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Chapter Twelve: Wish This Would Never End… Summary: No matter what she does... No matter how hard she tries... It will always be the things she loves about him that keep them apart He found her sitting in the Astronomy Tower, looking down to the ground for the first time ever. She heard him approach and let him place his arms around her. “Don’t fall,” he whispered. “Neville fell,” she replied quietly. “Neville jumped. He didn’t use a spell or anything, just…” She stared down at the ground, so many meters below. “Jumped.” Draco rested his head on her shoulder. “Ginny…” he began. “I don’t understand, Draco. I want to live so badly, and I know I may die as a result of the inevitable! Neville had so much goodness that could have stepped into his life- why die when you don’t have to?” “I don’t know.” “He didn’t deserve to die!” she cried, tears welling in her eyes. Draco gripped her by the shoulders and gently turned her around. “Ginny, please.” He thought desperately for something to say, to help her understand and when he finally did, a slight smile curved his lips. “Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?” She laughed through her tears. “Tolkien,” she whispered. “I never thought a Slytherin would read muggle books.” “Au contraire. I thought that perhaps, seeing as you don’t have Neville to quote with anymore, perhaps I would satisfy?” She smiled sadly up at him. “Yes, you might.” *** The Christmas holidays passed in a blur. What was meant to have been a ‘glorious romp’, just Ginny and Draco, had turned into a confusing, grief filled period of trying to come to terms with the fact that Neville was gone. It wasn’t just the fact that he was dead, but that he had done it himself made the despair all the more worse for Ginny. Draco ached constantly for her- not her kisses, but the way he knew she was feeling. The way she wandered around the place like a little lost puppy frightened him, and many was the time he found her in the Astronomy Tower, gazing thoughtfully at the ground. It seemed to him that Ginevra Weasley was lost in her own mind, trapped and trying to find a way to escape. She went to Neville’s grave most days, and Draco always accompanied her. At night she slept in the bed with him. The second night after Neville’s funeral she had tried sleeping in her own bed, but she had woken screaming with nightmares. It was entirely chaste. Draco held her in his arms, and let her cry herself to sleep as she did most nights. In the last week, she became a little more herself. Ginny Weasley had grieved for Neville, and now she was doing exactly what she had done for Harry. She folded up all her emotions and placed them in a little box in the corner of her heart. But this time she did something she didn’t dare nor want to do with ‘Harry’s Box’; sometimes at night, she took them out and cried over them. On the second to last day of the holidays, Draco woke with a feeling of heaviness on his heart. Ginny found him glowering at the ceiling in the way that she had come to realise meant he was thinking of his father. “What’s happened?” she asked softly, this particular morning. “It’s my birthday,” Draco said bitterly. Ginny did not understand. In the Weasley house, birthdays were a celebrated thing, with desserts and favourite meals and presents. “Happy birthday then!” she smiled, kissing him softly on the lips. His reply was short and to the point. “Huh.” “Excuse me?” she said, fighting to keep the amusement out of her voice. “It means,” he said slowly. “That I have to go see my father.” “Oh,” she whispered, understanding dawning upon her. “Yes. Every year I have to go, and every year he reminds me of the bloody prophecy.” Ginny shivered. It was an unspoken rule between them that they did not mention the prophecy at any cost- for it frightened Ginny, and angered Draco. “Anything else?” she asked almost timidly. “Yes, of course. I’m a bleedin’ Malfoy, aren’t I? There’s so much pompousness and ceremony that it would make old Fudge sick.” Ginny smiled slightly again. “Your father makes a speech then?” Draco rolled his eyes. “Naturally.” he stood on the bed and put on his best droning voice. “My son was born- and then whatever year old I am- years ago, and through this time I have watched him mature into a strong willed young man.” He paused. “He said, by the way that he had watched me mature into that when first when I was two. Anyway though… I believe that he is a true Malfoy, and I am proud to say that one day, it is possible