A Lesson in Sociology
Chapter Eighteen: Ginny’s Left Foot
Ginny couldn’t move. She was momentarily frozen with pain. Her foot throbbed terribly and she could not believe her luck. On all the nights she could stub her foot, it had to be the one night when everyone else was still asleep after her nightmares. She stood, trembling, at the end of her bed, silently cursing herself for hitting the leg of Neville and Draco’s bed with her big toe. She knocked the bed pretty hard and was fairly certain that Draco was now only pretending to be asleep. Neville, blessedly, had not even flinched. He was an incredibly heavy sleeper.
Despite this, however, she hobbled over to her favorite place on the floor and sat down to examine her foot. She hissed slightly at the sight of her nail peeling back a little with blood trickling down her foot in a steady stream. She closed her eyes, wishing she were anywhere but here.
"What did you do?"
Ginny opened her eyes to see Draco sliding down the wall to sit on the floor next to her. His hair was still tousled from sleep. She could tell he had been genuinely asleep just before she moved his bed across the room.
"Something stupid," Ginny muttered, shifting a little.
Draco smirked and rubbed sleep out of his right eye with his knuckles. "Well, I’d expected at least that."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "I hit my toe on your bed. But don’t look at it. You’ll probably pass out."
Draco crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. "I‘ll take it you‘re bleeding then."
Before Ginny could answer, Draco stood up and went to the bathroom, making sure to leave a wide berth around her foot. Ginny was glad, once again, for the semi-darkness of the room because she found herself blushing with embarrassment.
"Stupid left foot," Ginny grumbled as if her foot had kicked the bed on purpose. She suddenly wished she had brought her pillow. The floor was cold and hard on her butt-bone, leaving it numb. She knew she was going to be all kinds of sore in the morning, between her bleeding foot and bruised rear. Draco, however, had remembered to bring his. She grabbed it and slide it under her, wondering how long it would take him to notice.
Draco came back out of the bathroom with a wet cloth. He tossed it in her lap and resumed his seat. "Here," he said, "Clean that stuff up, will you?"
Ginny sighed. She had originally considered thanking him, but figured her thanks would be wasted here. She had not yet entirely forgiven him for their argument earlier, despite his attempts to reconcile. She wasn’t convinced he’d gotten the point.
"You didn’t have to soak the thing. Now my shirt is wet."
Draco just huffed and looked off in another direction. "That’s the last time I do you any favors."
"You didn’t do it for me. You just wanted to make sure I didn’t track blood all over the room," Ginny said and leaned down to begin cleaning her foot. Her toe hurt really badly, but it wasn’t bleeding much any more. She wiped up the few drops that hit the floor and held then held pressure on her toe. This made her want to scream but she wasn’t about to show any more of her weaknesses to Draco.
"What happened to make you afraid of blood?" Ginny asked quietly.
The question was met with a long silence. Ginny berated herself internally for even asking. She knew he wouldn’t answer. She didn’t even know why she wanted to know. It wasn’t any of her business and she knew it. But the thought of knowing a few of his secrets was just too enticing for her to pass up the opportunity. The secret would at least make her feel that they were even, since he knew about her nightmares. It was worth a try.
"Why do you want to know? So you can run off and tell Golden Boy and have a good laugh?" Draco said, turning her eyes back on her with a glare. Ginny noticed he was in a particularly foul mood. He hadn’t seemed it when he first woke up. She figured it was the blood comment.
"I guess that shows how well you know me then, doesn’t it?" Ginny paused. "Unlike some people I know, I do not prey on other people’s weaknesses."
"I suppose I’m the ‘some people’ then, aren’t I?" Draco sneered.
Ginny furrowed her brow and turned her head to see his face. He was looking at the floor as if it were covered in vomit, entirely disgusted by something she couldn‘t see. She suddenly wanted to touch his face, his hair, his shoulder, just something, just anything to jolt him out of this disturbing attitude.
"Are you going to tell me what’s wrong with you, or make me guess?" Ginny asked gently.
"What is it with you? Okay, so you know what? You got under my skin today, I‘ll admit it. You made me want to apologize for things that I shouldn’t have to apologize for. I’m frustrated with you and it makes me mad. Just leave it alone," Draco hissed.
Ginny looked up toward the beds to make sure he hadn’t woken any one else up. This was not the answer she was expecting. He hadn’t said anything about the blood. In truth, the blood-thing wasn’t even what was making him upset. She sighed as she realized that he had been trying all day to make it up to her for their argument and she had ignored him. He had actually been putting himself out there and she left him hanging.
"Draco, look I’m sorry okay. You hurt Hermione’s feelings with the ‘mud blood this’ and ‘mud blood that’. I’m a little stubborn sometimes and-"
"A little stubborn? You think?" he said, raising an eyebrow.
Ginny laughed softly. "Okay so I’m a lot stubborn, most of the time."
