminded himself. As long as there is a way to use the situation in one’s favor, there is always beauty in it, there is always profit.

He could help her, he knew it. One must fight fire with fire, and this kind of fire Draco was more than enough equipped to fight. He could help her, really. Rid the hazel eyes of the dark smudges, bring back the rouge to her cheeks, wipe the mind and heart clean of any lingering black shadows. Of course he could, and if he couldn’t, he could easily find someone who could do a better job, anyway. He could reach out, do her a favor, erase the terror he accidentally brought back into her life. And he would. He definitely would help this tortured girl, whose pain was partially by his fault, partially by his father’s.

He would just add a tiny clause to his offer.

“Ginny,” he spoke softly, cold tendrils of excitement struggling to be contained beneath his veneer. He couldn’t let her sense his glee at this opportunity to have his way after all. He mustn’t look all too sympathetic, and so his expression remained as aloof as he could afford it to be without looking arrogant. “I could help you.”

Her eye narrowed, but a moment later she breathed deeply and rolled her eyes, refusing to take him seriously. “Just get me out of here, Malfoy. That’s all the help I want from you. It’s your fault I’m here, so you fix this mess.”

“Ginevra, I could take away…” For a moment he wondered if he wasn’t risking another three weeks at the hospital. Still, he would not be cowered by fear. “I could make sure whatever… dark was left in you be cleansed.”

“Dumbledore himself couldn’t disentangle the strands. You think you could?” she asked and there was obvious scorn in her voice as she laughed him off.

He knew he was twisted and distorted, but the cruelty in her tone made her all the more beautiful. “He was far from being the strongest cleanser in our midst.”

“You think you’re stronger than Dumbledore? Does me ridiculing you bring some sort of sick pleasure to you, Malfoy?”

“Not me, Weasley,” he snapped harshly, finding the anger she incurred far less than displeasing. “But money buys power. Even magical power.”

Her eyes narrowed again as she weighted his words. She understood it to be true – the wealthiest family in the whole of Britain would indeed be able to employ the best of the best. But at what price…?

“And you would do it out of the kindness of your heart? All for that fuzzy warm feeling you get whenever helping a maimed furry animal?”

Draco could feel the hissing and spitting within her mind, traces of that which she hated, but resorted to in such a defenseless situation. He was silently amazed to see little Ginny Weasley – Healer and a talented potion-brewer who donated almost too much of herself to the hospital, the children, her friends and her family; who recoiled at the thought of wishing anything solely for herself – so callous and crass, her ridges jagged and unyielding against his attempts of smooth-talking her. He could see how the dark memories, the dark burst of magic he provoked, infected her with disgust and cynicism, like a detrimental parasite. He could see how she slowly yet surely turned to hate herself.

He smirked. “You know my little black self better than that, Ginevra. My previous offer still stands, and as it seems, it is your only way out of… here,” he said, glancing around the drab visiting room.

“My soul for seven wishes?” she echoed skeptically. “One of them being getting me out of Ministry’s claws, another one to clean up the dark mess you caused, am I right? I’ll ask for a glass of water and that’ll be another one, and so on. I’ve read about genies and I know about Malfoys. A combination of both is highly disturbing.”

“You have little choice, don’t you?” he countered almost meanly. “Let me tell you what – I’ll make this entire incident evaporate and summon a cleanser to rid you of your little dark leech, and we’ll consider it one wish. As for a glass of water,” he paused, pondering. “Well, you should never drink anything a Malfoy offers you anyway.”

Ginny furrowed her brows agitatedly, obviously concerned that his words were beginning to have sense in her mind. “This is ridiculous,” she finally concluded, shaking her head. “This still doesn’t change the fact that you want my soul to experiment with. Malfoy, you can’t be serious about it. It’s a soul! Why the hell do you want it so bad, anyway?”

Draco paused, only realizing he had leaned closer to her when the desire to draw away grew into a sudden necessity. She stared at him unflinchingly, obviously realizing he was more than reluctant to share that information with her, and it only piqued her interest. “It’s on a need-to-know basis, and you don’t need to know.”

“It’s my soul you want to play around with, Malfoy. I’m not giving it away to some unknown purposes.”

“As I’ve mentioned before – you don’t have a choice here,” Draco almost growled, growing irritable at the wakening insolence in the girl.

The redhead simply smiled, rubbing her forehead tiredly before glancing at him through the dirty hair again. “Neither do you, it seems. My deductive abilities were always a bit impaired, but it seems you are overly eager to recruit specifically me into your current experiment. If it wasn’t so desperately important to you that it should me, you wouldn’t have approached me in the first place, knowing how much you hate me and all I stand for. So, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s the Weasley blood, perhaps it’s the blood purity or my blasted connection with Voldemort, but,” she trailed off, staring at the former Slytherin, his expression carefully sculptured to show nothing but the aristocratic beauty. “But it is you who needs me.”

At her emphasize on the word ‘need’, he sneered. He couldn’t help it, for she hit it straight in the heart of the matter and he hated the fact that she was cleverer than he wished to think. Also hated ‘needing’ something – or someone – and having a living being be knowledgeable of it.

“So speak, Malfoy,” she continued quietly, tiredly. “Speak, while this blasted dark magic drills a hole inside my head, and I can’t seem to see reason clearly.”

She was giving him an opportunity to grasp at her, to convince her, albeit against her better judgment, but still draw her over and make her do as he wished. Indeed he hated her knowing things he wished to keep hidden, but he was not going to let slip away because of that.

“All right,” he managed to break through his own silent barrier. “All right, Ginevra, you’re right. It is you I need right now, because another specimen such as yourself would be hard to come by soon enough.”

She grimaced at him calling her a specimen, but said nothing, just closing her eyes, overwhelmed with exhaustion, and gesturing at him to continue speaking.

Sneering again at her careless hand wave and how it managed to seem so imperious and insulting. “As I mentioned earlier, I am working with unicorn magic,” he spoke brusquely now, a bit tensely, as if afraid his words were going to be used against him in some celestial court of law. “I’ve discovered that under some conditions the essence of their magic can be harmlessly isolated and blended with other magical essences. What becomes of that is an essence mixture that combines the magical properties of its both parts and doubly strengthens the magical potential. When I finally managed to inlay the mixture into a wand I was ecstatic, but…”

Ginny arched a brow, waiting for him to continue. He, on the other hand, was quite unwilling to retell the tales of his failure. “But,” she prompted lightly.

“Well, the wands didn’t work as well as hoped for. Essence of phoenix magic reacted solely to the presence of phoenixes, dragon essence to the presence of dragons, kelpie to kelpies and so on and so forth. Wands containing the mixture of mermaid scales were only useful to merfolk themselves. In short, the wands become extremely powerful, however completely useless when held by human wizards. That is when I understood that human magical essence could also be isolated and used in such a mixture.”

“And of course your suicidal tendencies just had to push you to consider me as a sure candidate for such an experiment,” Ginny injected dryly.

“It might surprise you, Weasley, but I do not enjoy your company, so no, you were very far from my mind when the idea struck me,” he responded coolly, subtly sneering at her smirking expression. “I knew I had to use someone magically capable, for once, and so I naturally turned to the most powerful wizard I knew.”

“Yourself.”

“Myself, yes, indeed,” he sniffed haughtily, eagerly trying to ignore the disbelieving wryness in her tone. “However, it didn’t quite stick.”

Ginny snorted, rolling her eyes.

Valiantly ignoring her, Draco continued. “I’ve tried other wizards, but all essences were rejected quite forcibly. I was beginning to lose faith when a random chance meeting reminded me that unicorns as creatures were wary of human males and preferred dealing with females, preferably kind, young and, ahem, chaste.”

Ginny clenched fists, squaring her jaws, and glared at her conversant, reminded of the exact words that caused her last outburst. Her eyes flashed red – with fury, indignation, and subtle embarrassment – and she silently decided to hate Draco even more.

Of which Draco was painfully aware, for the sharp pressure near his artery spurred momentarily, beginning to break skin and thirst for blood. Slightly panicked and greatly irritated with the damn Weasley temper, he fisted his hand and hit the table, breaking her concentration and drawing her attention to his own seething gaze. “Look, Weasley, I was not at fault for the way the knowledge came to me, so you can’t possibly hold against me the fact that I simply know it! So you’re a virgin! Big bloody deal! Believe me, is it not one of your shortcomings,” he barked at her, hoping to force some sense into that thick head of hers. “Your affinity for alternatively erupt in murderous sprees and caretaking Mother Goose routines, in fact is! Put away the damn knife!”

She did as was told, slumping against the backrest of her chair and covering her face with her hands. “So, you needed a goody-two-shoes, and obviously you thought of me.”

“Not at all,” he replied, massaging the reddening skin of his throat. “I’ve tried children, adolescents and grown female subjects with prominent kindness and compassion as their attributes, but nothing stuck. The magical essence wasn’t strong enough. And if I tried to seek strong witches, the mushy-factors – as I came to call them – decreased drastically. That along with the need for a full-fledged witch of formidable capability and still… chaste, brought the choices to a halting zero. Again, I was sure to have lost all hope and was about to abandon the research altogether. But then, at the hospital ball, after our little… encounter, I knew it had to be you. Your mushy factors are vast; if my recent stay at the hospital anything to judge by, your magical abilities are strong enough to not only bind with other essences, but also whip them into a total and desperate subordination; and, well, obviously the chasteness.”

“I was drunk,” Ginny growled through her hands, reminded of the awful night she chose to confide in Draco the hardships of being a virgin in her early twenties.

“Yes, and I thank Ogden from the bottom of my heart, now if you would just agree already, I could proceed to getting you out of this dingy hole and into some nice little cage at my laboratory.”

Slamming her hands onto the table, she threw at him a dagger glare.

“The cage thing was obviously a badly formed joke. Apologies. Now, should I take the overbearing silence and the death-glaring as a cheerful ‘yes’?”

Ginny groaned loudly and brought her head onto the table as well with a loud thud.

“Wonderful then! Now, just make a wish and I’ll be on my way.”

Ginny whimpered from her perch on the table. “I get my soul back, intact and healthy, Malfoy,” she murmured warningly.

“Of course, Weasley! Who do you take me for? Don’t answer that. Just make a wish.”

She raised her head just a bit, warily glancing at Draco and baring the red angry mark on her forehead from the seemingly dull thud. “Do I really have to make a wish? You know what I want, why do I have to say it out loud?”

“How else can I trick you? Kidding again. Just say it.”

Sighing, deeply, mournfully, Ginny glanced upwards, as if cursing whatever being that found the current situation amusing and finally spoke. “I wish the matter of my attack on you to be forgotten by everyone and over with already. And in the same wish, I want to be rid and immune to any and all Dark Arts. As you promised.”

Something sinister sparked in Draco’s eyes and he found himself grinning unpleasantly. “Your wish is my command.”
*** second wish *** by Lirie Halliwell
*** second wish ***




“Knock-knock.”

Ginny scrunched up her nose, not at her guest, but at the clichéd announcement of his arrival. “Malfoy, don’t be trite in my office.”

Her gaze, piercing through a thinly rimmed pair of spectacles at a long parchment resting on the desk before her, was stern and calculated. Not a smidgen of darkness flickered past those honey-coated eyes, not a trace of dark magic lying dormant in that curvaceous frame, not a line of fear or hatred – everything had been cleansed, swept away by a small Japanese wizard introduced to her by Malfoy as Tomasu Ryuuzu. And now, the only lines that marred her round face were those of laughter and concern. Concern particularly salient at that moment as her eyes skimmed the report before her.

“Pardon my banality,” Draco intoned offhandedly, taking a seat across her. “I’ve had a long day at the library.”

“Good for you,” Ginny replied dismissively, picking up the unrolled papers and partially hiding her face.

“Yes. Preparing for further experiments. Researching more thoroughly to ensure success,” he explained needlessly.

“Oh, interesting,” Ginny murmured, and by her distant note it was obviously that she wasn’t responding to anything he had said.

“Investing time and money in th—oh, Weasley, would you look at me, for Circe’s sake? At the very least, this is simply impolite!”

Ginny huffed, rolled her eyes and placed the parchment down, pinning the irked Draco Malfoy with a glare. “A reason for your visit,” she demanded drably.

Draco narrowed his fine grey eyes at her for a moment, seemingly irritated by her cold treatment. “You still owe me your soul.”

“You owe me six wishes first, as we’ve agreed upon. Wishes first, soul later. I don’t wish for anything yet,” she informed him haughtily, waving him off with her hand. “Scat.”

“This is not the way it works, Weasley,” he hissed, sudden fear of being duped spurring in him. “Make the wishes, and do it quickly. I have a busy schedule, as does your soul.”

“The way this works is just fine by me,” she said simply, once again lost in the parchment. She bit her lip and frowned, shaking her head concernedly.

“Listen, little girl,” Draco growled, one of his fists clenching into a white iron mass. He wasn’t even entirely sure why his immaculately controlled emotions were always so easy to burst in the presence of this redhead. He despised everything she stood for and found her abundant compassion and valiant moral stature greatly offensive to his person. He just hasn’t figured out why exactly during the past five years they had been continually thrust together by the Fates. “I got you out of incarceration, I can as easily send you back there, so don’t dare to try and play with me.”

Ginny’s eyes slowly tore away from the unrolled parchment, and this time her attention also shifted entirely to her conversant as she took off her reading glasses and stared in silence at the fair-haired man before her.

“What’s the matter?” she asked, her tone so surprisingly troubled that Draco almost choked. “Is something bothering you? I don’t consider you such an infinite idiot as to make such a threat in an even state of mind.”

Draco almost laughed, almost hysterically, because he found her words entirely ridiculous. Ridiculous and, unfortunately, true. When did she become so knowledgeable regarding his antics?

His anger seethed down to a small common simmer. It was impossible to stay incensed when she spoke so worriedly, when she was truly concerned. Of course, Ginny Weasley’s concern was a regular occurrence, graced upon small rodents as well as on human beings equally – in this she did not discriminate.

“Just as any other job, Weasley,” he began, absently wondering why it was so easy for her to draw the truth out of him, and why he wasn’t bothered more by it. “If I don’t deliver, I get sacked. And yes, I hardly need the income, but it would be bad for my over-inflated ego – yes, I thought you might like that adjective - to be fired from a measly wand-weaving position.”

“Wand-weaving is an extraordinary profession, and I don’t think you should belittle it in such a blunt way,” she frowned at him, resisting the urge to use the tone of voice she always found most useful on the more troublesome patients. “And no one is going to fire you. As well as I know you, you’ve got blackmail material on everyone from Great Papa Mogul and down to the two-year old Charlotte Ollivander.”

“I resent that,” Draco stated simply. “I could never use compromising material that I happen to have on a two-year old. I’m not a barbarian.”

“Dear Merlin, I was joking! You really do have blackmail material on a baby?”

He squared his shoulders and clenched his hands together, radiating defensiveness. “I simply know people who know people who have really big mouths.”

“But she’s a baby, Malfoy! Seriously, I sometimes worry for your soul.”

“Don’t. It’s been safely returned to where it belongs after the experiments were unsucce—oh, you meant figuratively speaking. Yes, well.” Draco fell silent for a while, his stance relaxed after the unneeded tension. He cleared his throat after a minute and spoke again. “A wish, Weasley. Six would be better, but I dare not be as hopeful.”

Ginny stared at him for a long while, narrowing her eyes and burrowing her gaze into the former-Slytherin’s concealing silver orbs. “What if I wish for something impossible?”

Draco arched a brow and graced her with a subtle smirk. “There is no such thing as impossible for me.”

“Don’t boast, Malfoy,” she said warningly, something in her voice nearing an edge. She seemed almost hopeful he was right.

“All right. Tell me what this is about and I’ll say, truthfully, whether I can do it.”

She looked at him for a little longer, imploringly, disturbingly, searching for something. Finally, she looked away and sighed. Her eyes slipped onto the discarded parchment before and she picked it up again.

Irked once more for being dismissed over a piece of paper, Draco was about to spit out something scathing, when she wordlessly placed what turned out to be a medical report before him.

“Her name is Ellieanne Harley. Eight years old. Her parents own a dragon breeding farm up in Yorkshire - nice, pleasant people. She was playing in the yard with her dog and at some point it jumped over the hedge and ran towards the dragons’ territories, where the males were resting. She followed and was hit by a dragon’s breath. The dog is fine – a stupid little beagle puppy. Ellieanne…”

Ginny’s breath hitched suddenly, and he cast a cautious glance at her, seeing the glazing eyes and the threatening sobs. She was pitiful most of the time, really. Giving off of herself to others just like that. And for what? For what, did she even have a clue? Silly girl with silly morals.

“There are photos at the back,” she murmured absently, taking pictures off a clipping and offering him the first.

It was a picture of a simple little girl, nothing extraordinary or anything outstanding - mousy light brown hair, big brown eyes and a wide smile with deeply set dimples. She would never grow to be considered ‘beautiful’, but her place among the ‘prettier’ girls was definitely guaranteed. Draco found himself glancing blandly at Ginny. Why was he listening to stories about little girl’s attachments to a stupid mutt?

“That’s before. And this is,” she murmured, the sound of her voice painful even to his ears. “This is after.” Then, she offered him the second picture.

