fandom, Draco, Harry Potter, fanfic, Ginny

If anyone is reading this... current events, backups, and more!

Hey all, here's a repost from the FIA FB page, just in case anybody reads things here but not there. The TL;DR version is: we're backing everything up on Dreamwidth, because who knows how much longer LJ will be around. If you have fics on here that you never posted to FIA, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO IT. More soon...

Hey all, Here's a link that Jourdan posted. I'm reposting it to make sure everybody sees it. Basically, the news is that all of the LJ servers are moving to Russia (from CA), and nobody really knows what this means... but possibly nothing good for the future of LJ. The reason this matters is that a LOT of fanfics from a lot of fandoms are hosted on LJ for various reasons, including everything from all of the FIA fic exchanges. So I'll be backing up all of it, and I REALLY really encourage everybody who hasn't posted their exchange fics on FIA to do it. I'll probably email some people individually.

The thing about LJ that always annoys me is that I think they could have kept up with the changing nature of the net and social media over time-- they just didn't bother to do it. They still have a niche that isn't really filled by anything else (you can't keep fics in an archive on FB, obviously. WP blogs do have content management but the setup is just not the same for challenges and exchanges, it's a big pain to try to make it work that way, etc.) Dreamwidth is the closest thing, but that has its own issues. That having been said, FIA does have a Dreamwidth page that I started about 2 years ago, and I'll be backing everything up to it.

Opinions? Thoughts? Questions? Anything? Now's the time to share them...
http://rahirah.livejournal.com/695706.html

fandom, Draco, Harry Potter, fanfic, Ginny

Red Sky at Morning, for Rinney: Part One

Red Sky at Morning


Rating: Extremely Naughty
Possible Spoilers/Warnings: Takes place in an AU where Harry failed to defeat Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwarts at the end of Deathly Hallows (more or less canon-compliant up to that point).
Summary: Two years after the Battle of Hogwarts tore the wizarding world apart, Voldemort's Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix remain at a stalemate, with no victory in sight for either side. Draco Malfoy finds his world thrown suddenly into disarray when he once again crosses paths with a girl he never wanted to see again--the girl he has tried in vain to forget.
Author's Notes: Alright, this story sort of ran away with itself but I hope it still fits the prompt reasonably well--even if it's not quite as creative the original prompt asked for. >_< Also, it ended up being a lot longer than I had planned. (Turns out I'm incapable of writing short fics, and I'm also incapable of writing D/G without a lot of backstory...)

Collapse )
fandom, Draco, Harry Potter, fanfic, Ginny

A Change of Policy, for Natasha_ohl7

For Natasha_ohl7
A Change of Policy
Rating: T
Possible Spoilers/Warnings: NA
Author's Note: Much love to all participants.
Summary: Draco and Ginny are brought in to work together on a change in the ministry, only to realize they, too, have changed.

Collapse )
fandom, Draco, Harry Potter, fanfic, Ginny

Double-Pointed Needles, for breereeves

For breereeves

CHAPTER TWO
Title:Double-Pointed Needles
Rating: R
Possible Spoilers/Warnings: None.
Author's Notes: Lemme start by thanking my beta (anonymously for now) for her absolutely invaluable help! Without her suggestions, you would be reading an inferior version of this story. I just can't express how awesome she was for brainstorming and tightening up plot details. Next, lemme thank my prompter for the great prompt. I think I wrote a different story than I've ever written before. It's definitely more suggestive than I'm used to writing, and I don't think I've ever tackled Draco and Ginny as a married couple before, either. I also want to apologize for skewing your prompt a little bit for the sake of the story.... I hope you enjoy it anyway! D:
Summary: While Narcissa stays with Draco and Ginny at Malfoy Manor for two agonizingly long weeks, corsets are worn, gardens are tended to in the dark of night, and socks are brutally mutilated as they are born. Draco's simple ruse turns into a not-so-simple case of insecurity for Ginny. What the hell is a real Malfoy anyway?

Chapter Three: Knitting in the Round
Collapse )
fandom, Draco, Harry Potter, fanfic, Ginny

Rescue Me, for Dyk3adellic Part One

For dyk3adellic

PART ONE
Title: Rescue Me
Rating: PG13
Possible Spoilers/Warnings: It does follow canon through Book 7 (minus epilogue), and there are a few allusions to events in the books. Also, one or two swear words.
Author’s Notes: Thanks so much for the lovely prompt, recipient! I tried to stay as true to the prompt as I could, and I really enjoyed writing this fic. I hope there’s enough angst in the beginning – usually that’s not a problem for me, but this fic insisted on being funny!
Summary: Ginny Weasley has a habit of getting into trouble, and for reasons she doesn’t know, Draco Malfoy has a habit of getting her out of trouble. When Ginny finds herself desperate to spend the holidays away from her family, it seems she might just have a chance to discover those reasons for herself.



PART ONE: COMFORT & JOY



Ginny never thought she would wish to spend Christmas alone, but that was all she wanted this year. Unfortunately, she had no place to be alone in.

“You don’t actually want to be alone on Christmas, do you?” Parkinson asked, as she paused to examine her reflection in a shop window. “No one wants to be alone on Christmas. Not even me. I mean, yes, my mum and all my aunts will drive me crazy, blathering on about why I’m still single and what I mean to do with my life, but still—it’s better than being alone in my flat.”

“I can’t even be alone in my flat,” Ginny said glumly. “Since I have to be out of it by Tuesday.” Ginny sighed, looking out down Diagon Alley. The street was buzzing with people going about their Christmas shopping, just as she and Pansy were.

“But what about Looney Lovegood?” Pansy said, stepping back from the window, apparently satisfied that her dark red lipstick was perfect. “Aren’t you staying with her when you move out on Tuesday?”

“Her name is Luna, not Looney.” Ginny paused outside Quality Quidditch Supplies, eyeing the new Nimbus 2010. It was the latest broom model; it had just come out last month, and was said to rival the Firebolt for speed and precision. The well-polished handle gleamed like gold through the shop window, and Ginny gazed at it longingly. She intended to go out for the Harpies in the spring, and a new broom would help her feel a lot better about her chances—especially a quality broom like the Nimbus 2010. She was still riding her Cleansweep Seven, another hand-me-down from one of her brothers.

Ginny blinked when Pansy waved a hand in front of her face, snapping two long, black-lacquered fingers. “Earth to Weasley? So why can’t you just stay with Lovegood on Christmas Eve?”

“I’m just staying with her for those few days, after I move out.” With one last, wistful glance for the Nimbus, Ginny shoved her hands into the pockets of her gray pea coat and moved on, trailing down the street. She kicked at a small patch of sludgy snow on the curb. “She’s leaving to go on holiday Christmas Eve, and she’s subletting her place for the week. I can’t stay there.”

“Look, I can’t believe I’m saying this,” Pany said, turning off the main street, “but your family can’t be that bad. I mean, Christmas with my parents is no picnic, either—”

“You know very well that my family is not the problem,” Ginny said crossly. “It’s—” She stuttered to a halt. “Where are we going?”

Parkinson glanced back at her with a raised eyebrow. She’d just turned left to start down Knockturn Alley. “I just need to make a quick stop.”

“Down here?” Ginny peered down the narrow alley dubiously. “What are you going to get?”

Parkinson sighed. “A Christmas present for my mum.”

“Really?”

“No, not really.” Pansy rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on, Weasley. Just a quick stop, and then we can have lunch somewhere. My treat.”

Only the promise of a paid-for lunch persuaded Ginny to follow Parkinson down Knockturn Alley. It wasn’t that she was afraid of the place—Ginny was more than sure that she could take care of herself. But the last thing she needed was for someone to see her and go telling tales to her family about where she’d been.

Ginny had never been down Knockturn Alley, and she was somewhat distastefully curious about the shops and strange people they passed. There was a place advertising poisonous candles, a window lined with shrunken heads and skulls, and one shop with large jars filled with giant spiders. They passed Borgin & Burkes, the shop Ginny had heard about from Harry.

Harry. Ginny scowled as they passed the dodgy shop. She had gone nearly the whole past half hour without thinking about him. And without dwelling on the guilt and disappointment that accompanied every thought of him.

