*** second wish ***


Ginny scrunched up her nose, not at her guest, but at the clichéd announcement of his arrival. “Malfoy, don’t be trite in my office.”

Her gaze, piercing through a thinly rimmed pair of spectacles at a long parchment resting on the desk before her, was stern and calculated. Not a smidgen of darkness flickered past those honey-coated eyes, not a trace of dark magic lying dormant in that curvaceous frame, not a line of fear or hatred – everything had been cleansed, swept away by a small Japanese wizard introduced to her by Malfoy as Tomasu Ryuuzu. And now, the only lines that marred her round face were those of laughter and concern. Concern particularly salient at that moment as her eyes skimmed the report before her.

“Pardon my banality,” Draco intoned offhandedly, taking a seat across her. “I’ve had a long day at the library.”

“Good for you,” Ginny replied dismissively, picking up the unrolled papers and partially hiding her face.

“Yes. Preparing for further experiments. Researching more thoroughly to ensure success,” he explained needlessly.

“Oh, interesting,” Ginny murmured, and by her distant note it was obviously that she wasn’t responding to anything he had said.

“Investing time and money in th—oh, Weasley, would you look at me, for Circe’s sake? At the very least, this is simply impolite!”

Ginny huffed, rolled her eyes and placed the parchment down, pinning the irked Draco Malfoy with a glare. “A reason for your visit,” she demanded drably.

Draco narrowed his fine grey eyes at her for a moment, seemingly irritated by her cold treatment. “You still owe me your soul.”

“You owe me six wishes first, as we’ve agreed upon. Wishes first, soul later. I don’t wish for anything yet,” she informed him haughtily, waving him off with her hand. “Scat.”

“This is not the way it works, Weasley,” he hissed, sudden fear of being duped spurring in him. “Make the wishes, and do it quickly. I have a busy schedule, as does your soul.”

“The way this works is just fine by me,” she said simply, once again lost in the parchment. She bit her lip and frowned, shaking her head concernedly.

“Listen, little girl,” Draco growled, one of his fists clenching into a white iron mass. He wasn’t even entirely sure why his immaculately controlled emotions were always so easy to burst in the presence of this redhead. He despised everything she stood for and found her abundant compassion and valiant moral stature greatly offensive to his person. He just hasn’t figured out why exactly during the past five years they had been continually thrust together by the Fates. “I got you out of incarceration, I can as easily send you back there, so don’t dare to try and play with me.”

Ginny’s eyes slowly tore away from the unrolled parchment, and this time her attention also shifted entirely to her conversant as she took off her reading glasses and stared in silence at the fair-haired man before her.

“What’s the matter?” she asked, her tone so surprisingly troubled that Draco almost choked. “Is something bothering you? I don’t consider you such an infinite idiot as to make such a threat in an even state of mind.”

Draco almost laughed, almost hysterically, because he found her words entirely ridiculous. Ridiculous and, unfortunately, true. When did she become so knowledgeable regarding his antics?

His anger seethed down to a small common simmer. It was impossible to stay incensed when she spoke so worriedly, when she was truly concerned. Of course, Ginny Weasley’s concern was a regular occurrence, graced upon small rodents as well as on human beings equally – in this she did not discriminate.

“Just as any other job, Weasley,” he began, absently wondering why it was so easy for her to draw the truth out of him, and why he wasn’t bothered more by it. “If I don’t deliver, I get sacked. And yes, I hardly need the income, but it would be bad for my over-inflated ego – yes, I thought you might like that adjective - to be fired from a measly wand-weaving position.”

“Wand-weaving is an extraordinary profession, and I don’t think you should belittle it in such a blunt way,” she frowned at him, resisting the urge to use the tone of voice she always found most useful on the more troublesome patients. “And no one is going to fire you. As well as I know you, you’ve got blackmail material on everyone from Great Papa Mogul and down to the two-year old Charlotte Ollivander.”

“I resent that,” Draco stated simply. “I could never use compromising material that I happen to have on a two-year old. I’m not a barbarian.”

“Dear Merlin, I was joking! You really do have blackmail material on a baby?”

