Draco Malfoy stalked back to the dungeons, snarling at anyone who tried to question him about the Boggart. His head hurt from where Potter had landed a few blows. He took satisfaction in knowing that Potter would be taking headache relief potion as well this evening.
Pansy followed doggedly at his heels, and he could tell that the only reason she wasn’t screaming at the top of her lungs was because they were still in public. He’d barely cleared the threshold of the Slytherin Common Room when she let loose on him.
“A Weasley?” she yelled in a voice so loud and shrill that he was sure Dumbledore heard her. “How could you touch a Weasley?”
“I didn’t.” Draco informed her in as cold a voice as he could muster. Yelling was unseemly. She should know better. “The very thought of touching a Weasley is repulsive. In case you didn’t notice, being saddled with a Weasley as my wife was not my fantasy. It was my worst fear.”
Showing more bravery than he’d ever given her credit for, Pansy stepped forward and poked him in the chest. “If I find out that you’ve been cheating on me with that horrid girl, you won’t be able to father any children with her or anyone else.”
Draco grabbed her hand and glared down at her. “I have never touched Ginny Weasley. The very idea sickens me.”
Pansy’s resolve faltered under the heat of his gaze and she took a step back. “I shouldn’t have doubted you.”
“No, you shouldn’t.” Leaning down, he kissed her. The spark that normally accompanied her kiss was suspiciously absent. He sighed and leaned his forehead against hers. “I’m not fit for company right now. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Pouting, Pansy turned and walked towards her room. Once she’d disappeared from sight, Draco noticed Blaise studying him. “What?” he hissed annoyed at the amused expression on his friend’s face.
Blaise rocked back on his heels. “Pansy missed out on a vital part of your Boggart’s conversation. It wasn’t marrying Weasley that scared you, it was the idea of her cutting you off.”
Draco had the sensation of a Bludger hitting him in the chest. His breath whooshed out, and he stumbled back onto the couch. “That’s not possible.”
Blaise smirked as he sat down and patted his friend on the back. “If it’s any consolation, she’s got it bad for you too.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I was there the day she was eyeing you up on the pitch. I saw how she looked at you and where her eyes roamed. She acted fast to shut up her Boggart. It makes you think she was afraid what it might say.”
Draco rolled this information around in his head. Was it possible? Could he want a Weasley? Could a Weasley want him?”
Ginny followed Harry and Ron back towards the Gryffindor Common Room. She didn’t like the way they were talking in whispers with their heads together. Wanting to stop any conspiring they might be doing against her, she said, “Harry, wait up.”
Harry glance back at her with an uncertain look on his face. “Gin, I’m a little bit irritated with you right now. It would be best if we waited to talk in the morning.”
Feeling her temper spike, Ginny shouted. “Maybe, I want to talk now. Did you ever think of that?”
Harry stopped walking and spoke through gritted teeth. “For once, could we have a conversation in private?”
Ginny stomped her foot. “I have nothing to hide, Harry.”
Anger flashed in Harry’s eyes as he closed the distance between them. “Really? Care to explain why you plan on having half a dozen kids with Malfoy?”
Harry’s words caused Ginny to burst out laughing. “That was his greatest fear, you giant git. I had nothing to do with what he saw.”
Harry looked at his feet, and then he looked at her. He spoke in a quiet, controlled voice. “No, you didn’t. If I remember correctly, your greatest fear was Malfoy flashing his stomach muscles at you. Were you afraid you’d lose control and jump on him? Was that the problem?”
“What?” Ginny yelled, balling her hands into fists. “Where is this coming from? For your information, I’ve seen plenty of men with their shirts off, and I’ve managed not to throw myself at them.”
Ron stepped in to join the fight. “Who have you seen with their shirts off?” he demanded like he had a right to know.
Ginny rolled her eyes and started pointing to men in the crowd. “I’ve seen him and him and him and half the males in the bloody castle. When it gets the least bit warm you all run around with your shirts off. I’d have to be blind not to notice.”
Harry seemed to notice the crowd for the first time. “Gin, let’s get to the Common Room. I’d like to have the smallest audience possible for this conversation.”
Ginny glared at him, but she followed him. Once they were both sitting on a red couch, she reached out to touch his arm. “Harry, it’s sweet that you’re jealous, but there isn’t anything for you to be worried about.”
Harry moved out of her reach. “I’m not jealous, Gin. I’m disgusted. There’s a difference.”
A growl escaped Ginny’s throat, and before she knew what she was doing, she’d hexed Harry across the room. When Ron started to yell at her, he received similar treatment.
“Knock it off, Ginny,” Hermione yelled as she crossed the room to see to her friends.
Ginny was in a foul mood when she walked to breakfast the next morning. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were all refusing to speak to her. Students from all houses were looking at her with amusement. When someone bumped into her, and said, “Excuse me, Mrs. Malfoy,” she thought she was going to have to kill someone. She’d whirled around on the spot, but the perpetrator vanished into the crowds.
She sat by herself to eat, but she couldn’t help t notice the stares she was receiving. She glanced across the Great Hall and saw that Draco was undergoing a similar experience. He was glaring at anyone who spoke to him, and he looked like he was ready to hex Blaise Zabini.
“Staring at your secret love?” Lavender asked playfully as she sat down next to Ginny.
Ginny pointed her fork ominously at the nosy girl. “I’m not in the mood for your games, Lavender.”
“You want to be nice to me, Ginny. I’m tapped into all the latest gossip in the school.”
Ginny took a long swallow of juice to avoid saying something she might regret. “Fine, what do you know? What are people saying?”
Lavender smiled and sat up taller. “Half of the school is rooting for you and Malfoy. They think the whole star crossed lovers thing is really romantic.”
“The star crossed what?” Ginny yelled at a decibel loud enough for the teachers at the head table to sit up and take notice. She sunk down in her seat and spoke in a quiet voice. “People think we’re lovers? That’s sick.”
Lavender arched a carefully manicured brow. “On a shallow, physical level, Malfoy is completely hot.”
“You’re forgetting that he has the personality of an injured Hippogriff.”
Lavender reached out and patted her on the shoulder. “He is the quintessential, brooding, bad boy. He inspires women to want to save him from his plight. I’m sure with the proper...motivation a woman could turn him around. He might even turn into a spy for Dumbledore.”
Ginny choked on her pumpkin juice. She coughed and hacked in an embarrassing manner while she tried to regain her breath. “Are you insane? Have you met his father? He’s going to turn into a mini-Lucius any day now. He’s evil to the core.”
Lavender chuckled. “You need to read more romance novels. He’s only waiting for the right woman to help him escape from his horrible upbringing. Besides, his father is in prison. The right woman could do wonders for Draco. I’d give it a shot, but he never even looks at me. He looks at you.”
Ginny pushed her eggs around on her plate. “He does not.”
“He’s looking at you right now,” Lavender replied in a casual voice.
Looking up, Ginny found herself pinned in her seat by stormy grey eyes. Not wanting to be the one to back down, she stared right back at him. He raised a speculative eyebrow at her, and she felt her face smile completely of its own accord. The smirk he gave her before he went back to his food turned her insides into mush.