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Chapter 9: Chapter 8: Let's Be Honest... I Love You
Chapter 8: Let’s Be Honest… I Love You
The ball was in full swing, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. Ginny smiled happily as she politely moved from conversation to conversation. This was her first real party as a Malfoy – she didn’t really count the small cocktail parties and charity galas – and she couldn’t believe how well received she had been.
All evening people had been coming up to her and complimenting how beautiful she looked and congratulating her on her marriage, and not a single one of them had seemed sarcastic or insincere. She was in the middle of a conversation with two women - whose husbands were prominent businessmen, one doing something with Wizarding electricity, the other a business tycoon who seemed to own half of Wizarding Europe – when she felt a familiar pair of arms come from behind to wrap around her waist.
“Ladies,” her husband interrupted, “I was wondering if I may steal my wife away from you for a dance?”
Both ladies seem to light up at the show of affection before both insisted he do so. Thanking them, he pulled her a few feet away before holding out his hand. “May I?”
She smiled softly before nodding her consent. “You may.” She gently placed her hand in his before he began leading her around the dance floor.
As they danced, they failed to notice the way many of their guests had stopped conversing to watch them glide gracefully across the dance floor. They stared on in silent, approving wonder as Draco Malfoy – a man they had never before seen show any emotion outside of arrogance and self-obsession – direct a woman whom many thought to be his family’s enemy in a dance that depicted only love and caring.
To the amazement of all that cared to watch the dancing pair a moment, they looked every bit the perfect picturesque couple.
As the dance ended, he kissed her softly on the cheek before escorting her off the floor. “I must admit I’ve wanted to get you out on the dance floor since the ball began.”
“Lucky for you the chances of me agreeing to the dance were in your favor, what with me being your wife and all.”
He opened his mouth to reply, but was instead interrupted by a man they both recognized as Horace Slughorn, their old Potions professor. “Mr. Malfoy, I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you?”
Ginny bit back a smile of amusement at her husband’s slightly perturbed expression. “I’ll let you two talk. However, if you feel you want another dance, I won’t be at all bothered to assist you.” She chose to ignore the glare he gave her as she left him alone with Slughorn.
Taking an offered glass of champagne from one of the waiters, she watched her husband in amusement. Even though she was on the other side of the ballroom, and even though it was obvious he was trying to mask what he was feeling, there was no mistaking the look on his face for one of pain and torture. Whatever the professor was asking of him was obviously something Draco wanted very much not to do.
Her smiled seemed to drop, however, when a familiar voice spoke from beside her. “You’re a hard person to get alone.”
She looked at him her eyebrows furrowed in slight annoyance. “I’m hosting a ball for who can only be described as the Wizarding world’s elite. Did you expect I’d have nothing to do all evening?” She had managed to forget that Harry Potter was there, in the flesh. Now that he was standing next to her, and she really had no way of getting out of talking to him, she could feel her stomach tie in knots.
There next to her was her past. If her previous years could take the form of one person, it would be the form of Harry James Potter and it was for that solitary reason she had dreaded being alone with him. Years ago, she had loved him in a way she had never loved anyone before. She had given him everything he asked of her; she even spent years of her life waiting for him to make good on a single promise. She had put her whole life on hold waiting for him to come back and make her an honest woman.
He smiled in the shy way he had when they were children at Hogwarts as he held his hand out to her. “May I have a dance?”
Seeing no way out of it, and not wanting to seem improper at a ball she was partially in charge of, she nodded in consent as she placed her hand in his.
Pulling her to him, he began to lead her in the same dance they had learned at Hogwarts, the year of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. “You look beautiful tonight.”
”Thank you.” She was finding it increasingly hard to be polite. How could he dance with her – talk to her – and not even attempt to apologize for the way he had left her?
“You know,” he spoke in a tone that sounded strangely arrogant, “no one will think ill of you if you were to come to your senses and leave Malfoy.”
Her breath caught in her throat as she held back to urge to gape at him. Would it not have drawn attention to them, she would have stopped dancing entirely. Searching for words to say, the only ones that she seemed able to vocalize were, “excuse me?”
As if realizing the magnitude of what he had just said, he rushed to continue. “I know that you were pushed into this, Gin, and no one would think twice if you were to ask for a divorce due to irreconcilable differences.”
He paused for a moment to give her room to reply and when she didn’t he spoke again. “No one would be shocked; you are, after all, complete opposites and enemies since birth.”
Finally finding her words, she looked up into his emerald green eyes. “Harry, what exactly is it that you’re saying? That you want me to divorce Draco?”
“Ginny,” he smiled softly at her; “I love you. I want to be with you. I came back here fully set on making you my wife. Everyone would expect you to choose me over him.”