He blanched. And promptly placed the photograph onto the table, face down.

“Fourth degree burns. Thirty percent of her skin tissue has completely melted away and another thirty are scarred beyond repair. Magic doesn’t work; I’ve tried everything. Everything. She was conscious during all of it, Draco. She’s still alive and conscious and she can’t even cry because it burns. She can’t be touched, nor hugged or comforted. She’s—she’s just eight years old—“

Her eyes widened in surprise, spilling the brimming tears, when Draco silently rose to his feet, his face as blank as the bare walls beneath her diplomas. She stared at him through the haze of glittering tears, watching as he glanced at the report for a brief moment, cautious to avoid the pictures, and looked at her.

“Make a wish, then.”

Ginny blinked owlishly at him, her tears shining without reservation. “I—I wish she was healed, her own old self again.”

“Fine,” he said simply and headed out of the office without another word.

Ginny was completely baffled by his behavior, but some odd small bud of hope spurred into life. It was hard to believe the situation might be reversed even with Malfoy’s money, but just the fact that he was going to try made her desperately glad.



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



Her hands were clamped together, deathly white and pitifully shaking, as if she was doing it on purpose. Her eyes were squeezed shut tightly, sowing colorful circles and stains to bloom and dissipate against the black of her eyelids. She was biting her lip, biting hard since the tang of blood was becoming more noticeable in her worrisome stupor. She was praying, and the words were spilling out, tumbling over themselves in her quietly raging desperation.

Four hours ago Ellieanne Harley was escorted out of her small room in one of St. Mungo’s wards by the redheaded Healer and entrusted into the hands of Draco Malfoy, who then took her away and instructed the terrified Healer and the fidgeting parents to wait. Simply do nothing and wait until the little girl emerged from Ginny’s office – either the same as she entered, or…

Ginny glanced up at the Harleys, and her heart pinched in guilt. She didn’t mean to poison their hearts with false hopes. She wanted to do this quietly, when Draco had called on her and asked for the girl to be brought to him. She planned on telling the girl nothing as well, to spare her from the bitter pain of disappointment. But she had been caught by the mother taking the girl out of her room when all scheduled therapies were already over. She had no choice but to tell the truth, and watch those big brown eyes of the elder woman fill with tears.

And now… dear Merlin, how she wished she wouldn’t have to face these people’s stares if their child comes out the same as before. Not after the hope she’s inadvertently given them. Not after the pain they’d already had to fight through.

“Mr. and Mrs. Harley,” someone called quietly out from the office and the three present jumped to their feet immediately, hurrying towards the door. A moment later Draco came out, looking haggard and awfully pale. His eyes were a bit wider than usually, and dark circles graced his skin. “I’m sorry—“

“Oh dear God!” Mrs. Harley whimpered, burying her face into her husband’s chest just as the tears poured afresh. She clung onto his shirt and he held her tighter, squeezing his eyes shut and willing the tears away.

“Mrs. Harley,” Draco called out instantly, a bit impatient. “Mrs. Harley! Please refrain from crying. The girl has been through enough as it is, and seeing her mother cry in this situation is going to cause further difficulties.”

Ginny was shocked into stupor, unable to respond in any way. She wanted to shout, to hit Malfoy and hex him into oblivion for the way he allowed himself to talk to parents that had been through so much grief themselves already. How dare that mangy dog think he had any bloody right to speak up in such an inconsiderate way?

But she held herself well, turning red to the tips of her ears and not allowing her temper to go off in front of the couple. Though, she did promise herself to cause him unspeakable horrors and pains once they were out of the sorrowful family’s earshot.

However, it seemed Mr. and Mrs. Harley did not share her sentiments, and instead of being outraged themselves, Mrs. Harley simply nodded and recomposed herself, and Mr. Harley bit back the last traces of his tears and smiled gratefully, as if in thanks to the young man’s support.

Apparently submerged into some odd twilight zone where Malfoy’s insolence was considered as some branch of ‘tough love’, Ginny decided to reconsider the dosage of her Calming Concoctions.

“Now,” Draco spoke up again, once the couple was properly soothed once again. “As I was saying – I apologize for taking this long, it is just that each time I managed to do something, Ellieanne began crying before the spells settled and all had to be done all over again. She is alright now, but I strongly advise not to encourage any tears in the next few hours.”

Throughout his speech Ginny could feel her heart begin to race as some distant realization seemed to settle in the pit of her stomach. She glanced at the Harleys and saw that apparently the same thought graced their mind as well.

“Is—is she—“

Mrs. Harley was unable to finish her sentence when Draco stepped back into the office and called out for the girl. A small, fidgeting creature stepped out, scared as a mouse and shaking like a leaf. Brown hair framed the round face, and the big brown eyes shone with tears she bravely held at bay. The skin was smooth and healthy, graced with a slight opalescent tinge, her cheeks strewn with small salient freckles, and the two deeply-set dimples though not showing in their full glory, were peeking from the cautious smile she allowed herself.

“Oh,” Mrs. Harley breathed out heavily, dropped to her knees and waving the girl over. “Oh, my little— my angel—oh my girl,” she pulled the girl into a hug, bracing the child desperately to her heaving chest and silently praying to all the gods in thanks. Pulling away, she took a hard look at her daughter’s face, looking for falsehood, traces of temporary veiling spells, masking charms or anything at all, but all was in vain. The girl was her daughter, and the healthy childish complexion was her own, healed. “Oh dear gods, you are so beautiful,” she mumbled, gazing into those big brown eyes as the tears began brimming her eyes.

“No tears!” Draco barked almost angrily, glowering at the apologetic glance the exhilarated mother cast him.

Ginny watched him shrug it off and turn away, most probably disturbed and uncomfortable. She herself was stunned, completely dumbstruck by the occurring miracle. Inching closer to Draco as to not disturb the family, she touched his arm lightly. “Thank you.”

Draco’s eyes slipped down momentarily to her fingers as they grazed his robes and back up to her pale face. He shrugged nervously again, not quite sure he appreciated the open way she stared at him at that moment. “It’s nothing,” he blurted offhandedly, turning his look away with nonchalance.

Ginny shook her head, grabbing a handful of his robes and jerking his attention back to her own brown, shining eyes. “It’s everything.”

Blinking at her in surprise, he swallowed hard and tried to move away, but she held him fast.

“You’re—how?”

“Unicorn magic,” he replied simply, truthfully.

“They trust you?”

Draco smirked at her quiet incredulity and subtly rolled his eyes. “Yes. Surprised?”

“Flabbergasted, actually,” she mumbled dumbly, still staring at the blonde with wide unbelieving eyes. “You look like crap, by the way.”

“Yeah? You try dealing with a hysterical brat who starts crying every bloody time she gets healed,” he hissed edgily, throwing a baleful glance at the little girl cuddled by her parents. “Six times I healed that rugrat, Weasley. Six! I was afraid she’d get dehydrated by the time I’m through, considering all the damn waterworks.”

“You’re a good man, Malfoy,” she whispered back, both surprised by the notion and pleased by it.

“Nonsense, woman,” he dismissed her with a wave of his hand and cautiously inched away, realizing she was still holding him by the robes. “I’m an exhausted man. Now, if you’d be so kind as to let go of me? I prefer to leave before all the emotional gushing switches from the brat to my person. I don’t think I’ve enough politeness left in me to endure it, after all the crap I had to undergo with that Allison girl.”

“Ellieanne,” Ginny corrected automatically, somehow knowing he made the mistake on purpose. She let go of his robe and watched him smirk and absently nod his farewell to the Harleys on his way out.

Wordlessly, she smiled, amazed at the fact that her very own personal genie appeared to be omnipotent after all.



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



Later on that week, sitting in her small bare office long after the last of the night janitors left the building, Ginny Weasley sighed silently, staring at a pile of unfinished paperwork. She loved her job, loved helping people and healing people, but the paperwork! Who on earth invented paperwork?

In some absent way Ginny understood that it was a bit sad that she had remained in her office after work more often than not, but she always hastily disposed of that notion, reminding herself that her work was greater than her own little person, that she was toiling in the name of the ‘Greater Good’. A stern voice sadly resembling her mother’s, prattled somewhere in the back of her overworked mind that Great Good didn’t keep a girl warm at night, but she was well trained in squashing that notion as well.

She had things to do, people to save, papers to write. If her Prince Charming was not considerate enough as to see that and simply appear on the threshold of her office to spare her the wasted time of actually searching high and low for him, well… she didn’t need that dunce anyway.

“Weasley, don’t you think the clock’s hands pointing to obscenely late hours of the evening should clue you in on the fact that you ought to be snuggled in your duvet back at home with some sappy Jane Austen novel?”

Ginny glanced up to discover the smirking face of Draco Malfoy, leaning casually again her doorframe. She drew her gaze heavenwards, a dry air tingeing her thoughts. Prince Charming! I asked for Prince Charming! And you send over Draco Malfoy? Ha-bloody-ha, you twisted bastards.

“Malfoy, some of us have people depending on their work, you know,” Ginny replied evenly, casting her eyes down on the pages again. “And let me remind you that you’re the one paying late-night visits to other people’s offices. Can I help you somehow?”

“Oh, you’ve helped enough,” he replied with an odd bitter note to his voice as he invited himself in and took a seat across from her. “Thank you for informing the Harleys on how to find me and where to direct all that mail.”

“You sound displeased somehow,” she muttered quietly, pushing away the disturbing urge to break into laughter or at the very least a wide sadistic grin. She knew very well he’d hate for the whole ordeal to be discussed and gratified and mulled over. The most awful thing that could follow the healing incident, from Draco’s point of view, was consistent and gushing expressions of gratefulness expressed by the little girl’s parents.

Which was something they were all too ready to deliver.

“Oh, so the ‘thank you’ note reached you alright?”

“Yes, it did. The note and the dozens of cards, boxes of chocolates, baskets of muffins and fruits and fruit muffins, and the singing quartet – whom, by the way, were almost incinerated by the miniature Hungarian Horntail they gave me as well – and, obviously, the odd fellow dressed in a huge rabbit suit and speaking their thankfulness in rhymes – rhymes, Weasley! Stop giggling! - All that without counting the gratitude they’ve expressed personally over and over and over again once I’ve accidentally let them past the wards. The girl wouldn’t stop terrorizing the elves when they dropped by to visit, the mother wouldn’t stop gushing and crying and sniffling, and the father kept patting me on my back and saying what a fine young man I was and how my father was probably immensely proud of me.”

“I hope you didn’t correct his assumption,” Ginny injected with little hopes as she tried to cover her laughter with her hand.

“Oh, I did! Along with overly descriptive portrayals of how my dear father would’ve Crucio-ed me, attempted to drown me, laid out to be eaten by the Devil’s Snare and finally tossed what was left to the bloodhounds if he ever found out I used ancient magic and personal energy to help a half-blooded girl. I was also dangerously tempted to show them my own Dark Mark and start cackling maniacally while closing in on them and murmuring stuff about candy houses and baked children, when they at last got the clue and buggered the hell away from my property.”

Fighting off another peal of giggles, Ginny leaned back in her chair and stared at the blond man before her with shining amusement.

“Stop looking at me as if I’m some beagle mutt, Weasley,” Draco muttered almost nervously, turning his eyes away from her. “Glad you enjoy my torture, by the way.”

“Well, you do one good deed, Malfoy, and you ought to pay for it,” she said in fake sternness, taking off her glasses.

“Yes,” he droned distractedly, staring at her again. “And you do countless good deeds and get zilch in return. Doesn’t it get old playing the eternal altruist, Weasley?”

“You get used to it after saving the world a couple of times,” she replied evenly, though her smile was filled with something bordering sadness.

Please. Don’t tell me you actually enjoy… this,” he motioned at the empty office, darkness outside, mounts of paperwork on her tabletop. “You’re a Weasley, woman. For Circe’s sake, even I know you should be surrounded by friends, family members, half a dozen redheaded rugrats and some miserably besotted fool. That’s why you give of yourself too much to people you barely know. You’re obviously overcompensating for the lack of something else in your life.”

“Thank you, Mr. Freud! Would you like to analyze my second personality now as well? The one that has the tendency to burst in violent streaks whenever certain Slytherins rub her the wrong way.”

“When it comes to rubbing, I know no other way than the right one,” Draco drawled pointedly, smiling in a way Ginny found highly unnerving.

“Yes, well,” Ginny mumbled uncomfortably, turning a nervous pink hue, as she hurried to put her glasses back on and return to the papers. She hated it when Malfoy switched his person in such a way, causing all of her aplomb to dissolve at the abruptness of his switch between neutral banter and the suggestive remarks. She wasn’t a prude, but he just made her feel like one.

Seeing that he had lost her casual attention for the time, Draco sighed quietly and rose to leave. “Could you do me a favor with your next wish, Weasley?”

“I’ll wish it as soon as I find something remotely adequate to waste a wish on,” she replied offhandedly, not willing to promise him more than that.

“No, take your time. But make the next wish for yourself, will you?”

Ginny glanced up, confused by his request, and shrugged. “Whatever comes to my attention,” she simply said and watched him bow his head a bit before disappearing from her sight with a quiet, ‘Good night.’

Only after he had left, she admitted to herself how difficult selfish wishes would be, for fear of being guilt-ridden as a result of them. She shoved the thought away and pushed her glasses further up the bridge of her nose, scribbling reports, conclusions and future treatment programs that could have easily waited for tomorrow morning if she really had had a miserably besotted fool waiting for her at home.
*** third wish *** by Lirie Halliwell
*** third wish ***



“You want me to do what?”

Ginny cringed mildly at the sound of Draco’s voice raising an octave and a half and calmly took off her glasses, proceeding to wiping them with a cloth. “There’s no need to shout like a girl, Malfoy. I want you to get Hermione pregnant.”

He sputtered for a moment, before finally regaining control over his own person. Taking a slow cleansing breath, he ran a hand through his hair, slicking it back down. Finally, feeling composed enough, he spoke. “Have you entirely lost what was left of that peanut-sized brain of yours, Weasley? Merlin knows how many accidental Malfoy bastards there are running around out there and you want me to knowingly produce another one?”

“Malfoy, please—“

“Don’t you think your oaf of a brother would mind? I think he would notice the lack of freckles and the fair hair, especially when that child turns around and sneers scornfully at him. Besides,” Draco paused, using all the poise he could muster not to snarl in distaste. “There isn’t enough alcohol in all of Britain to make me want… that.”

“You’re being an obnoxious idiot again, Malfoy,” Ginny snapped at the sound of her friend being referred to as ‘that’. “I don’t want you to sleep with ‘Mione! Phlegm is the only blonde I think Mum could stomach in our family. I want you to… I don’t know, do whatever it is that you do to makes things happen. I want Hermione to get pregnant,” she concluded, putting her glasses back on and looking at the mildly stunned former Slytherin. “By my brother, obviously.”

“Obviously,” Draco mumbled absently, still staring at her with mild disbelief. “Ginny, I—no, just—why are you asking for this? Weren’t you going to ask something for yourself?”

“It is for myself. I want them to have a baby.”

“Seized by an uncontrollable desire to ruin the lives of your loved ones? That’s not like you, Miss Weasley.”

“I’m not ruining anyone’s life, Mr. Malfoy,” Ginny narrowed her eyes at his jeer, fighting the urge to pinch him hard. This was big for Ginny, showing how Draco managed to peeve her with that line. “Surprisingly enough, both my and their wishes coincide.”

“Well, they contradict my own wishes. What made you think I would willingly assist a Weasley to reproduce?”

“Be careful, Malfoy,” she chided dangerously, her hand slipping into the folds of her robes where the wand rested. “I do not consider this a laughing matter.”

Draco’s shoulders squared as he found himself tensing visibly. He had no intentions of losing another three weeks of his life, so he decided that perhaps a change of tactics was in order. “Weasley, consider me old fashioned, but are you sure Weasel and the Muu—Know-It-All want you in their bed? Figuratively speaking, of course, I don’t want to know about your brother’s sick fetishes.”

“Obviously not! That’s why you would do it as covertly as possible,” she explained primly, folding her arms across her chest. “If you are able to do it, I mean.”

“Oh, don’t play coy with me,” Draco grimaced at her, dismissing her belittling with a wave of his hand. “Of course I can do it. I’m not quite sure I should, though. Do they know what you’re asking?”

“Well… I’ve offered Hermione to do this and, I don’t know, there was a lot of shouting, lecturing and finger pointing. I don’t think she liked the idea.”

“And you inadvertently assumed that that was a green light for you to go through with it?” He asked, somewhat cautiously, he noted to himself since he started to slowly realize he was dealing with an escaped mental patient.

“Yes, exactly. All the shouting was just a typical reaction of a frustrated Hermione when someone else figures out an answer to a really tricky Arithmancy problem.”

Draco stared in an odd sort of stupor he only encountered in the company of this female. There was something utterly wrong with that girl.

“Ginny, you want me to meddle with your sister-in-law’s fertility! Are you insane?”

She stared at him for a long quiet moment, before heaving a sigh and taking her glasses off again, this time placing them down onto the table before pinching the bridge of her nose. After a long moment, she looked up at him and there was something in her gaze, something pained and desperately yearning to be healed, and she looked at him as if he might very well hold the elusive answer. Thankfully, she caught herself at that thought, labeled it as silly and squeezed her eyes shut.

