Disclaimer: All characters and scenes belong to the fabulous JK Rowling.
Stupid plots (or lack thereof) are all mine.
A/N: Extreme fluff warning. I can't seem to write anything serious! If
the style seems familiar and you read 'desperado', don't report me, I wrote
that and posted under my son's account name. So sue me! (No, Amy, I'm
Draco had been standing in the dark doorway for some time now. The last
students to sneak past him had entered the stairway leading to one of the
many turrets in Hogwarts over ten minutes ago. Draco had been wandering
through the castle, thinking, when he had noticed Neville Longbottom and
Hannah Abbot sneaking across one of the corridors ahead of him. With his
invisibility cloak on, they hadn't spotted him, but he had been intrigued.
A good little Gryffindor and a wimpy Hufflepuff wandering around after
hours? They were probably just trying to find someplace secret to snog in.
He shuddered at the thought, but then saw a few more students hurrying up
behind him. More Gryffs and Hufflepuffs. He decided to follow. As he
waited, he saw at least fifteen students, all Gryffindor, Hufflepuff or
Ravenclaw sneak up the corridor and up the stairs.
What the hell was going on, he wondered. He wasn't surprised that there
were no Slytherins. Most of them wouldn't be caught dead in such a
gathering. But he was curious about why they were all there. All the
students had been seventh years, except one or two sixth years. Draco's
curiosity got the better of him. He decided he would go up, take a look
and see if there was anything worth blackmailing the gits over.
Quietly, careful not to make unnecessary noise, Draco slipped up the
stairs. Luckily, the trap door in the roof was still open. He wouldn't
have to try to push it up without anyone noticing. He lifted his head out
of the opening and looked around.
Several students were just milling around, talking and laughing. There was
a makeshift table along the wall of the turret with food and drinks, and
several chairs scattered around. It looked like a damned social! On the
other side of the trap door was a small group of students sitting around a
table. It looked as though they were playing cards! He didn't see any
money (gambling being frowned on in Hogwarts) but there were several scraps
of parchment 'in the pot'. This was what was happening? A poker game?
And not even strip poker, either, he thought with disgust as he noted that
everyone had all their clothes on.
It wasn't even worth his effort to get one of the teachers. He was about
to descend the stairs when one of the poker players leaned back, and he saw
the person sitting on the far side of the table. SHE was here! Draco
froze, unable to take his eyes off her. He was infatuated, obsessed with
this female and had since school began this year. It wasn't that she was
beautiful, because she wasn't. She was pretty, of course, but there were
others in school much prettier. There was just something about her that
dragged at his heart and knotted his insides whenever he looked at her.
And he knew she probably hated him. He took in the pale skin, the bright
hair framing the heartbreaking face, the wide brown eyes. She was talking
to someone, smiling, when she suddenly froze and looked right at him! But
that was impossible; he was invisible! She seemed to shake herself then
looked back at the girl on her left.
Draco felt slightly shaken himself. He had been fighting this
uncharacteristic attraction to Ginny Weasley for months, but without
success. There was just something about her, the way she smiled, her
natural grace, her innate kindness. It was sick making to think of it, but
it didn't matter. All that was good in her seemed to call out to him, and
he was finding that the core of rottenness in himself couldn't withstand
that call. Realizing there were only a few weeks of school left before he
graduated, he made a decision. He'd probably never see Ginny again once
school was out. What did he have to lose?
Draco slipped off the invisibility robe and stuffed it into a pocket.
Then, putting on his best smirk, he ascended the steps onto the turret. No
one noticed him at first; he was just another partygoer. Suddenly, Justin
Finch-Fletchly realized who he was. He stopped in the middle of his
sentence and stared. The person he'd been talking to followed his stare
and also became silent. The silence followed Draco across the turret and
to the table where the poker players were engrossed in their game.
Draco noted with surprise that Ginny's older brothers, the twins, were also
sitting at the table. Had they snuck back to school just to play cards?
The card players finally noticed the quiet and looked up. Ron Weasley,
Draco's enemy since the first day of school, scowled and stood up nose to
nose with Draco.
"What the hell do you want, Malfoy? You and your Slytherin lot weren't
invited." Ron's whole body seemed to be shivering in outrage. Draco
ignored him and looked at Ginny briefly.
She was looking up at him, brows drawn down over those splendid eyes. She
wasn't frowning, exactly, but she certainly didn't look overjoyed to see
him, either. Not that he blamed her. She had no idea that she'd kept him
awake most nights since school started this year. Draco brought his
attention back to Ron.
"How interesting," he drawled. "Quite a little party you've got going,
here, Weasley. And I see you have a few 'unauthorized' guests." Draco
glanced over at the twins, Fred and Ned, or something like that. To his
great surprise, they seemed to be smiling at him. They weren't in the
least bothered by his presence.
