In the Forbidden Forest
Draco was watching Ginny again. She was sitting amidst a large group of Gryffindor fifth and sixth years near the lake. They were laughing at some joke that Seamus Finnigan had told. He loved watching her laugh. Everyone seemed to be outside as it was a beautiful early fall day. He had been studying with Blaise in the shade of a tree not too far from the group of Gryffindors.
He had caught her eye a few times while she was conversing with her friends and had given her a grin when she looked up to see that she was being watched. She’d always look away quickly, but he could see by the way her lips curled in a half smile each time she looked away that she was enjoying the attention.
He had spent the past three nights watching her dreams. He found them fascinating, especially since he seemed to be featured in each one. So far, his favorite had been her most recent one. She'd fought him in that one and even cast some type of protective shield around herself to keep him at a distance but he'd flown in on his broom, shattering the barrier, and swept her off into the night sky where she could resist his charms no longer.
It suprised him that she hadn’t approached him again about removing the bracelet. He got the distinct impression that she was avoiding him, despite the fact that she was constantly looking in his direction.
Had it not been for the gaggle of Gryffindors that surrounded her, he would have walked right over to her, wrapped his arms around her, and snogged the daylights out of her. He was patient, however, as he was confident he would soon have another chance, once he could get her alone.
He watched as she casually leaned against Colin. She folded her hands across her abdomen and was absently stroking the mane of the sleeping dragon that was curled around her wrist. He wondered if she was thinking about him. His reverie came to an abrupt halt at the sound of his name being sung from across the lake shore.
He visibly cringed at the sound of the high-pitched, overtly flirtatious voice. Pansy Parkinson was approaching. Draco swiftly glanced at Blaise who had a sympathetic, yet amused look on his face.
“What do you want, Pansy?” he said in annoyance. She carefully situated herself next to him before she answered.
“I just wanted you to know that I broke it off with Maxi," she grinned coyly at him.
"How unfortunate,” he responded with just a smidgen of sarcasm. “Now if you don't mind, I was busy studying."
“It’s not unfortunate, silly,” she giggled. She apparently couldn’t take a hint. “He was a bit of a bore, really. Nothing like you were,” she cooed.
He and Pansy had an odd relationship with a long, twisted history. She was always trying to gain his affections. Sometimes he would indulge her fantasies; most times he would not. She knew that he wasn’t the type to have anything more than a casual fling with a girl, but she was always striving to be the one to change that. Draco was well aware of it and was growing tired of her shameless attempts at making him fall for her.
Her latest endeavor had been to make him jealous by dating another wealthy, good-looking Slytherin by the name of Maximillian Fletcher. It failed miserably since he really didn’t care. He had hoped that she would realize that an actual relationship with him was out of the question and would stay with Max. He was a perfect match for her, really. Pansy was all about money and societal standing and the Fletchers met both qualifications. However, Draco was sure that Pansy didn’t want to settle for anything less than the best, and while the Fletchers were wealthy and carried a certain amount of respect with their name, it did not quite compare to the Malfoy riches and power.
He was barely listening to her ramble on about how terribly unromantic Maxi was and how someone should be showering flowers and gifts on her instead of that wretched Weasley girl. He was still watching Ginny and saw her glance in their direction again.
Pansy chose that moment to rest her head on his shoulder while lacing her hands around his arm. She was reminiscing about the good times they’d had together when they went to the Yule Ball.
Ginny had been smiling, but her face changed immediately when she noted Pansy’s position. It was a mixture of distaste and disappointment, but she turned away before Draco could pull away from Pansy’s grasp and make any attempt at giving her some sign that Pansy’s company was unwanted. He cursed silently, wondering how much of a setback the incident would be. He hoped the Firelilies would continue working well enough until he could completely sweep her off her feet.
He was trying to find a tactful way of telling Pansy to bugger off when he noticed the group of Gryffindors had dispersed and were heading back toward the castle. He assumed that Ginny would be leaving with them, however, she stayed behind for a moment and then started walking towards him. The frown she wore only moments before, was replaced by a mischievous smile.
Draco only had a few moments to ponder what it could possibly mean before she was standing in front of him. He saw a wicked gleam in her eyes.
“Draco, I just wanted to tell you I love the bracelet,” she said in a manner that was obviously meant to make Pansy jealous. She took a moment to admire the expensive piece of jewelry. “You’re right, it does look good on me.”
She leaned down and brushed her lips lightly against his cheek. “And I want to thank you again for the lovely flowers. It was very sweet of you,” she said flirtatiously.
Draco’s mouth fell open.