“I am telling you this in hopes that there is still a small part of you that is a human being and I would appreciate it if this never left this office because then I would be dead and therefore you’d be dead, since I’d be taking you with me. It is really a very delicate subject which you should, by the way, beware as to not make jokes about and—anyway… I found Hermione crying in front of a baby shop in the middle of Diagon Alley the other day. People were walking around her, staring as if she was a crazy person. That day she had just been returning from the Healer’s who have told her that there are only a fifteen percent chance of her conceiving and carrying to term, even with the potions. He advised adoption, the fucker,” she finished, her jaws clenching in anxious anticipation of his reaction.

Draco just stared back in silence for almost too long. He thought over what had already been said – the subject required delicate handling and jokes would’ve meant his untimely and heinous demise. Not that he was in the mood for humor since the subject was somewhat close to his own heart. He still remembered the late expeditions to the kitchen when he would find his mother crouching on the floor of his old nursery, held tightly by his father as she cried into an old blanket, and his father trying to console that heartache that she obviously felt. She had always wanted more children, he knew it, but the Dark Lord never approved of numerous heirs to those close to him, claiming that a cumbersome family obscured the vision of the True Cause.

Draco swallowed hard at both his memories and his rising bile, and glanced at Ginny again, seeming a bit less resistant. “If they ever find out what you have asked me to do—“

“I won’t tell if you won’t.”

He stared at her irritably for being cut off, pushing air out through his nose. “It is not a game, Ginny. This is a new life we’re talking about. If they aren’t sure, despite what you think, if it comes in a bad time, if something happens wrong… it is irreversible. And the only way to take it back is painful and emotionally wrecking.”

“They want this child. They wanted this child for… oh gods, years. If you can do this… Draco, you have to do this.”

“Look, if… if there is such a small chance, then perhaps it wasn’t meant—“

“Every woman is meant to bear a child, Draco, do not dare to claim otherwise,” she utterly calmly, but there was iron in her voice and her eyes and he found himself caving in, despite his better judgment.

Draco nodded feebly, suddenly finding the floors very interesting. “Wish then.”

“I wish Hermione and Ron to have a happy, healthy, freckled and brilliantly smart baby,” she chirped gleefully, grinning brightly.

“Oh, don’t make me dabble into genetics as well, Weasley. A healthy offspring of their own is all I choose to be responsible for. Appearances, cheerful dispositions and levels of intelligence are completely out of my jurisdiction.”

“I can take that. So how are you going to do this?”

Draco was already on his feet and preparing to leave when she asked him that, so he cast a nonchalant glance at her and smirked. “A gentleman never gets a girl pregnant and tells, Weasley.”

“Hmm,” she intoned, frowning slightly at his words. “Which reminds me – how many accidental Malfoy bastards are there?”

Draco blinked at her in surprise for a second before breaking out in a wide fake grin. “Good day, Miss Weasley,” he bid his farewell, tipping his head in a respectful manner and rushing out of the office, smartly ignoring her irritable voice as she tried to demand an answer from his retreating back.


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


“Miss? Miss! I’d hate to be rude, but that muffin that you are holding actually belongs to me. So if you be so kind as to return it,” Draco drawled in a mostly polite tone, reaching his hand expectantly, waiting for the girl to forfeit his muffin.

The girl glanced down at the muffin with furrowed brows, up at him and down at the muffin again, this time closely inspecting it from all the angles in silence. Finally, she looked back up at him with an embellished relieved smile. “Well, since there isn’t seem to be your name anywhere on this muffin and this is, in fact, a public coffeehouse on the ‘early bird gets the muffin’ base, I would have to greatly disappoint you.”

Draco blinked at the girl in surprise, confused and quite surprised by her refusal, and promptly dropped his hand, clearing his throat. She must have misunderstood, that is all. “No, you don’t seem to understand. I live just around the corner and I come here every morning for a cup of coffee and a muffin. And I always get the very last blueberry muffin, because… well, just because that’s the way it is. I worked out the exact time for myself to come here every morning to get the muffin and I could encumber you with all the tidy processes I had to go through in order to calculate the appropriate time to take that very muffin you’re clutching right now but I won’t, and I am not at all willing to let it go. Not this morning and not any other.”

“I’m sorry, sir, that is all very interesting, but I am late for work and I have already paid for this. So next time if you want your muffin, perhaps you might consider coming a bit earlier. All right? Good day,” the girl chirped with a smile and turned to leave.

Draco’s eyes widened a little at the less than subtly brush off and he found himself striding towards the girl and turning to block her exit. “I don’t think I’ve made myself sufficiently clear, miss. This is my muffin and you are not leaving with it. Now, if you wish, I could compensate you with two other muffins, but this one… is mine.”

“Listen up, mate,” the girl rolled her eyes, her nostrils flaring in irritation. “This is the first time in a blue bloody moon that I am having a craving and I am not going to let some schizoid bloke who just happens to have an anal affection toward the very last blueberry muffin in this coffee shop to ruin my goddamn morning, so get out of my way or I am pulling out my wand and reacquainting your mouth with your foot!”

“I—is there a problem here?” a nervous voice broke through the death-glaring competition and both antagonists turned to glare at the short, stubby and balding manager of the coffeehouse.

“There is no problem at all if you consider socially challenged madmen as desired candidates for patronage,” the girl huffed at the manager, waving her muffin at the man before her. “This man refuses to let me leave. I have paid for my things and I am late for work, and I am unable to move any further because one of your regular costumers is blocking my way.”

“M—Mr. Malfoy, what seems to be the problem?” the fidgety manager turned towards the blond man in hopes of him regaining some of the common sense that was such an elusive concept to his entire familial line. The manager quite clearly understood, however, that there would be no such luck.

“Hotchkins, I want you to retrieve my muffin from this harpy and toss her out on the street,” Draco replied as casually and nonchalantly as he if he was discussing the weather. He cast his stare about the room in boredom, as if the presence of the manager smartly put him at the advantage and there was no chance now the culprit would walk away with his muffin.

The girl gasped twice during the short exchange – first time in shock and the second in outrage. “You did
not just call me a ‘harpy’ over a bloody muffin, Malfoy!”

Draco suddenly paused, his gaze lingering at some random spot on the wall opposed to him as the voice, the words and the intonation reverberated through his mind. He was stuck by a rare and very disturbing sense of déjà vu at the sound of this witch growing furious and her voice rising shrilly. There was something… something horribly familiar about that very certain way in which she barked his surname. As if she had practiced the exact venomous and loathing lilt ever since she could pronounce it.

He cautiously glanced at the witch and at the sight of her basilisk-blazing hazel eyes, that elegant shade of auburn to her hair that might have very well been slightly brighter and redder in school, the faint freckles that had faded into delicate dusting long ago, and of course those lips, pursing in her dissatisfaction as she glared him down into eternity, something clicked inside.

“Well I be damned,” he blurted quietly, the words escaping before he could recount and remind himself of all the bad things that gaped between them. The last time he had seen her was in the cemetery, crying for the boy who survived a great dark wizard only to die a few years later in a Muggle auto accident. He wanted to offer her some comfort, but she had groaned irritably when he tried to talk, and he decided it would be better to slip away then.

And now she was there again, no tears this time, just traces of tiredness in her eyes. She looked good, more refined and delicate, yet somehow she appeared stronger than before. It was a paradox, but then, so was she, and he assumed it was all right. The auburn however looked better than the singed orange she carried back in school, but, oh, it all didn’t seem to matter in the least because she was stealing his muffin!

He snapped out of his daze just as she managed to place her hand on the door handle and apply sufficient pressure to pull the door open in order to make her stealthy getaway. But Draco Malfoy was no fool and no lion cub would ever be able to steal his muffin from under his nose! He turned and slammed the door shut just as she was about to slink through the small gap, pinning her down with a murderous glare.

“Weasley, you don’t seem to understand the importance of that muffin to me,” he hissed irritably, his face leaning towards her. “And if by any chance I haven’t made myself entirely clear yet, I would, if necessary, hurt you for that muffin.”

“Malfoy, you’re insane!” the redhead barked at him, leaning a bit away from his nearing self. “This is just a bloody pastry. You’re being ridiculously maniacal over some flour and berries.”

“The fact that you refuse to acknowledge its importance just goes to show that you are not deserving of the muffin.”

“Ma—oh for Merlin’s sake. Mr. Hotchkins, this is ridiculous!” she cried out, looking at the nervous round wizard for some assistance. “Could you perhaps
do something? Or this is the way your costumers should expect to be treated if they dare to buy anything at your shop?”

Faced with the obvious possibility of awful publicity, the manager turned to Draco with almost pleading poise. “Mr. Malfoy, please, if you would just wait a bit, I’ll personally make sure you will receive two freshly baked blueberry muffins. On the house,” he hurried to add, hoping to appease the beast with sweets.

It seems to be working, because a moment later Draco let go of the door and started to straighten out his robes. “They better be ready in the next fifteen minutes.”

“Well, I’m not sure—“ Mr. Hotchkins swallowed his words at the sight of Draco’s piercing glare and nodded fiercely. “Fifteen minutes, of course, Mr. Malfoy, of course,” he replied quickly and scurried away, the kitchen door hitting him on the back as he rushed in.

The redheaded hellion shot him a smug smile and straightened herself out of the fighting stance as well. “So you
can be a grown up, Malfoy. I am shocked, I have to admit.”

“As well as you should be, since I am not accustomed to relinquishing my muffins,” Draco grumbled, haughtily looking away and wondering if fear would drive Hotchkins into making the muffins faster.

“It is just a muffin, Malfoy,” the girl continued to insist.

Slightly exasperated, Draco huffed loudly. “It is not just a muffin, Weasley. It is a blueberry muffin. The last one. And it might mean nothing to you, but it sure as hell means more than that to me.”

The red-haired witch blinked in surprise, unprepared for such blunt displays of affection towards a muffin.

For a moment he appeared to be concerned she might take him for a crazy person and so he sighed and ran a hand through his hair irritably. “I am not crazy, alright? It’s just—well, Mother would always save the last blueberry muffin for me during dinner parties and sneak it up to me ‘cause she knew I hated staying alone while they were entertaining guests. So…”

He noticed a small unguarded smile creep onto her lips and squared his shoulders defensively. “If you dare to tell a single soul, I will have you killed, Weasley.”

“Malfoy, you’re still just a big Mummy’s boy, aren’t you?” the redhead asked teasingly, her lips curving attractively.

Draco sneered at her words, feeling light heat creep into his cheeks, and watched her break out in laughter. Huffing indignantly, he turned to leave to look for a table and await his belated muffins in relative peace, when her hand shot out and grasped his sleeve. Slowly he turned back to look at her with confused expression and saw that freckled witch offering him her muffin in a grand gesture.

He frowned at her skeptically, reaching out toward the baked goods. He paused just over the muffin and looked at her. “You sure?”

She shrugged and placed the muffin in his open hand. “It’s just a muffin for me. I’ll take one of the fresh ones.”

Finally holding the muffin, he seemed to breathe in relief. “Thanks,” he muttered under his breath and pinched a bit off the side, popping it into his mouth. “You know what, Weasley?”

“Hmm?”

“You’re not that bad for a Gryffindor. Or a Weasley. But, of course, there is that thing that makes you tolerable in spite of the mentioned vices.”

“Oh?” she cocked an eyebrow, amused. “And what, pray tell, might that be?”

He smirked slightly and swung the door open. “You, my little lion cub,” he smiled cattishly and headed out, tossing his parting words over his shoulder. “Are delightfully gullible.”

By the time the redheaded witch realized that she was duped with a silly sob-story by a cunning and handsome snake, he had already made his way to the nearest Apparition Point, happily munching on the last blueberry muffin.



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

“Oh my Goddess, are you sure?”

Hermione nodded enthusiastically, her face shining with unreserved joy. “Third week. And the Healers say that it is going as well as can be hoped for,” she gushed excitedly over the coffee table, clutching Ginny’s hand in a vice grip. “It’s real, Gin. I’m—I’m going to be a Mum.”

The two girls squealed excitedly, not paying an ounce of attention to the surrounding patrons of the little coffeehouse, and hugged for the millionth time over the small table.

“Okay, okay, we must calm down or be thrown out,” Gin chided carefully, straightening her robes and schooling her features to erase the deranged look of happiness on her face. Hermione was having more trouble in doing so, but the redhead assumed she had the right to it. “Alright, so tell me everything! How did this happen? You got that owl from the Healer and then what?

“Well, I went over to his office a he requested. He said that he got the blood results back and that unfortunately, it wasn’t looking good. Then... I don’t know, I found it very odd, how casual he was about it, because he usually is so feeling and kind, and that time he simply offered me a cup of tea. But then he started speaking again, telling me about one wealthy benefactor of the hospital, a Norwegian Healer named Lider Orm, who had developed an extraordinarily trusting relationship with the local unicorns and was allowed to experiment with their magic.”

“What do you know,” Ginny murmured in faked amazement. Well, the amazement perhaps was genuine, however not at what Hermione would’ve guessed. She absently noted to ask Draco what was it that he had with the unicorns, since it seemed to be a recurring motif in this odd tale of theirs.

“Yes, I was intrigued as well! Not only a grown man, but a wealthy grown man and you know how wealth corrupts the heart, so it must be some hell of a person to gain a relationship with the unicorns trusting enough to allow him to play around with their magic. I mean, I obviously couldn’t believe such a preposterous thing, but… well, I believe now!” She laughed gaily, nodding her thanks to the waitress who just brought and put down their coffees and muffins.

Ginny was so delighted to see her usually calm and collected friend, always rational and somewhat drab, to be so giggly and animated. She was literally glowing and the sight was even more mesmerizing than Ginny could fathom.

“In any case, he mentioned that there were experiments with pregnant mares that birthed some interesting outcomes that I might be interested in. He advised me to write to this Orm fellow and I did, and the man was all manners and good-will. So, after relating my own personal story in one particularly lengthy owl, I received back just a small parcel – a vial and a note to contact my Healer. However, I didn’t even have time to think it over and find it awfully strange when Healer Parks Flooed me, saying that he had received an owl from Lider Orm, stating that I was now in the possession of a whole vial filled with the milk of a pregnant unicorn mare.”

“No,” Ginny breathed slowly, now disbelief truly gracing her face. “Milk of a unicorn mare?”

Pregnant unicorn mare, Ginny! Do you understand how absolutely impossible, unfathomable and delirious I felt that evening, holding that vial filled with that glistening opalescent liquid? I almost fainted from excitement, I’m telling you. The researcher in me demanded to analyze the substance instantly, but,” she sighed and shook her head. “Parks said the milk had a small expiration period and if I wanted this, this, I had to use it that evening. I know I acted a bit rashly and perhaps a wiser witch would’ve suspected everything about this Orm person, but… oh, Ginny, after all these years of being… barren,” she whispered the last word, looking around to make sure no one heard her, as if it was nothing less than the true name of a new Dark Lord. “In any case, I know I acted somewhat foolishly, but I just couldn’t let the opportunity slip away…”

“Oh, no, Hermione, sweetie, you did the right thing! That Orm person must have been a good man if the unicorns trusted him this much and you deserve this,” Ginny hurried to assure her, clasping the hand of the other girl and giving it a reassuring squeeze. “You deserve this. And look! It all ended well. You’re healthy and now there’s a tiny Weasley growing in your belly! It couldn’t have been better! How did my brother react when you told him about it?”

Hermione rolled her eyes prissily and pinched her brownie. “Oh, you know Ron. He sputtered, flailed his arms, turned red as a beet… but by the time he was coherent enough for this, I’d already had my wicked way with him in the broom closet. He melted and forgot everything this morning when I told him he would have to stop sulking because our baby was not going to see his sour face when she comes out. He toppled off his chair.”

The girls giggled and dove back into the conversation, skimming every possible baby topic they could come up with. By the time the coffee was gone, the two ancient friends were giddy with excitement and running late to other engagements. Bidding a farewell to Hermione on the street, Ginny swerved back into the coffee shop, just in time to grab the very last muffin. Tucking it into her bag, she decided to pay one Draco Malfoy a visit and express her endless gratitude with a blueberry muffin.
*** fourth wish *** by Lirie Halliwell
*** fourth wish ***




Ginny knew very well that it had been her idea to promise Malfoy to hurry up with her remaining wishes. He’d deserved it after performing the impossible for her brother and sister-in-law, but as time passed she found herself lagging on the wish ideas. Nothing worthy of his obvious talents had come up. That just made him become more insufferable and unbearably pestering. So she did the only thing she knew to do - she’d decided to resort to good old-fashioned avoidance techniques. Instead of having a lunch at the cafeteria as always, Ginny called on a busy friend whom she rarely got to see and who she’d been forced into owl correspondence with, and demanded a lunch date in Diagon Alley.

Seeing as Luna Lovegood’s office was barely two blocks away from the appointed café, she had to acquiesce or face the wrath of a Weasley woman, something that even good-natured Luna knew not to bring down upon herself. Upon watching the redhead across the table at the “Lady of Shallot” café, however, Luna pointed out that the girl was clearly looking like shite.