"Look, Malfoy," Ron said, bristling with anger. "Get lost!"
Draco grinned at him, a predatory, shark-like grin.
"You know what I figure, Weasley? I figure that if I go down and tell
Filch about your little soiree here, you might," he emphasized the word,
"just might have time to clean up and get everyone tucked away in bed where
they belong. But you might not."
He chanced another glance at Ginny, but she was still looking at him with
that little half frown. He hurried on before she decided to make it a full
"But," he added, cutting Ron's angry reply off, "I haven't played poker in
a while. Deal me in, and my lips are sealed."
Ron felt everyone looking at him. He knew they were thinking he would only
have to tolerate Draco for a while and the party could continue. Ron hated
to be coerced, especially by a prat like Malfoy. He was about to refuse
when one of the twins spoke up.
"Aw, c'mon, Ron. Let him play."
The other twin added, "Yeah, 'sides, his money's as good as anyone's,
right? So to speak?"
Ron gave his brothers a disgusted look, but backed away. Parvati Patil
tossed her cards down and stood.
"Here, Malfoy, take my place. I was just quitting anyway." She took the
few scraps of paper in front of her and walked away. Draco moved around
the table and took her seat. It was, he saw with glee, directly opposite
Ginny's. Conversations began again and Ron sat down with a final glare at
"So, what are the stakes?" Draco asked, pulling out a small moneybag.
Ginny stifled a small laugh, while Fred (or Ned, or GEORGE, that was it) or
George shook his head.
"No money, Malfoy, that's not allowed. We're betting favors."
Draco looked at the other players questioningly. "Favors?" he asked
"Yeah," George or Fred answered. "You know, if you win, I'll do your
Arithmancy homework for the rest of the week, that sort of thing."
"That's why Hermione doesn't play anymore," Ginny added in a soft voice.
"She is awful at cards and she was doing everyone's homework for a month!"
Draco smiled at her, liking her voice. He didn't hear it much, except when
she was saying things like 'sod off, Malfoy' (which his general nasty
behavior usually provoked). She blinked, then looked down at the cards she
held in her hands.
Draco looked at the twins again, frowning slightly. "I'm average at best
with most subjects. What other kinds of favors do you use?"
Surprisingly, Ron laughed. "Well, if you can cook, Ginny could use the
help. She owes everyone a huge batch of homemade cookies!"
Ginny was still staring hard at her cards and ignoring the laughter.
"I can think of a lot of worse ways to spend my time than helping your
sister cook, but I'm hopeless in the kitchen as well. Never needed to
Ron scowled at this not so subtle reminder of Draco's wealth.
"You could have your goons lay off," Neville Longbottom squeaked from the
other side of the twins. He looked more surprised than anyone else that
he'd had the temerity to speak up.
Draco only nodded. "Okay, I get the idea. That's what I wager?"
Fred (or George) shook his head. "Nope, not quite. You put in the blank
paper and the others in the game decide what they would want from you."
George continued. "Most of us play all the time so it's the usually same
thing. Me an' Fred make great gags, so that's what everyone asks for. Ron
gives chess lessons. Nev is a whiz at Herbology, so he usually gets asked
for homework. And, Ginny is almost as good a cook as Mum, so everyone
wants something homemade."
Draco tilted his head. "Right, but what if the price is too high? What if
someone says, say, I have to lose a Quidditch match or something like
Fred looked more serious than Draco had ever seen him.
"Get this, Malfoy, no one here would ever ask that! That's almost as bad
as going back on a debt of honor."
The serious look left his face and he added, "But if you don't like what's
asked you can either say 'renegotiate' and they'll ask something else, or
you fold. No harm, no foul. Right?"
Draco took one last look at Ginny, now looking at him with a small smile.
"Right," he agreed.
George gathered the cards and shuffled them, announcing, "Five card draw,
nothing wild." Then he dealt. Draco's cards were indifferent. He folded
immediately, but watched, fascinated, as the other players asked different
services, accepted, folded. Finally it was Longbottom and Ron Weasley.
Weasley had asked Longbottom to sneak some Chinese ginseng (interesting,
since it was a potent aphrodisiac) from the Herbology shed. Longbottom was
agonizing over his decision, and kept looking at his cards. He wanted a
visit at the Burrow (the Weasley's home, Draco collected), but Ron had
renegotiated, saying he'd invite Longbottom without the card game. Then
Longbottom asked for an introduction to Bill, the Weasleys spell breaking
older brother. He said he really admired Bill's abilities. That was agreed
on and Ron showed his cards. A full house, two's over sixes. Longbottom
looked like he couldn't believe his eyes. He laid down his own cards;
another full house, but this was sevens over fours. Longbottom won! Ron
took a scrap of parchment and a quill and wrote, "Introduce Neville to
Bill", then handed it to Longbottom.
