The week that followed was rather tiresome and stressful for the redhead, to say the least. After many attempts to win the blond’s attention, all she could say in the end was that her only accomplishment was the addition to her list of Draco Malfoy being a very oblivious boy.

But perhaps that wasn’t a fair assessment. Draco wasn’t really oblivious. In fact, he was a very perceptive boy when he chose to be, but it was true that he had remained frustratingly oblivious of her attempts to earn his admiration and attention. She had not resorted to hideous makeovers again, but she had written him a love letter, baked him a cake, and drawn a portrait of him, all stamped with a little clue so as to lead him to the identity of his mystery admirer.

This would have been a lovely plan, had it not been for the fact that Crabbe was the one who had discovered the letter and had automatically assumed it was for him, even though he clearly did not have eyes that were like storms on a misty morning. Ginny wasn’t even sure what a storm would look like on a misty morning, but it had sounded nice, so she had put it in there anyway.

The cake also did not reach its intended target. That one got lost in delivery and ended up in Goyle’s accommodating stomach. The portrait, however, did make it to the blond’s hands, but as drawing had never been her forte, it was unlikely that he would understand its significance, let alone that the picture was of him.

And so it was that Ginny found herself at point nonplus. She had tried the makeover. She had tried to woo him through romantic letters, tasty food, and a portrait of himself (however poorly drawn), but it was all to no avail. He had not shown the faintest glimmer of interest in her.

“Perhaps I’m being too subtle?” mused Ginny, whilst idly watching the blond relaxing by the lake with his two faithful minions.

Maybe what she really needed to do was something drastic to get his attention? The only question was, what would get his attention in a good way? So far she had only succeeded in making herself look ridiculous, which, however much it enabled his attention to turn towards her, did not play favourably in the hopes of actually winning his deeper affections.

Ginny frowned to herself. If only she knew more about him. What he liked and disliked. Her list still hadn’t grown much bigger than what it had started out as. He was so obnoxiously loud sometimes, and yet, when it came to his own personal feelings and thoughts, there was this great cloud that smothered everything. Sure he was a snob about blood purity and wealth, but there had to be more to him than that. He couldn’t just exist as the boy who hated Muggle-borns and liked to sneer at people.

She focussed her gaze on the blond now. He was leaning casually back against his palms, shirtsleeves rolled up, with his tie loosened around his neck. His hair was slightly tousled from the breeze, and this, coupled with the nonchalant expression he wore on his face, made him appear in that moment as the embodiment of what a typical teenage boy should look like. It also, in Ginny’s opinion, made him look very attractive.

This heavenly vision was in itself proof that there was more to the boy than his snobbery. Here he was acting like any other teenager, simply relaxing and socialising with his friends under the sun. It was true that he often rolled his eyes at Crabbe and Goyle’s remarks, but Ginny couldn’t help but notice that the action was not done in a malicious way. He was obviously fond of the trollish duo, despite their astounding moments of idiocy.

Draco was speaking now. Ginny wished that she could hear what he was saying. She wished that she could even have a proper conversation with him. There was always something getting in the way, whether it was his Slytherin friends, her friends, his general snootiness, or her unfortunate habit of embarrassing herself in front of him. Nothing ever seemed to go right, and always, no matter what the scenario, the attempt would end with him making some horrid remark or smirking at her.

Ginny sighed. What she wouldn’t give to have him say just one sentence to her that didn’t have mocking connotations. It seemed that all he did was ridicule her, for he never paid any attention to her at all unless she was acting as his source of amusement.

It was all rather depressing, but she couldn’t give up now. There just had to be a way to get him to notice her in a more favourable light. Somehow she had to get him to separate himself from his prejudices and see her for who she was, and not just as another Weasley. She had to get his attention in a way that he would never forget; jolt him out of his senses so that he would have to think about her long after they had parted ways...

The clouds playing on the mirror-like surface of the lake caught her eye. She stared at the water for a moment, and then, as if slowly piecing two-and-two together, brought her gaze to rest back on the unsuspecting blond. It would be a very daring plan, but she was desperate, and desperate times called for desperate measures. In any case, it was certain to get his attention.

She stood up and brushed the shredded daisy petals off her skirt (all, unfortunately, which had told her that he most definitely loved-her-not) and walked towards the lake. It looked rather cold and ominous, but she was a Gryffindor, and Gryffindors did not shrink at the sight of horrors. Or, at least, that was what Ginny told herself as she dipped one bare foot experimentally in the chilly water.