“Yeah, so perhaps I am more likely to faint and snore you to death than sic a killer magpie on you, but I really needed to not stay at the hospital today and you were the easiest to guilt into a lunch date,” Ginny replied shortly, picking up the menu parchment and scanning it.

“Still overworking?” Luna inquired inattentively, focusing on her grumbling stomach too much to sense the death-glare searing holes in her menu.

“I just feel wrong when I don’t put in a fifteen hour shift. Some people have suggested that I visit some Head Healers about that.”

“So, have you decided on any new wishes yet? I find it very intriguing how Malfoy keeps using unicorn magic to do your bidding. I always knew he was a Houlin.”

“A Ho—never mind. Lun, I came out here to avoid anything to do with Draco Malfoy and our genie situation. Please?”

Lazily cocking an eyebrow, the blonde continued scanning the menu. “And here I thought you came out because you missed me. What, is he getting more persistent?”

“The man’s ability to annoy the living daylights out of me resembles a bloody cockroach. Unsquashable!” Ginny bristled scathingly, her expression mirroring her inner irritation.

“That is indeed a gift. Hadn’t he transformed into the angel of benevolence in yours eyes after Hermione, and that little girl? I am surprised at your inclination to clutch to the old prejudice so tightly, Ginny,” the blonde noted, her slightly protruding eyes gliding dreamily away in search of the waitress.

Ginny huffed. “I am not clutching to anything. Intentionally. He had transformed and I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, even. For all of twenty minutes before he turned into a toad again.”

“Well, I don’t see what your problem is. You have four more wishes to go before you have to pay up and the agreement is over. Why don’t you just wish and get it over with?”

Ginny loved how her friend managed to make so much sense while appearing to be mostly out of it. She sighed, putting the menu down and rubbing her forehead. “Not as easy as you would think. A part of me wants to ask for things I couldn’t even dream about right now – like my own clinic or that little cottage I told you about at Ottery – but then I know he would find some way to warp it up, and besides that, it wouldn’t be really mine if he did it for me. But then on the other hand, wishing for four cookies just seems like an awful waste.”

“So what are you planning on doing? Because from where I’m sitting, he is this close to putting you under Imperius and forcing you to make those wishes.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t put it past him,” the redhead mumbled and after a second thought, added, “Don’t give him any ideas.” She smiled feebly at the young girl who came to take their orders and turned back to Luna once she was gone with newly flooding exasperation. “Maybe I should flee the country!”

“Oh, Ginny… he has you followed. Be sure of that.”

Ginny’s eyes widened subtly and she took to nervously scanning the other patrons. The idea would’ve been dismissed as ridiculous, but remembering how he began to accidentally appear out of nowhere in the most random places, she couldn’t bring herself to shun the possibility completely.

“Alright, the thought of Malfoy following me might very well drive me into a frenzied paranoia attack, so can we please change the subject?”

“I still don’t understand why you’re so worried about Malfoy anyway,” Luna mumbled evenly, checking her chicken salad for Lilliputian Pygmy Puffs.

“Why?” Ginny echoed with a tinge of incredulity. “Why, Luna? He’s Malfoy. He’s a former Slytherin and a former Death-Eater.”

“Now you’re just nitpicking. He worked for the Order.”

“Details. He is also smug, arrogant and insufferable, and hadn’t grown out of taunting me or my family. It’s like a twelve year old is trapped in a man’s body!”

Luna evened her with a long look, almost fully focusing on her friend, which caused Ginny slight discomfort. Finally breaking the stare, Luna sighed and returned to her salad. “Gin, he is just pulling your proverbial pigtails. And frankly, I find it strange that you don’t understand that.”

“Understand what?” Ginny asked around a bite of her bacon sandwich, confusion lacing her voice.

It seems the insinuations went over her head, and the blonde decided not to pursue the subject, simply saying, “I don’t know. He seems different now. Nice even.”

Ginny just blinked at her friend, surprised. Beginning to feel odd about direction of this conversation, she decided to end it, stating conclusively, “He just rubs me the wrong way, I guess.”

A small, vaguely suggestive smiled crept onto Luna’s face. “Sometimes when someone rubs you the wrong way, the friction can be stimulating.”

The redhead choked on her pumpkin juice, sputtering and coughing into a napkin while her friend patted her back in an attempt to soothe the windpipes. Finally coming down and seeing that Luna was not about to elaborate willingly, Ginny spoke up. “Is there something I should be aware of?”

Luna turned to face her, her gaze washed with that eternal absentmindedness, but there was a small tint to her visage, which only deepened when she drew a sigh. “Nothing in particular. Just him in general. Again.”

“Zabini?” Ginny asked carefully, her face shifting with sympathy. Her blonde friend had the utmost misfortune of hiring Blaise Zabini as one of her journalists for the Quibbler and developing a highly unwanted crush on the black wizard.

Luna nodded and shrugged. “I know this is awful, but I can’t help it. It’s his fault, really. Why did he have to be so charming on top of being sickeningly handsome?”

“To torture woman-kind, obviously,” Ginny attempted a joke, but Luna responded with a grimace, and she smiled apologetically.

“Bloody philanderer,” Luna muttered in what must have been the most bitter tone in her lexicon, but what actually resembled a more blurry indifference to the outer world.

“Well… Luna, it’s your paper. Can’t you… you know…”

“Fire him? I tried. He threatened to sue me for sexual harassment if I so much as transfer him offices.”

Ginny frowned. “Well, this is ridiculous. He is the one who’s shamelessly flirting with the other employees and disturbing the work place.”

“I’ve mentioned that to him.”

“And?”

“He said it is not harassment when he’s improving the work conditions. According to him, he is contributing to the warm and friendly environment of the office, which prompts more efforts from the other workers and finally leads to a steady increase in our sales,” Luna recited gloomily, at the end glancing at Ginny and smiling at her disbelief. “He proved it with graphs and pie-charts.”

“I bet he did,” Ginny mumbled, still stunned by the workings of a Slytherin mind. “Well, then, there’s only one thing left for you to do,” Ginny stated conclusively, watching Luna’s eyes fill with slight hope. “You have to sell the paper and move as far as Edinburgh.”

“Oh,” the blonde breathed disappointedly. “I kind of hoped you would suggest kidnapping, involuntary incarcerations and something bordering on rape.”

“Luna!” Ginny gasped, shocked that her pensive and soft-spoken friend could think of such things.

“Well, he really is bloody handsome!”

She pinned her with a critical eye, but broke into a pained smile after a moment. “Aren’t we just a couple of misfits?” she laughed, raising her glass to toast.

“Speak for yourself,” Luna muttered, refusing to toast. “I’m going to do something about it.”

Ginny watched her friend sceptically over the rim of her glass, trying to decipher what the former Ravenclaw might have meant. Upon receiving a falsely innocent smile, the redhead evened her with a glare. “Luna Lovegood, I forbid you to rape that man!”



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



“First - a stork, and now you want me to play the goddamn Cupid?”

“Well, I wouldn’t say exactly—‘

I would,” Draco shot her, pinning her with an irritated glance. “If the previous wish was insane, this one is simply demeaning. And while I can go along with ‘insane’ now and then, there is no chance in blazing hell I am going to go with ‘demeaning’. And in case you were wondering, there is no bloody chance you are dressing me in diapers. Make another wish.”

“Malfoy, as far as I’m concerned, I made my wish, whether you accept it or not,” Ginny replied, keeping the amusement out of her slightly condescendingly impatient tone. “Now it is your problem when and how to perform it.”

“I do not do diapers.”

“Please,” she rolled her eyes dismissively. “It is not like I’m asking you to bear Hermione’s child for her. Diapers are completely unnecessary,” she concluded with a smile. “And the fact that you keep bringing them up makes me wonder…”

Draco narrowed his eyes at her and hissed. “Your feeble sense of humour is highly unappreciated right now, Weasley.”

“Well, of course not by you. I bet if Ron or Hermione were present, I would have gotten at the very least a chuckle,” Ginny quipped with a serious undertone in her light words. “Come now, Malfoy, I don’t ask you to end world hunger or peace on earth—“

“That would’ve been preferable,” he grumbled under his breath, plopping down into an armchair and pinching the bridge of his nose. This particular surprise visit of hers to his apartment, though not the first, was becoming more and more contributory to his migraines. Almost without any solid hope, he reminded himself to not be tempted by a blueberry pastry allowing her entrance to his house ever again. Though, he figured she most probably resembled a vampire – allowed entrance once, she would forever be welcomed in his home. He mentally kicked himself and his muffin issues.

“Well… yes, I guess for some, but—she deserves to be happy!” Ginny continued on, completely disregarding his upcoming headache. “And, how difficult could it possibly be for a… man—“ – she sufficed after an awkward pause, finding it odd to relate the word to Malfoy. He smirked weakly in return – “—of your ability and status to find a nice bloke for a nice girl?”

“If the girl’s name starts with an ‘L’ and ends with an ‘Ovegood’, then very, very difficult,” Draco grumbled. “I do not socialize in circles that would consider Luna Lovegood as a – oh gods, I feel sick just saying this – ‘a nice girl’. And even if they did, my social circles chew ‘nice girls’ up for brunch! Obviously they spit them out because of the calories, but it is the principle that counts.”

“Malfoy, you’re being ridiculous and I refuse to believe there is not a single good man in your social circle!”

“There is! But I don’t find Lovegood the least bit attractive,” he barked irritably, involuntarily sticking his nose up. “That’s it. I’m not setting her up.”

“I don’t want you to set her up. I want you to find love for her,” Ginny injected chirpily, grinning her bright little heart out. “Come on, Malfoy! You can do miracles, for Merlin’s sake! Why can’t you do this one too?”

He fell silent for a while, evening her with a long hard look. Finally, he sighed. “It is one thing to meddle with the law, some destroyed skin tissues, and even problematic fertility is not that big of a deal when you know certain things. But… Ginny, I can’t meddle with matters of the heart.”

“But—“

“No,” he shook his head, his voice as gentle as he could afford it to be in sight of her growing disappointment. “I cannot plant feelings in one’s heart. And I sure as hell can’t foresee the future, figure out the exact type of man that Lovegood could fall in love with and that could love her back, and set them up to meet at exactly the same place and the same time. Sorry to disappoint you – and I never thought I’d ever be forced to say this – but I’m not a god.”

The redhead’s eyes shimmered for a moment as she pouted. It appeared to be she was giving up when she sighed and Draco even allowed a fake sympathetic expression to grace his features to further appease her. As if.

“Malfoy, this is just a simple little wish! I’m sure it would take you nothing at all to achieve the desired outcome,” she prattled on, trying to sweet-talk him into the idea, her voice smooth and innocent as honey. She assumed her presence on his turf did nothing to disadvantage her, as it seemed to be he was slowly caving in under the pressure of her will. And his migraine.

Draco grunted loudly, dropping all façade of gentle coaxing as he smacked himself on the face, dragging his hand down. He was forced to face the woman’s stubbornness for the first time and he was beginning to have the inkling of an idea that he wasn’t going to emerge victorious out of this battle. “You want me to set Loony Lovegood up. With a bloke! There’s not a person in the world I hate enough except your brother. And he’s married! Of course, I could—“

No,” she barked instantly before that train of thought developed any further.

He looked up at her in surprise for a moment, then pursed his lips crossly. “I was obviously joking.”

“You have a twisted sense of humour.”

You have a twisted sense of humour! You want me to fix the love lives of all of your loved ones! What next? Would you like me to spice up your parents’ sex life as well, perhaps?”

She stared at him in silence for a long moment, her expression as placid as the freckles allowed, before breaking into a disgusted grimace and furiously shaking her head and her hands, trying to dislodge the most horrendous mental images. “I hate you,” she squeaked finally, squeezing her eyes shut and burying her face in her hands.

“Ha,” he exclaimed only half-heartedly, not really feeling at his best since the images briefly visited him as well. “Look, I just—I don’t want to get involved in these things anymore! You want jewellery? I’ll get you jewellery. Houses, trips around the world, magical artefacts, historical relics, financial support to whatever medical thing-a-ma-bob you might come up with, I’ll gladly fork over any amount of money, but… Ginny, don’t make me go through countless idiots just to find the right one for your friend!” He burst dejectedly, and he sounded vaguely pleading even to his own ears.

Ginny frowned at him, dissatisfied that he was slipping through her fingers and using pleas to persuade her. She could have dealt with an irritated Malfoy, even a smug or an arrogant one, but she didn’t think her heart would allow her to pressure a pleading Malfoy. The phenomenon was so fantastically rare that it had become an equivalent of endangered species, or an urban myth. This, however, put her in a disadvantage.

“Oh, but I really wanted you to do this,” she almost pouted; only halfway realizing how ridiculous it must have sounded. “I… she’s a good person, and she deserves someone special, someone who would be good for her. Someone who she could talk to without being tempted into socially prohibited actions. Someone kind and lovely and sweet… someone unlike that bastard Zabini who shags everything in a skirt and then turns around to flirt with her and accuse her of sexual harassment!” She emphasized her words by smacking her knee, long ago drown in her own ranting and somewhat overlooking who she was talking to.

“What?” Draco glanced at her, his interest imperceptibly peaked.

“Huh? Oh, no I was just babbling.”

“Did you mention Blaise, by any chance?”

“What? Oh, yes, Zabini. He works with Luna at the paper,” she supplied absently, leaning her head onto the backrest of the couch she occupied and drawing a heavy sigh, not noticing the subtly shaping smirk on the lips of her conversant.

“That would make Lovegood his boss, I presume, right? She owes the paper.”

“Yes, that would,” Ginny replied, sighing again. Then, noticing the tone of his voice, she pulled her head up and glanced at him with confusion. “Why do you ask?”

“Oh, no particular reason. Just sorting through the social ladder in my head, trying to bring down the number of candidates,” he replied airily, gazing off out of the window, his lips still curved in an unnerved manner and his migraine apparently gone.

Her eyes grew big instantly and she couldn’t help but smile. “So you’ll do it? You’ll find love for Luna?”

He looked back at her, both his brows cocked as if in mild surprise. “Well, of course I will. You made a wish, didn’t you? And your wish is my command.”



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



MALFOY!” The deafening bellow of one fiercely enraged Ginny Weasley thundered through Draco’s apartment, promptly followed by a mighty slamming of his front door. “Where the hell are you, you sorry excuse for human flesh?”

“Err, the kitchen?” A hesitate voice carried from the mentioned direction and the fair-haired head of one Draco Malfoy peeked from around the doorframe to look at the furious redhead.

She spotted him, her own expression too livid to notice the confusion marring his furrowed brows, and stomped into the kitchen, shrugging out of her coat and tossing both it and her purse on the couch. “Exactly how many gallons of alcohol did you consume prior to your execution of my wish?”

“Well, personally I didn’t drink, but Blaise seemed to need all the courage Uncle Ogden could offer him,” he replied simply, a smirk tugging at the side of his lips. Most of his attention was focused on his dinner as he salted the pasta and stirred the sauce, but he chanced a glance at her and was unpleasantly surprised to see the pretty face of Ginny Weasley scowling menacingly back at him. “What?”

“Zabini! You set her up with Zabini! He is the bloody reason I asked a bloke for Luna - to get her mind off of that git!” she barked, fighting the urge to physically attack him. She would have done so gladly – the idea of causing Malfoy as much bodily harm as she could muster was beyond tempting – but that desire was thwarted by the fact that he was cooking. The kitchen was a sacred place in the Burrow and Ginny had learned to take it with her. No violence was ever allowed in the kitchen, unless by her mother’s wooden spoon.

“I apologize. I was not aware of any limitations,” he spoke inattentively, as if reciting a well known monologue. “Unfortunately, the company allows no returns and no refunds. How awful for you. Good day.”

Ginny growled again and stomped her foot. “I can’t believe that out of all the people that you know, you set her up with bloody Zabini! Out of all the awful people you could’ve chosen, you just had to pick the one that was absolutely worst for her!”

He rolled his eyes dramatically, his hands grasping a handful of grated cheese and tossing it into the sauce skillet. He clapped the remains of the cheese off his palms and evened her with a look. “What makes you think Blaise is the absolute worst choice for her? Do you even know the man?”

Ginny hesitated for a brief moment, however not nearly enough to cool her temper down. “I know of him, and that is even more than enough! He’s a philanderer!”

“He’s just searching for that special one,” he countered smoothly, his words oozing with sarcasm.

“Searching incessantly, I heard,” Ginny grunted, folding her arms across her chest and watching him as he turned to lower the heat underneath his pasta and season it. “He is smug, and arrogant, and completely not her type.”

“Did she tell you that? Because from what I gathered from Blaise they had a lovely dinner,” Draco contradicted once again, fishing a spaghetti string out of the pan and tasting it. “And an even lovelier breakfast,” he added smugly, quirking his eyebrows and sucking the noodle in with a whistle.

“Urgh!” she growled again, rolling her hands into furious fists. “This means nothing! I asked you to find ‘love’ for her, not ‘lust’!”

“Who says you can’t have both? She’s young, let her live a little.”

“You can’t have both! There has to be respect in order to develop love, and there is absolutely no respect in lust! What you’ve done is just set her up for more headache and heartache,” Ginny bristled, pacing the wide kitchen and flailing her hands to stress the issue.

