STANDARD DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Ginny sighed in contentment as she listened to Draco’s heart rate return to normal. Raising her head from his chest she pushed her sweaty hair off her forehead. “If I’d known I was going to be greeted like that I’d have snuck away earlier.”
“Where are you supposed to be?”
“Discussing the wonderful world of the Ministry secretarial pool with Madame Harper. As you can tell, it was a hard decision to chuck that in and come see you instead.”
“If it makes you feel less guilty I could belittle your intelligence, give you some filing to do, and make you fetch me coffee.”
Ginny swatted at him irritably. Sighing, she pushed upwards into a sitting position. “I should go.”
Draco’s features tightened in irritation. “I know. Am I going to see you tomorrow?”
“No. It’s the traditional Weasley birthday bash with family and feasting. It’s not something I can slip away from unnoticed.”
Draco’s face held an expression that he would vehemently deny was a pout. “I suppose. I’d still have liked to see you on your birthday.”
“Well we’ll just celebrate the day afterwards. I’ll come up with some reason to sneak into town. I can have a second birthday complete with you, a bed, and whatever presents you decide to shower upon me.”
Draco shrugged off his irritation to capture her lips for another kiss. “Presents, you say? I might have something small around here for you… if you’ve been a good girl.”
Ginny’s smile was decidedly smug. “Why darling, I thought you preferred it when I was bad.” Drawing away from him a second time, she resumed dressing. “Can you cast a glamour charm on me? I don’t look like I’ve just come from a job interview.”
“Well certainly not any job that Mama Weasley would approve of anyway.” Reaching under the pillow for his wand Draco cast a charm to hide the red marks running down Ginny’s throat and her kiss-swollen lips. Taking the brush from her hand, he finished disguising the results of the last hour. He pressed a final kiss to the nape of her neck and wished her a happy birthday one last time before she left.
Ginny shrugged off her robe and hung it up on the hook by the door. Entering through the front door of the Burrow normally resulted in feelings of warmth and comfort. The smell of her mother’s cooking and the gentle clacking of the knitting needles reassured the Weasley children that all was right in the world. Unfortunately, when one such Weasley child was returning from indulging in activities that would shock and horrify every other member of the family, the feeling of reassurance was replaced with an overwhelming sense of guilt. Deciding that Gryffindor bravery was highly overrated, Ginny headed up to her room, calling out as she reached the landing, “Mum, I’m really tired so I’m going to put my feet up for a bit. Don’t worry about dinner, I had a large lunch.”
Her mother’s voice drifted out from the back of the house, “That’s all right dear we can have a nice chat when you’ve rested.”
Ginny winced, deciding there and then to ‘sleep’ through to the next morning. “That’d be lovely, Mum.”
Molly Weasley looked around the dining room table and beamed with pride. All of her children had returned to the Burrow to celebrate Ginny’s eighteenth birthday. She knew she was blessed to have her family come through the War intact. So many families had lost people through Death Eater attacks, yet her boys, fighting in the front line, had made it through. Turning to her youngest she smiled, comforted that at least Ginny had been kept out of it. Molly may not have been able to stop the boys from joining the Order, but she had put her foot down when it came to her baby girl. Ginny had suffered enough during her first year, and then to find herself in a fight with fully grown Death Eaters in her fourth! Molly had been adamant she wasn’t going to risk exposing her to dangers again, and no amount of temper tantrums from Ginny had been able to dissuade her. She was sure she'd made the right decision though. Ginny was almost a woman, and about to embark on the next phase of her life, respectfully employed by the Ministry. Now that Ginny was at home permanently and away from the influence of that boy, Molly was sure that her private hopes that Ginny's life would also include Harry, a house nearby, and lots of grandchildren seemed sure to come to pass.
Shaking herself out of her daydreams, Molly noted that Percy seemed to be annoyed. “I’m surprised at you Ginny. That was a very good opportunity you threw away yesterday.”
“Can we not have this conversation here, Percy?” Ginny hissed over the table.
“I’m just saying that jobs like that don’t grow on trees. You could have at least gone to the interview.”
Molly’s ears pricked up. “Ginny dear, what are you and Percy talking about?”
Ginny flinched, but just said, “Nothing, Mum.”
“Is this about your new job at the Ministry?” Molly asked with a frown, putting another spoonful of mashed potatoes on her plate.
“She doesn’t have a job at the Ministry, Mum,” Percy interjected, “because she didn’t turn up to the interview.”
“Shut up Percy,” Ginny hissed. Turning to another one of her brothers, she desperately tried to change the conversation. “So Charlie, what have you been up to recently?”
Her distracting gambit was in vain as the bowl Molly was holding was set firmly on the table. “Ginny Weasley! What do you mean you didn’t go to the interview?”
“Do we have to have this conversation now?” she pleaded. Seeing the set expression on her mother’s face, she sighed in exasperation. “Fine. No I didn’t go to the job interview yesterday. An interview that was set up without consulting me, I might add.”
“The secretarial pool is a very respectable place to start in the Ministry,” Percy began, only to be cut off by his annoyed sister.
“I’m sure it is, Perce, but it's not for me.”
After glancing at his twin, George piped up, “You could always come and work for us, Gin. You’ve got a good head for numbers and marketing.”
Ginny dragged a hand through her hair; at least that job offer recognised she had some skills other than tea making. “Thanks George, but I’ve got another opportunity that I want to pursue.”
Molly could feel her little fantasy start to crumble, but she soldiered on. “And what sort of opportunity is that? Are you going to work in one of the shops in Diagon Alley?”
