Night had fallen, and Draco was back in his room, putting the last of his stuff away. He messily jammed his last sweater into a cupboard and went to shower.
As he entered the bathroom and got into the shower, he couldn’t help but thinking of a particular redhead. He kept imagining those sleek legs, perfect curves, her fiery red hair, and her soft features. Eventually, he had to turn the water cold to cool himself off.
Her eyes were so beautiful; they were a deep chocolate color, and even without make up she looked priceless. He tried to shake her from his thoughts, but couldn’t do it. Draco Malfoy was actually crushing on a Weasley.
He snapped out of his thoughts when he heard someone knocking on his door. Quickly, he dried off and put on his silk pajamas and went to answer it.
Harry sat in his room, quietly polishing his Firebolt. He had always enjoyed taking care of his broomstick ever since he’d gotten his Nimbus 2000 in his first year. It had become more of a ritual now than an actual chore. It helped him take his mind off other things that were going on in his life, but today, it was failing miserably.
Nothing Harry did could remove that beautiful redhead from his mind. That smile, those mischievous brown eyes, and that beautiful face. All he could do was think about her and about what an idiot he had been.
Harry remembered that day in his sixth year when he had told Ginny that he didn’t want Voldemort to know how close they were. He had broken up with her, and that was the hardest thing he had ever had to do. He had spent many nights thinking of her then, but always had the hope that as soon as Voldemort was defeated, they’d get back together. Then, after that fateful night when the greatest dark wizard of all time was killed, Harry, Hermione, and Ron had ended up at St. Mungo’s with hordes of reporters from all over the world. Harry recalled later that morning when the whole Weasley family had come to visit him. Mrs. Weasley had been crying, while everyone else had been praising Harry and showing him newspapers from all around the world with his face on the cover. When they all had left, one figure had stood waiting at the back of the room…Ginny.
She had looked so beautiful that Harry had thought he was dreaming.
Without a word, Ginny sat beside Harry’s bed and leaned in for a kiss. But for some reason which Harry never figured out, he turned his head leaving Ginny to kiss his cheek. She had come to see if there was anything between them, and she had gotten her answer. Tears had welled up in her eyes and Harry couldn’t even look at her. She had left without a word, and Harry knew then that it was over. After a few months, their relationship had built up again, but only as friends…nothing else.
Today, eight years later, they were close friends, but Harry’s heart still remained incomplete. He never truly understood how a teenage crush had built up into such deep love, but it had. It had built into a love so deep that he could never have imagined.
Draco walked over and opened his bedroom door to find Mrs. Weasley smiling kindly.
"Draco, dear," she said warmly. "I brought you some extra blankets just in case you get a bit chilly."
Draco smiled and took the blankets from her. "Thank you…Mrs. Weasley, may I ask you something?"
"Did you receive any letters for me today?"
"I don’t think so. The post usually arrives in the mornings…are you expecting a letter?"
"Um…yes. It’s nothing urgent, just something from a friend at the Ministry."
"Well, dear, I’ll let you know as soon as I get the letter. Goodnight, Draco."
Mrs. Weasley nodded and walked down the hallway and up the stairs to her own room. Draco closed the door and remembered his own mother. She was currently living in Italy, in a beautiful villa on the countryside. Like in England, the Wizarding community was separated from the Muggle community, and Italy had its own Ministry of Magic as well.
It had turned out that Lucius had slowly, but surely, been controlling Narcissa with severe dark magic. After he was sentenced to life in Azkaban, the magic had been broken and Narcissa was freed from his hold, but was weak and unwell. Healers from St. Mungo’s had suggested that she should be given some fresh air and serenity, which is why Draco had bought her a beautiful place in Italy where she could rest.
Draco remembered his nights as a child when his mother used to tuck him in and stay with him until he fell asleep. He remembered her beautiful satin robes which were always so soft against his face as she tried to put him to sleep.
Tonight, Draco would have to sleep without those soft robes and without the warmth of his own mother. But something about the Burrow made him feel more complete than he’d ever felt in his lavish house.
