Disclaimer: All characters belong to J. K. Rowling, as do Gryffindor,
Ravenclaw, Herbology and all the other wonderful things that make up the
world of Harry Potter.
A/N: yes, Draco is probably OOC, but this story was kicking around my
computer for about five months, and I finally finished it to get over a
writer's block. Thanks for all your reviews and support. K
Ginny Weasley sat on a discarded potting bench that had been placed behind
the Herbology sheds. It was after classes and before supper; that dead
time when those with homework were (or should be) industriously laboring
away, and those without homework just sort of wandered about the Common
Rooms trying to find something to do until their mates finished homework.
Ginny had neither homework nor mates she wanted to wait for. And she
wasn't the mood for hanging about, anyway. There was to be a year-end
dance and she'd waited for Harry Potter to ask her finally after six years.
But she'd just found out today that he planned to ask one of the girls in
Ravenclaw. Ginny wasn't quite heartbroken, but she was depressed. She'd
wanted Harry to notice her since she was a scrawny, shy ten-year-old. But
he never had; at least, not as anything other than his best friend Ron's
Wiping away a tear that trickled down her cheek, Ginny really didn't blame
him. She was still scrawny and shy, and she had, in her fifth year, needed
glasses. Not only that, but she'd discovered that she was much better in
most of her subjects than Harry, making her seem almost as much a know-it-
all as Hermione. She didn't try to act like a know-it-all, but it just
seemed to happen. In all, Ginny wasn't the kind of girl that boys fell
for, and she knew it. That didn't, however, make it any easier to deal
Ginny wiped away another tear and told herself to grow up. Harry was never
going to notice her and that was that. The dance was three weeks away, he
was going to ask someone else, and she would sit alone in the Common Room
while everyone else was having fun. Then school would be out and she would
probably only see Harry once or twice a year, at holidays if he visited the
Weasleys at their home in the Burrow. She was just deciding that she
should wander back to Gryffindor and get ready for supper when she heard
footsteps crunching through the gravel path between the sheds and heading
Hastily wiping her eyes and nose with her handkerchief, Ginny replaced her
glasses, which she'd removed when she started crying, stood and waited.
Who could be wandering around out here, she wondered? She was usually the
only one around. She didn't have long to wait, though. A moment later the
tall, thin figure of Draco Malfoy rounded the end of one of the sheds and
came to an abrupt stop.
Draco stared, obviously startled to see anyone else out here. Ginny felt a
sinking feeling in her stomach. Malfoy didn't bother her much, and usually
it was always about the same thing. Harry.
As Draco drew his brows down over his sharp, gray eyes, Ginny braced
herself. He took her by surprise, though.
"What the hell are you doing here, Weasley?" he snapped, shoving the book
he'd been carrying behind his back.
Ginny straightened to her full height, which was nearly as tall as the boy
in front of her. She didn't like Malfoy, and hated it when he teased her,
but she was on her turf, now, so to speak. She had Professor Sprout's
permission to come here whenever she wanted.
"I don't see that it's any of your business, Malfoy," she said, knowing
that he would pick up the shake in her voice immediately. She was again
surprised when, instead of throwing some disgusting comment at her, he
merely continued to stare at her. She felt very uncomfortable under his
cold regard. He wasn't really a good-looking boy; definitely not as good-
looking as Harry. But his clothes were always the best quality, his hair
always in place, and his books and supplies always new. Ginny felt shabby
and poor next to him. Feeling a flush coming to her face, Ginny grew a bit
"What are YOU doing here, Malfoy?" she demanded. "Not one of your usual
hang outs, is it? Aren't you afraid to be out alone without your goons, or
are you slumming?"
