SCRAPS OF HOPE



Draco pulled himself out of the cocoon of warmth his fluffy duvet provided. He felt as though he hadn’t slept at all, but this was becoming a feeling of normality for him these last few months.

As the bathroom filled with steam from the water warming for his shower, he glanced in the mirror. The circles under his eyes were dim and purple, and stood out starkly against his pale skin. Grunting with frustration, he got in the shower, and let the now hot water soak into his skin and warm him up.

‘You’d think after seven years I might adjust to these frigid damp dungeons,’ Draco grumbled to himself as he dried off.

Now taking time to fully look himself over during his morning grooming, he realised he was looking rather ragged. His stress levels were increasing, but what to do?

NEWTs were coming soon, his father was out of Azkaban, and, oh yeah, he was infatuated with a Weasley.

Not just any Weasley, but the baby girl Weasley.

After many months of observation, he knew she was no baby. She was an independent witch, who seemed to have her own inner strength. He recalled his first ‘meeting’ with her in Flourish and Blott's his second year, and what fire she had shown in her defiance of him. At the time, he had simply seen her as a tool to irritate Potter, but during that exciting year of the return of the Heir of Slytherin he watched her.

Although Draco watched her that year, she had not shown enough power to keep his attention. How wrong he had been. All that year she was housing the memory of Tom Riddle while everyone was watching Potter. After she came back from the Chamber you could see she was close to broken. Back then she seemed so small and helpless. But, of course, over the years, he came to see that she was not helpless. That was one painful Bat-Bogey Hex.

Draco recalled watching her in the Great Hall during meals. She would laugh with her friends and sometimes, to Draco’s delight, spar with her git of a brother.

Ginny’s eyes would light up and you could see that even though she loved Ron, she didn’t hesitate to tell him how she felt. Most often it would be about his effort to contain her spirit. He thought he was protecting her; she thought he was smothering her.

The fight would usually escalate to threats from her side that Ron would force her to follow through with, because he would not back down. Draco often thought they should teach a new course at Hogwarts, Defence Against Ginny’s Hexes. Half the time Ron ended up either in the hospital wing or hiding behind Granger.

Now he looked at her knowing she was a powerful witch, who had a fiery temper with a warm heart. Who else would take that clumsy oaf Longbottom to the Yule Ball, except one who had perhaps too much compassion? She could definitely take care of herself.

Then why did he find himself watching her closely these last few months, and worrying about her knowing that something wasn’t right?

She didn’t seem to be eating as much, he didn’t see her with her friends as often, and most telling to him… her eyes looked so dull and empty. She could help others, but could she help herself with whatever was happening? She seemed to be slipping away slowly, and no one seemed to be there to catch her. Didn’t they see?

Though it was difficult to watch as she drifted away, Draco knew he couldn’t do anything for her. A Malfoy reach out to a Weasley? Her family definitely would strike first and ask questions later. No, the time was not right. He would have to wait for the opportunity to present itself. If that opportunity never came it was probably better for her anyway.

With this moody state upon him, Draco felt like going to the library, to find that book on concealment charms so he could cover his less than attractive appearance these days. First, he would stop by the kitchen and take a late brunch, since he had slept through breakfast. Dobby always knew what food to serve to suit his moods.




Once in the library, Draco wasn’t sure if this had been the best place to come, considering the state his mind was in today.

She sat in the window with the light shining on her burnished copper hair. He tried not to watch her, tried not to wonder what had her huffing into her hair and hunching her shoulders. Of course it was no good; he would barely get half a page read, and then he found he was looking at her again.

Just as Draco was about to leave, wanting to get on his broom and just fly, she gathered up her things and left.

Now he felt offended. How dare she get up and leave before him? He was supposed to be the one doing the leaving. His sensibilities apparently leaving him for good today, he went back to the common room with the hope of finding someone to praise him, or fall at his feet for some non-existent reason. He felt the need to find the ‘old’ Draco. This Draco with feelings of helplessness and doubt was really frustrating him.



Heading to dinner with the group of sycophantic Slytherins following at his heels, he came across the bane of his existence looking like a lost angel of fire, standing at the window in the hall.

