Chapter 1 : In which a ring causes trouble
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“Mother, what do you mean the ring doesn’t like her?” Draco Malfoy asked in a dangerously calm voice. He paced in front of his mother’s writing desk in one of the numerous studies of Malfoy Manor. Narcissa Malfoy sat comfortably behind the desk, writing a letter on her personal stationary, completely unconcerned by what her son considered to be a dire problem.
Without looking up from her letter, Narcissa waved a hand at her son, as though to dismiss his anxieties. “I told you, darling, the ring simply doesn’t approve. It doesn’t think she would be a suitable match for you.”
“A bloody ring thinks it’s going to pick my fiancé?” Draco demanded, a look of outrage on his pale face. “You didn’t say the thing had a mind of its own when you gave it to me!”
Narcissa set down her quill and studied her son. At the age of 26, the number of girls he had dated was rapidly climbing to higher than the number of dress robes she owned, and that was saying something. About a year ago she had given him a ring “passed down through generations” and instructed him to “find a nice girl and settle down.” After several months of ignoring his mother’s “helpful reminders” he had given up and contacted Pansy Parkinson, a girl he used to date at Hogwarts. Narcissa didn’t know how suitable Pansy would be for her son, but she knew if the girl was right, everything would work out. Everything had not worked out.
From what her son was babbling at her, she gathered he had broken down and proposed to the girl last night (“I decided, ‘Might as well get this over with,’” he had told her.) but everything had not gone as planned. The ring had not fit, simply slipping off her finger when she moved, and no shrinking charm would help. “I don’t understand,” he ranted. “I tried to shrink it, she tried to shrink it, even the bloody waiter tried!”
Finally Narcissa said, “Perhaps I should explain.”
“Draco, don’t take that tone with me. Sit down.”
He sank into a large, black, leather armchair beside her desk.
“And don’t scowl like that, dear, you’ll get frown lines.”
He whispered something under his breath.
“I did tell you the ring has been passed down through generations of your family, didn’t I?” He nodded. “Well, it’s very simple, really. To help ensure Malfoy males picked a suitable match, the ring was enchanted to fit only those girls with whom they are very compatible. You see, you boys often have good intentions, but don’t always have the best judgment about what is best for you, I’m afraid. Just think of the ring as insurance against error.”
Here she stopped to allow her son time for a good long rant about “meddling rings,” “good taste in women,” and “mothers who don’t tell their sons when family heirlooms are going to play matchmaker.” When he stopped for breath and noticed that he was no longer sitting in the armchair, but standing in front of the desk again, Narcissa folded her hands in front of her and asked, “Are you finished, darling?”
He glared at her. “No. Another thing– ”
“I think that’s quite enough. Sit.”
Still glaring, he did so. “So what am I supposed to do, Mother? Try the ring on every girl I meet until I find one it fits?”
Narcissa had returned to writing her letter and replied absently, “Oh, no, dear. You would look terribly silly. I don’t expect you to stop dating, all I ask is that you do not waste your time on girls you know you’ll never marry.”
He muttered to himself, “Where’s the fun in that?”
“Don’t mumble, Draco. It’s not dignified.”
He stared angrily at the far wall for several minutes, the only sound in the room the scratching of Narcissa’s quill. Finally he asked, “So when she’s right it will just fit?”
Narcissa, who was putting the finishing touches on her letter, absently patted his arm. “When she’s right it won’t need to fit. You’ll just know.”
* * * * * * *
Several weeks later…
Ginny Weasley found a small, unoccupied table in the corner of the wizard coffee shop and sat down to enjoy her mocha before she dragged herself to work. It wasn’t as though she didn’t enjoy her job, but being somewhere else was always preferable to being at work.
At only 25, she was head secretary at Cleansweep Corporation, Manufacturers of Fine Brooms and Broom Care Products. As her job entailed answering owls, setting up appointments, and greeting visitors, it was well suited to her outgoing and (although she would rather eat a skrewt than admit it) controlling nature. This morning she was preoccupied with a large shipment of oak that would be arriving that day.
With work on her mind, Ginny took a large sip of her mocha and scalded her tongue. She gave a jerk and promptly slopped the hot beverage down her front. As she was writhing in pain (or that was how she pictured it), her foot kicked something that was laying under the table. The thing she had kicked bounced off the metal table leg with a “ding!”
After a quick “Scorgify!” of her shirt, Ginny leaned down to identify what she had kicked. It was a ring. Emerging from under the table, she inspected it in the light streaming through a nearby window. Set into a band of smooth silver was a large, round diamond framed by two emeralds. It sparkled even in the dim light and, as Ginny turned it this way and that, she could have sworn she saw a ghost of an “M” within the glimmering diamond.
She downed the bit of her mocha that hadn’t spilled and approached the shop counter. “Excuse me, miss,” Ginny flagged down the witch behind the counter. “Has anyone asked about a lost ring?”
The girl thought for a moment, then shook her head, straight brown hair flapping. “Nope, we’ve had a missing coat, a misplaced shoe, and a lost eye –don’t ask about the last one; I didn’t– but no ring. Did you find one?”
Ginny showed her the ring. The girl’s blue eyes widened. “Wow, that’s beautiful. I’d put it in the Lost-and-Found box, but it might get bubotuber pus on it –again, don’t ask.”
“What am I supposed to do with it?” Ginny asked, glancing at her watch. At this rate she would be late for work.
“I’ll take down your name,” the girl rummaged in a drawer behind the counter and extracted a sheet of paper and a violently lemon-yellow quill. “If anyone asks for it, I’ll give them your name and tell them to contact you.”
“Ok, thanks. It’s Ginny Weasley.” After making sure the girl spelled her name correctly, Ginny left the coffee shop and stepped into the bright sunlight of Diagon Alley. The ring in her hand winked innocently up at her. She could almost hear it calling, Ginny, Ginny, try me on…
“No,” she told the ring. “I should take you straight back to my apartment and lock you somewhere safe.”
Come on, she could hear the ring saying, just slip me on your finger, you know you want to see how I look.
“Well…” Ginny wavered.
It’s not as though you’re ever going to wear anything like me, the ring mocked. You can pretend you have a boyfriend who just proposed to you.
“Shut up!” Ginny told the ring. Several passers-by gave her strange looks and edged quickly in the other direction.
Ginny caved. She slipped the ring onto her left ring finger. It fit perfectly. It does look rather good, she thought, admiring the way the light caught the facets in the emeralds. I’ll take it off when I get to work, she decided.
* * * * * * *
The coffee shop girl said you have my ring. It is silver with a diamond and two emeralds. Send it back by return owl.
* * * * * * *
There’s a slight problem. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but nothing seems to work. I’m terribly sorry; I had no idea this would happen, but I tried the ring on and now it won’t come off my finger. Do you know what to do? Is this a common thing with your rings?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So, dearest readers, what did you think? A little random I suppose, but there I was, minding my own business, when, from out of nowhere, plot bunnies swooped in and viciously attacked me! How unfortunate! Or perhaps not. Was it? Please let me know what you think and if it is worth continuing!
Was it humorous? I hope so. If you are in the mood for a little more humor you can check out my also-amazingly-random one-shot called Reasons Why Professor Sprout Should Be Sent to St. Mungo’s Mental Ward. It is written from Draco’s perspective and (I think) rather amusing.
One thing I must note: the perspective of the story changes when ever you see * * * * * and, starting next chapter, the main perspective will change between Draco and Ginny every other chapter.
Well, I’m off. Don’t forget to write!