Draco was fascinated. This was much better than playing for money. And
the players seemed to enjoy the winnings much more than they would cash.
The play continued, with Ginny losing more baked goods, Fred promising
something called 'canary creams' which the Gryffindors (especially
Longbottom) laughed at, and Draco losing the ability to tease Longbottom
for the rest of the year. He didn't even mind, as he'd mostly given up
bothering the other students months ago. He also decided that even if
Longbottom didn't ask, he would still have Crabbe and Goyle lay off.
Longbottom was a canny player and had a surprising sense of humor. Draco
was actually starting to like him.
The night was getting later and many of the students had wandered off to go
to bed. At the poker table, the only players left were the Weasleys and
Draco. Some students were still watching, but most had left. Draco had
enjoyed himself. The twins were outrageous, Ron's mood had mellowed, and
even though Ginny seldom spoke directly to him, her conversation was
"Last game," George announced, shuffling the deck with long, dexterous
fingers. "Same thing, five card draw, nothing wild, and we'll say jacks or
better to open, right?"
"Progressive?" Ginny asked.
"Naw," Fred answered. "If no one has a pair of jacks, we'll just quit.
They agreed and George dealt. Ron picked up his cards, looked briefly at
them, and threw them down, disgusted.
"Bloody nothing," he said, scowling at no one in particular. Ginny looked
at her cards, her face impassive. She pulled out one card and discarded
it. "I open," she said. "I'll take one."
Draco looked at his cards and thought Christmas had come early. Three
jacks! Ginny probably had two pair. He took the king and ten from his hand
and tossed them, face down, on top of Ginny's card.
"I'm in. Two."
Fred looked at his cards and sighed. "Nothing," he said, tossing the cards
on the table.
George studied his cards and tossed three out. "I'm in, too. Dealer takes
He dealt out the needed cards and picked his up again. Draco looked at
Ginny, who had opened. Her face was still impassive, but her eyes were
She thinks she has something good, Draco thought looking down at his new
cards. He had trouble keeping his own face bland. A jack and a queen!
Four of a kind! The only hand that could beat him now was four aces. He'd
discarded a king and now held a queen so those four of a kinds were out and
he held all the jacks so there would be no Royal Flush! He seriously
doubted either Ginny or George had four aces!
George picked up his cards to study them, then tossed them down again.
"Looks like it's just you two," he said casually.
"All right," Ginny said, studying the cards, then Draco's face. He found
that having her look so intently at him was causing his cheeks to flush
slightly. She raised her eyebrows a bit, apparently noticing. She smiled
suddenly, mischief glowing from her eyes.
"Here's the wager. If I win, regardless of how hopeless you are in a
kitchen, you'll spend tomorrow helping me bake cookies, pies, and cakes.
And you'll wear an apron!"
Draco grinned as laughter burst from the remaining Weasleys. It was
embarrassing, but not humiliating. And he could spend time with her. He
was sorely tempted to agree and pretend to lose. Then he had a better
"Agreed, Weasley," he said, then softened his voice slightly. "Here's my
wager. If I win, I get...a kiss."
The silence was deafening. Then Ron jumped up from his chair and lunged
"Sodding bastard, you think I'd let you..." Fred and George had jumped up
and caught Ron before he had a chance to touch Draco.
Draco didn't say anything, he just looked at Ginny.
"Damn it, Ron, it's up to Ginny to object, not you. You don't interfere
with a wager!" Fred shoved Ron back into his seat and George held his
"Yeah," George agreed. "What does Ginny say?"
Ginny's eyes were wide. She hadn't expected that kind of wager. Her
cheeks were red and she bit her lip nervously. Draco was about to retract
the wager, wondering if he'd gone too far.
Ginny looked at her cards again, then up into Draco's eyes. Her own
"First, define what you mean by a kiss," she said.
Draco looked around uneasily. "What do you mean? A kiss is a kiss, isn't
Ginny's mouth quirked slightly, and Draco wanted to kiss it right now!
"Well, do you mean a brotherly peck on the cheek? A kiss on the lips? Or
some other portion of the anatomy? I would want to know beforehand so you
couldn't claim I didn't live up the bargain."
"Oh," Draco said stupidly. "Uh, a kiss on the lips." His cheeks were
almost as red as Ginny's.
"On the lips," she repeated. "Right. Open or closed?"
"Mouth open or closed?" Ginny clarified.
"Uh, up to you, I guess," he replied, then wished he'd said open.
Ginny smiled again. "And what determines the end of the kiss?"
Draco was getting the idea. "Ummm, when both parties lips break contact
with the other party's skin."
Ginny's eyes glittered for a second, then she lowered her lashes. Draco
was thinking that even if she only allowed a closed mouth kiss, he could
run his mouth over those delicate lips for hours, as long as he didn't
break contact. He grinned.
