Colin had returned from his date with Blaise flushed and dreamy eyed. It was late, but Ginny had waited up for him.
“I take it things went well?” Ginny grinned as Colin floated into the common room taking a seat on the sofa in front of the fire.
“Wonderfully well!” he sighed. “He’s brilliant and attractive and did you know that he’s fancied me for months!”
“No, I didn’t.” Ginny giggled at her friend’s dreamy state.
“You know, I think this could get serious,” he said returning to reality a little.
“One date and this is serious already?”
“We just connected. We spent the whole time talking.”
“Talking?” she said doubtingly.
“Well, we’ re taking things slow,” he explained. “This is all new to him and to me, too. I don’t want to ruin this.”
Ginny nodded in understanding.
“So what did you two talk about?”
“Everything! And nothing. And...” Colin gave her a sheepish grin. “Well, we talked a little about you and Malfoy.” Ginny shot him a puzzled look.
“What about me and Malfoy?” she said slightly annoyed.
“He was telling me that you lost a bet with him today.”
“Bragging to his friends already? That insolent, arrogant, son-of-a-”
“Yes,” Colin interrupted knowing Ginny could go on for days insulting Malfoy. “Anyway, he said that you agreed to go to Hogsmeade with him?”
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” she said. Her surly mood had returned. “Actually, I almost beat him. In fact, I was able to plow a Bludger right into his stomach. It was rather satisfying to knock the wind out of him. I’d better make the team because I’d love nothing more than to do that again. Though next time I’ll try to aim a little higher and maybe I can knock the lips right off his face.”
“His lips. So he wouldn’t be able to kiss you again?” Colin asked, guessing that was the reason she picked that particular part of his anatomy.?
“Exactly. Not that I’ve been thinking about it at all.”
“Right,” Colin said with a hint of skepticism.
“Well, Colin, I’m beat. I think I’ll go to bed now. See you in the morning.”
“Night,” he replied.
It was Tuesday and Draco was still in a good mood. It had definitely paid off having Colin and Blaise get together. He was pleased to discover that he had more than a snowball’s chance in hell of getting Ginny Weasley to actually like him. According to Colin there were clues that she was still obviously thinking about him. Of course, she still wanted to rip off one of his appendages, but both Blaise and Colin believed that this was because she had conflicted feelings.
He waited at the dungeon entrance, as he knew that Ginny would be in his Advanced Potions class.
“What are you doing here, Malfoy?” she said, obviously annoyed.
“I thought I would walk you to class.”
“No thanks,” she returned and then promptly cast the leg locking curse on him. She continued on her way to class and didn’t even bother to watch as he fell flat on his face.
Conflicted feelings, my arse, he thought as he waved his wand and did the counter curse to free his legs. She still hates me.
Well, if she wanted to play hard to get, so be it. He would just have to be persistent and cunning. He was a Slytherin, for Salazar’ s sake, and there was a reason he was. He got what he wanted no matter what it took to get it.
He walked into the Potion’s classroom and saw only five others there. He recognized two seventh year Ravenclaws, Camillus Ingram and Trace Sindri who were sitting toward the front of the classroom. One heavy set seventh year Slytherin girl he knew as Ambrosia Amontu who was trying to flirt with Blaise and then there was Ginny Weasley. He took his seat at her table.
“I should have used the full body binding curse,” she muttered to him as she crossed her arms glaring at him again.
“I doubt you need to get detention again already. Though you were quite productive during your first detention, weren’t you?” he smirked.
“Yes I was. And I believe you weren’t very productive afterward, were you?” she returned the smirk as Draco’s faded slightly.
“So tell me, how does a fifth year end up in Advanced Potions class when she was just given a detention because she couldn’t make the Draught of Peace correctly?” He was taunting her.
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” she retorted cheekily.
“You’re leaving me up to my own assumptions then? Let’s see, I know you’re capable of blackmail. I suppose that’s a possibility. But one wonders, if you would sink low enough to blackmail someone, what other things would an attractive redhead do to get a spot in a class reserved only for the most prominent potions students? Or should I ask who would you do?” he goaded.
Ginny’s eyes widened briefly in horror at the suggestion. Then she returned, “I would ask who you did to get in here, except, judging from what I’m sure was a disappointing performance with Edgecomb last week I highly doubt you would be capable of getting a position in this class with those skills - or lack therof.”
