Chapter 2 : In which Ginny almost loses a finger
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Ginny sat nervously at the same table in the same coffee shop where her problem had begun four days before. She couldn’t help but glance at her watch for what she could only assume was the 100th time. Where is that annoying blonde ferret? she thought impatiently. She had places to be! And she wanted the ring off her finger.
Said ring was currently hidden from view by the bandages wrapped around the last three fingers of her left hand. She had gotten exceedingly tired of people asking her who had finally proposed and had attempted to hide it. It worked well, although now people kept casually dropping the name of their family healer.
Said “blonde ferret” entered the shop a whole three minutes after the scheduled time. He had been irritatingly vague in his return owl, only instructing her to meet him at the coffee shop. She assumed there was some spell to release the ring, perhaps one that only he or someone in his family could perform. By the time he arrived, she was practically tapping her foot with impatience. Her mum had asked her to pick up some things and bring them home by 1:00, and her last glance at her watch had told her it was exactly 13 seconds until 12:43.
As Ginny looked up from her watch for the 101st time, Draco Malfoy sank gracefully into the chair across from her. Although she hadn’t seen him for several years, he didn’t look much different than he had at Hogwarts. He looks good, a small, traitorous part of her brain whispered. She quickly shoved that thought to the very darkest, farthest reaches of her mind and greeted him, “Good afternoon, Malfoy.”
“Weasley,” he acknowledged her coolly. “I believe you have something of mine.”
Ginny unwound the bandage from her hand to reveal the ring, sparkling as innocently as when it had enticed her to put it on. She held out her hand for his inspection. He looked at it for a moment, then grabbed hold of her left wrist with one hand, the ring with the other, and pulled.
“Ow-ow-ow! You’re hurting me!” Ginny cried as she felt her finger pop in its socket. When he didn’t let go she kicked him sharply under the table. That did it. He released her finger to clutch his right shin.
“Bloody hell, Weasley! What was that for?” he demanded, still clutching his leg.
She replied simply, “You were hurting me.” She massaged her finger.
“Obviously it can’t be pulled off,” he remarked, more to himself than to her.
“You don’t think I tried that?”
He ignored her. “Can it be enlarged?”
“You don’t think I tried that either? I told you, I’ve tried everything I can think of! Don’t you have some sort of charm to get it off? Why is it doing this?” Ginny’s voice itched with irritation. She needed to get to the Burrow.
He answered her questions with one of his own. “Why do you have it on in the first place?”
Ginny felt a blush creep up her cheeks. She stared down at the table as she replied quietly, “Oh, I just wanted to… see how it looked.”
“See how it looked? Couldn’t you see it when it was off?” Malfoy asked, puzzled look on his pointed, ferret-like face. Ginny might have laughed if she weren’t slightly embarrassed. It was not often one got to see Malfoy confused.
“Well, yes,” admitted Ginny, “but it’s not the same. It’s –it’s a girl thing.”
Malfoy shook his head and ran a hand through his hair, making it messier than it was. His gray eyes were unreadable. “I have no magical way to get it off that you could not do yourself. As I need it back and you cannot spend forever with that thing on your finger, I can see only one way to remove it.”
“Oh,” Ginny asked curiously, “what’s that?”
“We have to cut off your finger.”
Ginny was unsure if she should laugh or run for the door. His “solution” was stated in the same, serious tone of voice he had used from the start and his face certainly did not look like he was joking. Do Malfoys make jokes? she thought briefly. Unsure how to respond, Ginny compromised by asking, “Excuse me?”
“We have to cut your finger off, Weasley. It’s not that complicated. Once it’s off, I can remove the ring and St. Mungo’s does bone re-growth. I’ll even make sure you’re unconscious beforehand.” The way he said it made it clear this was kindness on his part.
Ginny struggled for a moment to keep the look of sheer horror off her face. In lieu of fleeing the building, which was the action she desperately wanted, she sat on her left hand, ring and all. When she could speak again she informed the man across from her, “You are a nutcase.”