Parkinson glanced over her shoulder at her, noted her dark expression, and seemed to read her mind. “Why don’t you just tell your mum you don’t want him there?” she said, sounding half-exasperated, half-sympathetic. Which was downright unnerving; sympathy from Pansy Parkinson was like timidity from a hippogriff—unnatural. “Surely she would understand.”

“Surely she would not,” Ginny said vehemently. Harry had spent practically every Christmas with them since he was fifteen, and he didn’t really have anywhere else to go, either. Truthfully, Ginny would not have wanted to force him out of the Burrow on Christmas, no matter how badly things had ended between them. She was not that cruel. Still, it would have been nice to get some understanding from her family, instead of feeling like they all thought the break-up was her fault.

Which it sort of was.

“Harry is like a son to my mother,” Ginny said darkly. She shot a glare at a seedy-looking wizard who was leering at them as they passed, and he turned away. “And on top of that, I’m pretty sure she’s…disappointed in me. For not making things work with him.”

“Well, that’s rubbish,” Parkinson said. “I suppose it will be pretty awful for you.” She stopped suddenly, turning to face Ginny. “But you can’t really want to be alone on Christmas, Weasley.” She sighed, tossing her head, her perfectly combed, dark bob of hair bouncing. “I mean, I know some people who have to spend Christmas alone, and who would give anything not to.” She paused. “And some people who don’t have to spend it alone, but behaved like great prats and are now regretting their childish behavior because they are going to be alone.”

“What?” Ginny blinked, confused.

“Never mind.” Parkinson jerked her head to the right. “Are you coming in?”

Ginny glanced aside, puzzled. They had stopped beside what Ginny thought was a bare wall, but she realized now that there was a tiny shop crammed in between two larger shops here. She peered through the grimy window into the shop inside. All she could see were various vials and jars lining a few shelves, unlabeled and filled with murky substances. “I’ll wait out here, thanks.”

Parkinson looked a bit dubious at this response. “Are you sure? Look, I know you’re a nutty brave hero and all, but a young woman standing out by herself on Knockturn Alley isn’t really—”

“Parkinson!” Ginny cut in, exasperated. “I’ll be fine. You said you would be quick, didn’t you? Anyway, that place looks quite cramped. The two of us would barely fit in there, with the shopkeeper and all your bags. And you forget,” she added, “I’m a Weasley.”

“I could hardly forget that,” Pansy said dryly. “That pea coat has certainly seen better days, and your awful hair is like a tomato—”

“Exactly my point,” Ginny said through gritted teeth. “The hair makes me rather unmistakable. And seeing as this shop is obviously selling illegal potions and substances, the shop owner wouldn’t be too keen to have me in there, don’t you think? I do have a father and two brothers in the Ministry, and my father is directly involved in rooting out dark artifacts—”

“Ah, right,” Parkinson conceded. “Well, I’ll be just a minute. I’m sure you’ll be all right.” And without any more concern, Parkinson disappeared into the shop.

Ginny blew out another long sigh, watching her breath mist the air in front of her face. She yanked her snug beanie down over her ears and leaned back against the shop wall, crossing her arms over her chest. Her stomach rumbled and she scowled, hoping Parkinson would hurry up.

“Aren’t you a pretty one? Fancy a pretty gem, pretty lady?”

Ginny looked around sharply. The seedy man she’d glared at earlier had come up beside her. He was dressed in a dark, oversized coat in far worse a state than Ginny’s coat was, and his lined face was unshaven. In his gloved hands he held an array of necklaces sitting in a shoddy piece of cloth.

“What do you say?” the man prodded her. He smiled an eerie smile, and Ginny saw several of his teeth were missing. “A little Christmas present for yourself? Special price,” he added. He took a step towards Ginny, practically trapping her against the wall. “Maybe this one?” he said, picking out a necklace seemingly at random. He held it up close to Ginny’s face. The large red gem hanging from the end of the gold pendant swung inches from her nose.

Ginny was abruptly and chillingly reminded of the cursed necklace Katie Bell had mistakenly received fifth year, the one that had put her in a coma for six months—with a single touch. A necklace that had been purchased here, in Knockturn Alley. This man was probably just trying to make some money by selling these knock-offs, but now that a more sinister possibility had occurred to her, Ginny couldn’t shake it. She mustered her fiercest scowl and stood her ground. “No,” she said firmly. “Now back off, or I’ll hex you into next year.”

The man dropped his dodgy smile. But he did not back away, nor did he drop the necklace, still swinging inches from Ginny’s face. “Sure you don’t want one?” he asked, and this time, there was a dangerous note underlying his words.

Ginny refused to be intimidated. “I said, back off.” She turned her head away from the necklace and gave the man a hard shove at the same time. He stumbled back off the curb, a few of the necklaces falling from his hands to the ground.

“Oi!” he cried indignantly. Ginny didn’t wait to hear anymore. She turned and took two steps down the street, heading for the door to the tiny little potions shop Pansy had gone into.

“Hey!” Suddenly, the man grabbed her from behind, his fingers closing around her upper arm in a rough grip. “Where do you think you’re going? Weasley?

Any surprise Ginny might have felt when the man said her name was lost in her instinctive response. She didn’t even bother going for her wand, tucked away inside her coat. Instead, she wrenched free of the man’s grip and brought her arm up sharply. Her elbow smashed into the man’s jaw with a satisfying thud.

Then three things happened simultaneously. The man let out a pained yelp and swore viciously. Ginny turned to see the damage she’d done. And someone nearby said, “There you are, Bessie!”

Ginny blinked and glanced around, confused. She stared dumbly as Draco Malfoy, of all people, hurriedly crossed the street towards her. To her surprise—and dismay—he joined her, taking her arm in his and beaming down at her with a smiling expression that she found downright disturbing on Malfoy’s face.

“I was looking everywhere for you,” he said with false pleasantry.

Bessie?” Ginny hissed under her breath.

“Oi!” The leering man spit into his hand. Ginny turned back to him, startled; she’d practically forgotten he was there. A dab of blood stained his mouth where Ginny had broken the skin of his lip. “You hit me, you bloody bint! You’ll pay for that one, I—” As the man reached into his coat, likely for his wand, he looked up. When he saw Malfoy, his face went pale and his eyes as round as hen’s eggs.

Malfoy said coolly, “What did you call my friend Bessie?”

Ginny ground her teeth at the name and moved her foot around inconspicuously. Then she deliberately stepped on Malfoy’s foot. She felt him wince, but his expression remained the same as he stared down the man.

“Malfoy,” the man spluttered. Malfoy’s eyes narrowed dangerously and the man hastily amended, “I mean, Mr. Malfoy—I didn’t—she—your friend?” His gaze swung from Malfoy to Ginny, and his uncertain expression hardened into a glare. “But—she’s a Weasley!”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Malfoy snapped. “Not every person with red hair is a Weasley!”

“No—well—of course not—but I thought—”

“Let me put it this way,” Malfoy said. His voice was dangerously low. “Would I be in the company of a Weasley?”

“Well, no—of course not—” Now the man just looked confused. He looked between the two of them again, and his indignant expression returned. “But—she hit me! And I just asked if she’d like a necklace—”

“Well, if it’s just a necklace,” Malfoy said smoothly, reaching down for one of the necklaces that had fallen to the ground, “then maybe I’ll buy one for her.”

“No!” The man scrambled to snatch all the necklaces off the ground before Malfoy could touched them. “It’s just—you wouldn’t be wanting any of these,” he spluttered. “Not you, Mr. Malfoy. These are cheap pieces, not worth much—” He straightened, but not all the way, keeping to a crouched position, a sort of half-bow. “Need to be going now—Mr. Malfoy—”

He turned and fled.

As soon as he was out of earshot, Ginny said, “Bessie?” She stomped towards Malfoy. “What am I, a cow?”

“You said it,” Malfoy said, smirking, “not me.”

“What do you think you’re doing, Malfoy?” Ginny snapped. She folded her arms across her chest.

“Saving you, apparently,” he shot back. He muttered something under his breath, too softly for Ginny to hear, but she thought it sounded like, Again.

