Chapter 1 : Cycle of Flight
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Disclaimer: Everything you recognise belongs to JKR
A/N: While this story can stand on it's own, I recommend reading "Who's that Girl" first as it will give you a better understanding on how Ginny got to this point. Enjoy
Ginny flew out of the Great Hall as fast as her stiletto clad feet and a full length ball gown could take her. Tears streaked down her face as she ran to some unknown destination, her breath coming in short gasps as her sobs of heartache and exhausted breathing intermixed.
Finding herself at the bottom of the Astronomy Tower, Ginny came to a halt and made a more leisurely ascent in what was very much a replay of a familiar memory. Only this time, she was the one running away from the girl who was living her life and there was no chance that any one would follow her here. Hermione was right now firmly within the embrace of Harry Potter.
Ginny had known for a long time that this was the only conclusion. When Harry had told her that he didn't want to get back together she had been heartbroken. She could understand his reasoning but she still loved him with every part of her being. She hid this from him through, trying to never let on how much she was really hurting.
Then Ginny discovered that Harry was falling for Hermione and she for him. It was the subtleties in their behaviour around each other that first alerted her to their true feelings. She had brought the subject up with Hermione on several occasional and the bright pink blush that rose to Hermione's cheeks told her that what she suspected was true. Through it all though, she had always hoped that Harry would come back to her. Now that Harry and Hermione had finally sealed their love for each other with a kiss, she knew that all hope was lost. It was time to move on from the emotions and feelings from before the war. The experience had changed them all and no good would come from hoping that things would one day return to how they once were.
Ginny emerged onto the tower landing. A slightly chilly breeze whistled through the air causing her to tremble slightly. She went to the edge and peered out over the grounds of Hogwarts. It was a clear night and thousands upon millions of stars gazed down at her and Ginny let the tears flow unabated.
They were tears that covered so much. Tears for her lost brother and friends, tears for her loss of childhood, taken away from her by a power obsessed tyrant afraid of death. They were tears of a broken heart, tears of joy that Hermione had found happiness and tears for the loss of her first love. She would cry all her tears for everyone and everything and tomorrow she would wake up and go on, for if she didn't continue to live, then Voldemort had won.
“Are you okay?” a voice asked from behind, causing Ginny to jump and she clutched at her chest as her heart pounded in fright. She spun around to find none other than Draco Malfoy standing behind her with a surprising concerned look on his face.
“What do you want Malfoy?” Ginny asked angrily, embarrassed that Malfoy had caught her at her weakest.
“I just want to make sure you're all right,” Draco replied. “You just came up here and started balling your eyes out so naturally I'm slightly concerned.”
“Since when have you ever been concerned about a Weasley?” Ginny shot back.
“The war changes us Ginny,” Draco replied simply.
“I'm fine,” Ginny snapped, turning around to look once more over the grounds. Her emotions were raw enough at the moment and the last thing she wanted to deal with was Malfoy.
“Your tears tell me otherwise,” Draco said concerned.
'Would he just let it rest,' Ginny thought to herself. Taking a deep breath, she spun back around to face Malfoy. As evenly as she could she replied “Harry and Hermione just declared their love for each other so naturally, I'm a little upset. Happy?”.
Draco did not say anything but simply looked at her and it was at the moment that Ginny made what could be construed as either the best decision or the worst decision of her life, depending on your point of view. She looked into Maolfoy's eyes. The cold grey she used to know was gone and his eyes instead glistened with a silvery blue light. There was no hatred, egotism or loathing, only compassion, understanding and kindness.
Suddenly her knees grew week, the tears started to flow and she began to crumple into a heap, only to find the strong arms of Draco wrapped around her. He helped to pull Ginny to her feet and her cheeks flushed with embarrassment and possibly something else as well.
“Thank your Draco,” Ginny said without thinking.
“Potter really has an effect on you, doesn't he?” Draco commented as he pulled out his wand and conjured up a bench for them to sit on. He walked her over to it, his arm around her waist and sat her down before taking a seat beside her.
“I've liked him forever,” Ginny admitted without a thought as to who she was talking to. “Ever since I first saw him at Kings Cross. I thought that after the war we would get back together, but things didn't work out that way. The thing is though, I'm not really sure what makes me more upset, the fact that he has moved on or the fact that the war changed so much. Maybe I was simply holding onto him because Harry and I were together before all the recent horrible events happened. Maybe I just want to keep that one thing that links me back to the time before the war. I don't think that is the case though. I really loved him, I still love him.”
Ginny sighed and looked up into the stars. This was the point that Hermione had reached earlier in the year and now she had reached it too. “I sorry,” she sighed “I shouldn't be lumping all of this on you.” Ginny stood to go but a warm hand closed around her own and she sat back down, shocked by the way her heart had suddenly began to race at his touch.
“You need to talk to someone, why not let it be me?” Draco asked comfortingly.
Ginny once again saw that gentle look in his eyes and without meaning to or even knowing what was happening, her heart melted and her body started to tremble ever so slightly. Whether from the cold or from something else, she wasn't sure.
“Here,” Draco said, taking off his jacket and offering it to Ginny, “or you'll freeze.”
