When did it start? If he had to, he’d be hard pressed to pinpoint the defining moment he knew he wanted her. The moment he knew he loved her. She’d always been there. She was funny, quick to put one of her brothers, or him for that matter, in their place. She was a tough little thing, and could certainly handle herself in a fight. She’d proved that at the Ministry with a broken ankle, no less. She was pretty enough; she had ‘the girl next door’ good looks. She looked a lot like her eldest brother, actually, but prettier. She was a mate. She was one of the guys. Like Hermione. She was always there. Always steady. She was a constant that he could count on.
Until early November last year.
Voldemort died. It was remarkably easier than anyone thought it would be. His death came about by an insurrection of his followers, ironically enough. The Death Eaters evidently felt that he was getting too radical even for their evil tastes.
The Slytherin children of the Death Eaters were mostly unaffected by the final battle. Most of them hadn’t been indoctrinated yet. They weren’t evil, they just didn’t care. Apathy wasn’t as bad as evil, in his eyes anyway. Even Malfoy turned out to be not such a bad sort. Once you waded through all the egotism and disdain, and the fact that he was a prick, he was just another bloke. He even began thinking of him as just ‘Draco’, actually. They’d fought side by side in the final battle and saved each other’s necks more than once. You can’t owe a life debt to someone, and have them owe you in return, without becoming, at least begrudgingly, friends.
Later that year, when Gryffindor played Slytherin, they had shaken hands and joked around before the game. But the match itself was brutal. Endless, torrential rain poured on the pitch, soaking everyone to the skin. The Impervious Charm wasn’t even working anymore. He couldn’t see shite before him and he knew Draco was using it to his advantage. It was during that match that he realized that he’d been watching her more than looking for the Snitch. She flew gracefully and effortlessly, tossing and catching the Quaffle with the other Chasers, executing expert precision. He watched her rolling to avoid a Bludger, her long hair streaming back behind her in a blazing ponytail. He was listening to her mouthing off to one of the Slytherin beaters when he knew.
He fancied Ginny Weasley.
He redoubled his efforts to find the Snitch. As soon as he caught it, and the game was over, he would ask her to go for a walk. Er, no, the rain. Maybe he’d ask her to the kitchens for hot chocolate and tell her how he felt. Pure joy bubbled up in his chest. He knew she liked him; she’d had a crush on him since her first year. Maybe even before then. He grinned widely.
The grin was wiped suddenly off his face when he saw a streak of green and silver go by him. Draco had spotted the Snitch. Damn. He flew after him, gathering speed, and then he heard Madame Hooch’s whistle. Slytherin had won; Draco had caught it. Damn again. And then, as if to prove that the gods had a deranged sense of humour, the rain abruptly let up. Brilliant, he thought.
He flew down slowly and watched the two teams shake hands and perform drying charms. The Slytherin team was celebrating already.
So what. He had more important things to attend to. Like Ginny.
He had just landed when he saw them. Draco had his arm draped casually across her shoulders. And she, in return, had her arm around his waist.
That’s strange,he thought.
Then the unthinkable happened. Draco leaned down and kissed her.
His stomach flip-flopped. Draco Malfoy kissed Ginny. His Ginny. And from the looks of it, it wasn’t the first time it had happened. They looked comfortable with each other, relaxed, even. Happy.
He stood with his mouth open, watching them. This wasn‘t right. It was not right. Ron and Hermione approached him.
“Hey, Harry. Rotten luck, that, mate,” Ron said, gesturing to the pitch.
Hermione nodded. “I’m sorry I don’t know a stronger charm for your glasses.”
A drawling voice cut in, “I’ve told him that there are Healers that can take care of poor eyesight. Yet he insists on wearing those ridiculous things,” Draco said. There was collective laughter. The blond stuck out his hand.
“Good game, Harry.”
Harry reached out and grudgingly, shook it. “Yeah, congratulations.”
Draco smiled down at Ginny as he said, “We’re having a celebration down in the dungeons. If you Gryffs are brave enough to come down, you’re welcome to.”
He smiled? Since when did Draco Malfoy smile?
Ron looked indignant. “Hmph. We’ll bring the Butterbeer.”
Ginny poked Draco in the side. “Yeah. As if we’d be scared of you, you great prat.”
Apparently the bastard’s ticklish.
“There was a time, Gin, when you were scared of me,” he replied.
Hermione lifted an eyebrow. “Draco, that ship has sailed. You’re not nearly as scary when you’re being tickled by a girl,” she commented, as Ginny began a full assault.
“Okay, okay,” he said breathlessly. “You win, Gin.” When she didn’t stop, he picked Ginny up by the waist and threw her over his shoulder. She laughed loudly.
“Come on, Red.” Draco started up toward the castle. “You lot stop by the kitchens first, yeah?” he said, as he looked back at the trio. “Losers bring food, too.”
Harry stared at them. After about twenty paces and gales of giggling from Ginny, Draco put her down and they continued up the grounds hand in hand. Harry himself, however, was rooted to the spot.
Hermione frowned. “Harry? Something wrong?”
Ron clapped him on the back. “You can’t catch it every time, mate.” He chuckled. “Hey, you killed Voldemort, so we’ll let the Quidditch match slide, okay?”
Hermione looked at Harry critically. “That’s not it, Ron.”
Ron gave Hermione a skeptical glance. “Huh?”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “He’s noticed, Ron.”
“Noticed what?” Ron asked, as they began walking away from the pitch.
“Ginny and Draco,” Hermione replied.
“Oh,” Ron said quietly.
Harry looked at them with wide eyes. “How long has this been going on?” he asked. “Do neither of you find it. . . odd?”
Hermione sighed. “They’ve been together for some time, Harry. Since Bill and Fleur’s wedding. It’s a funny story, actually.”
“I don’t want to hear it,” Harry said.
“Honestly. You really don’t pay attention, do you?”
Harry scowled at her. He turned to Ron. “You approve of this?”
Ron looked taken aback. “Well, yeah, Harry. You’re the one that convinced us Draco’s not all bad. You even made us start calling him by his bloody first name! In fact, if you can get past the fact that he’s a giant arse, he’s all right.”
“And he’s quite fit,” Hermione giggled. “Ginny’s so lucky, really.”
“Oi. Watch it, Hermione,” Ron said, grinning. She stood up on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek.
Harry gaped at them. Has the world gone insane?
“What in the bloody hell is going on here?”
Hermione blushed. Ron grinned broadly. “We’ve been together a little longer than Ginny and Draco.”
Hermione reached over and put a finger under the raven-haired boy’s chin to close his mouth. “Harry,” she sighed fondly. “So thick.”
“I am not!”
“Okay, okay. Well, you certainly don‘t pay attention, do you?”
“Well, I’ve had a lot to do recently,” Harry fumed. He took a deep breath and smiled at his two best friends. “It’s about time, though.”
“Hm,” Hermione replied absently. She took Ron’s hand. “I’m going to change. I’ll be down in a moment, okay?”