Even before the words were completely out of her mouth, Ginny was shocked
at her own daring. Insulting Malfoy, or even defending one's self was just
an invitation to more bullying. Ginny decided that a hasty retreat was
probably the safest course of action, but she was cornered. She would have
to shove past him to get back to the castle, and who knew what kind of
retaliation THAT might bring? She decided to try anyway and took a step
forward, but Malfoy surprised her yet again by stepping forward himself and
pushing her back onto the bench with a negligent shove. She sat clumsily
and started to spring back up. But he was right in front of her, blocking
her way and holding her shoulder with his empty hand. Gods, he's strong
for such a skinny little ferret, she thought wildly, trying to pry his hand
off his shoulder.
"Let go, Malfoy!" she cried, still trying to stand.
He dropped the book he'd been holding and gripped her other shoulder,
tightening his hold.
"Damn it, Weasley," he hissed as her foot shot out and kicked him in the
shin. "Stop struggling. I'm not going to hurt you."
Ginny glared up at him and snapped, "You already are, you stupid git! I'll
probably have bruises on my shoulders!"
He immediately released her and stepped back. Ginny glared again and
rubbed one shoulder. "Why'd you do that?" she asked. The question sounded
whiny and querulous even to herself, and she suddenly had the feeling that
she was going to cry. This was turning into one hell of a day.
"Sorry," he muttered, not really sounding very sorry. "But it just
occurred to me that you have a problem I can help you with. And I have a
problem you can help me with. Interested?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, Malfoy. I can't imagine anything
I'd want your help with."
Ginny eyed him suspiciously as he reached down and picked up his book.
Then he sat next to her and showed her what it was. Ginny glanced from the
Herbology text that the seventh years studied from to Malfoy, wondering
what he was on about.
"I'm failing Herbology, Weasley. And if you tell anyone, I'll make you
very sorry," he said, his voice completely serious. "But you're some kind
of Herbology genius, aren't you? You could help me enough for me to pass.
And if you did, I'd help you with your problem."
Ginny looked up into his face again. No, he was not a good-looking boy,
especially when he was threatening a person. But there was something
fascinating about him. Yeah, she told herself, fascinating like standing
on the edge of a cliff. She brushed away the thought and looked away.
"You know, Malfoy, most people don't like threats. I don't have a problem,
but you do. You're a sneaking, bullying git who can't understand that a
simple 'please' would have gone a lot farther than all the threats in the
world. Now, I have to go."
Ginny stood again, fully expecting Malfoy to grab her and drag her down
again. He didn't though. Ginny hurried toward the end of the shed,
wanting to get away. What problem did he think she had, she wondered?
There was no way he could have guessed that she'd been crying over Harry,
was there? She was almost to the corner when she heard him running after
her. Lord, she was going to have to run for it, she thought. She was fast
for a girl, with her long legs and thin build, but as she lifted the skirts
of her robes he was already on her.
"Weasley, wait!" he said, not touching her. "Please?"
Ginny turned around to look at him, amazed. The word sounded rusty with
disuse, but that he'd actually said it was astounding. He didn't look very
happy about it, either, but he stood, waiting for her answer. Ginny
sighed, knowing she would probably be sorry.
"All right, Malfoy. What do you want?"
He grimaced, obviously not wanting to ask for help. "I—er—need help in
Herbology. Could you just get me through with a passing grade? And not
Ginny knew it was unsporting to kick an opponent when he was down, but she
couldn't help a very small smile. "Now that didn't hurt too much, did it?"
He scowled, but remained silent. Ginny figured that was a victory of
sorts. A small victory, but a victory, nonetheless.
"I'll do what I can, Malfoy," Ginny told him finally. "But you've got to
be willing to work, too. I'm not going to do your homework or anything
like that. Right?"
He nodded, then asked, "Well, what do you want in return? I could pay you,
or I could help you with Potter."
It was Malfoy's turn to smile when Ginny blushed and began to stammer
"Right, Weasley. You're sitting out here in the potting sheds, crying, and
a dance has just been announced. Obviously Potty's not asked you, or you'd
be dancing all over Gryffindor. Am I right?"
Ginny could only gape at him. Did the entire castle know that she was
hopelessly infatuated with Harry?
As though reading her mind, Malfoy shook his head. "Don't worry, Weasley.