“Saving me?” Ginny scoffed. “Don’t you think you’re exaggerating a little? I had it handled, Malfoy.”

“Oh, really?” Malfoy rolled his eyes. “Of course you did. Never mind that man was about to hex you—”

“I would’ve hexed him first!”

“—but those necklaces he was trying to sell to you were probably cursed,” he finished. “That man’s known for selling cursed objects, and seeing as he knew you were a Weasley, it was probably his intention all along.”

“What nice friends you have, Malfoy,” Ginny said sarcastically.

Malfoy scowled. “We’re not friends. I just know who he is, is all.” His gray eyes narrowed as he looked down at her. Ginny hated that he could look down at her at all. She wasn’t terribly short, and could look most men in the eye. She could look Harry in the eye. But Malfoy was tall, nearly a good head taller than her.

“What are you doing here, anyway?” he snapped. “Down Knockturn Alley? Lost, are you?”

“No.” Ginny returned his glare with one of her own. “What are you doing here?”

“Christmas shopping,” Malfoy said dismissively. “I mean it, Weasley. What are you doing here?”

“You know, I didn’t ask you to save me!” Ginny flared, ignoring his question. Ever since Malfoy had crossed the street towards her, her ire had begun to rise. The very sight of him brought on a confused rush of feelings—frustration, gratitude, anger, and—worse of all—a terrible doubt. The doubt that she didn’t know this person at all, this person she had loathed for five years, from the day she met him in Flourish and Blott’s until—

Until. Until sixth year. When he’d made the very strange habit of saving her.

Malfoy looked stunned, and… maybe even a little hurt? But only for a moment, and then a trademark sneer came over his face. “And I never wanted to save you,” he snapped, “but you don’t know how to stay out of trouble, do you, Weasley?”

“You—” Ginny began angrily, but she never got to finish that particular remark. For just then, Parkinson finally emerged from the little potions shop, and when she saw Ginny and Malfoy, a huge, devious smile crept over her face.

“Well!” she exclaimed, coming up behind Draco. He looked around in surprise, but before he, or Ginny, could say anything, Parkinson slung an arm around Draco’s waist and the other around Ginny’s shoulders, bringing them both in on either side of her. Malfoy looked as indignant and dismayed as Ginny felt.

“If it isn’t my two favorite people, here together!” Pansy’s impish grin widened. Her grip around Ginny tightened as she brought the two of them in even closer. For a moment, Ginny’s nose was nearly squashed right into Malfoy’s chest. But then Malfoy wriggled away, stumbling a little as he broke free from Pansy.

“Weasley is one of your two favorite people?” he muttered incredulously. “I thought you were just gym pals, or something stupid like that.”

“Running pals,” Ginny and Pansy corrected him simultaneously. It was true. That was how Ginny had become friends—of a sort—with Parkinson to begin with. When she’d moved into a flat only a street down from Parkinson, the two had discovered, one early Saturday morning, that they shared the same route, a nice path through the nearby park. Parkinson had insisted that Ginny find someplace else to run, and Ginny had balked at that. Before the two of them knew it, they were racing—and by the end of the race, laughing themselves silly about it, as Parkinson had pulled a muscle and Ginny was ready to hurl. Now they ran together most mornings, and sometimes had breakfast together afterwards. It was only in the past month that Pansy had begun to invite Ginny to do other things, like today’s shopping, with her.

“Whatever,” Malfoy said with a scowl. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his black coat. For some reason, he’d lost his aggressive air as soon as Pansy joined them. That in itself wasn’t strange, Ginny thought, seeing as he and Pansy were friends. But he seemed almost uncomfortable now, being here with the both of them.

“Did you get what you needed?” Ginny asked dryly. “And what was it, anyway?”

“Oh,” Pansy said happily. She patted the pocket of her cape coat, which was bulging a little now. “Just a little pick-me up.”

“Pick-me up?” Draco asked suspiciously. His eyes alighted on her pocket, and then he glanced at the potions shop over his shoulder. “Oh,” he said with understanding. “Pixie dust?”

“Pixie dust?” Ginny echoed in confusion.

Malfoy looked at her, his gray eyes amused. “It’s not actually pixie dust, Weasley,” he said in an overly conspiratorial whisper.

“I’m not stupid, Malfoy,” she shot back.

“Could’ve fooled me,” he coughed.

“Look at you two,” Parkinson said. She was practically beaming, and the warm smile looked as out of place on her face as it had on Malfoy’s, when he’d pretended to be friends with Ginny just a moment ago. “Getting along. Which is perfect, because I’ve just had an idea.”

“What idea?” Ginny asked warily.

Parkinson’s dark eyes widened innocently. “Well,” she said, “you, Ginny, were looking for some place away to spend Christmas. Away from your family, I mean. And it just so happens that Draco here is going to be all alone at his place for Christmas.” She turned a flat gaze on Malfoy. “Because he’s a git.”

“I am not—” Malfoy began hotly, but then he stopped, looking confused. “Wait. You’re not actually suggesting—”

“You think I should spend Christmas with Malfoy?” Ginny demanded in disbelief. “Are you mental?”

“My thoughts exactly,” Malfoy said in a strangled voice.

“Oh, come on!” Parkinson actually stomped her foot, the pointed heel of her stiletto boot clacking against the street. “Draco, you were only just whinging to me the other day about how you were going to be all alone on Christmas—even though it’s all your own fault—”

“I wasn’t whinging,” Malfoy protested. His pale cheeks had gone pink. Ginny had to admit that she rather enjoyed seeing him so flustered.

“—and you, Weasley, have been moping all day about your break-up with Potter, and how you were going to have to spend Christmas with him at your hovel—”

“The Burrow is not a hovel,” Ginny snapped. She crossed her arms across her chest, scowling. “And I haven’t been moping about Harry!”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Pansy rolled her eyes. “I suppose you haven’t been, since you broke up with him. But you have been moping about having to spend Christmas with him.”

Draco had gone very still. Only his eyes moved, switching between Pansy and Ginny, his gaze like that of a hawk. “You broke up with Potter?” he said slowly.

Ginny shrugged uncomfortably. “Yes. So?” She found the intensity of his stare rather unsettling. “Did you want to gloat? Oh, go ahead then, you prat. Get it out of the way.”

Malfoy sneered and opened his mouth, probably to do just that, but before he could get a word out, Pansy interrupted. “Oh, enough of that, you two. If you can’t be civil to each other, then there’s no point in you spending Christmas together.”

“There’s no point in us spending Christmas together,” Malfoy said in exasperation, “because we don’t want to! All right, Pansy? Leave it alone already!”

“So you’d rather spend Christmas alone,” Pansy said crossly, “than with Ginny?”

“I’ve said so, haven’t I?” Malfoy glared at her, and then at Ginny, as though for good measure. “Look, I don’t care about spending Christmas alone. I’m perfectly fine being alone! And now I’m running late, thanks to you,” he shot accusingly at Ginny, “so good riddance to the both of you.”

He Apparated on the spot, vanishing with a pop!

“Well!” Pansy huffed. “That was even ruder than usual for Draco. What did you say to him?”

“Me!” Ginny protested. “Nothing! I was just here minding my own business when he turned up, calling me Bessie, of all things—”

“What?” Pansy looked confused, and rightly so, Ginny supposed, since she was leaving out huge holes from her story.

“Nothing,” Ginny muttered. She sighed, rubbing her temples, wishing she could just forget that she’d ever run into Malfoy to begin with. That niggling sense of doubt wouldn’t go away now. She felt a little unsteady. When Pansy had hugged the two of them and brought Ginny’s face within an inch of Malfoy, she’d caught the brief, heavenly scent of him, of his coat and his cologne and of—well—him. That scent immediately transported her back in time, nearly two years ago, during her sixth year at Hogwarts—the hellish year, as she liked to call it. The year Voldemort had been in charge.

Ginny breathed in deeply now and shut her eyes, remembering. Remembering the last time she’d been so close to Malfoy that she’d breathed in that scent. She remembered hiding behind a tapestry, enclosed in the dark, the cold stone wall at her back and Malfoy pressed against her front, one hand over her mouth and the other clutching her shoulder. He’d been so close, then, that when she’d closed her eyes and prayed they would not be found, her lashes had brushed against his shirt—

“Weasley?”

