He decided he hated prefect meetings. They were always the same. Every year they got the same instructions, and every year he’d had to endure the pointed looks during the lecture about not abusing their positions. It wasn’t anything new; he’d been a prefect since 5th year, but last year had been different because she was made a prefect too and he knew this year was going to be the hardest because he was realizing that it might just be impossible to control his looks and actions around her.He would have much rather been safe within the confines of his own compartment, surrounded by fellow Slytherins, than trapped in here across from the object of his private obsession. The one upside was that Potter wasn’t a prefect, so he wasn’t there, so he had that obsession to himself… sort of.
This was his last year and he was glad of it. If he had had to endure another train ride in her presence he was sure the strain would kill him. If not the strain, then her older brother would, because he knew being in such close quarters with her again next year would have been too much for him and he would have had to just grab her and kiss her until the madness ebbed out of him. Yeah… he was glad it was his last year.
Obviously, he wasn’t controlling himself well. Unrequited love was just something a Malfoy never felt. A Malfoy always got what a Malfoy wanted. Clearly his heart didn’t want to agree with his mind, because in his head he knew she’d never be able to forget who she was long enough to love him in spite of who he was. And yet, he couldn’t stop loving her.
He should have stopped this unholy obsession before it had gotten this far. The first time he had ever seen her had been the summer before his second year. Potter was holding court with Weasel and the Mudblood at Flourish & Blotts. She’d been there too, her face all sooty from flooing in. He caught site of her flaming hair and he couldn’t look away. Shaking his head a bit, he was reminded that Potter was once again basking in his apparent love of the spotlight. He’d gotten close to them and made it perfectly clear that Potter’s feigned modesty didn’t fool anyone.
“Leave him alone, he didn’t want all that!”
And that was it. The first thing he ever heard the girl of his dreams say, and she defended that prat.
With his usual flair he’d insulted and embarrassed her. “Got yourself a little girlfriend Potter?” All the while wishing that it was he who she belonged to, rather than Scarhead.
Furious, Draco had left the shop swearing that he’d never think about her again. He should have kept that promise to himself but he just couldn’t. Now it was five years later and he still couldn’t stop thinking about her.
So, there they were, nearly done the first prefect meeting of his final year and it was her laughter that finally shook him embarrassingly out of his dream world. His cheeks turned a pale sort of pink colour but he looked relieved. He didn’t think anyone had noticed his momentary phase-out, but to make sure, he turned to the Head Girl (Granger of course) to pretend he had been paying attention to her last minute instructions all along.
He couldn’t get out of there faster.
Things seemed better for Draco once they arrived at school. It was almost easy not to think about her when he was surrounded by other Slytherins. During the feast he purposely sat with Goyle in between him and the fairer Weasley’s end of the Gryffindor table. Of course Draco hadn’t told him why he wanted him to sit there. Goyle, who was now dating Pansy Parkinson (“Thank heaven for small favours,” thought Draco) was the perfect shield. Their relationship was beginning to pose a little bit of a problem for Draco’s immediate needs though. With Goyle across from him he was shielded because Goyle was big enough to block the small red head from view, but as soon as he was finished eating, he leaned over his new girlfriend and started kissing her neck, leaving Draco’s vision of the fiery Gryffindor vixen completely unimpaired.
He tried not to look at her but his resolve crumbled when he heard her laughing. She laughed all the time it seemed. He’d often wondered what it felt like to be laughing with her instead of being so far away from her when she did it. She didn’t often laugh when he was near her.
Ginny didn’t notice him looking over, so he just watched for a while. She was listening to something Longbottom was saying and then turning to repeat it to Granger. The Weasel heard and guffawed along with them. It must have been some idiot joke. She’d laugh at anything.
She had no idea how pretty she was when she laughed.
