Day 50

The only thing Draco and Ginny could do was to put the auras all behind them. Draco had been right: there was nothing they could do about the situation but wait it out.

Ever since Ron Weasley had found them sitting underneath the tree by the lake, he'd continued the pattern of finding them together each Tuesday. Only now, once he spotted his sister with his enemy, he stopped in his tracks, his face contorting into an expression of deep confusion, and then he wandered away as if to convince himself that what he had seen hadn't been real. It was a relief to Draco, who was quite tired of the monotonous confrontations Tuesday after Tuesday.

He and Ginny continued to spend time together, but the endless Tuesdays were getting to them both. Ginny had kept track of how many Tuesdays had passed, but Draco didn't even want to know. So many days of his life were being wasted and he didn't want to know exactly how many.

“Have you ever had a girlfriend?” Ginny asked him quietly. They were in the Slytherin common room and it was well past midnight. If any of Draco's housemates discovered Ginny there with him, they gaped but kept their mouths shut, running off to their dormitories to hide.

“Not really,” he replied. He sat in one of the chairs by the fire, staring into the flames, wishing for them to unhypnotize him and wake him from this dream.

“None at all?” Ginny pressed from the floor. She was lying on her back, her head turned toward the flames as well, but she looked up at Draco as she asked. “I find that hard to believe.”

“Believe whatever you want. There was just no one who interested me,” he said with a sneer. The personal questions made him uncomfortable, but he wasn't sure if that was because they were just that—personal—or because she and the topic were almost related in his mind.

His eyes flicked from the fire to her. The way she was lying down, he could easily see the rise and fall of her chest with each breath, especially with her hands lying across her stomach the way they were. Her skin looked warm in the light of the fire, and even the freckles that were sprinkled heavily across her shoulders seemed appealing in the glow.

“I've had two boyfriends,” she said, as she turned her head away once again. “I liked them, but it just didn't work out. They weren't right for me.”

“I could tell you that this is fascinating, but I'd be lying,” Draco said, his body tense all of a sudden. It showed through in the harshness of his voice, but he couldn't help it. Maybe he was sick.

She either hadn't been listening or chose to ignore him. “I just wish that I had found... someone,” she said softly, an ache in her voice that Draco felt as a physical pang in his chest.

He looked closely at her face, and even though it was turned away from him, he could see how bright her eyes looked. She was crying, he realized. He didn't know whether to be disgusted or...

And, well, it was that 'or' that kind of frightened him. He should have been disgusted. He should have sneered at her.

“I'm someone,” Draco said instead, completely against his will.

“Ha. Ha,” she muttered, wiping at her eyes in a way that he could tell she was hoping looked casual.

Draco felt another pang, a softer one, but this one actually hurt a little bit.

“I wasn't joking,” he said through a clenched jaw.

Ginny raised herself onto her elbows, looking at Draco so seriously that he thought she could read every thought in his head. He certainly hoped she couldn't. It was a mess in there. A big, disgusting, orange mess.

She looked at him for such a long time and Draco met her gaze, afraid to look away. It would have felt like he was giving in, letting her win something, and he couldn't let a Weasley win anything.

“I think there's spaghetti on your shirt,” she finally said.

Confused, Draco looked down and discovered a strand of spaghetti from that night's dinner stuck to the front of his shirt.

“Thanks,” he muttered somewhat hatefully as he picked the piece of food off his clothes, his embarrassment making his words cutting and his cheeks grow warm.

More silence followed, which Draco both wanted to maintain and break.

“So...” he said slowly, but then he stopped, unsure where he was going with that.

“So?” Ginny prompted him.

“Do you remember the second Tuesday?” he asked. “The one in which you realized we were in a time loop?”

“Of course,” she answered without looking at him.

“Do you remember how we met in the hospital wing?”

“Yes, of course I do.”

“What was with the tears?”

Her head turned towards him again. “Excuse me?”

“You were so... distraught. It was only the second day.”

“And you weren't?” Her face shone in astonishment. “I didn't know what was going on, and I thought I was alone. Of course I was distraught.”

He could still remember her words to him that day, as well as the expression on her face. He didn't think he could ever forget it.

No one else has noticed that it's the same. It's just us. Just us.

“Are you still?” he asked quietly.

“Still what?”


She rolled over onto her stomach, resting her chin on the backs of her hands and looking up at Draco through her eyelashes. She was chewing the inside of her cheek as she thought about the question.

“Not in the same way,” she answered. “That day, I was afraid of being all alone in this, and now I'm not.”

“But you're still distraught about something.” Draco's back stiffened a little bit.

“It just feels hopeless.”

He could agree with that.

“I wonder what would happen if we stayed awake,” she said, but her eyelids were already drooping, her head tilting as if it were too heavy to balance on her hands, as if it were weighted to the floor.

“Maybe we should try it,” Draco replied, but he knew it would never work. He, too, was quickly losing his grasp on the waking world.

“Draco?” Ginny mumbled.

“Yes?” He yawned and stretched, and then made himself more comfortable in the chair, making room for his long legs to dangle over one of the arms.

“I'm glad you're here,” she said.

“Me too.”
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