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Summary: Can making the wrong choice for the right reasons make it okay? How Ginevra Weasley stumbled through the next day she would never know. Her eyes ached with the effort of holding back tears and when professors asked her questions she took several minutes to come back down to earth. Every time she saw a flash of green, whether someone walking past or in the library or during a lesson her eyes immediately targeted them… yet it was never him.

After lunch, when she did pass him in the corridor it was worse. She met his eye and he almost smiled, but then Blaise (who was next to him) spotted her and made some remark and he had to plaster a sneer that seemed so real onto his face. It was only his eyes that let her know he didn’t mean it, and she allowed herself to sink into his gaze, dwelling there for what seemed like hours but was only the few seconds it took to pass by him. Then as she left she felt as if her heart was being ripped from her body. It took all her will to stop herself from running into his arms, because she knew he would hold her there and it would all be alright again. But it would never be alright, she reminded herself. The prophecy stopped that.

At dinner, she forced her meal down her throat while nodding meaninglessly at whatever Tara said. Tara Elliot and Ginny had been best friends since fifth year, when Tara had moved here from Ireland. Ginny loved Tara, for she was like the sister that Ginny had never had, but she couldn’t tell even her about the pain she felt now- for Tara had hated the pale boy since she had came and he had teased her because of her affiliation with the Weasley girl.

“Ginny! Earth to Ginny!”

Ginny looked up, startled and tried to smile at Tara, failing miserably. “Sorry, what did you say?”

Tara laughed, and spoke in her soft, lilting accent. “I said, girlie, that you’ve been gloomy all day. What’s the matter with ye?”

“Nothing Tara,” she said quietly, the words sticking to her throat like glue. “I’m just having a bit of a bad day.”

“Aye, I bet it’s all that hangin’ out with Draco Malfoy you have to do.”

Usually, Ginny would have smiled at Tara trying to adopt the British slang terms- like ‘hanging out’- in her old world accent, but now the reference to Draco was too much.

“Maybe. I’m not hungry, Tara. I’m going to go practice for the dueling meeting I have to do later on.”

Tara nodded wisely. “Aye, go get some rest. Your eyes are jest about hangin’ out of your head.”

Ginny stood and left, knowing that Tara was right. She had slept little and fitfully last night, and when she did drop off she had terrible nightmares of her kissing Draco, and him falling dead.

She made her way to the Gryffindor Common Room, walking up to her dormitory. She kicked off her school shoes and pulled off her robes, revealing a pair of black jeans and a white shirt. She hadn’t made an effort to be clean this morning; her hair lay in knotty strands and looking into a mirror on the wall she saw that her cheeks still had tearstains from the night before. She pulled out a brush, and pulled it through her hair, determined that she would pull at least her outward appearance together tonight before dueling. Once deeming that her hair was brushed enough she pulled it up into a high ponytail, and splashed cold water across her face. Using a simple charm she got rid of the dark circles under her eyes- but although it took away all of her looks of tiredness she was still bone-achingly weary on the inside.

She laced up her sneakers then lay back on the bed; sure that Hermione would fetch her before dueling began. She was uneasy, for she knew that while Dumbledore would tutor them for an hour, they would also be expected to practice the new skills on their own for another hour. She had a feeling that Harry, Ron and Hermione, not to mention Draco, would take the idea of ‘practice duels’ to a new level. She knew that Draco still hated the ‘Dream Team’ and though she regretted that they weren’t friends she knew that it was a part of each of the people that would not change.

“Who knows,” she said bitterly aloud. “Hatred for a common enemy may bring them apart.”

“I hope not,” a dry voice said.

Ginny sat up, startled and saw Harry sitting on a bed across from her.

“How did you get up here?” she exclaimed.

“I flew.” he nodded towards the broomstick at his feet.

“But how’d you know which window?” she demanded, angry that her privacy had been intruded upon.

“The night we…” he paused, and looked down. “…Finished I needed to think. So I flew out of my window and went to walk on the grounds for a little. I saw you fly out and memorized the window, should I have to come here.”