He squared his shoulders and clenched his hands together, radiating defensiveness. “I simply know people who know people who have really big mouths.”

“But she’s a baby, Malfoy! Seriously, I sometimes worry for your soul.”

“Don’t. It’s been safely returned to where it belongs after the experiments were unsucce—oh, you meant figuratively speaking. Yes, well.” Draco fell silent for a while, his stance relaxed after the unneeded tension. He cleared his throat after a minute and spoke again. “A wish, Weasley. Six would be better, but I dare not be as hopeful.”

Ginny stared at him for a long while, narrowing her eyes and burrowing her gaze into the former-Slytherin’s concealing silver orbs. “What if I wish for something impossible?”

Draco arched a brow and graced her with a subtle smirk. “There is no such thing as impossible for me.”

“Don’t boast, Malfoy,” she said warningly, something in her voice nearing an edge. She seemed almost hopeful he was right.

“All right. Tell me what this is about and I’ll say, truthfully, whether I can do it.”

She looked at him for a little longer, imploringly, disturbingly, searching for something. Finally, she looked away and sighed. Her eyes slipped onto the discarded parchment before and she picked it up again.

Irked once more for being dismissed over a piece of paper, Draco was about to spit out something scathing, when she wordlessly placed what turned out to be a medical report before him.

“Her name is Ellieanne Harley. Eight years old. Her parents own a dragon breeding farm up in Yorkshire - nice, pleasant people. She was playing in the yard with her dog and at some point it jumped over the hedge and ran towards the dragons’ territories, where the males were resting. She followed and was hit by a dragon’s breath. The dog is fine – a stupid little beagle puppy. Ellieanne…”

Ginny’s breath hitched suddenly, and he cast a cautious glance at her, seeing the glazing eyes and the threatening sobs. She was pitiful most of the time, really. Giving off of herself to others just like that. And for what? For what, did she even have a clue? Silly girl with silly morals.

“There are photos at the back,” she murmured absently, taking pictures off a clipping and offering him the first.

It was a picture of a simple little girl, nothing extraordinary or anything outstanding - mousy light brown hair, big brown eyes and a wide smile with deeply set dimples. She would never grow to be considered ‘beautiful’, but her place among the ‘prettier’ girls was definitely guaranteed. Draco found himself glancing blandly at Ginny. Why was he listening to stories about little girl’s attachments to a stupid mutt?

“That’s before. And this is,” she murmured, the sound of her voice painful even to his ears. “This is after.” Then, she offered him the second picture.

He blanched. And promptly placed the photograph onto the table, face down.

“Fourth degree burns. Thirty percent of her skin tissue has completely melted away and another thirty are scarred beyond repair. Magic doesn’t work; I’ve tried everything. Everything. She was conscious during all of it, Draco. She’s still alive and conscious and she can’t even cry because it burns. She can’t be touched, nor hugged or comforted. She’s—she’s just eight years old—“

Her eyes widened in surprise, spilling the brimming tears, when Draco silently rose to his feet, his face as blank as the bare walls beneath her diplomas. She stared at him through the haze of glittering tears, watching as he glanced at the report for a brief moment, cautious to avoid the pictures, and looked at her.

“Make a wish, then.”

Ginny blinked owlishly at him, her tears shining without reservation. “I—I wish she was healed, her own old self again.”

“Fine,” he said simply and headed out of the office without another word.

Ginny was completely baffled by his behavior, but some odd small bud of hope spurred into life. It was hard to believe the situation might be reversed even with Malfoy’s money, but just the fact that he was going to try made her desperately glad.


Her hands were clamped together, deathly white and pitifully shaking, as if she was doing it on purpose. Her eyes were squeezed shut tightly, sowing colorful circles and stains to bloom and dissipate against the black of her eyelids. She was biting her lip, biting hard since the tang of blood was becoming more noticeable in her worrisome stupor. She was praying, and the words were spilling out, tumbling over themselves in her quietly raging desperation.

