Draco’s Bad Day
Ginny watched as Harry continued standing in the same place, his hand still outstretched slightly as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it after he had shaken hands with Draco Malfoy. He had a look of horror, shock, and disgust. Ginny heard the congratulations, but also saw that Draco had said something afterwards to cause Harry’s reaction. Draco’s smirk, as he walked by, told her that he was up to no good.
It had been so much easier when she was dating Michael Corner and keeping that a secret from Ron. First of all, at the time, Ron didn’t pay much attention to her love life – at least he hadn’t until he found out that she had broken it off with Michael. Second of all, Michael would follow her instructions to the letter because he was slightly intimidated by her. Draco, on the other hand, was not.
She had realized some time ago that the intimidation factor was part of her attraction to him. It wasn’t really that she felt intimidated by him at all. In fact, she felt they were on the same level. But why did he feel the need to complicate her life even more? If she could keep from melting in his hypnotic gaze again, she was going to have to have a little talk with her ‘boyfriend.’ But first, she needed to do some damage control. She wasn’t sure where to start. She was going to need to keep Ron from killing both Blaise and Colin, then she was going to have to tell Harry to ignore Draco’s nonsense.
Harry approached her first.
“We need to talk,” he said somberly. He glanced quickly over to where Ron was celebrating with the remainder of the team. He pulled her aside.
Ginny’s stomach dropped. Perhaps, it was too late for damage control.
“What did you want to talk about?” she said innocently. No need in giving anything away since she wasn’t positive he knew anything anyway.
"I think you know. And Ron,” he said looking over again to check that Ron was out of earshot, “is going to have kittens if he finds out.”
Ginny was indecisive. Should she confirm his suspicions? Or should she act as if she had no idea what he was going on about?
“If?” she asked slowly. ‘If’ was an indication that Harry wasn’t going to say anything. Then again, she still wasn’t sure exactly how clued in Harry was. “If he finds out about what?” she continued as if she were clueless.
He sighed impatiently. “I was just informed by the ferret himself that should I touch you again I’m dead,” he said half-mockingly.
She couldn’t help the slight lift of the right corner of her mouth. If she were in her right mind she would have been furious about the threat. Nevertheless, a small part of her enjoyed the display of jealousy, and she was a little ashamed about it. Draco knew he had no reason to be jealous.
“Whatever bizarre obsession he has with you needs to be put to a stop,” he continued.
“He’s harmless,” she said, dismissively. “He’s just trying to be a prat.”
“That’s not the impression I got,” Harry argued. “He’s nutters. People who are obsessed can be dangerous. He’s seeing a Headhealer for Merlin’s sake, Ginny!”
“Harry, it’s none of your concern,” Ginny returned with a little irritation. It was odd how difficult it was to keep from defending Draco openly.
“But I am concerned. You’re my friend and if Malfoy is up to something –”
“Draco isn’t up to anything!” she snapped.
Harry was momentarily taken aback by her hostile tone and she regretted being so defensive. She was on the verge of an apology, and then Harry asked, “What’s that?”
“What’s what?” she queried.
She realized he was looking at the collar of her robes. She reached up felt the smooth, square-cut emerald that was attached to the thick silver band with the Malfoy insignia. Draco’s ring, which had been tucked into her robes during the game, was now partially visible. At some point, the chain had apparently become displaced. She hurriedly tucked it back under her robe.
“Harry – ”
“Come on, you two! We are going back to the common room to celebrate!” Ron grabbed Harry and Ginny by the arms and started dragging them toward the castle.
Ginny escaped the havoc of the celebration with thankful ease. Upon exiting the portrait, she found it difficult to decide where she could hide for a bit. The rumors about her relationship with Blaise were circulating again and she was in no mood to deal with the pitiful gazes she was receiving. Anger was the feeling she thought she should be experiencing, but the situation seemed to be far too complex to have only a single emotion.
The monstrous lie she had allowed to develop during the course of her relationship with Draco was becoming almost too much to bear. But would the truth be any easier? She was beginning to wonder.
Instead of wandering to one of her regular castle hideouts, Ginny found herself headed outdoors. Fresh air would help clear her head. She walked the perimeter of the lake until she reached a cluster of trees at the far end. There she sat watching the shallow ripples the light breeze created as it moved across the water. She needed to figure out a way out of the mess she had created not only for herself, but for her friends as well. It wasn’t likely they were enjoying the rumors any more than she did. And then there was the matter of Draco’s careless remark to Harry. As much as she hoped that Harry would forget about it, that too seemed unlikely.
Draco had been in a fury after the Quidditch match. It had been bad enough that he’d lost the bet and had publicly congratulated his worst enemy. When he reached the locker room to change, however, things grew far worse. All of the insults and taunting that he’d missed during the match was being repeated by his bitter teammates. Though it was traditional for the Slytherin team to take out their frustrations about losing by repeating every obnoxious thing they’d heard about the opposing team, this time the insults were directed at Draco’s girlfriend and that did not set well with him.
He changed while silently seething at all the lies he’d heard. How could Ginny possibly expect him to put up with this? Surely, she would want her own boyfriend to defend her reputation. If any of them knew her association with him they would all hold their tongue and none of them would even dare to ponder a bad thought about Ginny Weasley.
Unfortunately, he had promised to keep their relationship a secret and informing the Quidditch team would be just as good as announcing it in front of the entire school. The thought of just walking out of the locker room without a word had crossed Draco’s mind. He might have done just that had he not heard the comment about Ginny sleeping with Potter again. Unable to control his temper, Draco began hurling hexes at his teammates. When he’d finished, he was sufficiently satisfied with the looks of shock he saw amidst their disfigured faces.