Ginny threw another glance back at the blond, who was still talking with Crabbe and Goyle. She was just trying to determine what would be the best approach to go about her plan, when a very short boy passed by her vision.

“Hey,” Ginny called out, snatching him by the shoulder and pulling him to an abrupt halt.

“I didn’t do it,” squealed the boy, shrinking away from her hand.

Ginny gave an inelegant snort. “I’m not accusing you of anything. I just need you to do me a favour.”

“What?” asked the boy, raising his sharp face to peer at her suspiciously.

“Do you see that group of Slytherins over there?”

The boy nodded.

“I need you to tell the blond that there’s a girl drowning in the lake and that she needs help, but you can’t swim, so you can’t save her yourself. Oh, and tell him that she’ll probably need CPR.”

“But there isn’t a girl drowning in the lake.”

Stupid. I will be the girl drowning,” explained Ginny, rolling her eyes.

“But how did you get in the lake to drown in the first place?”

“I don’t know,” shrugged Ginny. Really, it was a bit much to expect her to think that far ahead. “Make something up if you want; just make sure that you get him to come and save me, all right?”

“What do I get out of this?” enquired the boy, giving her a shrewd glance.

Ginny was a little taken aback by this demand. Then she noticed the green and silver scarf hanging round his neck. Slytherin. Typical.

“Ah…I’ll bring you back some butterbeer and sweets from Hogsmeade,” suggested Ginny. “How does that sound?”

The sharp-faced boy considered her for a moment and then nodded. “Deal.”

Ginny let out a breath. “Okay, I’m going to go into the lake now. Wait for my signal before you tell him to come and save me. I need this to look plausible.”

“All right.”

Ginny turned away from the boy and walked into the water. It was colder than what she had expected it to be. A lot colder. She was almost tempted to forget her plan and go right back to the shore where it was nice and warm, but then she reminded herself that no good thing came without a little sacrifice. There was nothing to be gained from chickening out now.

It was true that she had a faint feeling of misgiving when the water started tickling her chin, but she continued on ahead anyway, reassured by the fact that even if the Slytherin did realise her trick and refused to save her, she was a capable swimmer and wasn’t really going to drown.

Soon her feet could no longer touch the bottom. She chanced a glance back towards the shore, seeing the group of Slytherins still relaxing on the grass not too far away from the water’s edge. Her partner in crime was waiting expectantly for her to give the go-ahead.

She was about to raise her arm in signal for him to go tell Draco to come and save her, when something slimy suddenly tightened around her ankle. Ginny only had time to give a small squeak of fright before she was being yanked down under the water with surprising ferocity. Everything was distorted before her eyes, the world moving with the disrupted ripples of the lake. Something green was clinging to her ankle, pulling her deeper into the murky blackness. A Grindylow?

Ginny kicked at it, trying to break free from its hold, but its only response was to bite down on her leg with razor sharp teeth. A cry of pain instinctively broke from her lips. Water rushed into her mouth, choking her and causing her already panicked-seized brain to go into a frenzy of fear. She knew she needed to get air.

Desperate now, Ginny kicked, thrashed and propelled herself upwards. She just managed to break through the surface, still choking and spluttering, but all too soon she was being dragged back under again, her strangled cry for help being smothered by a gurgling, watery hand.

Was this how she died? Drowned because of the desperate need to have Draco Malfoy notice her?

To die for love. It was a noble thing, a beautiful thing, some would say, but even Ginny couldn’t delude herself in thinking that there was something noble about her situation. She was the one who had been stupid enough to pretend to drown in order to get the blond’s attention, and so placed herself in a position where a Grindylow actually could drag her down to a watery death.

It was a pathetic way to die, really. Not romantic at all. No one would write about her in great novels. She would just be the girl who drowned because she couldn’t get a boy to notice her.

Ginny gave one last kick at the Grindylow that had ruined everything. She wanted to keep fighting, to keep pushing to the surface, but it was like she was slowly and painfully shutting down. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. A great emptiness seemed to have taken over her.

And then she was sinking; sinking deep into the murky blackness that swallowed her whole…


Something was prodding her side. Ginny wished it would stop. She was supposed to be in heaven right now, not being subjected to irritating jabs. And what was with all this annoying darkness? Wasn’t heaven supposed to be all white, with helmet-haired angels playing harps, and wearing large, feathery wings on their backs?

