Uncover a deep, dark secret.

Ginny sat bleary-eyed in Ron’s kitchen as he scampered from one side of his flat to the other, searching frantically for a clean shirt. It was another Sunday afternoon and they were planning to head over to the Burrow together, but Ron was having a little trouble getting ready. Ginny doubted that he would be able to find any shirt- let alone a clean one- in the sty that her dear brother insisted was an apartment. After so many years of being pampered by their mother, and then by the Hogwarts house elves, Ron was having a little trouble adjusting.

“Damn shirt, I saw it just- Ow!”

Ginny stifled a laugh as Ron stubbed his toe on the corner of a coffee table and toppled headfirst into the degradation that he called a couch. There came the sharp crack of someone Apparating into the hallway and then a series of quick raps on the door.

“Here you goof bag, I think I see something resembling a shirt from over there behind Pigwidgeon’s cage. I’ll get the door, and you try to get ready before Mum shows up and castrates us for being late,” Ginny called, getting to her feet and reaching for the doorknob.

She pulled the door open and felt the smile on her face wither and die. “Oh joy, raptures and the Cackling Stump, it’s the Ferret,” she said flatly, turning around and letting Draco Malfoy show himself in.

“Why yes, it is so pleasant to see you Weasley! Come in? Well, of course, you needn’t be too kind,” he exclaimed, shutting the door behind him.

Ginny rolled her eyes and ignored him.

“You know, I didn’t think that is was possible for a female to be castrated,” continued Malfoy, refusing to acknowledge the fact that Ginny was pretending not to hear him, “although I did always have my doubts about you and your gender. However-”

“Don’t be an arse, Malfoy,” Ron interrupted cheerily from the corner of the room as he attempted to Scourgify his battered shirt.

“When Voldemort saves stray puppies,” intoned Ginny under her breath. Draco merely smirked briefly in her direction before turning to Ron.

“Mckinley told me to come over here and remind you that we’re on duty at seven. Something about Jones backing out and so apparently we have to do the bloody stakeout tonight.”

Ron blew out an exasperated sigh. “Damn. Mum’ll eat me alive for ducking out of dinner again.” He scowled.

“You could at least stop by for some food,” Ginny pointed out. Ron’s expression brightened. The mention of food often had that effect on him.

“Not a bad idea. Hey Malfoy, you come along too, I know for a fact that you haven’t had anything that resembled a good meal since last Christmas. Mum always makes too much anyway.”

Draco began to protest but Ron waved him off and shuffled into his bedroom, muttering about socks. Ginny cleaned out a piece of imaginary dirt from under her fingernails as Draco wrinkled his nose (in a very noble, dignified fashion, of course) at the thought of several hours in the company of loud, barbaric and garishly red-headed people who would most likely make some sort of attempt on his life over dinner- try to drown him in his pea soup, perhaps. Oh, joy.

There was an uncomfortable pause, and Ginny searched for something to say. Then she realized that it was just Malfoy and there was no one she needed to impress with her brilliant intellect and fantastic wit. Still, she refused to look up.

Suddenly, there came a high pitched and spineless shriek from the direction of the doorway. Ginny looked up to see Draco Malfoy cringing away from the bright orange puffball that was purring and rubbing itself against his leg. “Was that you?” Ginny asked suspiciously.

“No, it was the other ten people in this room who were frightened half to death by this…thing,” Draco answered nonchalantly, distinctly unruffled now as if they both hadn’t just witnessed his particularly girlish behavior.

“That thing is just Crookshanks. I think Ron’s watching him for Hermione for some reason,” said Ginny, trying not to laugh at the look of disgust and inadequately veiled terror on his face. “You’re afraid of cats?”

Draco attempted a snort. “No, of course not.” He sidled away from the cat into the corner, but Crookshanks merely followed him, meowing loudly in protest. “I just don’t like them.” He pressed himself up against the refrigerator door, cringing as far away from the ginger cat as possible. “Especially this one.”

Ginny raised an eyebrow. “What’s wrong with Crookshanks?”

“Have you seen this thing? He’s practically an incarnation of the devil.” Draco made a break for the couch and dived onto it, as if its filthy and stained fabric could ward off the poor cat. Crookshanks merely crept over behind him like a very fat and furry orange shadow and climbed onto Malfoy's lap, still purring. His squashed pug face was screwed up in an expression of absolute kitty-content.

“Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure the devil’s incarnation likes you,” Ginny said, unable to hold back a giggle. “Although why, I have no idea.”

Malfoy sniffed. “I happen to be a very fascinating, amazing person Weasley,” he drawled, trying to shove Crookshanks off of his lap and failing miserably. “However, I don’t find it surprising that you are too dense to realize it. Weasleys aren’t expected to appreciate those of class.”

“Hmm, I see, so you’re an acquired preference,” she said, nodding pensively, “Like Brussels sprouts. Or goat cheese.”

Malfoy blinked at her. “Weasley, you did not just compare me to a goat.”

Ginny grinned.

“Okay, I found my shoes and two socks that are somewhat the same color, let’s go,” announced Ron as he flew back into the room, struggling to tie his shoes and walk at the same time.

Ginny jumped to her feet. “Finally.”

“Weasley?” Ron turned to see Draco regarding him with a pained expression on his face, Crookshanks sound asleep in his lap. “Weasley,” Malfoy repeated, “please get your little girlfriend’s spawn of evil off me right now.”

Ron’s brow furrowed. “Malfoy, why in hell is-“

“Whoops, gotta go!” said Ginny brightly, grabbing her brother’s arm and shoving him out the door. “Malfoy’s Apparated to the Burrow hundreds of times- he knows what to do. We’ll see you there!” she called happily from the doorway, taking out her wand.

“Weasley, what are you doing? Wait, where are- Weasley, stop!” Draco’s voice was getting progressively higher- only bats could hear him now.

Ron caught on and laughed. “You took out three Death Eaters blindfolded and wandless, Malfoy, you’ll be fine.” He winked at Ginny and Disapparated with a pop.

Ginny shot the petrified wizard on the couch one last satisfied smirk. “Have fun Malfoy,” she called, Disapparating amid a final, panicked “Weasley!”

A thousand different curses ran through Draco’s mind as he glowered at the spot where the two treacherous scum had disappeared. Then he glanced down fearfully at the slumbering kitty on his lap and felt himself break out in a thin sheet of sweat.

Now what?
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