Day 68

There was a commotion somewhere around him. It sounded muffled, like it was far away. Or maybe underwater? What was he doing underwater? A moment later, the commotion grew louder, and he realized that his head was pounding, as if someone was beating on it like a drum. Maybe that was the source of the commotion; it was all in his head. He would have accepted this conclusion as fact if a door had not slammed open just then. The sound brought him back to himself—or woke him up. He jolted up in his bed, looking around the room in panic.

At the door stood Ginny, her chest rising and falling heavily with emotion, tears in her angry eyes.

“You idiot!” she yelled at him, storming over to his bed and jumping on him. She had his pajama shirt clenched in her fists and she shook his body with impressive strength. “How could you do that to me!”

“Do what?” he asked. And then he remembered the previous Tuesday and grimaced guiltily.

“Let go! Kill yourself right in front of my eyes!”

“Obviously it didn't work,” he said, trying for funny. But this kind of funny didn't come naturally to him. “I'm not dead.” He smirked at her, but it fell off his lips after one look into her hurt eyes.

“You were yesterday! I had to... I had to pick you up... your body, and somehow... somehow call for help.” Tears were now streaming down her face, and she shook him even harder. “Why the hell would you do that!”

“Because I can't take this anymore!” He grabbed her arms and pulled her off him, reversing their positions so that she was the one on the bed and he was the one looming over her. “I'm tired of Tuesday! Of the same day over and over again, the same classes, the same people, the same weather! Nothing ever changes!”

He noticed that her face was a deep red. She swallowed audibly before saying, “But that's why we stayed together.”

“And now that's unchanging, too,” he replied in a calmer voice. “The same thing every day. You and me. Nothing changing except how we convince your brother to leave us alone. I'm tired of that, too.”

The tears that had filled her eyes only minutes ago filled them again, but these weren't tears of anger. Draco looked away from her face but he didn't get off her. The sound of her sniffling filled the room.

“You're tired of me?” she asked in a small voice. She stared at something on the right side of the room, refusing to meet his gaze.

“I'm tired of thinking about you,” he admitted. “I'm tired of wondering what you feel like.” He let go of one of her arms and reached for her hair, letting his fingers run through it and get tangled in the knots. He realized then that she was still in her pajamas. She must have jumped right out of bed to come down to the Slytherin dormitory, before she had changed clothes or brushed her hair.

“How did you get in here?” Draco suddenly asked.

Ginny sniffled, and her face was so red, it clashed with the color of her hair.

“The portrait hole. I heard you give the password the other Tuesday. Of course it wouldn't change.”

“What was all that noise, then?”

“Some of your housemates were in the common room. They weren't going to let me in, so I hexed them.”

He had to admit he was impressed. “You took all of them down?”

She waved her hand around as if it were nothing. “Can I get up now?”

“Hold on,” Draco said.

Then his lips connected with hers, surprising her, though not for long. Her free arm wrapped around his neck and he heard her sigh. That ache in his chest turned into a warmth that spread throughout his entire body. It urged him on, but to what he wasn't sure. When he came up for air, both of them were panting. He decided, as he looked down at her fevered eyes, that he quite liked the color red. He also liked the freckles on her face when there was a blush behind them and even her red hair when it was fanned out over his pillow.

“Free to go,” he said, rolling off of her.

But by that point, she wasn't ready to go anywhere.


Later that day, they took a walk around the lake, their fingers interlocked loosely as they strolled at a leisurely pace. Ginny was uncharacteristically shy, or maybe just quiet. She didn't say much and seemed to blush often, if the color of her ears were anything to go by. As for Draco, the most idiotic urge to smile refused to go away, but he managed to curb it so that what came out looked like a smirk. At least, that's what he hoped it looked like.

Maybe he should have thought more about the reasons behind what they were doing. Did it really make sense? Not at all. It was wrong, wrong, wrong. Had she only kissed him back, was she only holding his hand now, because he was the only person she could kiss? The only person whose hand she could hold? It's not like she could start a relationship with someone else in the castle. Relationships were built over time, and the only time that everyone else had was twenty-four hours.

What about him? Was that the only reason he had wanted her? Boredom? Loneliness? Because she was the only person available? He didn't know, but he was okay with that for now. For forever, if it had to be that way. Neither one of them knew when the time loop would end, so the only thing they could do about it was wait it out and take it one Tuesday at a time. That's exactly what Draco was doing. When he got bored of this—he gripped her hand tighter as he thought it—then it would end. It was just as simple as that.

“If it ever gets too much again...” Ginny began. She looked down at her feet as she walked, seemingly deep in thought. When Draco looked at her, all he could see was her hair, vivid and bright and red. He didn't have to ask her what she was referring to. “If you can't take it anymore,” she continued, “please don't jump off a goal post again. At least, not in front of me.”

She still hid her face from him, and Draco wondered at that for a moment. It hadn't occurred to him what she would have seen, how she would have felt. He assumed she wouldn't have cared. If she didn't want him to die, she would have agreed to date him, but she hadn't done that. But what he'd done, he'd made her personally responsible for his death, and even though he had been oblivious to the world as soon as his neck had broken, she had still been there to witness it.

It chilled his bones thinking about it. He tried to imagine that she was the one falling, and what she would have looked like when she had landed, but he couldn't stomach it.

“I'm sorry,” he said with all the sincerity he possessed. He didn't think it came out quite that way, and he regretted that. “I promise I won't do it again.”

He thought back to Dumbledore's words days and days and days ago. What if next time, time didn't repeat? What if he jumped off the Astronomy Tower and then the next day was Wednesday and he would always be dead? He shivered again.

Ginny felt the tremor in his hand and patted his arm gently, looking up at him with an encouraging smile.

Maybe it was time to think about the future, even if the future was spiteful enough to never arrive.
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