Author: Nokomiss PM
Ginny, in the midst of a very bad day, causes an incident with the Knight Bus. -complete-Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Draco M. & Ginny W. - Words: 2,791 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 3 - Published: 05-24-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2407332
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: JKR owns all characters. Beta read by the lovely Rainpuddle13.
The Knight Bus screeched to a halt, and Ginny hurriedly climbed aboard. Stan Shunpike was the only personnel aboard, and began to run through the speech she had become quite familiar with since striking out on her own, so Ginny interrupted him with, "Hogsmeade, please," and dropped her money into his outstretched hand.
"Alright," Stan said, pulling the bus away from the curb.
As she began to walk towards the back of the bus, she realized something wasn't quite right. The bus was careening even more than usual, and she grabbed onto a pole to keep herself standing and turned around, only to find Stan staring, not at the road like a sane bus driver, but at her.
"Watch the road!" she screamed.
Stan blinked; then a look of realization spread across his face as he turned to look at the road, slammed on the brakes, but a split second too late. The Knight Bus hit the side of a brick building hard, the front end crumpling like an accordion.
Ginny fell to the floor, saved from serious injury by the cushioning charms that protected the riders of the Knight Bus. As she stood up, she automatically went to smooth her skirt and became aware of just what caused the wreck.
Her skirt was tucked into her knickers.
Stan Shunpike had wrecked the bloody Knight Bus while staring at her red lace-covered arse.
She quickly jerked her skirt to where it fell naturally, covering everything it was designed to cover, and began to stomp towards the door.
"Here, let me help you," Stan said, trying to take her arm to help her off the wrecked bus.
"I think you've helped quite enough," huffed Ginny, climbing out of the bus and stomping away, trying to put as much room as possible between her and the future source of endless embarrassment. There was no way in hell this entire incident would pass her by quietly.
Stan followed her, calling, "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine!" Ginny knew she was being unreasonably angry, but she was having a bad morning and was now irrevocably late and had the sinking feeling that the incident would make the cover of the newspaper, as the Knight Bus was well-known for not being involved in wrecks, especially not with buildings that didn't even move.
"This is bad," Stan said, looking remorsefully at the bus. Ginny suddenly had the thought that while she might be embarrassed, Stan might lose his job over this.
"Maybe it can be fixed," she offered.
Just then, a whoomph sound emitted from the bus as it exploded.
"Oh no," Stan said. "This is not going to be easy to explain to my boss."
Ginny only watched as sparks rained down, and flames licked out from under the brightly colored bus. "Maybe no one will notice."
Stan stared at her in way that made her feel acutely stupid. "I think people notice when a bus is flaming and is attached to a bloody brick wall!"
"I don't know why you're so angry when it's your fault we hit that wall!" Ginny retorted.
"What?" Stan asked.
"I know you were staring at me!" she said.
"Well, you're the one who was flashing everyone."
Ginny was saved from having to defend her wardrobe malfunction further by the appearance of several Aurors.
"Viviene's virtue, the Knight Bus really did explode," said one Auror, watching as the flames still licking at the bus crackled.
"I thought for sure this was some sort of joke mission to make up for that prank pumpkin juice last week," said another Auror. "What are we supposed to do with this?"
"Put out the fire?" Ginny suggested.
"We don't need any sass," barked the sternest looking Auror of the group. "Now, we'll need to take statements from everyone present..."
Ginny sighed, giving up on going to work, and began to answer the questions the Aurors fired at her.
It was mid-afternoon when the charred remains of the Knight Bus were brought into Draco's shop.
When his boss had informed him the Knight Bus had crashed and burned, he had thought there was some exaggeration involved. The hardest thing he ever had to do to repair the Knight Bus was to replace the brakes or perhaps the grill or bumper. That was why being the sole mechanic for the Knight Bus was such an ideal job for him. He had plenty of time to work on his own projects, but still had steady employment to make up for his utter lack of support from his parents, who had rejected his lifestyle choice in true Malfoy manner by cutting off his funding, thinking that eventually he would break down and succumb to their wishes out of desperation for a house-elf cooked meal or a fur cap.
His parents had avoided destitution in the Big War by changing sides halfway through, in true Slytherin manner.