The afternoon spent in the presence of the Slytherin crowd had only increased his frustration, as he really began to see that their beliefs no longer held appeal for him. Being under the taint of their baseless prejudices, and the repression of his growing affection for the blood traitor, Draco reacted in what he knew was an immature manner, but he seemed unable to stop himself.

As she turned towards him, he almost shuddered at the sight of her waif like appearance. She looked small, lifeless, lost, and had smudged charcoal on her cheek.

“Too poor to afford soap?” he taunted her, but couldn’t help but touch her cheek, wanting only to caress it softly and kiss her pouting lips.

Realising his mistake too late he quickly tried to cover his tracks. “Your face is covered in soot, Cinderella. There’s no fairy godmother here to help you find a prince.’’

After looking at him with wide eyes, she seemed to understand that interacting with him today would be too painful for both of them.

She turned and left, and he had no doubt she would have tears welling in her eyes. Bitterly, Draco thought she was better off not being near him, and he fought the part of him that was already missing seeing her. He stalked into the Great Hall, not listening to the praises of the idiots with him for hurting the little Gryffindor Princess.

Sitting and listening to the churlish words of the Slytherins, he began to feel ill. He was sick of himself, not to mention those who just repeated the words of their peers, without understanding what they were speaking of.

Draco believed in the power of pure blood, but to kill someone just because they didn’t have it no longer sat well with him, after witnessing so much in the last year. Didn’t any of them know that Voldemort was himself a half-blood? Didn’t they understand that to blindly follow someone that sick and twisted only meant the quicker destruction of wizarding kind?

Draco quickly left and returned to his dorm to calm himself, and perhaps order food from the kitchen a little later. He didn’t want to be around anyone right now.

An hour later, a little House Elf Apparated in with his food and quickly left, after ensuring Master Draco didn’t need anything else. Draco now found he was hungry and ate the entire dinner. He looked at the large bowl of chocolate ice cream in a stay-freeze bowl, and knew Dobby had helped prepare his tray.

When the ice cream was finished and his mood was much improved, he saw a small piece of parchment where the bowl had been. After checking it for curses or spells with his wand, he unfolded the paper.

Looking up at him was a small sketch of what could only be a Malfoy. The face was all points and sharp outlines. He had seen these facial features on every portrait lining the walls of Malfoy Manor. But who had done this striking rendition and why? How had this gotten on his dinner tray? Draco immediately called the one who could answer this question best.

“Dobby!” He summoned the Elf with a loud and authoritative call, and a brisk snap of his fingers.

The Elf appeared an instant later, with an audible ‘pop’. “Yes, Master Draco? How can Dobby be serving yous today?” Dobby was quavering just a little. He may have been freed from serving the Malfoys by Harry Potter, but he still remembered his days of serving the family, and what could happen to the House Elf if he did not make them happy.

Not wanting to alert the Elf to anything in case he still reported to Potter, Draco knew he needed to question carefully. “Did anyone put anything on my tray tonight Dobby?”

Dobby bowed low and quietly replied, “I’s put the Masters food on the tray only. Was the food not to yous liking, Master Draco?”

“The food was fine but there was something there that I did not order, do you know where it came from?” Draco spoke firmly but not aggressively, hoping for an answer from the flighty creature.

“Master Draco, I’s only make sure you gets chocolate for yous temper.”

Draco knew the Elf had not answered his question, but also knew that he would not, no matter how much Draco asked him. The loyalty of a House Elf was unshakable, and Draco had no desire to torture the information out of him. He decided to let it be, as no harm had come out of it. He would just have to find out on his own who had sent this striking sketch.

X

It was over a week later and Draco still had no clue as to who sent him this little piece of parchment. He had been observing those around him carefully, but the only thing he had found odd was the fact that his best mate was dating that Ravenclaw Quibbler girl.

Truth be told, he found her quite suitable for Blaise. Draco had always found Blaise to be a bit of a loon, which was one of the reasons he let himself get slightly close to Blaise; he made Draco laugh. Blaise had a different way of looking at things and a keen, sarcastic wit that Draco found quite enjoyable. He could gossip with the best of them, and turn around and reveal that he saw everything but actually spoke very little of what he knew.

