The Broken Road – Chapter 3 :: Back Into the Fold
Ginny was awoken at – hell, she didn’t know what time it was, she only knew that it wasn’t even light outside yet. She stumbled out of bed and padded her way into the living room, where someone was screaming at her from the fireplace.
“There you are!” he snarled, his eyes cloudy and dilated. Ginny rubbed her own eyes, not believing what she was seeing. Had Harry been drinking?
“Harry, what do you want? It’s in the middle of the night, and I have to report in at noon.”
“I want to know why you saw fit to have me served with divorce papers!” Oh, yeah. She was fully awake now. Damn, the Ministry was fast.
When she heard Harry snort, she realized that she’d said that last part out loud.
“Yes, the Ministry works fast on this sort of paperwork, and you know it! You had to know that when they saw my name on it, they’d put a rush on it! I’d even be willing to bet that it’s going to be in the Prophet tomorrow morning!”
“This morning, you mean,” she said, yawning. His cheeks darkened as he watched her.
“What’s gotten into you, Ginny? You act like you just don’t care at all!”
“That’s because I don’t,” she agreed, rising from the sofa. “Goodnight, Harry.”
She cast a silencing spell on her flat so she wouldn’t hear his indignant protests for her to return, and then drifted back to sleep in her new bed.
Several hours later, the wand on her nightstand began to glow and vibrate as it emitted high pitched whining noises. She picked it up and muttered “Finite Incantatem,” before forcing herself out of bed. Her work shift was met with both excitement and trepidation; she was going to get to wear her new dress robes, but at the end of her shift, she’d be seeing Harry, when he took over for her.
The day passed without much event, and when Ginny reached the end of her shift, she was almost grateful that she’d be seeing Harry – after all, he was coming to relieve her so she could go home. When he rounded the corner and headed down the hallways towards her, her heart leapt into her throat. He looked angry.
No, he looked more than angry. He looked pissed.
“Have you any idea what you’ve done?” he demanded, coming to a halt in front of her.
“What are you talking about now?” she asked tiredly.
He stared disbelievingly at her for a moment. “Didn’t you read the Prophet this morning?”
“No, I bloody well did not. I was too busy trying to catch up on sleep, since someone interrupted it last night at an ungodly hour.” He had the good sense to blush.
“It’s smeared all over the front page,” he said, fairly snarling at her. “Our divorce, me and Hermione, everything.”
“So? You know as well as I do that when you file for divorce, you have to give a reason for wanting it. I gave my reason.”
“I wouldn’t care if it’d just been me whose name you slandered, but to do it to Hermione? Ginny, she’s supposed to be your friend.”
“Yes, she is supposed to be my friend, isn’t she? But the description of friend doesn’t include sleeping with someone else’s husband, does it?” she asked, her temper flaring.
“She’s dead upset about all of this,” he explained, his tone softer.
“As well she should be,” Ginny snapped. “But I suppose she should have prepared herself for the possibility of this when she took up with a married man, shouldn’t she? Especially when that married man is the Savior of the ruddy world!”
Without giving him a chance to respond, she turned on her heel and stomped down the hallway.
Once she was back inside her flat, she shrugged off the heavy dress robe and chucked the Auror’s uniform beneath, fully intending on taking a long, hot bath, when she heard a strangled cry from the fireplace.
“Sweet Mother of Merlin!” Pansy exclaimed, squeezing her eyes shut. “Put some clothes on, Potter!”
Ginny grabbed a blanket off of the back of her sofa and clutched it to her breast as she heard voices behind Pansy.
“Shut up!” Pansy hissed to whoever was behind her. She opened her eyes and sighed in relief to see Ginny covered.
“This is my flat, in case you hadn’t noticed – I can walk around starkers from noon to night, if I bloody well want to,” Ginny snapped. “What are you doing popping in unannounced like that, anyway?”
“Neville is pestering me to invite you over here for the party, so in an effort to get him to piss off, you’re invited. Now get your freckled arse over here!”
“Over where?” Ginny asked, fighting the heat that caused red splotches to appear on her skin.
When Pansy hesitated before answering, Ginny’s apprehension threatened to swallow her whole. It must be bad, if she was hesitating like that…
Ginny nearly dropped the blanket.
“Uh-uh. No way. Tell Nev I begged off.”
“Shut up and get your arse over here now, Potter,” a voice drawled. Ginny froze as Pansy’s head disappeared from the flames and was replaced with one covered in white-blonde hair instead. “Longbottom won’t even let us have a fucking decent conversation without asking Parkinson to floo you. Get over here now.”
Hearing him refer to everyone by their last names like that irked her, for some reason.
“And what makes you think that I’d come to your house? You’d probably be waiting to hex me to hell and back when I step out of the floo.”
He smirked at her, and the urge to slap the expression from his face made her palm itch. “Don’t worry – I don’t use Imperius on my guests – at least, not on their first visit, anyway. Just ask Longbottom.”
Involuntarily, Ginny’s lips curved up in her amusement at his joke, and an idea flared to life inside of her.
Malfoy was having a party at his home – what better way to get some of her own back, than to go, and mingle with his friends? Harry would be livid.
“What sort of dress?” she asked quickly. He didn’t look surprised as he answered.
“Give me ten minutes.”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
When Ginny stepped out of the floo at Malfoy Manor, she was struck dumb. She had imagined that this was a small fête, based on the way Pansy had been talking. Now, at stepping into a throng of people and nearly being swept away by their movement, she wondered why she’d gotten that particular impression. Since when had she ever known Malfoy not to do anything to excess?
