Chapter 1 : An Apparition Error
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A/n: My first ever attempt at a Draco/Ginny; hope I don't mess up majorly.
Ginny Weasley was, more than anything, annoyed. Annoyed with the world, annoyed with her parents, annoyed with her whole family, annoyed with Harry, annoyed with even herself, but more than anything else, annoyed with Draco Malfoy. It was all his fault, she thought with fury. When in doubt, always blame the Malfoy; her father's words from long ago came to mind uncomfortably but she pushed it aside. She wasn't being unreasonable; she was perfectly justified in thinking that Draco Malfoy was the root cause for all her problems; the sole reason for her failure in life.
The war had changed the wizarding world more than it would ever recognize; the sudden and complete lack of something to fear, something to fight against had made everyone go bloody bonkers; Ginny thought with distaste. Why was the world suddenly devoid of any emotion other than love? Ginny swore colorfully under her breath; what happened to friendship, family and all that jazz? Why did everyone around her suddenly want to fall in bloody love?
Placing the butterbeer in her hand on the table with a thump, Ginny rose from the bar and with a final wave to Hannah, who owned the pub, walked out. Maybe the fresh air would clear her head. Even Hannah, Ginny remembered sourly, was dating Neville. Neville, who was the most awkward, social-disaster-on-two-feet person in the world. Ginny shook her head to clear the bitter thoughts; Neville was her close friend and deserved every happiness life could give. It was just she, Ginny Weasley, who didn't; her mind stubbornly focused back on her disappointment.
After the war, Ginny had been in no state to think of herself; her family was teetering towards the edge of the cliff. Everyone had someone to mourn and it made them careless with words and the easy love that had flowed in the family frosted over. Fights and accusations became the norm rather than the exception and it fell to her to maintain the peace and keep her family from estranging themselves from each other. Though she didn't like boasting, Ginny would honestly say that she achieved the objective but it left her little to no time for herself; she had her own mourning to do but her family…Ginny never got around to it, till date.
Ginny shook her head to dispel the thoughts of the early days after the war; it had been a nightmare, yes. But nightmares always ended; she had woken up long ago. But Ginny had realised that she hadn't merely gotten over the pain of losing people; her ability to love, to belong was gone too. People from her past made her cringe; reminded her of too many things she wished to forget. She always saw the angry shouting faces, not the smiling adoring ones before that; it seemed so long ago; a lifetime before.
Deciding to take her time off, Ginny had resolutely made herself try out for the Holyhead Harpies. She had been the unbeaten Chaser for them for three years; their youngest player, before she had left. She had gotten to a stage where if she had been asked to sign one more autograph, she'd have picked her hairs out. Too many people; too many resemblances. She had left the wizarding world entirely for almost six months, hiding in Muggle London, even living in France (with indirect, unappreciated help from her sister-in-law) for a bit. The entirely new surroundings and people excited her and she was even able to forget her past to an extent; the only person from it she allowed in was Gabrielle, Fleur's sister. Gabrielle had been stubborn and intruding and bold and an endearing friend when she had badly needed one. Her outlandish manners and easy temper had brought Ginny out of the grave shell she had made for herself. Ginny couldn't regret a minute of her stay with her; she had soon begun looking forward to her company and Gabrielle was too cheerful and funny for anyone to hate, she had discovered. She almost forgot that she had a life back in England. Only for a while, as always; soon the homesickness began to nibble at her and she even began dreaming of her mother's cooking and everytime she smelt a soup boiling, she thought of her mother with longing. Any boisterous laugh sounded like her brother's. Every Muggle object she saw around her reminded her of her father's fascination with them. She saw Hermione in every book shop and Harry's face on every bespectacled person.
It didn't take her long to pack her stuff and return home; the only thing she regretted was Gabrielle, who held onto her like a child would with its mother. She even reconsidered, looking at Gabrielle's lost face; she wasn't sure how she would be greeted, either. But the doubt didn't linger for long and she did return, one day. In her absence, the wizarding world had undergone a lot of change. The perpetual despair that hung in the air was gone; even the sadness that had lingered had disintegrated, a cheerful aura engulfing its place. Nobody seemed to be worried about family members being late; they wouldn't end up dead or missing now. Most of all, she found that in her absence, her family had managed to grow stronger and closer and hadn't crumbled. Her worst fears rendered purposeless, Ginny was surprised to see that even Percy had become an integral part of the family. Wary at first about how she would be received, Ginny was delighted to see that nothing had changed; not her family who greeted her with the same warmth that she had grown up with, not her friends who merely slapped her before embracing her; everything was the same. Everything, everything, except Harry.