“I don’t think she’s breathing,” said a muffled and slightly panicked voice from somewhere in the darkness. “Perhaps you should try CRP?”

“CRP?” said another, this one deeper. “What the hell is CRP?”

Ginny struggled to make sense of what was happening. She felt rather like a blob of nothingness in that moment, but she still had enough energy to wonder why people were talking about CRP in heaven. It seemed a stupid thing to talk about, and she quite agreed with the male with the deeper voice. What the hell was CRP, anyway?

“I think he means CPR,” observed yet another male.

There was a pause.

“What’s that?” demanded the second voice.

“It’s a—Here, I’ll show you.”

Something touched her face. Ginny was startled at the contact, her senses jolting back to life at the sudden feeling that surged through her nerves up to her brain. The thick darkness that had been pressing down on her began to lessen, her body slowly becoming more aware of its surroundings.

She could smell the scent of damp clothes and…banana muffins? Why did it smell like banana muffins?

Her eyes snapped open. Ginny knew in that moment that she most definitely was not in heaven. If anything, she had just stumbled into what could only be considered a nightmare.

Just as she had envisioned when she had first concocted her foolish plan, there was a boy leaning over her, his mouth just inches from her own as he prepared to give her mouth-to-mouth. Except, this boy did not have grey eyes, and he most certainly did not have silvery-blond hair. The only thing that fit was the green and silver scarf wrapped around his neck.

Their eyes met, brown meeting an even duller brown, and then Ginny let out a shriek and thrust the boy away from her.

Gregory Goyle had just been mere seconds from placing his lips over hers. Gregory Goyle!

The boy in question fell back on his bottom, his cheeks flushing a deep crimson in his embarrassment. Ginny was still staring at him in disgust, refusing to listen to his bumbling speech that he had only been trying to help. This, naturally, triggered off his friends’ laughter, including the blond that was supposed to have saved her. Draco’s clothes were rather damp for someone who had let his minion do the real work, but Ginny didn’t think to question why. She was too concerned with the effect that it had on his appearance.

No. She was not to think of him in that way. He had ruined everything. His lips were supposed to have breathed life into hers, but instead she had almost been kissed by banana breath over there. Ginny felt it was typical of him. You could never trust a Malfoy to do anything noble.

“Seems like she didn’t want your CRP, Goyle,” remarked that frustrating blond, trademark smirk firmly in place.

“It’s CPR!” snapped Ginny. “C-P-R! How can you not know that?”

Draco’s smirk faltered. Apparently he didn’t like being corrected by people. Ginny couldn’t have cared less. She was thoroughly fed up with everything in that moment. She had almost drowned, her plan had failed, she was freezing, and now Draco Malfoy was being his usual nasty self and not even bothering to ask her if she was okay. No, he just had to go and make stupid comments and talk about that ridiculous CRP again.

The blond opened his mouth to speak, no doubt to make a scathing retort, but just in that moment the sharp-faced First Year from earlier nudged past him and stopped in front of Ginny.

“I’m glad to see that you didn’t actually drown and all that, but I do have things to do,” announced the boy, if a little abruptly. “I’ve done my part, so you’d better remember your end of the deal. It’s not my problem that things didn’t work out for you.”

Ginny could have hexed the little beast in that moment. As it was, her wand was sitting with her shoes where she had left them, so she had no choice but to grit her teeth and watch the conniving snake smile at her with mocking sweetness before he strolled off back towards the castle.

He had said that on purpose. She just knew it.

Draco stared at her through shrewd, grey eyes. “Deal?” he queried, lifting an eyebrow. “And what deal would that be?”

“None of your business,” retorted Ginny.

“You know,” responded Draco with ironic politeness, “for someone who almost drowned, you’re being rather rude to your rescuers.”

Ginny ignored this comment and struggled to her feet. This proved to be a big mistake, as not only was she still weak, but the pressure of holding her weight up caused a nasty jolt of pain to throb through her wounded leg. She swayed and would have fallen right over, except that hands quickly grasped at her waist.

“Easy there, Weasley,” scolded Draco. “We don’t want you to become any more brain damaged than what you already are.”

Ginny was too enthralled by the fact that he was touching her to really care that he had just insulted her again. Her anger had quite evaporated. Indeed, her stomach seemed to be assaulted by invisible butterflies, and her heart was racing with sudden exhilaration. She could feel the warmth of his hands seeping through her shirt, a shirt so clingy in its dampened state that it was almost as if he was touching her bare skin. They were close, so close that it was made intensely obvious to her that she need only lean back just a fraction for their bodies to mould together as one.

