Draco Malfoy stood by his bedside, shuffling through his old schoolwork, old pieces of parchment that had notes scribbled on them from various girls in his Slytherin class when he was at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and such things that a teenager would never think to throw away. He had still kept them in his post-Hogwarts years, though. And he was glad he had.
He came across the yellowed paper that he had been searching for.
He opened it carefully, cautious not to rip the edges.
My Dearest Draco,
I am writing this to you knowing that I will never be able to tell you this face to face. Knowing that I would be ruining my pride and dignity if you heard these words come out of my mouth. I have known you for the longest time, it seems like eternity. It has only been this year that I have realized how much I really do feel for you. It's amazing, if any one of my friends ever knew they would check me into a mental institute. They'd think I'd gone mad. They'd be furious. Stay away from the Malfoys is what I've been told all my life. And I have. Up until now. When I see you, I think my heart stops for a mere moment that I am covered in the bliss of seeing your handsome face. You never look at me like I am of any interest to you, and even though I know that you would never do so, I am always looking at you. Noticing the small things, like how your grey eyes smoulder with sexy anger when you don't get what you want, when you smooth your hair self-consciously whenever you think nobody is looking, when you once in a while give somebody a true, real smile instead of the smirk you rarely take off of your beautiful face. I always wondered why you were so bitter, so mean. But I think I understand now. I think I understand why you hate the world so. I cannot tell you quite yet, for I need to gather more information to prove this true.
All you need to know for now is that I'll be watching.
All my love,
Your Secret Admirer
It had been years since that letter was written and delivered to him.
He remembered the first time he'd read it.
It had meant nothing to him.
He figured it was just another young, trollish girl that thought that he was the most irresistible thing on earth. Well, back then he had thought so too.
He thought so.
Until he found out who she was.
His mind drifted back to that day...
It was a stormy night at Hogwarts, and Draco was waiting in the Astrology classroom at the top of the West Tower for the girl who had left him a note the night before. He'd had no idea that it was in any way linked to the one that he had received a month before, telling him of her love. He had already written that one off.
But this one had spiked his interest.
For it had told him of things that he did when nobody was looking, when he was alone both at Hogwarts and at home.
She had intrigued him, and had requested that they meet at midnight in the tower.
So, there he was.
Sitting on the windowsill, trying to look cool and collected.
All of a sudden, the door opened and closed quickly, a girl with a head of flaming red hair and bright green eyes breathing heavily, leaning against it. She stood up and took a deep breath, "Well, hello. Filch was on my heels. Didn't see me, thank god. So, how are you?" she sat down in a nearby chair and waited for his response.
He merely stared at her, thinking back to where he had seen her before....
Then he remembered the last thing that he had ever said to her.
"I don't think Potter liked your Valentine much!"
This was a nightmare.
This was none other than the youngest Weasley girl, and she was sitting in front of him, waiting for him to react.
She smiled, showing her perfect white teeth.
"You weren't exactly expecting me, were you Draco?" she said, her eyes laughing.
He shook his head honestly.
She laughed quietly, and pulled her hair back behind her ears.
"Well, I didn't think you would. You are a little narrow minded, you know that?"
She never stopped smiling.
"Well," he started, slightly offended, but she interrupted.
"Yes you are. You know it, and I do. What's the point in fighting it? Look, I'm here because I want to really know you. Not for romantic reasons, not yet, but I want to get to know you, find out who you are. To realize that all of my sick little fantasies that I had in my fifth year were just that. Fantasies."
He stared at her.
Never had he met a girl as confident and honest as this one.
None as stunningly beautiful, either... he thought, then shook his head in disgust.
She's a Weasley, you're a Malfoy. NO!
"Well, I"m sorry Little Miss Weasley, but I don't give out free tours of my mind. It's rather valuable, I prefer to keep it to myself, thanks." he said smoothly.
"Yes, no wonder Hermione Granger is top of the class, you keeping your oh-so-wonderful brain to yourself." she said, just as smoothly, and rolled her eyes.
"Yes, well that's quite true. I don't need to be the top of the class to know that I am going to be way more successful than that Mudblood in the long run." he raised his eyebrows, waiting for her brow to furrow with anger at this talk of her best friend.
