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Anatomy of a Relationship by Alexandria Malfoy
Thank you so much to eugenia, elyaeru, and turkish, who held my hand throughout the process of writing this story and beta read this for me. I adore you for your help and support. The lines at the end of this fic are from the movie How to Deal, as requested by my fic’s receiver.
I would also like to thank whoever nominated me for Sweetest Fic Overall, Best Supporting Character (Pansy), and Best Interpretation of the Prompt, as well as those who voted for me in those categories! They were, as always, such a lovely surprise and I am so appreciative for it. :)
Anatomy of a Relationship by Alexandria Malfoy
Anatomy of a Relationship
“Draco, Ginny; I’m happy to see that the two of you have showed up this week.”
Ginny flashed a brief smile, crossing her right leg over her left, before rolling her head around.
Draco barely acknowledged the woman in front of him and simply crossed him arms over his chest.
Their therapist, a short wisp of a thing with ebony hair piled high on top of her head, shifted in her seat so she was leaning to the right and placed her yellow Steno Pad on the arm of the chair, adjusting her black-rimmed glasses as she did so. She tucked a piece of hair behind a pale ear, completely unfazed by the palpable tension oozing off of the couple in front of her.
She had dealt with couples like these two before – they, like many others, had reached a plateau in their relationship. And, honestly, it happens to many couples who have been together for a long time and under rather shallow circumstances at that; although, in this particular couple’s case, they were a bit different from the others that the Good Doctor had dealt with. Unlike couples with their relationship characteristics, these two had only been together for five years.
The doctor glanced back down at the notes and doodles she had scribbled on her Steno Pad:
They had been friends since their school days. She, sixteen; he, seventeen.
Marriage was considered at one point, but their personalities might prove too volatile to sustain such a commitment.
Both have wild tempers, with her prone to physically lashing out at those around her.
The list went on, but the doctor did not care to read any further and relive the headache that their relationship was at that point in time.
She perked up, sitting a little bit straighter in her chair. Inspiration had hit.
Pursing her lips and pressing her hands together as though she were praying – I probably should; for their sake, she thought fleetingly – the doctor addressed the couple in front of her.
“Draco. Ginny. I have something new that I want the two of you to try.”
The blond man turned to face the other woman. “I should hope that you had something else in mind. Almost everything else you’ve suggested hasn’t worked,” he spat in annoyance, picking a piece of lint off of his black slacks.
“I know that. And I’m so terribly sorry about that. But most couples respond well to the techniques that I’ve used on you, thus far. You two are --”
“Well, as you can see, we are not like ‘other couples’,” the redheaded woman sniffed with the air of disdain and superiority that her boyfriend shared. Said boyfriend smirked, pride shining through every pore, making it the only other emotion the therapist had seen the blond man express since she had started counseling the pair.
Shaking her head, the therapist continued. “Yes, quite. Anyways, like I was saying, most of my counseling exercises have not worked for the two of you, so I have decided to try something that I rarely ever use: I want the pair of you to verbally document your relationship to me. I want you to start at the beginning – how you met, how you began dating, the first stages of your relationship – to where you are now. It’s obvious that you still care for each other, but I fear that you might have forgotten why you fell for each other in the first place. So, from now on until I insist otherwise, our weekly meetings will now consist of you narrating a different point in your relationship to me. Is that understood?”
Draco and Ginny nodded their acquiescence and walked out of their therapist’s office, wondering just what in the hell they were going to say come their next meeting.
* * * * * * * *
The Next Week
“Meeting” For the First Time
“If there’s one thing you must understand about the beginning of mine and Draco’s relationship,” Ginny began, taking a deep breath, “it is that we were born and bred to hate each other. The kind of hate specially reserved for blood feuds: hatred that goes back so far and runs in the veins of the descendants. There’s really not a lot of logic behind it; it’s just there. And Draco and I were duty-bound for a decent portion of our lives thus far to blindly go along with our mutual hatred of one another. I’m not exactly sure how, or why, Draco and I decided to say, ‘Fuck tradition. I’m going to date my family’s blood rival,’ but I would say that it started around my sixth year?” Ginny turned to Draco for confirmation. “It was my sixth year, your seventh year, right?”