“Mature,” he said sarcastically.
“Mature?” Her voice squeaked in outrage. “You want to cut off my finger for some stupid ring and you’re calling me immature?!”
“That ‘stupid ring’ is worth more than your family’s entire house, Weasley,” he drawled.
Ginny could feel her face heat up. “Oh, that’s mature too; back to making fun of my family for being poor. I see you haven’t changed, although I should have expected as much.”
“Get a grip, Weasley. We just get the ring off. Then I can continue with my life that, until yesterday, so blissfully did not include you, and you can go on your way thinking I’m just like I was at school.”
“Well, we’re not cutting off my finger!”
“Fine,” he snapped. “This ring used to belong to my mother. She must know some way to get it off.” He rose from his seat and started toward the exit. After a moment he realized Ginny was not behind him. “I don’t have all day, Weasley. Unlike you I actually have a life.”
Ginny stood abruptly, her chair almost tipping over in her haste. “I have a life, Malfoy,” she snarled. “Don’t order me around.” Normally she was calm and collected, but something about him made her blood boil. It made her want to scream irrational things and throw the vase of daisies from the table at his overly-blonde head. Collecting both her bags and her wits, she, too, headed for the exit. “Actually I don’t have all day either. I have somewhere I need to be –” she glanced at her watch “– right now.”
“You’re not going anywhere until that ring is off your finger,” he informed her icily. “It is priceless and I’m not letting it out of my sight.”
“If you’re so careful with it, then how did you lose it in the first place?” Ginny asked, triumphant smirk on her face.
He scowled at her, “Shut up, Weasley.”
“Oh, snappy comeback, Malfoy,” she teased. “Way to dazzle a girl with your wits.” She patted him mockingly on the arm. When he didn’t reply she told him, “Well, I’m off to my mum’s house.” She tucked her bags more securely in her arms, turned to disapparate, and found she couldn’t. An arm had grabbed hers.
“We’re going to the Manor to get this fixed right now.” Malfoy tugged on her arm and tried to spin.
She pulled back, not letting him complete the needed circle. “No! I’m going to my house. Let go of me!” When he didn’t, she scowled, “Fine. I’ll take you with me.”
For a few seconds there was an all out tug-of-war, each pulling on the others’ arm in a vain attempt to get somewhere. Then one of Ginny’s packages slipped from her arms and landed on Malfoy’s foot. He gave a sharp gasp and released her arm.
“What’s in there, Weasley? Bricks?” he sneered.
“No,” she replied haughtily, collecting her bag, “rocks.”
He gave her a look similar to hers when he had informed her he wanted to cut off her finger: not sure if laughter or a well-planned escape route was more appropriate. Ginny took advantage of his momentary silence to grab his arm and force them in a circle. They disappeared from the store with a “pop.”
* * * * * *
Mrs. Weasley stirred a pot that was bubbling merrily over the stove and wondered absently when her only daughter would be arriving with the shopping. No sooner had she thought this than there was the “pop” of someone apparating behind her. “Ginny, dear,” she asked without turning around, “did you get everything on the list?”
Mrs. Weasley turned from the stove, dusting flour from her hands. She was slightly taken aback by the young man standing beside Ginny. He was extremely well-dressed and surveying the kitchen with mild interest. “Ginny, you didn’t say you were bringing company,” Mrs. Weasley scolded her daughter good-naturedly.
“Sorry, Mum, it was a bit… unexpected.”
“No matter,” smiled Mrs. Weasley cheerfully. “We’ll make him feel right at home. Come and have some soup, dear,” she addressed the young man. Escorting him, perhaps a tad forcefully, to the table, she sat him down. “You look terribly underfed.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Well, there you have it! Draco is now in the clutches of Mrs. Weasley. I must thank everyone who reviewed my first chapter; the support was truly overwhelming. I admit your wonderful reviews helped with the speedy posting of this chapter. I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as the first and will take a brief second to tell me so.
Tune in next time for chapter 3: In which Draco is force-fed soup.
Until then I remain,
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