that he will be a great leader.” Draco cleared his throat. “Of course, no one’s past is completely clean. Draco’s done his stint with GWA and now-” “GWA?” Ginny interrupted curiously. Draco smiled impishly at her, a rare expression on his face. “Ginevra Weasley Anonymous,” he explained solemnly. Ginny laughed out loud, the first time since Neville had died. Draco smirked. “And now,” he continued. “I am pleased to present Draco with his birthday present. And then he’ll hand me a really boring book and a sack full of Galleons.” Ginny smiled. “Sounds like fun,” she said sarcastically. “Oh, indeed it is,” Draco said rather miserably, fun passing from his face. “Anyway, I’m to go over and visit at ten. And I’m expected to wear formal robes,” he added. Ginny made a face. “Draco, is it possible that your father knows you own a pair of jeans?” Draco shook his head. “Nor my mother. And if they did, they’d find them and burn them. Interfering old twits.” Ginny watched him sadly. “You better go then. It’s half past nine. I’ll be in the Astronomy Tower all day, so you can find me there. Okay?” “Fine,” he sighed. “Damn but I hate seeing my father. I’ll see you later, Ginny.” “Yes,” she nodded. “Bye.” *** At precisely ten am, Draco appeared in the fire of Malfoy Manor. His father was waiting for him in the same room. As predicted, he made his customary speech and handed Draco a musty looking book titled ‘A Wizards Guide to Pond Life’- forgetting that he had given his son the same book last year- and a good deal of money. After once again reciting the prophecy, Lucius began to talk about something that Draco had not anticipated: marriage. “It will have to be to someone it would be impossible for you to love,” Lucius mused. “So not Parkinson, as you two are friends. But it cannot be a mudblood, obviously, nor a half-blood. Who then?” A slight hope leaped in Draco’s heart. “Father,” he began. “I agree with you. Much as I hate the idea, I must make a suggestion. What about the Weasley girl? She’s a pureblood, and she has a reasonably good body so she would be quite presentable for society. If of course-” he wrinkled his nose in false disdain. “We got rid of those rags she wears.” “Absolutely not!” snapped the elder Malfoy. “She is a common blood-traitor, and I will not have such scum marry my son! No, I was thinking something more along the lines of… Millicent Bullstrode?” “No,” said Draco, fury overcoming. “No way. I refuse to marry that… that pig!” “So it’s true then!” hissed Lucius. “I heard rumors of it! You have been consorting with that Weasley girl! It is obvious- you refuse Bullstrode and yet actually dare to suggest Ginevra Weasley! You will not spend anymore time with her, Draco!” “The hell I won’t!” yelled Draco furiously. “You control my life no longer, you hear me?” He grabbed a pinch of floo powder and threw it vehemently into the roaring fire. “Hogwarts castle!” Feeling the fire whirl around him, Draco quickly found himself in a classroom quite close to the Astronomy Tower. Running the distance between the classroom and the tower, he found Ginny leaning on the wall opposite the window. Her eyes widened at the temper he was in and she opened her mouth to say something, but was quickly silenced by his lips over hers. He pushed his tongue into her mouth and she gasped, feeling his body hard against hers. She had never been kissed with so much force and she would have cried had it been anyone save Draco. She could barely return the kiss, but she managed to move her tongue slightly, encouraging him. Without taking his mouth away, Draco pulled her robe over her head, and then pulled off her shirt, leaving her in only her bra on the top half. Her lips felt like they were bruised, and she couldn’t decide whether she liked this rough Draco or not. She whimpered a little but then slowly took her mouth away from his and as he kissed her neck she pulled his robe off him. They sank to the floor and only when Draco was actually lying on top of Ginny, only wearing his jeans (which had been under the dress robes) did Ginny finally come to her senses. “Draco,” she whispered. “Please… not here. Not now.” He kissed her hard once more, and then filling her insistent hand pushing him off her sat up slowly. She suddenly realised how cold it was, and she pulled on the slightly torn sweater back on, watching as Draco just sat there, staring at the ground. She saw goosebumps pricking on his skin and gently, she pulled his shirt over his head for him. “Well,” she finally whispered, feeling a little awkward. He