Chapter 5 : In which there is much ado about pie
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Draco wound his way down the long hallway leading to the library. He could hear Weasley’s footsteps behind him, soft and quick as they padded along the plush hallway carpet. He could hardly believe he was about to give up some of his precious time searching for information that may or may not exist, and with a Weasley, no less. Really, it was all her fault. If she hadn’t put on the infernal ring in the first place…why had she done it, again? Something about seeing how it looked. Draco suppressed a sigh; he would never understand women.
The door to the library reached nearly to the ceiling. Its curly designs were intricately carved into rich mahogany and its polished brass doorknob shone faintly in the dim light cast by the hallway wall sconces. Draco twisted the knob and pushed open the door, feeling the surge of familiar annoyance the library brought him.
He had spent, in his opinion, far too many hours there during his Hogwarts years, frantically trying to finish his summer homework a few days before he got on the train. Entering the library and turning to make sure Weasley shut the door behind her, Draco suspected she had never worked on homework at the last minute. No, she was the type to get things done immediately and check them off a neatly numbered list, in the precise order in which they were written.
Weasley turned from the door, took in the library, and gave a poorly-stifled gasp. “It’s so…so…”
“Impressive?” Draco supplied with a smirk.
Weasley glared at him. “I was going to say ‘Slytherin.’ You just can’t let go, can you?”
Draco snickered. The library did have a Slytherin air about it; dark green predominated throughout the enormous room. The room was a little bigger than the Hogwarts library and a tad more informative on the Dark Arts. Down the main aisle ran a thick, dark green carpet. From this ran rows of smaller aisles, each formed by towering bookcases. Periodically the bookcases gave way to a cluster of black, leather armchairs. At the end of the main aisle rose a huge fireplace, flames happily devouring the most expensive firewood money could buy.
Draco strode purposefully to stand before the wall a little to the right of the door. Into the gray marble wall was carved the words:
“What’s that for?” Weasley peered over his shoulder with interest.
Draco hesitated, trying to decide whether to grace her with an answer. Finally he replied, “It controls how the books are organized. Watch.” He tapped Author twice with the tip of his wand. There was a great whooshing sound – the sound of movement through air – behind them. He felt Weasley spin around. He, too, turned, mostly to gloat at her impressed reaction. He did love showing off his things.
Nothing looked different at first glace, but upon closer inspection carved letters were now visible at the ends of each bookshelf. Weasley approached the nearest towering shelf and removed a book. “Zunnerman, Edward,” she read. “Why does the alphabetizing start in the back?”
Draco shrugged and gave her a disdainful look. “How should I know? I didn’t make it.”
Weasley rolled her eyes and attempted to put the book back on the shelf, only to discover she had no idea from where she had taken it. After a few moments of scanning fruitlessly, she asked cautiously, “Er, Malfoy, do you know where I got this?”
Draco tapped his foot impatiently against the floor and snapped, “It doesn’t matter, just stick it anywhere.”
“Just stuff it back in there! It doesn’t matter where you put it.”
Weasley pushed apart two shelved books and replaced the one she had removed. As soon as she released it, the book glowed with deep green light and vanished. It reappeared with another surge of green light a shelf below and several books to the right. Weasley gave a small “oh!”
“That’s what I was trying to tell you,” Draco growled impatiently. “It doesn’t matter where you put it; the books organize themselves.” He returned to the engraved list on the wall, trying to decide which method would be best. He finally picked Subject and, tapping it twice and hearing the familiar rush of air behind him, turned around to find Weasley staring around the end of nearest shelf. “What are you doing?” he asked, almost without thinking.
She straightened back up and, looking slightly guilty, shrugged. “Just looking.” Glancing up at the newly engraved Zootomy – Zymurgy, she guessed, “By subject?”
“Brilliant, Weasley,” drawled Draco, giving himself just enough time to enjoy the look of annoyance that flitted across her face before adding, “Now, if you’re done wasting time, I suggest we get to work. Wouldn’t want to spend any more time around you than absolutely necessary.”
