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Disclaimer: I only own the plot…yeah…

A/N: This is the longest time between updates ever, but it’s finally here so, please, no more death threats!!!

In the morning, Malfoy was, of course, fuming, and he wasn’t trying at all to conceal his apparent loathing for the She-Weasel, as he glared openly at her from across the breakfast table, violently attacking his biscuit and massacring his scrambled eggs.

Ginny seemed rather unfazed by it, and if not for the triumphant little smile tugging at her lips as Draco practically hurled the salt-shaker in her direction, it would have appeared that she hadn’t even noticed him. When not discussing her sister’s health with Ron, she gazed contentedly out of the large window overlooking the gardens and lake. She had chosen a pale yellow, almost gold-colored dress that seemed to absorb all of the sunlight filtering into the room, and she seemed to be glowing from within with a goddess-like radiance. Her auburn hair, tucked loosely into a bun, glistened here and their with fiery copper highlights. She looked positively ethereal. It made him all the more furious.

She glanced in his direction as he chewed his toast savagely, as if secretly hoping the more aggression he took out on his food the better he would feel. So far it wasn't working. He choked slightly and began to turn blue. She disguised her snicker poorly with a cough. His eyes narrowed. She asked innocently, “Why are you squinting? Were you up very late last night?”

He growled in response, and despite the warmth of the sun behind her, she shivered slightly. He swallowed loudly. “As a matter of fact,” he said, wiping his mouth roughly with the napkin, “I was up late.” He wiped his hands. “In the library.” He threw the napkin onto his plate. “Until dawn.” He rose from his seat and glared her down.

Pansy was helping herself to some sugar atop her half of grapefruit, her breakfast of choice. “Now why would you go and do something stupid like that?” she asked, clearly bewildered. “Who spends their time cooped up in such a dull place all night, with only old, silly books for company?” She rolled her eyes as if the answer was obvious: nobody aside from the socially challenged and the elderly.

"Sounds like Draco's idea of a good time," Ginny remarked sarcastically, fighting the eruption of laughter bubbling up in her abdomen as he began to turn slightly red. Veins began to appear along his hairline and his lips were tightly pressed into a firm line of dissapproval. He was absolutley livid. She snorted hysterically.

“Actually, I was there for a specific book, one of great value and interest,” he replied evenly, meeting Ginny’s eyes. “You might know the book, Miss Weasley,” he said icily.

“You mean you can read?” Pansy asked incredulously, staring perplexedly at the blushing redhead. “And I thought poor people were at least smart enough not waste their money on education. It’s not like it would be of any use to them."

“I can read,” Ginny snapped as she, too, stood to leave, “and I think I shall also pay a visit to your library to find this…this novel of interest.” Turning quickly away before Pansy could see that she’d finally gotten to her, Ginny exited the room with Draco not far behind.

“Why didn’t you meet me last night after I so graciously arranged everything?!” Draco spat. “Is that what you want? For me to do everything?!” He threw up his arms in exasperation. Ginny, whose pace was a good deal faster than his own, her hair glowing dangerously again, jaw clenched in mad fury, ignored him as best she could. He could tell yelling at her backside was pointless. She was a woman on a mission. What he needed was a bargaining chip.

Accio Libre,” he said clearly, and she stopped dead in her tracks. "If you want the book, you're going to have to go through me," he smirked.

She wheeled about to face him. “Are you a complete moron or do you have some psycho death wish you’re trying to fulfill?!” she screamed in his face. He was very much taken aback.

“Hey, you yelled at me!” was his lame reply, and he mentally kicked himself for sounding so whiny and even slightly…afraid. She really was quite a force to be reckoned with.

“And you are about to get us both killed!” she yelled.

“What did I do?!”

“Well before you so idiotically attempted to outwit me by snatching the book from my grasp you neglected to think over the possibility that in calling for a book to magically appear, you need to call out a specific book! Are you just so determined to beat me that you’d be careless enough to get us killed?!” Draco scratched his head. “You just summoned the entire library of books to come flying this way, you masochistic twit!”

Draco felt the color drain from his face. The entire corridor began to shake. Ginny’s eyes widened as the sound of millions of pages could be heard rustling as books flew down the hall towards them.

Suddenly she was seized around her middle and thrust into a nearby doorway that had somehow miraculously appeared. The wind was knocked out of her as her back made contact with a solid wall. Then she felt something else pressing her into the wall. Draco made rather unpleasant “oomph!” noise as he collided with her and the closet door slammed shut.

Closing her eyes, she heard the sounds of millions of books slamming against the closed door. She could feel Draco wince as the impact shook him. It was rather uncomfortable, being stuck with him in a closet as books were fired at the door ceaselessly and without mercy. ‘Be careful what you wish for,’ she thought mirthlessly, and she was suddenly struck by a random and disturbing notion. Though she had been referring to Draco’s stupid idea, she realized how ironic the situation was. She would have given anything to end up locked in a closet with a hott guy, and fate had added a cruel twist—she wasn’t locked, she was barricaded, and instead of Prince Charming she had been sandwiched between the wall and the door by her worst enemy, Draco Malfoy. ‘Be careful what you wish for is right,’ she thought to herself, snickering slightly. Then her nose began to tickle, and she sneezed in his face. Thankfully, he was too distracted by their current dire situation to notice.

When the book beating died down, Draco frantically twisted the knob to no avail. They were trapped in a most awkward situation. He sighed heavily in defeat.