“That is ridiculous, Ginny, you can’t possibly believe that where there is respect there cannot be lust,” Draco blurted out, turning away from the sauce and propping his hip against the counter for support as he stared at her with mild disbelief. “You’re saying if I lust after someone, then I obviously don’t respect them? That is nonsense!”

“Maybe in your world it is, but in the real world love is not caused by hyperactive hormones and primal instincts to scratch an itch,” she bit out, feeling the tips of her ears begin to burn as the blush threatened to overwhelm her face with scarlet sheen. “Love comes from friendship, respect… animalistic impulses have nothing to do with this!”

“That only goes to show that you have never been in love yourself, Weasley,” he stated simply with a smile, and turned back to his spaghetti.

Ginny’s eyes widened, whether in shock or in shame she wasn’t sure, but she sputtered indignantly nonetheless. “I beg your pardon! I know perfectly well what love is—“

“Of course you do,” he acquiesced quickly. “You know the love of a parent, of a brother, the love of friends and of little sick children who look up to you every time you come to visit. But you have never been in love, Ginny. You’re a grown woman, you should know the difference by now.”

“That is simply not true. I have been in… love,” she finished hesitantly as something within her swooshed silently, and she couldn’t understand what it was.

“You can’t count Potter,” Draco laughed out, seemingly highly amused by the fact that she even considered it. “He was a sod and you were a baby. No, Ginny,” he shook his head a little, still concentrating on the noodles. “You have no solid idea as to what I’m talking about.”

Ginny fell silent for some time, her brows furrowing deeper into a frown as his words circled her mind. Was it true? Was there something like that out there, which combined both the respect and friendship of love with primeval urges and uncontrollable physical attraction of lust? Was – Merlin forbids – Malfoy right?

Catching herself on the last thought, Ginny shook her head and squeezed her eyes shut, chasing it away.

“This has nothing to do with me! This is about you setting my friend up with your friend, fully knowing that she could only get hurt from the situation! That was an awful and unfair thing to do!”

Draco sighed heavily, turning the heat off on both of his pans and turning to look at her with slightly weary eyes. “You asked for love for her, right? I supplied.”

“Again, you think—“

“Blaise was always a closed person in Hogwarts,” Draco spoke up suddenly, hushing her with a glance. “He never took much interest in anything – studies were easy for him, so were the girls and everything else he had to do. Most of his existence, ever since I knew him, was grey. Until one bloody evening he went completely off his broomstick and started collecting butterbeer corks. Guess why?”

Ginny couldn’t respond. If this was a lie, then Draco could act up sincerity better than the greatest of actors. If this was the truth, things were shifting to reveal a very different picture. She just blinked as he continued.

“Fresh out of Hogwarts – we’re rich, handsome, smart. He rarely talks about his cork collection; I am afraid to ask in fear of discovering things I prefer to stay oblivious to. Years pass and he suddenly takes a job at some paper, not bothering to divulge anything about it, and I in my turn consider it a hobby and don’t bother to inquire further. He begins to change, though, and seems to be developing a crush on his boss. I advise him to ask her out and when that falls through because of her prejudice, I advise to make her jealous – yes, I never claimed to not be a petty snake – but it doesn’t work as well. He refuses to state her name despite my constant badgering and I’ve no idea as to who this girl might be, until… now. I’m not about to apologize for setting this up, Ginny.”

Ginny continued to stare, stunned into silence by what was revealed to her. She didn’t want to believe it, preferring to dismiss it as a lie of a bored snake, but she couldn’t forget his words. .

“So, he starts working with her, trying to get close, but she is stubborn and infuriating and just so bloody annoying at times—“

She glanced up cautiously, surprised to see vague tints of pink gracing his cheeks. He quickly turned away, beginning to busy himself again with the dinner – drain the noodles, stir the sauce one last time – and only turned back to face her when she had moved slightly away, towards the door, apparently planning on leaving. He caught her with his eyes, arching a question brow.

“Well, I… just wanted to leave you to your dinner. I’ll let myself out.”

“No, you won’t, you’re staying,” he stated simply, bringing out two plates.

“Oh, no, I couldn’t. I just barged in and, well, this is highly inappropriate—‘

“That is exactly why you’re obliged to stay. Compensate all that screaming with your company,” he continued to speak plainly, logically, as he forked the noodles onto the two plates.

Ginny snorted in amusement. “I would assume my company would be considered more of a punishment than compensation.”

“Well, that is why I’m planning to drink,” he replied with a charming grin and poured out the sauce. “There’s a bottle of red wine in that lovely cupboard to your right. Could you…?”

Ginny hesitated, glancing at the door, her watch and finally at the steaming dinner and a charming smile of her companion. “I don’t know…”

“Weasley, don’t make me hurt you,” he suddenly said with narrowed eyes, his suave tone replaced by traces of annoyance. “Get the goddamn wine,” he ordered lightly and grabbed the two plates, walking out of the kitchen and heading towards the dining area.

Ginny smiled, hesitated another few moments, scratching her head, and finally caved in. She rampaged through the previously mentioned cupboard, retrieving the wine up the corkscrew off the counter before joining Draco Malfoy for dinner.
End Notes:
The following line was actually taken from my horoscope on the day that I wrote the scene, so it should be credited to whoever writes horoscopes on Yahoo.

"Sometimes when someone rubs you the wrong way, the friction can be stimulating."

*** fifth wish *** by Lirie Halliwell
*** fifth wish ***





Feathery notes of the flute flittered around the ballroom, dutifully following the minstrel’s clear voice in their intonation and melody. Couples twirled around the chamber, following the patterns of an ancient dance, leaving the people breathless and exhilarated. The room - a clash of colorful fabric and rainbow shades – was filled with the atmosphere of festivity. Wine and mead flown freely into glasses and goblets, and the sparkling fountain of champagne in the front of the room underlaid the general atmosphere of the evening – excitement and frivolity.

Ginny found it all excruciatingly boring.

It wasn’t like she had anything particularly against the annual Ministry Ball, it was simply the fact that she found it utterly hypocritical to be having it in honor of Harry Potter when throughout the duration of the silently raging war, the Ministry always been ready to play mudslinging games in his and the Order’s direction. And now, watching the officials make blundering fools of themselves in incessant attempts to praise and glorify the name of the ‘Boy-Who-Lived-And-Lived-Again-Only-To-Die-While-Crossing-The-Street’ ,made her cynicism flourish and her eyes to roll. Alright, so perhaps she did have something specifically against this event.

“Having the time of your life, I assume.”

The sound of that sleek voice didn’t surprise her in the least. Malfoy had developed the strange ability of appearing out of nowhere, trying to give her a fright or surprise her, just to see her face grow warmer and her eyes flash with recognition and irritation. She didn’t plan on giving him such satisfaction anymore and had learned to anticipate his arrival by the slight shift of scents in the air, the soft sound of swishing silk robes, or the subtle tautening bracing her stomach whenever he came in close proximities.

“As you can see,” she replied jadedly, finishing what was left of her champagne and placing the flute on the table beside her. “I don’t think they could have managed to make this any more dull or tiresome if they tried their best.”

“You underestimate our mighty Ministry, Ginny,” Draco Malfoy stated with a smile, sliding in before her with a fresh flute of champagne. “They could’ve prohibited alcohol.”

Ginny caught sight of him for the first time the entire evening and found herself almost speechless. She never was the one to appreciate a man’s beauty. Yes, she found some bloke handsome on occasion, but it was never something to fuss or ponder about. Some men were handsome, some were less, and it really made no difference to her one way or another. But she had never encountered before a man who was not just handsome in a masculine way that simply made you smile, but beautiful in a way that made you stare.

Of course she couldn’t allow herself to be caught staring at a Malfoy at a public event, so she took the proffered drink, slightly nodding her gratitude and turned away to scan the chamber for the tenth time. The sight of him was however deeply engraved into her memory and though she tried to push it aside, she still saw the expensive fabric of his robe that did nothing to hide the well sculpted figure beneath it, the crisply white dress shirt standing out against the black of his robes, the freshly shaven face and that smiling invitation for a discreetly amusing discussion of the things wrong the Ministry could and would undertake.

The quickening pace of her heart, however, suggested that she was not in the mood for a lighthearted banter. This thought only made her slightly more aggravated and she couldn’t stop the urge to scowl into her drink at her own silliness. That was just Malfoy, this was the champagne talking and she was greatly overreacting.

“Are you all right?” his voice broke through her self-berating and she glanced to see him watching her with mild concern. “You seem somewhat… flustered.”

Her blush deepened. “Nonsense,” she dismissed nonetheless and turned away. “Oh, look. There’s Oliver Wood. He was at Hogwarts with us way back when.”

Draco followed her gesture, oozing blunt disinterest. “Yes, it appears to be so. I see he gained some weight. What a shame.”

“What are you talking about, Malfoy?” Ginny frowned at him, slightly surprised, slightly amused. “The man looks better than ever. His time with the Geneva Gargoyles did him wonders.”

Draco sniffed subtly and turned to look away, not bothering to reply. His eyes skimmed the ballroom without any interest while he took small sips from his drink. Finally, when she didn’t speak again and he realized that propriety would frown upon such a long pause between two conversants, he plucked a topic at random, a topic that was always a safe ground to return to in the company of Ginny Weasley. “Thought of anything wish-worthy yet? I am not getting any younger, you know, and neither are my unicorns.”

Ginny had to stifle the desire to admonish the fact that he had multiple “unicorns” with her own drink. Making sure she was composed again and gave him a long look and shook her head sadly. “Not quite yet.”

“No?” Draco echoed surprised. “Not even some cousin of yours you would like me to impregnate or your cleaning lady who is in need of her own personal Prince Charming? Are you sure?”

“No, but I will make sure to pass it on to Magda that you’re interested.”

“Who is Magda?” Draco frowned, suddenly lost.

“My cleaning lady. She’s sixty three and still has all her teeth, which apparently is quite an accomplishment in her country. I will tell her you were interested in her love life. Maybe could even set you up for a coffee, hmm? What do you think?”

Curling his lips into a pleasant smile, Draco tutted dryly. “As happy as I am for your cleaning lady and her teeth, I do not think that would be necessary.”

“That’s a shame. Magda is a really nice person,” Ginny replied solemnly, absently twirling the champagne flute in her hand. “And reportedly quite feisty in the bedroom,” she added with a saucy wink to which Draco blanched and sputtered slightly.

“Reported by whom?” he demanded incredulously.

“By Magda herself. She’s quite chatty.” Ginny pulled a face and took a sip from her drink.

Draco seemed like he was about to say something, but instantly thought better of it and preferred the silence. After a moment he spoke again, slightly diverting the conversation. “And what about your own personal Prince Charming, Miss Weasley?”

“Buried six feet under and currently is being blasphemed by those ministry officials,” Ginny responded offhandedly, gesturing at a group of politicians who gathered about them a hefty flock of reporters and all boasted for being Harry Potter’s most avid supporters during the war.

Draco’s expression instantaneously hardened and he scoffed. “Please, Weasley, don’t tell me you’re still not over your stupid crush for the bespectacled wonder. I thought better of you.”

Ginny glanced back at Draco and noticed the subtle change, her brow line furrowing in the most delicate way to express her confusion regarding the sudden hostile voice. He wished not to explain himself and simply rolled his eyes and looked away. Dismissing it as the infamous Malfoy bipolarity, Ginny shrugged. “Oh no, don’t be ridiculous. I loved Harry, but the boy was as dense as the padding on Pansy Parkinson’s push-up bra.”

Draco followed her inclination towards the sight of the Parkinson girl sporting more cleavage than she could ever carry naturally with her willowy figure. He almost cringed at the phantom back pains.

“No, I just meant that in a nauseatingly perfect version of my life, he would’ve fitted flawlessly,” she spoke again, her brows still holding the slight furrow of musing. “But seeing as I am not some badly written two-dimensional character in an overly-exerted novel, if I tried shoving him in as the last piece of the puzzle, I most likely would’ve ended breaking his kneecaps.”

Draco took it in silently, his lips pursed in concentration while he listened. When she paused, he nodded absentmindedly and asked, “Can I gloat? I know he is dead and all, so I was wondering if it would seem entirely too inappropriate of me if I gloated openly at your words.”

His words were inappropriate and Ginny felt a momentary sting somewhere in her stomach, but he cocked his eyebrows expectantly and the image of Draco Malfoy asking permission to gloat suddenly appeared so comical to her that she had to break into a smile. “Yes, you can. Just don’t do it too loudly.”

That was all Draco needed. He smirked into his champagne, took a sip and cast an overly smug glance around the room. Then glanced back at Ginny and smirked again.

“You are enjoying yourself, aren’t you?”

“I know that he is dead and this is overly childish, but yes. Yes, I am.”

Ginny laughed shortly and shook her head.

After another smug look around the room and some more self-satisfied smirking, Draco continued the conversation. “So if it is not a nauseatingly perfect version of your life and no sugarcoated Prince Charming, who would it be then?”

Ginny evened him with a long gaze and at some point felt her stomach go thump when Draco smirked at her again, this time for completely different reasons. Clearing her throat and chasing away silly thoughts, she shrugged. “No one, I am afraid. I have never met a single prototype of such a creature.”

Draco tutted, regarding her somewhat pityingly. “Ginny, all work and no play makes Healer Weasley a very dry spinster.”

“Yes, I know. But I’m sure I’m not the first woman ever to reach the highly desired status of Spinster at the ripe age of twenty six.”

“Of course not,” he assured her immediately. “You’ve reached that status when you were merely seventeen and have been holding the title since.”

Ginny glared at him witheringly. “You are a horrible person.”

“Thank you, I do try,” he shot her his most charming smile and, shaking his head, beckoned her to take a look around herself. “But look, Ginny. We are at a ministry ball, where the elite of British wizarding society is present—“

“—and I am talking to you, what is wrong with me?—“

“—the crème de la crème, if you may,” he continued, ignoring her pointedly. “Look how they fawn over each other, praise, compliment, blush, the fire in their eyes blazing when they ensnare another mindless victim with their charms. Look how they dance around each other in these social circumstances. See how they conquer and reign with a swish of a fan or a bat of an eyelash. Do you not see the magic of it all?”

She did, in fact. It was hard not to see it, especially for a fairy-tale loving girl such as herself, the way the dresses floated in perfect circles when the ladies danced, the way the gentlemen bowed and moved as graceful as the swans, the way an entire conversation could pass between two with such subtle hints that they could converse openly, almost obscenely in the presence of friends with them having no ideas. She saw it all and after years of actually belonging to this circle, moving just as gracefully and wearing just as beautiful robes, she still at times felt like a little girl in ragged cloths staring through a window at a fairy tale.

She pushed the silly thoughts out and glanced up at Draco once again, her expression wry. “Do you have a point? If not, than I would need another drink if you plan on continuing in the same fashion.”

“My point is,” Draco stressed the last word, slightly annoyed at her lack of wanted glazed-eye reaction. “You can have them all at your feet. Woman wishing to be you, men wishing to be with you… you can have all the men in the entire wizarding society frolic around you and stumble over their own feet in their attempt to please you.”

Ginny paused, staring at him with her eyes widened. “Wait, now, Draco. Manipulating a few chosen personas to do your bidding for my wishes is one thing. But having the entire society dance to your flute? Forgive me if I remain skeptic.”

“Not at all. But it is possible nonetheless.”

Ginny looked at the ballroom again. She shook her head. “Nice try, Malfoy. But I’m not that vain.”

“Oh, come off it, we’re all that vain, you just convince yourself otherwise,” Draco jeered, eyeing her carefully with a subtly tilted head. “You can make a temporary wish – for a month or a day, I don’t care. But do this, Ginny. Not because it would save anyone’s life or accomplish someone else’s dream, but because you deserve to have some fun. You remember ‘fun’, don’t you?”

Ginny rolled her eyes at him, a small amused smile gracing her lips. “Why are you so adamant on getting me a date? What if something happens and I’d lose that precious chaste blood that you need so badly for your experiment?”

Draco paused at her words, thinking. He seem to have momentarily forgotten what the entire deal was about and let his inner bred instincts to seduce and allure to cloud his judgment. But after a moment thought, he shook his head. “Not a chance. You are uptight about everything else in your life. You will be anal retentive regarding this.”

Ginny scrunched up her nose in distaste. “Ew, Malfoy. True, but ew.”

He only smiled in return. “So? Are you doing this? Are you ready to prove me wrong in my claims that you have a perpetual stick up your—“ He bent over and swiftly glanced at her behind before continuing. “—lovely derriere?”

Ginny shot him a brief glare as she discreet tried to cover her rear with a hand, but after a moment of lips-pursing and sulking, she sighed. “Temporary, you say?”

“And completely reversible, yes,” Draco assured her with suaveness of an evil mastermind.

Ginny took another sip of her drink, eyeing the ballroom one last time. Her eyes landed on previously discussed Oliver Wood and she nervously rolled her shoulders, still looking at him as she spoke her wish, “I wish for the five most eligible bachelors in this ballroom to become completely besotted with me and vehemently woo me for the duration of the upcoming week.” She glanced up at Draco once again and wondered where had gone all his blabbering about not being able to control human emotions he had spewed on her the previous week.

But he was smiling half a smile at her and her stomach made a dull thump sound again and Ginny realized that she really didn’t care.