“Well why are you here?”

“To take you to dueling,” he replied calmly.

“Why didn’t Hermione come?”

“She could have,” he responded seriously. “But I came because I wanted to talk to you.”

“Harry-” she began, sure she knew what was coming. Every time she broke up with a guy, a couple of days later they came to her and did the whole 'I’ve changed' talk. And every time it broke her heart more to say no.

“It’s not about me, about us,” he said quickly. “It’s about you.”

“What about me?” she said tiredly.

“You’ve been really down all day, Gin.”

“Just a bad day.”

He shook his head. “It’s more than that. What happened last night, Gin, that you went off glowing with excitement and emerged this morning after not coming back to the common room last night- for the second time this week- looking as if someone had died?”

“It was a bad party?” Ginny suggested timidly.

“You didn’t go to a party. Tara and the rest of the sixth year girls came back about an hour after you’d left. I asked about the party and they said that there hadn’t been one.”

“You dared to ask? You thought I lied to you?” she yelled.

“Calm down Ginny. I was surprised to see them back so early- last time you guys had a party you didn’t come back until half past two- rather drunk, despite alcohol being restricted here.”

She didn’t manage a smile.

“Where were you, Ginny?”

She looked into his eyes and had a terrible urge to pour everything out to him, but she knew he wouldn’t understand. Harry Potter wanted so much to help her, she knew, but if he found out about Draco- she shivered. He would tell Ron and they would escort her between classes. Draco would have the wrath of all Gryffindor males upon him, and even with Crabbe and Goyle she doubted he would be able to beat all the sixth and seventh year boys of Gryffindor in a fight. No, she couldn’t tell Harry- instead of helping her he would unknowingly make things worse. That was the trouble with boys, she mused. They thought that you seeing the guy that had made you feel so upset beaten up in a fight would make you feel better.

“Gin?”

She realised that she had been silent, and hesitantly she spoke. “I’m sorry Harry, but I can’t tell you. You would kill h- you wouldn’t understand.”

Harry had perceived that there was a boy involved, but he decided not to say anything more. “Poor Ginny. Okay, I understand. We should go to dueling now.”

She nodded, thankful towards him. Harry’s appearance had helped her think things out. She granted him a watery smile and began to walk down the stairs with him. Her eyes were dull now- she didn’t notice where she was going. She could think of nothing but him; his face flickered through her mind. His voice, saying all the beautiful things he had said was in her head, calling her name... calling her name… calling her name…

Ginny Weasley LISTEN to me!

She jumped as Harry pushed open the portrait, and gave her a quizzical glance, but said nothing. Nervously, she began to think.

Draco?

Finally! Why were you ignoring me?

I thought it was just me.

How could you sound like me?

I had been… thinking about you. Remembering our time together.

Oh.


There was a pause.

You’re late. Your brother and the mud- fine, Granger- are already here.

We’re coming.

We’re?

Harry came and fetched me.

What the hell did he do that for? Are you not capable of walking to the Room of Requirement by yourself?
The thought came harshly, with resentment and anger.

“Harry, I just forgot something. You go ahead, okay?”

“Okay,” he agreed reluctantly.

Well?

Ginny turned- she did not trust herself to be able to walk with him and not cry. Not really Draco, no.

Why not?
The anger disappeared, he was all concern.

Because I start crying if I think by myself too much.

Oh God, Ginny. Are you still walking with Potter?

No. I told him I forgot something… I’ve doubled back and I’m crouched behind a statue.

I’m coming to get you.

No. I’ll be along soon.

It was not a question, Ginny, it was a statement. Which statue?

Beatrice the Babbler.

Okay, wait there.


Ginny crouched and let the tears fall freely, only one thought in her mind: he’s coming to get me; he’s coming to get me. In less than five minutes, Draco was standing there, blond hair falling into his eyes and helping her up. She clung to him, crying into his shoulder, inhaling his intoxicating scent.