Ron watched her go while Harry watched Ron closely. The whole world had gone upside down. That was it.
Ron tore his gaze away from his retreating girlfriend’s back to notice the darkened look on his best friend’s face. “Harry, what’s wrong with you?”
“Ginny and Draco,” Harry mumbled.
“What about ‘em?” Ron asked. Then it dawned on him. “Oh. Finally noticed her, have you?”
“Well, you know I’d rather she was with you, mate, but she’s pretty happy with him.”
They walked in silence to the kitchens. Ron transfigured a pot into a trunk and they got the house-elves to bring them loads of sweets and Butterbeer to fill it. Each taking an end, they walked down the hall to the Slytherin dungeon. The stone doorway was open, an indication that the inter-house cooperation was stronger than ever.
Ron and Harry stepped in, and were greeted immediately by Blaise Zabini and Pansy Parkinson.
“It’s about time, you two!” Pansy smiled. “Did you take time to make friends with every house-elf down there?” She took a Butterbeer. “Thanks, though. This is great. They never give the Slytherins this much,” she said as she peered into the trunk.
“You’re welcome,” Harry replied. Pansy cocked her head to the side and smiled at him. This was the first time he’d ever been this close to her and he had to admit, she was rather pretty. Short, dark hair, violet eyes, and when she smiled, her sharp features were softened. Harry mentally shook his head. I don’t think Parkinson is attractive.
“Pansy, love, turn off the charm,” Blaise teased. “The Gryffs are immune, anyway,” he laughed.
She looked at Harry through her lashes. “I dunno, Blaise,” she murmured. “It’s worth a shot.”
Harry blinked at her and stepped away quickly. He scanned the dark room, looking for Ginny. His eyes adjusted to the dim lighting and he finally found her in a corner, curled in a chair, talking to Daphne Greengrass. “Hey, Ginny. What’s up?” He handed her a bottle of Butterbeer.
Ginny took it. “Thanks, Harry. You know Daphne, right?”
“Sure. Hi.” Harry looked at the girl. She nodded.
Harry sat down on the arm of Ginny’s chair. “You played well today, Ginny. Sorry it was wasted.” He put his hand on her shoulder.
She looked at him strangely. “It’s fine, Harry. Win some, lose some.” He patted her and took his hand away.
She was absolutely beautiful. She had changed from her Quidditch robes and was wearing snug jeans and a grey jumper that was too big for her. He was just about to touch her again, when Draco walked up.
“Harry. Glad you could finally make it. We were all dying of thirst,” he drawled as he stuck out his hand. Harry stood and shook it. Draco stepped back and Ginny moved to greet him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and looked up at him. “Done with your shower?” she asked him.
“Finally,” he replied. “Someone took forever to finish up.” He smiled at her as he sat down in her spot, pulling her on to his lap.
Harry wanted to vomit.
“Please,” Ginny giggled. “You take longer than any girl.” She kissed his cheek. “And I just love the Head Boy bathroom. It’s fabulous. Well,” she considered thoughtfully, “so is the Head Boy.”
Draco put his arms around her and pulled her closer. “Weasley? Did you take another of my jumpers?”
She snuggled in to his chest. “Mmm hmm.” She stuck her feet out and wiggled her toes. “Socks, too.”
He smiled indulgently at the redhead in his lap. “Who would’ve thought it, eh, Harry? A Weasley wearing the Malfoy crest?” He put his face in her hair, nuzzling her neck.
Harry couldn’t form a coherent answer. He felt... dirty, actually. He didn’t even answer Draco, he just walked away, Ginny and Draco not even noticing him, too involved in each other.
“They’re cute, aren’t they?”
He looked up to find Daphne had joined him.
“Yeah,” he answered noncommittally. “Cute.”
Daphne turned him to face her. “Hey, I was watching you fly today. You were. . . distracted, yeah?”
Harry gazed at her. Please, please don’t let me have been that transparent. “Mm. A bit.”
“Well,” she continued, “you’re a little late on that one,” she jerked her thumb towards Ginny and Draco, “but your ‘distraction’ would be welcome elsewhere.”
Harry’s eyes widened. What was it with the Slytherin girls today? “Oh, uh, Daphne, thanks, but-”
She laughed. “No, no, I’m afraid not, duck.” She nodded across the room. “Millicent’s more my style. Or Blaise, if I’m feeling particularly saucy.” She winked. “I’m talking about Pansy.”
She indicated the girl in question. Pansy was draped over an armchair, most of her long legs showing from under her school skirt. Her tie was loosened and the first several buttons of her oxford were undone. She’d abandoned her robes and was drinking another Butterbeer, laughing at something Zabini was saying. She turned her head and caught him staring at her, and her laugh turned into a sly smile. She gave a small wave, and continued talking with the other boy.
“You should give it a shot, Harry,” Daphne suggested.
“For inter-house cooperation?” Harry asked, clueless.
“No,” Daphne laughed. “’Cause she’s hot, duck. Because she’s hot.”
Ginny was in her very favourite place in the world, curled up on Draco’s lap. The after party was in full swing. Slytherins always had the best parties. She was listening to the conversation around her; Draco, Tracey and Greg were chatting about nothing.
“All I’m saying is that you could do with a course in table manners, Greg.”
“I’m sorry, Tracey. But it was eat or be eaten at my house,” mumbled Greg, munching a cauldron cake.
“Sounds like Sunday lunch with Gin’s family,” Draco mused.
Ginny gave him a half hearted smack on the chest, and turned her head to speak with the other boy. “I know how you feel, Greg. There were days when I had to hex one or two of them under the table so I could get a shot at dessert.” She wrinkled her nose. “But that wasn’t worth it, either. It puts you off your spotted dick when there are huge flying bogeys on your brother’s face.”
Greg chucked and muttered something about ‘Draco’ and ‘train’ under his breath. Draco shot him a nasty look.
Tracy looked confused. “Whatever. But seriously, Greg. Close your mouth, okay?”
“Drawing flies, again, Greg?” Blaise Zabini strolled up with his hands in his pockets.
“Sod off, Blaise,” Greg said without malice.
“Unnecessary, with so many lovely ladies in the room.” He winked at Ginny. “Draco,” he asked softly, “a word?”
Draco looked at Blaise for a moment and then back at Ginny. “Forgive me? Keep my place warm, okay?” He placed a kiss on her neck underneath her ear that elicited a purr from the redhead.
Blaise cleared his throat. “Do you mind? You two have a private suite to do that rubbish. Give the rest of us a break, yeah?”
Ginny blushed and got off of Draco’s lap, hugging him. “Don’t be long, okay? I’m about done with the party, anyway,” she hinted, giving him a pointed look.
Draco suddenly had the urge to get as far away from all the other people in the room as possible. “Right,” he said. “Blaise? Let’s make this quick.”
