September 4, 2014

Author's Note: Thank you so much for reading! Reviews appreciated. The prompt for the story follows this chapter.

One-Night Stands and Drastic Plans

Part Two: The Drastic Plan

"Come on! We're going out for drinks!"

Ginny looked up at Hermione and blinked in the dim light. For the fourth night in a row, she was the last person in the office, her unfinished work her only company.

"I can't," Ginny replied. "I have to finish this report."

"Nope, we're going out." Hermione looped her arms around one of Ginny's and pulled her up out of her chair. "You've dodged us long enough. I'm not taking no for an answer."

Hermione usually acted as the voice of reason for their group of friends, a role she felt obligated to play but loved. It wasn't like her to suggest that anyone push off incomplete assignments for another day in favor of fun, but if she of all people thought Ginny needed a break, maybe she did.

Still, as she allowed herself to be dragged to the lifts, Ginny could feel her knees shaking in anticipation.

"Are we meeting the usual?" she asked as they exited the lift at the Atrium.

"No," Hermione answered carefully. She took a handful of Floo powder from the bowl next to the fireplaces and threw it in her chosen grate. "It's just us tonight. The Leaky Cauldron!"

Ginny followed her out of the Leaky Cauldron's Floo a moment later, and they ordered drinks at the bar before taking a booth next to the windows. Even knowing the boys wouldn't be joining them, Ginny couldn't shake the feeling that she was being watched. She was all too aware of everyone in the pub around them, but at the same time, she couldn't make herself look too closely at any one person.

"Ginny," Hermione said, capturing Ginny's attention once again.

"What?" She'd been using her mug to hide her face as she sipped her mead and glanced at the group of people sitting at a table next to them, but now she gave her attention back to Hermione, a guilty expression on her face.

"Draco isn't here. It's just us."

At that name, Ginny nearly spilled her drink thanks to her flailing arms. "D-Draco? Who said anything about Draco?"

"That's why I asked you out tonight, actually," Hermione said, a blush blooming on her cheeks as her gaze bored into Ginny.

Oh, Merlin. Ginny did not want to do this right now. Not ever. If she'd had any desire to be lectured, she would have run off to her own mother.

Before she could even start, Ginny held her hands up defensively and said, "Okay, I know what you're going to say. 'How could you be so irresponsible? What would your mother say?'"

Hermione's lips turned down, and her brow wrinkled. "That's a terrible impression of me. I wasn't going to say that at all!" At Ginny's pointed look, she became more insistent. "Of course I think that, but I wasn't going to say it!"

"Then what did you drag me out for, if you weren't going to lecture me?"

"Honestly, I just wanted to make sure you were all right."

That stopped Ginny short. "Why?"

"Because! You went home with Draco and even though we knew how intoxicated both of you were, we didn't try harder to stop you. And now you're avoiding all of us, and it looks like Draco especially. I wasn't very worried because, come on, you and Draco have been a ticking time bomb, but now that I see you, I'm concerned."

Ginny wasn't sure what to say to that. On the one hand, she appreciated that Hermione cared about Ginny's safety, but on the other, part of her was realizing with horror what Hermione was implying with her concern.

When the words came to her, they came out in spurts, her suppressed revulsion stifling her speech.

"Thank you, but I'm not—Draco didn't—It wasn't like—I mean, it was, but it wasn't—"

She stopped, Hermione's doubt clear on her face in the confused lines around her eyes and the way she bit her lip. Taking a sip of her mead, Ginny tried again, slower this time.

"Thank you for worrying about me, but there's nothing to worry about. What Draco and I did, we did willingly. Thoughtlessly, maybe, but definitely consensually."

Hermione's shoulders seemed to relax, and Ginny felt a swelling of gratitude that Hermione had cared enough to worry at all.

"Why are you avoiding Draco, then?"

An instant flash of heat radiated through Ginny's body, but even as it receded, her her heart continued to pound and she knew her ears were ridiculously red. She couldn't remember all of the night she'd spent with Draco. She remembered drinking and dancing at the club they liked to frequent. She'd asked to go back to his flat, and of course he'd agreed. After that, her memory of the night was spotty. She couldn't remember actions, but she remembered the slick glide of his hands down her body, the feel of his skin under her fingertips, the heat, the breathlessness, the sound of her name spilling from his lips in jerky gasps. She couldn't quite remember the taste of those lips, but the impression of them was still there on hers.