looked up. “I’m sorry, Ginny,” he whispered hoarsely. Tears welled in her eyes, and she moved to sit on his lap, arms going around him and being held just as safely in his arms. “You frightened me,” she murmured honestly. “I know. I was angry…” “Its okay, Draco.” she snuggled into his chest, and realised all of a sudden that he was shaking. She looked up at him and he met her gaze. For the first time his eyes did not look calm or stony or loving or sad, the only emotions she had ever seen in them. They looked as if they had been a smooth sea, and somebody had thrown a large rock into them. They seemed stormy. “You’re shaking,” she whispered, heart breaking a little. “I know,” he said, pulling her closer. “I’m scared.” She stared at him, uncomprehending. Draco Malfoy did not get scared. Ever. Full stop. “Why?” she finally managed to say. “I don’t want to fight in this war. I don’t want to die.” She watched him carefully. “I don’t think anyone does,” she whispered. “Nobody else is told they’re going to die early,” he said quietly. “Every year- every year, Ginny! Nobody else had to grow being perfect. I had to be everything he wanted. Calm, snobby, aristocratic, perfect, perfect, perfect!” His last words accumulated to a yell. “I know, I know, Draco,” she cried softly into his top. “I don’t want to be a younger version of my father anymore!” he despaired. “Draco, you’re not. You-” “How could you know! Draco do this, do that, don’t associate with them Draco, fetch me a cloth Draco!” “Draco, you have to understan-” “Draco, be good, be nice to them, they’re important!’ “Listen to me!” Ginny finally exploded. “I’ve been trying to tell you that you haven’t been like your father since… since you got Goyle off me. Not since then. Lucius Malfoy would have sat back and laughed.” He was staring over her head, so she took his face with two trembling hands and forced him to look down at her. “Draco Malfoy didn’t,” she finished in a whisper. He stared at her blankly for a moment, and then nodded. *** And so the Christmas holidays passed. Draco after skulking around for all of his birthday seemed to return to normal, though Ginny often caught sight of a hidden darkness in his eyes. She continued sleeping in his bed, which caused a confronting situation on the night the students returned. Not feeling like greeting people, Draco and Ginny had returned early to his bed chamber and were lying in his bed, having an avid discussion about whether the muggle band Green Day (both had a passion for it) were rebelling just for the sake of rebelling or were actually trying to speak out against conformity. Draco had just made a particularly dry remark and Ginny was laughing when Pansy Parkinson yelled outside his dorm for him to let her in. Ginny shrank a little in the covers, and looked timidly up at Draco, who nodded reassuringly at her. He reached for his wand and muttering the spell let the door swing open. Pansy took a few steps into the room and then blanched when she saw Ginny there. “You still there, Weasley?” she sneered. “Have you two actually got out of bed since the beginning of the holidays? I suppose not, you would have been too busy sh-” “Shut up, Parkinson,” Draco snapped tersely. “Oooh, being protective of our girlfriend, are we? Haven’t you told her about your rep yet Draco?” Ginny felt Draco stiffen besides her and she studied Pansy, a little confused. “What rep?” she asked bemusedly. A cunning smile spread over Pansy’s features. “Ah, so he hasn’t told you yet. Well Draco, frankly I’m surprised at you… I never thought you would keep a girlfriend in the dark.” “Shut up, Parkinson,” Draco repeated. Ginny felt a little fear creeping over her. “What’s she talking about Draco?” Pansy felt beautiful triumph come upon her. She was not an evil girl; on the contrary, she thought she was doing what was best for her friend. She was convinced that Lucius would kill the girl if he found out, and she knew how much hurt that would cause Draco. Draco was glaring at Pansy and Ginny was suddenly cold in the bed, his warmth for once not comforting. She pulled away a little, so that they were not touching. “Draco?” “Oh dear, this is interesting,” Pansy sneered. “So you haven’t told her about any of the games you like to play at night Drakie dear?” “Parkinson, please,” he whispered. “Begging are we now, Draco?” she laughed. “That’s not a thing befitting a Malfoy.” “What’s going on?” Ginny whispered uncertainly. “Draco, what’s she talking about?” Draco shook his head, unable to answer. Pansy laughed cruelly. “Oh