I'm a bullying, sneaking git, remember? Sneaking gits watch for other
people's weaknesses. Like cheating, or lying, or bad grades." He paused,
then gave her a sly look. "Or even stupid crushes."
Ginny bit her lip and remained silent. What could she say? That he was
wrong and she wasn't ridiculously hung up on a guy who didn't know she was
alive? She looked away, wishing he would say something.
"Look, Weasley, I don't give a damn about your 'crush' on Potter, other
than it's given me hours of amusement. But, if it'll help me pass
Herbology, I'll help you rope the stupid git in, and get you an invitation
to the dance. Sound like a deal?"
Still looking away, Ginny asked, "How do you think you're going to
accomplish something I haven't been able to do?" She turned her head and
looked right at him. "Are you going to use a 'love potion' or something
stupid like that? Because I want no part—."
He cut her off. "Be your age, right? Love potions don't work, and anyway,
"And that would really bother you, right?" Ginny quipped, grinning
suddenly. The thought of Draco Malfoy being put off just because a spell or
hex or potion was banned was, frankly, comical.
Malfoy returned her grin. "Not a bit," he answered. "But they don't work,
so they're a waste of time. But," and now his grin became almost feral,
"who else would know what a fellow would find attractive but another
fellow? I'm going to remake you, Weasley. And when I'm done, you won't
even know yourself!"
Whatever Ginny expected, a makeover from her worst enemy wasn't it. She
just stared stupidly at the pale boy in front of her, not really believing
she'd just heard what he said correctly. She even shook her head slightly.
"Er, say again?"
Malfoy frowned. "Don't worry, Weasley. I'm talking about advice. If you
take it, great. If not, your own fault, but I've lived up to my part of
the bargain. If, at the end of next week, you don't see signs of Potty
noticing you, we call it quits, right?"
"Er, no spells, no potions? You just tell me what I should do and I do
it?" Ginny asked suspiciously.
"Or not do it, it's up to you. Either way, you help me with Herbology
until either you decide it's not working or Potty asks you out."
Ginny thought hard. She always suspected that she needed serious help in
the glamour department, but had never trusted the advice of her friends,
especially as they were likely to jump into the latest fad without a care
in the world. She didn't like Malfoy, but she had to admit that he had
excellent taste. And if she didn't like what he suggested, she only had to
ignore the suggestion. Right?
Coming to a sudden decision, and answering before she could change her
mind, Ginny stuck out her hand and said, "Agreed!"
On Saturday morning as she was heading to the Herbology sheds, Ginny was
wondering if she'd really been insane enough to agree to let Malfoy help
her in making herself over. She would have helped him with Herbology at no
cost, but he probably would have rather died than been in her debt. And
she felt she was helping him. He wasn't stupid, he just didn't have any
affinity with plants. In fact, he killed them! It wasn't the book work
that was ruining his grade, it was the practical portion. So Ginny had
taken him over plant care, starting at the very basics, such as watering,
sunlight, feeding, and transplanting. They had gone through several flats
of super fast growing bean sprouts before he'd been able not kill every
plant he touched. And it had only taken five days! He would transplant
his sprouts today, in a few minutes, in fact, and then they would head into
Hogsmeade to do something about Ginny's hair. Ginny self-consciously
brushed at the long ponytail she'd always worn. Malfoy said she had to get
rid of it or he couldn't help her.
She was amazed at what he'd done already, in so short a time. The day
after they'd made their arrangement, Ginny had met him in one of the sheds.
While she'd been explaining the basics to him, he'd been studying her. It
was disconcerting to have him staring at her while she was trying to talk,
but he'd said he wanted to see how she moved and spoke so he could point
out negative mannerisms and build on the positive ones. She was bent over
a planting flat, showing him how to plant the seeds when he reached out and
ran a firm knuckle down her spine.
"Hey," she cried, straightening abruptly. It didn't hurt but it had sent a
tingle through her body and her muscles had contracted automatically.