"Well, in that case I feel sorry for you, Draco. Thinking that you're such a brainiac and all. It sets you up for such disappointment."
"Sure, sure. You don't see me bothering you about your academic achievements, do you? You don't see me mentioning yesterday morning, when your fourth cauldron exploded, causing your family to go beserk looking for the money to pay for a new one. So why bother me about anything?"
"Because I wanted to see what you were really like. Thank you for that lesson, Draco. I'll be on my way now." she grabbed her bag, gave him a sarcastic smile with laughing eyes that seemed to mock him in every way that he could mock others by a simple look, and walked slowly out the door, never turning back.
He sat on the sill, dumbfounded.
What an intriguing girl...he had thought...
What a time that had been, he thought to himself, shaking with laughter and tears.
He sat down on his bed, and looked at the picture on the bedside table.
He stared at both the letter and the picture and remembered the first time they had kissed.
It had been the night of the Hallowe'en feast, one month after that little encounter with her in the Astrology tower.
They had come to actually enjoy each other's company, though neither dared to admit it to themselves. They had started, after that first night, mocking each other in the hallways, leaving threatening notes laced with laughter in each other's beds, and staring at each other whenever the other wasn't looking.
By the Hallowe'en feast, Draco had come to the conclusion that Ginny Weasley was a self centred brat with no sense of self control.
But a beautiful one at that.
After the feast, which they had stared at each other, flirting dangerously with their eyes, he had met her. The Great Hall had been drained of all but the two. They stood in silence, staring each other down. They walked out of the Hall at the same time, and Draco had followed (her fully knowing) her to the portrait hole of the Gryffindor common room. She had turned around, and when she had, he was right there, a mere two inches from her face. They had stood in silence for a moment, then shared the first wonderful kiss.
He remembered exactly how she had looked when that had first happened. Peaceful, and amused, but knowing that he was going to make a move. Knowing that her girlish fantasies would soon be coming true.
And they did.
He took out a different paper, one that had been written to him the night before.
Dear Mr. Malfoy,
We regret to inform you of the death of you wife, Ginny Malfoy.
On her way to work this morning, a problem appeared with the Floo Network. She was one of sixteen who were killed during that moment of difficulty with the Network. The Network has been shut down at the time to be investigated, and her body is at the Ministry of Magic at the moment for you to claim.
With Our Deepest Regrets,
Wafulga Winderwate, Deputy Mistress of Magic
Order of Merlin, First Class
Four Time Winner of Witch Weekly's Best Dressed Award
He lay his head down on the bed that he and his wife had shared up until the night before.
He hadn't told the children yet.
He had no idea how the sixteen year old triplets Miranda, Jordania or Sydney were going to take it, let alone Gregory, who was only twelve.
He didn't know how he was taking it himself. He was still feeling numb from shock, still hadn't really cried for her.
He had cried for himself, and for the children, but couldn't find it in him to cry for his wife. His wonderful, beautiful, always challenging wife.
It would have been their eighteenth anniversary this year.
Her thirty-seventh year, his thirty-eighth.
And now she was gone.
I always told her to learn how to Apparate, he thought in pain and frustration, Why didn't she listen to me? It could have spared her life.
But there's nothing you can do now, said a little voice in his head, that sounded coincidentally like his Ginny's.
He sighed, shuddered with sadness, and headed downstairs, his footsteps heavy, to tell his children.
"It will be hard, my darling, but you have to move on. I love you. Please, don't lose your spirit. Don't lose everything that you had that made me fall so deeply in love with you. Go on. Be brave. Live. For me." her voice echoed in his brain, and he smiled slightly.
That was his Ginny.
And now he would have to live without her.
And with that, he called his four children into the living room, and braced himself for the tears that he knew would cascade the room in a matter of moments.
Then he remembered what she had told him a long time ago, when they had been going through a rough time with Jordania when she was thirteen. She had told her eldest daughter that the hardest thing to do in this world was to live in it, but that didn't matter. You had to live, you had to be strong, and as a family, you had to stick together.
He knew he had to follow that advice, her advice. He would have to live, get through this. For his children, and for her.