Ginny took it gladly and slipped it on. The soft silk was warm against her skin and she could smell the sweet scent of Draco upon it.
“So what brings you out here then?” Ginny asked, needing to get her mind away from Harry.
“I had to escape Pansy. Man is she infuriating,” Draco replied.
Ginny looked at him perplexed. “She's your girlfriend though, isn't she?” While she knew most of the Hogwarts gossip, she wasn't quite so knowledgeable on the relationships within Slytherin.
“She would say yes but I would give an emphatic no.” Draco explained.
“Then why did you go to the ball with her?” Ginny asked curiously.
“Because I didn't have the courage to ask the one girl I really wanted to ask,” Draco replied sadly, “so I finally relented and said I would go with her.”
“So I guess neither one of us has really enjoyed this ball very much” Ginny said, thinking once again of the sight she had seen downstairs. Even Bradley had gone off to dance with other girls during the night.
“That seems about right,” Draco agreed. He smiled and added, “this is probably the highlight of my evening, sitting here with you.”
Ginny blushed slightly and felt her cheeks warm, even in the cool night air. This had been her favourite part of the night too. Although she wouldn't admit it. “So, who did you want to ask to the ball?” Ginny questioned, hoping that Draco had not seen the colour rise in her cheeks.
“She's really pretty, determined and smart. Independent, caring and compassionate. The feeling crept up on me all of a sudden and I tried to deny it for so long because I didn't believe it to be true. Then the point came when I couldn't lie to myself any longer because I had fallen in love with her. It's the way she smiles, the way she flicks her hair, her laugh, the look she gives when she's about to say 'hey you'. I've found myself watching her, silently praying that she would be mine but always knowing that her heart belonged to somebody else.”
Ginny felt sorry for Draco. She had always seen him as someone who got everything they wanted. He seemed so sure of himself and the insecurity and heartache he was telling her about was a side of him she had never seen before.
“What's her name?” Ginny asked, wondering what girl could have such an affect on him.
“For someone who is so clued up on everything in everybody else's lives, are you telling me that you really have no idea who I'm talking about?” Draco enquired with a hint of a smile.
Ginny shook her head, completely mystified about who Draco was referring to. She knew who she wanted it to be, but she did not want to get her hopes up. She had seen him watching her from across the room, she had seen him cast her a rare smile when he thought she wasn't looking. Ginny had been aware that something had been drawing her to Draco all year, but she was a Weasley and he was a Malfoy, her family would never allow such a match and neither would his. So she had cast her feelings for Draco aside, she didn't want to put her heart on the line again. Instead she concentrated her energy on a Ravenclaw who was much less likely to lead to disappointment.
He smiled at her, a warm tender smile that filled her insides with fluttering butterflies. She smiled back, lost in the moment which fate had prepared.
“Would you like to dance?” Draco asked, holding out his hand.
Ginny took it and gladly followed as Draco stood up and brought her in close. Ginny's heart began to race as Draco wrapped one arm around her waist and took her hand in his. His chest felt warm when she pressed up against him and she melted into his embrace.
“It's you Ginny,” Draco whispered into her ear. “The girl I wanted to take to the ball was you.”
Ginny did not say anything. She simply stayed where she was, absorbing the words that Draco had spoken, words she had wanted to hear but had deemed she never would. She slowly took her head off his shoulder and looked deep into his eyes. She wanted to jump for joy, those simply words had filled her body with so much happiness. But this perfect moment was hardly the place for that sort of uncontrolled reaction, so Ginny wheeled in her spiralling excitement and brought herself back to earth.
“I would have said yes,” she replied, breaking into a smile. “I would have said yes.”
The gap between them narrowed and Ginny could feel Draco's warm breath brush her skin, feel his heart beating in time with her own. She closed her eyes as his soft lips met with hers. It was a moment that she had wanted, a moment she never thought she would get. Here at the top of the Astronomy Tower, she was in the arms of Draco Malfoy. They may have had a shaky past but now the war was forgotten, everything she had lost was just a memory and her future now looked bright once more. He may not have been the obvious choice to bring her away from all the dreams the war had shattered, but what was more important was that he was here. Ginny could move on and find peace in the world post Voldemort.
Alone, Pansy walked up the stairs of the Astronomy Tower, wondering where the boy who she had liked since her first year had gone. She stopped dead on the top step, hardly daring to breath as her heart stopped in her chest.
She had found him.
She had always known that Draco's heart would never belong to her, but the confirmation of her deepest fear was still hard to take. Warm tears filled her eyes as she watched the guy she had always loved give his heart to someone else. Her future had been stolen from her and another girl was living her life. Pansy turned away and wiped her tears. She would not cry, she would stay strong. Who the girl was didn't matter. She had lost Draco.
Draco and Ginny broke apart and smiled at each other. She was so happy right now, the moment was absolutely perfect and she didn't want it to end. Ginny felt Draco wrap his arms tightly around her and she lay her head on his chest. All thoughts about Hermione and Harry were far from her mind as they slowly swayed to the beat of their own hearts. There was only one person that she wanted to be with and he was the one holding her underneath the star lit sky.
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed this little story and that it made you feel happier for Ginny. I always felt a little sad for her at the end of "Who's that Girl". Please review, any comments are most welcome.