Ginny’s eyes flew open. “What?” she said, startled.

“Are you all right?” Pansy frowned at her. “You looked—I don’t know. Are you feeling all right?”

“Fine.” Ginny heaved a long breath. “Look, can we go? Only I seem to remember you promising me a lunch.”

Pansy rolled her eyes. “You are such a peasant, Weasley,” she said, turning and flouncing down the block, her shopping bags bouncing in her hands. Ginny followed after her, distracted. Thinking about Malfoy.


* * *



Ginny barely managed two quick knocks on the door, her arms were so laden with Christmas presents. She shifted uncomfortably in the cold, wishing someone would come let her in quickly. As the package on top of the pile in her arms began to slip off, Ginny swore, trying to reach around for it. Just then, of course, the door swung open.

“Now, now,” a familiar voice said. “Language, Ginny.”

“Just help me, you prat,” Ginny snapped. She couldn’t actually see George around the mountain of presents, but she recognized his voice.

“Sure thing.” Vaguely, she saw him reach down to pick up the fallen present, and then he took three more from her arms, before stepping back into the house. Ginny followed him with a sigh of relief, quickly setting down the other two presents in her arms, leaving only the two large bags she carried in either hand.

It was Christmas Eve, and in spite of all her moping, as Parkinson had put it, Ginny was here, at the Burrow. She’d moved out of her flat three days ago, as she’d agreed, and left Luna’s early this morning, just as the subletter was turning up. She had nowhere else to go now.

Well. There was one place. But she was not going there. She didn’t think she was really invited, anyway.

As Ginny carefully dropped the two gift bags, everyone else came to greet her. She heard cries of “Ginny!” and one small cry of “Aunt Ginny!” from Victoire. Ginny looked up and found most of the family—and a few others—crowding into the foyer. Bill and Fleur, with Victoire in her arms, Hermione, Percy and his girlfriend Audrey, her mum, Angelina Johnson, whom George was dating, Ron and—

Ginny’s stomach sank. And there he was. Harry. At the very back of the crowd, only just coming in to join everyone else. He appeared to be in discussion with Ginny’s father about something, and hadn’t seen her yet, though he had to know she was there, as everyone else had shouted her name.

Ginny suddenly felt sick. Her palms felt sweaty, even though her fingers were numb with cold, and she felt dazed, almost dizzy. Then Harry looked up finally, and his eyes met hers.

The hurt in his gaze was too much.

“Erm—” Ginny looked away, breaking eye contact with Harry. She surveyed the crowd of people before her, all of whom eyed her expectantly, with broad smiles on their faces. “Actually, I—have to go.”

“What?” Ron said, looking dumbfounded.

“But you just got ’ere!” Fleur protested.

Hermione looked at her knowingly.

“I know, I’m sorry,” Ginny said hastily. She cast her mind around for an excuse. “I, er, wanted to bring everyone’s presents by—”

“But, Ginny, you can’t go! It’s Christmas Eve!” her mother exclaimed. Her face was creased with disappointment, and Ginny ignored the twinge of guilt that cropped up inside her. “We’re all going to have dinner, and listen to Celestina Warbeck’s radio program—”

“Maybe I’ll skip out too,” George muttered under his breath.

“I know, Mum, I’m sorry,” Ginny said in a rush. “But, erm, I’ve—I’ve been invited to spend Christmas somewhere else. And I would’ve turned him down—”

“Him?” Ron said sharply. “Him? Him who?”

“A friend,” Ginny said, glaring at Ron. “And I would have turned him down, but if I don’t go, he’ll be spending Christmas alone.”

“Well,” Molly Weasley said. She frowned, looking at Ginny with concern, but then she seemed to force a smile. “Well, in that case, of course you should go, Ginny dear. Though we’ll all miss having you here. But you will be here for lunch tomorrow, won’t you?”

“Erm—I hope so,” Ginny said vaguely. “I’ll—I’ll try.” Before anyone else could protest, she said, “Well, I should be off, then. I’m running late.”

She turned and twisted the door knob. As she stepped out into the cold and the darkness, she heard Ron call after her, “Hang on! Him who?

Ginny ignored him, shutting the door behind her. Then she turned on the spot, Apparating away.

She hadn’t actually meant to go to Malfoy’s. Still, she had nowhere else to go, and she wanted to Apparate and leave before anyone could stop her.

And with Malfoy Manor on her mind, that was where she’d ended up.

She stood outside the black iron-wrought gates, uncertain and a little annoyed with herself for coming here. She really didn’t want to spend Christmas with Malfoy; it was little better than spending Christmas with Harry. But she had nowhere else to go, except back to the Burrow—and…

And. Ginny bit her lip. And she hadn’t yet been able to get rid of that niggling doubt. It had taken her months to get rid of it at the end of sixth year, and now, after seeing Malfoy again, after he’d saved her again, it proved just as persistent. As though she needed to understand why he had helped her. Why he helped her, every single time.

She blew out a long breath. This was ridiculous. Who cared why Malfoy had helped her? It didn’t negate every other terrible thing he’d ever done, and he was still an evil git who despised her and her family. That she was even entertaining the idea of spending Christmas with him was laughable. She turned to go, stuffing her hands into the pockets of her coat.

A sharp pain stabbed at her fingers. Ginny inhaled sharply and immediately drew her hands out of her pockets, holding them up to squint at them in the darkness.

Apparently, her lack of commitment to coming to Malfoy Manor had manifested itself in a mild case of Splinching. For on both of her hands, every single finger was missing its fingernail.

Ginny whimpered, staring at the raw, shriveled skin where nails should have been. Before she could stop herself, she opened her mouth and shrieked at the gate,

“Malfoy! Let me in!”
fandom, Draco, Harry Potter, fanfic, Ginny

Rescue Me, for Dyk3adellic: Part 2

For dyk3adellic
PART TWO
Title: Rescue Me
Rating: PG13
Possible Spoilers/Warnings: It does follow canon through Book 7 (minus epilogue), and there are a few allusions to events in the books. Also, one or two swear words.
Author’s Notes: Thanks so much for the lovely prompt, recipient! I tried to stay as true to the prompt as I could, and I really enjoyed writing this fic. I hope there’s enough angst in the beginning – usually that’s not a problem for me, but this fic insisted on being funny!
Summary: Ginny Weasley has a habit of getting into trouble, and for reasons she doesn’t know, Draco Malfoy has a habit of getting her out of trouble. When Ginny finds herself desperate to spend the holidays away from her family, it seems she might just have a chance to discover those reasons for herself.

* * *


When Draco got to the entrance hall to let in Ginny Weasley, he was all set up to tell her to go away. He had not invited her, whatever crazy notion Pansy had come up with, and he did not care if she was trying to avoid Potter. (Well. He didn’t really care about that, anyway, as he reminded himself again and again). He was not in the mood for any visitors. His dinner was burning in the kitchen, the drawing room was a mess, and he was fairly certain he was getting a cold.

But when he opened the door, before he could get a single word out, a distraught, wild-eyed Ginny Weasley held up both her hands before him and wailed, “I Splinched myself!”

Draco stared at her dumbly. His head felt as though it were stuffed full of wool. He had to blink several times before he processed this statement, and realized what he was looking at. She had Splinched herself, and now she was missing every single nail from every single finger. Draco looked at her flatly. “Really, Weasley?” He sniffled, stifling a sneeze.

Weasley glared at him. “Malfoy, will you please just let me in and help me?”

Draco leaned on the doorframe a little. “But I thought you didn’t want my help, Weasley,” he said snidely. “And I don’t know what you’re doing here, anyway. I didn’t invite you.”

“And I didn’t want to come here!” she snapped. “Why do you think I Splinched myself, you stupid prat! But—but I did come here, and now…” She gestured helplessly with her nail-less hands. “Malfoy, please just let me in! Just for a few minutes?”

