Paint with Your fingers.
Draco knocked on the door to Ginny’s flat, feeling peculiarly nervous for no particular reason. He wasn’t exactly sure why – it had kind of become a habit between the two of them to get together at the end of the week, pig out on calorie-saturated pastries, drink wine and relax before the weekend started up – and it wasn’t like there was anything different between this week and all of the others. He shifted the bottle of wine that he always contributed from his left hand to his right, and then back again, mulling over the odd, fluttering sensation in the pit of his stomach.
From the other side of the door, there came a loud clanging noise and several crashes, all followed by a high-pitched “Bugger!” Ginny finally appeared with a harried look on her face, leaning against the wooden doorframe and rubbing a patch of reddening skin on her arm.
“You okay there, Gin?”
“Yeah, sorry, sorry,” she panted, impatiently blowing her bangs out of her face. “I was watching Teddy for the afternoon again and Andromeda just picked him up but he insisted on coloring when he was here and he had wanted to play with some paint but the only paint that I had in the apartment was the permanent, acrylic kind but he looked all sad and puppy-eyed so I agreed which was a terrible idea because it turns out that when a five-year-old with magical powers gets upset, things tend to explode – like the paint bottles, for instance – which is how I ended up with permanent paint splattered all over pretty much every single one of my possessions in the apartment, including my favorite pair of jeans.” She stopped to take in a breath, looking down forlornly at her grey, stone-washed denim, now smeared with ecstatic splotches of orange paint. They looked like rusted old armor, as if a knight in full gear had decided to dive head-first into a wishing well.
Draco nodded silently, taking in the sight of her destroyed apartment. Nearly everything was dripping various shades of paint and nothing was the color it should have been, including –
“Weasley, why is your hair blue?”
“What? Oh, that,” Ginny muttered wearily, running a hand through her cerulean tresses, “Teddy changed it somehow and I had lost my wand around the time he transfigured the couch into a giant frog so I can’t fix it and – Merlin, my head hurts.”
Draco attempted to repressa smirk, failing miserably. “Oh little Weaselette, the level of your incompetence continues to amaze me.”
Ginny flared up immediately. “Now look here, Malfoy –”
“Kidding, Ginny, kidding,” Draco interrupted. He grabbed her arm and began to steer her towards the bedroom. “Here, Weasley, you go take a nice long hot shower and chill out a bit, alright? I’ll, I don’t know, try to clean up and make dinner or something like that – you know, the trivial things that you usually do.”
Ginny squinted at him, raising an eyebrow as she tripped towards the door. ‘I always get suspicious whenever you start acting somewhat decent. What’s your underhanded motive, Malfoy? I know you have one.”
“Woman, are you so daft as to turn down one of the few people who are offering to help you out?”
She paused for a moment, letting his words sink in before sticking out her tongue at him. “How is it that you always insult me and manage to make it seem like you’re doing me a favor at the same time?” Ginny asked as she headed in the direction of the bathroom and the promise of the steaming water that could – hopefully – wash away all traces of paint and blue hair.
“It’s a gift, love,” Draco called to her retreating back. “A gift.”
Later, the two of them sat in the window seat, their backs to the darkened room as they stared out at the sprawling lights of Hogsmeade beneath them. A luminescent moon hung suspended above the night, its silver-white rays skimming along the rims of their wineglasses, spilling across their skin.
Ginny sighed, staring longingly at the distant lights of the castle on the horizon. “Do you ever miss it?”
“Miss what?” Draco asked lazily, swallowing a sip of wine.
“Hogwarts. The classes, the students. Being young and carefree and not having to worry about anything.”
Draco lowered his eyes, watching the wine slosh against the sides of his goblet as he swirled it slowly, around and around. It glittered in the dim light, like garnets. “Those years weren’t exactly the most carefree – at least for me.”
She looked up, surprised. “Well, alright, maybe carefree wasn’t exactly the correct choice of word to describe life back then, what with the deranged psychopath out for world domination and all. I guess I mean, like – I miss that feeling of knowing you were looked after, the comfort that comes with the certainty of protection. It was like we were able to be more independent, more reckless at school because we knew that if we screwed it up, the professors would be there to take care of everything.”
“Sometimes the professors taking care of everything did the exact opposite of protecting you,” Draco answered quietly, and Ginny knew that he was thinking of his sixth year.
She faltered for a moment, wanting to say something reassuring but not knowing what that was. He didn’t talk about his Hogwarts days very often. “You don’t still dwell on that now, do you? It’s been so long.”
Draco shrugged, struggling to keep his voice light. “It’s hard to forget what I’d done, and the consequences that came from my own ignorant actions.” He squeezed his eyes shut, not wanting Ginny to see the sudden tears that sprung up, unbidden.
Silence fell around them. Ginny wished she knew what she could do to take away his hurt. Moonlight glinted off a single tear, balanced perfectly on the edge of his pale eyelashes. She reached upwards to wipe it away, her fingers wavering in front of his face before she quickly pulled her hand back, enfolding it within her other one. Draco wouldn’t want her to know that he was crying.
Instead, she laid her hand on his arm. His skin felt so cold beneath her fingertips. “Draco, that was not your fault. That whole war – and the part you played in it – was one wizard’s fault, and he’s gone now.”