She realized her fingers had reached up to gently touch the swell of her bottom lip, and she lowered her hand under Hermione's shrewd scrutiny, embarrassed by the involuntary reaction to her memories.

"Because," Ginny finally answered, "what if he doesn't… what if he doesn't feel the same way about me as I do about him? Does he remember what happened? If he doesn't remember who he spent the night with, I'd rather not embarrass both of us by reminding him. And—" She cut herself off, looking away from Hermione for a slight reprieve. It was rare that Hermione listened without making any of her own comments and judgments, and Ginny was half afraid that if she said too much, Hermione would remember to criticize her.

"And?" Hermione prompted, her voice soft and questioning.

If she had demanded an answer, Ginny wouldn't have responded, but Hermione's kindness broke her. "And if he does feel the same way, why did neither of us act until we were too drunk to care? What does that mean about us? If I could take that night back, I would, but not because I regret Draco. I hate not knowing what that night meant to him. I can't forget about it when part of me keeps wondering."

Hermione's eyes widened—in shock? Were these revelations a surprise to the super-observant witch? "Oh, Ginny," she said as she reached for Ginny's hands and held them in hers on top of the table. "You two are a train wreck. What would you do without your friends to guide you? As it so happens, I know about a certain plan."

"A plan?"

Hermione leaned further over the table as if to trade secrets, and Ginny scooted closer to hear them.

"A plan to win you back."

"To… win me back."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "What is with you two and repeating everything you don't understand? Here's what Draco's planning to do…."

After her chat with Hermione, Ginny felt lighter than she had in days, a heavy, emotional burden gone. In fact, she couldn't contain her smile every time she thought about their talk. Not only did Draco possibly return her feelings, he was planning something ridiculous to make her jealous, which was just like him! Draco had never been one to openly display emotion, and it would be a cold day in Hell before he put himself in a vulnerable situation on purpose. To him, tricks and stratagems were the only way to get what he wanted—even a woman's heart. But Hermione's revelations were doubly surprising because Ginny hadn't seen Draco with a woman in months. She'd almost begun to believe he'd given up on women completely.

She and Hermione had come up with their own plans to counter Draco's. He could throw as many women in front of her as he liked, but Ginny wasn't going to react the way he wanted her to. On Monday morning, she changed up the game first thing when she walked into the kitchen and found Draco there pouring his coffee.

"Morning, Draco," she said with a nonchalant air and a neutral expression.

He jumped nearly out of his skin, his coffee sloshing onto the counter.

"Dammit! Oh, uh, good morning, Ginny." He eyed her warily even as he used his wand to clean up his mess.

Ginny didn't miss the way his eyes flickered down and then up again as he looked at her, as if afraid for her to catch him staring too long. His own expression was carefully composed, and as Ginny turned to leave, she said, "You've got coffee all over your robes."

His gaze darted down to the brown spot the size of a fist on his chest, and as he hurriedly tried to dab it out with a towel, Ginny slipped out of the kitchen and back to the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad office.

Her plan was to keep him on his toes, and she could tell it was working by the way he passed her cubicle several times throughout the day, his head pointed forward, his eyesight never wavering, as if trying desperately to keep from glancing inside her cubicle as he walked by. Ginny couldn't stifle her triumphant smiles when she caught him doing it, though she was careful not to pay too much attention to him. Just as he carefully kept his attention diverted from her, she made sure to keep hers occupied on her work.

At the end of the day, Ginny's work completed before close of business for the first time in a week, she gave a goodbye to Draco in passing. He immediately scrambled out of his cubicle to catch up with her, his gait matching hers. She pretended not to notice he was there until he spoke.

"Fancy a drink and some dinner tonight?" he asked. "Er, with the others, I mean."

Ginny forced her mouth not to lift up in a smile like it was fighting to do now. "Oh, I wish I could. I promised my mum I'd help her in the garden today. I haven't seen her in ages, so I don't want to disappoint her by canceling."

"Right. Right. Good of you, you know, to, er, do that."