Blaise chuckled. “I wouldn’t have dragged you away from your little play-Gryff if it hadn’t been important.” He noticed Draco’s glare. “Ah, sorry. Girlfriend?”
Draco’s glare turned icy. “What is it?”
Blaise addressed the matter briskly. “Turns out our Harry may have noticed Ginny. Been making sheep eyes at her all night long. His jaw nearly hit the pitch when you kissed her after the game. Just thought you’d want to know.” He turned and began to walk away.
Draco caught him by the elbow. “Blaise,” his voice had a hint of emotion in it that Blaise couldn’t quite place. Was it panic? Surely not.
Blaise gave Draco a smirk. “Oh? So now you want to talk? Fine.” He decided not to prolong his friend’s agony. “I know how taken you are with your little redheaded sprite, so I’ve begun measures. I believe,” he said as he eyed a corner of the room, “that it’s being taken care of.”
“Good,” Draco replied. “Thanks, Blaise.” Then he walked briskly back to Ginny, and gently steered her toward the Head Boy’s suite.
It took Blaise a moment to process the fact that he’d just been thanked. By Draco Malfoy. The Devil must be a little chilly, he thought with a smile.
Harry stood in the Slytherin common room bathroom, leaning over the sink, looking at himself in the mirror. His reflection stared back at him, messy black hair, fair jaw line, green eyes. Nice enough,he thought. Stupid glasses. Maybe I should get my eyes fixed, he thought randomly.
“Why doesn’t she want me?” he murmured under his breath.
“Because she has him,” a voice answered.
He looked up sharply in the mirror and saw Pansy Parkinson leaning against the bathroom door.
Harry just gawked for a moment. When he finally found his voice, he asked, “Did I go through the wrong door? Isn’t this the men’s?”
Pansy laughed, a soft sound that was a caress. “No, Harry. The Slytherin common bath is just that. Common. Most of us just don’t care, and the ones that do go up to their dorms. Do you mind that I’m in here? I can leave if you want.”
Harry’s voice caught in his throat. “N-no, it’s your bathroom. You certainly don’t have to leave.”
She smiled at him as she walked over to lean against the sink next to his. “You’re wondering what she doesn’t see in you that she sees in him, right?”
He just stared at her.
She continued. “I don’t really have the answer to that, Harry. Draco’s a bit of a bastard, actually. I love him dearly, of course, but you know how he is. You, on the other hand are so. . . good. . . sweet. . . kind,” she mused. “He’s a bit dangerous.”
“But-,” he started.
“You have dark hair. A little untidy, but very nice all the same. Striking eyes. Has anyone ever commented on them?” she asked.
“A few times,” he answered wryly.
“Draco, on the other hand, has striking good looks. Blond. He reminds a bit me of those pictures of Adonis from the Greek lessons in Muggle Studies. Not to mention the eyes. You have to agree, Harry. Draco is attractive.”
“Parkinson?” Harry interrupted. “Did you come in here to make me feel worse?”
“Not at all, Harry. I came in here to chat with you, that’s all.” She took a step closer to him. “I’ll leave whenever you like.”
Harry could not believe what was happening to him. He had come in here to pout about Ginny. Ginny? Remember her? And now was seriously considering snogging the living daylights out of Pansy Parkinson. The gods must have picked up Hogwarts, shook it vigorously, and put it back down this morning. That was an explanation. Yeah. I’ll go with that, he thought.
“Harry?” She was very close to him now. Not touching, but all it would take would be to lean in slightly.
“Yeah?” he replied, his voice cracking.
“Would you escort me back out to the party?” she asked sweetly.
“Oh. Of course,” he replied, holding out his arm. She linked her arm with his, and they entered back into the common room.
Hermione had finally made it down to the dungeons only to be disappointed that Ron was not waiting for her with bated breath. She finally found him in a corner, playing a close game of chess with Vincent Crabbe.
“Hey, Hermione,” he responded distractedly. He put his arm around her waist, never looking up from the board. She looked at the chess pieces, and then up at Crabbe’s face. He had Ron in a very delicate place, and it looked likely that her boyfriend would lose the match. Crabbe just sat silent, arms folded across his massive chest, looking smug. There’s more to that one than meets the eye, she thought. She looked around the room, and noticed something that was sure to make Ron look up from the board. “Hey, there’s Harry.”
“Mmm-hmm,” Ron replied, not even glancing up.
“He looks to be massaging the back of Pansy Parkinson’s throat with his tongue,” Hermione said in distaste.
Both Ron and Crabbe looked up at the same time. “What?” Crabbe didn’t say anything, but Ron whistled. “Blaise was right.”
“Zabini?” Hermione fluttered. “Have you been talking to him? What did he say?”
“Hermione,” Ron began, “I’ll start by pointing out that you’re a little obsessed with Zabini. I’m going to ignore it because I’m just that secure, okay?” He looked at her sternly. “Quit being a Slytherin groupie. Makes me wish for the days when Voldemort was still alive and we hated all of their guts.”
Hermione blushed and hugged Ron. I really need to quit saying everything I think, she mused. She really did love Ron, but that didn’t mean she was dead, and, although she wasn’t about to stop looking, she supposed she’d have to quit talking about them so much.
“Before I go back to this match,” Ron continued, eyeing Crabbe and the board, “I’m going to point out that you’re a little sexist when it comes to the Slytherins. You go all sappy and drool like an idiot over Draco and Blaise, but our friend Harry finds a good snog, and you get that look on your face like you’ve been sucking a lemon. It’s something to think about.” And with that, he turned back to the game.
She stood there for a few moments before realizing that he’d been serious, he wasn’t going to pay her any attention.
Hermione huffed as she stepped away from the chess players and almost ran into Daphne Greengrass.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “So sorry.”
Daphne smiled at Hermione. “Having a good time?”
Hermione started to answer tersely and then thought back to what Ron had just said. Must be nice to Slythie girls. Hmm. “Actually, not yet, no. I only just got here and my boyfriend is rather ignoring me after he told me off, so I thought I might leave, really.”
“Oh, no. Don’t do that. The party’s just getting started. Let’s get you something to drink and see if that doesn’t put you in a better mood.” Daphne gave her shoulder a little side squeeze. “We always have a good time down in the dungeons,” she winked.
Hermione was surprised. Daphne seemed to be really sweet. Hanging out with her wouldn’t be all bad, surely. She walked over to the refreshment table with the girl, and proceeded to have a fascinating conversation, in Hermione’s estimation, about ancient runes and their practical application to everyday magic.
The bathroom door had barely closed behind Harry and Pansy when he saw Draco take Ginny by the hand and lead her out of the common room, whispering in her ear. He heard Ginny giggle, and saw her nod her head, and immediately felt sick.
“Hey, you,” Pansy whispered to him.
Harry looked at her, surprised to find her still attached to his arm.
“Don’t think about it,” she said.
Harry swallowed hard. “About what?” he asked.
“That’s my boy,” Pansy murmured. “Now. Why don’t you do something constructive, Harry?”