“Ginny,” he began, her tears making his robes damp. “Ginny, we have to go and join your friends. Dumbledore will be there in half an hour and we should be early. You have to let go of me.”

She shook her head, resolving to never let go.

“You have to let go,” he repeated. She did not move, just wept into his robes, arms hanging on around his neck. “Your brother is not going to like this,” he warned. She made no reply, and so Draco sighed and lifted her into his arms. Her arms still hung around his neck, with his arm holding her legs and also around the back of her neck, as one would cradle a baby. “Come on then,” he murmured, and effortlessly carrying her he made his way to the Room of Requirement.

Draco pushed open the door and stepped inside, where a few moments of flabbergasted silence greeted him. Then a red faced Ron began to yell. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH MY SISTER MALFOY?”

“I found her crouched behind a statue, crying, Weasel King,” he said smoothly. “She couldn’t walk by herself. Seeing as you brave Gryffindor’s were not there to help her, I found that I had no other choice than to carry the Weaslette.”

Ginny had kept her face turned towards Draco during this, but now she moved and faced her enraged brother. “It’s true Ron,” she whispered. “He did.”

Harry looked at her bewildered. “You said you had forgotten something,” he said numbly.

“I- I had. My wand polish,” she lied on the spot. “But I got um, kind of upset on the way there again so I just stopped for a little rest to bring myself together and I- I couldn’t find the will to go back.”

Draco nodded. “I found her on my way to the bathroom.”

Ron looked hard at each of them, then nodded slowly. “Okay. But what has got you so upset Ginny?”

Harry opened his mouth but Draco interrupted him. “I really don’t think she needs to tell you that, Weasley.”

Harry stared bewildered at him. “You- you know why she’s upset?”

NO!!!! Ginny screamed in Draco’s mind. You don’t, you don’t, you don’t!!!!

“Yes, I do,” Draco replied.

“So.” Harry said coldly. “So. You would tell our worst enemy, Ginevra, and not me?”

You’re name is Ginevra? The thought wandered, amused, into her head.

“Our worst enemy is Voldemort,” she said quietly.

This is your fault! She yelled mentally.

I thought your name was Virginia.

What my name is is of no concern to you! Why the hell did you have to tell him you knew!

Oooh, did I mess up your relationship with dear Potty?

There is no relationship between him and me.


“He is the son of Voldemort’s right hand man!” Harry yelled. Unnoticed, Draco gently placed Ginny on a soft chair and let his right hand stray towards his wand. Harry continued yelling. “He’s probably a Death Eater already! HE’S A TRAITOR TO OUR KIND!”

“That’s enough, Potter,” a cool voice said and Harry found himself looking at the tip of a wand balanced at his neck. “I think you might need a little lesson after that outburst. Laedo V-

“Draco, please!” Ginny’s cry rang out, and Draco’s heart softened. He lowered his wand.

“Watch it, Potter,” he whispered malevolently. “Next time, Ginny Weasley will not be around to change my mind and then…” He smiled cruelly and twirled his wand round on his fingers.

Ron overheard. “Why you little-” he pulled out his wand and…

“Mr Weasley, I think it might be for the best if you put away that wand,” a kind voice remarked. Ron spun around and met the twinkling eyes of Albus Dumbledore.

“Yes sir,” he mumbled.

“I am a little saddened,” the headmaster continued. “I have only been in this room five minutes and already the animosity here is quite startling. I understand that you are not the best of friends but I find it disappointing that although Ginny Weasley could swallow her pride and get on with someone she didn’t necessarily want to, you Harry, who have faced many more awful situations- and you Mr Weasley, Ms Granger, who faced them with him- could not manage to get along for the sake of wizarding kind.”

Harry felt guilt sink deep into his bones. “When you put it that way sir…” he mumbled lamely.

“It does not seem so bad?” Dumbledore suggested quietly. Harry shook his head, and Hermione nodded emphatically. Ron made no gesture but he slipped his wand back into his pocket. “Now, I am aware that I should not be angry, as these are rather exceptional circumstances, but I must warn you against cursing each other. You are here to learn to work together. Mr Malfoy, I am not as disappointed with you.”