They reached the lifts at the end of the corridor and stopped to wait for one to arrive. Ginny smiled to herself, but she could sense Draco's unease beside her. He kept crossing his arms and then uncrossing them to shove his hands in his pockets. He shifted his weight from foot to foot as if he were impatient or uncomfortable.

The ride down to the Atrium was equally as awkward—for Draco, at least. Ginny made matters worse by pretending he wasn't there, and he, unsure of the atmosphere and her reaction to him, followed her lead of silence.

When the lift doors opened, three gorgeous women were waiting in front of them.

"Oh, Draco! There you are!" said one with stick-straight, waist-length blonde hair.

"We're so glad we caught you before you went home!" said one with shiny, black hair, cut into a bob with a fringe. It was a harsh look, but her angular features gave the style a chic edge.

The third woman had mahogany-colored hair, slightly wavy, and she seemed to have charmed it to flutter by itself as if a breeze was blowing through it gently. "Won't you go out with us? We could make it… interesting for you."

Ginny had to admit Theo did a great job. All three women towered over Ginny's 5' 4", and they were slender where she had more of an athletic build. They were also well endowed where it mattered, their robes cut slim enough, necklines low enough, to show off all of their assets. Heads turned as people entered and exited the lifts. Even Draco seemed enthralled.

He shook his head vigorously and then said, "Well, ladies, that—while that sounds like an absolutely enchanting—Wait, Ginny! Where are you going?"

As soon as Draco began talking, Ginny had skirted around the women, heading for the Floo exits. Now she stopped and turned back around to address Draco.

"It looks like you don't need me to keep you company tonight," she said. "Have fun! See you tomorrow!"

Even as she smiled at him, she wondered if she was doing the right thing. No, it wasn't really the "right" thing at all; she and Draco should be talking about their night together and what it meant for them. Instead, they were playing games.

So as she took the Floo back to her flat—gardening with her mum had only been an excuse, after all—she let the smile fall, and she hoped Draco did feel as much for her as she did for him. Because she didn't know what she would do if he actually did go out with those women.

"This doesn't feel right," she said to Hermione later that night as they shared glasses of wine in front of Ginny's empty fireplace.

"He was going to do it to you, though," Hermione replied.

Ginny swirled her wine around her glass absently. "I know. It still feels… wrong. If he sleeps with any of those women—Merlin forbid he sleeps with all three of them—then it's as much my fault as it is his. I practically pushed him at them."

"He won't sleep with them though," Hermione insisted. "You're it for him."

Ginny's reply was slightly scathing. "You can't truly know that. How could he even know that?"

Looking more than a little frustrated, Hermione tucked her feet underneath her, holding her wine carefully as she did so. "Can you remember the last woman he dated?"

"Of course I can! It was that awful Natalie. She was always making snide remarks about my freckles and my family and the way I dressed, as if she wasn't going after Draco because he has money."

"Right. Draco didn't break up with her because she was after his money."

Ginny set her empty glass down on the side table next to her. "He didn't?"

"No. He broke up with her because she was awful to you. Remember the night you fought with her at the club?"

"Of course," Ginny said gruffly. "She pushed me too far and I snapped."

Hermione giggled. "The Healers at St. Mungo's couldn't get rid of the horns for nearly a week! And Draco broke up with her because he realized you didn't like her."

Ginny thought about that for a moment. Normally, digs at Ginny and her family didn't affect her. She knew who her family was, and she was comfortable with herself. Ignorant remarks from people she thought little of didn't bother her, but Natalie had been a rare peach who had always rubbed Ginny the wrong way, even when she wasn't insulting Ginny's brothers or parents or friends. Knowing Draco had probably only dated her because she was a notorious Quidditch player—who happened to look like a gorgeous model when she wasn't wearing her Quidditch kit—had only exacerbated Ginny's dislike of Natalie.

When they'd broken up, Ginny had thought Draco had been turned off by the bull's horns she'd hexed onto Natalie's head. She'd managed to convince herself that he'd found out about her greed. Whatever the reason, Ginny had been much relieved when he and Natalie were no longer an item.

"He told you that?" Ginny asked Hermione.

"He heavily implied it when he asked me when you began to dislike her."

"What did you say?" Ginny grinned because she already knew the answer.