He noted, then, that she seemed to be fighting tears, a faint, telltale glistening in her dark eyes the giveaway hint. Draco was suddenly torn between annoyance and the horrible urge to open his door wide for her. It wasn’t natural, this penchant he had for coming to her aide; he wasn’t some bloody stupid Gryffindor, going around saving people all the time.

But he could not help what he felt, when he saw her in trouble.

“Oh, fine,” Draco grumbled. “Come in, then.”

He’d barely opened the door an inch wider when she pushed past him, coming into the entrance hall. For a moment, he was overtaken by the scent of her hair, some kind of floral scent. Then he blinked and closed the door, before turning to face her. “There is a fairly simple charm to grow your nails, you know,” he said dryly.

“I know,” Weasley said, a defensive note to her voice. “But I—well, I panicked, and I—” She sighed with exasperation. “And I’m just not very good at that charm, all right? I always overdo it.”

Draco smirked. “You overdo a lot of things, I’ve noticed.” Before Weasley could come up with a response, he said, “We should apply some dittany first anyway, to stop the bleeding.” He’d half-turned to call for his butler when he remembered, with some irritation, that the butler wasn’t there. No one was. “Hang on,” he said, sighing. “I’ll be right back.”

He left too quickly for Ginny to say anything, but when he finally returned with the dittany and some bandages several minutes later, he found her frowning, looking around the entrance hall. “Malfoy,” she said, “don’t you have servants?” For a ridiculously poor person who most certainly did not have servants, Draco found her tone annoyingly condescending.

“Of course,” Draco said sharply. He jerked his head, indicating she should follow him into the drawing room. The lighting in the entrance hall was too dim to see properly. “But I sent them all home.” He could not suppress the resigned note in his voice. That had been one mistake of many, in the past couple of weeks.

“Erm—why?” Weasley asked, as Draco lit the lights in the drawing room with his wand.

“Because it’s Christmas, Weasley!” he snapped. “Why do you think?”

“Oh,” was all she said. She did not know, of course, that usually at least one or two of the servants would stay through Christmas. Someone had to make Christmas dinner, someone had to set up all the decorations and keep the house clean.

Unfortunately, this year, that someone was Draco. Which was more than evident by the state of the drawing room. Draco felt his cheeks growing warm as Weasley looked around the room, her eyes narrowed but curious. The usually immaculate room was quite a mess. A large evergreen tree took up a space by the fireplace, but it was still bare, even now, on Christmas Eve. Several boxes of ornaments were littered around the tree, half-open, and another couple of boxes with other decorations.

“Will you sit down already?” Draco snapped, trying to draw Weasley’s attention from the mess. He pointed demandingly at a chair at the drawing table. Once she was seated, he took the chair beside her and held his hand out impatiently for hers. She didn’t flinch or make a sound as he carefully dropped dittany onto each bleeding finger, even though it usually stung. Draco lost himself in the quiet of the next several minutes, bending his head over her hands as he wrapped small bandages around each finger.

“You should keep the bandages on for a few minutes at least,” he said, as he finished with the last one, “before we grow them back. I don’t—” He broke off as he glanced up, startled. Ginny’s head was bent close over her hands too, and when he lifted his head, he found his face mere inches from hers. A tiny intake of breath on her lips was the only sign that she was startled, too. Draco found his gaze lingering on those full, pink lips. He was suddenly aware of the warmth and softness of her small hand in his.

Then she drew back sharply, and Draco dropped her hand in the next instant. “Thank you,” Ginny said. She looked a bit pink in the warm glow of the lamp light, her freckles more apparent than ever. “Erm—I should go. I can manage the charm myself—”

“You already said you can’t,” Draco said crossly. “Just stay a few more minutes and—” He broke off, a horrible reminder dawning on him. “A few more minutes! Fuck!” He dashed out of the drawing room, ignoring Weasley’s confused call after him.

When he made it to the kitchen, it was too late. A steady stream of dark gray smoke issued forth from the oven, and when he yanked it open, more smoke billowed out, right into his face. Draco drew back, coughing and gasping. The smoke stung his eyes, and only made the steady ache growing in his temples worse.

“I think,” a voice said from the doorway, “that you’ve burnt your turkey.”

Draco spun around and glared at Ginny through the haze of smoke. “What a brilliant deduction, Weasley. I’m so glad you were here to tell me. Otherwise, I might never have figured out why my oven was smoking!” He meant to say more, but he started coughing again, and this time, he couldn’t stop.

“Oh, move over, Malfoy.” Weasley pushed him out of the way, and he was too wracked with spasms to stop her. She drew her wand out from her coat pocket and quickly Vanished most of the smoke. Then she took the oven mitts he’d left on the counter, pulled them on over her bandaged fingers, and carefully removed the turkey from the oven. Ginny shut the oven door, removed the mitts, and stepped back, surveying the turkey. Its outside skin was entirely black. Draco finally managed to get control of himself and stopped coughing, inhaling deeply. A moment of silence followed, as they both looked on at the ruined turkey.

“Well,” Ginny finally said, breaking the silence, “it was nice of you to send your staff home, but you probably should have kept your cook on.”

“No, really?” Draco snapped. His nose suddenly began to itch again, and this time, he could not suppress a sneeze. He was beginning to feel as though he could not breathe, and his head felt heavier than ever, like lead.

Ginny turned to face him, her eyes narrowed. “Are you sick?”

“No,” Draco shot back. He removed his handkerchief from his pocket to blow his nose. He was not sick. He refused to be sick on Christmas. Bad enough that his turkey was burnt, bad enough that he hadn’t gotten any decorations up yet, bad enough that his mother had left him, and now he was alone—

Draco felt a terrible twinge of loneliness, loneliness he had desperately been trying to suppress. He felt suddenly hollow, and tired, so very tired. He leaned back against the wall, shutting his eyes. He waited for Weasley to make another annoying comment, but she didn’t. When Draco opened his eyes a moment later, it was to find her standing only a foot from him, her arms crossed, her head cocked to one side as she looked at him. She looked a little confused, as though he were a puzzle she wanted to solve.

“Why did you come here, anyway?” Draco asked abruptly. “If you weren’t going to, then why did you?”

Ginny looked startled. She opened her mouth, but then shut it a moment later. Draco wasn’t sure if she didn’t know what to say, or if she did know but didn’t want to say it. Then she sighed. “I didn’t want to face Harry,” she said grumpily.

Draco raised an eyebrow. A familiar sense of jealousy and resentment warred with a surge of hope within him. A stupid hope. “Ah, right,” he said. He struggled to keep his voice even. “You dumped Potter.”

“I didn’t dump him,” Weasley snapped. “Look, if you’re going to make some snide comment about it, just get it over with, Malfoy. I’m really not in the mood. In fact, instead of discussing Harry, why don’t you tell me why it is you’re spending Christmas alone? Parkinson mentioned something about you being a git, as I recall.”

Something inside of Draco snapped. “Yes, I was a git, all right? My mum wanted to go on holiday over Christmas and I didn’t want to and I threw a big fit about it so she went without me! And I sent all the servants home because I didn’t want to be alone with them on Christmas, only now I actually am alone and my turkey is burnt and my Christmas tree is bare and I’m—I—ah—” He broke off and turned his head just as he sneezed again.

“And you’re sick,” Ginny supplied helpfully.

“I am not sick!” Draco protested, though his congested voice said otherwise. He pulled his handkerchief out again and blew his nose. “Not on Christmas!”

He closed his eyes again, and this time, when he leaned back against the wall, he slid down it, until he was sitting on the kitchen floor. He felt like a fool, but he was too tired to stand. Merlin, had he actually just blurted all that out? To Weasley, of all people? What was wrong with him? It was his damn head, pounding away. He couldn’t think straight. He moaned a little, rubbing his eyes.

“Malfoy.”

Malfoy blinked his eyes open, startled by the closeness of Ginny’s voice. She crouched down before him, looking him in the eye. So close. He was abruptly reminded of another time he’d looked her in the eye like this, another time when she’d seen him with his guard down. She had been in a similar state at the time, frightened and tearful and gasping, so it hadn’t been so bad then.

