Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. ~Chinese Proverb
“What?!” Ginny screeched first.
“You can’t be serious!” Draco’s composure lost for a moment, looking at Kingsley as if he had just asked him to swallow a hippogriff.
Kingsley regarded them with a stern fašade, and then said calmly, “I will leave you two to discuss this on your own. There will be no complaints. You are to behave like rational adults—this case is too important for you to risk petty childhood quarrels.” He strode out of the room.
Draco ran his hands through his hair, and half-muttered to himself,
“Stay calm. You have enough authority and skill to do all of this by yourself, there’s no need for the little bint—“
“I beg your pardon, ferret?”
“Oh shut up you—“
“Infuriating piece of—“
“ENOUGH!” Kingsley roared from outside the room. Ginny winced at his voice, and then sat, arms folded across her chest, in silence. Draco smirked and then continued on with his paperwork. After ten straight minutes of quiet contemplation, she sighed, looking defeated.
“Well, I have come to the conclusion that it seems we have to work together at some point. Why don’t we just get it over with?” She gestured to the file. Draco assessed her coolly.
“Actually, I am going to go home. It is time to go, and while you only had a meeting with Kingsley and I at noon, some of us have actually been working. He lazily tossed her a golden pen lying on his desk. “This portkey will transport you to Malfoy Manor tomorrow, at precisely 4:30 p.m. Don’t be late.” Saying this, he picked up his dragon-hide briefcase, the file neatly tucked into its pockets, shrugged into a handsome charcoal coat, and in one swift, graceful motion, stepped through the Floo fireplace without a word, brushing by her gently.
Ginny stood agog. How rude! I try to make an effort to be civil, and he just leaves to go home? Probably to go sit around on his arse some more. A fine arse it is though. Very nice, indeed. Stop it, Ginny! You’re going loony if you’re sitting around daydreaming about that smarmy ponce!
She shook her head, and decided just to pack up and go home.
Draco sat around at home, confused. When he walked past her, it was like a bolt of energy and warmth had hit him. What the hell was wrong with him? Maybe he just hadn't gotten laid in a while. Yes, that's it. Maybe he just needed to go out more. He rumpled his hair, and then Flooed Blaise Zabini.
The handsome dark-skinned boy grinned when he saw a disgruntled Draco looking back at him. "Ah, the Boy-Who-Never-Saw-the-Light-of-Day! What can I do for you, my miserable friend?"
Draco rolled his eyes, but continued. "I want to go to a club today. Know any good ones? I really need a good shag." he added pointedly.
"Ah, the elusive former Slytherin Sex God needs the help of the all-knowing, undeniably sexy, brilliant, better-in-every-way, utterly handsome-"
"Yes, Draco?" he asked innocently.
"Shut the hell up." As an afterthought, he added, "Just drop by around nine."
Ginny arrived at her own party a little late, having debated for half and hour at her apartment on what to wear. She was trying to find the most covered, modest, and matronly outfit she owned, because she really did not want a repeat of the incident with Harry's roaming eyeballs this morning.
When she finally showed up at the Burrow, there was chaos abound. Victoire and Rose were running around playing tag, shrieking as they ran around in dizzy circles, weaving through the horde of Weasleys.
Ginny received several congratulations, from her dad's playful, "Well done, Gin-bug!" to Rose's adorable, "Gwood job, Aunty Ginny!" accompanied by a sloppy kiss on the cheek. Hermione beamed as she gave Ginny a gentle hug, and then scooped Rose up carefully to hand over to Ron.
After a giant meal of Molly Weasley fantastic mutton roast, onion soup, and toad-in-the-hole, everyone was thoroughly stuffed. While the last bits of custard tart were being devoured, Ginny excused herself to take a walk. She paced around the Burrow’s small yard, thinking about what she was going to do about this case.
“Gin? Can I talk to you for a minute?” asked Harry, with his thumbs jammed in his pockets, walking slowly up to her.
Ginny petulantly replied, “Yes, Harry? What is it?”
“Um, well, uh..congratulations on your job!”
“Um…okay. Well, if that’s all you wanted to tell me, I’ll be off. I really do have to go home.” Ginny turned on her heel, but Harry stopped her before she left.
“Well, actually,” he started, having apparently picked up his ‘manly pride’ and shoved it back down his throat, “I wanted to let you know that, um, I— I forgive you, and that, maybe we could start over again. I know you really miss me, and I miss you too. So, what do you think?” Harry finished with a hopeful smile.