Draco recalled that Ginny had called Blaise a poser last year. At the time he was offended at her words towards Blaise, but realised that he would seem that way to someone who was raised in a Gryffindor environment. Blaise could easily and quickly adapt himself to any environment, making him seem chameleon-like and shifty to someone who saw honesty and sincerity as a black and white concept.

Lunch disappointed him, since Ginny had not appeared, and he had felt a little worried when Blaise and Luna obviously changed their topic of conversation upon his joining them at the table in the Great Hall. Being on somewhat shaky ground with much of the school due to last year’s events, he was constantly aware that those he had thought friends might turn on him.

His mood darkened by thoughts of betrayal and frustration over not figuring out who might have something to hold over him. He still knew nothing about what the meaning of that drawing was. Was it some sort of threat? Was it a warning about his family?

He really needed to get on his broom and just fly. He left the Great Hall without eating or saying anything else to Blaise.

Once in the air, he began to recall the past week. He hadn’t seen Ginny much, but somehow she seemed to look a little less depressed. What was changing for her? Perhaps if he could find out what things made her happy, he might have a way into her life.

Draco let himself entertain the thought of a friendship with Ginny. She had such an open heart, maybe she could find it in her to forgive him for the things he could not help. Could she understand that his family had been in danger of Voldemort’s displeasure?

He was flying over the lake when he saw her red hair on the opposite shore. He slowed his broom down and approached her slowly, so as not to disturb or startle her. When he was within a few meters, he saw she was deeply involved with a book in her lap. He curiously drew nearer to try and get a glimpse into Ginny’s private life.

She was holding the book at such an angle that he couldn’t clearly see what was on the pages. He flew a little closer and when he crossed the sun’s path she looked up at him. He couldn’t help but continue to look at her. Still in the thrall of his contemplation on a friendship with Ginny, Draco felt his heart warm a little when her facial expression didn’t turn ugly at his presence.

A moment later he saw Ginny was trying to hide her book’s contents from him, and, not wanting to disturb her, he flew off.

He was feeling settled and yet shaky at the same time. She hadn’t looked at him with hate but was clearly guarded against him. How could he blame her for that though? Hadn’t he just a week ago shown her how hurtful he could be? Why would she open herself to him after that?

Draco flew around the pitch for a while longer, just twining amongst the goal posts and practicing some flips and sharp moves, trying to free his mind from his worries. Feeling hungry, he went to his dorm and called an Elf to bring him some lunch.

When the tray came, he saw the bowl of chocolate ice cream and forced himself to eat his lunch in the normal manner. He did his best to ignore the small bowl that seemed to be calling him to lift it up, and see what might be there. Only after he finished his lunch in a regulated and controlled manner, did he allow himself to consider the bowl.

It was like trying to ignore the siren’s call to the sailor, and it felt like such a relief to just lift the bowl. There it was, shining like the golden ticket that the mad wizard who owned Honeyduke’s sent out to the muggles so that he could lure some of them to his factory and experiment on them.

Draco gently unfolded the scrap of parchment to see his likeness there upon the paper. It had no real details of his features to identify it as him, except for his smirk. It was the feature that he knew most people remembered him by, since it was his favourite mask to wear.

His smirk could be dark and sneering, or light and laughing. The artist had captured it when he was showing his naughty side. That side he rarely showed. Blaise saw it most of all, perhaps, since it reflected his true sense of humour. Draco was snarky to most, but his wit was dry and sarcastic; a feature of his that he admitted to himself he really enjoyed.

Now he was really intrigued. With this drawing, he no longer felt like there was something to be worried about. Someone was sending him some sort of message, but it was not dark in nature. Someone was showing him that they saw the deeper side of him. Draco reflected that it could be dangerous for some unknown witch or wizard to know what lay beneath his fašade, but he did not get that sensation from these sketches.

He looked at it a bit more alongside the first one, trying to see himself through the artist’s eyes. He found that he did not mind who he was seeing. Is that what the artist felt? Perhaps he had a secret admirer, which had the potential of being an ugly situation, but again, he didn’t feel like that was what was going on.