Blaise bit his lip to keep from laughing.
Pansy looked ready to kill.
“See you in class, Draco,” she said sweetly as she continued toward the castle.
“Is she nutters?” Pansy finally said when she recovered from the shock of what Ginny had done. “She actually thinks you’re her secret admirer! Can you believe the audacity! What would make her think that a Malfoy would ever consort with the likes of -” It was that moment she saw the lopsided grin Draco wore as he watched Ginny walk toward the castle.
Draco hardly noticed that Pansy had stormed off. He was still stunned. Most girls would have gone into a jealous rage, but he reminded himself that Ginny wasn’t like most girls. Perhaps the little scene with Pansy wasn't such a setback after all.
The Advanced Potions class assembled at the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Professor Snape gave each of them a map and assigned them a section of the forest to explore. He gave them specific orders to avoid wandering too far into the forest, as the centaurs would not take kindly to those entering their territory. They split up into three groups and headed into the forest.
After over a week of the dreams and constantly thinking about Draco Malfoy, Ginny had finally come to the conclusion that she would have to give Malfoy the chance he had asked for. She was convinced it was for her own sanity.
She was going to approach him with her decision on Sunday. However, when she saw him with Pansy she thought perhaps it had been wise that she had informed him she wasn’t interested. She should have been thanking her lucky stars that she hadn’t made a complete fool of herself by giving into his charms. He seemed to have the attention span of a two-year-old when it came to women.
Still, she couldn’t help feeling the need for a little retribution. If he wanted to get back together with Pansy, so be it. She just wasn’t going to make it that easy for him. Her little scene at the lake was strictly for Pansy’s benefit, and she hoped Pansy would give him the third degree afterwards.
She tried to believe that it was a relief that he had moved on to someone else. There was no reason for her to be jealous since she had turned him down. Yet, she wondered why relief felt so bad. Why had he gone to all the trouble if he was only going to lose interest?
“I think we’ll need to take this path,” Ginny said as she checked the map. She was making no attempt to be friendly or show him any type of emotion. He wasn’t even worth spending the energy for her to be angry with him. She was going to get rid of the flowers, demand that he tell her how to remove the bracelet and she was going to toss the poem. She’d keep the broom, however, as she felt she deserved at least that for all that she had been through. Then maybe she could forget that any of it had ever happened, assuming that the dreams would stop, too.
“You never answered my question,” he said suddenly.
“What question is that, Malfoy?” she asked curtly. They were still following the path.
“So it’s Malfoy again? What happened to Draco?” he asked amused, yet slightly befuddled at her chilly tone.
She stopped. She could feel her temper rising and she swore that she wasn’t going to spend any more of her energy on him.
“Here,” she said rolling up her sleeve revealing the sleeping dragon. She kept her tone cool, she didn’t need him to think that she gave a rat’s woogus about him or anything that he gave her. “Tell me how to get this stupid thing off and you can give it to Pansy.”
His mouth slowly curled into a smile. “No.”
“Why would I give it to Pansy?” He was inching closer to her. “I didn’t get the bracelet for Pansy, I got it for you.”
He took her hand and brought it to his lips.
She wished she could think of a spell to keep the blush from rising to her cheeks.
“You are my Fiery Goddess,” he said softly as he released her hand, “not Pansy.”
Ginny took a step back. Nervously, she turned and started heading down the path again. She was completely unsure of how to react to that. It reminded her of one of her dreams. It was surreal. Perhaps he hadn’t already lost interest.
“I think we’re almost there,” she said trying to act as if nothing had happened. She tried to hide the giddiness that she felt.
Draco followed her further down the path.
They came to a clearing full of a variety of flowers and mushrooms. Ginny surveyed the area trying to memorize all the possible potions ingredients they could gather when they returned on Thursday. Today they were here to observe.
Ginny leaned against a tree. Draco did the same, but he was looking at her, not the clearing.
“We’re supposed to be observing our surroundings,” she commented.
“I am looking at my surroundings,” he replied with a devious grin.
“I doubt you’ll find any of the components we need by looking at me,” she tried not to return the smile, but was finding it difficult.
“We have all the ingredients here to make a simple distraction draft.”
“You haven’t even taken a look around. How would you know?” She eyed him suspiciously.
“Walk to the middle of the clearing and look around.”
She followed his instructions and as soon as she hit the middle of the clearing she suddenly felt like she lost her sense of direction. She couldn’t think clearly. He called her to come back and she complied.
“The effect will clear off in a few minutes,” he laughed.
“What effect?” she asked, finding it very difficult to concentrate.
