Chapter 28

The Sneaky Slytherin


Ginny spent most of the night staring blankly at the curtained canopy of her four poster bed with a single thought revolving in her head.

He loves me?

The multitude of emotions she had gone through earlier in the day could not compare to what she was feeling at that moment. Her confusion had only multiplied.

He loves me.

He’d said it without any warning whatsoever. Had she been prepared for the moment, she could have responded intelligently. She could have explained to him that she was just not ready to classify what was between them as love. She could have told him that he was moving too fast.

He loves me.

Instead, she walked away without managing any type of proper response since hearing the words spoken aloud from his lips left her head feeling empty as the words reverberated through her mind. For some inexplicable reason she could not feel her feet as she made her way back to the castle.

He loves me!

Ginny was almost angry with him for uttering the phrase in the middle of an argument. It was an unfair distraction when she was trying to make a point. But she could no longer recall just what point needed to be made.

He loves me!

Having gone through what seemed like every other possible emotion, elation seeped into heart. A strong desire to deny it was still present, but she could not refute the thrill that the sound of his voice speaking those words brought to her.


The following morning, Ginny’s first thought was to locate Draco and apologize to him for her badly chosen reaction to his words. However, in the middle of writing a note for Oya to deliver to him, doubt began to creep into her mind. What if she’d misheard him or what if it had all been a figment of her imagination? She still felt light-headed, but she was beginning to think it was caused by a lack of sustenance in her stomach. Then the worst thought occurred to her. What if he didn’t mean it?

Suddenly she felt the need to talk it over with Colin. He was her best friend and could offer her the practical advice. And then she realized she hadn’t spoken with Colin since before the Quidditch match. He could very well be upset with her since she was partly to blame for the current round of rumors.

Ginny’s heart sunk. How was it possible for one lie to snowball into an avalanche of rumors?

By noon Ginny had made her way down to the common room. She was thankful for its near empty state since she wasn’t much in the mood to hear more sympathetic whispers. The first thing on her agenda was to find Colin and see if she could find any way to start putting things right.

As she exited the painting she heard his voice.

“What in Godric’s name possessed you to do it, Gin?” While she could tell he was angry, it was mostly disappointment that she heard in his voice.

She took a deep breath. “Colin, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to happen. I didn’t know everyone thought I was dating Blaise or that he’d publicly declare his love – ”

“No,” he interrupted. “The photo.”

Bewilderment crossed Ginny’s face. “What photo?”

Colin unfolded the paper that he held in his hand and held it up for her to see. It was the photograph that started it all. She stared at it as Draco and Crabbe replayed the drunken kiss over and over again.

“I thought you two were past this blackmail business. What happened?”

“I don’t understand,” she said slowly.

It was Colin’s turn to look confused. “You mean you didn’t do it?”

“Do what?” she said. Her impatience was beginning to show.

“This photo is all over the school right now."

Ginny’s eyes widened in panic. “Where’s Draco?”

If Colin believed she’d done it, then what would Draco think? She needed to get to him to explain, though she couldn’t even begin to fathom what she’d tell him. Ginny had no idea how the photo even got out.

“I don’t know. I haven’t seen him today.”

Ginny flew down the stairs with Colin only a few feet behind. They headed for the Great Hall where students would be gathering for lunch. Unless he already knew the photo was out, it would be the first likely place they’d find him at that hour.

She felt sick to her stomach as she passed groups of two or three who seemed to be whispering and giggling amongst themselves. Occasionally, she’d catch a glimpse of a piece a paper being passed from one to another. At the beginning of the school year the supreme humiliation of Draco Malfoy had been her entire purpose. There would have been nothing that would have brought her more satisfaction than watching him mauled by the laughter of the entire school. Now she was horrified at the thought of Draco being disgraced before his fellow classmates. The fact that she would be at fault only made her feel worse.

They approached the entrance to the Great Hall just as Draco was making an exit. He caught sight of them and paused briefly before turning to walk down the opposite hall without making an attempt to speak to her. Ginny had expected him to be furious, but the expression on his face indicated something worse. Disappointment.

“Draco!” she hollered. He stopped and turned to face her as she caught up to him. He didn’t give her a chance to even begin explaining.

“With all the rest of your antics this really shouldn’t surprise me.” His voice was cold and controlled. “I just didn’t think you’d take it this far. Potter starts getting suspicious and because you are so distressed over anyone finding out our little secret you actually try to convince him I’m gay to throw him off? Unbelievable.”

Ginny’s face contorted in confusion. “But - I -”

“I suppose it was all too easy to contrive another lie to cover up the truth. Comes naturally to you, doesn’t it?”

Her cheeks began to burn with shame. Even though she was innocent this time, she felt he deserved to be upset with her.

“How convenient that this time you even had proof to back up your story,” he continued. “The way you manipulate everything to work in your favor is truly incredible. You should have been a Slytherin. It’s no wonder that I fell in love with you.”

Ginny was about to tell him that she hadn’t betrayed him until his words made her choke on hers. Though his tone indicated he was angry, once more he admitted to loving her and it was enough to make her lose her speaking and thinking abilities all over again.

“And that, of course, is the problem, isn’t it? You don’t want to believe I love you and you did this thinking you’d convince me that I’ve made a mistake. Do you honestly think that I’m going to let you push me away with a stupid stunt like this? You’re not getting rid of me that easily,” he stated firmly. “I meant what I said yesterday.”