"Posture, Weasley. Yours is horrid." He'd told her to stand straight and
tall, to sit straight and tall, even to sleep straight and tall.
Ginny had stammered a bit, trying to scrunch back into her habitual slouch.
He grabbed her shoulders and lifted her tall again.
"If a fellow can't handle that you're a tall girl, fuck him," he'd said
blandly. "And I don't mean literally. You don't need someone who has to
look down on you, right?"
Ginny stared at Malfoy as thought he'd grown a third eye. What a thing to
say. She wasn't sure which shocked her more; the language or the pep talk.
He'd brought her abruptly to earth, though.
"Look, Weasley, your attitude has everything to do with how others see you.
If you think you're gawky, skinny, unattractive, your body language shows
it. Others see it. I'm just telling you that if you want people to notice
you, you have to be noticeable. So, you stand tall and be proud of what
you have." Ginny was about to thank him for his thoughtfulness when he
added in true Malfoy style, "Even if what you have is practically
Ginny had tried not to take offense, but she had taken his advice. She
stopped slumping and slouching. She walked with her head up and her
shoulders back, her 'practically nonexistent' bust thrown out. And people
had noticed. Her friends were asking her if she was suddenly wearing make
up. Or if she had gotten new robes. Or did she change her hair style.
And that was just from improving her posture. Malfoy had also suggested
she thin her brows a bit, add a very light touch of lipstick, and get her
hair cut. She really did agree with most of his suggestions, but when he'd
told her to lose the glasses, she'd dug her heels in.
"It's like you said about my height," she'd explained to him. "If a fellow
can't deal with my bad eyes, screw him. And not literally!" Malfoy had
bellowed with laughter and Ginny had been surprised that he had a rather
nice laugh. When he wasn't laughing AT someone, that is.
As she approached the Herbology sheds, Ginny glanced around for Malfoy. He
didn't seem to be here yet. She went into the shed they were using, with
Professor Sprout's permission. She'd had to be informed, of course, but
she had whole-heartedly endorsed Ginny's tutoring. "Anything to get that
boy off my hands!" she'd told Ginny privately. Apparently Malfoy was as
unpleasant to the staff as he was to the students.
Opening the door to the shed, Ginny peeked in and saw that Malfoy was here,
after all. He was standing over his sprouts, gazing at them with a look of
awe on his face. Ginny understood completely. She felt the same way when
something she'd planted grew. It made her feel special, as though she were
actually doing something special. Malfoy suddenly stiffened and spun
"Oh, it's you," he said, turning back to the plants.
Ginny closed the door behind her and walked up to Malfoy. "You were
expecting someone else?" she asked, reaching for a few large containers to
Malfoy shrugged. "Just don't like being watched," he said casually.
Ginny rolled her eyes, remembering the last five days and all the time he
spent just staring at her so he could decide how to fix her. Glancing at
the plants he was still studying, she gasped with pleased surprise.
"Malfoy! They look great!" The sprouts indeed looked healthy and strong.
He'd done a first rate job so far.
Malfoy shrugged again, trying not to look pleased. "Plants aren't really
my thing," he said offhandedly.
Ginny shook her head at him, handing him gloves, a container and a trowel.
"Plants seem to be just your thing at the moment. You've done a wonderful
job. Now transplant them!"
Malfoy gave Ginny an odd look, but took the items and set to work. When he
had transplanted half, Ginny stopped him.
"We'll leave the rest and do them early next week, then you can see what
the effect is by waiting. Right?"
He nodded and moved to the sinks to wash up. "Well, Weasley," he said as
he scrubbed his hands, "have you decided how much you're cutting off?"
Ginny's hand strayed to her now-messy ponytail again. She'd wanted to cut
her hair for months but hadn't had the courage. Now Malfoy was bullying
her into it. But she was frightened. Her hair was like her slouch. It
was comfortable and anonymous. She could hide behind it. But if she cut
it off, she would feel defenseless.
