Draco's eyes widened as they approached the restaurant. He took in the large number of people and looked at Ginny. "This place is too crowded. We'll go somewhere else."
"We can wait," Pansy said.
"Besides, we need to compile a list of the people who could've altered Draco's memory."
Pansy smirked. "Do you have a few weeks?"
Draco glared at her. "It won't take that long. Jesus." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I'm fairly certain that anyone who had hated me years ago has grown up since then."
"Except maybe Harry," Pansy said.
"He was too busy looking at Hermione then to see anything else," Ginny replied icily. "But, no, it wouldn't be him. He didn't know about us."
Pansy cleared her throat. "I have something to say, but you're not going to like it."
"What is it?" Draco asked, raising an eyebrow.
Pansy was quiet for several minutes before she said, "What if it was Blaise?"
"Draco, stop!" she shouted, trailing after him.
"Why?" he snapped, turning to face her.
"Because you have to talk to her!" Ginny shouted, gripping his arm. "She never would have said what she did if she didn't think she had proof."
"He's my best friend," he said, his voice thick with emotion. "How would you feel?"
Ginny stared at him, her eyes lowered. "I know it was terrible to hear. I know. I wouldn't believe it unless the person had evidence. But even then–"
"She doesn't," he said angrily. "She's just reaching. This didn't even happen to her and she's twisting everything." He advanced on Ginny and touched her arm. "What did you tell her about that night?"
"I told her the truth," said Ginny. "I told her how I went to your room and you acted like you didn't see me anymore, not the way you did the previous night. God, I can't even begin to tell you how angry I was. At first, I thought you had just come to your senses and ended it. But then when I tried to talk to you again, about us, about why you shut me out, do you remember what you said?"
He did. He just hadn't remembered why he'd said the words to her back then. Until now. Until she was staring him in the face, trying not to lose herself in this mess that someone else had caused.
Sunlight drenched the halls. Students filled the corridor, and she was shoved this way and that, but she didn't care. She needed to get to him. She needed an explanation.
She needed closure.
Feeling like she had been running forever, she stopped to take a breath. When she looked up, she finally saw him. He was leaning against the wall near the Great Hall, his eyes on her. They looked different.
As she approached him, she saw him smirk a little.
"Are you running from someone, Weasley?" he asked. "Perhaps Potter? God knows, if I were him, I'd go into hiding from you."
She narrowed her eyes, even though her heart was aching from his words. She didn't understand what had happened. She didn't know this boy in front of her anymore – maybe she never had, she reasoned.
Her Draco would never say anything so cruel to her. But he was gone, and whoever this was didn't recognize her anymore. She watched his smirk widen and she looked at the floor. She wouldn't let him tear her down.
"What happened to you?" Ginny asked weakly, as she lifted her head.
"There you go again," he answered, frowning. "You're acting as though I was nice to you. Tell me." He walked toward her, his fingers reaching for a strand of her hair. When he had it, he twisted it around his finger. "Why did you come to my room last night?"
"Stop it," she said, yanking her hair away from him. She stepped back. "We were together for months, up until last night." Her eyes welled up, and she bit her lip. "Don't you remember?"
His lips curved, and he gripped her chin. His words were careful, painful, slicing through her. They left her broken.
"You mean nothing to me. You never have and you never will."
Then he was gone, and she was alone.
He felt like shit. His brain tried to form words, but whatever he'd come up with had not reached his mouth. So he was rooted to the spot, unable to speak, with her looking at him the same way she had that day. He expected her to walk away. Wondered how long she could have held that anger inside. He knew, better than most, that pissing off Ginny Weasley was something you didn't come back from. And yet...
"Oh God," he whispered. He tried to hug her, but she pushed him away. "I'm sorry. You have to believe that I didn't mean what I said."
"But you did," she said, her voice tight. "You may feel like you didn't mean what you said back then, but you did. We were never supposed to be together, Draco. It wasn't right. It still isn't, and I can't do this."
"Stop," he said, tugging her toward him. This time she let him. He tucked her body into his and stroked her hair. "That wasn't me, and you knew it. I was a fucking bastard, okay? An idiot. And I'm sorry. But I can't do this without you." He pulled away and looked at her. "Help me."
She rested her head against his chest. "I don't know how," she muttered. She was quiet for a while, then: "What if Pansy's right?"
"Impossible," he answered. "Please don't indulge her delusion. You know he would never do anything so stupid. If he had, I would have broken all of his bones, best friend or not."
"You wouldn't have known he was the one," said Ginny. "If he covered his tracks well enough."
Draco scratched his chin. "But I don't think he's the one. He feels bad for a lot, and this would definitely be one of those things if he had done it. So he would come clean about it."
Ginny shook her head. "All of this is so complicated. I don't get why anyone would go to such lengths to tear us apart. It's been years."
"Well, apparently someone's still holding a grudge."
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