“This loss was disgraceful,” he spat in explanation. “If we lose the next match, I will not be so forgiving.”
With that, Draco turned and stalked out of the locker room leaving the Slytherin team to now ponder their punishment.
As Draco left the locker room he spied Ginny as she wandered around the lake. His day had, thus far, been rather terrible and perhaps he could guilt his girlfriend into a snogging session to make him feel better. After all, it had been largely her fault that he was having such a rough time.
She seemed unaware that she was being followed so Draco took the opportunity to take her by surprise. It took a few moments for him to catch up to her once she sat with her back against one of the trees alongside the lake. As he closed in on her he stepped on a pile of dry leaves alerting her to his presence. He didn’t hesitate as she turned to the noise. Quickly, he leaned over and captured her lips with his before she could say a word.
He was just beginning to lose himself in the kiss when he suddenly found himself being pushed away.
“Don’t you even think about it, Draco Malfoy! We need to talk.” She spoke firmly and Draco took it as a sign that she was serious. He sighed with more than a small hint of frustration. It appeared his bad day was only going to get worse. Almost sure he knew what this was going to be about, he settled against the tree next to his girlfriend and crossed his arms.
“Why, in Merlin’s name, would you threaten Harry like that?”
“He had his arms around you,” he responded sourly. “I simply warned him against further action.”
“He thinks you’re obsessed with me!”
“I am.” Draco attempted a beguiling smirk in hopes of lightening the mood. She rolled her eyes indicating his attempt had failed.
“He thinks you’re obsessed in a dangerous way. Do you have any idea how impossible it is to convince him otherwise without sounding too suspicious? You’re just making everything more complicated.”
“I’m making everything more complicated?” Draco snapped. “I wasn’t the one who created the rumor you were dating Blaise Zabini only to have him out himself at a bloody Quidditch match in front of the whole bloody school. Do you have any idea what people are saying? This wouldn’t be an issue if you weren’t so insistent about hiding this from everyone.”
“If everyone knew then my brother and Harry would try to kill you!”
“I think you underestimate my ability to defend myself. I had to hex my entire team because they were saying crass things about you!” She stared at him in disbelief.
“Would it really be so bad to be known as Draco Malfoy’s girlfriend?”
“I – it’s complicated,” she said softly.
His intention was not to push her into doing something she wasn’t ready to do, but he was sick of being blamed for complicating her life.
“So it’s okay for Harry-bloody-Potter to have his arms around you in a public place, but not your own boyfriend?”
“Honestly, you have got to get over yourself. You’re taking this jealousy ploy too far. I’ve already explained to you what my relationship with Harry is.”
“Perhaps that wouldn’t be so difficult for me to get over being jealous if you’d get over your embarrassment at dating a Slytherin,” he shot back. “No, wait. You weren’t that embarrassed when everyone believed you were dating Blaise Zabini.” It hadn’t really bothered him up until that very moment. His temper was flaring and he was beginning to lack control.
“Blaise Zabini’s father wasn’t the one who slipped an enchanted diary into my possession during my first year here!”
“I’m not my father.” There was a disturbing chill in his words. It was perhaps his worst fear that he would never manage to get out of his father’s dark shadow.
“I’m not saying you are,” she said irritably, unaware of the pain she had caused. “But everyone else thinks you’re his clone.”
“I don’t give a rat’s arse what everyone else thinks.” His tone was still cool.
“Well, I do! I’m the one who has to go around looking like an idiot when things don’t work out between us. I’ll just be another conquest for you.”
“Is that what you really think?” He was in utter shock.
“Well, it’s the truth isn’t it?”
“No. The truth is you’re too bloody stubborn to give us a real chance. I think you’re afraid that what you’re feeling is something more serious than you would like to admit. You can’t tell me that you really think you’re just some ridiculous conquest. If you believe that then your head is even thicker than your brother’s. I don’t give Malfoy heirlooms to girls who I think are a passing fancy. I don’t cast hexes on my fellow Slytherin housemates for just any girl and I certainly don’t spend every waking moment thinking about someone who I deem as some type of trophy. “
“If you don’t want me to tell anyone I won’t. That doesn’t matter to me. But I won’t pretend to not to hear when someone makes malicious remarks about you. I can’t go around acting indifferent toward you anymore. I love you and I don’t care if the whole ruddy school knows it,” he said angrily.
The words just flowed from his mouth and he seemed to have no power over what was said. He’d been so flabbergasted that she seemed so intent on making their relationship out to be some temporary thing even after he’d given her his ring.
And then, without realizing it, the words ‘I love you’ had escaped his lips. He meant it, but he had no intention of relaying that message to her during an argument. It was most inappropriate.
No wonder she could do nothing but stare at him with a look of astonishment on her face. He wished she would say something, anything. Even a slap to the face would have been more welcome than her stunned silence.
“I have to go,” she announced. She was completely unreadable as she made her way back to the castle.
Draco suddenly felt as though the world had dropped out from beneath him. He was certain he had scared her off with his little speech. They’d been officially together only a short while. Was it possible he was wrong about what she felt? Was it possible that it was wishful thinking on his part that she could feel that deeply about him?
It took everything to keep panic from overtaking him. If had made a mistake there was certainly a way to fix it. He would find a way. The thought of losing Ginny was just not palatable.