Chapter Seven :: Interlude
Ginny stretched languidly in her bed, enjoying the feel of the down comforter against her bare legs. Smiling sleepily to herself, she rose from the bed and went into the kitchen to make some coffee. She was feeling extraordinarily good today.
She plodded into the kitchen, and her happiness didn’t fade even the slightest when her eyes fell on Harry, sitting rigidly in one of the chairs at the table.
“Good morning,” she said brightly, pulling the coffee from the cabinet. He glared at her.
“And that’s all you’ve got to say to me,” he snapped. “Is good morning?”
“Why, Harry? Aren’t you having a good morning?” she asked, smiling. His scowl deepened.
“What’s come over you, Gin? You’re acting as though our marriage meant nothing at all to you.”
“I beg your pardon,” she said calmly, inhaling the aroma of the coffee brewing. “But I think that you’re the one who acted as though our marriage meant nothing. After all, you’re the one who had the affair, not me, remember?”
“Do you know that Ron won’t even accept my owls now?” he demanded.
“Won’t he?” she asked, genuinely surprised. “Imagine that – him siding with his sister over his friend.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed. “You’re acting oddly this morning – even for you. What’s happened?”
“Absolutely nothing,” she said innocently, pouring herself a cup of coffee. “Isn’t a girl allowed to be happy now and then?”
“Of course, but there has to be a reason you’re so … so… chipper.”
“Nothing in particular,” she said, shrugging. She sipped at the steaming liquid, found it wanting, and stirred in another teaspoonful of sugar. She wasn’t about to tell him that shagging Malfoy had somehow seemed to purge her of all the emptiness and anger that had been building up since that night she’d seen him in the arms of another woman. What good would it do to antagonize him further, when he was doing a decent job of antagonizing himself?
“You know I don’t believe you.”
“Yes, that’s nothing new to me,” she said distractedly, opening the morning’s issue of the Daily Prophet.
“You’re seeing someone, aren’t you?”
“Am I?” she asked, thumbing through the paper to get to the Society pages.
“You are, I knew it!” he declared triumphantly.
“Well, it’s nice of you to inform me,” she said, sounding bored. “Thanks for stopping by.” Her eyes landed on a photo of Pansy and Neville, and she smiled. They’d finally made a public announcement about their engagement. Harry cleared his throat, and she looked up, becoming somewhat annoyed. When he showed her the photo he’d pulled out of his pocket, she paled. The morning had just taken a turn for the worse.
“Where did you get that?” Ginny demanded, her lower lip trembling. Harry tossed it onto the table, unable to bring himself to touch it any longer. “Were you having me followed?”
“I wasn’t having you followed,” he denied, looking away from her. “I followed you myself.”
“What?” she blurted, her cheeks pinking. She was unable to tear her eyes away from the picture and the activity going on within its confines. It was a snapshot of she and Draco in the darkened street the night before, kissing. Her face began to burn when she saw Draco’s hand slip down to clutch her bum.
“Who is he?” Her head snapped up at this question, and she studied his face carefully. Could Harry really not know who the man in the photo was? He still wasn’t making eye contact with her. She could have laughed – he didn’t recognize Draco!
“No one you know,” she lied smoothly, plucking the photo from the tabletop. She shoved it down inside the waistband of her knickers, so that it was resting against the skin of her hip. Harry watched this display with interest.
“So what happened?”
“Nothing you need to know about,” she said, sipping her coffee and directing her eyes back towards the paper. “We’re divorced now, so I don’t have to tell you anything about my life. You’re no longer a part of it.”
“How can you-“ he started.
“No, how can you?” she snapped, her temper spiking. It was too early in the morning to have Harry come and provoke her like this, especially on one of her days off. “You decided what you wanted, Harry, and it wasn’t me! I’d appreciate it if you’d quit barging in whenever you feel like it, and grilling me on my personal life, which has nothing to do with you!”
“Fine,” he said, his teeth grinding together. “Just – fine.” And then he was gone. Relieved, Ginny sagged against the table, lightly smacking her forehead on its surface.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Several miles away, Draco had finally managed to withdraw from his oversized bed and make it to the shower. He didn’t feel truly awake yet, as though he was moving through a fog. He very nearly always felt that way in the mornings; he was simply a night person, and mornings were harsh.
This morning had been particularly harsh, come to think of it.
He’d awoken from a fairly erotic dream in which he had been shagging a nubile woman from every position and angle imaginable. The problem? The nubile woman was a redhead. And not just any redhead – it had been the nubile redhead he’d shagged last night.