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



Dashing into her office, Ginny slammed the door behind herself and leaned heavily on it, panting and cussing under her breath. A moment later the frosted glass darkened, outlining the silhouette of a humongous beast. The beast banged on the door, sending it rattling wildly as he tried to open it and get inside. Ginny’s heart throbbed, her eyes wide with raw panic as she scanned the office. The door rattled again and she found herself growling.

“Sod off, Smith! I have no interest whatsoever in your or your bloody giant teddy bear! Get out of here before I summon security!”

She maneuvered herself with some difficulty and successfully managed to lock the door without allowing Zacharias Smith a foot in. Exhaling a puff of air, she glared at the outline of the giant teddy bear and when Smith moved to bang on the door again, she hammered right back.

“But, Ginny!” Came the voice of the former Hufflepuff, laced with traces of slight whining. “Think about our children!”

There are no children!” Ginny all but shrieked hysterically. “And there never will be! No children, no white picket fences and no bloody Volkswagen minivans! How demented are you supposed to be to suggest all that within first five minutes of meeting me?”

“I’m just a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid of going after it,” was the stoic, somewhat sniffling reply from the other side.

“And I a woman of similar disposition and if you do not remove yourself and your bear from behind my door, I will set a restraining order as something that I want! GET OUT!”

“But… Mr. Muffkins!” Zachariah protested meekly.

Ginny groaned and screamed loudly, her fingers curling into dangerous claws. “If you do not leave immediately, I will shove that six foot bear up your scrawny arse!”

That seemed to have done the trick and after a moment of silence and woeful sighs, the enormous silhouette disappeared.

Heaving a sigh of relief, Ginny patted down her hair, which managed to get awfully disheveled during her eager flight from Smith up the stairs, and moved to the window. Tossing her purse onto the table, she adjusted the blinds slightly and pulled on the string to reveal the bustling view of the Diagon Alley. Today, however, instead of colorful pedestrians and eccentric shopkeepers below, this time her window revealed the dangerously swinging figure of one Cormac McLaggen.

Ginny yelped in surprise and swung her window open. Her mind screamed once more at the improbability of all the recent wooing techniques and she had half a heart to pull her wand out and cast a severing charm on the chord that was holding McLaggen midair, but she reined herself just in time.

“What do you think you’re doing, McLaggen?” Ginny demanded in a voice that usually unnerved even Malfoy.

Shooting her a roguish grin, McLaggen hoisted himself closer to the window and sat precariously on the window seal. “Thought I would drop by for a visit with my favorite Weasley. How are you doing, little one?”

“I was doing just fine before some baboon decided to swing in front of my window,” she lied briskly, wildly gesturing at his mountain climbing equipment. “Isn’t this illegal?”

“I know people who know people,” he dismissed offhandedly and leaned in uncomfortably close. “How about dinner with me tonight?”

Ginny stared at him with a pained expression and contemplated shoving him. She blinked and shook her head. “I don’t think that would be such a good idea, McLaggen. Your choice of a meal is really not my style.” She was referring as inoffensively as possible to the last escapade McLaggen dragged her to – hiking through the Brazilian rainforests during a rainstorm and the lovely dinner of cooked snakes and giant dung beetles they’ve had in the cave they found refuge in. Ginny always known Cormac to be a swashbuckler, however she had no idea how utterly insane the man was.

“Well, if you didn’t like Brazil, we could try Africa this time,” he suggested lightly. “There’s a white tiger there that I’ve wanted to hunt down for years. I heard that tiger meat is really tender if you cook it right.”

Ginny only blinked once, twice, three times, sighed and closed the window. At the sight of Cormac’s confused expression, she mouthed an expressing ‘No’ at him and closed the blinds, leaving him to fend for himself fifteen feet above land.

She walked over and slumped into her chair, burying her hands in her hair and making small circular motions, trying to massage the stress away. These have been awfully exciting few days, to say the least, during which a handful of highly eligible bachelors all found themselves deeply interested in one Ginny Weasley.

It started out with Theodore Nott, who appeared on the threshold of her office, nonchalant as the cat’s whiskers and declared that she would be accompanying him to the French Ministry ball that evening and that he had taken the liberty of picking her dress and sending it, along with a personal assistant to her flat. Ginny was too stunned to reply before he vanished and when she made it home that evening, she indeed discovered a young tetchy girl there, adamant on washing, scrubbing, dressing and charming her face and hair into epitomes of sophistication and design. The evening would’ve been quite pleasant if her companion wasn’t of that variety of people who were the butt of her personal jokes with Malfoy on other similar functions. He was so tedious, uninteresting and completely full of himself, that Ginny had to fake a family emergency just to get out of there.

That was followed by Randolph Burrow who accidentally bumped into her at a bookshop and was so fascinated by her literary choice – Jerome K. Jerome and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – that he just had to take her out for lunch to discuss the men’s undying view of the world and stupendous literary talents. It has been pleasant up until the point when he started ridiculing the likes of Austen, Bronte and Agatha Christi who were just really small minds imitating grandness. He seemed to not notice Ginny’s sudden change of expression and continued on, shifting his criticism to any and every female writer, going as far as stating that the menu was so badly constructed that it must have been written by a woman. Ginny couldn’t get out of there quickly enough and had to take refuse in Draco’s flat so as to avoid being detected.

Then there was Zacharias Smith, whom had taken her to an amusement park and by the time they’ve gotten their tickets was already naming their unborn children, and Cormac McLaggen, who was solely responsible for the rash that broke out on her back and chest from the poison ivy bush he thought would be a grand place to accidentally on purpose tackle her into. Those four were all eligible bachelors from hell and Ginny was just about to give up and demand Malfoy to reverse whatever is it he did that made her so alluring to idiots, when one Oliver Wood came knocking on her door.

His smile was wide, his build strong and his eyes more brilliant than she had remembered. He came around for the monthly check up on his knee that has been injured during his last game, sending him to the bench until the end of the season and, inadvertently, back home to Britain. He was just as charming as ever, so when he tentatively asked her out for a dinner after the check, she agreed with a smile.

They had a lovely time and Ginny was sorry to part with him that evening, but he did not ask to come up and simply kissed her cheek good night and left. Slightly disappointed, Ginny come up to her flat to find a basket of demurely colored flowers waiting for her on the coffee table, with a card signed, ‘Truly Yours’. She grinned and giggled like a school girl and that night had dreams of strong arms and dark eyes.

They met up again and again afterwards, and though she found herself having bouts of discomfort and she tried to discover what was it that made her not entirely easy about him, she enjoyed herself immensely. Baskets of flowers continued to appear randomly in her office and her flat and even Malfoy noticed her growing giddiness, smirking knowingly at her.

But just as Oliver’s interest in her didn’t seem to dwindle, neither did the other bachelors’. They Flooed in uninvited, owled her constantly, badgered with invitations for dinner, foreign movies, mountain climbing and gala balls, and showered her with gifts such as rare manuscripts, ridiculously expensive jewelry, bottled specimens of Amazonian deadly insects, and giant teddy bears knocking down her doors. Ginny was slowly but surely going insane with all this unwanted attention, but she was afraid to reverse the wish and lose Oliver’s company.

The latest incident, however, when Zacharias took the liberty upon himself to send her mother an invitation to their wedding, showed Ginny that there was really no choice. She would have to get rid of them all and just hope that Oliver would decide to stay nonetheless.

Sighing ruefully, Ginny turned around in her chair and dragged herself up to her feet, walking over to the fireplace. Tossing a handful of silver powder in, she stuck her head in and declared Draco’s address, telling the terrified house elf on the other side that his master had five minutes to present himself or lose a limb. Leaving the connection open, she returned to her chair and slumped down again, waiting for the arrival of her guest.

Five minutes and two seconds later, Draco jumped out of her blazing fireplace and dusted himself off before taking the seat opposite from her. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t terrorize my elves, Ginny.”

Still frowning, Ginny sighed. “I was feeling belligerent. Tell Cilli I apologize.”

“Will do,” he acquiesced, nodding. When she didn’t start talking again, he took a long look at her staring in midair and waved his hand in front of her to gain her attention. “Is everything all right, Ginny? You seem a bit… horrible.”

Ginny sniffed, rolling her eyes. “Yes, I suppose. Your bachelors are driving me crazy. I want them off my back.”

A small triumphant smile graced his face. “Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy being the center of so much attention.”

In return she shot him a venomous glare. “I have half a heart to accuse you of picking out complete morons just to spite me.”

He chose to not reply at this and simply smiled. “So you’ve figured out that the wizarding elite of Britain is not exactly to your tastes. I told you, the process is reversible, there is no need to seem so morose.”

“Well, I didn’t dislike all of them,” she said quietly, looking out the window.

Draco’s subtle smile widened. “Oh? Do tell.”

Ginny glanced at him, very discomforted by the continuous thumping of her stomach. “I like one of them, and though the others make it absolutely impossible to go through with this wish, I don’t want that particular one to stop liking me when you reverse this.”

Silent for a while, Draco finally drew a careful breath and looked at her evenly. “Maybe he won’t be affected by the reversal? Maybe he wasn’t affected by the wish in the first place? Maybe he truly enjoys your company?”

She looked at him miserably. “But what if he’s not.”

“I’m quite sure he is,” Draco insisted, his expression plain and eyes deeply dark.

Her frown melted away and a small smile graced her lips. It was so easy being comforted by him when he was so sure in himself. “Good, then,” she said with a final nod. “Though how you would know about Oliver Wood’s personal preferences I’ve no idea, but if you’re positive.”

Silence stretched between the two for a moment of confusion when Draco echoed, “Wood?”

Uncertain, Ginny blinked. “Well, yes, the fifth bachelor from the ball. Theodore Nott, Rudolph Burrow, Zachariah Smith, Cormac McLaggen and Oliver Wood. You chose them yourself, how could you have forgotten already?”

Draco only stared at her for a moment before nodding slowly, restrainedly. “Right, yes,” he murmured. “Oliver Wood.”

Satisfied that the point was cleared out, Ginny looked at the blazing fireplace again and sunk deep into thoughts, completely unaware of her conversant’s rising bile and rigidly set jaw line.
*** sixth wish *** by Lirie Halliwell
Author's Notes:
This chapter ups the rating slightly. I wasn't exactly sure as how to rate this since nothing actually happens, but the language is somewhat loose.
*** sixth wish ***




Once her fifth wish was reversed, four of the five eligible bachelors suddenly lost interest in Ginny and almost instantly disappeared from the scene. Oliver Wood stayed put, all smiles and brash charisma that professional Quidditch players had in abundance. Ginny enjoyed her time with him, catching up on old times, reminiscing about infamous Gryffindor moments, such as the Weasley pranks and the victory parties. It was like conversing with an old friend and it reminded her greatly of Harry, however where as with Harry there was slight awkwardness and boundaries, with Oliver there was blunt physical attraction.

Draco was less than ecstatic and made sure to profess this at every opportunity.

“I don’t like this,” he stated plainly, barely concealing his vapid dissatisfaction.

“I had a vague idea you wouldn’t,” Ginny replied, nodding solemnly and still planning on completely disregarding him. “Too bad you’ve no say in the matter, though.”

“Ginny, I don’t think inviting Oliver Wood over to your apartment to watch a movie late at night is a good idea,” he tried again, speaking as calmly and coherently as his tumultuous stomach allowed him. “There is a reason couples don’t stay in if they plan on having a conversation.”

Frowning, Ginny busied herself with the bag of popcorn. “What are you implying?”

“I’m implying that if placing two hot-blooded specimens of mutual physical attraction on a comfortable horizontal surface… things happen.”

“Things?” Ginny turned to him with a bowl full of airy popcorn, her brows deepening the frown.

Draco rolled his eyes, smacking his own forehead. “Oh Merlin, it’s like talking to a five-year old,” he mumbled under breath and turned to glare at her. “Sex, Weasley! Sex! Are you familiar with the concept?”

At his outburst Ginny rolled her eyes as well. He managed to scare her there for a moment. “Yes, I am familiar with the concept, thank you very much. But this is just a movie date, don’t be ridiculous! Oliver was just tired from his training and was too beat to go out. I suggested he’d come over, and that’s that. It was my idea.”

“That’s what he wants you to think,” he informed her with a conspiratorial glint. “In reality, he will have you out of your knickers and thoroughly shagged before they even announce the name of the film!”

“Draco, you are disgusting,” Ginny stated bluntly, placing the popcorn bowl on the coffee table in front of the television set. “I don’t know why I’m even telling you this. This is none of your business.”

Draco bristled. “First of all, you’re telling me this because you secretly want me to dissuade you from doing something stupid, obviously. In case it wasn’t clear, by ‘something stupid’ I mean letting that idiot into your flat. And secondly, of course it’s my bloody business! There is a small unfinished matter of your pure, virginal soul belonging to me for an extended period of time and I do not appreciate you trying to tamper with the merchandise.”

Ginny shot him a brief glare and stalked back into the kitchen, closely followed by Draco. “We have already discussed this. Stop calling my soul ‘merchandise’!”

“Fine, ‘your very special sense of self’, better?” he inquired dryly, helping her pull out a few cans of soda from the fridge. “The fact remains that you owe it to me and I need it untouched.”

Sighing loudly, Ginny turned away from the dishes and folded her arms across her chest, leveling him with a look. “I do not plan on sleeping with Oliver tonight. If he has other ideas—“ she spoke up quickly to interrupt the rapid string of convictions that threatened to flow out of Malfoy. “—he will be greatly disappointed. I am a big girl and I know how to keep it in my pants. As you should already be aware of considering the fact that I am twenty six and still… untouched.” The last bit was said with only slight bitterness and Draco had to acquiesce to stop bothering her and help out with the preparations.

When he saw her pull out a bottle of red wine from the cupboard, however, he blocked her way out of the kitchen. “What is that?”

“That?” Confused, Ginny glanced down at the bottle and up at Draco again. “Wine.”

“Yes, I can see that this is wine. Why are you bringing it out? Alcohol clouds the judgment and lowers inhibitions. Put it back in the cupboard.”

“Draco, this is ridiculous! It’s just wine!”

“If you do not want me to drop by in the middle of your date like some deranged chaperon – Put. It. Back.”

Ginny huffed loudly and placed the bottle back into its dark alcove. Turning, she glared at him. “You can’t tell me what to do! You’re not my father!”

“Thank Merlin for small favors,” he mumbled wryly, pulling out two glasses for the soda and continuing to set the table for her and her date.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Ginny couldn’t explain properly what compelled her to Floo Draco and ask his help tonight, offhandedly informing him of her plans with Oliver. She vaguely realized that it couldn’t have been something simple and innocent, because people did not just call up random – friend? Nemesis? Person? - to boast about their evening plans – unless those people were of the really petty and small-hearted type which Ginny did not belong to. So, why then? She couldn’t explain it, and so the thought was pushed back along with the thumping, the long conversations, the banter that no longer was hostile, and the random staring silences between the two.

Draco left some time after that, still hissing under his breath and clenching his fists into white knuckles. He refused to say what upset him so much and Ginny decided to not pursue the topic as he seemed uncomfortable discussing it. Oliver arrived half an hour later with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of red wine, which would’ve been rude not to open. So, the cork was popped open and the wine poured into two wine glasses Ginny brought out as they sat down to watch the movie of Ginny’s choice.



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




Ginny wondered absently what it was with Draco that made him so infuriatingly correct most of the time. Was it the sharp mind of a boy who had to survive in the Slytherin house and make his overbearing father proud? Was it the guile of the young man who had to live through Dark Lord’s incessant testing of will and loyalty? Or was it the crassness of the real world which he had to face daily as a grown adult in the twenty first century? Ginny had no idea, but she resented him for this nonetheless.

When her fuzzy conscious finally grasped what was happening, Oliver had already maneuvered a hand under her sweater and was peppering her throat with tender feathery kisses. He stroked her stomach, his lips whispering incoherent words against her flushed skin and his knee nudging her own apart ever so gently. He cooed to her as she gasped and moaned at his actions and though she understood he had to be stopped before it was too late, she couldn’t bring herself to push out the words. And every time she tried to mumble something, he would silence her with a kiss, his tongue delving into her mouth and cutting off all her trains of thought.

Draco was right, of course, and now she realized this completely. Placing two hot-blooded specimens of mutual physical attraction on a comfortable horizontal surface did indeed result in… things, but Ginny had an inkling of an idea that realizing this would do her little good. Her mind was hazy from the wine and though she struggled to focus it, it was proving to be a fairly difficult task under the ministrations of Oliver’s skillful hands.

She felt one of his hands cup the thin fabric of her brassiere, massaging one of her breasts with languid attention, while the other hand subtly moved down her stomach, finally resting on the buckle of her pants. There was a flash of alarm at this point, because she was still aware enough to remember she did not plan for this to happen in any way or form during this evening. She raked her nails down the sides of his stomach, his shirt discarded long ago, and pushed his hand away from the buttons of her jeans, murmuring soft protests.

He was insistent, however, assuming that she simply needed little coaxing. He moved his hand there again and fumbled with the button. Ginny moaned her protest, breaking the kiss and pushing his hand away once again. He adhered this time and simply continued kissing her, his hand resuming its attention to one of her breasts and the one supporting his weight.