“L-like what?” he asked as his voice cracked. Stupid voice.
“Potter, you really are sweet. It’s refreshing,” she breathed next to his ear. It sent all kinds of tingling shocks to parts of his body heretofore dormant. The usual places, yes, but even the soles of his feet tingled. He wondered briefly if she had him under some sort of enchantment.
She put her hand on his cheek gently, and turned his face to look at hers. Violet eyes locked with green and he suddenly realized what he should do, Ginny be damned. He leaned into Pansy and brushed her lips with his. He tilted his head back to look at her, to make sure that she was alright, but she pulled his body back toward hers and pressed up against him, one hand going to the back of his neck, and the other wrapping around his waist, and kissed him passionately. Those same tingles from before intensified and he felt like every part of him that was touching her was on fire. Oh, this is what everyone‘s always on about, he thought, before his mind quit working, and instinct took over.
Ginny grinned as Draco dragged her down the hall to his dorm. It hasn’t been that long, she thought. After he accosted me in the shower earlier, I thought he’d be able to at least last through the party.
They made it through the portrait hole, and Draco dropped into one of the leather armchairs that flanked his fireplace and pulled her down on his lap. He kissed her, a slow, soft, lovely kiss, but very different than how he was usually. She pulled back. “Are you alright, Draco?”
The corner of his mouth lifted. She was the only person that could get away with asking him that. He decided, against his better judgment, to be honest with her. “No, not really. I got some bad news tonight.”
“Oh?” She looked concerned. His heart melted a little that this girl cared so much about him. I can trust her, right? he thought.
“Draco?” She pulled his attention back to her question. “Tell me.”
He sighed. “I found out tonight that some other bloke likes you. And I wanted to leave because he was at the party,” he said, as realized just how pathetic it sounded. Damn. I’m going soft.
“Who cares?” she asked him. “Why would I possibly care what some other guy thinks about me when I’ve got the pleasure of your company, hmmm?”
“Hadn’t thought it through like that,” he replied. “When you put it that way, it was daft to leave.”
“You’re going to be impossible, now, aren’t you?” she asked.
“Probably.” He relaxed. “Do you want to go back to the party?”
She looked thoughtful. “No, not really. It was a little stuffy in there. And I’m rather tired.” She glanced at the four-poster in the corner.
“You’re only hot because you nicked my jumper.”
“I’m done with it,” she smirked. “You can have it back now.”
“I think I will. Thank you. And then we’ll have to get you to bed, Miss Weasley. It won’t do to have you tired, now will it?” He picked her up and dropped her on the bed, divesting her of her top. She leaned back and sighed as he began kissing her neck. Then she cocked her head to the side. “Who was it?”
“Who was it? The bloke who was trying to give you a run for the money?”
He sat back, abruptly. “I thought you said you didn’t care.”
“I don’t. I’m yours. I’m just curious of who could make you jealous.”
“Malfoys aren’t jealous.”
She smiled at him indulgently. “Yes, yes, love, I’ll add that to the list. Now tell me, Draco. Who was it?”
She laughed. “Sorry, love, didn’t quite get that.”
She nodded. “I thought so. He was acting very strangely tonight.”
He looked at her in amazement. “You knew?”
“I, darling Draco, am a woman. We have a sixth sense about these things. I just didn’t care, as I pointed out earlier. I do, after all, have you.” She brought him down to her lips and kissed him thoroughly.
Draco realized again how lucky he was that this beautiful creature tolerated him. He decided that he would spend the rest of the night showing her just how appreciative he was.
The party wound down in the early hours of the morning. It had been raucous; there was dancing, loud music, and, after one of the Slytherins had opened a stolen bottle of Firewhisky, a drunken game of wizard charades had started. That had ended with a very sloshed Gregory Goyle flapping his arms about like a chicken. Professor Snape had even been in once, one eyebrow raised disdainfully, and warned them “…should his presence be needed again there would be discipline that the other teachers needn’t know about.” Everyone had been a bit more subdued after that. The prefects shooed all of the younger students up to bed and there were knots of people huddled together here and there, talking and laughing softly.
Crabbe trounced Ron in their chess match, and Ron, red-faced and furious, had demanded a rematch. Crabbe just smiled cryptically, shrugged and reset the board. Ron scanned the room for Hermione, finding her still sitting and chatting with Daphne Greengrass, now joined by Millicent Bulstrode. Hermione was talking animatedly, gesturing wildly with her hands, and Millicent and Daphne just looked at each other every so often, sharing smiles, nodding at Hermione and murmuring affirmative comments. Must be going on about house elves, he thought. Poor girls. They didn’t look too terribly bored, though, so he decided not to save them. At least she’s talking to the girls and not drooling over Blaise Zabini. That’s an improvement. His attention turned back to chess when Crabbe cleared his throat. He refocused, determined this time to beat the hulking behemoth into the dungeon floor.
It was as if Harry had been in a different universe for the last three hours. He was amazed at all of the emotions running through his head. He and Pansy had snogged heavily… she could do things with her tongue that he, quite frankly, hadn’t known existed. For his part, he had participated wholeheartedly, and hadn’t thought once about anyone, or anything, else. They had even talked, albeit briefly, a couple of times when they were catching their breath, and he found her to be sarcastic, but in a witty way, and touch acerbic, but to his surprise, he found that endearing. The most amazing thing about her was that she captivated all of his senses. Somewhere, way back in a tiny part of his mind, he knew that this situation was somewhat strange. It was just that at this particular moment, with Pansy’s lips doing all manner of lovely things to his neck, he found that he could not have cared less.
She pressed a last kiss to his lips and pulled away, looking into his eyes. Harry was entranced. He found he couldn’t drag his eyes away from her violet gaze.
“So, Potter,” she whispered. “Fancy having a peek at the Slytherin girls' dormitories? There are certain advantages to not living in a tower with stairs, you know.”
Ignoring her knowledge of the Gryffindor tower, he nodded and finally found his voice. “P-Parkinson, you’re nothing like what I would’ve expected, you know.”
She giggled as she nibbled on his ear and down his neck. “Mmm-hmmm. I’m sure. But, Harry?”
“You may need to think about calling me Pansy,” she said as she led him down a corridor. “I’m terribly afraid we’re about to be on a first name basis.”
I can probably do that, he thought, watching her hips sway hypnotically before him.
In Blaise’s estimation, the party had been a great success and a lot of fun for everyone involved. Even the Gryffs had been a good time, once they loosened up a bit. He was playing host even as it was winding down, going from group to group, checking up on things, making sure everyone was happy. There were three situations that particularly amused him... and Blaise loved to be amused. However, he knew that he had to put a stop to at least one of them. Perhaps two. He sauntered over to where the Head Girl was holding a very small court, and sat down next to Daphne, putting an arm around the Slytherin girl’s shoulders.
Hermione stopped in the middle of what she was saying and blushed. “H-hello, Blaise.”
Blaise smiled at her. “Madame Head Girl.”