He groaned in frustration as the hot water pelted down against his skin, bringing it back to life and giving him some semblance of wakefulness. He washed his hair and scrubbed himself clean with his favorite soap, trying to ignore the fact that, if he closed his eyes, he could still see her smiling softly in his mind’s eye.
He got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist, then headed back into his bedroom, where he went about his morning ritual. Dry off, get dressed, brush hair. Once every hair was in place, he reached over to the top of his bureau, aiming for his watch. When his hand encountered nothing but the bare wood of the bureau, he turned slate eyes towards it. There was nothing there.
He frowned. He always removed his watch before bed; had done so since he was eighteen years old and received the gift from his Mother. Usually Muggle machinations held no interest for him, but seeing as how his own Mum had thought it nice enough to give it to him, he’d worn it every day. He had grown quite fond of it, actually. The weight of the silver round his wrist was comforting.
Now, however, it seemed he’d been burgled.
He rang for a house elf. When the tiny creature appeared, he crossed his arms over his chest. “Who was in my room last night?”
“No one is being in your room, Master Sir,” the house elf replied timidly. “We is all cleaning the study, like Master Sir told us to.”
He frowned. The house elves were not given to lying - not when they knew that they would be severely punished for doing so. He dismissed the house elf, ignoring her announcement that his breakfast was ready, and massaged his forehead with his fingertips. He already felt naked without the heaviness of the watch. Where in damnation could it be?
He closed his eyes and sighed when an image of red hair flashed behind his closed lids. Just as quickly his eyes flew open, and his jaw dropped.
It must have slipped off during their shag.
He glanced at himself in the mirror one more time before grabbing his cloak and rushing out through the hallway towards the hearth. He had to get that watch back. He only hoped that she hadn’t already found it and hocked it.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Ginny relaxed on the sofa with her coffee as she read through the paper. It had been a while since the last time she’d done this, she thought. Harry had usually had her out every weekend, either at a Quidditch match, or over at her parents’ house so he could spend time with Ron. It was nice to be able to stay in and relax and do whatever the hell she wanted.
She had just finished an article about the Kenmare Kestrels in the sports section when dust from her fireplace flooded her living room. Coughing, she waved her hand, trying to fan the dust away from her face and see who had caused the mess.
Draco stared at her. It was positively indecent, the way she was dressed. She was lounging on the sofa, her bare legs crossed at the ankles, and wearing nothing but a t-shirt that came to mid-thigh. Just beneath the thin fabric, he could see her black knickers, and something white poking out from beneath the elastic on her leg.
The dust settled enough for her to see that Draco Malfoy – the last person in the world she’d expected to see – had been the one to floo gracelessly into her flat. She sighed. How much more was she going to have to put up with today? She glanced down into her coffee mug, and noticing that there was dust floating at the top of the liquid, she frowned. Rising from her comfortable seat, she went into the kitchen with the mug.
Draco blinked and shook his head before following her.
“Where is it?”
“Where is what?” she asked, rinsing her mug out.
“My watch. Did you sell it already?”
“What watch?” She poured another cup of coffee, and Draco tried not to remember his dream as he eyed the backs of her slender legs.
“The watch that I left here last night on accident,” he snapped coldly. She spooned sugar into her coffee, and then added a tiny bit of milk.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she replied, tasting the liquid. Satisfied, she turned to face him. “What does it look like?”
Momentarily thrown off track by the cinnamon hue of her eyes, he blinked. When he found his voice again, it sounded gruff, even to him. “It’s silver - not that I’d expect a pauper like yourself to recognize a precious metal when you see it.”
“Did you look in the living room before you came in here?” she asked reasonably, ignoring his barb. For some reason today, his snarky nature didn’t bother her at all. He frowned and went back into the other room, where he glanced around.
Nothing. He sighed angrily as she entered the room. “Any luck?”
She rolled her eyes and sat her mug down on the end table before getting down on all fours and searching beneath the sofa and chairs. Draco couldn’t move; her arse was sticking up in the air, as though simply waiting for him to touch it. Her shirt had ridden up slightly, and he could see paper sticking out of her knickers where her hip was.
“Men. If it’s not lying out in plain sight, you think it’s hopelessly lost.” She clambered to her feet and held the watch out triumphantly. “It was under the sofa.”
He slid it onto his wrist, welcoming the coolness of it. “What are you hiding?”
“What?” she asked, confused. He pointed to her hip, and immediately heat rose to her cheeks. Her neck and face flushed scarlet. “Oh, that – it’s nothing. Just my to-do list for today.”
“Oh, really.” He was blatantly disbelieving. She didn’t care – he didn’t have to believe her, so long as he left. Post haste.