His last sentence seemed lodged her brain, repeating itself over and over. ‘Everyone would expect you to choose me over him.’ The more she heard it, the more she wanted to make him feel the bat-boogey hex she had once used on Draco many years before.
She could see he was waiting for her response. She could see he was waiting for her to smile and hug him and kiss him and tell him how much she missed him. She could see, written all over his face, how sure he was that he was right. He saw no risk in coming here and asking her to leave her husband and run off with him. He saw no reason why she would choose her husband over her childhood love.
“Yes,” she finally replied. “Yes, everyone did expect me to choose you. Two years ago, they did. But things have changed Harry. I’ve changed.”
He seemed dumbfounded by her words. “So you’re perfectly content living in a loveless marriage for the rest of your life?” It was obvious he was trying to not raise his voice.
“No, I’m not-”
“That’s my point!”
“You didn’t let me finish, Harry.” Her jaw was set in the way it only was when she was trying desperately not to become angry. “You never let me finish. I’m not content to be in a loveless marriage, which is why I consider myself lucky that I’m not in one.” Her eyes were cold as she stared into his.
“What?” He looked confused, and it made her want to laugh.
“Harry, I love Draco. Futhermore, I’m in love with him. And I find it incredibly offensive that you would think me that cheap that I would marry myself off to Draco Malfoy while just biding my time waiting for you.” She paused as she took a breath. “I stopped waiting for you a long time ago Harry Potter. I’ve moved on and I’m happy. Just let me be happy.”
She looked away as she shook her head. “Thank you for the dance Harry.” And with those few words at the end of the song, she walked away, leaving Harry Potter in the middle of the dance floor, both shocked and mildly disgusted at the words he had just heard.
She was nearly fuming as she walked off the floor and through the crowded ballroom. So blind with rage was she, that she didn’t even see as Draco approached her. His face showed his concern as he put his hands on her shoulders, making her stop in her tracks.
Her head flew up to see who would dare make her stop in the state she was in, only to be greeted by the eyes of the person she most needed to see at that moment. His question of concern seemed to make its way through her fury-addled brain as she took a breath in an effort to calm down.
“Harry’s just an insufferable git, that’s all.”
“What did he do?” His words were cold and filled with dread. Draco had known no good would come out of the Wizarding Savior’s presence this evening.
“The wanker suggested I divorce you and take up with him!” She scoffed. “He has some nerve. As if the world revolves around him. Foul loathsome…”
Her bitter rant was cut off by her husband’s sharp-cutting words. “He what?” His rage was unmistakable as Draco’s narrowed eyes searched the room for the raven-haired man who had attempted to end his marriage.
“Don’t worry, I told him off.”
Pausing in his search to look down at the redheaded beauty he had become vastly protective of, he questioned, “What did you say?”
“I told him that I didn’t love him, and that I loved you. That I was in love with you and I would appreciate it if he would just be happy for me.”
The words seemed to become lodged in Draco’s brain, forcing his world to stop. “You said what?” He managed to croak out.
“I said that I-” As if she had finally realized the magnitude of her admonition, her eyes snapped up to look dumbfounded into her husband’s. “I love you.” She finished in a much softer voice than she had begun the sentence in.
Draco’s mouth opened and closed a few times as he let the words sink in. Finally, he let out a breath he hadn’t even known he was holding as he smiled. “I love you too.”
A sudden idea sparking in his mind, he began to subtly pull her into a room just off of the main ballroom. “Draco, where are we going?” Ginny spoke as she looked around the ballroom at the guests they were supposed to be tending to.
“Don’t worry, we won’t be gone long. There’s a place I would go to get away from all this when I was younger; I want to show it to you.”
From across the room, Arthur Weasley watched in pure fascination as Draco Malfoy smiled at Arthur’s only daughter, who appeared to be brimming with love for the young blond. He observed as the young man slowly guided Ginny out of the room, not noticing as another man came to stand beside him.
“They make quite the pair, don’t they?” Lucius Malfoy took a sip from his glass filled with, what appeared to be, a martini.
“I never in my life would have thought that they…” His words tapered off as he tried to find the right way to put it.
“Would have fallen in love? Yes, I had some doubts in the beginning as well. In fact, I believe my doubts lasted until August, when Narcissa and I saw them in the rose garden, quite the happy couple.”
“I’m just happy that Ginny’s happy.”
Lucius nodded in agreement before changing the subject. “I’m glad we have a moment to talk, Arthur. I’ve wanted to talk to you about something else.”
“Oh?” Arthur lifted an eyebrow in curiosity.
“Yes.” The Malfoy patriarch smiled. “I’ve recently heard of a position within the Ministry that will be opening up soon and I think you would be perfect for the job.”
“And what position would that be?”
“Arthur, have you ever thought about being a leader? Because I think you would excel quite well at it.”