Hermione gave a Firewhisky induced giggle. That had to be it. Blaise was pretty sure he had never heard her giggle before. “Had a good time then, Hermione?”
She nodded, “Yes, thank you. Daphne and Millicent have been so sweet, listening to me natter on about this and that. I’m sure I’ve been boring them to death.” She smiled at her new found friends.
“Oh, no, love,” he said as he glanced sideways at the Slytherin girls. “I’m sure they’ve been captivated.” He ignored the glares from the two other girls and leaned down to Hermione. “Would you like to accompany me over to the chess board? I’m afraid Weasley is about to get beaten again, and I’m sure he’ll need someone to comfort him.”
“Oh, of course.” She nodded again. She stood, somewhat wobbly, and Blaise caught her by the elbow and steadied her. “Easy, girl. No more Ogden’s for you.” He looked over to the Slytherin girls, now looking somewhat sullen, as if their new toy had been taken away. “You two ought to be ashamed of yourselves,” he whispered, and walked Hermione over to her boyfriend.
From across the room, Blaise saw that Crabbe had a very satisfied look on his face. Blaise shook his head, steering Hermione toward the players. He guided her into a chair next to Ron and sat down next to Crabbe. “How’s the match?” he asked lightly.
Ron looked furious. “This wanker is about to win again. I do NOT understand how he is doing it. No one ever beats me. Ever.” Hermione stroked his arm, making soothing noises that Blaise expected were meant to calm the Gryffindor. They were grating on Blaise’s nerves, though, so he decided to end Ron’s pain.
“Well, Ron, I expect he’s beaten you twice because he’s Confunded this particular chess set.” Crabbe scowled at Blaise, but he ignored him. “Crabbe isn’t the brightest star in the chart, but he’s especially gifted with Confundus charms. Even likes to put them on himself, for some inexplicable reason.”
The color drained from Ron’s face and he sat back in his chair. He pulled out his wand, pointed it at the board, and muttered, “Finite Incantatem.” He looked at Crabbe, glanced down at the board, moved his queen, and chuckled, “Checkmate, you bastard.”
Crabbe just smiled vacantly, stood and ambled away towards his dorm.
Ron looked at Blaise, shaking his head. “Thank Merlin. That explains a lot. I thought the world had come to a screeching halt.”
“You did better than most,” Blaise replied. “Matches with this set usually take about five minutes apiece, and you managed to drag it out for,” he glanced at his pocket watch, “nearly three and a half hours. Congratulations.”
Ron laughed. “I don’t really care. It was certainly a challenge. I don’t get that playing with Harry.”
Blaise raised an eyebrow, “I expect not.”
Ron looked at the now nearly empty common room. “Where is Harry?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about Potter tonight. He’s found other, ah, accommodations,” he said, studying his perfectly manicured nails. “I’m sure he’ll be at breakfast tomorrow. It’s Pansy’s favourite meal.”
Ron grinned. “Right,” he said, looking down at Hermione, who was nodding off. “We’ll just be getting back to the tower. ‘Night, Zabini.” They disappeared out the doorway, Ron gently pushing Hermione along.
Blaise crossed the room and closed the door, surveying the detritus left from the celebration. The house elves had their work cut out for them. He doused the flames in the fireplace with his wand, put out the torches and, with a smile, went to console two Slytherin girls whom he knew would be much put out with him.
After the night of the Slytherin party, the next few weeks were more different than the students of Hogwarts had ever seen. The lines were blurred between the houses, and none of the four tables in the Great Hall were segregated at all. Some of the students were behaving very peculiarly indeed.
Ginny had come down early to meet Draco before breakfast. He’d been studying so much lately she hadn’t had a chance to see him very often. Then there had also been a crackdown by the teachers about students spending the night out of their own dormitories. They could all thank Harry (The Boy Who Screwed Around) Potter and Pansy Parkinson for getting caught out of bounds and making the teachers enforce the rule ignored for so many years. Professors constantly patrolling the halls twenty-four hours a day cut down on everyone’s fun. Ginny had been delighted (even though her roommates had not) this morning when she’d been awakened by Draco’s eagle owl tapping on her dormitory window.
She unwrapped the vellum (really, he was so spoiled) from the dratted creature’s leg, trying not to get pecked. She didn’t have any idea why the animal didn’t like her. She tried giving him treats and being sweet, but nothing ever worked. She finally threw an owl treat at him, which he looked at with utter contempt, and shooed him out the window. She opened the scroll.
Ginevra, Unused Charms classroom 2nd floor Before breakfast
Gods, he’s romantic, she thought wryly. Later, as she approached the designated classroom, she heard something behind the door. She flung it open and said, “Eager are we?”
The scene she saw before her was disgustingly familiar, and something she always hoped she’d never see again. She immediately closed her eyes and backed out of the door, shutting it firmly.
Eyes still closed, she placed the heels of her hands to them and whispered, “Ahh! I think I’m blind!”
She felt someone come up behind her and put their hand on her shoulder. Draco. She’d recognize his scent anywhere. “Ginny? What’s wrong? Why can’t you see?” he asked. He actually sounded worried. Sweet.
She took her hands down from her face and looked at him. “I’m not really blind, Draco." He frowned as she continued. "But why don’t you pick a better ‘abandoned’ classroom for us to meet in, huh? This one’s taken.”
He made a disgusted face. “Potter and Parkinson again?”
“Who else, Draco? It’s the fourth time this week. She’s a seriously bad influence on him.”
“Witches in glass houses, love,” he remarked dryly.
She snorted. “I’m not talking about that,” she said, blushing. “I’m talking about his whole attitude. It’s just not right. On him, anyway.”
Hermione walked up to Ginny and Draco, looking at the closed door. “Oh, no,” she said. “Not again. Draco,” she continued, addressing the Head Boy, “this is getting out of hand, don’t you agree?”
Ginny stepped between them and snorted, “I, for one, think this is most certainly bloody well getting out of hand. It’s getting to where a witch can’t get a decent sh—”
“What’s going on?” Ron asked as he walked up sleepily. “Why is everyone camped out by the old Charms room? Let’s go to breakfast, yeah?”
Draco put his arm around Ginny and pointed at her to be quiet. “Hermione? What do you suggest we do about the problem?”
“What problem?” Ron yawned.
Just then, the door opened to the classroom in question and Harry and Pansy stepped into the hallway, both looking slightly tousled. Pansy looked at the students gathered around the door. She stepped closer to Harry, who with a very smug smile on his face, said, “Morning, all.”
Draco exhaled tiredly, glanced at Ginny, and then glared at Harry. “Potter.”
Harry clapped Draco on the back. “Are we back to that, mate? Anyone would think you still hated me.”
“It’s too close to call,” Ginny mumbled.
“What was that?” Harry asked.
Ginny glared at Draco as if to say, Take care of this.
