Chapter 12 : Chapter 12
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Disclaimer: I still don't own it, but I bet if I save my money for, like, a thousand years, I could afford to buy something! Maybe Draco!! Hehe!
Over the next couple of weeks, the vision of the littlest Weasley’s smile continuously popped into Draco’s head. The memory of her warm brown eyes looking up at him in that unguarded moment. It was actually very frustrating. There was no escape from her.
He would be writing an essay or brewing a potion and she would appear in his head, out of the blue. No matter what he did, it was like she was haunting him. She was even there in his dreams, the intrusive little minx. He wanted to rip out his hair!
One more class and I’ll have two whole weeks of ‘freedom,’ Draco thought as he pulled out his Dark Arts books. I wish I didn’t have to go home. Just remembering what was coming pulled his face into a dark scowl.
His father had always taught him that Malfoy’s were proud and did not take orders from anyone. Then he goes and aligns himself with another who is hell-bent on ruling the entire wizarding world. It was so far against everything that Draco couldn’t even begin to fathom why his father would want to put himself beneath anyone else. Especially someone who, to all appearances, was less than human.
The lesson began and Draco tried hard to bring his thoughts around and concentrate. It was hard though, and, before long, he was distracted by a soft sound to his right. He looked up to see a tall, dark-haired beauty smiling and waving at him in obvious adoration.
Almost reflexively, and fully against his will, Draco began to compare her to Ginny Weasley: nice smile; but a bit toothy. Blue eyes… okay, but so boring and cold. Hair’s a bit dull. I prefer red anyway. Then he caught himself. How ridiculous! Of course I don’t!!
He’d caught himself doing that more frequently than he cared to acknowledge. Every time he saw her in the corridors, he’d feel an urge to make her smile at him the way she had beneath those trees again. Then he would catch himself looking at her and blush (no, not blush, Malfoys don’t blush), causing him to come to his senses.
She was a Weasley, after all! What did he care if she had a pretty smile and her eyes sparkled when she was amused? What did he care if her hair was vibrant and soft and just begging to be touched? Right.
Draco shook himself angrily. What the bloody hell is wrong with me?! That fall out of the tree must have knocked me loopy!
He forced his attention back to Professor Carrow at the head of the class. He refused to let his mind wander from the subject again. By the time the hour was up, he had a headache and felt irritable. Well… more irritable than before, anyway.
Draco had decided long ago that he didn’t like learning about the Dark Arts rather than how to fight them. Being taught every day about torture methods and evil magic, while completely in line with his early study at the feet of his father, left a bad taste in his mouth. He wished things would go back to the way they had been; before Voldemort. Of course he could never voice these thoughts.
Sighing, Draco gathered up his things. He headed to the Great Hall and ate his dinner in silence, not noticing the concerned gaze of a certain red-head who had been in his head for far too long. Whenever anyone tried to talk to him, he glared at them moodily. Finally, thankfully, they all shut up and left him to brood in peace.
Draco didn’t sleep that night, not even for a moment. He lay awake in his four-poster, staring blankly at the ceiling. Fragmented thoughts chased each other through his restless mind. What would Voldemort have for him to do? How would he get out of this mess? Why couldn’t he get the image of Ginny Weasley out from behind his eyelids? Gah! Her again?
Morning came at long last, bringing with it the memory that in just a few short hours, he would be back at Malfoy Manor. His father would, no doubt, still be angry at Draco’s ‘incapableness;’ but also pleased that the Dark Lord was still singling him out. Draco found himself dreading every aspect of it.
Blaise Zabini threw open the curtains surrounding Draco’s bed. “Get up, sleepy head!” he yelled. His eyes fell on Draco’s face and his own froze. Taking a hasty step backwards, he cursed violently. Draco could just imagine how he must have looked.
“I’m not hungry, Blaise,” he said in a surprisingly steady voice. “You go on without me.”
Blaise backed away without another word and darted through the door, Crabbe and Goyle on his heels. Shock and more than a little fear was evident on their faces.
Draco groaned and rolled out of bed. His muscles were stiff and his headache hadn’t gone away, thanks to his sleepless night. As he grabbed the remainder of his belongings to throw them into his trunk, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. What he saw made him sigh.
The face looking back at him was completely unrecognizable. His eyes were bloodshot and squinted. His skin was tight and grey. His shoulders were hunched and his arms slack. The only feature remaining to identify him as Draco Malfoy was his silvery-blond hair hanging in a tangled mess about his face.
Draco spent the next half hour just forcing his face into its usual Malfoy smirk. He was pleased with his success. No one would notice a difference unless they looked really closely, which he had no intention of allowing anyway. Well, maybe his red-rimmed eyes, but what could he do about that?