“Well, I was Head Boy in Hogwarts my year, but that was quite a long time ago.”
Lucius let out a chuckle. “Yes, I dare say it was. This time, however, I was thinking about a political leader.”
“I’m not quite sure I follow.”
“There’s word in the Ministry the Scrimgeour will soon be retiring and I think you would be the perfect candidate to take his place. In fact, I’d place my full support behind you.”
Arthur’s eyes grew wide as he looked at Lucius. He took a moment to evaluate the seriousness on the man’s face before speaking again. “You’re serious.”
“Yes, quite serious.” Lucius nodded.
“I can’t say I haven’t thought what holding that position would be like.”
Lucius shrugged before moving the rejoin the party. “Just something to think about.”
Ginny followed close behind her husband as he guided her up a flight of stairs. She had never been in this tower before. In fact, other than seeing it from the courtyard outside, she’d never really known it was here. “Draco? Where in the world are we going?”
“I told you, I want to show you where I used to hide out.” He couldn’t have stopped smilingly even if he wanted to. It seemed silly, really, to be this excited that your wife was in love with you. It was one of those emotions that was usually implied when you stated the term “wife,” but theirs was not a usual marriage.
The stairway ended at a door Draco had become familiar with during his adolescent days. Turning the knob, his eyes appraised the room. Few things had changed over the years. The moderately-sized room still held a queen size bed in the middle of the room. The bed still faced the room’s sole window, which overlooked the courtyard. Even after the many years that had passed, there was still a medium sized wooden chest under the window.
When he was a child, it held his favorite toys. When he grew older, the toys had changed according to his interests at the time. Standing there as an adult, his interest had changed to the woman standing next to him.
He turned to her, watching as her inquisitive eyes scanned the unfamiliar room. “I used to sneak up here when I was younger. It was the only way I got through my parents stuffy balls without dying of boredom.”
“Why haven’t you shown me this before?” Her eyes met his for the first time since walking into the room. She was left nearly breathless at the emotion she found in the seas of gray and blue.
“I’ve never shown anyone this room before.”
“Why me? Why now?” She tilted her head slightly, her eyes never leaving his.
His right hand gently caressed her cheek as he looked at her as if seeing her for the first time. “Because for the first time in my life, I’ve found someone I want to share everything with. Ginevra, I know the way we got here was completely unconventional. I know that if it wasn’t for my father’s interference and your father’s agreeance, we would never be standing here together. Gin, we’ve been through a lot since we said “I do” and we’ve come so far. Beyond my wildest imagination, I never thought I’d be standing here in front of you today, completely, totally, irrevocably in love with you. But I am.” His thumb brushed over her lips, but his eyes never moved from hers. “I know it’s silly, for sharing this room with you to mean so much to me, but it does. You’re the first person I’ve wanted to bring up here, and I know in my heart you’re the last.”
She shook her head softly. “It’s not silly. If it’s important to you, it can’t be silly. If anything, it’s symbolic.” She smiled as her right hand, still entwined with his left, squeezed his gently. “I love you more than I ever thought was possible. My only regret is that it took Harry Potter coming back to realize it.”
He smiled, his eyes turning from soft to mischievous. His hands moved to her waist, pulling her body to be flush against his. His lips captured hers passionately before pulling less than an inch away. “You have no idea how sexy I find the thought of you telling Potter off.” He could feel her lips form a smile as his moved back against hers.
Slowly, but with ever-present grace, he moved them toward the bed. Ginny hardly knew they had move from the doorway until she felt her back against the soft mattress. She groaned both from pleasure and not wanting to stop as she pushed Draco off of her just slightly. “We have a ballroom full of guests and we’re both dressed to impress. Don’t you think our absence, and my return with messed up hair and makeup will spark curiosity?”
Pulling himself off of her, Draco reached into his jacket for his wand. Reciting a charm she was unfamiliar with, he waved it in a complicated pattern before pointing it at her. He did repeated the same words and movements before pointing his wand at himself before sticking it back in his jacket, shrugging the jacket off and tossing it to land on the wooden chest.
She raised an eyebrow in confusion as she watched him loosen his tie.
He smirked as he climbed back on top of her. “The charm was to protect hair and makeup, as well as to reinforce the charm that makes our garments wrinkle-free. As for curiosity, it’s not like we’re not married. We’re fully within our rights to do as we please. If what we wish to do is each other, well, they have no right to judge.”
She was about to let out a laugh when he seized her slightly open mouth as an opening for his tongue. Allowing his tongue to tangle with hers, her fingers moved to unbutton his shirt.
In the back of her mind, she knew that on some level it was entirely improper to have passionate sex with her husband when they had hundreds of guests to entertain in the ballroom below them. But then again, who needs propriety when they had each other?