Deciding to put the two pictures in a locked box, he ate his chocolate and drifted off to sleep.

He dreamt of a beautiful girl sitting by a lake, and smiling up at him.

X

The next morning, Draco found himself being awakened by an all too cheerful Blaise Zabini. “Wake up mate! Let’s go eat. I haven’t seen you all week, and you’re looking a little more pasty than usual.”

“Blaise, it is entirely too early for me to endure your loving admiration of my form. Let me sleep a bit then I’ll come join you.” Draco was still muzzy from dreams he couldn’t remember, and his eyes had yet to adjust to the magical sunlight coming into his room. “Blasted charmed window. I thought I fixed it not to show the sun so realistically.”

Blaise laughed at Draco’s whining, and pulled him out of bed and towards the bathroom. “Come on mate. Take a shower and join me in the Hall. Don’t follow your usual programme of grooming though, or you’ll miss all the food.”

“Tell me again why I tolerate your company Blaise?”

“That’s simple, because I’m the only one that tolerates you as well.” Blaise laughed again at Draco’s expense as he left the room.



Draco hid his facial expression as he took in what was happening at the Slytherin table today. Blaise was sitting next to Luna Lovegood, and across from them was Ginny. He had not been prepared for this, but was determined not to mess anything up.

Luna had come knocking at the Slytherin entrance a few days ago looking for Blaise. Later that night he had to hex a couple of 6th years until they understood his choice of company was not to be questioned. After that, the Slytherins seemed to accept it even if some were not happy about it.

It amazed him to see Ginny sitting there. A Gryffindor sitting at the Slytherin table, a blood traitor, was laughing at whatever nonsense Blaise was most likely feeding her. The Slytherin at the table didn’t seem tense, and Ginny was getting along with the ‘poser’.

As Draco sat next to her, it took a great amount of control to not turn her way and admire her as she laughed. She seemed lighter in spirit today, and it made him happy to see it. He wished that somehow it would be okay to speak to her, but he knew he shouldn’t. He could feel that she seemed to become a little bit reserved after he sat down, but she didn’t seem uncomfortable.

He was quiet through most of breakfast, and really only answered Blaise when he spoke to him. He was too aware of Ginny sitting next to him. Before he was finished, the other three took their leave, and Draco watched Ginny from the corner of his eye as she left. She was watching Blaise and Luna and seemed to lose a little of her spirit. He wondered what changed after she left the table, and hoped it wasn’t because of something he had done.

X


The next weekend found Draco bored and a little bit jealous. He had been watching as Blaise and Luna seemed to quickly get closer. He didn’t mind that Blaise spent a lot of time with Luna. He actually hung out with her in places where they could all be. They would either study in the library or Blaise would sit with her by the fountain in the courtyard.

No, he was jealous that there seemed to be no tension between them about what roles either of them played, or didn’t play, in the subtle battle that waged daily as the precursor to the imminent war.

He decided to take a walk about the grounds and try to see if he could find Ginny so he could watch her. He had grown tired of pretending not to see her in the Great Hall at meals, and avoiding her presence in the hallways of the school. He had finally admitted to himself that he liked her, and was now trying to get adjusted to the reality that she most likely would never entertain the thought of giving him a chance.

He had just gotten to the greenhouses when a small scrap of parchment flew at him and stuck in the fold of his cape. He pulled it off and felt his knees shake just a little bit at what he saw there. His own eyes were staring back at him.

The mystery artist had captured the look of his trapped and tortured soul perfectly. How many times had he seen these eyes in the mirror? Draco knew he could do Occlumency but his eyes sometimes gave him away when he was not guarded enough. This person had seen that and put it to paper.

Feeling desperate to find this person now, he hurried back to his room to put this piece with the other two.

When all three pieces were placed together like a puzzle, Draco noticed something. The three pieces together made a square page, making it clear they belonged together. What caught his eye was the fact that one side of the page was rough. This page had been torn from a book.

Who had he seen sitting by the lake, with a book that she had felt she had to hide from him?