Draco nodded his agreement. “Yeah; near the end of that school year. To me, it seemed like one of those things that just ‘happened’. I wasn’t really looking for any particular form of a relationship, but Ginny seemed to appear out of nowhere, as clichéd as that sounds.”
Draco sharply turned another corner, his black robes flickering behind him from the force, his silver prefect’s badge glimmering in the waning candlelight.
He was on the last of his rounds for the night, now stalking past the library’s stacks, searching for any late night dwellers.
He’d been spared the sight of any couples turned on by the prospect of going at it in the library (Really? Draco thought with a grimace. I prefer the privacy of my bedroom over the idea of the girl I’m with sneezing all over me because of the dust. Disgusting.) and was about to give up for the night, but decided to give the place one last sweep through in case he missed anything, or anyone.
He walked along the stacks of old, dusty books, trying to key in on any sounds that would reveal students hiding out after curfew.
Nothing at first. He continued on, though, even if he didn’t find any peers to dock House points from. Damn, he thought. There goes my bet with Blaise.
He neared the clumping of tables lined up against a back wall, moonlight creating a glare on the polished maple. He strolled past each table, eyes flicking to the large windows in case someone was perched on a window seat. He made it past the last one, surprised to discover the library empty before he did a double-take.
There, seated with her legs folded up under her was the youngest Weasley, diligently reading from a fraying, yellowed book; her right thumb attached to her mouth as she bit on the fingernail.
Draco watched her, hands stuffed in his pockets, rather amused at how oblivious she was. He stared at her for a few more minutes, trying to remember her first name. Virginia? Guinevere? Ginny? Ginny!
“Ginny Weasley.” He stated her name not as an exclamation or a question, but more as a statement of fact.
She raised her head and turned it towards Draco, her eyes wide in bewilderment and her mouth in a perfect O. “M-M-Malfoy,” she stammered. “What are you doing here?”
He raised an eyebrow before pulling a chair out from a table and plopping down onto it. “I could ask you the same thing. Do you even know what time it is?”
Ginny cringed, suddenly realizing that it was well past curfew. “I’m going to get points taken from Gryffindor, aren’t I?”
“Hmm…that all depends. If you can entertain me, then no; I won’t take points from your precious House.”
The redheaded girl scrunched up her face in disgust. “Entertain… oh, Merlin, no. That’s gross! You’re not even that attractive.”
Draco let out a bark of laughter, already entertained. “Are you sure you don’t find me attractive? I mean, if those were your first thoughts, I might be coerced to oblige,” he asked, his mouth curving upward into the tiniest of smirks.
Ginny paled, an action only emphasized by the moon.
Draco kept his focus on Ginny, quickly coming to the conclusion that she was too scared to make any attempts at verbally abusing him. He clicked his tongue in disappointment as he stood up to leave. “That’s a shame, Miss Weasley. It really is.”
“What’s a shame? What are you talking about?” she asked, setting her book down and unraveling herself from her place on the ledge.
“I was really hoping for a good verbal lashing from someone today. To, you know, bring my ego down a bit after the inflating it received from Potions class today. And I was sure I could count on you to provide that for me. I’ve heard you in the hallways. You’re rather witty.”
Ginny blushed, casting her eyes down. “Thanks,” she mumbled, kind of in awe of the fact that Draco Malfoy was complimenting her.
Draco smiled, fleetingly thinking about how the particular shade of pink she turned when she blushed was quite fetching on her.
Ginny glanced up, making eye contact with him before she spoke. “But what do you mean when you say that you willingly want to bring your ego down a bit?”
Draco smiled and leaned back against the table, placing his hands next to him. “Oh, well, Blaise and Pansy are constantly going on about how I have a huge ego --”
Ginny snorted, crossing her arms. “That’s an understatement, if I’ve ever heard one.”
Draco glared at her, but he continued. “Like I was saying, they’re always harping me about the fact that I have this massive ego and since, you know, I’m not the most popular of people right now, they figured that it would be best for me to deflate it a bit, I guess.”
“And that’s where I come in?”