"And payable when?" Ginny asked finally.
"After the card game is over." Draco glanced at the others, feeling
uncomfortable about negotiating a kiss with a girl in front of one hostile
brother and two vastly amused brothers.
She looked at her cards once more. Ron stared at her intently, Fred and
"Agreed, then. You show first, Malfoy."
That wasn't quite right, since she had opened. But he was too eager to
quibble. He laid down the cards, face up.
"Four of a kind, jacks," he said triumphantly.
Ginny's eyes widened, and she stared at the hand. Draco felt his joy
ebbing away. She was aghast that he'd won! Ron sprang up again, but the
twins caught him again.
"Right, then." George gathered up his, Fred's, and Ron's parchment scraps
and stuffed them in his pocket. "Game's over. We'll leave you two to
settle up. Make sure you clean up when you're done."
He and Fred led their panicked brother down the stairs. They closed the
trap door. Draco looked at Ginny again. She was still staring at her
cards. Feeling his look, she carefully laid her cards face down on the
table. She looked up, her brown eyes wide and nervous.
"Um, right, then. What now?"
Draco moved to her side and gave her a concerned look.
"You know, this wasn't written in blood, or something," he said dismally.
"You don't have to do this, if it's that unpleasant to think about."
Ginny's dark eyes narrowed. "Are you asking me to welch on a debt of
honor? Lord, Malfoy, if you didn't really want to kiss me you shouldn't
She turned away from him and folded her arms. Her entire body seemed to
radiate anger. Draco hesitantly touched her shoulder and pulled her back
around to face him. She looked hurt and angry. He couldn't stop himself
from wrapping an arm around her, pulling her close. With his free hand he
pulled her chin up to look into her face.
"I've wanted this for months," he told her quietly, watching her eyes
soften and her lips part slightly. He couldn't resist the lure of her soft
mouth. He lowered his face and covered her mouth with his. It was
unbelievable sweet. Her soft breath was released in his mouth in a gentle
sigh. He touched the tip of his tongue to her lips and she opened wider.
Her own tongue came forward to touch his and he thought he would die from
the pleasure of the soft, tentative touch. She moved closer and wrapped
her arms around his neck. He held her tightly, kissing, suckling at her
mouth, becoming greedy, thrusting his tongue into her mouth and sucking at
hers. She broke away slightly, but kept her mouth on his cheek, then moved
to his neck, kissing softly. He did the same, not wanting to let her go.
Her voice came softly in the ear she was nibbling. "The kiss doesn't end
until our lips break contact with the other's skin," she reminded him. He
felt a thrill pass through him. She'd understood. She wanted his kiss as
much as he wanted hers. He would kiss her all night if she'd let him. He
sat hard on one of the chairs, upsetting the table and knocking the cards
to the ground. He'd pulled her onto his lap, his lips still moving gently
over her throat. She grabbed one of his hands and moved it to his cheek.
She moved her mouth over his cheek and onto his hand, tracing the palm with
her lips and tongue. This allowed her to arch her throat into Draco's
"If you wanted to kiss me for months," she murmured against his hand, "you
should have done long ago. Instead, you made me cheat at cards!"
Surprised, but still pressing kisses along her throat, he looked down to
the scattered cards. After the initial shock, he smiled as he saw her four
aces staring up at him.
Fred and George wearily climbed the steps to a different turret. Their
brooms dragged behind them and they talked quietly, careful not to attract
the attention of Filch or Mrs Norris. Ron was still fuming, but they'd
convinced him to take it to his room and leave Ginny alone.
"I have to admit, I was impressed that Malfoy didn't even flinch when Ron
went for him. That's a man knows what he wants," George mused idly.
Fred nodded thoughtfully.
The young men came out of the stairwell and looked around the turret. Fred
took a small pair of binoculars from his pocket and trained them on one of
the distant turrets.
"Do you see them?" George asked, straining his eyes in the same direction.
"Yeah, they're still there, faces glued together." Fred offered the
binoculars to George, who shrugged and declined.
"Don't really think I want to watch my little sister snogging," he
"Clever of Malfoy to set the 'lips touching skin' condition, though. I'll
have to remember that."
Fred nodded and fastened his cloak over his robes for the chilly ride back
"Did you notice the way they were staring at each other?" George asked his
"How could I miss it? It was bloody sick making!"
Fred glanced at George, eyebrows raised.
"Do you think we did the right thing?" he asked.
"Must have, bro. I made sure I slipped Gin four aces. It was what she
wanted or she would have shown her hand."
"Yeah, but, Malfoy?" Fred looked amused but incredulous.
"Stranger things have happened, bro. Stranger things have happened."
They grinned at each other, then mounted their brooms and flew off into the