X


Draco watched her with a new perspective now. When she would wave to Blaise and Luna in the Great Hall, she had a soft look for him out of the corner of her eye. When she would sit at the Slytherin table, he would make sure to sit next to her but never forced his presence upon her. He noted every subtle sign in hopes that Ginny Weasley did indeed see Draco Malfoy for who he was, and was okay with it.

After a few weeks of his observations, he was beginning to wonder if he should make a move. Did he dare take the first step? She might never do it from her side, and he was tired of having all of this doubt. A Malfoy never doubted himself, or failed to get what he wanted; and Draco had definitely decided he wanted Ginny.

He watched as the great Slytherin Blaise Zabini dated the Ravenclaw formerly known as Loony Lovegood. There was hope in the rapidly changing world around Draco these days. Hope of a better life than the one he thought he had to follow because his father wanted that for him.

That night, Draco was alone with Blaise in the common room after they had studied with Luna in the library all afternoon. “Mate, what is it that you see in Luna?”

Blaise turned to him with a defensive face. “What exactly do you want to know here, mate?” The stress on the last word alerted Draco that Blaise misunderstood his question.

“Blaise, what I mean is, what do you see in her that allows you to go beyond all the hardship of dating someone that you know your family will not approve of? What keeps you two together?”

Blaise seemed to contemplate for a moment, and then answered with a slight hint of laughter in his voice, “It’s all her Draco. She does everything and I don’t have to lift a finger.”

Draco looked confused and asked, “But don’t most witches hate that? I can’t tell you the number of times some witch has told me I wasn’t really involved in what we had going on.”

“No, I don’t mean I’m not involved. I meant that I don’t have to think about a thing with her. I just know that I like her and that she likes me. We’re not worrying if we’re going to be together tomorrow or even if there will be a tomorrow. We’re just okay with being us right now and being satisfied with that.”

Draco looked at Blaise, not quite convinced that the answer was legitimate, but knew he wouldn’t get anything else out of Blaise without letting him in on what he was feeling for Ginny. “I’m off to bed then. Don’t even think about waking me early tomorrow, mate. It’s Sunday and I want to sleep.”

“Merlin knows you need your beauty sleep, princess.” Blaise threw over his shoulder as Draco left for his room.


X


Draco approached the Great Hall the next morning, and hoped Ginny would sit at the Slytherin table as she usually did on Sunday mornings. As he opened the doors, he looked over and saw that indeed she was sitting there, with an open space on her right side. He quietly sat down and turned slightly to give her a smile. She was looking straight ahead and didn’t see him, but he was undaunted by this.

He began putting food on his plate. Eggs, bacon…now he just needed toast. The platter of toast was just to the left of Ginny and as he reached over to pick it up, he made a point to show that he wasn’t quite able to reach it. He slid next to her and made sure that his leg was firmly against hers. After bringing the plate in front of him he stayed pushed up against her. If she didn’t hex him or hit him soon, then he figured he had a fighting chance. She did neither but seemed to be having some trouble keeping herself from twitching. Good, she was as nervous as he was.

Draco saw Blaise begin to speak, and knew he was up to no good. He would have to press forward now, or risk Blaise ruining all his plans. Making sure to speak with confidence and what he hoped was openness, he took the plunge. “I now have three pieces, are there more to this puzzle that I can expect?”

He watched as he thought she might pass out from the extreme change in blood flow to her cheeks. She replied immediately, and from this he took it to be her first impulse and therefore, a true indicator of how she felt. “This puzzle has many pieces that may not make a pretty picture.”

Draco realised Ginny had the same fear of rejection that had held him back for so long. He would nip that in the bud right now, and let her know he had no qualms in accepting her for all the things she was. “Hmm,” he drawled with a hint of humour, “I believe I’ll be the judge of that, if you don’t mind.”

“Maybe together we can try to make the pieces fit.”

Ginny’s reply could not have been more perfect. Like Blaise and Luna, he did not know how long this might last, but he finally had hope that something good was coming his way.

Fin
The End.
scubarang is the author of 2 other stories.
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This story is part of the series, Ginny Draws Draco. The previous story in the series is Parchment Pieces.
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