"Ginny! Wake up!"
Fred and George were squirting water on Ginny’s face as she awoke from her sleep. The sunshine from outside flooded the interior of the room, lighting it up. Ginny checked her bedside clock, which read 11:12 a.m. She got up angrily and glared at her twin brothers.
"What do you want?" She rubbed her eyes and yawned, but her voice remained stern and steady.
"Get downstairs! Hurry!" Fred was yelling at her excitedly.
"Why? What happened?"
"You won’t believe it," George said. "Even we couldn’t believe it when we first heard it!"
"Ron and Hermione are going to have a baby!"
Ginny’s fatigue vanished immediately as she jumped out of bed. She looked in disbelief at her two brothers. "Are you serious? I hope this isn’t one of those stupid jokes!"
"We’re bloody serious. Ron told Mum this morning and she practically hugged him to death."
"Oh my God! I’m going to be an aunt! This is so great! Are they downstairs?"
"Yes…hurry and go!"
Ginny threw on a pink robe over her pajamas and darted down the stairs to the living room. Mrs. Weasley was there hugging Ron and Hermione to death, while Bill and Charlie were smiling along with Percy. Harry was immersed in the excitement and celebration as well, and even Draco seemed to be happy. Athena and Fleur were talking excitedly as Mr. Weasley was patting his son’s back. He saw Ginny run in and smiled at her.
"I take it that you’ve received the good news?" He smiled at his daughter.
"Of course! This is perfect…a cute little baby!"
Ron and Hermione managed to wiggle out of Mrs. Weasley’s grip and turned to face everyone in the room. Ginny ran over and hugged her brother tightly. "Congratulations!"
"So," Athena began excitedly, "when is the baby due?"
"Well," Hermione started, "With a Muggle, it’s always nine months, but with witches it’s different. We’re going to St. Mungo’s at noon to find out."
"Well, there’s not much time, then," Mrs. Weasley said. "You two had better get ready! I’ll set some breakfast. Oh this is so exciting! My little Ron is going to be a father!" Mrs. Weasley bustled out of the room and into the kitchen.
"Oh my," Mr. Weasley said. "I guess that would make me a grandfather! Just imagine…in a few months there’ll be a little boy or girl calling me ‘Grandpa’."
"Do you two want a boy or a girl?" Bill asked.
"Well," Ron blushed. "I’m not quite sure…you know…we haven’t really had that much time to talk about this!"
"Well, how long have you known about the baby, Ron?" Harry asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, two weeks, but we've spent so much time discussing how to tell you that we haven’t really thought about it."
"I ‘ope it iz a girl," Fleur exclaimed. "Zey are so much more mature zan zey boys."
"Hermione," Percy asked. "What do you want? A boy or girl?"
"Well," Hermione said pensively, "I’ve always wanted a little girl, but a boy would be absolutely adorable too."
"Well, either way," George said as he joined the rest of the family downstairs with Fred, "we know that Ron’s done good." He winked at Ron who blushed furiously. His hair was almost the same shade as his face. Everyone laughed as Mrs. Weasley rushed back in holding some toast and butter.
"Here you go, dear," she said as she placed some buttered toast into Hermione’s hands. "Something dry for breakfast will help ease the morning sickness."
Hermione started to nibble on the toast as Ron looked at the clock which read 11:50 a.m. "Hermione," he said, "I think we'd better get going."
"Alright then, I’ll just finish the toast when we get there."
"Good, so do we Apparate into the waiting room or in the Healer’s office?"
"Ron, you idiot," Athena said. "Pregnant women can’t Apparate, nor can they use the Floo Network. You have to hold on to Hermione and then she’ll Apparate with you."
Ron sighed and nodded. "Alright, well, we’ll be going now." He grabbed onto Hermione’s hand. All the girls in the room started to smile. Ron blushed one last time before he waved his wand and the both of them disappeared.
Ginny sat in her room in the attic, thinking about the wonderful joys of having a baby. She had always had a soft spot for children in her heart; they were always so cute and so appreciative of all the little things people did for them. She was immersed in her own thoughts when she heard a gentle voice call her name from the other side of the door.