He threw on some clothes and took great care to return his hair to its normally perfect order. He felt confident that he could fool everyone. He sneered at his reflection. Yes. He looked perfectly normal.
Draco grabbed his luggage and dragged it behind him out of the dungeons. They would be loading the carriages before long, and Draco wanted to ensure that he would get a comfortable seat. He was walking through a deserted corridor when a hand shot out of a darkened doorway and grabbed his arm, yanking him into an empty classroom.
He opened his mouth to yell, but it was quickly covered by a small hand. “Shut up, Malfoy!” hissed a soft, feminine voice. A very familiar voice with a hard edge buried just beneath the surface. “Weasley?” he tried to ask through her hand. It ended up sounding more like “Meeshlim?”
The hand was removed slowly. “Don’t yell,” she said, almost questioning.
Draco nodded to let her know that he wouldn’t. “Lumos,” he muttered as soon as she released his mouth. The tip of his wand emitted as soft, bluish glow, revealing Ginny’s halo of red hair and her brown eyes, blinking in the sudden light.
“What do you want, weasel?” He tried to pull his arm free, but she had a firm grip. He wasn’t trying that hard anyway, for some reason. He mentally shrugged that off. Lack of sleep does strange things to a person, apparently.
She blushed deeply at his question. Why was she blushing? She’d grabbed him, for goodness sake! “I just… I wanted…” Ginny stammered.
She looked so helpless and embarrassed in that moment that Draco found himself putting his hand on her shoulder. He stared at it for a minute before shifting his gaze back to her face. “What is it?”
Ginny glanced up and met his gaze. “Are you going to be all right?” she asked quickly, almost as if she were forcing herself to get it out before she changed her mind. He could see uncertainty and concern in her eyes.
Caught off guard, Draco blinked at her for a moment. “What do you mean?” he asked once he’d found his voice. Not too many people… okay, no one, really… cared to ask him if he was all right. Coming from her, someone he’d hated and made fun of all of his life, it was even more confusing.
“With your father. Are you going to be all right?”
A wild moment of panic gripped Draco before he wrangled it in. She could not have possibly found out. “My father?” he repeated. “Why wouldn’t I be? I have nothing to fear from him.”
“But You-Know-Who… Your letter said…” Even in the dim light, he could see her face turning a brilliant shade of red that was really quite attractive as her eyes grew wide as saucers. “I mean…”
“You read my letter?” Draco asked, incredulous. He didn’t even care that he’d cut her of. “Why would you do that? Even for a Weasley, that’s low.”
Ginny pulled herself up to her full height, which wasn’t much, seeing as the top of her head only just reached his shoulder. “You were unconscious on a couch!” she snapped. “I thought if I could discover the reason for your drunken state, I could help you better! I wasn’t doing it to sneak into your private affairs or anything!”
Draco leaned his head back against the wall. She made a good point. He had tumbled down a flight of stairs to land at her feet, unable to pick himself up to get to his common room. He couldn’t fault her for reading the letter. He would have done the same thing if he’d had to take care of someone all night long.
“I’m sorry,” Ginny whispered.
He sighed and looked back down at her. He was surprised to see a tear making its way down her cheek. A strange twisting sensation pulled at his chest. He lifted his thumb and gently brushed the tear away, lingering, perhaps, a bit longer than necessary on her smooth skin. He hadn’t meant to, but he didn’t like seeing it there for some reason, and his body seemed to have taken on a mind of its own today.
“Don’t… Don’t cry,” he told her quietly, his breath catching in his throat. He let his hand drop down to her shoulder and resisted the urge to hug her. Malfoys do not hug anyone, especially Weasleys or Gryffindors, for any reason.
“I really didn’t mean anything. I’m sorry,” she said again, her gaze still fixed on her shoes. Had her hair always been so bright and… and… nice?
“I know. It’s all right,” he found himself saying. Like his mouth had just decided to go off without him. Why not, though? Everything else had. He hadn’t run off when she first grabbed him and he hadn’t hexed her when she admitted to reading his letter. He couldn’t get any more insane than that.
She looked up and met his eyes. Her own widened suddenly, an expression of shock and surprise filling them, and, before Draco could say a word, she bolted out the door.
“Why does she always do that?” he said to the empty room as he let himself drop back against the wall.
A/N: There! I hope you like it 'cause, well, that's why I write it. I know most ff authors say they write it for their own enjoyment, but for me, if my readers don't like it... I don't like it. So go push that nice little review button down there and give me your honest opinion! Thanks to Life after death and Dracoxoxo for reviewing all the time. You rock, guys!
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