Then, all of a sudden, Ginny vaguely registered the lack of a warm male body on top of her and quickly sat up, watching two figures exchange complimentary insults and punches, at the end of which Draco proceeded to literally kick Oliver out of the flat, tossing his jacket and shoes out the door as well. Slamming the door shut and locking it for good measure, he turned to her with what she only could assume was deathly glaring because he had taken the liberty to turn on the lights and she was both blinking and grimacing unappreciatively at the brightness. She tried to mumble something, perhaps to demand an explanation, but the wine was still reining her mind headily and words came out jumbled and nonsensical.

She then watched him as he marched around the sofa and grabbed her by the arm, yanking her up to her wobbly feet and all the while muttering obscenities and colorful cuss words. He dragged her down the hallway, ignoring her feeble demands to be put down, and once reaching the bathroom, unceremoniously shoved her into the shower and turned on the cold water full on.

Ginny Weasley was snapped back into reality out of her fuzzy stupor by the heinous shrieking of some mangled beast. A mangled beast who, as she realized a moment later, was herself. She started screaming and cursing and trying to get out of the shower and away from the freezing torrent, but Draco just nonchalantly pushed her back against the tiled wall each and every time. Focus and consciousness snapping back with painful force, Ginny had given up fighting and remained standing under the violent stream, mouth opening and closing to grab some air as the freezing water soaked her through and through.

Finally when he deemed her sober enough, Draco turned off the water and helped her out of the shower, leading her to her bedroom and sparing her five minutes to change her clothes.

When the door closed behind her, Ginny blinked and stared ahead at the cluttered bedroom, trying to understand what the hell had happened. She was dripping water onto her wooden floor, her mind was reeling and her body was freezing from the cold shower and the stark contrast from the warm activity prior to it. But most of all, she was seething. She stripped quickly, tossing every last garment to the corner in a pile, and hastily pulled on her shower robe along with a pair of knickers before storming out of the room, slamming the door behind herself.

She found him in the kitchen, brewing coffee.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She was half shouting half hissing, not wanting to alert her nosy neighbors to any kind of occurrence. Though she assumed Draco’s theatrical banishment of Oliver might have clued them in.

“Making coffee,” Draco replied evenly, pouring two cups and setting them on the kitchen table, quietly taking a seat there. “Drink it while it’s hot.”

Ginny’s eyes widened a bit more in silent rage. “Coffee? Coffee? You barge into my house, toss out my friend, shove me into a cold shower and you think I should drink coffee?”

“That bottle of wine is empty,” Draco stated evenly, his gaze not gracing her but staring ahead at the table. “I’d assume you finished it together. You are going to have a headache in the morning.”

Ginny felt a pang of guilt along with another mysterious thump, but squashed it instantly. “I already have a bloody headache, Draco! What the hell are you doing here? What on earth made you think you could pop in uninvited while I have Oliver over? I can’t believe you actually thought to chaperon me!”

“I forgot my day-planner,” he replied quietly once again, picking up and showing her the small dragon hide clad organizer she encountered countless times before.

Ginny grunted loudly, her hands balling into claws around an invisible neck. “Who the hell do you think you are? How dare you kick my friend out of my own apartment? What is wrong with you?”

At this Draco finally snapped his stare away from the table top and pierced it at her, the grey of his eyes darkening into foreboding stormy shade. “I was protecting my best interest,” he spoke quietly, his voice vibrant and steady and causing Ginny’s stomach to churn unpleasantly.

“ ‘Your best interest’?” she echoed, managing to sound incredulous despite the growing unrest within her. “ ‘Your best interest’?”

Last traces of his self control seemed to be slipping as he jumped to his feet, his coffee forgotten. “His hand was unzipping your pants, Weasley! How long do you think it would have been before he had you out of your knickers?”

Nothing was going to happen! I had told him ‘no’ already! We were just fooling around!”

“You fool around in your teens, Ginevra,” he barked at her, striding over and towering above her smaller frame. “At our age it’s called foreplay!”

“Nonsense!” Ginny scoffed dismissively, turning away from him and marching into the living room. “He understood perfectly well that nothing was about to happen!”

“Is that why he had his prick hanging out, rubbing against your jeans, then?” he demanded with cold stoicism she did not appreciate as he followed her out. At the sound of his words, she stopped and slowly turned around, staring at him. He looked at her with disbelief, distaste marring his face when he snarled. “You didn’t even notice, did you? You were so wasted you didn’t even notice!”

She blanched, suddenly feeling sick to her stomach. She clenched her teeth and leveled him with a defiant stare. “Nothing would’ve happened. I would’ve stopped it. I’d already stopped it once.”

“Keep telling yourself that and you’ll be an even bigger fool than I am,” Draco hissed and turned away from her. “You could’ve ruined the entire experiment,” he added quietly, indifferently.

Humiliated and enraged at the same time, Ginny felt tears sting her eyes as she grabbed his arm and yanked him around. Words were spilling out of her before she even realized what was it that made her so angry. “Experiment? That is what’s bothering you in this entire situation – your experiment? I’ve almost slept with Oliver Wood and you are this angry because of your sodding experiment?”

He stared at her for a long moment, before carefully plying her fingers off his robes and tightening his grip on her wrist. He took a step towards her, his expression set in hard lines and his eyes seeming almost black in the feeble lightening. “What other reason should there be for being this angry, Ginny? What else could bother me this much in the image with which I was presented upon Flooing into your living room that would make me act so irrationally and kick that ponce out onto the landing with his dick hanging out?”

He was taking slow deliberate steps, backing her until she was forced against the wall. She stared at him with rising panic when he raised her wrist and pinned it against the wall above her head, this time leaning closer with his whole body when he spoke. “What else could make me this furious, Ginny?”

He was speaking in a quiet measured tone, suave and smooth and utterly heart-wrenching. Ginny felt her stomach flip and yield, her heart beat so fast that she feared there might be a hummingbird trapped in her chest, and her knees threatening to buckle. She was absolutely petrified, completely paralyzed with fear, and yet excitement and exhilaration seemed to break through that terror and grace her with a low burning fire.

“Draco,” she breathed out shakily, trying to free her hand form his grip. “Let me go. Please.”

“No,” he whispered slowly, his breath lingering on her neck as he dove to plant a chaste kiss on her shoulder where the robe has fallen off. “Maybe this is the reason you can’t think of a Prince Charming for yourself, Ginevra.”

He pressed his knee hard between her own, forcing them to part and her naked thighs to straddle his leg. His free hand pulled on the sash of her robe and felt it unravel. She whimpered something quietly and tried to stop him, but he easily brushed her attempts away.

“Maybe you simply crave the Villain.”

She tried to stammer out something, something scathing, but his breath tickled her earlobe and she felt him smirk into her flushed complexion when she shuddered. It suddenly felt like a punch to the stomach. She had never been played like this before, never found herself at the mercy of an arrogant self indulgent bastard who deemed it appropriate to ridicule and mock her lifestyle at every opportunity, and now even manipulate her with such ease into desiring his touch. Standing there, with his sinfully handsome face tucked into the nook of her shoulder, his lips doing nothing more than pressing soft kisses into her skin, and his free hand lightly tracing a circle around her bellybutton, Ginny wanted to cry.

She knew she was a good person, she knew she deserved respect and love, and she knew that she deserved the very truest forms of both. What she didn’t deserve was the scorn and derision with which Draco chose to treat her at that very moment. Before she even registered that her voice has become strong enough to speak again, the words were coming out of her mouth.

“Draco, please,” she whispered. “Please let me go. I don’t want this, not like this, please.” Her voice was growing louder with every word and she began squirming again, trying to yank her hand out of his vice grip and ply his fingers open with her free hand. “Just let me go, Draco. You’re scaring me, stop this!”

Raising his head from her shoulder, he stared at her. “You didn’t seem to have any qualms when Wood was touching you, but I scare you?” Draco hissed, digging his fingers deeper into her flesh, both the stomach and the wrist clutched in his fist. “I scare you? Your sodding boyfriend got you drunk and started rubbing up against you when you were mostly out of it and I scare you?”

“Draco,” she half-whimpered half-growled.

He let go of her wrist only to grab her by both her shoulders and shake her. “How daft do you have to be? I worried myself sick over you and when I come here and help you out, you’re—you’re scared of me? How stupid are you? Do you know what would’ve happened if I didn’t show up? Do you—“

He jerked one more time and glared down, searching her eyes, franticly trying to find something that wasn’t there at the moment. Stricken with frustration and anger, he growled low in his throat and yanked her close, leaning in to seal her lips with her own.

Panic gripped Ginny’s stomach and she snapped her face away. “No! Get out! I don’t ever wish to see you again!” Gathering all her strength, she hit him in the chest, savagely pushing him away.

Through the streaming hot tears Ginny watched him as he stumbled over an armchair and toppled backwards onto the floor, his hand landing awkwardly onto the scorching coals still crackling in the dimming fireplace as it tried to break his fall.

Gasping loudly and stifling a cry of pain, Draco yanked his hand and cradled it to his chest as he scampered away from the open fire.

Ginny cried out, eyes wide with different kind of terror as she hurried to his side and begged to see the hand, grabbing her wand from the coffee table and ready to heal. But he jolted away from her, got up to his feet and wordlessly draped his cloak around his shoulder, picking up his own wand.

“Draco, what are you doing? Let me treat that! It’s a burn, I know it hurts!”

Still clutching the hand close to his chest, Draco struggled to regain his posture as he raised his wand. He looked at her, cold and suddenly hateful. “Your wish is my command.”

Without another word he Disapparated, leaving behind a distraught Ginny with a fluttering heart and gnawing nerves.
*** seventh wish *** by Lirie Halliwell
Author's Notes:
This is the last installment. I hope you have enjoyed this story as much as I've enjoyed writing this ^_^
*** seventh wish ***



Ginny searched for him everywhere – the streets, the hospital, the ministry. Everywhere she could remember ever seeing him, accidentally or otherwise. She boycotted his apartment and several times tried Apparating in, only to discover that it has been cleaned of his possessions and abandoned, She lurked at the back corner of his favorite coffee shop each morning, but he seemed to have forsaken his daily ritual of the blueberry muffin. She stalked the stores he frequented and even once cornered Tracey Davis, who was his friend and a sales person at a prestige robe boutique, in the storage room and demanded to know of his whereabouts, leading to her short and eventful encounter with the store’s security. She tried barging into the research facility he worked at, but her unauthorized attempts were once and again thwarted by the overly zealous guards. She went as far as Apparating in front of Malfoy Manor and kicking his entrance gates, shouting furiously at the top of her lungs declarations of his vast stupidity. The house elves, sent there to dissuade the intruder, were less than impressed and even Cilli – who had been placated from her previous outburst with boxes of detergents and cleaning powders – treated her coldly.

“Master wishes to inform you that he is currently occupied with a lady friend and does not appreciate being interrupted,” said one of the elves, Brownie, in the most pompous tone his swinish appearance allowed him.

Ginny was outraged. “You tell that joke of a wizard that whatever hag he has up there can be easily deflated and stuffed back into her box! Tell him to get here right now!”

But even after pleas, threats and not so inadvertent hexing of the gates and the insufferable elves, he refused to come out and talk to her.

Frustrated, irritated and feeling utterly hopeless, she had regressed into the solitary existence she carried on before Draco tricked her into the entire ordeal with the wishes. She got up before her alarm clock went off, stayed beyond her obligatory hours at the hospital, refused any social calls and devoted most her time to the children’s ward. The children didn’t seem to mind, but the nurses eyed her tartly when she stayed there more than they did.

At some moments, she began to think that she might have imagined everything that has happened. It seemed to make more sense to her haggard mind, than the fact that Draco had indeed been able to perform those miracles and in passing also creep into her heart. But catching sight of Hermione on the streets, happily eyeing the display window of a baby shop, having Luna mention Blaise in her frequent owls and still have the Harleys send her flowers every now and then, only proved to her that those were not hallucinations of her overworked mind, and that she had indeed screwed everything up royally.

She hadn’t met with Oliver anymore. He had owled her the next day, his letter concerned, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. She wrote back, saying that all was well with her, but that she thought it would be a better idea for them to not see each other again. He didn’t reply and she hoped he wasn’t too hurt.

Ginny caught herself time and again trying to think back to that evening, each time wondering what had exactly transpired between them. Her mind made it no easier, for it was a collection of jumbled images and searing sensations. Oliver had been a mistake, she admitted vehemently to herself - the mere thought of something happening between them that night made Ginny nauseous and highly uneasy. Draco’s words still echoed in her mind in unguarded moments and she found herself cringing at their laden derision – “You didn’t even notice, did you? You were so wasted you didn’t even notice!”

But Draco… what did happen with him? His voice was harsh, his eyes were dark and his entire body was as taut as of an animal ready to strike. She had no inkling of doubt that he had hated her then with all the passion he could muster. She had shown him her weakest side – drunk, mumbling, unable to stand on her own two feet – and he had seen nothing but a foolishly naïve girl undeserving of his further interest. Was there interest before? She wasn’t sure! She was so insecure that at the thought of all his smiles, his help, their conversations and their silences, she immediately managed to scrape up some unrelated excuse. After all, she had been nothing more than an ‘experiment’ to him, wasn’t she? That is what he said himself.

Then why did it hurt this much? If there was nothing between them why did she toss and turn each night and hate herself so zealously for making that last wish? Why did she gasp and quiver all over every time she remembered his hands, his lips? No, it was futile to deny it. She might have been just an experiment to him, but he had meant more than that to her. He had meant so much more and that is why she got so angry that night when he said there was nothing but their deal between them and yet proceeded to touch and look at her in that unnerving way. That is why she pushed him.

Realization hit her and nestled in her stomach like a poisonous snake. She wanted him, but he was such a cold and clandestine bastard, that she never had the chance of knowing what he wanted unless he decided to tell. And now, he never would.

Driven deeper into her frustration, through which traces of despair were showing their hideous little heads, Ginny tried to take her mind off of it with more work. More paperwork, more potions brewing, more research of healing charms. She practically moved in to her office and rarely managed to scrape herself out of her chair long enough for her to Apparate home. A bit belatedly her friends and family started to notice.

Her colleagues, alarmed at the amount of work she seemingly accumulated, incessantly offered to help, but were politely turned down every time. Ron and Hermione invited her over for dinner time and time again, but she couldn’t bring herself to see them so happy and watch Hermione’s growing belly as a living reminder of him. Colin offered her to get away, take a few days off and head to the country to clear her mind, but she invented some mysterious country allergy and dodged that as well.

At last one evening, when she thought that all the good-wishers were over and done with, the door into her office was kicked open and in marched the dainty form of one Luna Lovegood. Not sparing the redheaded witch a moment to speak, Luna brandished her wand, skillfully sending Ginny to hang as a puppet in midair.

Sputtering from shock and surprise, Ginny managed only to make a hasty grab for her own wand before she was easily disarmed of it. With horror she watched Luna catch the wand, and finally broke through her silent stupor.

“Luna, what is the meaning of this? Put me down this very instance!”

“My, Ginny, I never noticed how very much like McGonagall you sound when you’re bristled,” Luna commented airily, taking a seat in one of the visitor chairs, her wand still help upright as she waved it slightly, sending Ginny’s levitating body to swing to and fro with what Luna definitely presumed would be a soothing rhythm and only managed to irritate the beast further.

“I swear on Merlin’s beard, I will have your knickers on display above the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch if you do not put me down now!”

Luna tutted. “You should really go over your repertoire of threats, Ginny. You’ve used – and executed – that one in our seventh year.”

The redhead growled, making wide flailing movements in her feeble attempts to swim through the air. Giving up, she groaned loudly. “It obviously didn’t make big enough of an impression. Lun, why am I suspended in the air?”

“You were doing such a poor job with your perspective on the ground, I thought I should help you change your point of view,” the blonde replied with heartfelt simplicity.

“What are you talking about? I didn’t mention anything was wrong in any of my letters.”

“I do not need specific reports to be told when my friends are being attacked by Groundings,” Luna responded quite quickly, her brows furrowing into a subtly displeased expression.

“What?”

“Groundings!” Luna repeated the word, looking at Ginny with exasperated air of a teacher with her most dense pupil. “Limbless parasites whom seep through the floor and nestle in your shoes, using small imperceptible discomfort to your feet to cause depression, irritation and anxiety, eventually culminating in a suicide! I will not let you kill yourself, Ginny Weasley, I have put too much effort into training you.”

“Tra— Luna! Put me down! There are no limbless parasites in my shoes!” Ginny barked, trying to appear as dignified as possible while being swayed carefully from side to side. She failed.

“Why are you depressed then?” the former Ravenclaw countered stoically.

“I am not!” the redhead insisted, clenching her fists and gritting her teeth. When Luna made a motion to increase the mellow swaying, Ginny growled. “All right, all right! I’ve been feeling slightly out of place lately, that is all. It is temporary, it shall pass, and it does not require me being suspended in midair and moved in recurring waves! I’m getting sea sick!”

The blonde was unimpressed. “I would prefer you to be seasick, than death sick. Now tell what has happened between you and Draco?”

Ginny stopped struggling, hush lingering over her. “What makes you think something happened with Draco?”

