In the Long Run by cashew
Summary: Ginny runs. Draco watches. Mild fluff ensues.
Categories: Works in Progress Characters: None
Compliant with: None
Era: None
Genres: Romance
Warnings: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: No Word count: 3179 Read: 4585 Published: Jan 11, 2005 Updated: Jan 14, 2005

1. Chapter One by cashew

2. Chapter Two by cashew

Chapter One by cashew
In the Long Run

Every evening after dinner at the Great Hall she runs. It isn’t as though he should care. She’s a Weasley, if anything he should be taunting her while she runs. Only he doesn’t. He doesn’t want to taunt her; he only wants to watch her.

She has excellent form. He can tell from the length of her runs that she has been doing it for years. He wonders why. He ran, of course, but only during Quidditch training. And that was only because certain people on the team—mainly Crabbe and Goyle—could stand to shed a few stones so they flew a little faster. But he didn’t know of many people who ran just to run.

He would suspect that she was obsessed with her weight if he didn’t notice her eating half the food in the Great Hall everyday. So he wonders if she gains weight easily and she needs to run to keep thin…but he knows that isn’t true. Judging by her build he can guess that she’s never experienced a “fat day” in her life.

He wants to ask her why she runs, but he doesn’t. Instead, he sits under the same oak tree every evening after dinner and watches her. For a while he doesn’t even notice, but he begins to look forward to the few hours that she unknowingly spends with him. It’s calming and he feels at peace. In the Slytherin Common Room everyone is constantly discussing the war and You-Know-Who and showing off their marks if they have received them. And they all turn to him as if he is the leader of their Junior Death Eater Organization. In truth, though, he doesn’t care. He cares only about himself and Voldemort can rot. Voldemort is the reason that his father is in Azkaban and his family’s name has been dragged through the mud. He’d sooner become a Gryffindor than a Death Eater.

He shivers; he had almost forgotten that winter had begun. His eyes narrow, he is shivering in his heavy jumper and thick robes while she is wearing only a pair of shorts and a tank top. She probably can’t afford real clothes, he muses.

Without thinking about what he is doing, he shrugs off his robe and pulls off his jumper. He places the robe atop his undershirt and buttons it before he hops up from his seat beneath the oak tree and jogs to her.

“Weasley,” he calls out. But she doesn’t turn. “Weasley!” he calls again, but she still does not acknowledge him. He is convinced that she is ignoring him, that she is making a fool out of him. So he runs faster and grabs a hold of her arm.

She gasps loudly and whirls around to face him. The shock is clear on her face. She yanks a pair of headphones off her head. He hears the music blaring from them and he does feel foolish after all.

Christ, Malfoy,” she pants, “what in the bloody hell is wrong with you?”

Suddenly, he doesn’t remember why he wanted to catch up with her so much. He doesn’t remember anything, not even that when all else fails, he could insult her and leave. Instead, he points dumbly at the white thing wrapped around her arm, “What is that?”

Her eyes narrow in confusion. She follows his gaze, though, and looks back at him in realization. “Oh, that. It’s an iPod…Muggle thing. Hermione let me borrow it. It plays music.”

He nods. “Why do you run?”

She shrugs, “Because I like it.”

He holds out his jumper to her. “It’s cold,” he states simply.

She only appears to be more confused, “Thanks but I don’t need it.” She gestures to her clothes, “Warming spell…”

“Warming spell…smart.”

She smirks, “Glad that you think so.”

“Right. Well, I’ll see you then.” He turns to go back into the castle.

“Hey, Malfoy,” she calls.

He faces her, “Yeah?”

“You should try running some night. You look like you could use it.”

He starts to comment that he is in far better shape than Potter, but she holds out her hand to silence him, “I don’t mean physically. It helps clear my head about stuff; you just look like you could use that.” She places the headphones back on, “See you around.”

He goes back into the castle. He doesn’t know why he spoke to her, but he isn’t sorry that he did.

The next evening he clothes himself in Muggle track pants and a t-shirt. He takes her idea and places a warming spell on his clothes, but then takes it off after a moment. He wants to be cold.

He slips quietly out of the Slytherin Common Room although he does not need to, no one is yet back from dinner, anyway. He walks outside and begins stretching out his muscles. He looks up and sees her bouncing down the steps of the castle.

She doesn’t look surprised. She gives him a small smile and walks over to him. She silently nods at him and begins stretching as well. After a few moments they wordlessly begin to run.

After seeing that he is effortlessly keeping up with her, she ups the pace. Not to be outdone, he goes faster, thus in control of the run.

“Hold on,” she breathes before slowing to a stop. He stops beside her, waiting for an explanation. She pulls her shoulders back and loudly cracks her back. He raises an eyebrow at her, to which she shrugs, “Bad back. We can go now.”

They begin to run again. Before he was concentrating on nothing besides the cold air penetrating his lungs; now, though, he thinks of her back. He wonders why her back gives her trouble.

“Was it a Quidditch accident?” he asks nonchalantly.