If it hadn’t been for Dumbledore getting up to start the annual announcements, Draco probably would have been caught staring. Though he didn’t like to admit it, those Gryffindors were much more astute than the idiots he gathered around him. The Slytherins would never notice his obsession with Ginny, even if she jumped on top the House Table and proceeded to give Draco a lap dance. “Stop it!” he thought to himself, “Don’t think about her doing that here!” He rebuked himself for that thought almost daily.“Welcome and good evening. I trust this year’s feast was an improvement upon last year’s closing one.” Dumbledore’s eyes fixed upon Potter and gave a little twinkle. “Now that Voldemort and his supporters have been vanquished there is much to celebrate at the coming of this new school year here at Hogwarts…”
Draco stopped paying attention at that… “Yes, yes, we’re all glad St. Potter finished off the Dark Lord so we can get back to our mediocre education,” he thought, “can we get on with it?”
“…the most important, of course, is Inter-house Cooperation and friendly relations between the houses. To that end, we have planned a year long activity that I hope will help develop friendships among all students, regardless of House. There is also an extra bonus for those of you who wish to play. In addition to learning how to make and keep friends of all backgrounds, you will receive extra credit in either History of Magic or Muggle Studies for participating. Perhaps Professor Morag would do the honours and explain the game.”
Completely failing to hide her enthusiasm, the young, excited Muggle Studies professor stood up and began to speak.
“You see … we’ve prepared a, for lack of a better word, we’ve prepared a Muggle-like game called a ‘Role Playing Game’ to encourage Inter-house relations this year. In the Muggle world these games have been played for years, but we’ve added a magical twist.The way to play is easy: To begin you chose a character or ‘role’ to play in one of the three game pools. The first night you write a simple introduction to the whole group and from then on you write a group letter daily. The group letters are magically joined together and everyone gets a copy of everyone’s letters. Your group leader, who will be one of the three participating Heads of House, will write every two weeks to guide the story along. Every other day, allowing for replies of course, you write a single individual letter to another character while ‘in character’ that will be private between the two of you. The plot of the story is completely decided upon by you, the cast, and can change the more people you chose to individually write to. Think of this as a play - you get to pretend to be someone else and no one knows which part is yours.
She looked around the Great Hall and saw some nodding heads and smiles, but many wary or confused looks as well.
“There is one major catch though … if you do sign up to play it will be as though you signed a magical contract … well, in fact you will have signed a magical contract. You agree to play to the end or until any of the main rules are broken. You are also agreeing to not openly divulge which character you are until the end-of-year ball following exams in June.”With that bit of news the Hall erupted with chatter. A ball? Every girl started giggling and more than a few boys blushed and looked up at the ceiling, down at the floor, or off into space.
“Excellent question Mr. Finnigan. These letters will not be read by the staff, unless of course there is a problem between students and the like. No. The extra credit will be earned by simply writing. The staff will get reports from the house elf reporting system on who is actively participating. So, if you don’t write you don’t get the grade. It’s not the intention of the game to peek in on your private thoughts, even if they are just a ‘character’s thoughts’, but it is to make new friends and go a little out of your comfort zone. Privacy is important, so the letters are to be addressed to the character from the character and can not be read by anyone else without explicit permission … it will be impossible to see the ink unless you are the addressee.
“So, the character description sheets will be available following my remarks. You won’t be able to sign up until 8 pm tonight. And I must remind you that once you sign your name to the character, the character’s name will have a little golden ‘chosen’ appear by it on all description sheets and you will have signed the magical contract to participate in the game as said character. Feel free to begin with a brief introduction to the group for tomorrow. Perhaps whom you think your character is in respect to the others in the group and the like. Then peruse the descriptions of your fellow cast mates and choose someone with whom you might be interested in corresponding privately. And … I think that is everything. I hope you’ll all be really excited about this. We planned it with a lot of fun in mind.”With that, Professor Morag sat down. With a wave of her hand, description sheets for this new game appeared in front of every student. Draco could hear conversations pop up all over the hall, along with the requisite giggles and excited laughter. He looked at his fellow Slytherins and could tell that there were even several of them who looked interested, even if they wanted to mask their enthusiasm.