"I said you disliked her as soon as you met her. The next day, the two were broken up, and Draco hasn't dated anyone seriously since then."

In the quiet that followed, Ginny considered Draco's plan and her plan to counter it.

"I guess," she finally said several minutes later, "we'll know how to proceed for sure tomorrow."

There wasn't time for gossip to spread about Draco and his potential conquests. At 5:45 the next morning, the fireplace in Ginny's living room came to life with green flames, and the thundering voice of Barnabas Gould, the head of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, woke her up. She startled out of bed, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes as she crashed into the living room to address the head floating in the Floo.

"There's been an incident. Briefing in five minutes on Charing Cross Road, right outside the Leaky Cauldron."

Gould's head—and the green flames—disappeared, and Ginny stumbled around her flat to dress as quickly as possible. She hoped coffee would be provided at the briefing as she Apparated to the Leaky Cauldron.

Draco was already there when she arrived, along with Theo, Hermione, and three-quarters of the squad. They had grim expressions on their faces, and Ginny could immediately see why. The wall of the pub that faced the Muggle side of London was now a smoking, gaping hole. Outside on the street, a group of ducks quacked and waddled, looking lost as members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad rounded them up.

The Leaky Cauldron and the wizarding and Muggle streets outside it were unusually full of people, and when Ginny spotted Harry and Ron, she understood why. Hit Wizards usually accompanied the squad on these kinds of assignments, but the Department of Magical Law Enforcement had sent Aurors as well.

Ginny joined the crowd surrounding Gould to hear the details of the incident. Barely twenty minutes prior, a man had entered the Leaky Cauldron from Diagon Alley, blown a hole through its wall, and walked out onto Charing Cross Road, where he began to attack Muggles, turning them into ducks. Luckily, due to the time, the street hadn't been too occupied, so no one had been hurt and only eight people had been turned into ducks. The man himself had been taken into Auror custody. He sat on a chair in the corner with glassy eyes and a dazed expression while an Auror and a Hit Wizard tried to get a statement from him.

"What do you want us to do?" Draco asked after Gould had filled them all in.

"You and Weasley help Marks and Ludwig with the ducks—er, I mean Muggles. When you're done, send them over to Granger and Goatshead for excuses. Maxel, you're on press duty. Nott, Richter, and Bledsoe, take care of the bystanders. I want a full report in twenty minutes."

Ginny didn't have time to think about her personal matters with Draco. She had a job that needed to be done, so she focused on transfiguring the ducks back into people and getting their memories modified. When the last duck had been returned to her rightful state and given into an Obliviator's care, Ginny sighed in relief.

Around the scene and inside the pub, Hit Wizards had questioned witnesses and bystanders while Aurors searched the premises for traces of Dark spells. She hadn't had a single moment to say a word to any of her friends, Harry, or Ron, and she'd only spoken to Draco when necessary to complete their duck duties.

When she turned around to look for Gould to make her report, a movement caught her eye. She didn't understand how she caught it considering how much activity there was in the area, but the fact was that something about what she saw drew her attention. By then, it was already too late.

As Harry grabbed the perpetrator's arms and pulled him up from the chair he'd been sitting in since Ginny had arrived, Ron lifted his wand. The man moved too quickly for both of them, his glassy eyes and dazed expression instantly replaced with wrinkled brows and down-turned lips of hatred. He shoved Harry aside with his shoulder and grabbed Ron's wand in one fluid gesture, and then his wand arm raised and his mouth opened.

Seeing the commotion brought on by the escaping suspect, Draco had moved forward to help, which meant he was right in the line of fire when a blast of harsh white light emitted from the wand, striking Draco just above and to the right of his heart.

By now, Aurors, Hit Wizards, and Accidental Magic Reversal squad members were all in motion to arm themselves, shield bystanders, or tackle the attacker, but Ginny was momentarily frozen in place, her mouth open in shock. She ran to Draco's side, heedless of the threat or anyone else around her.

Draco's eyes were open, but he was gasping for breath and his hands were shaking. Ruby red blood gushed from his pectoral, and Ginny pressed her hands firmly to the wound, desperate to make it stop.

"Why… is it always… me?" he asked in a hoarse whisper as his eyes locked with hers. She didn't know what he meant until Harry knelt down next to them, his face ashen and horrified.