She could see it perfectly in her mind. She would lean back, pressing her back against his chest to feel the hard but still boyish form of his body. His hand would slide up from her waist to her stomach, holding her possessively against him as he leaned his face down towards hers. Their lips would meet briefly, almost teasingly, and then he would deepen the kiss, drawing her into a world of pleasurable intoxication. She would curl a hand around his neck, surrendering completely to her passions, and then—

“Can you stand or not, Weasley? I don’t have all day.”


Ginny stepped away from him. She winced as another stab of pain shot through her leg. Draco must have noticed her expression, for he muttered something to Goyle, who then gave a startled glance at the redhead, his cheeks flushing an interesting shade of plum.

Draco made an impatient noise. “She’s just a Weasley, Goyle. Hurry up or I’ll get Crabbe to do it.”

“Wait, what are you talking about?” demanded Ginny, eyeing the two boys suspiciously.

Goyle simply sighed and picked her up in his arms, where he threw her over his shoulder as if she were nothing more than a rag doll.

“Hey!” shrieked Ginny, giving him a hard thump on his back. “You just can’t do that! Put me down!”

“Relax, Weasley,” drawled Draco. “He’s just carrying you to the hospital wing so that Madam Pomfrey can heal your leg. You should be grateful that we’re even bothering to take you there.”

He muttered something else that sounded suspiciously like ‘should have left her in the lake’, but Ginny chose to ignore that part.

“Well,” retorted the indignant redhead, “you could at least have had the decency to ask for my permission first before you ordered your drudge to carry me off like a caveman with his woman.”

“I’m not a drudge,” muttered Goyle.

Neither Draco nor Ginny paid any attention to this remark.

“Weasleys are about as primitive as cavemen,” responded Draco. “I would have thought that you’d be used to it.”

Ginny’s face went red with anger. She would have liked to hex him in that moment. As it was, Goyle decided to shift her into a more comfortable on his shoulder, causing her to almost collide face-first with his bottom. All thoughts of cursing the blond promptly vanished from her brain. Indeed, her curses were now directed at the lump of lard that had distracted her thoughts in the first place.

“Do you mind?” snapped Ginny, pulling her hands away from Goyle’s backside with an expression of distaste on her face.

Crabbe sniggered. So did Draco.

Goyle mumbled what sounded like an apology, but Ginny wasn’t listening. She had the horrible suspicion that her knickers were being displayed to the world right now. It felt a little too breezy.

“Nice cauldrons,” murmured a voice near her ear.

The blood rushed to her cheeks. Well that certainly confirmed her suspicions. She wasn’t sure what was more mortifying: the fact that Draco Malfoy had seen her knickers and was teasing her about it, or the fact that she was caught wearing cauldron knickers in the first place.

She wondered why she liked this boy who was so relentlessly cruel to her. There was certainly nothing to like about him when she was being carried by his minion in the most humiliating of fashions, her hideous, cauldron knickers in full view for all the school to see, while he, that blond Adonis, stood there smirking and making fun of her.

Ginny could feel her temper rising. She lifted her face to make a heated retort—what that retort was she could not say, though she was quite certain that it was going to blow them all away—when her eyes collided with his. All angry words died on her lips right then and there.

His eyes were indeed glinting with amusement, but there was not a hint of maliciousness in the grey. Ginny didn’t know what to make of it, and felt rather mollified by this unexpected development; though, that didn’t stop her from glowering at him as she pulled her skirt back down to cover her knickers. This, unfortunately, only made the boys start laughing again, and they continued to laugh about it long after the incident had happened.

Boys. It was so typical of them. Just as it was typical of them to inflict her with several bad cauldron jokes, which they no doubt thought were very witty, and which she rolled her eyes at more than once. Crabbe, however, didn’t seem to understand when enough was enough.

Crabbe grinned at her, a sloppy, sleazy kind of grin. “I’ll come stir your cauldron for you, Weasley. You like potion-making, don’t you?”

That was the last straw. Ginny made to grab at him, intending to make sure that he never stirred a cauldron again, but as she was still slung over Goyle’s shoulder and was being restrained by his bulky arms, she didn’t exactly get very far with this mission.

It was to this unfortunate scene that Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger stumbled across the ill-assorted group.

“What are you doing with my sister?” bellowed Ron, impulsively lunging forward. “You get your dirty hands off her!”