“First of all Marietta was the disappointment so I had no reason to perform. I should probably thank you for putting temporary deterrent on my hormones that evening. Secondly, if you are that interested in my skills I would be happy to oblige with a demonstration,” he commented grinning craftily at her.
“Who said I was interested,” she snapped narrowing her eyes.
“For being uninterested you seem to be quite aware of whom I spend my time with.”
Ginny opened her mouth to reply, however, Professor Snape chose that moment to enter the classroom.
“Welcome to Advanced Potions. You are here because I have personally invited each of you due to your interest and talent with potions. You should know that every student I have invited to this class who has chosen a career path in the Potions field has done so very successfully. The person with whom you are sitting right now will be your lab partner for the rest of the year. I am sure you are all capable of dealing with that,” he said specifically eyeing Draco and Ginny.
“For your first assignment I have laid out ten basic potion ingredients and four rare ingredients. You are to create a potion from memory that requires at least five of these ingredients and can be completed within this class period. Miss Weasley, I am aware that you are capable of creating the Draught of Peace from memory so you and Mr. Malfoy will need to decide upon a different concoction. You may begin.”
“We could make the Deflation Creation,” Draco suggested.
“The other potion that you created in detention? The one you tested on me? That better not have caused any permanent damage by the way,” he said with a subtle worried look.
Ginny laughed. “Wouldn’t that be a shame,” she said mockingly. “No more nasty little Malfoys populating the planet. But I don’t think that would be quite appropriate to make. As you said I don’t need another detention, especially another one for being too creative with the potion ingredients.”
“You’ll have to tell me about that one sometime. I assume that’s probably what landed you in Advanced Potions?” He was intensely curious.
“Maybe,” she said coolly. She was not about to have a friendly conversation with him. “We should get to work on a potion. Do you know how to make the Percuro Venificium?”
“Yes," he paused before it registered what her intention was. "You don’t actually expect us to make that? We only have an hour and a half. And that requires at least eleven of those ingredients, but we need bagsblat and that isn’t one of the ingredients up there.”
“We can make it with fifteen minutes to spare if you get your arse up there and get the ingredients we need now. And if we double the mugswort and put half of a eucalyptus leaf in place of the bagsblat it’ll have the exact same effect,” she said matter-of-factly.
“And I thought you didn’t want to be too creative,” he smirked. “You do know that doubling the mugswort has a tendency to cause instability?”
“Possibly. But I still think we can manage.”
“May I suggest something?”
“Be my guest.”
“If we quarter the eucalyptus leaf and put one quarter in with half the mugswort and repeat it’ll stabilize easier.”
Ginny thought it over for a moment. “Alright. Let’s get to work then.”
They worked amazingly well together. Draco was thoroughly in awe of her ability to recall the exact steps to create the potion. The Percuro Venificium was a draught designed to cure poisons. It was highly complex and Draco was amazed anyone aside from himself would even know where to begin with it.
They were filling a vial with the sample as Professor Snape called time. They were the last ones to complete their potion.
“Before we leave you will need to explain which potion you chose to create and why.”
The Ravenclaws explained that they had made a sobering potion because it was the first thing either of them could remember the entire process to make. They'd mumbled something about having to brew it often.
“Excellent brew, though not very challenging. I will expect more from you, as you are seventh years, but not a bad start. Five points each for Ravenclaw.”
Blaise and Amontu had created a laughter inducing potion because it was the first thing they agreed upon after arguing about it for the first fifteen minutes and the only thing they could create in the time they had left. It was very useful for stress relief.
“You two will need to work out your differences,” he said curtly. “Though I believe that you’ve created in interesting combination here.”
“Yes,” replied Blaise. “I thought it would be a good idea to limit bouts of laughter to ten minutes by adding the trunkweed.”
“Very good,” Snape replied with approval. “Five points each to Slytherin.”
“And Mr. Malfoy and Miss Weasley. This should be rather interesting,” he said with an amused sneer upon his face.
“We decided on Percuro Venificium. It’s extremely useful in curing poisons with serpent or spider venom in it. We chose to do it because it was a challenge,” Draco explained.
Snape furrowed his brows. “Mr. Malfoy, I believe that requires bagsblatt and I don’t believe that was one of the ingredients I provided. Are you quite sure you created it correctly?” He retrieved the vial and performed a test on it.
“Interesting,” he said softly when the results proved the serum was indeed Percuro Venificium. “How did you manage?”
Draco explained the steps they had taken to create the potion. “It was Weasley’s idea, actually.”