Malfoy's gaze hardened as he watched her face. "Yeah," he drawled. "I
figured you'd chicken out. Coward."
"I didn't say I wasn't going to," Ginny began defensively, but he cut her
"You didn't have to, Weasley. Your face said it all. You're scared to cut
a little bit of hair off."
He smirked at her, crossing his arms. "You know, I had a bet on with
myself. I knew you wouldn't do it."
Ginny knew he was goading her, but she took the bait anyway. "Oh, yeah?
Well, let's go, Malfoy. I have an appointment with the hairdresser, and
you're not going to make me late!"
Ginny spun on her heel and swept past him. She saw him grin but took it
for a gloat. She'd played right into his hands, damn him. But she
wouldn't back down now. For better or worse, her hair was going to be
several inches shorter by nightfall.
Ginny was still staring into the mirror long after her friends had wandered
down to the Common Room. They'd been amazed at the new Ginny. Her hair,
which had been long, thin, and straight, was now cut close around her face.
It wasn't a precision cut, and didn't have any straight lines. In fact,
watching the beautician witch at work, Ginny had gotten the feeling the
woman hadn't the faintest idea what she was doing. But the finished
product was gorgeous! It looked carefree and windswept, but still neat.
If she wanted, Ginny could add some curls for a more formal look, or she
could shower, shake her head, and be ready for the day. And the short cut
framing her face gave her face a fullness it hadn't had before. The new
cut hadn't worked any miracles on her appearance: she wasn't and never
would be beautiful. But she now looked attractive.
And now the boys were noticing! Ginny had gotten several compliments from
boys who hadn't passed more than a dozen words with her before. Boys she
didn't even know! Why, even Harry had commented. And this was with her
wearing her glasses! She was glad she'd stuck to her guns on the glasses,
but it made her wonder what she'd look like without them. Ginny had been
pleased with the result of the haircut, and had even tried to thank Malfoy,
but as soon as she'd paid for the cut, he'd disappeared. She hadn't seen
him since. Oh, well, she thought. She'd see him Monday in the Herbology
shed. Then she'd thank him.
The dance was just a week away. Ginny had been helping Malfoy for almost
two weeks now, and Professor Sprout was impressed with his progress. He
was definitely passing now, but he was so intoxicated with his success, he
now wanted to work on a good score, not merely a passing score. Ginny was
happy to oblige, for a couple of reasons. She'd discovered that she
enjoyed teaching. She felt comfortable talking about a subject she
enjoyed. And Malfoy was a good listener. He seldom interrupted, unless it
was to make a comment about her appearance and his side of the bargain.
Ginny also like what he'd done to help her. Nothing major except her hair;
but all the small changes had added up to a big difference. And so little
of it was artificial. A touch of make up, a few plucked brows, that was
about all. Most of the changes had been attitude. Malfoy had suggested
that she use what he called her 'teaching' voice when she wanted to make an
impression. He'd said that voice was upbeat, excited and confident. He'd
said she had a tendency to gesture when she talked, but repressed it. He
said she should give in to the tendency because she had graceful hands.
And, most important, he'd made her 'walk straight and tall'.
But something odd was happening. Ginny was finally getting Harry's
attention, but now she wasn't sure she wanted it. He hadn't asked the
Ravenclaw to the dance. She knew because Ron had asked Harry about it last
night. When Harry had said he had someone else in mind, he'd looked at
Ginny. And Ginny had cringed. Gods, what was wrong with her? She'd been
mooning over Harry for six years. Seven if you counted when she was ten.
And now she didn't want him?
Ginny knew what the problem was. Over the last two weeks she'd recovered
from her crush on Harry to form a ridiculous crush on Draco! Stupid,
stupid, stupid, she berated herself silently. The attention he paid her
was strictly due to their bargain. It meant nothing. If she doubted it at
all, she only needed to listen to him. He said it over and over. He
constantly made comments like, "Not that I care, Weasley, but…" or "You
know, it doesn't make any difference to me, but…" In fact, there was only
one time he didn't preface one of his suggestions with a negative comment.