“Never mind. You were going to answer a question for me.”
“You were going to tell me why you kissed me.”
She concentrated very hard on answering the question. She knew the right answer was in her head somewhere. “You smelled good,” was all she could come up with.
Draco was still smiling broadly.
“Would you kiss me again?” He couldn’t resist.
Again, Ginny concentrated on answering the question. “I think so.”
“Now?” he asked cunningly as he leaned closer to her. She moved toward him ready to obey, then the fog that invaded her head dissipated and clarity returned. She stepped back quickly.
“You prat!” she yelled and reached for her wand. It was gone. He was holding it. “What did you do?”
He had a wicked smile on his face.
“There’s a high concentration of Jobberknoll feathers over there, along with sneezewort, scurvy-grass, leaping toadstools, lovage, and dittany. At the focal point all the ingredients react together and have an effect similar to a basic truth serum and confusion concoction,” he explained. “You’d be too confused to tell your innermost secrets, but gullible enough to answer a few questions and highly susceptible to suggestion, though only for a few moments of time. I was just demonstrating what Snape was trying to tell us in class about strange anomalies when ingredients combine in a natural setting.”
“Shall we see what happens to you, then?” she said poking her finger at him. He stepped back.
“I think I’ll pass,” he answered, laughing.
“I don’t think so,” she teased as she pushed at him again.
“I - ouch!” he yelped as he tripped over a fallen log and dropped her wand.
Ginny saw her chance and grabbed her wand.
She levitated him to the middle of the clearing and then dropped him on his bum. He yelped in pain again. She gave a satisfied smirk.
“Now you’re going to answer a few questions for me.”
“I am?” he asked as he got up. His eyes had glazed over slightly and she knew he was confused.
“Yes. How many girls have you kissed?”
He stood there for a moment and then started counting slowly on his fingers. He stopped and then started over again. He did this three times before he finally answered, “I don’t remember.”
She rolled her eyes. She should have known.
“Do you still like Pansy Parkinson?”
He answered almost instantly and with a clear look of disgust, “No.”
She was pleased with this answer, but she wondered just how susceptible to suggestion he would be. After all, he had tried tricking her into kissing him again.
“Dance like a ballerina.”
She started giggling as he began to pirouette around her followed by some amazingly graceful leaps and turns. He ended in an arabesque just as lucidity returned to him. He grinned awkwardly.
“Shall we call it even now?” A slight pink tinged his face.
“How did you know about the focal point?” she asked. She had been impressed by his knowledge, even if he had used it against her.
“I’ve read about them and I’ve been to this clearing before. Fortunately, no one was with me to make me do embarrassing dances. But you didn’t have to drop me into the focal point just so I’d answer your questions.”
“I wanted to make sure that you are aware you won’t get away with anything should I decide that you’re worthy of my company,” she teased. “I always get my revenge.”
“I’m sure you do.”
“You’re quite graceful, you know,” she continued in her playful tone.
“Mum insisted on dance lessons when I was younger,” he explained. "And I was actually quite good. It takes a lot of strength and flexibility to manage some of those moves. The art of ballet is greatly underrated." He quickly added, "But that's just my opinion; you are under no obligation to share it with anyone else."
She giggled at the thought of Draco Malfoy taking ballet lessons. "On the contrary, I feel quite obligated to share that information with everyone I know."
"No one would believe you," he answered as convincingly as he could, but Ginny caught the flicker of desperation in his eyes that practically begged her not to utter a word to anyone about it. It amused her even more.
“You still didn’t answer one of my questions,” she pointed out.
He stepped closer to her again. “I don’t think it matters how many girls I’ve snogged.”
He leaned down and kissed her fully on the lips. She felt his arm slide around her waist. He pulled her closer to him. She found that her arms automatically wrapped themselves around him. She was no longer in control. At first the simple pleasure of the pressure of his lips on hers was enough. In her dreams she was only teased with a slight brush of his lips against hers, always waking longing for more.
Now she had more, but it still wasn’t enough. She darted her tongue into his mouth coaxing him to further explore hers. He did so, slowly and sensually. He took his time tasting her. His hand slide up and down her side leaving her skin tingling and wanting more.
Ginny wanted to stay wrapped in his arms enjoying the pure bliss that it was to fulfill this desire. It was by far the longest kiss they had shared at this point. However, it was not nearly long enough.
They both heard the unquestionable sound of someone clearing their throat with the express purpose of gaining their attention.
With utmost haste they disentangled themselves knowing they had been caught. In the rush, however, they managed to fall back into the focal point and instantly fell under its temporary spell.
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