Draco shook his head. "I’m not looking for your sympathy. I’m not looking for you to be sorry for anything. It’s just, well," he sighed. Ginny watched him glaring at the floor as he tried to put his thoughts into words. "Think about it this way. Think about the way that you were raised. Everything you were taught, the way your family behaved, that was normal to you. It was all you knew. Now, imagine coming to school and finding out that maybe being kind and smart and brave was all frowned upon. Imagine that everything you thought was normal was something negative. What do you do? Change? Stay how you are because you were taught that how you are is what is right? Think about it for a moment, will you?"
Ginny didn’t know what to say. She had never thought to put herself in his shoes. She always thought he was just mean, just a little evil. She had always figured it was entirely his own fault. ‘Wait a minute,’ she thought to herself, ‘was he calling her kind, smart, and brave?’
"Not to say that I put all the blame on my parents, don’t get me wrong. Once I started school and saw a different side of things, I could have changed. But I chose not too. So far anyway," Draco turned and smirked at her. "And you people are trying to do something about that, aren’t you?"
Ginny’s stomach flipped at his smile. Sure, it seemed a little sarcastic, but it was leaps and bounds better than his anger just a few moments ago. "Draco, I don’t think you’re evil, just rough around the edges."
Draco laughed at this. Ginny joined him.
A pleasant silence fell over them as they each explored their own thoughts. The pain in Ginny’s foot had reduced to a dull ache, one she figured she would have to deal with for a few days at least. She settled back against the wall and was intensely aware of how close Draco was sitting next to her. His bare arm kept brushing against the sleeve of her nightshirt and it sent tingles through her. She hated and loved the feeling at the same time. She hated it because this was Draco Malfoy, son of her family’s sworn enemy. But she loved it because this was Draco, her new friend, the incredibly complicated boy who drove her completely nuts like no one else ever had.
"Hey! Did you? You did!" Draco said, pulling Ginny out of her train of thought.
Ginny startled. "What? I did what?"
"You took my pillow. Your bum is on the place where I lay my head!"
Ginny laughed. "Took you long enough to notice."
Draco grabbed the edge of the pillow and tried to pull it out from under her, with little success. The pillow, with Ginny on top, just slid across the floor and moved closer to him. Ginny laughed and Draco pulled harder, causing Ginny to topple off of the pillow and into his lap. Ginny continued to laugh as Draco attempted to move her off of him.
Neither of them seemed to realize just how much noise they were making because they suddenly froze as someone started to move in their bed.
Draco clapped his hand over Ginny’s mouth. She turned off her light and she and Draco tried not to even breathe. She was still half in Draco’s lap. He was holding on to her tightly to keep her from moving, though as far as she could tell it was to keep her from breathing as well.
The sound of voices could be heard in the darkness, just whispers, but voices none-the-less.
"Harry!" they heard Hermione say. "Harry, move over. This has got to stop happening."
They heard more movement and waited a couple of heart-stopping minutes before there was a reply.
"I’m really sorry Hermione. I don’t know what’s come over me. I don’t mean to keep doing that," Harry said quietly.
Thoughts flew by in Ginny’s mind. What in the world was going on between Harry and Hermione. They had opted to sleep in the same bed because they were such close friends, but Ginny was now wondering if there was a different reason. In the times that she had been awake in the night she had never heard or seen anything out of the ordinary from the pair, but that didn’t mean something wasn’t happening while she was asleep. In fact, they had now proved that something was happening when she wasn’t awake.
She could feel Draco thinking something similar, if it is possible to feel someone think something. As close as she was to Draco at the moment, she figured it was possible. Her right cheek was pressed against his chest and between her own thudding heartbeat and his so close to her, she couldn’t make out the rest of what was said between Harry and Hermione. When the room had been silent for a good ten minutes or so, Draco released her and pushed her slowly off of him with trembling hands.
Ginny had just been about to say something when she felt Draco put a finger on her face. He was obviously trying to put a finger on her mouth to keep her from talking and missed, but she got the message. They would have to talk about it another time. Neither of them were sure whether Harry and Hermione had fallen back to sleep or not. It wasn’t worth the risk to try and talk about it now.
He grabbed her hand and helped her up silently. They edged around the room very slowly and made it to his bed. It was better than just walking across the room and running into the wrong bed. Ginny held Draco’s pillow out to him and he jerked it away. She figured if it were light he would have been smirking. She moved over to her bed and climbed in as quietly as possible, making it sound as if she were just turning over and not just returning to bed.
The room seemed too quiet at this point. She could hear Neville slightly snoring, but that was it. Hermione and Harry were too still, causing Ginny to believe that there was no way that they had fallen back to sleep. Whatever had just happened over there was a mystery to her, and one she pondered for over an hour while she waited for sleep to come.
A/N: I promised another update and here you are! So, a few interesting details revealed….I’m looking forward to writing the next chapter, though it may be two weeks before it’s up. Keep looking for my other stories too, though, because SOMETHING will always be updated on Sundays from now on. Thank you guys for all the read and reviews.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. J.K. Rowling is the genius behind Harry Potter and those things related to Harry Potter. I just enjoy tormenting the wonderful characters she has created for us.
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