Crabbe stood in front of the raging redhead and cracked his knuckles. He looked the perfect picture of a loyal minion, even managing to produce a menacing expression on his otherwise expressionless face. Really, one could almost call it a form of art the way he transformed himself from a blockhead, to a, well, intimidating blockhead.

Draco easily stepped into his role as the ringleader and placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder. It was rather like watching a trainer calling off his guard dog.

“Calm down, Weasley,” drawled Draco with feigned boredom. “We’re not doing anything nefarious to your sister.”

Hermione raised an eyebrow. Judging by Ron and Harry’s puzzled expressions, it was somewhat doubtful as to whether they even understood what the word ‘nefarious’ meant.

“That may be, Malfoy,” said Hermione, sparing her word-challenged friends by bridging the silence, “but that doesn’t explain why Ginny was trying to attack Crabbe, or why Goyle is carrying her like that. Or even why she’s soaking wet,” added the bushy-haired girl, eyeing the drenched redhead with a frown.

Ginny had the grace to blush. She motioned for Goyle to place her down on the ground—who obliged—and faced her friends with a sheepish expression. “That was my fault. I, uh, almost drowned in the lake. They saved me,” she explained, gesturing to the Slytherins.

Draco gave a smug smile at that. “I think you owe Goyle an apology, Weasel. He did save your sister’s life.”

“You shut your face, Malfoy. I know what you’re like. Don’t think that I’ll buy this bollocks that you and your buddies rescued my sister out of the goodness of your hearts. You probably blackmailed her to say all that.”

“Oh no, Weasley, we’ve decided to become the philanthropists of Hogwarts. Our mission is to save one blood traitor at a time. Maybe we’ll save you from your idiocy next. You might actually be able to think then, but let’s not hope for the impossible.”

“Why you little—”

“Ron!” exclaimed Ginny, limping to stand in front of her brother’s way to stop him from lunging at the blond. “Stop being so rude.”

“I’m being rude? He’s the one who’s being rude.”

The blond smirked. No doubt he took this accusation as a compliment.

“Malfoy’s always like that,” responded Ginny dismissively. “Besides, he and his friends did save my life. And the reason why Goyle was carrying me is because it hurts for me to walk. They were just helping me out.”

“A Slytherin helping out a Gryffindor? Yeah, when Muggles fly.”

“Muggles can fly,” pointed out Hermione, always the stickler for getting one’s facts straight. “And I think you are being a little unreasonable, Ron. How do you know they didn’t help her?”

“They’re Slytherins! They’d be more likely to drown her themselves than save her!”

“Have you ever thought of trying for the stage, Weasley? Your turn for theatrics is quite admirable.”

“Shut up, Malfoy!”

“Is this true?” interposed Harry, before the blond could make another snide remark. “Did you really save her from drowning?”

Draco rolled his eyes. “Yes, Potter, my friends and I really did. Believe it or not, we don’t actually make a habit out of letting people drown in the lake.”

Ron remained cynical, but Hermione and Harry seemed satisfied with this answer.

“Thank you,” said Harry, if a little forced. “That was very decent of you.”

“Decent, my foot,” spat Ron. “They probably did it just so they wouldn’t get in trouble.”

“We can’t all be heroes,” lamented Draco with mocking seriousness. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I actually do have better things to do than stand here talking with a bunch of Gryffindors.” He turned to Ginny, a small smirk flittering across his mouth. “Perhaps this will teach you to consider the consequences before you decide to go swimming in the lake. You may just end up baiting the wrong fish again.”

Ginny opened her mouth to make a retort, but quickly closed it again. She wasn’t really sure what she could say to that.

Draco smirked at her one last time and then motioned for his friends to follow him. Crabbe winked at Ginny in parting, while Goyle merely blushed.

Ginny stared after their retreating figures with a mixture of bewilderment and concern on her face. Somehow she got the feeling that Draco was referring to more than just Grindylows with that parting speech.

“Uh, Ginny, did you know that you’re not wearing any shoes?” asked Harry, giving her an odd look.

Ginny glanced down at her feet and realised that they were indeed still bare.

“Damn! I left my wand and shoes by the lake.”

“I’ll go get them,” said Hermione. “You two take her up to the hospital wing.”

As soon as the bushy-haired girl was gone, Ron rounded on his sister. “You, Ginevra Molly Weasley, have a lot of explaining to do.”

Ginny sighed. There would be no getting out of this one.
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