“Well, you found your watch. You can go now.”
He took a step towards her, and suddenly Ginny got the odd (but distinct) impression that she was being hunted in her own home. She took a step backwards. He continued to move forward until her back was pressed against the wall, and he was standing so close to her that she could feel his breath hot on her face.
“I don’t like it when people lie to me,” he said softly, his eyes dropping to focus on her barely parted lips.
“I don’t owe you anything,” she protested weakly. “Least of all explanations.”
Unable to stop the dream images that were flashing inside his mind, he leaned forward and sucked her bottom lip, gently scraping it with his teeth. She shuddered and closed her eyes, enjoying the sensation more than she should. When she felt his hand on her hip, however, she knew that she’d been had, and she pushed him away.
“You bastard - give it back!” she demanded, holding her hand out. He smirked at her. It really had been too easy to trick her.
“What’s so important about…” his voice died as his eyes fell on the picture. There he was, his arms crushing her to him, kissing her into oblivion. He watched it for a full minute before looking back up at her. “What’s the meaning of this? Where did you get it? Did you have me followed?”
She rolled her eyes at this. “Yes, Malfoy, I had you followed because I knew you were just dying to snog a Weasley.”
He relaxed a bit, though he was still angry. She had a point. “Where did you get this, then?”
She fidgeted and fingered the hem of her nightshirt as she refused to meet his eye. She mumbled something that made Draco’s eyes narrow; something that sounded suspiciously like “Harry.”
“I must be mistaken,” he said coolly, “because I could have sworn that you just said that your ex-husband was the one who had this photo of us together. Your ex-husband, who is my worst enemy, and would do anything to destroy me. Surely you didn’t mean that Harry, did you?”
“It’s not my fault!” she exclaimed, rosy spots arising on her cheeks as she finally turned her eyes to him, glaring. “He’s jealous. He followed me. I had no idea he was there!”
“What exactly does he plan to do with this photograph, then?”
“Nothing, as far as I know,” she said, exasperated. “I don’t think he even knew that it was you in the picture.”
“Right,” he scoffed, glancing down at the item in question again.
“I’m serious,” she said. “If he’d known it was you, surely he would have laid into me more than what he did.”
“He really didn’t know it was me?” he asked, disbelief etched across his features. She shrugged.
“I guess it was just too dark for him to recognize you. Plus you have to admit, you were dressed a little bit differently than usual, so that probably added to the confusion – though why he didn’t recognize your hair, I don’t understand,” she puzzled, frowning. “It’s not as though there are a million people walking around out there with your hair color.”
He stiffened. “And what exactly is wrong with my hair color?”
“I didn’t say there was anything wrong with it, you ponce,” she snapped, turning away from him and heading towards her coffee again.
“That’s the second time in two days that a woman has called me that, and I won’t stand for it!” he snarled. She put her coffee mug down and eyed him thoughtfully.
“You know, you really are quite attractive – for a ferret, I mean.” He could feel the vein in his temple start to throb as his anger rose. “Until you open your mouth, anyway. Why can’t you just keep your bloody gob shut? You’d never pry the women away then, I expect.”
He’d been about to issue forth a scathing insult, but her words stopped him short. “Including you?” he smirked. She arched an eyebrow and closed the distance between them, sliding her arms around his neck. He sucked in a quick breath as she pressed her lips to the side of his neck, letting her tongue dart out to taste his skin.
“Including me,” she murmured, her breath tickling him. He tilted his head back and focused his eyes on the ceiling, rather enjoying the feel of her talented mouth on his skin. Her fingers played with his hair, then gently squeezed his shoulders, causing him to wince. She’d left deep crescent-shaped grooves in his skin, and the wounds were still sensitive. It hadn’t occurred to him to magic them away.
She felt his slightly muscled arms through his jumper, and raised her head, bringing her mouth level with his. She gave him an impish look before she ran her tongue teasingly along his lips, and smiled when he parted them for her. Before he could protest, she had shoved her tongue inside his mouth as she kissed him ruthlessly.
She pressed herself against him, acutely aware of the fact that her knickers were getting damp, and that she could feel his reaction to her nearness. When she pushed him away abruptly, he staggered and stared at her in utter shock.
She held the photograph of the two of them between her fingers and smirked at him.
His cheeks pinked slightly. “That’s a dirty trick.”
“And you fell for it,” she replied sweetly. “Don’t you have somewhere to be?”
“As a matter of fact, I do.” He brushed past her and stepped into the fireplace, not even turning around to get a final glance of her before he left. If he’d looked back, he thought angrily, he might not have left at all.
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