She knew only one person with such a kind and soothing voice. "Hold on, Harry. I’ll be out in a minute!"
She walked over to the door and opened it, only to reveal that standing at her doorway was not Harry, but in fact, Draco. Ginny couldn’t believe that she’d mistaken Draco for Harry.
Draco was smiling slyly and looked unnecessarily perfect in his black silk pajamas that clung to his body, revealing his toned physique. "I’m not Harry," he said softly.
"Oh… I know…I just thought…" Ginny mumbled like a fool and then turned to face Draco again. "Is there something you needed?"
"Not particularly," he said. "I was just walking by and happen to hear you pacing around your room."
Ginny tried to read Draco’s expression and returned his sly smile. "You were just casually patrolling the top floor that happens to be empty except for this room?"
"Pretty smart, Ginny," he remarked.
"So what is the real reason you’re here?"
"Alright, well I figured that I’d check to see if you were asleep, and you weren’t. Since you weren’t asleep, you were probably thinking of me, and if you were thinking of me, then I thought you might want to talk about it some more."
Ginny stared, confounded. "I didn’t really understand what you just said, but I was not thinking about you." She smiled at him and let him into her room.
"Well then, what were you thinking of?" Draco took a seat beside Ginny, who sat on her soft bed.
"Well, if you must know, I was thinking about the baby."
Draco looked disappointed. "Thinking of names, I suppose?"
Ginny shook her head. "I was thinking about when I would have my own baby."
Draco was surprised. "You’ve planned this already?"
"Of course not! I was just thinking about it."
"Shouldn’t you consult your boyfriend about this?"
Ginny was taken aback by the question. She thought for a moment about her answer, and saw that Draco had leaned in, and was listening intently and patiently for her response. She could see the anticipation in his eyes and decided to tell the truth.
"I…I don’t have a boyfriend."
"Oh." Draco’s eyes lit up with excitement. "Well, that’s too bad."
"I don’t really care about it that much. I’d rather focus on my career."
"You work at Witch Weekly, right?"
"Yes, how did you know?"
"I figured that if I’d be spending the holidays with your family that it might be good to know a few things about each of you…you know…to fill those awkward silences."
"So you stalked us?"
"I did not stalk you, Ginny. Relax. Can we talk about something else, maybe?"
"I guess so…um…why isn’t your girlfriend spending Christmas with you?"
"Pansy Parkinson…I write for Witch Weekly, Draco. It’s not very hard to get in on the gossip."
"We broke up a few weeks ago. She wanted to rush in and have kids while I wasn’t ready yet."
"Oh, I see." Ginny rolled her eyes and scoffed.
"What do you mean, ‘you see’?" Draco asked inquisitively. "And why did you roll your eyes at me?"
"I know your type, Draco. The kind that leads a girl all the way through the relationship, making her think that she’s getting a committed guy, and then you just leave her for someone else."
"That’s not true. I broke up with Pansy because I didn’t love her."
Ginny was taken aback. "What?"
"A Slytherin is, after all, a Slytherin…even after Hogwarts. Pansy wanted to have children only because she would get more in the divorce settlement if we ever got married."
"How’d you figure that?"
"Only a Slytherin can understand the mind of an evil gold-digger."
Ginny smiled shortly to herself and looked back up at Draco. "I…I’m sorry," she said softly. She placed her hands on Draco’s and could feel the warmth as he interlaced his fingers within hers. "I just can’t believe that you’ve changed."
"Well, I feel extremely hurt," Draco said.
Ginny felt a pang of guilt hit her. She had no idea that she had offended Draco in such a manner, but then she looked into those pale eyes and saw mischief dancing around in them. "Oh really?" she smirked.
"Absolutely!" Draco said indignantly. "I won’t forgive you."
Ginny smiled. "Well, what do I have to do to make it up to you?"
Draco looked at Ginny and thought about his answer. He held his breath and crossed his fingers as he asked his question, hoping that she would say yes. "Have dinner with me."