He'd been on her about her glasses again. She'd refused to use contacts or
even get smaller glasses. "But the damned things hide half your face. I
thought you wanted Potty to notice you!"
"He'll just have to notice around the glasses, Malfoy," Ginny had declared.
With a sudden movement, though, he'd snatched off the glasses. Ginny's
eyes weren't that bad, but she did need the glasses to focus well. But she
didn't need them to glare at him.
"Give them back, Malfoy. No contacts, no new glasses. That's that." She'd
held out her hand and surprisingly, he'd given them over. When Ginny had
put her glasses back on, Malfoy had a strange expression on his face.
"I think you're right, Weasley. Let him notice around the things. You
better keep 'em on."
Ginny wondered whether he thought she looked even worse without them and
was being tactful, but it didn't matter. He had otherwise been very
distant with his comments. And, so what? He was just sticking to his end
of the agreement. His efforts were going to pay off, it seemed. Harry had
told her this evening that he wanted to ask her something, and would she
come to the Common Room after supper? She'd said yes, but didn't want to
go. Every time she looked at Harry now, she could only see Draco. He was
still a first class git sometimes, but when he laughed or smiled Ginny
could only smile goofily back, stupidly infatuated. With a sigh of self-
disgust, Ginny fluffed her hair and headed down to the Common Room. She'd
probably tell Harry 'yes' just so she wouldn't be alone the night of the
Ginny sat on a discarded potting bench that had been placed behind the
Herbology sheds. She wasn't heartbroken, just a little depressed. She
refused to cry, though. It was her own silly fault for agreeing to help
Draco Malfoy in the first place. Her chief ambition in life, her cherished
wish for the last six (well, all right, seven) years had finally been
achieved. Harry Potter had noticed her. He'd admired her as a girl. He'd
asked her to a dance. She'd said 'no'.
Ginny shook her head. How on Earth could she have fallen for Draco? He
was a selfish, sneaking, bullying git. He'd said so himself. And so he
was. But he was also kind (sometimes), gentle (sometimes), and brutally
honest (almost always). He actually did have an affinity with plants,
especially the exotics. And most of all, he'd helped her to be the best
she could be without the use of artificial means. Was it really so
ridiculous that she'd fallen for him, given the amount of time they'd spent
together in the last few weeks? She shrugged. The fates might know, but
Ginny was about to get up and head back to the castle for supper (the
Common Room was definitely uncomfortable now, with Harry giving her hurt,
uncomprehending looks) when she heard footsteps crunching through the
gravel that surrounded the sheds. She straightened to her full height (now
a natural movement) and faced the approaching sounds.
She hoped it would only be Professor Sprout, but wasn't entirely surprised
to see Draco Malfoy, looking angry and disbelieving, round the corner.
"So, this is where you're hiding. Tell me I misunderstood. Tell me that
after spending the last two weeks preparing you for Potty to ask you out,
you didn't say no!"
Ginny bit her lip, looking down. He was on her in a second, gripping her
shoulders and pulling her up straight. "Don't you dare go into that
slouching, 'poor me' bit again," he snapped angrily. "Look at me, Weasley.
Did stupid Potter ask you to the dance?"
Ginny gave him a half-hearted glare. "Yes, Malfoy, Harry asked me to the
"And you told him no?" he demanded.
Ginny rolled her eyes, already tired of this conversation. "Yes, I told
him no. Happy?"
"Not yet, Weasley," he said through gritted teeth. Ginny thought again what
a difference a smile made to his face. Right now, Malfoy was downright
Ginny tried to shrug his hands off, but he didn't let go. "Gods, Malfoy,
what do you want? Are you mad because you wasted all that time and effort
on me? I'm sorry! I just couldn't go with him. Okay?"
"Why, Weasley? Just answer that." He was looking intently at her, and
Ginny shivered. Lord, he looked dangerous. Strangely, she wasn't
frightened of him. She just wished he would let her go, because having him
hold her so closely was giving her ideas. Ideas like wrapping her arms
around his neck, or pressing close against him, or even pulling that hard,
mean-looking mouth to hers and kissing him silly.
