“Everyone has gone insane,” Ginny complained to Luna as they sat together in the Great Hall for supper.
“Why do you say that?” Luna asked as she strung a few more radishes from her salad onto her necklace.
“It’s been two days since the Boggart Incident. People are still calling me Mrs. Malfoy, and they’re still making up stupid jokes.”
Luna laughed and then said, “Sorry, I was thinking about the joke I overheard in the loo. Why is it a good idea that Malfoys name their children after stars?”
“Luna,” Ginny warned.
“There are only so many regular names, while there are billions of stars. It’s a fertility joke. I thought it was cute.”
Ginny slammed down her cup sloshing her pumpkin juice onto her plate. “That’s not funny. I am not a baby factory. No matter who I marry, I’m only going to have three kids at the most. Just because my mum wanted a whole brood doesn’t mean that I do.”
Blaise raised an eyebrow at Draco. “Have you heard the latest?”
Draco rubbed the bridge of his nose. He’d had a headache ever since the Boggart Debacle. “Damn it, Blaise...”
“Where’s your sense of humor? This one’s funny. You’ve always wanted to buy your own Quidditch team. Now Ginny can just give birth to them. Think of all the money you’ll save.”
Exasperated, Draco shook his head. “Why won’t people let go of this? Why are they so delusional? I would never shag a Weasley once, much less the number of times it would take to create a Quidditch team.”
Blaise looked at his friend suspiciously. “Really, then why have you been watching her?”
Realizing he’d been caught, Draco looked down at his plate. “I was just wondering if she was as hacked off about this as I am.”
Goyle cleared his throat. “Maybe, you should talk to her. The two of you could work up a press release or something.”
All eyes at the Slytherin table turned to Goyle. Draco studied him for a moment. “That was an original thought. I didn’t know you were capable.”
Goyle shrugged. “You never bothered to find out. Most of the time it pays to just keep quiet and play the muscle. Right now, I’m tired of pretending to laugh at all the bad jokes.”
Pansy glared at Draco. “You are not going to talk to that redheaded chit.”
Goyle reached over and placed his large hand over Pansy’s smaller one. “You’re much prettier than she is. You don’t have anything to worry about.”
Pansy blushed and said, “Thank you, Greg.”
Greg nodded. “That’s all right.”
Draco studied the situation and wondered if Goyle had ulterior motives. It looked, for all the world, like the muscle bound idiot was trying to move in on his territory. A commotion at the Gryffindor table distracted him. It appeared that Ginny was trying to drown her brother in a bowl of soup. He smiled, but resisted the urge to cheer her on.
Ginny pulled Ron’s head out of the serving bowl. Noodles and bits of chicken clung to his face and hair.
“Take it back, Ron,” she shouted, her voice shaking with fury.
“No,” Ron bellowed. “Why would there be so many rumors going around if none of them were true?”
Harry pushed his way in between the struggling siblings. “Ron, it’s not your place to say anything. It’s mine.”
Ginny threw her hands up in exasperation. “What is there to say? Nothing is going on between Malfoy and me. I spied on him during Quidditch practice. That’s it.”
Harry looked at her sadly. “You mean nothing’s happened between you two yet.”
Resisting the urge to throttle the Boy Who Was Failing Her Miserably, Ginny took a deep breath and said, “Harry, that’s ridiculous. He’s a Malfoy. I’m a Weasley. We are opposites in every way. Why can’t you see that?”
Harry slumped onto the bench, “You’re both snarky, vindictive, and have terrible tempers.”
“Why thank you for that glowing list of my personality traits. If you think about it, you could be describing Ron. Does that mean he and Malfoy are going to shack up, adopt a couple of poodles, and start listening to show tunes?”
Professor Snape stopped in mid-stride as he was passing by the Gryffindor table. Smacking his hand to his forehead he said, “Fifty points from Gryffindor for placing a visual in my head that will give me nightmares until the day I die.”
Every eye at the Gryffindor table turned to glare at Ginny. “The lot of you can just sod off. Especially you, Harry. I’d just like to add, in case you haven’t figured it out, that we are through.”
“That’s convenient,” Harry muttered.
Ginny shook her head and sighed. “I can’t believe all of the time I wasted on you. Where’s all that bravery gone, Harry? Is it only for use in life and death situations? Doesn’t love mean anything to you?”
Harry frowned. “You never really loved me. You loved the idea of me, but you never really took the time to get to know me.”
“Really? My mother’s shepherd pie is your favorite dish. You tell Ron you love the Cannons, but you’re secretly a fan of Puddlemere United. Your favorite season is Fall, because you know you’re coming back to Hogwarts.” Ginny swiped at the angry tears that were making their way down her face. “Do I need to go on, Harry?”
Harry looked like he was about to apologize. Ginny turned and left before he could make this harder than it already was.
Draco glanced down at Pansy, hoping she wasn’t about to ask him to recite a list of her favorite things. He knew he’d fail miserably. He noticed that Goyle still had his hand over hers. By all rights, he should be threatening to hex the larger man, but he just didn’t feel it was justified.
Blaise cleared his throat and said, “You have to admire Ginny’s tactics. She’s now the sympathetic victim, and Harry is the arse who didn’t realize what he had until it was too late.”
Draco nodded. He looked down at Pansy and Goyle again. “Goyle, can I speak to you?”
Greg leaned over and whispered something in Pansy’s ear, before he stood up and nodded. “Let’s go, Malfoy.”
Once they were back in the Slytherin Common Room, Draco said, “How long have you had feelings for Pansy?”
Greg shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s been a while.”
Draco sighed. “I don’t know her favorite food, her favorite season, or even her favorite color.”
Greg sat down on one of the black leather couches and recited, “She likes French food, winter, and baby blue.”
Sitting down on an opposite couch, Draco thought the situation over. “I’m trying to figure out how we can do this and still save face. It would be best if I broke up with her, and then you could console her.”
“What reason will you give?”
Sitting up tall with a large smirk, Draco said, “I’m a Malfoy. I don’t need a reason to be an arse. People just expect it.”
Greg laughed. “All right. When should we do this?”
“Let’s talk to Pansy, and make sure she’s all right with all of this, and then we’ll stage a scene Saturday afternoon.” A serious look crossed Draco’s face. “There is something you need to know. All of the stuff I bragged about in the locker room was a lie. She told me I could tell people whatever I wanted to save face.” Draco laughed. “She really is a great girl. It will be in your best interest to take good care of her.”
Standing up, Greg said. “I’ll take good care of her. Are you going after Ginny now?”
Shaking his head, Draco walked towards his room. “I don’t know what I want right now. I think I’ll just finish up my homework in my room. Tell Pansy she can stop by to see me if she wants to.”
Ginny was sitting by the lake, when her brother approached her waving a white flag. She rolled her eyes and patted the clump of grass next to where she was sitting.
“I’m sorry about what I said. I never realized you were unhappy with your relationship with Harry.”
“This stinks," Ginny complained. “I wasn’t happy with Harry, but I’m really sad without him.”
Ron put his arm around her shoulders and gave her a sideways hug. “Someone else will come along. If it’s a smirking, blond arsehat, I will raise all sorts of hell, but I really just want you to be happy.”
Ginny looked at her brother. “Wouldn’t an arsehat be a pair of knickers?”
Ron chuckled. “I don’t know. I just always liked the sound of it. Bill uses it quite effectively. Maybe, it works better for him.”
Sighing, Ginny nodded. After a moment, she said, “Do me a favor and write to mum about this. I don’t want to deal with it right now. If she hears from someone else, I’ll get a nasty letter.”