Weasley rolled her eyes and muttered something that sounded rather like a very sarcastic “Really, because being around you is what I do for jollies.” Draco chose to ignore this, however, as he had already broken his unconscious rule of speaking to her as little as possible.
Pointing down the main row of shelves and motioning to the left, he instructed, “You start with Rings.” Motioning to the right he continued, “I’ll take Spells, Bonding. With any luck we’ll find something before my mother finishes her book and comes to offer us ‘words of wisdom.’” Draco restrained from rolling his eyes, but only barely. Weasley made a noise that sounded remarkably like a laugh-turned-cough. A second later the familiar look of displeasure was securely back on her face and Draco, giving his head a quick shake, decided he must have been hallucinating. Perhaps spending time around her is dangerous, he thought. Her insanity could be contagious.
He turned away from her and headed toward the S section of the library. It took only a moment for him to realize Weasley was not going to the R section, but following very closely behind him. He spun around and demanded, “What are you doing?”
Weasley jumped a little, but held her ground and said firmly, “I am not searching in here by myself. This place is huge; I’ll get lost. And who knows what could be lurking around these bookshelves?”
“I do: nothing.” Draco scowled at her with annoyance. “If I have to search for some bloody book, I’m not going to have to listen to you while I look.”
Weasley crossed her arms over her chest. “Then you can be the only one looking because I won’t be by myself in here.” She smirked up at him, “I’m not that easy to get rid of, Malfoy.”
“Obviously,” drawled Draco. He ran a hand through his hair in frustration and then snapped, “Fine. We can look in the same section, but no talking.”
She reached up, patted him sharply on the cheek, and replied smugly, “I knew you’d see it my way.”
Draco attempted to smack away her hand, but she had already walked around him and was on her way to the shelves marked S. He gave a growl of frustration and called after her, “And no touching either!”
“Whatever you say,” came the offhand reply.
Draco rubbed the spot fiercely where she had touched his face and traced her steps. Fighting down the urge to find a mirror and make sure she hadn’t left a red mark on his perfect face, he caught up with Weasley and turned ahead of her down a row of shelves marked Spells, aberrant – Spells, byproduct.
The edge of each bookcase shelf had an individual label, similar to those at the end of the bookcase. Glancing along the numerous towering shelves, Draco noted the third from the bottom was marked Spells, Bonding. The neatly carved label appeared every few feet down the length of the shelf. Draco groaned inwardly; there was an entire, six-meter-long shelf devoted to bonding spells. By the time we’re done, we’ll be so old the ring will just rot off her hand, thought Draco bitterly.
Weasley, standing about a meter closer to the end of the bookcase, read the labels, too. She gave a quiet sigh of resignation and sank down to the green carpeted floor. There she arranged herself neatly and pulled out the first book on the bonding spells shelf. “So what exactly are we looking for?”
Draco looked over her shoulder to inspect the book she held. “Anything that will be helpful to us will be handwritten. My ancestors developed the ring themselves, so it will probably be notes in the margins, altering a common bonding spell or combining two spells.”
The top of Weasley’s head nodded. “Alright; let’s get to work.”
Draco scowled down at her, although he knew she couldn’t see it. He had just been about to say that! He couldn’t very well do so now, though, as it would look like he was copying her. Feeling disgruntled, Draco took a few steps to the right to distance himself from the red-headed menace with whom he was working and tried to sit down as gracefully as she had.
It turned out sitting was not as easy as she had made it look. He couldn’t quite figure out how to get down with out sticking his behind in the air in the process. He tried to crouch, but halfway down his knees made a very loud popping sound. He tipped backwards and his bottom hit the ground with a loud thunk.
Weasley’s head snapped up to look at him, “What are you doing?”
“Playing the accordion,” Draco replied dryly. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m sitting down!”