It had been roughly two days, four hours and seventeen minutes after Lucius Malfoy's release from Azkaban that the Malfoy family arrived en masse outside Professor Dumbledore's office. Dumbledore, feeling cranky with the Malfoys, and indeed, Death Eaters in general, sent a house-elf to inform the Malfoys that he would have nothing to do with their sort today, and if they wanted to attempt to steal intelligence then they could just wait until the middle of the night and sneak in like any good thief.
Lucius Malfoy not only disliked the house-elf's message, but took offense at the tone with which it was delivered and kicked the creature square in the nose.
Narcissa laid a calming hand on her husband's arm and asked the whimpering elf if he would be so kind as to inform Dumbledore that they were not on any sort of debauched errand from You-Know-Who, but rather would like to talk about joining this Order that they had heard so much about. The house-elf somewhat reluctantly scampered back up the stairs to deliver the message, while Lucius and Narcissa spoke quietly.
Draco slouched against the wall and prayed for a bolt of lightning. He wasn't quite sure who he intended the lightning for - for sure, both Dumbledore and Voldemort ranked high, but then, so did the fellow who invented Arithmancy, as well as all the ancient civilizations who used runes rather than proper script, though the latter two were more a reflection of his dismal grades than any true hatred of the peoples involved - but he was damn sure that lightning striking was the only thing that would make his day go better.
When his father had been in prison, things had been rather nice around the house. Not the fact that his father was gone, of course - he adored his father. But his mother had felt the urge to overcompensate for the lack of a proper male role model, and had showered him with delicious foods and expensive gifts. The clothes he had thrown carelessly in the closet, the books had retired to the shelf for a long career of being dusted without ever being opened, but the various nifty gadgets... they had been of use. For as long as Draco could remember, he had most enjoyed working with his hands. Taking apart things and putting them back together were the most enjoyable two actions he could think of doing.
Finally, Dumbledore appeared at the entrance to his office and motioned the Malfoys inside.
"I understand that you are interested in the Order," Dumbledore said.
"We are," Narcissa replied. She had been deemed both the most rational and the Malfoy adult possessing the shorter criminal record so she was therefore elected their spokesperson.
"Must we give one?" Narcissa asked.
"If you want to join, then yes, I must know why."
"We've decided that siding with the Order offered a greater chance of retaining our fortune and good name," she replied.
"I see," Dumbledore said, seeing no fault in the logic presented.
Draco had been thankful that he hadn't ended up with a grotesque tattoo or the shame of having to auction the manor home to pay for new socks, but after he had decided to pursue his dream job, things had gone downhill anyway.
Now, he stared in dismay at the Knight Bus. He would be up all night, there was no doubt, and he had some serious doubts whether he would manage to get it into decent repair anytime soon.
Stan Shunpike came slouching in after the bus, looking as though his dog had just died.
"What the hell happened?" Draco snapped, knowing that Stan had been the only staff aboard the bus at the time of the incident.
"I got distracted," Stan muttered. "Hit a brick wall. It was bad."
"What could distract you enough to run into a brick wall?" Draco asked, interest piqued.
And thus Draco learned of Ginny Weasley's finer assets.
"I know I didn't make it to work today," Ginny said into the fireplace.
Her boss took that as talking back, and launched into a lecture on the virtue of respecting elders and showing up for work.
Ginny sighed and began to tune out the lecture, until she heard the words, "And that is why you have been replaced."
"What?" she yelped. "I'm fired? I was in a bus accident!"
Her (former) boss disconnected before she could say anything more.
Ginny decided then and there that what she needed was some mothering, so she Apparated to the Burrow.
Once arriving, she realized what a colossal mistake that had been. Judging from the cackles that she recognized as belonging to the three youngest Weasley brothers, the Incident (as it had already become labeled in her mind) had made its way into the public sphere of knowledge.
She lurked outside of the kitchen, set on feeling out how malicious her family was set on being before entering.
"Wait, how was Ginny responsible for the explosion of the Knight Bus? I, frankly, am appalled that I've never thought of blowing up the Knight Bus," said Fred dramatically.
"I think I read something about knickers. Maybe if you had gone on the Knight Bus wearing ladies undergarments, you could have wrecked it, too," offered George.
"I'm sure Ginny didn't flash the driver," her mother said. "I raised her better than that."