Giving her a slow once over, Luna pursed her lips. “You mean beside the fact that you turned into a rabbit the moment I mentioned him? Your previous letters lacked any mention of him while those before had nothing but. Plus, he seems to have rediscovered his friendship with Blaise and insists on making up for proverbial lost time now. Now, Ginny, after I finally got him. I haven’t had the chance the tie him to a bed and do ungodly deeds to him for over two weeks. Two weeks, Ginny, do you think I am enjoying this situation?”

Ginny could clearly see that she wasn’t.

“So, this is what I suggest,” Luna began speaking again after a moment of silence, standing up to her feet and walking over the desk to stand just beneath Ginny’s hovering body. She glanced at her watch. “You are going to figure what it is that went wrong with him that needs fixing, who is to blame for this row and who is to compromise, and what you are going to tell him next time you see him. And you are going to have all about… eight seconds to figure all that out before I’m Apparating us to my flat where my boyfriend and our unfortunate third wheel prepare dinner.”

The redheaded witch blanched. “What? No, Luna, you can’t do this to me. This isn’t right, this isn’t fair, Luna, no. Luna, stop looking at your watch! Don’t you dare do th—“

Luna’s vibrant voice chirped out, “Time’s up!” and Ginny felt her entire body fold in on itself, encased in darkness as the magic carried her off.



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



Ginny wasn’t quite sure who was the most surprised of the quartet - herself at the sight of two grown wizards wrestling like mere Muggles on Luna’s floral carpet, or Blaise Zabini, who obviously wasn’t expecting to be caught red-handed trying to murder one of his closest friends. Luna didn’t seem baffled by the brute display at all, and Draco was too busy being unbecomingly pressed to the floor to bother with such trifles as surprise.

The blonde Ravenclaw was the first to speak. “Honey, is there a reason you’re holding our dinner guest in a half Nelson?”

“Yes,” Blaise blurted out plainly, taking a moment to shove Draco down again when the other seemed to struggle. “I am trying to convince him he is not hungry.”

“By breaking his esophagus?”

“Seemed like a good a way as any,” the burly black wizard replied a moment before Draco’s foot arched gracefully and kicked Blaise in the back of his head, causing him to lose his attention and allowing Draco to land a few strategically placed punches and kicks and finally squirm his way out of the vice grip.

Draco clambered over the sofa, trying to distance him as far away from Blaise as possible, all the while shouting, “Lovegood, you harpy! What have you done to him! He was never this aggressive before!”

Luna remained as calm as a breeze among the scampering of two grown men around her, and simply sighed in response, her voice as soft and clear as always. “Elementary, my dear Malfoy. By your mere presence you have prevented him of sexual intercourse for the past two weeks. He has obviously finally reached his limit. This is very disappointing, really. I have expected him to do something like this a week ago. Maybe I’m not as good as I thought I was.”

At the last part, Blaise stopped the chase and stared at her, seemingly affronted. “What?”

Luna blinked at him. “Which part were you uncomfortable with? Me expecting this sort of behavior out of you or me doubting my sexual prowess?”

“The second one!” he yelped in reply, waving his hand empathically.

The blonde Ravenclaw smiled her little scary smile. “That was just to stop you chasing Draco around and avert attention to our new guest.”

At that moment both wizards turned to look at the still hovering Ginny, who had watched the exchange with slight amusement and subtle wariness. From their reaction it appeared to be they haven’t noticed her until that very moment. Blaise suddenly straightened up and carefully smoothed out his shirt before tilting his head in a slight greeting bow. Draco just stared, his expression expressing nothing, even if there was anything to express.

“Moonbeam,” Blaise started after cleaning his throat. “Is there a reason our guest is… airborne?”

“I charmed her there,” was the short and simple reply.

Blaise blinked twice, then smiled and drew Luna closer to himself, planting a soft kiss on top of her head. “Of course you did.”

Ginny watched the exchange and was utterly struck by the sweetness of it when Luna just smiled a small happy smile and scrunched her nose slightly at his kiss, like a child secretly enjoying their parents’ embarrassing display of affection. She chanced a glance at Draco and felt her stomach sink seeing him take no interest in her levitating self and simply staring out the window. She suddenly felt very stupid and small and would have paid all her fortunes to be taken back to the darkness of her office.

She asked Luna to lower her down, her voice quiet and serious. She was no longer willing to allow her eccentric friend her quirks. She wanted to leave and she wanted to do it with as much of her dignity as was left intact.

Luna was indisposed to cooperate. Shaking her head vehemently, she said, “Not until you get him off our back.”

Draco seemed to have perked up his mention, but Ginny bit her tongue and stared down at Luna. “There’s nothing I can do about that. Mr. Malfoy and I are not on speaking terms at the moment.”

Luna glanced down at her watch once again, waited a beat and looked up, preening. “Moment passed. Take him.”

“Luna,” Ginny spoke again, a simmering undertone to her voice. “Down.”

Grumbling loudly, the former Ravenclaw waved her hand at the hovering woman and that slowly descended onto the wooden floor, holding onto the wall until her footing was regained.

“Thank you,” Ginny murmured and extended her hand to her friend. “Now, my wand, please. I’m afraid I won’t be able to stay for dinner. I have prior engagement.”

Ginny deemed to see Draco snap his eyes away from the window and glare at her, but she refused to look and ascertain. It would be too awful to see him glare at her again. “My wand, Luna,” she repeated slightly impatiently.

Luna seemed to think for a moment before shrugging and looking at her friend not so apologetically. “Left it in your office. Sorry.”

“Y—you little rat!” Ginny barked, making a swipe at Luna who simply giggled and danced out of her reach and behind Blaise, who was utterly amused and completely comfortable playing the shield.

“I truly am sorry, Gin. If you really can’t stay for dinner, I understand. I’m sure Draco would be thrilled to walk you back to your office,” prattled on a widely-grinning Luna Lovegood, her hands wrapped around Blaise’s middle and peeking from under his draping arm. “He is such a gentleman, you know.”

Ginny couldn’t stop the snort that followed. “My arse,” she mumbled and rolled her eyes, turning away from the couple and heading to the door. There was no chance in hell she was staying for dinner with a newlywed couple – for that is what Blaise and Luna were, despite the lack of proper papers – and him. And there was absolutely no chance in hell she would ask him to escort her.

She rested her hand on the handle and paused. Her anger and irritation at Luna began to simmer down, making way for discomfort and cautious prodding. She could leave now and continue the drab existence of overexerted days and sleepless nights, or she could turn around and talk to him. Talk to him like she wanted to two weeks ago when he had just disappeared. Wasn’t this what she tried to accomplish when she made a scene at his workplace and in front of his house? Weren’t those antics completely and utterly unlike her and all because she wanted, needed to see him and he refused to. Well, he was there now. He wasn’t leaving, and if she wanted to, if she would just turn around, if she would just swallow her pride, she could talk to him.

She let go of the handle quite slowly and equally slowly turned around. She needed to struggle with herself for every muscle, every movement, because there were voices in her mind, frowning and scoffing at her antics, claiming that if he really cared than he should have been the one to swallow his pride and talk to her, make a grand gesture to let her know he truly loved her and no one else. But then, she had more callous views of Draco than her subconscious. She knew he was stubborn and childish, and if someone needed to take a step back and relent, he never would. So she made the sacrifice. She made the first step.

“Draco,” she called out to him and watched him glance at her over his shoulder, his eyes light grey and indifferent. Not saying a word, he turned away. It stung, but she was nothing if not stubborn as well. She glanced at Luna and the blonde nodded once, dragging Blaise out of the apartment with promises of public sex. With a gleeful skip to his step, Blaise followed her and so Ginny was left alone with Draco for the first time since that night.

Taking a deep breath, she walked over to the window and stood a bit away from him, but still close enough to feel his movement. “We need to talk,” she said simply and waited for his response. Moments slithered by and there came none. Sighing, she ran a hand through her hair, her eyes slipping to his lightly bandaged hand, which he hastened to hide.

Rolling her eyes to calm her flittering heart, she spoke again. “Draco, please.”

This time there was something in her voice that made him look at her, just a brief glance, before he took a pointed step away and stalked off.

She had half a heart to give up. Wasn’t it clear now what he thought of her? Didn’t this display of disrespect and utter distaste to her presence show perfectly just what his feelings were? She felt her heart clench.

She turned around and was about to say something more when she saw him walking back towards her, his expression void of any sympathy. She watched silently, her eyes growing subtly with something akin to hope, but then he stopped, seeing something in her eyes he couldn’t bear, and turned away growling, this time heading straight for the door.

Her heart broke and she thought another step would kill her. “Draco!”

He paused, glancing over his shoulder. “You wished to never see me again, remember?”

Ginny felt frustration and regret wash her over anew. She threw her head back, beseeching deities and breathing deeply before facing him again. “You know I didn’t mean that. That… it just came out, I— I don’t want—”

Turning around, he seemed unimpressed and just cocked an eyebrow at her words.

She rubbed her face, leaning against the window seat behind her, for the first time realizing this might be too difficult for her. She usually could easily handle patients, doing that on a daily basis, but Draco was proving to be worse than the most belligerent child. “What do you want from me? What can I do so you would stop acting like a child and talk to me?”

This was a bad choice of words, because Draco’s expression hardened in an instance. “Go talk to Wood.”

Scowling at her, he turned away again, seeming to have given up on any attempts of communicating with her.

Panicked, she pushed herself away from the window and followed him. “Draco, no, stop this! There is no Wood, all right? There never bloody was! There was wine, there were low lights and there was a warm body beside me, and I thought it didn’t matter who the body was, but—damn it, stop walking! It does matter and it was stupid, but I didn’t know! I thought—and then, I didn’t think, because if I had given it a serious thought, things would’ve been so much clearer. I just—I don’t know what to say, alright? I don’t know what you want to hear, but look at me! I’m scared shitless! My stomach is churning concrete, it seems, my hearts wants to jump out and my palms sweat like I don’t know what! And I feel sick, but I know this is not illness, I just—I don’t know what this is and you’re not helping!”

He had stopped a while ago and was standing very still, not moving a muscle as she spilled out such a torrent of unconnected phrases that she suddenly felt very embarrassed. She tried to mumble once again that she didn’t know what was happening, but she stopped talking when he turned around, looking straight through her into the depths of that forgotten part of her she no longer frequented.

When he finally spoke she felt both relief and dread overcome her senses. “Why did you push me?”

She squeezes her eyes shut, terrified she might start crying, but there were no tears, just weariness. If she answered truthfully, he would not understand. Hell, she didn’t completely understand the whole mess of whatever took reign within her mind. But she had to speak, because she couldn’t let him leave her now. She fumbled with words for a moment, took a long breath and started out clearly.

“When… it was him, Oliver, who touched me,” she bit out, seeing his jaws clench momentarily and his eyes blaze. “It… it didn’t matter then. As I said there were wine and soft lights and he seemed so interested that I was flattered. It had been a while since anyone looked at me that way and I figured that since it didn’t matter anyway, I wouldn’t mind. But… when it was you, I… I couldn’t. Not after you saying I was just an experiment,” she looked down, suddenly very interested in her hands. “When you said that, it… suddenly it was so clear because it—it hurt. So, it didn’t matter before, but as soon as I knew—knew what I want, I got so scared. I had never been this scared before and—I couldn’t let you touch me if I was nothing but the experiment to you. I—I simply couldn’t.”

Draco remained silent for a long moment before speaking up. “That’s not good enough, Ginny.”

She snapped her eyes back up at him and saw him stare at her, the mercury of his eyes visibly darkening. He took a step closer and for a moment she thought he would take her hand again, pin her to the nearest wall and touch her like he had touched her then. Oh, how she wished it. But he only clasped his hands at the back, not trusting himself in her proximity and stared on at her.

“Since you obviously have had an epiphany, please share. What it is you want, Ginny Weasley?”

She faltered for a moment, drawing a shaky breath and pushing it out as a puff. “I don’t want things to be this complicated.”

“Doesn’t answer my question,” he cut brusquely, tilting his head in half a shake.

She sighed again, feeling herself nearing a brink she never knew was there. She was not used to being this bare and this opened in front of anyone for such a long time. She didn’t know how long she could take it before she broke down. “I want things to be as they were.”

“Wrong again, Gin.”

“I don’t want you to be this angry, this disappointed with me,” she blurted miserably, oddly feeling like she was grasping for straws that weren’t there.

“I’m neither angry nor disappointed with you and you know that very well. Ginny, you’re not answering my question at all – what is it that you want?”

Irritation growling low within her, she shook her head, staring at him. “I can’t say it! This isn’t fair! I’ve already spoken enough and you have said nothing but reproach! You say what you want!” She glared at him, but there was feebleness in her eyes and she knew she bore no real conviction because she felt so utterly tired all of a sudden. She thought she had put him on the spot, that she had managed to make him shut up and swallow his own words, but it was not so.

Still staring at her – staring, staring, he hadn’t done a single thing but stare, and she couldn’t take it, she wanted him to touch her! – still crisp and so perfectly controlled, he replied to her question. “Right now? I want you to tell me that you want me as much as I want you, because these past weeks had nearly killed me with doubt. I want you to know that I nearly killed Wood last week when accidentally running into him. I want you to know that I’ve drunk myself to hell and back. I want you to know that I haven’t treated my hand beside the bandages, and I want you to feel guilty about this because it hurts like a bastard. I want you to know that Wood was never one of the five bachelors, that it was just some divine retribution against me that the bastard took my place. I want you to stop looking at me with those wide frightened eyes because I can barely hold myself back as it is. And I bloody well want you to tell me what the hell it is you want?”

He raised his voice by the end of that speech to speak over her sudden laughter. He stepped closer and pulled her sharply against himself, encircling her waist with a pair of strong arms and pressing her tightly. His façade finally broke at the sight of her laughter and slipped on a small smile, one eyebrow arched at her with amusement.

Recovering from her hysterics, Ginny wiped off the tears that trickled down her face, moving to hold onto his shirt and tug him slightly closer. “You chose yourself as the fifth bachelor in my wish? How… vain. What would’ve happened if I had fallen for one of the others?”

Draco smirked, slightly shaking his head at her words. “Impossible. I searched especially for the biggest idiots in all of the United Kingdom just for this. Now stop talking rubbish and tell me what I want to hear, woman.”

She smiled, leaning to him and reveling in the feel of his chest so close, and the rhythm of his heart echoing through the flesh. “I… want… you really going to make me say this? This is very embarrassing.”

He growled deeply and stared her down.

“Apparently you are. All right. I want… I want… I want—“

“Oh, for the love of Merlin! Just say you love me already, woman!”

She laughed at his loud frustration and finally acquiesced. “I – and trust you me, this came as a complete surprise – love you, Draco Malfoy. But I am mental, it’s been said before, so nothing viable ever came from my mouth, so you sho—“

“Shut up,” Draco murmured finally, cutting off her monologue as he leaned in closer, searching the lips that have been denied from him for so long. Sensing her tense slightly with anticipation, he suddenly halted, a frown on his face. “If I try to kiss you, are you going to shove me into the fireplace again?”

“Luna doesn’t have a fireplace,” Ginny whispered hoarsely, disbelieving he was actually doing this to her.

He pursed his lips thoughtfully. “Yes, but she does have a functioning oven. This is the kind of a thing that would deter a bloke from trying to kiss a girl, if each time physical injury was the outcome—“

“Draco! There is a whole Gryffindor house of blokes I can be staring adoringly at right now. If you should not be so kind as to snog me silly, I will take my lips elsewhere.”

Tossing his head back, he laughed at her irritation, tightening his grip around her just in case she thought of trying something of the sort at that moment. Finally, glancing down at her, he shook his head pitying. “Poor little weasel, you think you have half a chance of getting out of my death grip. Tsk. Besides,” he added nonchalantly, dipping his head down and whispering against her lips. “I’d kill them all.”

Ginny’s lips melted into a grin and she pushed herself up on her tiptoes to finally seal his mouth with her own.




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




“Weasley, you’re ready?”

“To be a human guinea pig? No, not really, Dr. Kevorkian. Let’s just get this over with.”

“Ginny, you astound me! Human souls are not to be trifled with. Maybe you have no need for a soul in your everyday existence after all.”

“Draco, I have relented to give you my soul for the bloody experiment without the seventh wish – which, by the way, I plan on claiming in due time – and I have taken time from my very busy schedule to do this, so would you please be so kind as get on with this so I can get back to my office.”

“All right, all right, you harpy. Blame a bloke for wanting to spend some quality time with his beloved.”

“If this is how you define ‘quality time’, you’re not getting anywhere near our children.”

“…”

“…”

“Should I be aware of something you’re not telling me?”

“Yes, Malfoy. I have a sense of humor. Something you obviously lack.”

“Well, never can be too careful, you know. What with all the illegitimate Malfoy bastards.”

“Yes, I’ve wanted to ask you about tha—“

“Okay, and we begin our experiment. Drink this, please?”

“What is this?”

“Alcohol. I want you to be pliant once I’m through with this. You’ve little idea how hard it was to maintain your chaste state all this time. I commend myself for the self restraint.”

“Yes, yes, you’re grand. Can we move on?”

“Certainly. Sit still.”

“…”

“Grandus ollus tramenticom… beldeer gramas horeen sa… magum regal sang unitos!”

“…”

“Uh oh.”
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