Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.
Chapter Four – Variations
Ginny was practicing with the Quidditch team. The wind, sharp and cold, blew fiercely and Ginny wrapped her Quidditch robes tightly around herself. Her team was good, and she knew it. She had taken over as captain two years ago – Harry was a bit too busy to be bothered with something as trivial as school Quidditch. She had been nervous at first to take over the team. But over the two years they had really learned to trust her, and she had put together a good group of players. Rachel had been the real find. Harry was the greatest Seeker the school had seen since Charlie Weasley, but Rachel was lithe and quick, and her reflexes were spot-on.
Ginny watched as the team flew around, practicing flying formations. Ginny played lazily with the Quaffle, sometimes calling out instructions, but basically just watching the players. She flew down a little ways and tossed the Quaffle to one of the other Chasers.
“Let’s run the Hawkshead Formation, guys. On three,” she called out, landing gracefully on the ground.
The team flew into motion and Ginny sat down in the bleachers to watch them. She was absorbed and didn’t notice that someone had sat down next to her.
“It’s a real shame. All this practice and Slytherin is still going to beat you,” Draco said, eyes on the Chaser who had just fumbled the Quaffle.
Ginny turned to him and glared. “My team is unstoppable, and you’re just jealous that my Seeker is twenty times better than you’ll ever be.”
“Weasley, you have wounded me to the heart,” he said, sarcastically. He raised his eyebrows at her and then got up again.
Draco was in the library, reading. His glasses were slipping down his nose and he pushed them up, frustrated.
Damned infernal things, he thought irritably, removing the offending glasses. He pinched the bridge of his nose as the sudden change in sight gave him a twinge of a headache.
“Something wrong?” Ginny asked, standing over him trying to glance at what he was reading.
“You just seem to pop up everywhere, don’t you Weasley? Just can’t stay out of other people’s business?” he said, meanly. Then he turned around and she was gone.
He put his glasses back on and began to read again. But, they had somehow been tightened. He smiled softly.
Ginny was sitting at breakfast, staring absently into her food. A strange feeling was pervading her thoughts. Charlie nudged her shoulder and she was roused from her thoughts.
“Knut for your thoughts, Gin,” he said.
“I was just…thinking,” she replied, her brow furrowed. “But I – that’s strange – I don’t remember what about.”
He raised his eyebrows at her. “You okay, kiddo?”
Ginny smiled to indicate that she was. When he was safely turned back to his breakfast, she shot a discreet look up at the Head Table. Draco was not looking at her. She found herself to be quite disappointed.
It was snowing, the very first snow of the season, and Ginny felt like a little girl again. It was early Sunday morning and she was the first person in Gryffindor Tower to wake and greet the day. Not wanting to waste what she considered a perfect opportunity, she bundled herself in her warmest clothes and her Quidditch robes and headed outside to fly in the crisp, cold weather.
Once she got up in the air, however, she realized that this may not have been the best idea she’d ever had. It was much colder up in the atmosphere and after a frigid fifteen minutes, she circled down slowly to land. Her teeth were chattering unmercifully as she made her way back into the school. Meeting the warmth caused her to shiver violently and wrap herself deep into her robes.
“I sh-sh-sh-should have b-brought a c-c-c-cloak,” she said to herself, heading towards Gryffindor tower. Suddenly deep warmth filled her to the core and she exhaled deeply. She looked around.
“You looked cold, Weasley. Don’t you know better than to play in the snow without a coat on?” Draco drawled, although anyone who knew him well would say that there was much less disdain in his tone than usual.
Ginny didn’t answer right away, choosing to gape at his appearance instead. He was wearing the insufferably small jumper again – the jumper that made her painfully aware of how well-built he was. The sleeves of his robes were pushed up to his elbows, exposing his lower arms. His hair was gelled and he wasn’t wearing his reading glasses. Ginny found herself missing them and the way his hair had fallen down back at the infirmary.
“Well, are you going to thank me or just continue undressing me with your eyes?” he asked, a smirk playing at his lips.
Ginny felt flustered, but replied, “I – er – thanks. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he answered. As he started to walk away, Ginny caught up with him to walk beside him.
“What happened to your glasses?”
“I only wear them when I read.” He wasn’t sure why he answered, or even why he allowed her to walk beside him. But he did. “I’m not reading right now, am I?”
“No, you’re not – I mean, well what I meant was, I like them. You – you look good in them.” She flushed a deep crimson and prayed that he wouldn’t look at her. But, being a Malfoy and unused to compliments from a Weasley, he did look at her.
He just raised his eyebrows and laughed. “You’re a hopeless case, Weasley, just one of the many who have fallen for my considerable charms.”
“And you’re an arrogant prat. So we’re even,” she said, and then brushed past him. She walked quickly back to the Tower, trying to ignore the fact that she was grinning like an idiot.
Draco was overseeing one of McGonagall’s detentions. The little second years were dutifully scribbling away, copying lines, so Draco’s attentions could be otherwise diverted. He’d drawn his lean legs up onto the desk, crossing them, and leaned back in the chair.
For a while he just stared at the ceiling, but his thoughts kept returning to a specific something, so he pulled out his copy of Catcher in the Rye and began re-reading it. He became so engrossed in the book that he didn’t notice when Ginny walked by the room. She paused in the doorway, seeing him relaxed and reading and, best of all, wearing the glasses.
She glanced around and discreetly shot a warming charm at him. Then she hid up against the hallway wall, satisfied when she heard him cry out in surprise. She took off down the hallway again, not noticing that he’d gotten up to find the culprit.
He watched her walk down the hall, tingling with warmth.
Draco was playing angrily in the Room of Requirement. His normally gentle touches to the keys were replaced with embittered pounding. Today was the year anniversary of his mother’s death, and although he carried no love for her, sickening guilt in his stomach caused him to grieve and pound into the piano.
Ginny walked in the hallway past the room and, hearing the angry music, wanted to rush inside and comfort the musician. But, she only knew of one person who played the piano at the moment and the idea of comforting Draco Malfoy seemed highly inappropriate and wrong. Ginny surprised herself by, somehow, some little part of her still wanted to.
She was just about to open the door, when Charlie came tearing down the hallway.
“Gin, Gin you’ve got an Owl, you’ve got an Owl and it’s been pecking at everyone so please come and deal with it!” Following Charlie was indeed Pig, like a bomber missile, aiming straight for Charlie’s head.
Ginny laughed and reached out to snatch Pig out of the air, her Chaser reflexes shining through. “Come on now, Pig, that’ll do.” She took the letter off Pig’s leg and unfurled it to read.
She went stiff for a moment and then let out a loud shriek of unadulterated joy. Draco played an ugly, pounding chord and then opened to the door, prepared to hurl abuse at whoever had disturbed him. But he was greeted by the sight of Ginny jumping into Charlie’s arms and kissing him soundly on the mouth, so he simply turned back around and began pounding yet again.
A/N: There was a brief reference to the movie Babe which does not belong to me.
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