“That’s where you come in. Your brother is not exactly a man of words, Potter’s not that quick witted either, and while Granger is smart, snappy insults just aren’t her forte. But you; I’ve seen you in action. You’re just as bad as Pansy on your good days. And while you may be good at spells, too (something I can attest to), there’s just something about the way you deliver your insults that, I don’t know; they really speak to me, you know?”
Ginny cast him a side-long look, scrunching her eyebrows. “Is this how you pick up girls? Because as flattered as I may be by your stream of compliments about my wit and not how fit my arse looks in a Quidditch kit, there’s just something about the way you deliver those lines that screams ‘trying too hard’.”
Draco glared at Ginny, huffing a bit, too.
Ginny rolled her eyes, moving her hands so they were firmly on her hips. “Oh, don’t even give me that routine. You were the one who, as I recall, wanted me to insult them. If you can’t handle my breed of remarks, then I suggest you find someone else to backsass you.” She turned and grabbed the book that she had been reading before brushing past Draco, heading toward the library’s exit.
“And that’s how it began. I had, by that point, decided that Draco was crazy and in need of some serious medical attention, but, for some odd reason that I still don’t understand, he liked it,” Ginny finished, flicking a piece of hair out of her face.
“What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment when it comes to this one,” Draco added, reaching his hand out to intertwine with Ginny’s. The redheaded woman smiled briefly, blushing furiously as she did so, unable to make eye contact with her therapist, but shooting a glance at her boyfriend.
Their therapist smiled, making note of the couple’s physical contact with each other, something they had yet to do in their sessions. “So what happened after that?”
“Ginny tried to stay away from me, but I found her again in the library. We said some things --”
“Like what?” the therapist asked, interrupting Draco.
“Like how she thought I should be shipped off to St. Mungo’s for what happened the last time we spoke and I apologized for acting like an Azkaban escapee. After that, we just, I dunno, talked. We actually had a bit of a serious conversation. She was going through her break up with Potter and her brother and Granger weren’t really sympathetic to her. For while Ron is the brother that she’s closest to, I’ve always noticed that a lot of his allegiances lie with Potter and Granger. But I think it has to do with all that they’ve been through, more than anything. Plus Ron would die of happiness if Potter somehow found a way to marry into Gin’s family, so he was really pushing for that relationship.”
“Ginny, do you agree with everything that Draco has said?” the raven-haired woman asked, scribbling some things down on her notepad.
Ginny nodded, waiting for the therapist to stop writing before she spoke. “That relationship was always rather hard for me because so many people favored Harry. He’ll always be my friend, but I think I began to realize that I wasn’t meant to spend the rest of my life with him. He’s a wonderful man and always looks out for those around him, but he would constantly try to shelter me from everything. I would get the feeling that he never really trusted me to take care of myself and while I appreciated his worry, I wanted him to understand that not only could I take care of myself, but that I could be there for him should he ever need my help. I know that much of what he had to do during the Second War he had to do on his own, but for all the other times, I was always ready and willing to help in whatever way I could. With Draco, I know that he’s aware of what I’m capable of and I know that he knows that he can call on me should he need help. I look out for those that I care about. With Harry, I never got the feeling that I do with Draco.”
* * * * * * * *
The Fourth Week
The Beginning of a Relationship
“How did you two start dating? We already discussed how you ‘met’ and became tentative friends, but what made you decide to start dating each other?”
Ginny looked at Draco, who had turned a bright shade of crimson, before she began laughing.
“It’s not funny, Ginny,” Draco stated through gritted teeth.
Ginny quickly sobered up lest Draco’s anger get too out of control. “You’re absolutely right, Draco. There is nothing funny about what happened.”
The blond man took a deep breath and cleared his throat. “I’m happy to see that you’ve finally realized that.”
Ginny glanced back at Draco, biting down on her bottom lip. “It’s not funny at all. It’s hilarious,” she corrected before getting into another round of laughter.
“If you can calm down enough, Ginny, do you mind explaining what’s making Draco so upset?” the therapist asked, trying hard to prevent a grin from sneaking through her blank face.
“I can tell you exactly what’s making me upset,” Draco announced before Ginny had a chance to compose herself. “It’s that Blaise Zabini is a malicious bastard and Luna Lovegood is a manipulative wench.”
