Lie in the grass.
Ginny looked up to see Draco Malfoy striding briskly across the Quidditch field as she exited the locker rooms after practice. It was a beautifully clear and breezy day in March – the first nice one of the year – and the long grass by her feet swayed gently in the wind as she stood patiently, waiting for Draco to catch up with her.
“Hey you,” she said warmly, smiling when he finally reached her side. “What are you doing here?” Draco ignored her question for a moment, instead grabbing her broom and bulky sports bag, effortlessly slinging them both across one shoulder. Ginny opened her mouth to protest – she was not some weak, pampered princess who needed help with everything – but he raised an eyebrow and she snapped her mouth shut, pouting slightly. It was easier to let him carry her stuff than to listen to another one of his “How a Pureblood Gentleman, Especially A Malfoy, Should Behave, Not That You Would Really Know Since You Were Raised Around Insipid Pigs” speeches, especially since Ginny found herself agreeing with him about the “insipid pigs” part when she considered her brothers.
“Thanks,” she said. Draco shrugged, brushing off her gratitude as always.
“So,” Ginny started again, “why are you here?”
“No real reason,” he said casually, avoiding her gaze. "Can't I just drop by to visit an old friend and chat for a bit?"
“No,” said Ginny flatly. “Especially when you start using words like 'chat,' which I didn't realize was within your vocabulary. And you know that I know you too well to be fooled when you’re not telling the truth, Draco Malfoy.”
Draco snuck a glance at her, starting slightly when he found her unblinking brown eyes boring into him. “Fine,” he grumbled. “If you must know, Ron mentioned something at work today about an especially horrid date you had last night, so I just thought that I’d stop by and check up on you.”
Ginny snorted. “And you expect me to believe that?”
Draco looked up, surprised. “You think I’m lying?”
She eyed him carefully, looking suspiciously for some sign of sarcasm. He noticed her studying him and stepped back from her. “What is your problem, woman?”
Ginny shook her head, wondering. “You know, I’m starting to think you’re telling the truth. And if that’s the truth, then you’ve became way too much of a decent person since we’ve started spending time together.”
Draco made a face. “Don’t say that out loud. It’ll ruin my reputation.”
She laughed and sat down at the edge of the field. He ambled over and took the spot next to her, plucking out a long piece of grass and weaving it between his long fingers. It was quiet for a moment, and Ginny closed her eyes, feeling the sun against her skin and the grass wave around her.
“So you want to talk about it?” His soft voice broke the silence.
“You know. The date.”
Ginny sighed and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Not especially.”
Draco raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He, of all people, knew about wanting to keep your problems to yourself. And he also knew that if he kept quiet for long enough, she would start talking on her own.
“I guess, well – it’s embarrassing, almost,” Ginny started, her voice almost inaudible. “We were out at dinner, and I was there, looking at this perfectly fine, normal guy sitting across from me – I mean, he was more than fine. He was attractive, interesting, vaguely funny. There was absolutely nothing wrong with him and any other girl would’ve been ecstatic to meet a guy like him, but then I realized that I wasn’t one of them.” She stopped talking for a moment, rolling onto her back and resting her head in the grass, looking up at that blue, blue sky.
Draco leaned over closer to her. “What do you mean you weren’t one of them?”
Ginny shrugged, her eyes closed. “I don’t know. It was like – I didn’t care. I didn’t care that he has two sisters or that he’s allergic to shrimp or that his cousin is the husband of one of The Weird Sisters. I didn’t care that there might have been spinach in my teeth and that if he saw, he might find me embarrassing. I didn’t care what he thought about me or how the date went – and then, after I realized that, I started thinking and I realized that I didn’t even care that I might never meet someone that I could love again. I didn’t care that I might never get married or have children or anything like that.” She paused, taking in a deep breath.
“And then,” Ginny continued in a small voice, “I realized that I didn’t care because all that caring left me when Harry did. And then I felt pathetic because it’s been practically two years and I still can’t put myself out there. And then I realized that I’m probably still not over him and when I realized that, I started crying – like really crying, the loud sobbing kind, you know, with hiccups and snot and all sorts of gross things. And did I mention that all of this happened when my date was ordering another glass of wine from the waiter? Yeah, he changed his mind after I started bawling and just asked for the entire bottle.”
Draco tugged out a handful of grass and flung them into the air, watching the pieces fall. “Poor guy,” he commented lightly.
Ginny laughed a little. “Well, I do feel a little sorry for the bloke. After all, his date randomly burst into tears in the middle of dinner. But he bolted as soon as he could after that.” She opened her eyes, following the cotton-spun clouds as they drifted lazily across the sky.
“So you’re really not over him, even after all this time.”
She sighed. “I guess not. It’s getting ridiculous, isn’t it?”
Draco stared off into the distance, his grey eyes mirroring the blue expanse overhead. “I don’t know,” he said softly. “I think that the two of you were really in love and that it takes a lot to get over that. A lot of time too, sometimes more time than you think is necessary. It’s not easy falling out of love. I mean,” he paused, shrugging, “I wouldn’t know personally but, you know.” He trailed off awkwardly and leaned back into the grass, closing his eyes.
Ginny glanced at the man next to her, surprised. Draco Malfoy, expert on love. Who would’ve guessed?
She took a longer look at him, laying comfortably on the ground, eyes closed and arms tucked beneath his head. Tiny pieces of grass clung to his pale blond hair. She watched the way Draco’s eyelids fluttered slightly as he basked in the sun’s rays, taking in its warmth – and all of a sudden, Ginny got the strangest sensation, like she was freefalling through nothing but air.
She cleared her throat. “You’re probably right,” she said, plucking a dandelion out of the ground. “But that takes so much effort, forcing yourself to get over someone else. Don’t you wish that sometimes you could just, I don’t know, dive into a fountain and have all your troubles washed away?”
Draco laughed. “Okay, Amanta, whatever you say.” He rolled over onto his stomach. “You know, there’s a reason that the Fountain only exists in fairytales. And, in the end, it wasn’t even the one that did any of the work.”
Ginny blew on the dandelion, watching its feather-light seeds float away on the wind. “But wouldn’t that be splendid? Something magical that solves all your problems, instantly?” She tugged another dandelion out of the grass, a yellow one this time.
The ground felt cool and pliable beneath Draco’s back and he chose not to reply. Instead, out of the corner of his eye, he studied the girl lying next to him – a dandelion the color of sunshine tucked behind her ear, red hair wild and tangled, the sunlight glowing in her caramel eyes.
A breeze brushed across the field, scattering the aroma of fresh air and spring.
“Well,” said Ginny, breaking the silence and not noticing Draco’s gaze, “If I’m Amanta, then that should make you Sir Luckless, dragged along for the ride.”
Draco chuckled, agilely getting to his feet. “Well then, my fair lady Amanta, what say thee to a plentiful meal? I vow to fulfill my chivalrous duty and cover the expense.” He reached down, offering a hand to help her up.
Ginny grinned, grasping his hand in hers. “Very well, Sir Luckless Knight,” she said lightly as he pulled her to her feet. “Lead the way to thy peril. Thou hast not witnessed the full amount I may consume.”
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