Harry and Ron gaped at each other and Draco smirked slightly.

“This is because I have been greatly impressed by the cool way you took this whole prophecy, and the way you have been working with Ms Weasley since then.” Unnoticeably, Draco turned very slightly and raised one eyebrow, exchanging a wry glance with Ginny, who almost (despite her black mood) giggled. Ron looked as if any moment he would commit murder.

“Mr Malfoy, Ms Weasley, I take it you have been practicing your dueling skills?” Dumbledore asked abruptly.

“Ah…” Ginny began. “Not exactly sir. You see, we’ve been too busy snogging in corners to get much work done.” A heavy cloud of sadness descended upon her. There would be no more snogging between her and Draco. Ever…

“Naturally,” Draco finished smoothly. Ginny immediately butted into his mind.

That’s a lie!

Oh, like you haven’t been telling any.

I haven’t! Well… not many anyway.

Yes, I’m sure. Picture of innocence aren’t you?


She haughtily ignored him, but she thought she detected a smirk playing in his mind. She- with a rather superior expression- turned her attention back to the headmaster.

“Well, if you would like to show us your attack and defense modes than. Please just use ‘Expelliarmus’. Mr Malfoy, you are the attacker and Ms Weasley you will be the defender. Dueling positions please!”

Draco and Ginny took the opposite ends at a dueling map that Ginny had only just noticed on the floor. Walking until they were only inches apart, they bowed (both trying to outdo the other in flamboyancy and unwittingly helping Harry catch on that they might be a little more than just civil enemies) and Ginny’s breath caught. The last time she had been this close to Draco he had kissed her. They turned and strode down the end of the mat.

“Wands at the ready.”

They pulled out their wands and held them aloft in the fighting stance.

“One… two…three!”

“Expelliarmus!” yelled Draco, with (thought Ginny) a hint of reluctance in his voice.

“Protego!” With a hissing noise, the red shield folded out of nowhere and stretched. The Expelliarmus spell bounced swiftly off it and Draco had to duck to avoid being hit. Ginny was about to let the spell fade when…

Ginny. Hold the spell for as long as you can. I’m going to throw more spells at you.

Ginny nodded, looking a little pale and Draco hurled another spell at her. Her shield shook a little but stayed in place.

“Look at that,” she heard Hermione exclaim. “She can hold it longer than the usual time. How did she do that?”

As Draco fired the spell at her another seven times, Ginny, exhausted finally let her shield down, at the same time telling Draco in his mind that she was putting it down. Draco had never waited to see the spell hit before casting the next one- and that was what made Harry curious.

“Wait a moment,” he said slowly. “How’d you know when to stop casting the spells? You never stopped before… and she never told you.”

“Yeah,” said Ron, catching on. “Squirm your way outta that one, Malfoy.”

Draco looked uncomfortable. “I’m not sure I’m willing to concede with your uncouth demand, Weasley. Your sister and I…”

“Oh for goodness sake Malfoy, it can hardly hurt telling them can it?” Ginny snapped suddenly. Draco looked at her sharply.

Yes it bloody well can, Ginny Weasley, and if you tell them I will personally wring that pretty little neck!

She continued as if she hadn’t heard his angry thought. “Did you see me raise my hand to my head?”

“Yeah,” said Harry. “I thought you were wiping away sweat.”

“Oh a little of that,” Ginny smiled. “But it is also our… our secret signal showing that I’ve had enough. It’s better than me calling out, because it gives him more time to stop hurling spells at me and it looks more effective… It’s as if we are reading each others thoughts or something.”

The trio did not notice her slight emphasis on her last sentence, but both Draco Malfoy and Albus Dumbledore did and both had trouble concealing a slight snigger.