“Huh? Oh, you mean my back. No, it wasn’t a Quidditch accident.” She looks at him curiously for a moment before answering, “When you have six older brothers you don’t escape childhood unscathed.” She laughs, but he doesn’t see anything funny about the situation.

“They hurt you?”

She smiles at him, “Not as much as I hurt them. C’mon, Malfoy, surely you had some cousins or something that you horsed around with. It’s all in fun.”

He thinks of the only cousin he has. “No, we never did anything like that.”

“Weird.” She begins laughing again at her memories, “Well, the back thing came from Fred and George, actually. You see, they were wrestling in the backyard, and I went out to tell them that Mum said stop. So they teamed up on me and Fred ended up picking me and flipped me over on my back. There was a root from a tree sticking up that he didn’t see, and it hit my back in just the right way…Anyway, it gives me trouble every now and then.”

He still doesn’t see any humor. Leave it to the Weasley men to injure a little girl. He notices her staring at his bare arm.

“I don’t have one if that’s what you’re looking for, Weasley.”

He can’t tell if her face is red from embarrassment or the exercise. “Sorry,” she apologizes.

He shrugs; it isn’t as though she is the first person to think that he has the Dark Mark, nor does will she be the last."

“So why don’t you?”

“Why don’t you?” he retorts.

She looks at him as if he is insane, “Why on earth would I have…one of those?!”

“You asked me, I think it’s only fair that I ask you in return.”

She blushes again. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I told you about my back.”

But it isn’t the same thing, and they both know it. He, however, answers her question anyway, though he doesn’t know why. “I don’t want one. It has only caused trouble for my family…besides, I’m not into following…you know, Him.”

She nods. “I can understand that.”

“Can you?” he asks because he doesn’t believe her. He doesn’t need her nice words. She doesn’t know what it’s like to be him, and he doesn’t want or need her to understand him.

She stops suddenly, “It’s getting late.”

“So it is.”

“I should head back in.”

“Yeah, I guess you should.”

She looks at him thoughtfully for a moment. “So I’ll see you out here tomorrow, then?”

He looks back at her just as pensively, “Yeah, sure.”

She smiles again and gives him a small wave before making her way back to the castle. He watches her until he can no longer see her. He pulls out his wand and mutters the warming spell over himself before starting to run again.
She’s right, he thinks, running does help clear your head.

A/N—Thanks for reading and reviews are much appreciated, so please leave one! Oh, and the whole iPod thing, I know Muggle technology doesn’t work at Hogwarts. But I was writing while watching TV and that U2 commercial is just so catchy…And Hermione’s smart, I’m sure if anyone could find a way to make a muggle technology such as an MP3 player work on the grounds of Hogwarts it would be her, so let’s just pretend, all right? Laugh out loud. Next chapter will be up soon.
Chapter Two by cashew
He walks briskly out the doors of the castle. He’s running later than he normally does. He wonders if she’ll wait on him and then he wonders why he cares.

Two weeks have passed since their arrangement began and everyday he tells himself that today will be the last day. It is absurd, this…display they have. Running partners, she had labeled them with that smile of hers.

Partners, he sneers. As if he would venture into a partnership of any sort with a Weasley. There is nothing wrong with running, he reasons. Running is perfectly normal, not to mention healthy. He can run without raising suspicion…but not with a Weasley. Someone was bound to notice, and that was unacceptable.

So tonight, he tells himself, will be the very last night that he runs with her. And this time, he means it. He won’t even talk to her when they run, he decides. Well, maybe he will just a little. If it is going to be the last time they run together, a little conversation to soften the blow for her would only be considerate. He nods to himself and notices her by the tree he used to sit under while he watched her.

She is stretching. She is waiting. He smiles. Of course she is. She has become dependant upon him. She wouldn’t dare run without him. Poor girl, he thinks, she will be devastated when he stops showing up.

Maybe he’ll come tomorrow, he thinks. Not to run, but to hide and watch her. See how badly she takes it. He wonders if she’ll cry.

As he nears the tree, though, he stops and the air leaves his lungs. She isn’t alone. A deep scowl comes to his face, Potter is with her. He is smiling at her and they are stretching. Together. How quaint, he muses, the two idealistic Gryffindors, together at last.

She says something to Potter and he nods at her soon after. She lies face down on the ground and Potter sits on her back. He takes his palms and applies pressure to her back. Draco’s expression darkens. He sees Potter on top of her and his resolve snaps.

He walks up to them and wants to make it clear to her that he does need her. Stupid bint probably planned this all out. Thought she could make him jealous or something ridiculous. He would show her.

“See you finally learned what to do with a girl, Potter.” He sneers.

Potter jumps off her back and actually blushes. Draco shakes his head in disbelief, how could any girl, even a desperate Weasley, be attracted to a man—boy—like Potter?

“Shove off, Malfoy,” Potter retorts.

“Oh, touchy. Don’t worry, Potter, I’m sure you haven’t missed your chance, Weasley will undoubtedly put out another time.”