Draco looked her in the eye now, and it all came rushing back at him. All the feelings he’d been burying for the past year and a half, ever since the war had ended and Ginny had gone off to live her happily ever after with Potter. She didn’t know it, but she had been his refuge, once. A single bright spot in two years of darkness and terror. There was a time when his rare, brief moments with Ginny Weasley were the only moments when he did not feel so lost.

When he did not feel so alone.

He suddenly realized she had said something. “What?” he asked thickly.

“Why don’t you go upstairs and get into bed?” she repeated. “I can see myself out.”

“No!” Draco swallowed. Ginny looked surprised and puzzled by his response, and he evaded her gaze. “It’s Christmas Eve, and I am not just going up to bed, with my tree still bare and my dinner burnt—”

“Oh, for Merlin’s sake, Malfoy.” Ginny sighed in exasperation. “Look, I know you don’t want to be sick on Christmas—”

“I don’t want to miss Christmas.” He sounded petulant and childish; he knew he did. But this was the whole reason why he had stayed at the manor to begin with. To have Christmas, like they always used to, here at home.

Ginny rolled her eyes, but she paused, as though thinking it over. Then she said, “Well, why don’t you go change clothes at least. Your clothes are all smoky. I’ll see what I can salvage from the turkey, meanwhile. All right?”

Draco was not entirely sure why, but he did as she said. Perhaps he was just too tired and too ill to argue. He supposed he should change, anyway. As he trudged up the stairs, he ran a hand through his hair, and it came back dirty with smoke. He would take a shower too, he decided.

The hot water of his shower helped clear his mind a little. What on earth was he doing with Weasley, anyway? He hadn’t invited her. How stupid was she, getting herself Splinched and losing all her fingernails?

He would send her packing, Draco decided, as he toweled off. He found a Pepper-up Potion in his cabinet and took it quickly, before changing into clean trousers and a clean black sweater. He was feeling a little bit better as he headed to the drawing room—better, but also more tired. Well, no matter. He would tell Weasley to get out, and then he could go back to having his own Christmas. By himself. He pushed open the door to the drawing room. “Weasley,” he said, “you have to—”

He broke off, forgetting entirely what he was going to say. He blinked in the glow of sparkling lights and gaped at the room before him.

The tree was no longer bare. It was a real Christmas tree now, strung with colorful lights and ornaments in red, gold, silver, and green. There was even a star on top, big and gold and glittery. What was more, garland and holly had been hung along the mantelpiece beside the fire, and draped along the coffee table and the card table.

“I have to what, Malfoy?”

Draco looked around. He had been so taken aback by the decorated room that he had not even noticed Weasley. She was sitting in one of the armchairs by the fire, looking quite comfortable. Her coat hung over the back of the chair, her handbag on the floor beside her. Draco crossed the room and stopped in front of her.

“I was going to go,” she said, before he could say anything, “but you haven’t grown my nails back yet.”

“Oh.” Draco had nearly forgotten all about that. “Right.” She had already removed the bandages. He took his wand out and carefully grew back each nail. When he was done, Ginny held her hands up and looked at them critically.

“They’re a little long,” she noted, “but I can clip them down. Thanks, Malfoy.”

Draco said, “You don’t have to go.”

Ginny blinked, dropping her hands. “What?”

He didn’t know why he’d said it, but the words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself, and he couldn’t take them back. He wasn’t sure he wanted to. He looked at her, with the Christmas tree she’d decorated a backdrop behind her. He couldn’t name the feeling inside of him, but it was familiar. Choking up his throat, churning in his stomach. It was like seventh year all over again.

“You could stay.” He cleared his throat. “I mean, if you want to. You did come here, after all. To avoid Potter. And I’m not rubbing it in or gloating or—or anything,” he added hastily, when her eyes narrowed. “I’m just saying—you can stay. If you want.”

Ginny stared at him. He could not fathom the look in her brown eyes as she considered his words. All he knew was it felt like an eternity before she finally said, “All right.”

Fifteen minutes later, they were sitting in both armchairs by the fire in the drawing room, plates of turkey and parsnips on their laps. “The turkey is dry,” Draco complained.

“That’s what happens when you burn it,” Ginny said flatly. “Just be grateful I managed to scrape off the black bits.”

Draco stifled a rather ungrateful reply and stuffed another forkful of turkey into his mouth.

They ate in silence, which was all right since they were eating, but once they were both done, the silence became a little awkward. Weasley sat cross-legged in her armchair, looking like an urchin in her oversized red sweater. “So,” she said, breaking the interminable silence, “what else do you usually do on Christmas Eve?”

Draco set his plate aside. “Well,” he said slowly. He felt a little odd about sharing this with her, the Christmases he usually spent with his parents. But he was the one that told her to stay, so he forced himself not to shut her out now. “Usually we all open one present. Just one, and the rest we do Christmas morning.”

He felt stupid as soon as he said it. He didn’t have a present for Weasley, and she obviously didn’t have one for him, either. But Weasley looked thoughtful, mulling this idea over. Suddenly, she brightened, a mischievous gleam in her eyes. “Well, good then,” she said pleasantly. “Because I have a present for you.”

Draco eyed her suspiciously. “You do?” He watched through narrowed eyes as she lifted her handbag into her lap and rooted through it. A moment later, she did indeed pull out a small box, wrapped in red-and-gold paper. She held it out to Draco, who rose from his chair to take it warily.

“What is it?” he asked dubiously. That impish expression on Weasley’s face was making him nervous.

Ginny rolled her eyes. “You have to open it to find out, you twat,” she said. “Or do you do presents differently in your family?”

Draco frowned at the small gift box. He thought it odd that she had brought a gift for him, but then, she had come here to celebrate Christmas, hadn’t she? Maybe it wasn’t so odd that she’d brought him something. Still, that only made it worse that he did not have anything for her. Not that he should have gotten her something, given that she had shown up uninvited. Still. He didn’t want to open the present if she didn’t have something, too.

Clearing his throat, Draco reached under the Christmas tree and deliberately selected a small box from the pile of presents he already had there. The box was wrapped in gold paper, with a silver bow on top. He had to get down on his knees to find it. He’d had one of the servants wrap it a couple of weeks ago, though he’d forgotten to send it off. He turned, holding the box out to Ginny. “Here.”

Ginny climbed out of the armchair, coming to join him on the floor beside the Christmas tree. “This is for me?” Her eyes were confused now.

“Yes.” Draco evaded her gaze, and set to opening his own present.

Ginny turned the small gift box over in her hands. “Malfoy,” she said, her voice a mixture of surprise and indignation, “there’s a tag on this that says ‘To Mum, From Draco.’”

“So?” Draco said indifferently, looking up from his present.

“Malfoy.” Ginny looked at him with exasperation. “You can’t give me your mother’s present!”

“Why not?” Draco shrugged. “You’re here. She’s not.”

“But—”

Her reply was cut off as Draco finished unwrapping his present. Beneath the paper was a small black case, and inside the black case was a watch. Draco opened the case in surprise. It was a nice watch—not designer label, he could tell, but not an inexpensive watch, either. The band was silver links, and the delicate hands within shining brass. “You really got this for me?” Draco said, stunned.

Ginny coughed uncomfortably. “Oh, well—” She quickly dropped her gaze and began tearing the paper off her own present. For some reason, her cheeks had gone pink.

Draco looked from her to the watch in suspicion. He took the watch out of the case. When he flipped it over to unfasten it and try it on, he noticed a delicate engraving on the back. He held the watch up close to his eyes and peered at the words inscribed there. “Weasley,” he said flatly, “why does my watch say ‘For my dearest brother?’”

“Sweet Circe,” Ginny breathed. This seemed an odd answer to his question, so Draco glanced up. Ginny wasn’t paying attention to him at all. She had opened the gift Draco had given her, which was a delicate pair of silver earrings—solid silver, each with a tiny, inset emerald. “Malfoy,” Ginny said hoarsely, “you can’t give me these!”

“I already did,” Draco said irritably. “Weasley, why does my watch say, ‘For my dearest brother?’”

“What? Oh.” Weasley tore her gaze from the earrings and blushed again. “Well—I was going to give it to Ron—”

“To the Weasel King!”