Four hours ago Ellieanne Harley was escorted out of her small room in one of St. Mungo’s wards by the redheaded Healer and entrusted into the hands of Draco Malfoy, who then took her away and instructed the terrified Healer and the fidgeting parents to wait. Simply do nothing and wait until the little girl emerged from Ginny’s office – either the same as she entered, or…

Ginny glanced up at the Harleys, and her heart pinched in guilt. She didn’t mean to poison their hearts with false hopes. She wanted to do this quietly, when Draco had called on her and asked for the girl to be brought to him. She planned on telling the girl nothing as well, to spare her from the bitter pain of disappointment. But she had been caught by the mother taking the girl out of her room when all scheduled therapies were already over. She had no choice but to tell the truth, and watch those big brown eyes of the elder woman fill with tears.

And now… dear Merlin, how she wished she wouldn’t have to face these people’s stares if their child comes out the same as before. Not after the hope she’s inadvertently given them. Not after the pain they’d already had to fight through.

“Mr. and Mrs. Harley,” someone called quietly out from the office and the three present jumped to their feet immediately, hurrying towards the door. A moment later Draco came out, looking haggard and awfully pale. His eyes were a bit wider than usually, and dark circles graced his skin. “I’m sorry—“

“Oh dear God!” Mrs. Harley whimpered, burying her face into her husband’s chest just as the tears poured afresh. She clung onto his shirt and he held her tighter, squeezing his eyes shut and willing the tears away.

“Mrs. Harley,” Draco called out instantly, a bit impatient. “Mrs. Harley! Please refrain from crying. The girl has been through enough as it is, and seeing her mother cry in this situation is going to cause further difficulties.”

Ginny was shocked into stupor, unable to respond in any way. She wanted to shout, to hit Malfoy and hex him into oblivion for the way he allowed himself to talk to parents that had been through so much grief themselves already. How dare that mangy dog think he had any bloody right to speak up in such an inconsiderate way?

But she held herself well, turning red to the tips of her ears and not allowing her temper to go off in front of the couple. Though, she did promise herself to cause him unspeakable horrors and pains once they were out of the sorrowful family’s earshot.

However, it seemed Mr. and Mrs. Harley did not share her sentiments, and instead of being outraged themselves, Mrs. Harley simply nodded and recomposed herself, and Mr. Harley bit back the last traces of his tears and smiled gratefully, as if in thanks to the young man’s support.

Apparently submerged into some odd twilight zone where Malfoy’s insolence was considered as some branch of ‘tough love’, Ginny decided to reconsider the dosage of her Calming Concoctions.

“Now,” Draco spoke up again, once the couple was properly soothed once again. “As I was saying – I apologize for taking this long, it is just that each time I managed to do something, Ellieanne began crying before the spells settled and all had to be done all over again. She is alright now, but I strongly advise not to encourage any tears in the next few hours.”

Throughout his speech Ginny could feel her heart begin to race as some distant realization seemed to settle in the pit of her stomach. She glanced at the Harleys and saw that apparently the same thought graced their mind as well.

“Is—is she—“

Mrs. Harley was unable to finish her sentence when Draco stepped back into the office and called out for the girl. A small, fidgeting creature stepped out, scared as a mouse and shaking like a leaf. Brown hair framed the round face, and the big brown eyes shone with tears she bravely held at bay. The skin was smooth and healthy, graced with a slight opalescent tinge, her cheeks strewn with small salient freckles, and the two deeply-set dimples though not showing in their full glory, were peeking from the cautious smile she allowed herself.

“Oh,” Mrs. Harley breathed out heavily, dropped to her knees and waving the girl over. “Oh, my little— my angel—oh my girl,” she pulled the girl into a hug, bracing the child desperately to her heaving chest and silently praying to all the gods in thanks. Pulling away, she took a hard look at her daughter’s face, looking for falsehood, traces of temporary veiling spells, masking charms or anything at all, but all was in vain. The girl was her daughter, and the healthy childish complexion was her own, healed. “Oh dear gods, you are so beautiful,” she mumbled, gazing into those big brown eyes as the tears began brimming her eyes.

“No tears!” Draco barked almost angrily, glowering at the apologetic glance the exhilarated mother cast him.

