Chapter 2: Muggle Phrases and Troubled Glances
Two weeks had gone by since the start of the new school year. Slowly everyone was becoming accustomed to their class schedules and workloads. Well, all except Ronald Weasley and Harry Potter, but then again Ginny couldn’t remember a time when her brother and his best friend actually had sat down and done all of their own work more than twenty-four hours from the actual due date. She rolled her eyes. She still couldn’t figure out how Ron had made Prefect. It was no surprise when he hadn’t been picked to be Head Boy.
Well, it had been a surprise for him. It still seemed to be a soft spot for Ron, and if you even so much as mentioned the new positions for Head Girl and Boy this year he could be found scoffing and muttering something along the lines of ‘Malfoy? Why in bloody hell would Dumbledore pick Malfoy?’. Of course, Hermione was doing a spectacular job as Head Girl, and upon hearing who had been picked for Head Boy, no one was more relieved than she when Dumbledore had also made the fact known that the Heads would no longer be sharing a dormitory. In fact, their dorms were far apart from one another, hers located near Gryffindor Tower and his near the Slytherin dungeons.
Ginny looked up from her plate, casually observing her fellow students in the Great Hall. Something both looked and felt out of place, though she couldn’t put her finger on what. Scanning the room slowly, she located the abnormality sitting in his usual place in the middle of the Slytherin table, surrounded by his usual cronies. Now, anyone else might say that there was nothing out of place as they glanced in the direction of the blond wizard; however, to Ginny there was something different there. She first found it odd that instead of his usual high-and-mighty posture, he was sitting slightly slumped. Next Ginny noticed, in slight confusion, how as Crabbe slapped his back in an effort to show an agreeable response to whatever Draco Malfoy had just said, he seemed to hold back a grimace before casually threatening his ever-present bodyguard.
“You okay, Gin?” Harry’s voice shook her from her concentrated glance.
“Yeah, but…” She paused, unsure of how to phrase it. “Have any of you noticed how Malfoy has seemed to practically disappear?” Her question caused the trio to look toward the Slytherin table before looking right back at her.
“Uh, Ginny, he’s right there, pretending to own Hogwarts.” Harry replied, all the while wondering why she even cared about the blond ferret.
The truth was, she didn’t. She just happened to have a knack for noticing things out of the ordinary. “And yet, he hasn’t made a single comment to any of us. Don’t you find that a little odd?”
They all seemed to ponder her words a moment. Yes, it was odd, and it usually meant he was planning something. However, even if he was, Hogwarts’ Golden Trio wasn’t going to admit it. With the entire Wizarding world on the cusp of a war - a war that each of them were heavily involved in - they really didn’t have the time or energy to deal with whatever it was Draco Malfoy had up his sleeve.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity but was really only a few seconds, Hermione shrugged before saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Ginny and Ron both looked confused before Harry explained. “It’s a muggle phrase. It means you shouldn’t take it for granted.”
Ron nodded in understanding. “Maybe Malfoy finally found someone else to torture.”
Ginny simply nodded her head in agreement. “Yeah, maybe.” But as she looked back over to the Slytherin table, she still couldn’t help but feel that something wasn’t right.
* * *
The day seemed to move along at a steady rate. Ginny was actually feeling rather hopeful about this year. So far, all her classes seemed to be causing her no problems at all. She had to admit, after listening to Ron and Harry do nothing but complain over the course work last year, Ginny had been quite a bit nervous. Hermione had told her not to worry, that there was nothing too hard, but somehow, knowing it was Hermione saying the words hadn’t helped her to stop worrying. Hermione, after all, was known for her intelligence, which was one of the many reasons that not a single person had been even a slight bit surprised when she had been made Head Girl. After all, whom else would they have chosen? Pansy Parkinson?
The thought of Pansy being Head Girl made Ginny laugh harder than she thought it would. For some reason, she couldn’t picture Pansy doing anything other than pretending to be more powerful than she really is, torturing first and second years and fawning over Malfoy.
Ginny knew she must look absolutely insane, standing by herself in the middle of the hall as she laughed uncontrollably. In the back of her mind, she knew that it was only a matter of time before someone laughed at her for it. And sure enough, as she heard a familiar voice, she knew what was about to come.
“What’s this? Has the Weaselette truly lost her mind? Or has she met an imaginary friend who tells jokes in the hallway?” Draco Malfoy sneered at her as she managed to sober herself.
“You know, I have got to say Malfoy, you’re losing your touch. Coming out of your mouth I would expect a far better insult than that.” Ginny looked at him and raised an eyebrow. She looked around him as she faked confusion. “Wow, who would have thought it? Your insults have actually begun to stink so much that they have scared your bodyguards away. Or maybe Crabbe and Goyle finally grew brains and figured out that you don’t rule the world after all?”
“You’re hardly in a position to criticize my insults when yours are hardly any better.” His steely gray eyes narrowed at her.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Why would I waste all my best insults on you? You’re hardly worth it. Besides, you make it entirely too easy.” She shook her head before turning and walking away.
Draco stared after her, a single eyebrow raised. He couldn’t help but wonder where the annoying little girl who seemed to be scared of everything that moved had gone to and where this new, feisty firecracker had come from. The summer had done the youngest Weasley some good. His eyes grew wide as he shook his head. What the hell was he thinking?
Though, if he was honest with himself, which was something Draco Malfoy really always tried to be as he did hate lies, Ginny Weasley had seemed to become one hot witch. He could see what pretty much every male in Hogwarts had been talking about. He smirked before thinking to himself, “If only she wasn’t a damn little do-gooder glued to Potter’s side.”
Shaking his head he continued the direction he had been going before he had decided to act on the opportunity to annoy the Weaselette. He didn’t want to be late to Potions, favorite student or not, Snape was still a scary man when interrupted.
* * *
Several hours later, Draco lay on the bed in his room, thankful to have his own dormitory as Head Boy. Another owl had delivered yet another letter from his father. Draco sighed as he thought of the contents of the letter. The instructions were simple, so it seemed. He was to deliver his ‘progress’ in two days' time. Draco rolled his eyes as he muttered, “Can’t wait.”
It was funny, really. When his father had been locked up in Azkaban a little over a year ago, Draco had been sure his father’s oh-so-delightful little reign of terror would be over. He shook his head at the thought. His father was truly a brilliant and powerful man, as he had proven Draco to be entirely wrong. It was only six months ago that Draco had been taught to never underestimate his father; a lesson that Draco was sure to never forget. Yes it may have taken him a year, but Lucius Malfoy had finally managed to sneak out of Azkaban.
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