“Not quite,” Ginny paused, knowing the next bit was going to set everybody off. “I’m going into business with Draco and Marcus Flint. We’ve got plans to open a night club.”
Ginny sat back and let the outraged cries of “Malfoy!” “Marcus Flint!” and “Ginny, what on earth are you thinking?” fly around the table. This was fast turning into a very unpleasant scene.
Draco opened the front door to find his girlfriend of two years levitating what looked to be her old Hogwarts trunk behind her. A levitation charm that abruptly failed as she launched herself into his arms and started crying hysterically. “Ginny, what’s wrong?” he asked in concern. “Has something happened?”
Raising a tear blotched face and sniffling somewhat, Ginny tried to stop crying. “I moved out, or Mum may have chucked me out, I’m not sure. We got into this awful fight about me seeing you and she pulled out the ‘not while you live under my roof’ card.”
Draco squashed down his annoyance at the Weasley clan. If it wasn’t for the red hair, he’d swear that Ginny was a changeling child. “Well let’s get you inside and we’ll take it from there.”
“Do you mind me staying here until I can find someplace else?” Ginny asked.
Tucking her hair behind her ear, Draco assumed a mock frown. “Well as a matter of fact, I do have a small problem with that.” Putting a finger against her lips to block her indignant exclamation he continued, “It seems decidedly unfair to my houselves to have to prepare a room and learn your routine and favourite foods, only to have you move out when you suddenly got a better offer on a flat somewhere. They’d sulk and carry on until I lost my temper, which would lead to wailing and ironing of fingers, and you can see that the potential for domestic disharmony is enormous. I think you’d have to agree that it would be best for all concerned if you stayed here permanently.”
Ginny started to smile; he was such a wordy bastard at times. “Are you asking me to move in with you?” she asked sweetly, her earlier tears forgotten.
“Why yes. I do believe I am.”
Draco leaned back against the headboard looking at the mountains of discarded wrapping paper that had accumulated around the giggling figure of his girlfriend.
Picking up a small piece of black lace, Ginny teased, “Why do I get the feeling that some of these gifts were more for your benefit than mine?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Draco said loftily. “Surely you’re not intimating that I might have had any ulterior motives when I selected suitable gifts for you.”
“Uh-huh. Because you’re not going to get any pleasure out of me wearing this,” Ginny emphasised the last word with a wave of the lace teddy.
“If you’re quite through questioning my motivations, we should probably get changed. I’ve arranged to meet Marcus to hand over your final present.”
"Oh? Where are we going?"
"We'd had reservations tomorrow night at the Glass Slipper, but I don’t think either of us is in the mood for that tonight." She frowned and shook her head, thinking that the last thing she needed was to be on display in the hushed elegance of the Slipper's luxurious dining room. "Instead we’ll get dressed up, go out, and let the lesser mortals quail before our combined beauty."
Ginny started to laugh hysterically as Draco struck a pose worthy of the cover of Teen Witch. “One of these days, your ego will get so big you won’t be able to fit through the door.”
“Not going to happen,” Draco’s tone was suddenly serious as he twined a lock of red hair around his finger. “As long as you’re around to keep me from becoming too insufferable.”
“Well it’s a good thing for the world that I don’t have any plans to go anywhere than isn’t it?”
Ginny blinked her eyes and tried to bring Marcus back into focus. Their ‘present’ to her had been an elaborate signing ceremony at the lawyers' offices, confirming their lease on a large warehouse that straddled Diagon and Knockturn Alley. After the final signature had been made, the three friends had headed out to celebrate. Several clubs and even more alcoholic beverages later, Ginny was of the firm opinion that this was the best birthday ever. However, if watching her brother drink had been any indication, there was a good chance that she wouldn’t remember what they’d got up to.
“We need to do something to celebrate my birthday!” she slurred.
“Love, that’s what all the alcohol and dancing has been for,” Marcus pointed out gently.
“No. I mean something more. Something that says that we’re in this together and that we’ll be friends f’ever.”
“Friends forever,” Draco corrected her with a grin.
Beaming at her positively brilliant boyfriend, Ginny exclaimed, “Exactly.”
Marcus looked at the two of them speculatively. “I do have one idea,” he began.
“This better not be sexual in nature,” Draco warned.
Marcus laughed. “No. But it is rather permanent. I think before you agree to it Ginny should be a tad more sober.” Whispering a charm under his breath, he watched as the little red head stood up straighter.
“Naughty, naughty Marcus. You shouldn’t be doing magic around the muggles,” she scolded.
“Well in the interest of not being here when the Ministry employee turns up to slap me with a fine, I say we adjourn to the next stop for the evening.”
Standing outside the brightly lit shop Draco and Ginny looked at Marcus in astonishment. “A tattoo parlour?” Ginny squeaked. “You want us to get tattoos?”
Marcus shrugged, “You wanted something that said we’d be in this forever, and nothing says forever like having something permanently etched into your skin.”
Draco pursued his lips in speculation. “And at least we get to choose the design rather than our insane fathers trying to force us into the oh-so-sexy skull and snake combo they were fond of.”
“Although I don’t think we need to totally discount the idea of a snake,” Marcus commented.
“They are kind of sexy,” Ginny added.
Marcus looked at his two friends before pushing open the door. “Shall we?”
Draco tilted his head towards Ginny in a silent question. Smiling her agreement she took his hand to follow Marcus into the brightly lit parlour.
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