Snape gave a half smile. He appeared impressed. “This is exactly what I expect from my Advanced Potions students. You will be learning to improvise and enhance in this class. Excellent, Mr. Malfoy, Miss Weasley. Fifteen points each.”
The bell rang and they all gathered their books to leave.
“One moment, Mr. Zabini, Mr. Malfoy and Miss Weasley,” he called as they approached the door. “I am putting you two in charge of ensuring Miss Weasley is properly prepared for her OWLs” he said indicating Blaise and Draco.
“Professor Snape, I think I’ll be fine preparing on my own, ” Ginny said trying to hide her frustration.
“Nonsense. I don’t need any excuses for you not getting an Outstanding after I’ve advanced you to this class. Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Zabini have both received Outstandings on their OWLs and will prove to be useful in helping you achieve the same. You are dismissed.”
She turned to leave. Having to spend more time with Draco Malfoy was the last thing she wanted to do.
“It’s all right, Weasley,” Blaise said cheerfully. “We won’t bite.”
“Hard,” Draco added, briefly raising his eyebrows suggestively.
“Colin, can you please use the killing curse on me? I’m begging you, put me out of my misery.” Ginny dropped her books on the sofa and sat down staring into the fire. It was forty minutes until dinner and she wasn’t sure she wanted to go.
“Rough day?” Colin asked taking a seat next to her and putting an arm around her.
“To say the least. I should have stayed in Potions with you.”
“Advanced Potions tough?”
“No. I actually enjoyed the class. But I’m partnered with Malfoy,” she said frowning.
“What a shame,” Colin said with a bit of sarcasm. Ginny glanced at him sideways frowning even more.
“And Snape wants me to study for my potion OWL with Malfoy and Zabini. This is a nightmare!”
“Blaise is a lot of fun! And Draco isn’t that bad.”
“What did you say?”She glared.
“Blaise is fun?” he said meekly.
“No, I thought you just said Malfoy wasn’t so bad,” she said with a little irritation.
“Gin, let’s not have this argument again.”
“And since when are you on a first name basis with him?”
“Um, well, Blaise talks about him all the time and calls him Draco. Just kind of a habit, you know, when you hear it enough you pick it up?” Colin was trying to cover his mistake. She did not need to know how much time he'd actually spent talking with both Draco and Blaise.
“Oh. Well I suppose since you’ve seen Blaise every night since Saturday night you’ve probably heard a lot about Malfoy.”
“Well, yes. I suppose so.”
“Any useful information?” she pried.
“Nothing I’d really call useful.”
“What do you talk about then?” she demanded.
“Just school. You know, general stuff. Hey, it’s about time for dinner, shall we?” he said a little too quickly.
Ginny had the feeling that Colin wasn’t telling her something.
“No. I think I’ll skip dinner tonight. I want to get another practice in before tryouts on Friday so I’m heading out to the pitch.”
Colin nodded and left. He was definitely hiding something.
She headed out to the pitch only to find that she was not the only one with the idea of skipping dinner for a round of Quidditch practice. Unfortunately, it was Malfoy that had the same idea. She turned to leave.
“You don’t have to go, you know.” Malfoy had apparently spotted her and landed. “I know that my mere presence is impressive, yet intimidating, but there is room for more than one person to practice,” he said with feigned arrogance.
“Hardly. There seems to be very little room for me what with your rather large head taking so much space. I think I’ll come back later.”
“No matter,” he shrugged. “It’s probably best anyway. You’re quite dangerous on the field.”
“Yes, actually. Last time I was on the field with you I got a Bludger to my stomach.” There seemed to be no anger in his voice. In fact, he sounded almost playful.
“You should probably expect that every time you’re on the field with me, Malfoy.”
“Assuming you make the team,” he goaded. “Hufflepuff has the field booked after dinner for their tryouts tonight, so if you want to practice, now would probably be a good time.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. She was fairly certain she would make the team, but Malfoy placed just a small amount of doubt in her mind, enough for her to mount her broom and start on her drills. She attempted to ignore Malfoy.
He had stayed quiet, keeping to his own drills for the most part, though she saw that he would watch her every once in a while. She thought about hitting Bludgers in his general direction again.
When the Hufflepuffs started entering the stadium she figured dinner was over and tryouts were to begin. She landed and Malfoy followed suit.
“Not bad, Weasley. It would be interesting to see what you could do on a real broom,” he had said just as she left. She wasn’t sure whether to take it as a compliment or an insult.
She decided it would be much easier to take as an insult.
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