“Hey! That’s my best friend you’re talking about!” Ginny slapped Draco on the arm, shooting him a glare as she did so. “And we wouldn’t even be dating if it wasn’t for those two, so I suggest that you shut up.”
Draco huffed, but did as he was told and crossed his arms over his chest, slumping down in his seat a bit.
“You can be a petulant baby all you want, Draco Malfoy, but you should be thanking them rather than cursing their names,” Ginny continued, pursing her lips.
The therapist cleared her throat, adjusting her glasses. “Ginny, could please tell me what your friends had to do with you and Draco ‘getting together’ as it were?”
“Oh, yes; of course. Well, about five years ago, our friends, Luna and Blaise, decided that they wanted to get married. Luna is my best friend and Blaise is one of Draco’s best friends, so we were, of course, in the wedding party. I was the Chief Bridesmaid and Draco was the Best Man. Draco and I were still friends, but Blaise and Luna have always made not-so subtle hints about how great we would look as a couple and how since we already got along so well, why not date each other?
"And even though they brought it up every time the four of us were in a room together, Draco and I never really considered the idea because we liked the friendship that we had too much to ruin it by dating. Our biggest fear was that, Merlin forbid it not work out, our friendship would be in shambles and that was the last thing that we wanted.
"But on the night of Blaise’s stag party, Luna and her husband-to-be decided to meddle in things that should not be meddled with and decided to get Draco piss drunk and plop him on my doorstep because heaven forbid he stay at Blaise’s that night.”
Ginny awoke to the sound of an insistent pounding against her front door. She was still relatively knackered from Luna’s hen party (she just had to try and one-up Pansy, didn’t she?), which was earlier on that evening, and the knocking was doing nothing to help the massive migraine she was sure was forming.
She trudged to the door, her slippered feet barely lifting off the wood floor below.
She unlocked her door and opened it to find Luna standing at the threshold, holding two men up by the arm, one of which was shoved onto Ginny, barely giving the redhead enough time to react. “What the fuck?” Ginny muttered, looking down at the man dumped onto her. “Draco?”
Draco opened his eyes and smiled faintly at the sight of one of his best friends “Oh, hey, Gin.”
“What’s going on, Luna? It’s three o’clock in the morning and I was having a very lovely dream.”
“I’m sorry, Ginny, but Blaise is absolutely sloshed, so is Draco, and they both forgot to stock up on hangover potions, so I’m stuck babying his drunken ass until he feels better. He is so lucky that our wedding isn’t for two days.”
Ginny chuckled. “Yeah, good planning on your part, but why are you giving me Draco? Can’t you give him to Pansy?”
Luna raised an eyebrow as she stared at Ginny, doing a fairly good impression of the brunette Slytherin woman. “Are you serious? Do you honestly think that Pansy, as wasted as she is right now, would want to look after someone? Please. She’d expect to be the one looked after.”
“You do have a very valid point.”
“Plus, you’re good with all of that mothering business, so you’re the most logical choice in this matter.”
“Yes, yes; I understand. I’ll take care of the princess, here. You go home and worry about your fiancé. But you owe --”
Luna rolled her eyes, continuing Ginny’s train of thought. “Yes, I know. I owe you big time and as soon as I get access to Blaise’s Gringotts account, I’ll buy you something ridiculously overpriced and fabulous.”
Blaise looked up at the blonde holding him up, cracking open an eyelid. “I heard that.”
“Yes, and once you’re sober, you’ll be more than willing to shop for that gift with me. So don’t even go there, Mr. Zabini.”
“M’kay,” Blaise mumbled, closing his eye.
“Alright, alright; I see that you understand. Go home and take care of Blaise. I’ll take care of Draco.”
“Thanks, Ginny. I’ll try to stop by later on today, maybe this afternoon, to chat. Night, or morning, I should say.”
“Ugh. Don’t remind me. Night, Luna.”
With that, Ginny closed the door and hauled Draco’s dead weight over to her couch in the living room, trying her best to lift him onto it without hurting him or herself.
She grabbed under his arms and lifted, getting most of his upper body onto the sofa. She tried pulling back, but realized too late that one of her legs was caught between his, which were still dangling limply off the side of the couch, and so she fell; landing right on top of Draco, who, in his delirium, decided that he liked the way Ginny felt against his chest and wrapped his arms around her, snuggling closer to her like she was a giant teddy bear.