“That wasn’t what it looked like to me,” shrugged Weasley, “but whatever you say.” Under her breath he heard her add, “Graceful.”
Draco growled, “Just shut it and get to work.”
Weasley, putting a book back on the shelf and watching it reappear in the correct place, replied mildly, “No need to be clumsy and rude.”
“No need to be ugly and annoying,” shot back Draco.
Weasley met his gaze coldly, her brown eyes narrowing. “You’ve gotten spiteful in your old age.”
“I’m still only a year older than you!”
She turned back to the bookcase, shrugging, “Whatever you say. By the way, I’d recommend a warming charm for those knees; they sound painful.”
Draco slammed the book he was holding against the floor in frustration. Trying to ignore her quiet chuckle – he hated that she knew she’d gotten to him – he set to work leafing through the row of books before him.
They had been searching for several minutes – in what Draco considered blissful silence – when Weasley suddenly burst out, “Compatible? Ha. Not on your life. I mean, there is nothing compatible about us!”
Her words brought to the surface of Draco’s mind the problem he had desperately been trying to forget. “As much as I hate agreeing with a Weasley about anything, I too have realized this,” he sneered. “The ring is sorely mistaken.” He added, more to himself than her, “And as soon as it comes off it’s becoming quite cozy with the back of my Gringotts vault.”
Weasley made her laugh/cough noise for the second time that day. Draco shot her a sidelong glance: was she actually laughing with something he had said?
Perhaps because of his suspicious look, Weasley continued quickly, “Complete opposites; you probably like the Tornadoes or something.”
“The Tornadoes?” Draco spat, a look of disgust crossing his face. “Don’t make me sick. You wouldn’t even ask if you could see the north hall of the west wing. For your information,” he put down the book he held a little more forcefully than necessary and shifted himself with as much dignity as possible – Malfoys never slid – to face her, “I own the signed jersey of every Cannons player since 1892. That includes the jerseys worn in the 1892 Quidditch World Cup. Which, by the way, was the last time –”
“The last time the Cannons won the league. Yes, I know,” Weasley interrupted him, voice slightly vague and distant. She stared at him with a slightly open-mouthed expression. “How did you ever find those? It must have taken –”
“Years,” Draco finished. “It wasn’t easy, or cheap, but it’s a one-of-a-kind collection.” He could tell he sounded smug and he didn’t care a bit. He had worked very hard to track down those jerseys and he was proud of his collection.
Weasley shoved a book back into the shelf and murmured, “That would be really interesting to see.”
“I could show you later if we take a break or get done early.” Draco almost slapped a hand over his mouth. Where did that come from? I don’t want to show Weasley anything! I want to get away from her a fast as humanly possible. Maybe she won’t want to…
At his words Weasley had turned back to him sharply. After scrutinizing him for a moment she replied, “That would be nice.”
He gave a quick nod and returned to searching through the books, finding it much harder to keep his thoughts from exactly what he did not want to be thinking. After several minutes Draco realized the words of the books before him were no longer registering in his mind. Instead his mind was filled with thoughts such as: There is no way I am compatible with a Weasley…and I wonder if she knows all the stats of the Cannons players. I can never remember their individual scoring records…
Finally he said aloud, “Just because we both like the Cannons doesn’t mean anything. What’s your favorite hobby? Other than annoying me to insanity, of course.”
“Of course,” she smirked sarcastically. “Playing Quidditch, probably. What’s yours?”
Draco broke eye contact with her and told the bookshelf, “Playing Quidditch.” From the corner of his eye he saw her eyebrows snap together in a frown. A rather cute frown. Draco had to ball his hands into fists to keep from slamming the book before him over his head. Filthy, rotten traitor! he thought to what ever part of his mind had dared to think such a thing.
“Morning person or afternoon person?” inquired Weasley.
“Morning.” The frown was still there, which made Draco frown, too. “Favorite holiday?”
Me too!! shouted that traitor voice in the back of his head.