"I couldn't, Malfoy. Once Harry asked, I realized I didn't want to go with
him after all. Now let go. You can tease me or make fun of me for being
such a stupid, fickle twit, but do it at a distance."
Malfoy didn't release her, but his grip loosened slightly. His expression
changed slightly. He still looked confused, but the anger seemed to have
"And why didn't you want to go with him anymore? Will you answer that?" he
Ginny looked up suddenly and couldn't seem to look away. He was staring
right into her eyes and she felt trapped. In spite of herself, she half
answered the question.
"I, er, seem to have, uh, fallen for someone else," she admitted shakily.
"Ah," he said with a slight smile. "Yes, fickle would be the word for it.
Two boys in six years is very fickle. And you're hoping this new fellow
will ask you?"
Ginny realized he was now making fun of her. She finally wrenched away
from his grip and moved back to her bench. She collapsed onto it and said
miserably, "Go away, Malfoy. Leave me be. You're passing Herbology; Harry
asked me to the dance. A deal's a deal, and we're through. Just go away."
She wasn't looking at him, but she heard him come nearer. "All right,
Weasley, I'll go away. Just one last question. ARE you waiting for this
other fellow to ask you?"
Ginny sighed heavily. "No, Malfoy, I'm not. And before you ask 'just one
more question', I'm not waiting because he wouldn't ask me in a million
years. All right?"
Ginny figured that would settle the matter, but Malfoy said, "You're
certain? Absolutely sure he won't ask?"
"Yes," she said stiffly, her patience nearly gone. "I'm sure."
"Good!" he replied, grabbing her arms again and dragging her to her feet.
"Thank the gods! First Potter, then some mystery fellow. I didn't think
I'd ever get a chance to ask. Will you go with me, Weasley?"
Ginny's head snapped up so quickly, her glasses were dislodged. They fell
off her face, but Malfoy was able to catch them before they fell to the
ground. It didn't matter. He was close enough for Ginny to see him
clearly, and clearly he was serious. She blinked at him, unable to answer.
"Gods, Weasley, I didn't invite you to put you neck into a noose. I asked
you to a dance. You don't have to look at me as though I'm a murderer.
Besides, it's hell on the ego."
Ginny couldn't help smile at that. She shook her head. "I just don't
believe it. I wouldn't have thought you'd ask me in a million years!" she
He shrugged. "So I gathered. But every million years has to begin
somewhere. Your next invitation won't be for quite some time."
Ginny grinned a bit more. She allowed her hands to sneak up his chest to
his shoulders. "Then I'd better take what I can get, don't you think?"
He agreed emphatically, and seemed ready to seal the agreement with a kiss
when a thought struck Ginny. She pushed away slightly. "Um, I have a
question of my own," she told him.
"Ask away," he said, moving his hands from her arms to her thin waist. The
look in his eyes told her that he didn't think her charms were 'practically
"Well, why did you say I should leave the glasses on? Am I really that
Now Malfoy grinned. It did wonderful things for his face. "Gods, no. But
if you took them off, everyone else would see what beautiful eyes you have.
I didn't want anyone else to notice. I sort of hoped you'd lose interest
in Potter and I didn't want any other rivals. I was hooked after the first
He made the confession casually, as if it were the most common occurrence
in the world. And although Ginny was shocked at his admission, she didn't
comment. She was too busy trying to figure out the best way to get him to
kiss her. She didn't have to worry, though. He pulled her closer and
gently covered her lips with his. It was heavenly, Ginny thought.
He pulled away after only a short while, though, and said, "So, you'll go
with me to the dance?"
Ginny smiled and pulled his mouth closer. "I don't know," she said
quietly. "I was thinking of spending the evening in the potting sheds."
Draco mirrored her smile. "Just as long as you're here with me…" he
murmured just before he covered her mouth again.