It was hours later that Draco realized maybe Ginny wasn't the best person for him to be around right now. Maybe she was clouding his judgment about things, and making it harder for him to do what he needed to.

When there was a knock on the door, he looked up from his book, and stood. Opening it, he found Pansy on the other side. She looked worried, he noticed, so he stepped aside and let her in.

"What happened?"

Pansy started to pace, and Draco watched her curiously.

"I have to tell you something, but don't know if I should. It's not my place, after all."

Draco's mouth twitched slightly. "Well, if you think you shouldn't, then don't. Unless, of course, it's harmful."

"It's not my secret," she said.

"It's a joint secret," he answered. "If you know something that someone else does. But if it isn't your secret to tell, then I would advise against it."

"Potentially," Pansy muttered.

"What?" he asked.

"I said that it could be potentially harmful."

Draco's eyes narrowed. But before he could ask what she meant, there was another knock at the door. He wondered if maybe it was Ginny, and if it was, he'd have no choice but to tell her he needed to stop seeing her.

He answered it, finding Blaise leaning casually against the door frame, a smirk on his lips. He walked in and looked at Pansy. "Have you spoken with her?"

She nodded. "I told her you wanted to talk, but she I haven't seen her since then. You know where she lives, why don't you go there? We're in the middle of something."

Blaise's smirk faded. "She needs to know how I feel."

"Tell me." Draco's voice was hard. "How exactly do you feel?"

Zabini stiffened and turned around. "It's not what you think."

Draco stared at him. "I'm sure it's not. Of course it's not. Because if it were the way I thought, then that would mean you have feelings for her. So, am I close?"

"She's not your—"

"She still means something to me, you bastard. And, as it happens, she doesn't feel the same as you do. That's what she was going to tell you when she talked to you yesterday."

"I want to hear it from her, not you. Because there's a good chance you could be lying just to keep her for yourself, like before."

Draco's eyes widened. "What did you say? What do you mean 'like before'? Blaise, what did you do?"

"I didn't do anything," he snapped. "I just knew about the two of you and tried to talk her out of it."

"Talk her out of what?" Draco asked. He raised his hands to rub his temples. He was beginning to get a headache, and he knew the cause. He just needed to get rid of it. He closed his eyes and sighed. "What happened? Please just tell me."

Blaise shook his head, then he started to talk.

He found her standing out outside the Slytherin common room, talking to herself. He hadn't seen much of her this year, not that he had been looking. But when he had spotted her, her nose was often in a book. She was like Granger in that way.

"No book this time, I see," he said as he stepped beside her. "If you're waiting for him, he's not in there. You might want to go back to your tower, Red."

She pushed her hair behind her head, shaking her head. "I'm not waiting for anyone."

"Of course you're not," he stated, rolling his eyes. "Then what are you, a Gryffindor, doing hovering outside our common room?" He leaned in close, close enough so that he could smell whatever soap she had used in the shower. "I know about you and Draco, Weasley."

Ginny swallowed. "I don't know what you're talking about, Zabini. There's nothing going on between me and Malfoy."

"He doesn't need you, not like you think. He's using you, it's what he does." A smirk settled into place. "You'll do well to remember who you are, and who you aren't. He doesn't want you, can't you see? You're ruining his reputation. So why not just end it before he humiliates you by bringing your relationship to light."

"It would hurt him to," Ginny said before she could stop herself.

"I doubt it," Blaise said. "But I'm warning you. End it or you're going to be sorry."

"So you threatened her," Draco concluded after the story was over. He was standing by the window, his hand on the sill, eyes narrowed. "Are you the reason I lost my memories of her and I together?"

"Someone erased your memories?" Blaise cursed softly. "Well, it wasn't me. Ginny wanted to, but she just couldn't, and when–"

Draco turned his head, his body trembling. "She wanted to erase them?"

Blaise merely stared at the floor. But when his body slammed into the wall near the door, he finally looked up. Draco was furious, his fingers wrapped around his friend's collar. They should have been around his throat, the bastard. He tried to get Draco to release him, all the while Pansy was yelling in the background, beneath the hard breathing and growling.

"Let me go," Blaise snarled.

"Not a fucking chance," Draco hissed, his grip tightening. "She did what I thought, didn't she? Erased my memories. Goddammit." When he released Blaise, it was only to shove him harder into the wall. Then he sank onto the carpet. "I trusted her," he said softly. "I believed her, and she lied to my face."

"Maybe that's not what happened," Pansy said gently, sitting beside him.

He looked at her. "That's what you wanted to tell me, wasn't it? That she was the one who did this to me?" He stood, reaching for the door. "I'm going to make her tell me."

"That's not–"

"Stop trying to protect her," he said, glaring at Pansy.

He slammed the door behind him.

Ginny had been sitting on the steps outside the building, debating whether or not to go in, when the door opened and Draco stepped out. He stopped when he saw her, and she expected him to look happy. But instead he looked stunned. Then his expression morphed into something that resembled anger.

"I was just going to come inside," she said, standing.

"That won't be necessary. I need you to be honest with me when I ask you this. Did you have anything to do with my memories getting erased?"

"No," she said calmly.

"You know, I really hate being lied to." He chuckled lightly. "But everyone seems to love doing it. If you don't tell me the truth right now, we're done."

"I don't know what you're–"

That was when he grabbed her and shoved her down the steps. She staggered but regained her balance, with his fingers digging into her shoulders. Tears filled her eyes, and she hadn't even realized she'd hit him until he touched his face, rubbing the red spot on his cheek.
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