“So I take it 18th century dental hygiene has taken its toll on you then,” Ginny remarked distastefully. This earned her foot a good squashing. “Ouch! That was my foot!” she shrieked as he smirked jubilantly.

“That’s only because there’s not enough room to reach my wand, Weasley,” he spat. “Be thankful for that.” She glared back at him reproachfully. “Why didn’t you show up last night?” She couldn’t read his expression as he ducked his head in shadow.

“Why would I? I hate you!” she blurted, surprising them both with the vigor of her words. The statement was followed by an awkward and hostile silence.

Finally, Draco replied with forced calm, “The question is not ‘would you’ but ‘should you’, and you most definitely should have.”

“Why? Are you assuming I get some wild kick out of spending time with you or something, or because if not for this stupid little ruse of yours I’d b packed and gone by now with or without my sister.” ‘Whoa, Gin, simmer down,’ her voice of reason commanded, but the hateful words just came pouring out of her as if those years of silence, of bearing every loathsome remark sent her way had been the cork that sealed her blind fury…and now it had been released. She could he that his eyes were narrowed in absolute rage now, and some other emotion she couldn’t recognize…or take the time to recognize.

“You should have come because we both need to get out of this silly little game and get home, and if you’re not doing it for both of us, do it for yourself, because as worthless as your pathetic little life is it must mean something to you, much more than this stupid little grudge you have against me and your pitiable attempts to outsmart me!” His words stung her ears and his actually fairly pleasant-smelling breath assaulted her nose so that suddenly his presence felt entirely overwhelming. She tried to push him away from her in a futile attempt at escape, because his words were horrible and despicable, and...true. She had been a complete twit, letting old grudges ruin their chance at escape, and the person who she would have hated the most to discover this had thrown it all in her face with such vehemence she felt sick to her stomach.

He pushed her back, and she knew she was trapped, that she had to face this…him. “Why do you hate me, Weasley?” he asked softly, his temper somewhat dampened by the sight of her tears.

There was a shout from the corridor and suddenly the pressure from the millions of books pressing against the door was released. The door opened and Draco, who had been leaning against it in an effort to remain as distanced from her as possible, fell backward and onto his bottom, wincing as his bum made contact with the marble floor. His eyes never left hers. “You don’t hate me,” he stated plainly, with such conviction that she found herself believing that the words were true.

She nodded dumbly, still intoxicated by his scent and his voice. She was vaguely aware that a servant holding a mop and bucket, probably for which the closet was intended, was staring at the two, and silently beholding the encounter with much interest.

“It’s quite the opposite, in fact,” he said, cocking his head to the side, “isn’t it?” Ginny raised an inquisitive brow, too dumbstruck to retort with a sarcastic, witty comeback. “It’s not hate, it’s love, and you’re just too blind to know the difference.” He stood up and smiled.

At that Ginny snapped out of whatever spell she’d been under and shook her head as if to clear it. She couldn’t tell whether his smile was genuine or sarcastic and condescending, and chose the latter out of habit. “What are you on?” she yelled, and the servant and Malfoy both jumped, Malfoy as if he’d just been struck, the servant because the sudden rise in volume and the anger behind her words had taken him by surprise. “I could never love you! It’s—it’s quite the opposite in fact! Hate it the opposite of love!”

“Really?” he asked amusedly, smile still in place. “And since when is hate the opposite of love?” He crossed his arms and his whole pose seemed to suggest that he was waiting for a logical answer to his question.

“Wha…?” was her highly articulate response. But she was saved from answering as a shrill cry echoed down the corridor.

“Darcy! Stop hiding from me!” whined Pansy as she approached, turning the corner to find Draco and Ginny facing off, a mountain of books piled up to the ceiling just yards away from where they stood. “What the—?”

“Pansy, how nice of you to join us!” Ginny said brightly, inching as far from Draco as possibly. Draco and I were just looking for that book,” she said cheerily, giving Pansy a goofy smile. Draco had reverted to his original look of utmost loathing. He didn’t even glance at Pansy, but stared meaningfully at Ginny, who avoided his gaze. “Actually,” she added frantically, “maybe Draco can show you. I have to go check on my sister!” She hurried away without looking back, feeling Draco’s eyes on her retreating figure up until she disappeared around a corner and out of sight.

Ginny rubbed her now sweaty palms on her borrowed dress, which a servant had provided her with earlier from a selection of about ten gowns Pansy had ordered to be given away to the poor. 'Well, I should qualify then,' she'd reasoned as she held the satin fabric to her cheek. She could tell already that it was ruined, for that closet had been anything but clean and cozy. And her hair was loose and hanging about her face, shoulders, and neck. Some damp, sweaty strands clung to her skin. She looked like a mess. She’d gone from princess to pauper.

‘Story of my life,’ she thought disgruntledly. ‘I look about the same as I do every day in the real world.' She stopped in front of a mirror in the hall and glanced at herself, fighting back tears. 'Now he has most definitely seen me at my worst. He must really think I'm a wreck.' She sighed, closed her eyes, and behind her lids she could still see him watching her, regarding her with that curious look of interest. '...at my worst...So then why was he looking at me like that?’

A/N: So sorry it took so long and that it isn’t as quirky and upbeat as the other chapters, and if you were hoping something would happen in the closet scene, go wash your mind out with soap, you gutterminds!…I’m saving the good stuff for later J--PG stuff, that is, don’t worry!

Thanks those of you who ignored the ‘Abandoned’ sign and continued to review like the nice, supportive fanfic-ians that you are!!!


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