A/N: Thanks to all readers and reviewers, especially: b1elliot, pitzi, and researchinmotion.

"Why exactly did the great Potter-Weasley marriage fail, I wonder?" asked Draco after a very long pause.

Ginny hadn't planned to tell him. She found herself doing it anyway.

"Because Harry always knew," she said.

She felt, rather than saw, Draco's start of surprise. It was the first movement he'd made in a very long time.

"Knew what?" he asked. "I don't suppose you mean the facts about your… tiresome little fling with someone quite unsuitable, shall we say? The one that took place so long ago that you can barely remember it? The one from the lost Hogwarts days, that seventh year of his when he went gallivanting about, leaving you unprotected? Is that what he knew?"

He's not making this any easier at all, she thought. Of course, it's not as if I thought he would.

"Harry knew that he wasn't the first," she said, staring at an oak tree that rose in the distance beyond the ruins of this wing, twisted and gnarled and old as Stonehenge itself, or older.

"Oh?" Draco asked lightly. His entire body was rigid with tension, but she could see him vibrating with movement, too. "Who had that honor, Weasley? Dean Thomas, I suppose."

"Shut up, Malfoy. You know damn well it was you. How do you think I got in here? Obfirmo would never have allowed me in without… without the magic that I had from what we once did."

"Once, yes. And many years ago."

"It doesn't matter how long ago it was. It's the most powerful magic there is, and you know that it's the only reason I was able to find you at all."

Ginny waited; Draco said nothing. She took advantage of his silence to plow ahead. "That was the least of it. I didn't come to him with a whole heart. Harry's not the most perceptive man in the world, but he knew that, and finally, he didn't want the splintered pieces anymore. I don't blame him."

"I can't blame anyone anymore," said Draco, still not looking at her. "I haven't the energy, I suppose."

She turned on him then, unable to bear the impasse a moment longer. "What rubbish. You've got the energy to mope around and feel sorry for yourself, don't you?"

A faint color began to rise in his cheeks. "I've lost the ancestral seat of the Malfoys and most of the money to boot, not six months ago. And I'm lucky I'm not rotting in Azkaban into the bargain. I'm not feeling sorry for myself."

"Then you're doing a bloody good imitation," she retorted.

Draco turned to face her for the first time, and she saw a spark rising in his shimmering gray eyes. "And precisely what is that comment supposed to mean, Weasley?"

"That you've always been rather good at wallowing in self-pity, Malfoy. That's mostly what you spent your time doing during your seventh year here!"

"That's not true, and you know it very well!" He was squared off against her now, like an enemy.

"Oh? I seem to remember a boy who would rather sit around the Manor and feel sorry for himself than actually do anything to helpwin the war."

He stabbed a finger into her chest, and she felt a shock spreading all through her even from that contact. It was the first time he had touched her in four years. The first time she'd been this close to him in all that time. "I was torn, Weasley, in ways you'd never understand. Undivided loyalty was all very easy for you and your sort, but I didn't have that luxury."

She cut across his words. "Yes. You weren't wholeheartedly for Voldemort. I know that. But you weren't for anything else, either. Not for the good side—"

"Don't make me laugh; where that sociopath Dumbledore was involved, there was never going to be any good side; only goody-goody Gryffindors would ever believe that shite—"

She talked louder, until she was almost yelling. "That's not the point. The point is that you wouldn't stand up for anything, Malfoy! Not for a cause, not for an idea, and not even for—" Her voice caught, and she couldn't say another word. She didn't have to.

Not even for me. The words rang out between them as clearly as if they were spoken.

"No. Tell the truth, Weasley." Draco pressed his face very close to hers, the face of an angry angel. "You were the one who left me."

"I—I couldn't have done anything else."

"Yes, you could have. And you chose not to."

'I didn't have any other choice; I wasn't even seventeen years old yet!"

He laughed. "I was barely sixteen when I was given the order to kill Dumbledore and let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts. Forgive me if I'm less than impressed. You could have made the choice, all right. I was quite aware of your faults, Weasley, just as you knew mine. But I never would have believed that you'd play a coward's part."

She took a single, furious step towards him, and the ground gave way under her feet. He swore something and pulled her back from the edge of a failure in the foundation that had given way into a gaping maw; he yanked her away with so much force that she lost her balance somehow, and they both skidded onto the grass. He fell on top of her. She opened her mouth, whether to yell, or argue, or scream, or cry, she was never sure. But his mouth was open too, and they met in the middle, and then he was kissing her with all of the passion that she remembered from him, and more. And she was kissing him back.

After a very long time, he rolled a little away from her, and they lay side by side, looking up into the sky.

"It's strange," said Draco in a musing voice. "I find that I do want something after all."

She raised her brow at him, questioningly.

"You. As I should have had you four years ago, when I ought to have fought for you. Would you have stayed if I had done that, do you think?"

"Yes," said Ginny, remembering back. It was the truth.

"So what do you want, Ginny? You haven't said."

"Nice to see we're using first names again… Draco." She rolled over onto her stomach and looked him full in the face. She lifted her head, and she saw him fully at last. "I want to rebuild. Just as this manor could be rebuilt."

"Ah. Do you think it's possible?" he asked.

She nodded. "Some parts are still left; I can already see that. The older sections. And I worked on the Hill House restoration in Minneapolis, you know. And the Pittock Mansion in Portland. I've seen it done."

"So you were in America when I tried to—" He stopped short.

"You did try to contact me?" She was surprised.

"It never got very far. I sent owls, and when they flew in confused circles and returned to the gazebo house, I simply let it be. I so wish I hadn't done." He looked up at her, his eyes bottomless wells of silver. "You know, I think I'd like to do that as well. Could I apply to the Ministry, do you think? I'm trying to keep my nose clean, so I ought to at least attempt to get permission."

She smiled slightly. "Of course you can. I think I can pull a few strings."

"Then, yes. I'd like to rebuild."

"So would I. More than anything in the world."

They kissed again, and the time seemed to slip by too fast to count the minutes. He raised her to her feet and led her into the gazebo's bedroom, and laid her down on the bed, and pressed kisses all around her neck and ears and throat. But as he laid her down on the bed, she had enough presence to ask one more thing.


"Mm?" He was starting to undo the top buttons of her blouse, and she found it very hard to think. But this was a question she had to ask.

"Is that brass candlestick really a Malfoy Inanim? Because if it saw us four years ago, it told all the others, and—"

He silenced her with another long, passionate kiss, and somewhere in the middle of it, he threw the candlestick under the bed. Neither of them thought of the table in the kitchen right next to the open door, and so the happy news spread among all the loyal Malfoy Inanims. Although the details were always kept from Draco's old teddy bears, which was exactly as it should be.

++++++the end++++++

Author notes: So... that's IT! Yep, I know it's short, but there will be MORE fics coming. If you haven't already checked out Malfoy, the Master of Death, it's right here. Chapter 3 will be going up soon.

And don't forget that the FIA D/G Summer Challenge is going on right now... the prompt list is right here. And I'm working on another chapter of the essay, having moved on from the fact that it will never come back from the Long-Lost Drive of Doom. So... much more coming soon!

The End.
Anise is the author of 56 other stories.
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