Ginny was stunned at Draco’s request. She had expected him to dare her to sing a show tune during dinner or something…but this, she had not been expecting. Ginny replied slowly, "I…I don’t know what to say."
"Say yes," Draco said.
"Draco, I would love to say yes…" Draco’s eyes lit up, but then died down again realizing that Ginny’s sentence wasn’t finished yet. "But…I can’t."
"Why can’t you?"
"It would just be too weird. I haven’t even had a chance to adjust to this new you. I mean, even now when I look at you, I remember you jinxing me in the hallways at Hogwarts or ripping my bag open."
"Ginny, you know that I’ve changed," Draco said softly.
"I know, Draco, but I just need a little bit of time. This is also way too soon. I mean…a date?"
"Okay then, don’t think of it as a date," Draco said stoutly. "Think of it as the favor you owe me."
"What favor?" Ginny asked.
"You know, when you lost that bet about picking the door, you owed me a favor. Think of this dinner as me asking for it now."
Ginny laughed. "You’re kidding me, right?"
"I am not!" Draco said indignantly. "Okay, Ginny, just listen to me. Are you planning on eating dinner tomorrow night?"
Ginny nodded, still slightly confused as Draco continued. "Well," he said, "if we were to casually end up in the same place for dinner, say the famous restaurant The Green Emerald, then I assume it would be okay if we sat together."
"Hm…" Ginny thought about it for a moment and smiled. "I think I’d rather bump into you at the small café in Diagon Alley called the Witch’s Brew at 8:30 tomorrow night."
"That sounds fine to me," Draco said casually, but couldn’t mask the excitement in his voice. "And, this is, of course, not a date. You are just fulfilling that favor you owe me."
"That’s right," Ginny said, not sounding too confident. The two of them just looked at each other, smiling, and mildly blushing.
Half an hour later, Draco left, leaving Ginny with her own mixed up thoughts.
Did Draco Malfoy just ask me out?
I think he did.
Wow, wait till I tell Harry about this.
Suddenly, a thought occurred to Ginny…Harry. Should she tell Harry about her dinner with Draco tomorrow? He was her best friend, and telling him would obviously make things easier to talk about. She wanted to talk to someone so badly right now that her insides were bursting. She was having all these mixed feelings right now, and they were all overwhelming her. But Harry? She thought about it for a while, and decided that telling Harry was not exactly the best thing to do, seeing as he and Draco were still at an awkward stage. She didn’t want things to get weird between them, and decided that leaving Harry out of this was the best thing to do right now.
She drew her blankets over her shoulders and went to sleep, dreaming of that beautiful blonde boy.
Meanwhile, Harry, a couple of floors below, drew his blankets over his head and went to sleep, dreaming of that beautiful red head.
Draco quickly got up and walked towards his door. His eyes were drooping low and his hair was all over the place, but he managed to navigate his way to the doorway without tripping or falling over anything.
As he opened his door, he saw Harry standing on the opposite side of it. He, too, looked tired and worn out and carried a small envelope with a red seal.
"Here you go," Harry said, handing the envelope to Draco. "It came in this morning’s post. Mrs. Weasley wanted me to give this to you."
"Um…thanks." Draco suddenly realized what he was holding and quickly woke up from his half-sleeping state.
"Potter…Harry…you and I are okay, right?"
Harry looked at Draco for a moment and then shrugged. "Well, we’re not enemies anymore if that’s what you mean."
"Right," Draco said shortly as he turned and looked at the envelope in his hand. "Thanks for dropping this off." Harry smiled quickly and walked back towards the dining hall.
Meanwhile, Draco carefully examined the letter in his hand and checked to make sure it was what he was expecting. He ran his fingers on the smooth, slightly raised seal that was clearly the emblem of the Ministry of Magic. He gently lifted the envelope open and read the message within it. The words were clear and simple, confirming what he was supposed to do. He placed the letter back in the envelope and tucked it away carefully in the pocket of his black leather overcoat, where the magnificent red seal glistened under the morning sun.
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