Ginny watched him shrug it off and turn away, most probably disturbed and uncomfortable. She herself was stunned, completely dumbstruck by the occurring miracle. Inching closer to Draco as to not disturb the family, she touched his arm lightly. “Thank you.”

Draco’s eyes slipped down momentarily to her fingers as they grazed his robes and back up to her pale face. He shrugged nervously again, not quite sure he appreciated the open way she stared at him at that moment. “It’s nothing,” he blurted offhandedly, turning his look away with nonchalance.

Ginny shook her head, grabbing a handful of his robes and jerking his attention back to her own brown, shining eyes. “It’s everything.”

Blinking at her in surprise, he swallowed hard and tried to move away, but she held him fast.


“Unicorn magic,” he replied simply, truthfully.

“They trust you?”

Draco smirked at her quiet incredulity and subtly rolled his eyes. “Yes. Surprised?”

“Flabbergasted, actually,” she mumbled dumbly, still staring at the blonde with wide unbelieving eyes. “You look like crap, by the way.”

“Yeah? You try dealing with a hysterical brat who starts crying every bloody time she gets healed,” he hissed edgily, throwing a baleful glance at the little girl cuddled by her parents. “Six times I healed that rugrat, Weasley. Six! I was afraid she’d get dehydrated by the time I’m through, considering all the damn waterworks.”

“You’re a good man, Malfoy,” she whispered back, both surprised by the notion and pleased by it.

“Nonsense, woman,” he dismissed her with a wave of his hand and cautiously inched away, realizing she was still holding him by the robes. “I’m an exhausted man. Now, if you’d be so kind as to let go of me? I prefer to leave before all the emotional gushing switches from the brat to my person. I don’t think I’ve enough politeness left in me to endure it, after all the crap I had to undergo with that Allison girl.”

“Ellieanne,” Ginny corrected automatically, somehow knowing he made the mistake on purpose. She let go of his robe and watched him smirk and absently nod his farewell to the Harleys on his way out.

Wordlessly, she smiled, amazed at the fact that her very own personal genie appeared to be omnipotent after all.


Later on that week, sitting in her small bare office long after the last of the night janitors left the building, Ginny Weasley sighed silently, staring at a pile of unfinished paperwork. She loved her job, loved helping people and healing people, but the paperwork! Who on earth invented paperwork?

In some absent way Ginny understood that it was a bit sad that she had remained in her office after work more often than not, but she always hastily disposed of that notion, reminding herself that her work was greater than her own little person, that she was toiling in the name of the ‘Greater Good’. A stern voice sadly resembling her mother’s, prattled somewhere in the back of her overworked mind that Great Good didn’t keep a girl warm at night, but she was well trained in squashing that notion as well.

She had things to do, people to save, papers to write. If her Prince Charming was not considerate enough as to see that and simply appear on the threshold of her office to spare her the wasted time of actually searching high and low for him, well… she didn’t need that dunce anyway.

“Weasley, don’t you think the clock’s hands pointing to obscenely late hours of the evening should clue you in on the fact that you ought to be snuggled in your duvet back at home with some sappy Jane Austen novel?”

Ginny glanced up to discover the smirking face of Draco Malfoy, leaning casually again her doorframe. She drew her gaze heavenwards, a dry air tingeing her thoughts. Prince Charming! I asked for Prince Charming! And you send over Draco Malfoy? Ha-bloody-ha, you twisted bastards.

“Malfoy, some of us have people depending on their work, you know,” Ginny replied evenly, casting her eyes down on the pages again. “And let me remind you that you’re the one paying late-night visits to other people’s offices. Can I help you somehow?”

“Oh, you’ve helped enough,” he replied with an odd bitter note to his voice as he invited himself in and took a seat across from her. “Thank you for informing the Harleys on how to find me and where to direct all that mail.”

“You sound displeased somehow,” she muttered quietly, pushing away the disturbing urge to break into laughter or at the very least a wide sadistic grin. She knew very well he’d hate for the whole ordeal to be discussed and gratified and mulled over. The most awful thing that could follow the healing incident, from Draco’s point of view, was consistent and gushing expressions of gratefulness expressed by the little girl’s parents.