"It's the same spell I—I mean, it's Snape's curse, Sectumsempra. We need medical attention over here!"

A swarm of people crowded around Draco, pushing Ginny out of the circle. She was trembling as more Healers arrived and tried to keep him in a stable condition. When she tore her gaze away from the urgent scene, she noticed Ron guarding the Stunned attacker and squad members and Hit Wizards dealing with the public.

A few minutes later, Theo crouched down beside her and placed his hand on her back. She held her own shaking and bloody hands up in front of her, unsure of what to do with them, hesitant to touch anything. When she looked at Theo, he helped her to her feet. His face was bloodless and worried, and that alone told Ginny that this wasn't part of Draco's plan to win her back. In the back of her mind, that's what she had been repeating to herself over and over again. This is just Plan B. This is just Plan B. This is just Plan B. Clearly, this wasn't planned at all. Not by Draco anyway.

"Come on," Theo said. "They're taking him to St. Mungo's."

While waiting to hear about Draco's condition, Hermione took Ginny into the bathroom and helped her wash off the blood. Ginny was too shocked for tears, but she could feel them brimming inside her, looking for an outlet.

"Hermione," she muttered as Hermione dried off Ginny's hands with a paper towel.


"Is this Plan B?"

At first Hermione's brows scrunched together, and then her mouth dropped open in dismay. "No, I assure you it's not. I'm sorry."

They went back to the waiting room, where they sat for what felt like hours, Hermione on one side of Ginny and Theo on the other. At some point, Ron and Harry arrived, concerned looks on their faces.

"Any news?" Harry asked.

"Not yet," Theo answered.

Not long after, a Healer entered the lobby to tell them that Draco was awake and well. Ginny didn't wait another moment before jumping out of her chair.

"Where is he?"

As she followed closely behind the Healer to Draco's room, Ron said, "Why's she so eager?" Someone must have answered him, because then she heard a loud "WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE FANCIES HIM. SINCE WHE—" The door closing behind her cut off the rest of his sentence.

Draco was shirtless with an oozing bandage wrapped around his shoulder and under his arm. His face was still frighteningly pale, but he was conscious, his upper body propped up with multiple pillows. As soon as she saw him, she became furious, her anger shooting through her swiftly and dangerously.

"You git!" she cried as she rushed to his side. Her hands were clenched into fists, and the urge to punch him grew within her the weaker he looked.

"Oh, thanks for asking, Ginny. I'm doing rather well despite the circumstances. How are you?" he said with a sarcastic drawl.

"Who do you think you are?" she asked as she practically loomed over him, her body visibly shaking from the worry and sudden rage. Of course, she ignored the worry coursing inside her because the anger was easier to deal with. It put distance between her true emotions and reality, distance between her and him.

"Are you angry because I nearly died? Because that makes me a bit angry too," he said, his nonchalance scraping against her nerves.

But Ginny was reassured, at least, because if he had been in bad shape, he probably wouldn't have been making jokes.

"Yes!" she said, and then changed her mind. "No! I am angry because you thought some trick could win me over. I'm not so easily manipulated! Especially not by someone like you!"

He seemed surprised for a moment, but then understanding crossed his face. "I guess Granger told you, eh? It's not my fault I had to resort to drastic measures."

"Drastic…! You mean insane measures, Draco! Who plays games like this with someone they care about?"

"Yes," he replied, his eyes narrowing, "who does that? Looks like you and Hermione have been doing your own scheming, and none of this changes the fact that you left me that morning, prompting all of these games in the first place."

Ginny was ashamed to say that she pouted then, but the angry feelings left her as swiftly as they appeared, and she knew that this situation wasn't all Draco's fault. She was just so glad that he was alive and well enough to argue with her.

"I'm glad you're okay," she mumbled, her hands unclenching to fiddle with the bed sheets in her embarrassment.

"Will you come here?" Draco asked, patting the bed beside him. When she sat down, he grabbed her hand in one of his.

"I care about you..." he said, his fingers tightening around hers the only sign of his discomfort. Draco did not do these vocal displays of affection. He rarely showed any affection at all, preferring to keep his distance. "And I can't explain the kinds of thoughts and emotions I had when I finished making breakfast and you were gone."