“—I dropped off all my gifts for my family before I came here,” she said. She cleared her throat, dropping her gaze. “But I forgot that one was in my handbag. So.” A defensive expression came over her face. “Anyway, you gave me the present you meant to give to your mum!”

“They don’t have an engraving on them,” Draco pointed out snidely.

“You can get the engraving redone,” Ginny snapped. She leaned forward, reaching her hand out towards him. “Anyway, if you don’t want it—”

“Don’t be stupid.” Draco snatched the watch out of her reach in a flash. Quickly, he set about to fastening it over his wrist. “Of course I want it. It’s mine now.”

Ginny rolled her eyes and sat back. Her attention returned to the earrings in her lap, and she swallowed. “Malfoy,” she said, “really, though. How much did these cost?”

“It’s rude to ask how much a gift cost, Weasley,” Draco scoffed. “Merlin, didn’t your mother teach you anything?”

“But—” She glanced up hesitantly, and for a moment, her gaze lingered on the watch on his wrist. Then she cleared her throat and said quietly, “Well, thank you.” She held the earrings up close to her eyes. “I thought they were just done in a sort of swirl design,” she said, “but they’re actually snakes, aren’t they?”

Draco nodded. They were large studs in the shape of serpents, with the green gem in each the serpent’s eye. He watched silently as Ginny removed the simple gold studs she wore and replaced them with the new earrings. Once they were both in, she smiled and looked at him. “Well?” she said expectantly. “How do I look?”

Draco tried to answer, but the words got stuck in his throat. It wasn’t that the earrings made her look extra pretty or anything. She was already pretty, and Draco thought her simple studs suited her better, somehow. But there was something about seeing her wearing his earrings, the ones he’d bought, the ones he’d given to her.

When he didn’t answer right away, Ginny frowned at him. Draco hastily drew up a familiar sneer and said, “Like a dog dancing on its hind legs.”

Ginny threw him a look of deep disgust. “I can’t believe I gave you that watch.”

“Well, you did,” he said smugly.

She sighed and scooted around sideways on the floor, until she faced the sparkling Christmas tree. Then she lay flat on her back, her knees bent, her feet flat on the floor. She sighed again, this time with contentment, and folded her arms beneath her head as she gazed up at the tree.

“What are you doing?” Draco asked, wondering if she’d gone mental.

She patted the ground next to her. “Come see.”

“See what? The tree? I can see it from right here.”

Ginny turned her head to look at him. “You have to see it like this,” she said impatiently.

“Malfoys don’t lie on the floor.”

“Just do it,” she snapped. “Trust me.”

With a long-suffering sigh, Draco got up and joined her. He sat beside her and lowered himself back carefully. This was weird, and unnatural, lying back on the floor like this. But once he did, he saw at once what Weasley found so appealing. From this vantage point below the tree, gazing up at it, the lights and the glittering ornaments seemed somehow more dazzling. The tree filled his vision, and the glow of the lights seemed to envelope him, enclosing him in their warmth and brightness. As the minutes ticked by and he and Ginny stared up at the tree, Draco felt, for a brief moment, ridiculously happy. He didn’t think he’d felt that way since he’d celebrated Christmas as a boy. The tree seemed to encompass everything Christmas, and even though he was sharing this moment with Ginny Weasley, and not his family, he felt very much at home. And there was comfort in that.

They passed several long, silent minutes. Then Ginny said softly, “See?”

Draco swallowed. “Yes,” he said hoarsely. “Yes, I see.”

The silence that followed then was peaceful, and not uncomfortable. Draco gazed up at the lights until he felt like he was going blind. Even though the turkey had been dry, he felt comfortably full, and warm beside the fire. The pain in his head had retreated to a dull, small ache, one he barely noticed now. As he began to close his eyes, Ginny said, “Malfoy?”

“Hmm?”

“Why didn’t you go on holiday with your mum for Christmas?”

Draco’s eyes flew open. “What?”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ginny roll onto her side. She propped her elbow up and rested her head in her hand, and looked at him. “You said your mum wanted to go on holiday and you didn’t want to go. Why? I expect she went somewhere nice.”

“The south of France,” Draco muttered. He wasn’t sure he wanted to discuss this with her.

“That sounds nice.”

“Well, it’s not,” he snapped. He stared up at the ceiling to avoid looking at her. “Because it’s not home.” He paused, wondering if he should say anything more. When Ginny said nothing in reply, he sighed and went on, “She wanted to go because… because my father is in prison.” He said this part quickly, as though if he got it out fast enough, he could pretend he hadn’t said it. “This isn’t the first Christmas we’ve spent without him—we did sixth year. And she hated it. Last year, we had to stay here because I was—because I had to stay here.” He stumbled a little over those words. Because he had still been under house arrest, on probation. Weasley had to know that. But he felt embarrassed, all the same, saying it aloud. “This year, she wanted to get out. I guess being here without him, on Christmas…she doesn’t like it.”

“I can understand that,” Ginny murmured. “But you didn’t want to go?”

“No,” Draco said sharply. “I can’t just—just go on holiday, and pretend like my father isn’t part of our family anymore. Doing Christmas here, together—we always did that. I just—I didn’t want to leave my father behind,” he said quietly. It sounded stupid, now that he said it out loud, but he didn’t know how else to put his feelings into words.

For what seemed a long time, Ginny was quiet. Draco didn’t dare look at her. Instead, he closed his eyes.

But then she spoke. “Can you go visit him tomorrow?” she asked.

“Yeah.” Draco shifted a little. “I’m going to.”

“It’s different for everybody,” Ginny said unexpectedly. Draco didn’t understand what she was referring to until she went on, “And it’s hard no matter what you do. Last year—last year was our first Christmas without my brother Fred.” Her voice sounded thick. “I didn’t know what to do. None of us did. It seemed almost easier to try and just pretend nothing was wrong—but that felt horrible, too. Like you said—we couldn’t just forget him, pretend he’d never lived.”

Draco glanced aside at her. She lay flat on her back and stared straight up at the ceiling, but as he watched, a single tear slid down the side of her face. It vanished into her hair, but it left its tracks behind, a damp spot on her temple.

Seeing that tear made Draco feel shaky and unstable. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, trying to regain control of himself. It didn’t matter what he did, he realized. It was always going to be different now. His Christmases would never be like they were, when he was a child, when both of his parents were here. Even once his father got out of prison, it wouldn’t be the same. Because nothing was the same anymore. Not after the war.

He didn’t want to think about it anymore, about his mother, his father. He felt exhausted, thinking about them. He cleared his throat and asked, “So why did you break up with Potter?”

“What?” Ginny sounded startled.

“I thought he was your bloody dream come true,” Draco said. He tried to inject some snark into his words, but they sounded hollow to his ears. “I’d never have thought you’d dump him.”

She didn’t answer right away, and Draco waited for her to blow up at him, as he was sure she would. But surprisingly, she only sighed and said, “Neither did I.”

“So why did you then?”

“It’s just—being with him—I don’t know.” There was a helpless tone to her voice. “It wasn’t like I thought it would be, I guess.”

Draco smirked, and it felt good. “Disappointing in the sack, was he?”

“No, he was not—! I mean, that’s none of your business!” Ginny rolled onto her side and smacked his arm. Draco glanced aside at her and found her scowling fiercely, which amused him, for some reason. “That’s not what I meant,” she grumbled. “I just meant…” She trailed off, and her eyes pinched with frustration. “I’d had a crush on Harry since I was a little girl.”

“I remember,” Draco said sourly. Oh, how he remembered. The first time he’d seen her, when she’d stood up to him for Potter in Flourish and Blott’s. And that stupid Valentine she’d sent him second year.

“It’s just—I guess I built him up too much in my head,” she mused. “Or, well—that’s not quite it. I mean, I know Harry really well. I don’t feel like I had unrealistic expectations or anything. And I was happy with him at school, at the end of our fifth year, and even seventh year, though that was long-distance…” She trailed off, and shrugged. “But after I graduated—I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain it. I got…bored.” She threw a hand over her eyes and groaned. “Oh, Merlin. There. I said it. I said it, and it sounds as horrible as I thought it would.”

“It’s not horrible,” Draco said reasonably. He’d dropped his head to one side to look at her, but he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. “It’s his fault if can’t keep you entertained.”