“Well done. That was a very good performance, the both of you. Now, let’s work on group fighting and some dueling methods…” Dumbledore instructed the trio on how to conduct the Protego charm for much longer as Ginny and Draco had already done, giving the pair some time to work on their dodging skills. Harry’s shield spell kept slipping; mostly because he kept looking over and Ginny and Draco and noting enviously- and suspiciously- how much laughing they were doing, and how Ginny kept tripping over Draco and landing with her legs sprawled over him; and not seeming to care. She only blushed once, he noticed, and that was when they were on opposite sides of the room; but Draco was smirking as if he’d had some input into the blush.

Ginny did not notice Harry’s gaze, and Draco did not care. All of Ginny’s sadness had slipped away, and she had forgotten that after the session they would part again. As long as she was with him, that was all that mattered.

After half an hour of such mucking around, Dumbledore called them over to him, where Ron, Harry and Hermione were standing with rather smug expressions on their face.
“I am going to teach you the Patronus Charm. As Mr Potter, Ms Granger and Mr Weasley all know, the incantation is Expecto Patronum. Now, I am aware that you, Ms Weasley, were going to learn the spell but did not attend that particular DA meeting?” he smiled at her affirmative nod. “And Mr Malfoy you obviously will not have learnt it. Mr Potter can execute a faultless one, so if you would Harry?”

Harry nodded and, smirking at Malfoy, yelled “EXPECTO PATRONUM!!” The silver stag leapt out of the tip of his wand and galloped around the room before fading away. Ron looked smugger and even Hermione was having trouble concealing sniggers- all three were obviously delighted that Draco didn’t know how to do something.

“Now, Ms Granger and Mr Weasley, together if you please.”

“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” Ron and Hermione yelled in unison. Out of Hermione’s wand tripped a fat, furry otter and Ron managed to produce a swirl of silver mist that for a few seconds consolidated into an impressive stallion, which shook his head and cantered before fading back into mist again.

“Mr Malfoy, this is the method. You must think of the happiest-”

“If you don’t mind Professor,” interrupted Draco. “Expecto Patronum!” A silver mist poured out of his wand and in seconds had formed into a Thestral. Harry took a step back, as the horse-like beast turned its head towards him and looked straight at him with shining eyes. The creature shook its head slightly, then stepped lightly into the air and soared to the rooftops, where it disappeared out of sight.

Ginny and the trio had watched this in complete silence and amazement. Professor Dumbledore shook his head slightly, but when he spoke there was some quality that Ginny couldn’t name in his voice- whether it was weariness, or bitterness, or harshness, or coldness or anger. Perhaps it was an obscure mix of all of them. In any case, she didn’t like it.

“Mr Malfoy, who taught you the Patronus Charm?”

“My father sir. This summer.”

“I see. Well, that is a very good Patronus. Now let’s work on yours, Ms Weasley.”

He spent the rest of the lesson teaching Ginny hers, and by the end of the lesson, she was beaming as she had managed to produce a white wolf. When she first had managed to get the mist to form into a shape the wolf had looked straight at her and walked to her. She had put out a shaking hand and stroked it softly and she felt the hard fur under her hand. Harry let out a low whistle, and the wolf turned and snarled at him. It had taken three leaping bounds towards him and had been about to attack him when it had faded. Harry had looked quite taken aback, though Draco and Dumbledore had laughed. Ginny could not help the gleam of revenge in her eyes; Harry had been annoying her with his jealous behavior to Draco.

Finally, the lesson ended. Dumbledore smiled and said that it would “not be necessary for you to practice as a group, just work on your Patronus Charms and Ms Weasley and Mr Malfoy please continue your usual practice”. He left while they gathered their stuff, though Draco leaned back on a chair and seemed to show all the intentions of staying there. Harry nodded curtly to Draco and Ginny managed to give a quick smile, trying to stay the tears that were threatening to come. Ron grabbed her arm and was about to lead her rather roughly out when…

“Ginevra, could I have a word with you please? It’s about our training schedule.”

Shit. Ginny thought desperately. Shit, shit, shit!

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