“Draco,” she sang out, unable to nudge him with her arms or hands. “Draco. Draco. Wake up.”
“Mmm…no. You feel really nice. Just like I dreamt you would.”
“Wait. What? What do you mean ‘you dreamt’ it? What, exactly, do these dreams involve?”
“Just calm down, Ginny. It’s really no big deal.”
“Oh, yes it is! It’s a very big deal! We’re just friends.”
“Now just wait a minute. You need to calm down. It is perfectly normal for two friends to fall in love. Just look at your brother and Granger. Those two were friends, had enough sexual tension to compensate for the rest of England, and bam! Now they’re happily married with a little brood of red-haired, buck-toothed children to take care of.”
“Yeah, except for that whole part about me not being in love with you.”
“That statement is nothing but lies and falsehoods, Ginevra Weasley, and you know it.”
Ginny took a deep breath. Reasoning with a drunken Draco was damn near impossible. “Draco. You’re drunk. You don’t mean all of that.”
“Of course I do. When else would I admit to something like that but when I’m drunk?”
“You know, for someone who is drunk, you’re surprisingly insightful and coherent.”
“I know, I know; you don’t believe me. But how about I make you a deal? When I wake up the next morning, you can ask me all the questions that you want and I’ll answer truthfully. How does that sound?”
Ginny raised an eyebrow, lifting her head up to look at Draco. “Fine,” she huffed. “But I expect the truth, mister.”
“Yes, yes; of course. Now let me go to sleep.”
“Alright. But do you think you could let go of me?”
Draco had the grace to blush. “Oh, yes. I forgot that I was still holding you. I’ll just…let you go now.”
“When Draco and I finally got around to waking up and having a proper meal the next day, I, of course, questioned Draco to see if what he said the previous night was true. And he vehemently denied it, like I knew he would, but sometime around two in the afternoon, we received an owl from Luna and Blaise. It explained that Luna would be unable to stop by my flat and, prior to Luna dropping Draco off at my flat, Theo had somehow managed to sneak some Veritaserum into Draco’s drink at the insistence of Blaise. Blaise and Luna had planned it out about a week or so in advance because they were ‘so tired of seeing’ us with other people when it was ‘so obvious’ that we were meant to be.”
“Then why were you laughing before, Ginny?” the therapist asked, taking a sip from her tea.
“I was laughing because while I was upset that they did that at the time, I was happy that it wasn’t me that they drugged. Plus, Draco overreacts whenever the story is brought up, so his reaction makes me laugh every time.”
“So in all honesty, Draco and Ginny, are you happy that your friends did what they did, or would you rather they had kept to themselves?”
“Even though I didn’t appreciate the way Blaise and Luna went about it, Gin and I are too stubborn to admit to anything; especially something like that. So if it wasn’t for them, I don’t think we would be together today.” He finished his statement looking at Ginny, grinning from ear to ear as he slid his hand into Ginny’s.
“Do you agree with that, Ginny?”
The redheaded woman nodded before speaking. “In retrospect, I’m very happy that Blaise and Luna did what they did. Draco may be my boyfriend, but he’s also one of my best friends. He knows me so well, it’s scary. When we did decide to date, I remember thinking, ‘why did we wait so long to do this?’ Being with Draco just makes sense to me. I can’t think of a life without him.”
* * * * * * * *
The Eighth Week
Falling Back in Love
“Draco, Ginny, you have made so much progress. In the eight weeks that you’ve been attending these sessions, I really feel that you’ve resolved a lot of the grievances you came to me with. For this last session, I would like to rearrange your chairs so you’re facing one another. After you do that, I will give you further instructions.”
Their therapist stood and walked back to her desk, retrieving her yellow Steno Pad with Draco and Ginny’s name written on the first page. When she returned to her seat, she found the couple facing one another, sitting on the edge of their seats.
“Now, I know this may sound rather strange, but I want the two of you to do this anytime you get into a major argument. Your arguments are incredibly volatile and I found that one of you likes to verbally jab the other to the breaking point. This exercise will even the playing field. And while you may not want to do this after yelling at each other, it is absolutely crucial for you to.