dear Weasel, have we got a sneaking suspicion that lover boy doesn’t just have a separate room to keep aloft from the boys?” Ginny shook her head, eyes wide. “Draco, tell me she’s lying…” “Lying!” Pansy scoffed. “Far from it! Rather I’m under-emphasizing it! Oh come on, Weasley, even you’re not that stupid. Repeat after me, shall we? Draco… is… rather… popular… with… the…ladies!” She laughed at the expression on Ginny’s face. “Ah, but you probably knew that, eh Weasley? Okay, let’s add this to the puzzle. And he doesn’t mind much!” Ginny stared a little confusedly at Pansy for a moment, and then clapped a hand over her mouth as the reality of the statement hit her. “No,” she gasped. “Please, no!” She climbed out of the bed and stood shaking in the cold air. She met Draco’s eyes and saw pain in them. Pansy knew she was on a homerun. “Who was it last, Draco dear?” she asked mock thoughtfully. “Ah, Daphne Greengrass wasn’t it? And before that… Was it Millicent? No, you were always too snobby for her, much as she tried.” She turned to Ginny with a cruel leer. “Of course, I never got to sample his goods either. He’s got this weird thing about doing it with friends… strange, eh?” Ginny’s eyes brimmed with tears. “No!” she cried, before dashing out of the room. Pansy began to laugh. Draco leapt out of the bed and grabbed his wand. “What the hell have you done, Parkinson!” he yelled. “I should curse you into oblivion! If I had time…. Ginny!” he called desperately, running after her. Pansy smiled malevolently and picked up the book resting on his chest of drawers. Settling into the armchair, she prepared herself for a long wait. He would be back… and when he was, Pansy would be there. *** Ginny quickly found her way to the Room of Requirement, and let herself in. Not bothering to take in her surroundings, Ginny shut the door and immediately collapsed into a little ball, shuddering with the power of her sobs. How could she have been so stupid! He must have been… ‘Playing around’ for months. Getting bored of hanging out with the pure, chaste little Ginny Weasley no doubt. She buried her face in her arms. “Er, Ginny?” Looking up at the sound of the familiar voice, Ginny met with the concerned eyes of Harry Potter. Forgetting at once all about her recent disputes with him, she all but fell into his arms. At that moment, what she needed more than anything was a friend, and Harry was prepared to be that for her. She cried and cried into the front of his robes, feeling his arms tight around her, rocking her back and forth on the chair he had somehow got to. “Gin… what’s wrong?” Through her tears and sniffs, Harry managed to distinguish a few coherent words. “Draco… sleeping with…. other girls!” He stiffened for a moment, fury rushing into his bones at the fact that Malfoy dared make Ginny unhappy like this. He knew what Ginny was like. He knew that once she put her loyalty in someone, she held it faithfully there forever. He knew that in some ways she was like a little girl; utterly willing to trust the person, not doubting them at all. To so cruelly have her hopes dashed in Draco as it seemed had happened probably hurt almost as much as Neville dying. “Hey Gin,” he whispered soothingly. “Hey Gin, it’ll be alright.” Repeating the words over and over again until they blurred into one, Harry wondered at what she had told him. Despite his own hatred of Draco, he had always thought that the boy was head over heels for Ginny. He had never seen anyone fall so hard, save perhaps Ron for Hermione. This confused him. At that moment, there was a slight click as the door was pushed open. Standing with a half-smile on his face at the doorway was Draco. He swiftly took in the scene, and Ginny looked up, wiping the tears away with the back of her hand. “Oh,” he said quietly. “I um… I came to tell you it wasn’t true Ginny. I guess- I guess I needn’t have bothered.” He turned and left the room, closing the door behind him. Ginny stared at the place where he had been, realizing what a dreadful mistake she had made. Authors Note: A few things - One, I am terribly, terribly sorry for the long wait. I have become one of those authors I always hated - the ones that never update! Two, you may have noticed that this chapter includes the summary. I'm rather proud of my summaries, so they're all in the chapters if you want to go back and have a look. Finally, I have finished this story on Word! It is seventeen chapters altogether, plus an epilogue. We're almost there!

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