Hermione stepped in. “Harry, Pansy, as Head Girl and Boy, as well as your friends, Draco and I feel compelled to tell you that the teachers have really been cracking down on this kind of thing,” she nodded towards the Charms room. “We are going to have to--”
“Stop, Hermione. I don’t even want to hear the end of that sentence,” ordered Blaise, sauntering up to the crowd. “What are you all doing here in the middle of the hall, anyway?” he asked sarcastically. “Isn’t breakfast being served?”
“Thank Merlin. Absolutely. Someone with sense,” Ron muttered. “Hermione? We can yell at Harry later, yeah? Okay all? Ginny? Draco? Coming?”
The students looked at one another and grumbled, walking in the direction of the Great Hall with Harry and Pansy in the lead, arm in arm.
Harry glanced back at the crowd. “Everyone ready for the match today?”
“Who bloody cares?” Ginny mumbled.
“Ginny!” Hermione admonished. “Language! And it definitely matters. If we want Ravenclaw out of the running, we all should definitely root for Hufflepuff today. Then it would be Gryffindor and Slytherin in the championship match.”
“It would definitely be more interesting that way,” Blaise replied, to which Hermione said something unintelligible and giggled.
“Well I’ll be damned if I’m going to cheer for either the Huffleprats or the Ravendorks. I don’t know that it will even be worth it to go out to the match. Time might be better spent indoors this afternoon,” Harry suggested. He looked at Pansy is if she were a Crème Brulee.
Ginny stopped in the hall, glaring at Harry’s retreating form. “Oh, my wand,” she muttered. “Where is my wand?”
The rest of the students walked on.
“No, Ginny. . . ” Draco paused beside her.
“Just a little hex, Draco.” He took her by the arms and held her back. She fought against his firm grip. “Something that would make him hate her. Just for an afternoon. Come on,” she pleaded, a desperate look in her eyes. “Are you a Slytherin or not?”
Draco leaned his head to whisper in her ear. “Ginny, you don’t know how this side of you turns me on, but we can’t.”
“You, Draco Malfoy, have gone SOFT. I cannot believe it,” she huffed.
“Take that back.”
“Right now, Gin.”
“Fine. I won’t tell you about the plan that is already firmly in place,” he said haughtily, releasing her.
Ginny whirled around and narrowed her eyes at him. “Plan? Are you sure your quasi-evil feelings aren’t hurt and you’re just spouting off?”
Draco gave her an expression somewhere between a sneer and a smile. “Ginny, I’m torn between taking you right here in the hall or giving you a thrashing across your bottom.”
“Either would be fine at this point, Draco.”
He marched her down the hall and dragged her into a broom cupboard.
“Mmm, cozy. Very ‘Fifth Year,’” she purred sarcastically.
“Listen to me for two seconds, Ginevra. I don’t want what I’m about to tell you to get out. I rather like the way things have been going as of late, with the notable exception of the lack of sex by anyone but Harry and Pansy. Blaise gave him something to ah, help that relationship along.”
“Harry?” Ginny squeaked. “Blaise gave Harry something? A love potion? Wha—-”
“Well, actually, Blaise gave it to Pansy to give to Harry. Evidently it worked,” Draco pondered.
“You can’t -- Draco, you couldn’t --” She pushed away from him. “Right. I take it all back. You’re not soft. You’re as evil as ever you were... but you can’t do this to Harry. He deserves better than to be fooled by a potion, Draco. How would you feel?”
He sighed. “If, by some miracle I were to get shagged? Grateful, I expect. Relieved. Probably relaxed. Any or all of those, most likely,” he returned, with a bored look on his face.
“Why? Why did Blaise do it?”
“He was trying to keep Harry away from you, for me, of course. And Pansy had always had a thing for Potter. Always on about the messy hair thing. Killed two birds with one stone,” Draco mused.
“It has to stop.”
“Why? You like Potter after you, do you?”
“Does something for your ego to have the Head Boy and the 'Savior of the Wizarding World' after you, does it?” he fumed.
“I’m not having this conversation with you.”
“Fine,” he spat.
“Fine.” She wiped her eye.
“I’m going to breakfast,” he said, as he exited the cupboard. “Coming?”
She looked at him disgustedly. “No,” she snapped, “and I think we both know whose fault THAT is. But yes, I will have breakfast, thank you.”
“Ginny. . . ” Draco growled.
“Just quit giving him the potion,” she said sweetly. “And all this,” she pulled her robes back to show off her figure, “and this,” she turned so he could see her nicely rounded bum, “and this,” she leaned forward to show off her cleavage, “is yours.”
Draco scrubbed his face with his hands. “You drive a hard bargain, witch. Fine, no more potion.”
“Good,” she replied, breezing past him. “Let me know when it’s all worked out, okay?”
He stood there in the middle of the hall, muttering to himself. “How has it come to this? I’m going to stop poisoning Harry Potter to get into the pants of a Gryffindor. Malfoys for generations past are spinning in their graves.” He rolled his eyes and followed his girlfriend to the Great Hall.
Draco and Blaise were alone in the Head Boy dormitory later that morning. “When is she supposed to be here?” Draco asked, pacing before the fireplace.
Blaise lounged back against the black leather armchair. “Ten minutes ago. She’s, ah, been a bit preoccupied, lately. You may have noticed.” He smiled languidly.
Draco shot him a look of contempt. “Listen, you. I’ve had about enough of all of this-”
“All of what?” Pansy asked as she strolled into the room.
“You’re late,” Draco growled.
“Tsk, tsk,” Pansy scolded. “You sound very uptight, Draco, darling. Everything not working out with your little paramour?”
Draco exploded. “Yes! Everything is bloody well fine with-- if you-- I mean every available empty place that—-Potter and… PANSY!” he stopped, calming himself. “Blaise, perhaps you’d better take this.”
Pansy tore her amused gaze from Draco and turned to Blaise. “Yes?”
Blaise shrugged. “Ginny found out about the potion.”
Pansy sat down. “Oh.”
Blaise continued. “It was supposed to be a one night thing, Pansy. You’re really inconveniencing everyone else, now. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but Draco’s nearly impossible to live with as things stand, as he absolutely has to have the little redheaded Gryff, instead of whatever, or whoever, he happens upon. She’s not giving it up until Harry is normal again. So. Be a love, and stop dosing him.”
Pansy looked at her hands. “I’m not.”
Draco frowned. “I’m sorry. I thought I heard you say that you’re not giving him anything?”
Pansy looked at his slate grey eyes. “No. I’m not giving him anything.”
Blaise looked worried. “Has it just not worn off, then?”
Pansy stood. “No, you giant, egotistical arseholes. I never gave it to him. Did it never occur to either one of you that he could just really like me? No. I suppose not. Well, I’m awfully sorry to be an inconvenience to either of you, but I like my life as it is. So I think I’ll go find my boyfriend, and NOT go to the Quidditch match. Have a bloody nice afternoon.” She flounced out of the door, leaving the two boys looking as if they’d been Stunned.