Here’s what I want you to do, and we’re going to practice it right now: every time you get into an argument, instead of yelling at each other, you’re going to first list the things that you do not like about each other before you list the things that you like about each other.
It’s become quite clear to me that you both love each other, but you are too quick to point out each others’ flaws rather than point out what you like about each other. I think by adding the positive reinforcement, it will get to the point where you argue less and appreciate what you two have more. Ginny, I want you to start.”
Ginny took a deep breath, placing her hands on her knees, making eye contact with Draco. “I don’t like the way that your hair falls in your face. And I don’t like the way that your voice gets really low when you're serious. I don’t like the way that you bite your bottom lip when you're nervous. And the way your eyebrow goes up so impossibly high when I say something that you don’t agree with. I hate that because it makes me feel inferior and I can’t stand that feeling. Oh, and the way you somehow manage to convince me to do things that I normally wouldn’t agree to? Yeah, I can’t stand that either.
"But I like how you were willing to get to know my family, regardless of the history that our families have. I love how you treat me as though I’m the only thing that matters in your life; how I’m what gives your life meaning. I love how you always seem to know what to say to me when I’ve had a bad day. And the way you hug me makes me wish that moments like that could last for the rest of my life.” Ginny paused, laughing as she thought of the next thing to say. “I also love the fact that you agreed to come to these sessions with me, even though I know you initially thought they were a waste of our time and money. And the thing that I love the most is that, after all of this, I have never loved you more than I do now.”
She took another deep breath, grabbing a tissue from the box the therapist held out in front of her and dabbed her eyes.
The instant Draco saw the tears welling in Ginny’s eyes, he was kneeling in front of her, enveloping her in his arms, brushing her hair with his hands. He tucked a bit of hair behind her ear and kissed her cheek, holding her face out in front of his, wiping the stray tears away from her cheeks with his thumbs.
“I hate making you upset and it kills me every time I see you cry. I can’t stand it when you beat me at Quididitch, even though I tell you otherwise.” He paused as Ginny laughed. “I hate it when you throw things when we fight. I know it calms you down, but I can’t stand the clean up. I can’t stand when you act like a bint to my parents. They’re trying, Gin, they really are. I put so much effort into trying to be civil to your family and I know how much of a pain in the arse my father can be, but I would appreciate it if you could put just as much effort as I do. They honestly like you, but you can make it so difficult for them to keep liking you.
"But enough about that. I love how well you get along with my friends; I’ve never seen Pansy take so well to another girl. I love your sense of humor; it’s so similar to mine and I know I can count on you for a good laugh. I love how you look when you first wake up in the mornings. The way sleep still clings to your eyes, barely willing them to open, yet you still somehow manage to get up. And how your hair takes on a life of its own because, even though I poke fun at you for it, I love waking up with your hair all over my face because it means that you’re still here with me. But the thing I love most about you is how you have made me fall so arse over teakettle in love with you.”
He finished by pressing a soft kiss to Ginny’s lips, aware that there was someone else in the room. He pulled away once more, smiling, the motion only getting wider once he saw how big Ginny’s grin was.
He leaned in and placed another closed-mouthed kiss on Ginny’s still smiling lips, realizing that a kiss from her had never felt so amazing at it had in that moment; knowing that if it wasn’t for Ginny convincing him to attend the therapy sessions, he wouldn’t be feeling this way and Ginny would probably be out of his life for good.
The therapist cleared her throat, calling the couple’s attention; Draco and Ginny blushing as they became aware of what they were doing.
The petite woman smiled, crossing her legs and placing her notepad on the arm of her chair. “As much as I would love for you to continue that display of affection, I think it’s best if you continue that at home, rather than in my presence. Are there any other questions, or comments, that you have?”
Ginny quickly shook her head, beginning to stand, her hand clasped with Draco’s.
The blond man chuckled before replying. “Ah, no; I think we’re fine. You were fantastic, doctor. We’ll recommend you to all of our friends, come back to you anytime we have problems; that whole thing,” he said as he pulled Ginny out the door.
“Thanks again!” Ginny called out, waving to the therapist before she placed it over her mouth, trying to contain her laugher before Draco pulled her close, placed another kiss on her and Apparated the two of them home.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.