Ginny took in a breath of air, and then launched her scathing tirade. “You’re bloody joking, right? What have I done that could possibly have to be forgiven? Harry, do you remember why we broke up in the first place? It just wasn’t because of a ‘conflict of interest’ and we didn’t ‘grow further apart’. It was because you decided to go around shagging the blonde slag that lived next to you, WHILE WE WERE STILL TOGETHER! Really, Harry? Did you forget that?
“Oh, and also, just to let you know, I am not the least bit interested in you. Harry, just because I fancied you once doesn’t mean that, no matter how you treat me, I will be groveling pathetically at your feet at all times. I am my own woman, and you would do well to remember it,” she finished, dangerously soft.
Ginny’s face flaming, she Apparated on the spot, leaving behind a flabbergasted Harry and the aghast Weasleys that had apparently been eavesdropping.
The next morning, Draco was lounging in his personal library, thinking. He had picked up a woman, but he could not seem to enjoy himself at all.
It’s not like she was ugly, she was extremely far from it, indeed. What’s wrong with me?
He sat around for a little bit, but then gave up his endless pondering.
Ginny looked around her closet in despair. It was a quarter to four, and she still had nothing to wear. The last thing she needed after last night was a jibe from Malfoy about social status. At the back of her closet, she found a beautiful hunter green cashmere jumper Luna had gotten her last Christmas. She paired it with some black trousers and earrings. All in all, Ginny thought, surveying her face in the mirror, she looked okay. Her hair was still smooth and silky from the party last night, so she left it loose. The clock showed 4:29. In a mad dash, Ginny grabbed the golden pen as it glowed blue, and then was whirled away toward Wiltshire.
A house elf came to receive Ginny as she walked through the immense wrought-iron gates and into the grand estate. Snowy white peacocks strutted throughout the grounds, and beautiful gardens and lush orchards stretched as far as the eye could see. In the midst of it all lay a gargantuan stately mansion, Malfoy Manor.
In awe, Ginny walked toward the door, which magically opened to reveal yet another house elf waiting in the regal foyer. The house elf led her through a large assortment of various rooms until they stopped in front of what seemed to be Malfoy’s private study. Draco stood propped up against his desk casually, file in hand. He eyed her appraisingly while she stood in the doorway. Mmmmm. Very nice, indeed. The green top hugged her curves, and her trousers added length to her legs.
“Yes, Weasel, come on in, don’t just stand there. Blinky, bring us refreshments, the usual.” The house elf responded with a squeak and Disapparated in an instant.
“Well, since I’m assuming you haven’t read this yet, read.” He shoved the folder at Ginny, who in turn quickly began scanning the contents. She looked up, eyes wide, at Draco.
“This is ridiculous! Muggles murdered, and even a few wizards, left and right, and no one even bothered to investigate the cause sooner?”
She reread the report. Ginny looked up at Draco, her tone thoughtful. “However, these deaths, they aren’t random, are they? There seems to be one wizard for every few Muggles.” Ginny frowned.
Draco nodded in agreement, and then voiced his own opinion. “Yes, but you see, that’s not the only predictable thing. Look at the traces this killer left,”
Draco snatched the file and began to read them aloud, “Marseille, France, a commune that is incidentally is very close to Beauxbatons, which lies on the southeast coast of France. Albania, the place where the Dark Lord was rumored to be hiding many years ago. Romania—I believe a member of your Weasley horde is there, working with dragons and the like—”
Ginny looked up at him in surprise at the fact that he knew this, but he just plowed onward.
“Algeria, but there’s not very much that happened here. Hamburg, Germany—where Durmstrang is supposed be located. And, of course, right here in London. Mostly all the main Wizarding areas have been listed. So, Weasel, anything you would like to add?” added Draco, gesturing to the Quick Quotes quill, recording everything Draco had said at breakneck speed.
Ginny was impressed. She knew he had to have something in that overinflated head of his, but he really was going to be a helpful partner indeed.
“Malfoy?” Ginny asked, but then lost track of her thoughts once she noticed the close proximity between them.
“Yes? Are you going to stop gaping at me and say something intelligent?”
“Um, yeah,” she blushed, and then immedietly berated herself for it. She was an intelligent individual after all, and no stuck-up prig was going to tell her different. “Is there any further significance to this?”