Ginny didn't blame him to date; she knew it was insensible to have expected him to wait for her for this long. Even if he had, which Ginny knew was more than possible, she wasn't sure she would have gone back to dating him. She considered Harry second to none but she knew without a doubt now that he wasn't for her. She had changed; the years after the war and the isolation had taught her, if nothing else, her own worth. While she might have been happy to live in a relationship where she'd always be protected and pampered before, she couldn't help but shudder a little at it now. She wasn't compromising herself for anything, she told herself firmly.
But she couldn't accept the fact that Harry had a girlfriend either. She had accepted earlier that part of it was her own concerns for him. There had been a long line of girls waiting for him after the war but Ginny knew she would be foolish if she even considered Astoria Greengrass that way. Sadly, right after her first meeting with her, Ginny knew she was perfect for Harry in a way she never would have been…
"Astoria this is…" Astoria cut Harry's introduction short with a wave of her hand. Grinning at her disarmingly, Astoria literally flew into her and Ginny would have been thrown back if Astoria hadn't been so light. Being hugged this tightly, by a stranger, was a foreign feeling to Ginny and it took her a minute to hug her back. Drawing back, Astoria observed Ginny's face intently and then turned to Harry, "Now I see."
Lifting her eyebrow at Harry, Ginny was distracted by Astoria's next words, "Harry told me when we first met that he couldn't bear to be away from you; that he missed you like hell. I didn't believe him then, but I've heard so much about you and now that I've finally gotten to see you, I think he was understating things a bit."
Shocked, Ginny took sometime to recover enough to ask, "You…You've heard about me?" she asked incredulously.
"Show me someone who hasn't heard about Ginevra Weasley," Astoria replied easily, adding in a mysterious voice, "And I have sources you won't even imagine about."
Grinning now, Ginny couldn't help but be impressed by Astoria; she was so striking and jovial Ginny found it impossible not to like her, "So did you fly into Harry the first time you met him too?" she asked with a wicked smirk, but Astoria flushed lightly.
"Actually, I was quite drunk and I bumped into him, spilling all my Butterbeer over him," she admitted with a bashful smile, exchanging glances with Harry.
Ignoring the light pang in her heart at the shared look, Ginny inquired, "Care to elaborate or shall I assume myself?"
Collecting himself, Harry said in a frightened voice, "You'd better tell her, Tori. Ginny has the vividest imagination I've seen."
Chuckling, Astoria had elaborated the tale to her in her own flamboyant manner, making Ginny laugh all through the evening. When they had parted for the night, it hadn't been without a promise to meet again. Despite her firm resolution to dislike her, Ginny found herself raring to meet Astoria again and she was able to think about her and Harry without flinching, which was surprising. Wasn't she supposed to be still in love with him?
Ginny sighed as she recounted their history; it wasn't all that romantic, but it had been the base for such a strong relationship. But what about me? Ginny wondered; where did this leave her? She knew she hadn't forgotten Harry completely; she doubted she ever could. So what did she do now?
Blame Malfoy the answer came easily and promptly. It was he who hadn't been able to hold onto his fiancée after all. A woman as vibrant as Astoria with the emotionless ferret? Ginny knew she would have saved Astoria from the fate at any cost. No-one deserved punishment like that. But he, unknowingly or not, had destroyed her life. Ginny couldn't reason how, but she was sure that Draco Malfoy had pulled the strings leading to it.
And now they were getting married; married. And Ginny was going to be one of the bridesmaids. How fabulous! Ginny giggled incoherently, the alcohol starting to show its effects. There would be lots of pink and flowers and tears and food and music and dancing and wine and…and where would she be? Hiding behind a curtain crying?
No she wouldn't be that weak; she wouldn't ride a dragon into the tent to spoil the wedding either; she wouldn't do anything unreasonable. She would just yell at Malfoy to make herself feel better. In her drunken stupor, Ginny spun around and felt herself landing in snow before she lost conscious. How did snow suddenly appear on the front door of her apartment?
A/n: Qualm a little girl's doubts about her writing? Please?