Draco shook his head vehemently. “No, I don’t believe that because how –” He cut himself off, taking in the expression on Ginny’s face. There was something in her eyes that shot tingles up his spine.
“Well,” he sighed, changing directions, “there’s really no point arguing over the past. It’s done and over with, right? The least I can do now is work hard and try to repay my debt with the other lives that I protect.” He stared hard at the wine in his glass, the red almost black in the moonlight.
Ginny had never heard him say something so seriously. She looked at him with his head ducked down – his eyes lost in shadow, one strand of silk-spun hair falling into his face – and felt that falling sensation again. “That’s a very noble thing,” she said softly, “coming from a Malfoy.” He remained silent, still staring moodily down at his wine.
“Anyway,” Ginny said brightly, wishing she that she had never brought up the topic, “it’s no matter now. Psychopath’s dead, world is still free, and now all we have to worry about is making rent and finding a date for Saturday night.”
Draco smirked, and just like that, he was back to normal. “Maybe you have to worry about that, Weasley. I’m pretty well endowed in those areas already.” He cocked an eyebrow. “Come to think of it, I’m pretty well endowed in all my areas, if you catch my drift.”
She rolled her eyes. “Do you suppose it is even possible for you to remove your head from your arse anymore? Or has to grown too large from your ginormous ego?”
“The perfect shape of my delectably round arse has nothing to do with my head, Weasley,” Draco drawled, unruffled.
Ginny grinned. “You know, you and I have a very strange relationship.”
“Normalcy is overrated.”
The two of them fell into an easy silence, staring out at the still village and its winking lights, lost in their own thoughts. Suddenly, Ginny – wanting to make that haunted shadow vanish from Draco’s eyes – leaned over and breathed onto the window, fogging up the glass.
Draco looked up, confused. “What the hell are you doing, Weasley?”
“Nothing,” she replied, drawing a smiley face with her pointer finger. He scowled at her.
“That is the most inane thing I have ever seen.”
“And you,” she declared, poking him none-too-gently between his eyes, “are the most bitter thing I have ever seen. Come on, live a little.” She added to her drawing ears and some spiky hair, making it stick up in all directions.
“Really,” Draco replied dryly. “And by ‘live’ you mean, what, paint pictures on glass windows with my fingers? Were you dropped on the head as a small child? It would explain a fair amount.”
“I’ve always suspected Ron did something like that, you know, but every time I confront him about it, he turns pink and shuffles away.” Ginny smiled contentedly at her picture, oblivious to the incredulous look Draco was giving her.
“I can’t believe I choose to spend time with you, Weasley,” he muttered. Nevertheless, he leaned over and exhaled on the windowpane, spreading the white fog over the glass.
“There,” Draco said as he finished his sketch, feeling quite proud of it. Ginny glanced over at the upside-down stick figure. Its head was lopsided.
“What is that supposed to be?”
“You, after Ron dropped you on your head as a baby. Here, I’ll draw him running away and crying.” Another horribly disfigured stick figure appeared on the window.
“Well, fine then,” Ginny retorted, exhaling onto the cold glass quickly and sketching a rotund cat in the mist. “Look it’s a – oh, what did you call him again? – a devil’s incarnation.”
Draco pouted. “Not funny.” He reached over and ran his palm over her drawing, erasing the kitty.
“Hey! You can’t do that! My masterpiece!” Ginny screeched as Draco laughed triumphantly. “Oh, you think this is funny, Malfoy? How do you like it?” She swiped as his fading stick figures, distorted their image.
Draco emitted a noise not unlike one he would make if someone were to drown his firstborn child. “Ginny Weasley, you have crossed a line.” He sounded genuinely offended. “I was proud of that.”
“Why? It looked like something Teddy could have drawn. Oh, wait, that was probably a compliment compared to what it actually was, because…” Ginny trailed off and there was a pause as they both tried to figure out what she had just said.
Draco sighed contemptuously. “Weaselette, I know it comes with the territory, but that made no sense.”
“It sounded better in my head.”
He scoffed. “Obviously.” Then he grinned. “I just thought of something else to draw,” he said before breathing onto the glass again.
“Don’t you see it?” he asked, pointing.
“Draco,” said Ginny, leaning in and squinting, “you didn’t even touch the window, how could –”
Her words were cut off as he pounced and smooshed her face against the cold glass, creating quite a nice imprint of Ginny’s indignant expression on the window. Draco cackled.
“Oh, real mature, Malfoy,” sputtered Ginny, stretching her jaw and trying to get the skin on her face to stop throbbing. “I think my face is permanently deformed right now.”
“Mmm, looks better that way.”
“You are asking for it, you little arse.”
“Uh oh, Weasley’s angry. Everybody run or she might sit on you and squash you!”
“Draco Malfoy, are you still twelve years old? What are you doing – wait, ow – oh, that’s it, just you wait until I smash your pointy face against the glass, show you how delightful it feels –”
The next day, Hermione showed up at Ginny’s apartment to meet her for a lunch outing. Ginny, expectedly, was running late, and her sister-in-law was left waiting patiently in the living room as the redhead scrambled about, getting ready. Hermione was tapping her foot idly on the hardwood floor, surveying the flat she used to live in, when she noticed something odd.
“Ginny?” she called, pushing her curling hair back out of her face.
“What?” Ginny’s voice sounded from the bedroom.
“Why is your window all smudged?”
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