After glancing around, she realized that she’d picked the perfect ensemble to wear. The ladies here were all dressed in glittery, lacy floor-length gowns, and the men were all wearing black suits and ties. If she didn’t know better, she would have thought she’d just stepped into a Wizarding wedding reception.
Before she could go off in search of Neville, a hand shot through the crowd and gripped her forearm, dragging her away. When she finally came to a stop, she watched her captor release her and go off in search of better company (presumably). As his white-blonde hair disappeared, she shrugged and turned to see where he’d taken her.
Neville was seated in front of the fireplace, looking completely miserable. She smiled and tapped his shoulder. When he turned and saw her, his face lit up.
“Gin! Oh, thank the Gods,” he swore, hugging her tightly. When he released her, he blinked. “Why do you still have your robe on?”
“I haven’t had a chance to remove it, is all,” she replied, shaking her head. “As soon as I stepped out of the floo, Malfoy dragged me back here to you.”
“Malfoy did?” Neville asked, looking surprised. “How did he know you were coming?”
“He and Pansy paid me a nice little visit via the floo,” she said wryly, her cheeks pinking. Neville arched an eyebrow at her, but didn’t ask any questions, much to her relief. “So here I am.”
“Well, let’s start with putting your robe up, and then we’ll go and have a drink. I’m sorely in need of one right now, and I think you might benefit from it, too.”
“All right,” she said, unfastening her robe and slipping it off of her shoulders. Neville’s eyes widened, and he glanced around. Several of the men at the party had stopped talking and were staring in Ginny’s direction. She seemed oblivious to the attention. “Where do I put it?” she asked.
“Uh…” Neville cleared his throat and tugged on the tie at his throat. Ginny was wearing a short red dress that barely touched her knees. The material looked to be some sort of satin or silk, and perfectly matched the red strappy stiletto heels that were on her feet. Her hair had been pulled up into a graceful twist at the back of her head. “Why don’t we just take it into the coat room?” he suggested.
He placed his hand on the small of Ginny’s back and guided her through the room. Silk, then, he thought, feeling rather overprotective of his best friend at the moment. Every man they passed eyed her as though she was the next course of a delectable meal, and it unnerved him.
A pair of gray eyes was among the throng of those that watched her every movement until she left the room.
Once she’d deposited her robe in the cloak room, she turned back to Neville. “Well?”
“Well what?” he asked.
“You haven’t said a single thing about my new dress,” she said as though she were speaking to a toddler. “And normally you notice my new clothes right away.”
“Is this the new you that you were talking about?”
“Tarty.” Her mouth dropped open for a moment, and then she broke into peals of laughter. He grinned at her.
“Not what I was going for, but it’ll have to do.”
“I don’t think you’ll be lacking for companionship anytime soon,” he remarked, leading her into the main ballroom, where music was playing softly. Several couples were moving fluidly across the floor, and Ginny clapped her hands excitedly, having missed his comment.
“Oh, Neville! Dance with me?”
“Pansy would kill me,” he said, shaking his head. “Best friend or not, she’d kill me if I danced with another woman.”
“Oh,” Ginny pouted, her shoulders slumping. Neville was quick to rethink his no when he saw a tall, dark-haired man heading purposefully towards her.
“All right,” he said, grabbing her hand and yanking her gracelessly onto the floor. She smiled brightly as he wrapped one arm around her waist, and she slipped her delicate hand into his uplifted one. They began moving in time with the music, and Ginny was quick to discover why he’d actually turned her down at first – poor Neville had absolutely no rhythm.
“May I cut in?” Neville frowned as the dark-haired man asked. Ginny smiled, and the decision was made. As Neville made his way back to the outskirts of the dance floor, Pansy approached him.
“Wow,” she said, threading her arm through his. “He didn’t waste any time, did he?”
“Who is that?” The disapproving tone of his voice didn’t slip past his fiancée, and she smiled.
“That’s David Bole. He used to be on the Quidditch team until our fourth year.”
Recognition dawned on Neville’s face, and then his expression darkened significantly. “That’s the bloke that assaulted Alicia during the cup final, isn’t it?”
“Exactly!” Pansy said, pleased that he’d remembered. “He’s always been quite the ladies’ man, as I recall.”
“Don’t tell me that you went out with him – please,” Neville fairly begged, his eyes shut. He loathed hearing about Pansy’s previous conquests. She shrugged her shoulders gently.
“He and Draco were great friends until he graduated. They’ve been in contact ever since. I’m suddenly rather happy that Ginny showed up – I believe she’ll be spoken for for the remainder of the evening.”
“Possessive, is he?” Neville asked, allowing Pansy to wrench him from the ballroom.
“More than you know,” she said, rolling her eyes. On their way back to the parlour, they ran into the host himself.
“Enjoying yourself finally, Longbottom?” he inquired politely. Neville narrowed his eyes. It was the first time that Malfoy had ever spoken to him without some sort of blatant or blanketed insult.
“I was.” Malfoy arched a pale eyebrow in question, and Pansy rolled her eyes again.
“He’s worried about Weasley in there.”
“Why, isn’t she getting on with anyone?” Draco asked, laughter in his voice.
“Quite the opposite,” Pansy replied. “She’s dancing with Bole.”
“Then she’s in good hands,” Draco said, as he drifted off into the crowd.
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Neville muttered under his breath.
Leave a Review