Dinner had consisted of cartons of takeout and more wine, which Pansy had offered to go and get because they'd finished the first bottle fast. Draco glanced at Ginny, who was laughing at something Blaise said.

"So, are things okay now?" Pansy leaned over and whispered to him. "I mean, you seemed pretty happy when you came back. I was surprised it was with her, but still."

He nodded, the memory of the time in the library with Ginny still fresh in his mind. "It's fine," he said. "I just want this all to be over with, you know? It's causing a goddamn strain on things."

"What're you guys talking about?" Ginny asked, sipping more wine.

"The food," Pansy said quickly. "It's good, isn't it?"

Ginny smiled and nodded, as Draco excused himself, pulling Pansy with him. They went into his bedroom, and he shut the door, leaning against it. He stared at her before running a hand down his face.

"What the hell was that?"

"I just figured you guys could use a break. Or at least she could. I doubt she'd be happy to know you're constantly thinking about what happened."

"How can I not?" he asked angrily. "Pansy, whoever did this, they could have done worse. But they stole something from me, altered my mind. They shouldn't have done that. If they didn't like us together, maybe they should have told me instead of–"

"Maybe they did talk to you, but you didn't listen."

"Impossible," he snapped. "I would have listened if someone had a problem with who I was dating."

Pansy lifted an eyebrow.

"Okay, fine, no, I probably wouldn't have listened. But I would have remembered if someone said something. There's not a person in that school that would have been alright with Ginny and I together, and you know it."

"Did you ever stop to think that maybe someone did talk to you about how they felt, but you just ended up forgetting that too? I mean, anything to do with you and her, and your time together, is blank. Except for that one memory, you said. So it's possible the culprit erased any trace that you mentioned her, or had her mentioned to you."

Draco stared at her, his mind reeling. It all made sense. A terrible, twisted, fucked up amount of sense.

"Damn, you would make a good detective, Parkinson."

She smirked.

There was a knock on the door, and Blaise's voice said, "We're getting a little worried out here, mate. You and Pansy aren't finally confessing your feelings, are you?" Something was pushed into the wood. "Ouch, Ginny, I was kidding! Hey, stop! Dammit, Draco, control your woman before she beats me to death!"

Draco snorted and tapped his knuckles on the door. "Could you not kill my best friend, love? It takes too much time to replace one of those."

The noises stopped, then: "What are you doing?"

"Talking," Pansy said, grinning at Draco. "I mean, what else is there to do after you make out?"

He glared at her, opened the door, and saw Blaise sitting on the floor. He looked up at them as he sipped a glass of wine.

"I got tired of waiting," he said. "Besides, your girlfriend has the bottle. I think she finished it. She's quite delightful." He grinned crookedly.

His fingers found her hair in the dark. She was curled against him on the couch. They'd been like this ever since Blaise and Pansy left around midnight. It was quiet, peaceful, and they needed that. To clear their heads. To be with one another.

"Did you like the wine?" Draco asked. Of course she did, you idiot. She drank most of it.

"It was good," she said, yawning. "I'm sorry I hit Blaise."

Draco laughed. "He probably deserved it. You don't injure people without reason."

Ginny frowned and said, "I really should talk to people when I'm angry. I was so used to the twins and Ron hitting each other when they got mad, I guess I just picked that up. I remember the first time I hit Ron, I thought my mum was going to faint."

Draco smiled. "Did you get into trouble?"

"Gnome duty," she said, groaning.

"Gnomes?" he said. "Do I want to know?"

"De-gnoming the garden. It's exhausting and irritating. Of course, you would never do something so demeaning."

"Well, since I was raised to have others to my work for you, I expect not."

Ginny hit him in the shoulder.

"Better than the face," mumbled Draco. He kissed the top of her head. "Do your parents know about me?"

Ginny chuckled. "The last time I went to see them, it didn't go well. Actually, that was the day you and I had the fight outside the bar."

Draco tensed slightly. He was hoping she wouldn't have brought that up. Because that was what started the accusations, the anger, and distrust. All of which he still wanted to take back, but didn't know how. So, instead of speaking, he tipped her chin and kissed her softly, wrapped his arms around her. He sighed contently as she snuggled against him.

"We'll figure this out," she said into his shirt. "Then we'll be able to be happy."

He hoped so. But he was very aware that happiness came with a price. That nothing in life was free, and you had to work like hell to keep the things and people who mattered.

"Losing you is not an option," he whispered. "Not again."

"I'm not going anywhere," she reassured him. She laced their fingers together. "We'll be okay, Draco. We'll find out who did this and make them pay."

Draco thought he liked that idea. He liked it very much. Hurting people wasn't something he was used to. But he would do it if it meant protecting Ginny. Because he wasn't sure what would happen to either of them when this was solved. Perhaps the person who had done this was going to hurt them. In that case, he had to be prepared to fight.
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