Potter stiffens and makes a jump towards him. Weasley intervenes.

“Harry,” she says gently as she grabs hold of his shoulder, “don’t let him provoke you." She glares at Draco, "I’m sure he’s just jealous.”

“As if I would be jealous of the fact that Potter nailed you, Weasley. They way I hear it; you’re nothing more than Gryffindor’s resident broomstick, anyway. Everyone gets a ride, isn’t that right, Weasley? If you get tired of those boys in Gryffindor, though, Weasley, you can always come over to Slytherin. We’re always looking for a good whore.”

Potter once again makes a move toward Draco, but Weasley places her hand once more one him, and shakes her head. “Remember what happened last year, Harry.”

His features soften as he looks at her. “You’re right, Gin, Malfoy isn’t worth another Quidditch suspension. If I had Pansy Parkinson for my girlfriend, though, I suppose I’d go around making immature remarks as well. How’s it feel, Malfoy, to know that the only girl you can get to so much as look at you is a dog-faced slag who is only after your daddy’s money?”

“I see you’ve found some jokes, have you, Potter? Your godfather always had a joke, too, you know. See where it landed him…”

This time, there was no chance of Weasley stopping him. Potter leaped out of his spot and onto Draco. Potter’s fist effectively connected with Draco’s jaw.

“Harry,” Ginny cried out in exasperation as she helplessly pulled at his arm. “Harry, please stop, you’ll only get in trouble. Please…stop…”

Potter finally seemed to have heard her pleas, because all at once he stilled and he lifted himself off of Draco. He walked over to where Ginny now stood and gave her an apologetic grimace.

“Sorry, Gin.”

She shrugs. “Let’s just continue with our run.”

Potter nods and they start to jog away. Draco strains to hear their conversation.

“Honestly, Harry,” she is telling him, “Malfoy is utter slime. Don’t let him…”

He can’t hear anymore. Slime, he muses as he gently rubs his face. She sits around and watches Potter attack him, and has the nerve to call him slime. “Wench,” he mutters.

He lies back in the grass and curses her some more. He doesn’t feel like moving. He doesn’t feel like running. He wishes that he had been quick enough to get out his wand and give Potter what he deserved. He wishes that she hadn’t brought Potter here to begin with.

He takes out his wand and rids himself of the warming spell as he closes his eyes.

They return after approximately half an hour. He knew that Potter wouldn’t be able to keep up with Weasley. He sits and watches from the shadows as they stand in front of the castle doors.

Weasley says something to Potter, waves, and Potter disappears. She stands still for a few moments before walking over to the area where she stretches.

“Malfoy?” she calls out warily. “Are you out here?”

He says nothing. He does not want to give her the satisfaction.

She finds him anyway. “You could have answered me, you know,” she says.

He glares. “Maybe I don’t want to talk to you.”

She sits beside him and her arm accidentally brushes up against his. She quickly pulls away and exclaims, “Jesus, Malfoy! How long have you been sitting here without a warming spell? You’re lucky you haven’t caught your death out here in this cold…” Without thinking, she pulls out her wand and immediately warms him.

“I don’t want to be warm, Weasley. Maybe I prefer the cold.”

“That’s ridiculous. Stop being so stubborn. Besides, I’m the one that should be angry here, anyway.”

“And how do you figure that?”

“Did you not see the same scene as me? You came out here and started a fight with Harry for no reason. Harry saw me leaving in my running clothes and asked if he could join me, I couldn’t very well tell him that I’d rather run with his worst enemy, now could I? So I brought him and I thought that you…that you would understand and that you would just leave it alone because we're fri—”

She stops and swallows the word. Friends, he finishes silently for her. She thought that he would leave it alone because she thought they were friends. He wants to laugh at her. He wants to taunt her, a Malfoy friends with her, a Weasley. Please.

Only, he does nothing. He stares at her and contemplates her words. Friends. What were they, exactly? He doesn’t feel angry toward her as he does her brother, Potter, and the Mudblood. He doesn’t feel indifference toward her. He sneaks away every night to run with her and spends half of his day thinking about her and whatever story she had told him the previous night.

He looks forward to their runs, to her stories of her childhood and the way that she lights up when she tells them. Did that make them friends? He didn’t know, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to for that matter. Friends are a weakness, friends are a vulnerability.

She continues to look at him. He knows that she wants an answer, she wants him to provide her with an explanation of them, and she wants to know that she isn’t alone in thinking that their relationship is more than running. Instead of providing her with any of that, though, he stands and extends a hand to help her up. “Fancy a run, Weasley, or did Potter tire you out?”

She bites her lip and stares at his outstretched hand. “I suppose,” she says finally. She doesn’t take his hand, though. She pushes herself off the ground without assistance and he drops his arm at his side.

A/N--Thank you so much to everyone who reviewed last chapter, I really appreciate it! So repeat the process and make a girl happy. Oh, and Happy Friday, all! No one get too intoxicated...ahem, as that leads to bad decisions and overall awkwardness. Er, not that I would know from last weekend or anything...
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