Draco sat in the corner booth of the Three Broomsticks, nursing a fire whiskey and watching the entrance. He knew that if a story about his knickers (not that he owned any, of course) had shown up on the front page of the Daily Snitch, a drinking establishment would definitely be on his list of places to visit.
Sure enough, an hour and a half and three fire whiskeys after his arrival, a vaguely familiar redhead charged through the door like a bull in a china shop.
"Tom, give me something strong," he heard her say.
"You'd best keep that skirt down or else you're responsible for all spilled drinks," Tom replied.
Ginny slammed her fists down on the counter and growled, "No sass. Just pour."
Draco waited until one fire whiskey had been downed and another one was in her hand before sliding out of his booth and making his way over to the girl, who hadn't even bothered to sit down. "Come with me," he said.
"I'm not going anywhere with a prat like you!" Ginny exclaimed, and Draco began to suspect that this was not the first pub she had charged into that night.
"Just over to my booth. I've got a bottle," he said.
Ginny looked tempted, then sighed, leaned onto his arm and said, "Lead the way."
Once he got her in the booth, she slumped down over the table and stuck her finger in her glass, swirling it around idly. His eyes immediately noticed that she had missed a vital button on her demure white top, and watched, transfixed, the swells of flesh and white lace that were completely visible.
"Today hasn't been going so great," Ginny said morosly.
"Really?" Draco asked. He wondered what would happen to her top if he got her to lean a bit to the left.
"There was that horrible Incident with the Knight Bus. And then I got fired. And I couldn't even go home because of the horrible, horrible mocking that would ensue,." Ginny said.
"That's terrible," Draco replied, and surreptitiously slid the fire whiskey bottle as far left as the table would allow.
"You're being nice," Ginny said, then hiccupped. She reached for the bottle, and Draco found that his projections were correct. Left provided a very nice view indeed.
"I know about bad days," he replied.
"That's right, you do," Ginny said brightly. "How's menial work suiting you?"
"A lot better before you wrecked the bus I have to repair," he replied.
The method by which he achieved his somewhat dubious accomplishments was sheer dogged persistence. He had spent ages perfecting the art of asking until refusal was absolutely impossible, and had, until today, never met anyone as adept at the art as himself.
Ginny Weasley, however, was proving herself to be even more bullheaded and stubborn than he had ever imagined any witch could be. He had been trying to sell her the pros of going home and washing the sick out of her hair for a good twenty minute, but she insisted that all she needed was another drink and to stay around for a little while. "I can't go back home," she said, wearily slumping her head onto her arm, which was extended across the table.
"Why not?" he asked for the third time, sliding his glass away from her hand for fear that she might lunge for it in an unexpected show of alertness.
"That'll pass," he said.
"No, it won't," said Ginny dejectedly.
He couldn't convince her otherwise. Once she lost the last vestige of sobriety and he feared she would pass out right there at the table, he carefully helped her up and assisted her back to her place before going home himself.
The next afternoon, Ginny, looking as rough as a witch who had consumed as much alcohol the previous night ought, appeared at his doorstep.
"Why were you nice to me?" she demanded.
"Because I wanted to?" he guessed.
"That is no excuse. You're weird, Draco Malfoy. I want to know why you did that."
"Because you're interesting."
She scowled. "That is no reason."
They waited a few moments for conversation to proceed outside the awkward limitations they were working with, but both remained silent.
"Can I buy you a drink tonight? To make up for all the ones you got me last night?" Ginny finally asked.
"No," Draco replied. "But if you really want to make it up to me, you could escort me to dinner."
"Are you asking me out?" she asked, brow furrowed.
"That was the general idea, yes."
"Oh." She paused. "Well, sure."
"Just like that?" he asked. He'd expected a big hoopla about his history and whatnot, as Weasleys were notoriously stuck up about things like involvement with Dark Lords.
"Yeah. I might as well do something to get people's minds off my knickers."
"What about my mind?"
"Your mind?" she asked blankly.
"If you go out with me, my mind definitely will not forget your knickers."
"Well, I suppose that's alright. As long as everyone else does," Ginny rationalized.
"See you at six?"
"Okay," Ginny said before pecking him on the cheek. "Thanks for last night."
"It was a pleasure," Draco replied honestly.