After she left Draco, Ginny walked decisively down to breakfast. She approached the Gryffindor table and sat down next to Harry. “Hello,” she started.
“Yeah? What?” Harry replied.
Ginny looked slightly taken aback. “Harry? How are you feeling?” she asked.
He looked sideways at her. “Great. Very relaxed, actually.”
Ginny seethed a little on the inside. She took a deep breath. “Right.” She began again. “What I mean to say, Harry, is, well, I’m a bit worried about you.”
Harry crammed a piece of toast in his mouth. “Why?”
“You’ve been acting strangely, that’s all.” She looked at Hermione for help.
“I’ve been fine,” he answered tersely.
“Actually, Harry, you’ve been rather an arse,” Hermione said. “Slandering the other houses this morning... being, ahem, promiscuous with girls... ignoring friends?” she asked. “Sound familiar?”
He looked at Ginny. “Sounds like Draco,” he said, chuckling. “What’s the matter, Gin? Now that I’m acting like him, you want me? Sorry, love. I’ve moved on. See you all later.” With that, he casually left the Great Hall.
Ginny sat with her mouth open. “I cannot believe he said that to me. To me,” she huffed. “Everything should be fine this afternoon,” she muttered.
Hermione frowned. “What’s wrong, Ginny?”
Ginny smiled tightly at the girl. “If everything isn’t back to normal this afternoon, we’ll talk, okay?”
Ron shook his head calmly, steadily eating his breakfast. “Leave him alone. He’ll work it all out on his own. You two ought to be happy for him. Ginny, you don’t want him; you just don’t want him to have anyone else.”
Ginny sputtered, “That’s not--”
“And Hermione,” he continued as he swallowed a bite of tomato, “get off his back. So he’s not all sweet and kind. Fine.” He smiled complacently. “Need I remind you, yet again, with whom you are going out? No? I thought not. I’ll do it anyhow. It’s me. I am the only one who should be sweet and kind to you, or at least the only one that should matter to you. So. I am going to the match, and I may make a detour on the way,” he said, eyeing Hermione and wiping his mouth with a napkin. “Hermione? Care to join me?”
“O-okay, Ron,” Hermione replied, blushing.
They walked out of the Great Hall, and Colin Creevey stopped before Ginny. “We’re all going to the pitch, now. Coming, Ginny?”
Ginny laid her head on the table, “Not presently,” she mumbled.
Harry found Pansy by the lake, slipped his hand into hers, and silently began walking down to the pitch together.
Pansy broke the quiet. “Do you like me, Harry?”
Harry laughed. “I think it’s pretty safe to say ‘I like you,’ Pansy. You’ve been around for the last couple of weeks, yeah?”
Pansy continued, “No, Harry, I know you want me. But do you like me?”
Harry glanced over and really looked at her for the first time that afternoon. Her beautiful violet eyes were red-rimmed and the tip of her nose was pink, as if she had been crying. “Hey.” He stopped and put his arms around her. “What is this? This isn’t like you. Pansy Parkinson doesn’t care what anyone thinks.”
She exhaled heavily. “That’s where you’re wrong, I guess.” She looked down at her shoes, and back up into his eyes. “I have something to tell you. Then I suppose I can worry about whether or not you like me if you’re still standing here.”
He frowned. “What?”
She began softly, “You remember the night of the party after the last Quidditch match?”
Harry chuckled. “Vaguely, Pansy.”
Continuing, she said, “We -- all the Slytherins -- knew that you had a thing for Ginny. It was written all over your face. And since Ginny and Draco had been together for a while, since midsummer, at least, we all wanted to protect him. Blaise did especially. Draco can be impossible when he doesn’t get his way, you know. . .” she drifted off.
“Yeah,” he prodded.
“So. . . Blaise came up with a potion to give you so that you wouldn’t like Ginny anymore.”
“A potion,” he repeated.
“Not a strong one or anything. Love potions are dangerous, and Blaise actually likes you, Harry. We didn’t want to hurt you. This one was like giving you the equivalent of three or four Muggle alcoholic drinks. Just to lower your inhibitions and make you more receptive to, ah, other things.”
“So I would stay away from Ginny.”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“And how? Did he put it in my drink?”
“No. He gave it to me to give to you, Harry.”
He stared at her. Over the past few weeks, so much had happened to him. He found a side of him that he didn’t know existed. He was able to focus on something that he wanted, not something that was best for the Wizarding world. What he wanted was Pansy Parkinson. He did like her. She was snappy, and unpleasant about some things, but she also understood his darker side and didn’t berate him for it or make him feel like a freak when he wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. He liked her, maybe more than that. He wanted Pansy all the time, and she seemed happy with the level of his desire. She seemed to be happy with him. But now, he guessed that it would all wear off very soon.
She reached into her robes and pulled out a phial of light blue liquid. “This is what Blaise gave me.”
He took it from her. “Been keeping you supplied, has he?”
“No. That was the only dose. I didn’t give it to you,” she sighed. “I wanted you to like me for me, Harry. Draco and Blaise just pounced on me earlier to tell me to quit dosing you. They couldn’t believe what we have, whatever that is, could be natural. That anyone like you could really be with me because he liked me. It would have to be potion induced. I adore you, Harry. I do. I’ve had a mad crush on you for ages, but it’s so much more, now. So I have to know. Do you, Harry, like me?”
He regarded her for a moment. For the first time since he’d known her, she had let all of her defences down. She was beautiful, certainly, but he found that he liked her for more than her looks, or what she could give him. She had a quality of strength about her. But it was balanced with a quiet vulnerability. He gave her back the potion.
She looked at the liquid filled glass in her hand. “I don’t need this,” she whispered, shamed.
“I don’t either,” he said just as quietly. “The girl I’d use it on doesn’t need it. She adores me.”
Pansy smiled and the vulnerable girl that had been standing before him vanished. “Good,” she said. “Now that we have all that rubbish all out of the way, I have to ask something,” She quirked an eyebrow at him, “Have you ever done anything romantic in the Forbidden Forest?”
“No,” he replied smiling hopefully.
“Well I hate to disappoint you, but you’re not going to start today. There’s no time for romance, love, we don’t want to miss the whole match,” she purred, pushing him beyond the barrier that the dense thicket of trees created.
After the Hufflepuff vs. Ravenclaw match that Hufflepuff won 200 to 190, there was another party in the Slytherin common room, by invitation only, though, this time. There was Butterbeer and there were sweets readily available, but Pansy Parkinson had made her infamous party punch, a drink guaranteed to make you the life of the party, or, at the very least, feel extremely nice for a great deal of time. Only a handful of students from other houses were there. Hermione and Ron came, as did Harry. Blaise had even invited Colin Creevey to document the occasion with his camera. Everyone was having a nice time, and Harry noticed that Draco and Ginny were in a corner of the room, talking quietly.