He rolled his eyes but immediately Summoned a floating tapestry in front of them.
Draco placed his finger on each location and a charred circle appeared in its place. When he was done, he connected all of the marks together. They appeared to form a shape, the center of which was—
“Italy!” Ginny cried in excitement, having realized the crux of the matter.
“Yes, Weasel,” Draco drawled, as though talking to an energetic child. “Your ability to find the center of a drawn shape is astounding. I applaud you on this magnificent discovery.” She rolled her eyes, and reviewed the post mortem status of the victims.
Every death had been caused by Avada Kedavra, but the victims had remained stiff and rigid afterwards. Ginny correctly assumed they had been shot with Petrificus Totalus, therefore it was a surprise attack, much to Draco’s relief that she wasn’t totally helpless. After all, working as an Assistant Healer in St. Mungo’s made her perfect for understanding curses and analyzing prints and traces better than anyone, and it was good to know that her experience wasn’t completely lost.
“So, Ferret, we’re going to Italy. Where in Italy, exactly, are we supposed to be? Oh, no wait, don’t tell me! Your brilliant, pig-headed self already knows!”
“Actually, I do. We have a villa in Sardinia, and you,” he looked as if she were something on the bottom of his handmade alligator skin loafers, “will, I guess, have to stay in the guest room.”
Ugh. Staying in the same house as that ponce! Do I really have to? Even still, the last thing she wanted to do was to disturb the mission from going as smoothly as possible. This was her chance to prove to her family, and most of all, Harry, that she could do whatever she wanted, no matter how dangerous, by herself and that no one needed to protect her.
When Ginny was being possessed by Riddle’s diary (which Ginny referred to privately as ‘The Incident’), he delved into all of her fears and worries, one of which was being left behind or declared insignificant. Even though back then it was just about Harry, she now felt that way about everything. The thirst to prove herself had always been there, and with this job, she was sure to quench it.
“Uh, Weasel? I hate to disturb you while you are daydreaming about Potty, but your food is getting cold.” Draco gestured to a magnificent spread of hoers de oeuvres’ in front of her.
Ginny rolled her eyes at him, and began munching on a foie gras- covered cracker. She moved on to the custard tart, and was immensely surprised. It was so light and flaky, but rich and sweet at the same time. Draco lifted a perfectly shaped eyebrow as she moaned in delight. One look at his face, however, and she remembered his jibe about Harry. After taking a large swallow, she turned on him.
“For your information, not that it’s any of your business, considering you are a slimy git, Harry and I are not an item,” she stated hotly, and then muttered, “and we probably will never be again.”
This news brought on some kind of childish glee in Draco.
He sneered. “Oh, really? Did the poor, wee little bint get trashed aside by the brave, strong, holier-than-thou Potter?”
Ginny finally gritted her teeth and answered.
“As I have said before, it is none of your concern.” Her deceptively quiet voice reminded Draco of his father’s, and he realized he had hit a nerve.
They consumed the rest of the fine wine and food in silence.
After a while, Ginny looked outside and saw that the sun had disappeared behind the clouds and the sky had gotten dark. She turned to Draco.
“Merlin, it’s getting late. Do you have the time?”
“Depends, do you have the energy?”
Ginny goggled at him for a minute before she began laughing aloud. Draco smirked slightly, but did not look up at her.
Ginny tried hard not to smile and inquired, “Was that an effort to seduce me, Malfoy? I can assure you, it’s not going to work.”
“Oh sorry, Weasel, force of habit,” he replied flippantly and finished drinking his wine.
Author notes: Hope you liked it! As always, review, and tell me what you think will or should happen next...you might be surprised at how close your guesses are! ;)
Additionally, any location Draco mentions, including Sardinia, is an actual magical location where, according to canon, wizards do exist and live there. Even the schools are in the accurate location of where J.K. Rowling has indicated they should be.
For example, Sardinia has wizards in it for sure, because Professor Binn's mentioned in one of his classes about Sardinian wizards.
All this and more can be referenced in the impeccable HP Lexicon. That website saved me plenty of time researching in the books to see if my story was correct according to Canon. So, thanks again to that.
Also, if you want to see an example of the loactions Draco pointed out, I made a map right here: http://i891.photobucket.com/albums/ac117/mungihead/picturessssssss.jpg
Additionally, this one update might take some time, as me and my beta are not going to be in town..so, again sorry about hat, but there will definetely be more story/plot to make up for it!!!
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