Thanks for the great feedback... and to Rainpuddle for being such a fantastic beta.
Into the Sun
Draco looked around the staff meeting, bored out of his mind. McGonagall's biweekly meetings usually passed swiftly, but today it just seemed to drag along. He knew it had more to do with the hideous yellow diamond Ginny was wearing than the Headmistress. Every time he looked up, the ring winked at him. What had Potter been thinking?
They'd been back at Hogwarts for three weeks now. Besides dinner, he'd hardly spoken to Ginny. The two were the only relatively young teachers on staff and often sought each other out for conversation. However, it seemed Ginny was so busy planning her wedding (he'd heard her confess to endless conversations with her mum via Floo) that she didn't have time for him. He was hoping to grab her after the meeting – even if he didn't know what he was to say.
In an effort to distract himself, he looked around the table. Other than himself and Ginny, the staff at Hogwarts had hardly changed since he'd been a student. Of course, it was impossible to keep a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for more than one year, but that was to be expected. Binns was still the History of Magic teacher. Draco often heard the students complain how boring he was. Trelawney left the Divination position after he'd finished his second year of teaching. Firenze had stayed on at the request of the Headmistress.
Madam Hooch was still there, teaching the first year students to fly. Flitwick continued to teach Charms and he was still the head of Ravenclaw. The other teachers remained the same. When he first came to teach there, Draco found it uncomfortable to socialize with his former professors. Of course there was the age difference, but also because he was trying to fill Snape's shoes. When he was asked to take over for Slytherin house, he'd been doubly hesitant. He'd finally agreed when McGonagall pointed out that none of his former classmates remained. When she had hired Ginny to teach Transfiguration, the redhead had immediately taken over Gryffindor house.
Draco forced his attention back to the Headmistress. It sounded like she was finishing up. He reached forward and rolled his parchment up. Looking up, he saw Ginny staring at him. She smiled warmly and he nodded in return. When McGonagall finally finished, Draco stood and stretched. He was eager to get back to his office and get some work done. Madam Pomfrey had requested several potions for the hospital wing.
He was halfway to the dungeons when he heard her behind him. She hadn't called after him, but Draco knew from the footsteps who it was. He slowed his stride and allowed her to catch up. The redhead fell into step beside him. "Hullo."
She repeated the smile from before. "What're you up to today?"
"Pomfrey needs me to brew her some potions. I thought I might do that, and then some grading."
"You could ask McGonagall for a seventh year student to help you with that, you know."
"I could," he agreed. "But then what would I do with myself?"
"Spend time with your favorite Transfiguration professor?"
He stopped and looked down at her. "Does McGonagall want to spend time with me privately? Pervy old girl, that one."
Ginny laughed at him. "Not her, you prat. I thought you might like to spend time with me."
Draco could feel his heart start to speed up. If only she knew. "You've been busy since we returned from hols." His gaze drifted down to her left hand. "I suppose congratulations are in order."
The redhead blushed. "Thank you."
"Did Potter pick the ring out himself?"
"It's…very interesting. I haven't quite seen anything like it before." Actually, he had. When he was a small child, his mother would sometimes take him to Gringotts to retrieve jewelry for a party. There was always a section of the vault for the Malfoy family jewels, many that were hideous like her engagement ring.
She made a face, but didn't say anything more. It shouldn't matter to her if he liked the ring or not. "Would you mind if I come with you? I'd like a few hours away from wedding books and emergency Floo calls from Mum."
"Let's go." He started walking again, leading the way to his workrooms. When they arrived he held the door open for her, letting her enter first. Draco watched when she retrieved a stool from the other side of his work table and sat down on it. "By all means, make yourself at home."
"Thanks, I think I will," she quipped. Ginny watched as he began to gather materials to begin working with. "I never asked what you did for break. Or did you stay here?"
"I spent a fortnight with Mum at the Manor and then visited Severus for the last week. It was wholly uneventful."
"Mine too," she agreed. Draco looked at her pointedly, and she shrugged. "Except for that one day it was uneventful."
He nodded, but didn't say anything more. The redhead was content to watch him work. It took her mind off things she didn't want to think about.
"I didn't realize you and Potter were so serious."
Ginny smiled. "Yeah, he kind of surprised me. I wasn't expecting it."
She frowned at his tone. "What does that mean?"
"Nothing," he answered. "Weasley, should I point out you've been bloody in love with him since I've known you?"
"I have not!"
"You have so!" Draco wasn't paying attention to what he was doing and sliced his finger. "Fuck!" He immediately dropped the knife and sucked his finger into his mouth.
Ginny was immediately off the stool and at his side. She pulled his finger from his mouth to check the cut before getting a towel from the sink. Draco allowed her to wrap his hand, before pulling away. "It's fine."
"Do you need to go to the hospital wing?" she asked. "I'll take you."
"It's fine, Weasley." When she reached for his hand again, he jerked away. "Leave it alone."
He withdrew his wand and cast a quick healing spell. The blond watched as his skin knit back together. "There. It's fine." Draco retrieved his knife and began slicing again.
The redhead let it drop. "What're you chopping anyway?"
"Mandrake roots for restorative draught. Pomfrey complains she's completely out, even though I make her some every other week. I don't want to know why she goes through it so quickly."
"Oh." Ginny could feel the awkwardness between them, and she wasn't sure why. Since she'd started teaching at Hogwarts four years ago they'd fell into an easy friendship. They'd both matured since they were in school together. "Draco, what's going on?"
He looked up from his table. "What do you mean?"
"You. Something is going on with you."
He shook his head in denial. "I'm fine."
"No, you're not. You've been avoiding me for the last three weeks. I don't understand why." Ginny got off the stool and went to his side. "Did I do something?"
Draco looked down, her brown eyes pleading with him to be honest. "Gin—" he started. Her engagement ring caught his eye, and he shook his head. "It's me, not you. I've just been distracted recently."
"Oh." She knew he was lying to her, but she didn't know why. "I guess. Anything I can help you with?"
"No. Just a lot of family stuff."
"I see." Ginny reached up and kissed his cheek. "I should probably leave you alone so you can work. I'm sorry for bothering you."
"You didn't," he told her. "Bother me, I mean. It was good to talk to you."
She nodded. "Yeah, it was. But why do I get the feeling that we didn't talk at all?"
Draco watched, dumbfounded, as she left. How was he supposed to respond to that? The door closing pulled him from his stupor. He pushed any lingering thoughts of Ginny from his mind and focused on his work.
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