She shot back, “Books or music?”
“Books.” She was still frowning. There must be something on which they wouldn’t agree…Draco searched his mind. Finally he gave a triumphant smirk, which earned a puzzled look from Weasley. He did not care; he had found something they would never have in common. Smirk verging on creepy, he asked, “Favorite food?”
With no hesitation Weasley replied, “Pie.”
“Pie?!” Draco’s smirk was replaced with an expression of mingled disbelief and horror. “Whose favorite food is pie?!”
Weasley shrugged. “Mine.”
Draco shook his head firmly, “No it isn’t.”
Weasley gave him a look like he was stupid. “Yes it is. Did you not just hear me?”
“There is no way your favorite food is pie. I am the only person whose favorite food is pie. You are making this up to annoy me because you think it’s funny.” On afterthought he added, “Which it’s not.”
She slammed the book she held against the floor. “You are a nutter. How in the world would I know what your favorite food is?”
“I don’t know! Maybe you’ve been stalking me!”
“Arghh!!” Her hands balled into fists. “I do not have to sit here and listen to this – this insanity!” She slapped her hands over her ears as though she could block out his words. “Not even blueberry pie could make us compatible.”
“Blueberry? I don’t eat blueberry pie! My favorite food is apple pie.” Draco gave the girl before him a look quite similar to the one she had given him when she had called him crazy.
Weasley’s hand dropped from her ears. “How can you not eat blueberry pie?” she asked incredulously. “It’s only the most amazing thing you’ll ever taste. Apple pie is what’s not worth its baking time.”
Draco shook his head in disbelief. How could she say such a blasphemous thing? “You have obviously never tasted the hot apple pie Francie makes.”
Weasley raised her eyebrows, “Francie?”
“Our head house elf. That pie could make Snape give house points to a Gryffindor.”
“If you say so,” she shrugged. “But that description would really be more appropriate for Mum’s blueberry pie. With fresh blueberries and her secret crust recipe it’s so good it could repel dementors.”
Draco smirked, but said nothing.
“You don’t believe me?” Weasley jabbed her finger at him, “You have to taste it. I’ll get Mum to make some and you’ll see. I’ll owl her about it tomorrow; it’ll be done before we are here.” She grinned, “Then you’ll see who’s right.”
“I’ll taste your pie on one condition,” agreed Draco with a smug look.
“What’s that?” Weasley asked warily.
“I get to bring along a pie of my own for tasting.”
Weasley planted her hands on her hips. “You’re on. Mum will be pleased to see yet another pie that doesn’t compare to hers.”
Draco glared at her. “You just wait…” He picked up the book before him and stuffed it back onto the shelf. She’ll see, he thought fiercely. She’ll eat her words. I hope Molly cooks fast; I can’t wait to rub my superior pie in Gin – Weasley’s face…not literally, of course. He smirked silently at the thought of apple pie smashed all over the girl’s freckled face. The cinnamon in the pie filling would match her hair. Grabbing the next book in line, Draco decided he was giving this a little too much thought.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Well, I know this wasn’t exactly what you would call a quick update, but hopefully it was worth it (which I would love to know!) Ah the bickering! Music to my ears (or, in this case, eyes.) I love writing Draco and Ginny arguing. Do you think they were appropriately in character? Let me know.
One thing I must note, which I should have noted earlier, is that the perspectives change every chapter. It switches between Draco and Ginny every other time. Also, when you see * * * * * it is a change of perspective. The perspective has Molly and Narcissa briefly in previous chapters, too. I’ll be posting a note about this in the first chapter, but I thought I’d clarify for those of you who (like me) don’t go back and reread with every update.
I want to thank all my reviewers again; you are amazing and give me the painful sense of guilt in my stomach that keeps me going. (Just kidding – well, sort of. I would write even if no one reviewed, but I have to admit the support helps.) Oh, and the offer of email updates is still up.
May your pen never run out of ink,
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