“I really do feel bad about those two,” Pansy said, moving to stand beside him. We have rather been monopolizing all of the, ahem, fun places in the castle. And Ginny’s been in rather a nasty mood. Have you heard some of the snide things she’s been saying? Sexual tension just isn’t pretty on her.”
“Yeah,” he replied. “I’ve been trying to ignore it all.”
“Well,” she said as she looked at him slyly, “what do you say we help them along?” She pulled the tiny phial out of her robes and handed him two Butterbeers. “Ready for your indoctrination into Slytherin, Harry?”
Pansy covertly pointed her wand at the corner of the room in which Draco and Ginny were standing. “Freosan Specificus,” she muttered, and glanced at Harry. She emptied the phial into the bottles and kissed him. “Go on. Go give them something to warm them up,” she smirked.
Harry took the bottles over to his friends. He felt vaguely bad about this, but rationalized it by thinking that Draco had allowed it to happen to him with someone that wasn’t even his girlfriend.
“Hello, you two. Cold in here, isn’t it? Thought these might help.”
Ginny thanked Harry and drank deeply; Draco looked at him suspiciously for a moment, and then shook his head. “Aren’t you having one Harry?” he asked as he sipped from his bottle.
Pansy chose that moment to snuggle up to Harry. “No, he has me, silly.”
Ginny raised her eyebrow and rolled her eyes. “Get a room. Ought to be easy for you two,” she muttered.
Pansy looked at Harry and smiled. “I am going to ignore that, Ginny dearest, because I am making amends today. For you, I have arranged a gift. Blaise?” She called across the room to her friend.
Blaise extracted himself from Daphne and Millicent and strolled across the room. When he reached them, he shivered before exclaiming, “Good Merlin! Who did a freezing charm?” He noticed the Butterbeer, Pansy’s face and the empty potion phial in her hand. “Ah. I see.” He looked at Draco. “In about ten minutes, you’ll need this.” He pulled a small, silver key out of his pocket and put it in Draco’s palm, along with a small, folded piece of parchment. Draco read the note and looked at Blaise.
Blaise simply inclined his head. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Pansy snorted. “That doesn’t leave much, does it?”
Draco looked as if it was Christmas and his birthday all rolled into one. At least Blaise knew that was how he felt. What actually happened was one corner of his mouth lifted. He raised his drink in acknowledgement to Pansy and Blaise before downing the rest of his drink and grabbing Ginny by the hand, he tugged her from the room.
Harry looked at the two Slytherins. “Should I feel bad for the part I’ve just played in this?”
Pansy looked at him. “Would you if it were you and I?”
Harry looked down at her. “Well, no, but that’s my best mate’s little sister, the closest thing I’ve got to a sister, and I just effectively sent her off to be shagged until morning.”
Blaise shrugged. “So don’t tell Ron. Next problem?” He walked back to his dates, who had again attached themselves to Hermione.
Pansy smiled up at Harry. “A sister, huh?”
Harry put his arms around her. “Yup. That’s it.”
“So you don’t want Draco’s girl anymore?” she asked.
“Why would I ever want her when I have you?” he replied.
The two snuggled down into the comfortable couch, and, between kisses, Pansy kept Harry entertained with her snide, yet witty, comments about various other party attendants, in their various states of inebriation. Harry couldn’t remember when he’d last had a better time.
The next morning at breakfast, Pansy was sitting at the Gryffindor table between Hermione and Harry. Harry leaned over to his girlfriend. “Where are they? Weren’t they supposed to be here by now?”
Pansy nodded. “Blaise said the spell wears off at 8:00 a.m. I’m sure he put that in the note.”
Hermione inhaled sharply and giggled, “Speak of the Devil.”
“Hello, all,” Blaise greeted them. “Seen the happy couple?”
Just then, a very happy and languid Draco and Ginny walked through the doors of the Great Hall. They had their arms wrapped around each other and gazed at one another with besotted looks on their faces. They didn’t stop until they almost ran into Blaise.
Ginny extracted herself from Draco and hugged the other Slytherin. She then sat down and began piling breakfast onto her plate. Draco shook his hand, muttered “Genius,” and “bottle that stuff. . . sell it,” and gave him the small key he had received last night. He sat next to Ginny and smiling, took a piece of toast.
Blaise smiled broadly at the couple and raised an eyebrow.
Harry had to ask. “Blaise? What does that key go to?”
Pansy laughed. “I forgot to tell you? Sorry. That key is Blaise’s mum’s.”
Blaise interrupted. “She enchanted a room off the dungeons when she was at Hogwarts that only she had the key to. It ensured her, ah, privacy.”
Pansy snorted. “Privacy. Right. Let’s just say that our Blaise gets a lot of his finer traits from his mum. . . learned behavior, some of it. How many husbands had she had?”
Blaise shrugged and sighed. “Six? Seven? Who can keep up?”
Pansy leaned over to Hermione and whispered, “That’s where Blaise gets his lovely voracious appetite.”
Hermione tittered and almost swooned.
“Someone talking about me?” Ron questioned, sitting across from his girlfriend.
Blaise looked amused. “No, your sister.”
Ron eyed the mound of food on Ginny’s plate. “Yeah, it’s almost unladylike.”
“You’re telling me,” Draco said under his breath. Ginny kicked him under the table.
“So now you all know,” Blaise said. “This little key will be available for the rest of the school year. Someone should draw up a schedule,” he said, glancing at Hermione.
Hermione laughed again, blushing furiously.
“Zabini,” Ron began calmly, “You’re really trying my patience. Hermione can write a schedule, surely, but the only one she’ll be on said schedule with is me.” He took a mouthful of eggs and chewed thoughtfully. The students sitting around him all gaped at him openmouthed.
“You know, don’t you?” Ginny asked.
“I was playing chess last night, not deaf,” he continued. “Remember I was playing against Crabbe. And I’m pretty sure that he had Confunded himself, for whatever reason, so it isn’t as if I didn’t have some free time. I didn’t exactly have to concentrate. I am going to pretend,” he persisted, “that I don’t know anything about you two,” he said, gesturing with his fork. He stared at Draco. “You had just better make sure she’s happy. And you had better be glad Bill, Charlie, or Fred and George aren’t here, mate. They don’t like you like I do.”
Ginny leaned back against Draco. He patted her awkwardly, looking only a little concerned.
Ron wiped his mouth and stood up. “As for the rest of you. . . Harry, Pansy, good for you. No one cares anymore. Try to keep all that,” he gestured vaguely in their direction, “contained. Blaise. Good on you, mate. I couldn’t handle both of them,” he said, pointing at the Slytherin girls across the room, “and I’m not even sure I understand it, but here, at least have some pumpkin juice to keep your strength up.” He looked down at his girlfriend. “Since Hermione is making the schedule, then, we’ll be first.” He took the offered key.
“Have a nice morning, everyone.” And with that, he pulled Hermione from the Great Hall, leaving the rest of the students secure in the knowledge that the rest of the school year would take care of itself. Or at the very least, be a bit less frustrating for all concerned.
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