Ginny's eyes widened. "You felt emotions?" she asked. "You made breakfast?"

One of his eyebrows rose quizzically. "What did you think I was doing?"

Of course her cheeks were burning, and she knew her ears would be bright red thanks to the heat in her head.

"I thought you'd run out on me! Out of your own flat, no less."

The lift of his lips made her heart soar and then pound a ferocious beat inside her ribcage. He pulled on her hand to draw her closer, so she leaned in, her eyes fluttering closed.

He didn't kiss her. Instead, he said in a low voice, his breath warm against her ear, "Sounds like we need to move on to Plan C."

"What's Plan C?" Ginny asked softly.

Then his lips met hers in a heart-crushing kiss that left no doubt as to what he had in mind for the next stage of his plans.

When Ginny returned to the waiting room, the number of people had grown. Several members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, and even Barnabas Gould, had arrived to check on their coworker.

Seeing the smile plastered on Ginny's face, Theodore let out a whoop and thumped her on the back.

"What did I say about Plan B?" he asked, so very pleased with himself.

"You!" Ron cried, stalking towards Ginny even as Hermione tried to restrain him. "What's this I hear about you and Draco?"

"You like Draco, Ron!" Ginny replied in exasperation.

"Yeah, but I don't have to like him with my sister! My sister! My little sister! My little, tiny, baby sister!"

"Come on, Ron," Hermione said as she finally managed to pull him away. Ginny rolled her eyes at his antics.

"Draco's going to be fine," she told all their friends and coworkers. "He's going to have a nasty scar, but the Healers on scene managed to stop the bleeding before he lost too much blood."

Relieved and happy words could be heard, and while Harry restrained Ron, Hermione approached Ginny and Theo.

"So?" Hermione prompted.

"Did you know Draco could feel emotions?" Ginny asked her two friends.

Both of them laughed, but Hermione answered. "We had an inkling. I don't think Draco even realized the depths of his own feelings until..." Her face reddened. There was no need to voice the rest of the sentence.

"Well, friends," Theodore said. "It looks like Operation: Get Draco and Ginny to Get Over Themselves was a rousing success. Good job, everyone!" Hermione and Ginny both stared at him, Ginny's eyes narrowed, one of Hermione's eyebrows lifted. "Okay, okay," he conceded. "I'm not very good with names, but you know what I mean!"

The End

Briefly describe what you'd like to receive in your fic:
Draco schemes to get what he wants. Can be directly related to Ginny, or unrelated but inadvertently brings D/G together. Might be fun if one of his plans backfires halfway through (but he ultimately does get what he wants). Ginny may be completely oblivious to it (but must find out during the "final reveal"), or indulge in some "counter-scheming" of her own, or even be the one to initiate it. Other characters (e.g. Narcissa/Lucius/Blaise/Hermione) may participate in the scheme(s) or do their own nefarious plotting on the side, as long as Draco is the main mastermind/manipulator.
The tone/mood of the fic: Anything, as long as D/G get a happy ending.
An element/line of dialogue/object you would specifically like in your fic: "That's definitely far too convoluted to actually work."
Also: not mandatory, but I always enjoy seeing Ron have an apoplectic fit due to D/G.
Preferred rating of the the fic you want: Anything. D/G naughtiness is always appreciated, of course. ;)
More canon, or more AU? More canon but I'm not a stickler for it (just please, PLEASE disregard the epilogue completely).
Deal Breakers (anything you don't want?): Nothing that contradicts Ron/Hermione. No super-chummy Harry-and-Draco-as-best-friends (I just find that too weird-they can be civil towards each other though). Some Harry/Ginny is ok, as long as it's clear that Ginny is not in love with Harry, and Ginny breaks up with Harry by the end. No excessive Harry-bashing (but feel free to make him the clueless git he can be at times, and you can definitely make him suffer a bit-I do enjoy seeing Draco "win" over Harry when it comes to Ginny!).
Are you willing to receive art instead of a fic? I'd really prefer a fic but if it doesn't work out, I won't say no to art.
If yes, what kind of artwork would you like to receive? Something dark that takes place during the war...maybe D/G on the run from Lucius/Voldemort?
Is there anything you specifically don't want? No D/G death-I can't handle that!