Ginny could only stare at him with her mouth agape as he turned and walked away. She didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t angry with her for allowing the photo to get out; he thought she was trying to break it off with him. If there was ever a time when she felt someone had cast a Confundus Charm on her, it was now.

“Do you suppose we ought to check him into St. Mungo’s psychiatric ward?” Colin asked once Draco was out of sight. “He’s completely mental.”

Ginny could only nod in agreement.


“Well, is your brilliant master plan working?” Blaise asked the moment Draco returned to the Slytherin common room.

“It’s too early to tell yet, but it will. I’m sure of it.”

“Are you even sure she loves you, mate? You’ve put your entire reputation at stake here.”

Draco rolled his eyes. “This from the guy who, only yesterday, declared his undying love for his boyfriend in front of the entire school. And let’s not forget how paranoid you were about coming out just the day before that. You didn’t even know Colin loved you before pulling that stunt.”

Blaise grinned sheepishly. “Well, that is one thing. But having the entire student body believe you’ve snogged Vincent Crabbe is social suicide.”

“After what I just told Ginny, she’s got to believe that she’s more important to me than my reputation. The nonsense she’s been going on about being nothing but a bloody conquest is ridiculous. I could care less if everyone thinks I’ve snogged Crabbe as long as she knows what she means to me.”

Blaise gave him a look of sympathy. He knew that Draco was madly in love with Ginny and all reason had left his mind. Blaise understood the feeling all too well.

“I’m sure she does, mate. But Ginny’s stubborn. You know that. She is a Weasley.”

“Exactly. And that’s why I haven’t exactly committed social suicide. Weasleys have a tendency toward nobility, that’s why they all end up as empty-headed Gryffindors. She’ll find a way to ensure that the truth gets out about the photo. Even if she doesn’t love me, she has strong feelings for me and wouldn’t want to see me suffering unnecessarily. Especially since she thinks it’s her fault.”

After Ginny had left him by the lake doubting her feelings for him, he’d gone back to his room to sort out his thoughts. He convinced himself that he couldn’t be wrong about how she felt, but for extra reassurance he took a look at the Dream Whisperer. He caught her awake again, but even the conscious clutter showed strong indications her mind weighed heavily on him.

He decided his best course of action was to prove his love for her once and for all.

“Her fault?” Blaise asked.

“I’ve given her the impression that I believe she’s the one who put the photo into Potter’s hands,” he replied.

“And why would you have done that?” Blaise was completely baffled at his friend’s seemingly complete lack of rationality. He understood that love did funny things to a person, but it seemed counterproductive to not only lie, but to blame one’s object of affection for a crime she didn’t commit.

“Because if she believes that I think she’s to blame and I still love her despite it, that proves I love her above everything else,” Draco said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“How else was this supposed to work?”

Blaise stared blankly at him for a moment. As preposterous as Draco’s whole scheme appeared; there seemed to be a strange logic behind it.

“You’re sure she won’t find out that you’re behind your own social demise?”

“Why would she ever suspect me of sabotaging my own reputation? You and Oya are my only two accomplices. Oya is incapable of revealing her part in this and I trust that you understand you’re sworn to secrecy. Right?”

Blaise remained silent.

“Blaise?” he pleaded.

“All right. I won’t say a word.”


Shortly after Draco had removed himself from Ginny and Colin’s presence, they were graced with the company of Harry and Ron. Ginny’s miniature dragon, Oya, was hovering just above them.

“I’ve been wondering where you’ve been,” Ginny called to her pet. Oya circled around her two escorts and then placed herself in her usual position wrapped around Ginny’s wrist.

“You are bloody brilliant!” Ron announced looking positively giddy. “Why didn’t you let us in on the fun, eh? Oh, hi, Colin,” he said, surprised to see him in Ginny’s presence after the Blaise debacle. Colin nodded amusedly. “Oh, by the way, you left this in the common room.” He pulled the strap of a book bag off his shoulder and handed it over to her. Ginny recognized it as hers and everything fell into place.

“You went through my bag?” She was visibly tense at the thought of her privacy being invaded.

Sensing an impending argument, Harry stepped in to explain. “It wasn’t his fault. Oya must have been trying to carry the bag up to you, but couldn’t manage the weight. A couple of pictures of Malfoy fell out. That’s how we found it.”

“And you just decided to make copies and pass them around the school without even consulting me?”

Ginny’s frustration was clear, but Ron was perplexed by it. His brow furrowed at her discontent with their actions.

“Isn’t that what you were going to do with them?”

“Well, it was. But...” She was becoming flustered. Caught between telling one truth versus another, Ginny couldn’t decide what to do. “You could have asked me!”

“We’re giving you all the credit in this, so it’s not like everyone doesn’t know that you’re the one we should thank for Malfoy’s humiliation,” Ron said misunderstanding her agitation.

Ginny only felt worse knowing that her name was attached to Draco’s disgrace. “That’s not the point!” she growled.

“Alright, Gin. If it’ll make you feel better, we’ll let you hand out the next round. I’m pretty sure there’re a few people in the library who haven’t seen it yet.”

She glared at her brother.


Unable to say anything more to her brother without potentially causing a row of magnificent proportions, Ginny left the scene in a huff. Walking away, she heard Ron make an exasperated groan followed by a comment about her moodiness likely being related to a monthly feminine biological issue. It took all her willpower not to turn around and deck him.


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