Which was something they were all too ready to deliver.

“Oh, so the ‘thank you’ note reached you alright?”

“Yes, it did. The note and the dozens of cards, boxes of chocolates, baskets of muffins and fruits and fruit muffins, and the singing quartet – whom, by the way, were almost incinerated by the miniature Hungarian Horntail they gave me as well – and, obviously, the odd fellow dressed in a huge rabbit suit and speaking their thankfulness in rhymes – rhymes, Weasley! Stop giggling! - All that without counting the gratitude they’ve expressed personally over and over and over again once I’ve accidentally let them past the wards. The girl wouldn’t stop terrorizing the elves when they dropped by to visit, the mother wouldn’t stop gushing and crying and sniffling, and the father kept patting me on my back and saying what a fine young man I was and how my father was probably immensely proud of me.”

“I hope you didn’t correct his assumption,” Ginny injected with little hopes as she tried to cover her laughter with her hand.

“Oh, I did! Along with overly descriptive portrayals of how my dear father would’ve Crucio-ed me, attempted to drown me, laid out to be eaten by the Devil’s Snare and finally tossed what was left to the bloodhounds if he ever found out I used ancient magic and personal energy to help a half-blooded girl. I was also dangerously tempted to show them my own Dark Mark and start cackling maniacally while closing in on them and murmuring stuff about candy houses and baked children, when they at last got the clue and buggered the hell away from my property.”

Fighting off another peal of giggles, Ginny leaned back in her chair and stared at the blond man before her with shining amusement.

“Stop looking at me as if I’m some beagle mutt, Weasley,” Draco muttered almost nervously, turning his eyes away from her. “Glad you enjoy my torture, by the way.”

“Well, you do one good deed, Malfoy, and you ought to pay for it,” she said in fake sternness, taking off her glasses.

“Yes,” he droned distractedly, staring at her again. “And you do countless good deeds and get zilch in return. Doesn’t it get old playing the eternal altruist, Weasley?”

“You get used to it after saving the world a couple of times,” she replied evenly, though her smile was filled with something bordering sadness.

Please. Don’t tell me you actually enjoy… this,” he motioned at the empty office, darkness outside, mounts of paperwork on her tabletop. “You’re a Weasley, woman. For Circe’s sake, even I know you should be surrounded by friends, family members, half a dozen redheaded rugrats and some miserably besotted fool. That’s why you give of yourself too much to people you barely know. You’re obviously overcompensating for the lack of something else in your life.”

“Thank you, Mr. Freud! Would you like to analyze my second personality now as well? The one that has the tendency to burst in violent streaks whenever certain Slytherins rub her the wrong way.”

“When it comes to rubbing, I know no other way than the right one,” Draco drawled pointedly, smiling in a way Ginny found highly unnerving.

“Yes, well,” Ginny mumbled uncomfortably, turning a nervous pink hue, as she hurried to put her glasses back on and return to the papers. She hated it when Malfoy switched his person in such a way, causing all of her aplomb to dissolve at the abruptness of his switch between neutral banter and the suggestive remarks. She wasn’t a prude, but he just made her feel like one.

Seeing that he had lost her casual attention for the time, Draco sighed quietly and rose to leave. “Could you do me a favor with your next wish, Weasley?”

“I’ll wish it as soon as I find something remotely adequate to waste a wish on,” she replied offhandedly, not willing to promise him more than that.

“No, take your time. But make the next wish for yourself, will you?”

Ginny glanced up, confused by his request, and shrugged. “Whatever comes to my attention,” she simply said and watched him bow his head a bit before disappearing from her sight with a quiet, ‘Good night.’

Only after he had left, she admitted to herself how difficult selfish wishes would be, for fear of being guilt-ridden as a result of them. She shoved the thought away and pushed her glasses further up the bridge of her nose, scribbling reports, conclusions and future treatment programs that could have easily waited for tomorrow morning if she really had had a miserably besotted fool waiting for her at home.
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