“I told you that’s not what I meant!” Ginny snapped, dropping her hand from her face to glare at him. “It’s just…I don’t know.” She sighed. “It’s not like I was happy to end it. I wanted to be happy with him, and I hate that I couldn’t be. Does that make sense?”

“Hmm,” Draco agreed vaguely. His eyes had fallen shut, and sleep was quickly overtaking him, drowning her voice out. He thought he’d fallen asleep when he heard her speak again, and he wondered if he was dreaming.

“It’s just,” she said quietly, her voice little more than a whisper, “sometimes I think it’s because I—because…”

Draco tried to open his eyes. He barely managed it, Ginny’s hazy form swimming before his tired gaze. “Because what?” he asked drowsily.

“Because…” She bit her lip, and looked at him. “Because I couldn’t stop thinking about someone else.”

Draco felt a small jolt of surprise at these words, but he couldn’t say why. He tried to form a response, but if he did, he didn’t remember it. He wasn’t even sure, as he drifted off to sleep, that he wasn’t already dreaming, and hadn’t dreamed those last words of hers.

He slept well, better than he had all week, dreaming pleasant dreams that he couldn’t quite recall in the morning. But he woke with a vague sense of warmth, and contentment, and happiness. It was surprising really, how well he’d slept, given that he’d apparently spent the entire night on the floor of the drawing room, beneath the Christmas tree.

It was the sight of the Christmas tree, twinkling down at him, that brought it all flooding back. Ginny. She was gone now, but she’d been here last night, he remembered. It all seemed like some weird dream, and for a moment, he wondered if it had been. The thought brought a sense of panic, for some reason.

But when he forced himself to his feet and made his way to the kitchen, he found it clean and tidy. The remains of his burnt turkey were in the fridge. And, sitting on the counter, was a large plate that did not belong to him. It was filled with food—turkey, not burnt like his, mashed potatoes, greens, stuffing, pudding. And beside it was a small scrap of parchment—a note. Draco picked it up and read:

Malfoy,

I decided I should face my family for lunch today, since you’re going to see your father anyway. Here’s a plate of food from my mum’s—the turkey’s not burnt like ours was. Thank you for the earrings, and I hope you have a good Christmas.

Ginny

P.S. What are you doing for New Year’s?





PART TWO: COUNTDOWN TO MIDNIGHT



Draco shoved his hands in his pockets as he followed Ginny up the walkway to the red-brick house before them. It was a large house, though not nearly so large as the manor, with a short flight of stairs that led up to the front door. It was also in the middle of nowhere. In other words, just the sort of house a bunch of ex-Hogwarts students would throw a New Year’s Eve bash in.

“Whose party is this again?” Draco asked, as they mounted the steps to the front door.

“Michael Corner’s,” Ginny said. She looked quite pretty tonight, Draco thought, in a shimmering green top and a pair of black jeans with just a hint of silver glitter running down the front of them. She wore her bright red hair down around her shoulders, but the earrings she wore—the earrings Draco had given her—were quite visible anyway. Draco had noticed she was wearing the earrings, but hadn’t said anything about them. He wore the watch she’d given him too, but if she’d noticed, she hadn’t said anything either.

She had already had quite enough to say about what he was wearing, as far as he was concerned. She’d met up with him at the manor before bringing him here, and immediately made him change out of his black slacks into a pair of khaki pants. She made him remove his tie too, and made him unbutton his dark blue oxford shirt, revealing the plain, black t-shirt he wore beneath. That was as far as she got with him.

“It’s not a fancy party, Malfoy,” she’d told him snootily. “You’ll look like a prat, going like that.” Draco rather thought he looked like a prat now, like he was from some Muggle boy band or something. Ginny, unfortunately, disagreed.

“Who’s Michael Corner?” Draco asked, as Ginny rang the bell.

Ginny looked around at him incredulously. “Really? He was in your year at school, Malfoy.”

“Don’t know him,” Draco said dismissively.

“I used to date him,” Ginny said casually.

“From what I remember, you used to date half the school.”

Ginny glared at him. “I dated three boys. Three boys! Merlin, you sound like my brothers.” She rang the doorbell again, a little impatiently.

Draco could faintly make out the sound of loud music from inside. “Maybe we should just go in,” he suggested, but no sooner were the words out of his mouth than the door swung open.

The faint noise of loud music swelled into a raucous crescendo as the door opened. The small entrance hall was packed with people, chatting, chugging drinks, horsing around. Draco’s attention, though, was fixed on the girl that had opened the door to them. She wore a skin-tight, gold mini dress that exposed quite a bit of leg, gold heels to match, and a sparkling choker at her throat. Draco recognized her, of course, but for about half a second he didn’t even care that she was a Mudblood.

“Whoa,” he said, taking her in.

“Hermione!” Ginny cried. “You look fantastic!”

“Erm—thanks.” Granger spared a quick, half-smile for Ginny before turning her attention to Draco. Her expression was quizzical. “Erm—you brought Malfoy?”

“I thought you said this wasn’t a fancy party,” Draco said, smirking at Granger. “What happened, Granger? Having some trouble keeping the Weasel King’s attention? Thought you’d spice things up for him?”

Ginny smacked him in the arm—quite hard, in fact. Granger only gave him a disparaging look before turning her gaze on Ginny. “You brought Malfoy,” she repeated, her tone flat.

“Yes, well—he didn’t have any other plans.” Ginny grabbed Draco by the arm and dragged him inside, forcing Granger back several steps to make room for them. As Ginny shut the door behind them, Draco looked around. He peered up the staircase on his left, and down the short corridor before them. Everywhere was packed with people, all around their age. Draco recognized a lot of them from Hogwarts, even those he didn’t know by name.

Absolutely none of them were from Slytherin House.

“Weasley,” he said, more than a little irritated, “what did you bring me here for?”

“That’s what I was wondering,” Granger said dryly, crossing her arms over her chest.

Ginny rolled her eyes at Draco. “Are you going to be this anti-social the whole night?”

“Ginny,” Granger said, her eyes narrowed. “Could I talk to you for a moment—alone?”

“Oh, don’t worry, Granger,” Draco said, still craning his neck to look around. “You can say whatever you need to say in front of me. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings.”

“All right, then,” Granger said, her words clipped. She looked from Draco to Ginny, and her gaze softened into a concerned frown. “Ginny, you know Harry is here, don’t you?”

“What? No!” Ginny shook her head, dismay in her big brown eyes. “I thought he was out of town for that Quidditch match in Bulgaria—”

“No, he decided not to go,” Granger said. “He’s here. So is Ron, for that matter,” she added, with a pointed look at Draco.

“Well, I figured he would be,” Ginny said crossly. “Look, Hermione, I’d rather not see Harry at the moment, you know that. But I can’t just avoid him forever, and I really don’t care what either he or Ron thinks about me bringing Malfoy.”

Granger eyed Draco dubiously. “Is he, like…did you bring him as a date?”

“What?” Draco and Ginny exclaimed simultaneously.

“No, no, it’s not like that,” Ginny said hastily. “I just…we’re…friends?” She raised an eyebrow at Draco, as though looking for his confirmation.

Draco returned her gaze stonily. “We are not friends.”

“Whatever.” Ginny sighed, turning back to Granger. “Look, can we just put all this school stuff behind us, please? Ron and Harry probably won’t even notice we’re here. This party’s, er, rather bigger than I thought it would be,” she added, looking around. “Which is fine. We probably won’t even run into Harry and Ron.”

Somehow, Draco thought that was probably too good a hope to come true.
fandom, Draco, Harry Potter, fanfic, Ginny

The Happy First Post

Hey all,

Well, really only the other mods for the exchange... ;)

This is the new posting account for the D/G Exchange Community. So we... um...post things from here. :) I don't think that it really matters whether we're posting from this account or our own when we do announcements, comments, etc., but it DOES matter when we post fics so that things can be kept anonymous. Which is important.

The old account was fienabler, so it's worth going over there to check it out. Believe me, if I could have kept it there, I would have, because it would be easier. But I couldn't, so I didn't. And here we are. :)