Written for the FFN 2014 Summer One-Shot Challenge. See prompt below in author's notes.
Ginny woke up with a raging hangover. It wasn't the morning fog or the black dog or the old bottle ache. No, it was none of those delightful little euphemisms arseholes made up to sound witty. How anyone could attach whimsy to this very real and debilitating condition was beyond her understanding and sympathy. The lying buggers ought to have been kicked to death for spreading such falsehoods if you asked her.
The fact of the matter was that she was fucked up. Also, she appeared to be naked.
Why was she naked?
The next thing she was acutely aware of, after the pain and the brazen nudity, was that a somewhat brawny and terribly pale arm was draped over her chest.
When she finally gathered the nerve to follow the arm, past the shoulder and up the neck, to place a face on the rather nice body attached to it, her heart almost leapt into her throat at the horrible sight. The high-slanted cheekbones she could slice bread on. The trademark platinum blond hair, tousled instead of slicked back. All that was hiding from her were the cold grey eyes.
She immediately tried to pull away, but her legs were somehow tied up in his and she twisted, falling back into him with a grunt. Stymied, and holding her breath for a great deal longer than she should have, she was eventually galvanised into action and tried desperately to untangle her limbs from his without waking him. But then a pair of smooth and surprisingly big hands reached out and pulled her back into him.
"Where do you think you're going?" he whispered huskily into her ear.
Shivers ran in an arc up her spine. Since when did this git have a sexy voice? Or maybe she was still drunk and this was a hallucination of some sort. However, when one of his hands glided across her stomach before rising up to gently test the weight of her naked breast in his palm, she knew this wasn't a dream.
"Malfoy!" she hissed, wincing at the shrillness of her own voice.
She tried to bat his hand away but the pad of his thumb unerringly found a sensitive nipple and began tracing over it until it hardened. Gasping, she froze in wonderment first before shuddering underneath his touch. When he nuzzled his face into the crook of her neck, planting chaste kisses along her pulse, she found her voice again.
"Malfoy," she groaned. "Stop!"
This word seemed to catch his attention immediately and he let go of her breast to sleepily rub his eyes.
She eventually squirmed out of his hold and stumbled off the bed, falling, really, while taking a sheet with her. She quickly wrapped it around herself and jumped back to her feet, panting, ready to point at him and declare, J'accuse!
But her words had failed her, yet again, and she clutched the sheet tightly, half in fear and the other half in some emotion she didn't care to examine. Worse yet was that she hadn't the foggiest notion how she managed to fall naked into bed with Malfoy of all people. She remembered going out drinking with her teammates last night, but she didn't recall hooking up with anyone, least of all an old schoolmate she hated.
Had she slept with him?
She glanced down at the rumpled sheets and then at her naked form.
"Did we—?" She floundered. "Oh Merlin, we did, didn't we?"
When she started babbling, he lowered his hand and regarded her curiously for a moment. Then, as if seeing her for the first time, or realising who she was, his eyes widened slightly before crinkling flirtatiously.
"You should know, Weasley, since you initiated it." He said this with a leer and then leaned back against the headboard, folding his arms behind his head.
The smug bastard.
"I what?" she shrieked.
She had only broken up with Harry a few months ago. He was her literal body of experience with men. And Malfoy was—he was Malfoy! She wouldn't know how to initiate a civil conversation with him let alone a shag.
"You were exceptionally inebriated last night. We both were," he said with a shrug. "Sometimes these things happen."
What? In what universe did these things happen between a Malfoy and a Weasley, inebriated or not?
"Well, not with me and you they don't!"
Angry and mortified beyond belief, she searched the floor for her wand and clothes. Once dressed, she stormed out of his flat without saying a word and Apparated home, figuring that would be the last time she saw him.
She was wrong.
The next time she ran into Malfoy was not some two weeks later. It was at a popular a café in Diagon Alley. Fortunately for her, this meeting wasn't nearly as embarrassing as the first; plus they were both considerably dressed this time around.
He sat down at the table next to hers and she could practically feel his eyes on her. Didn't his parents teach him not to stare? Rude much? But instead of saying anything, she pointedly ignored his presence and sipped her tea while reading the paper.
A minute later he was peeking over her shoulder.
"The small ads?" he hummed. "Looking for a boyfriend, Weasley?"
"Flatmate," she corrected behind clenched teeth. "I'm looking for a flatmate."
Since she broke it off with Harry, she didn't have a place to live in the city anymore. This meant moving back into the Burrow, which was roughly the equivalent of living in hell. The first few weeks were fine, great in fact. She got free hot meals and her washing done. But after a while her mum actually expected her to clean up after herself and help cook, do chores and other menial work she was forced to do as a child. On top of that, she was given a curfew.
"Why not get your own place?" he suggested.
She waited for the 'Or are you too poor?' to quickly follow, but it didn't come.
"I'm on the road frequently, especially in the summer," she said. "I don't want to invest in a place I won't be living in often."
He turned back to his table as the waitress brought him his drink. She exhaled softly, glad that the conversation, while cordial, was finally over. But then he stood up with his drink and joined her at her table.
"If you just need a place to crash once in a while and have your post forwarded to, you can flat with me."
She stared at him like he had grown a second head and suggested that they form their own boy-girl band.
"Excuse me? I think I've received too many Bludgers to the head. Did you just offer your flat?"
"I offered you a place to stay," he said with an incline of his pretty blond head. "To be my flatmate."
"Do you even need a flatmate?"
"Then why offer?"
"Why not?" He waved off her question. "I'm rarely home, myself, and it would be nice to have company when I am."
He lifted a pale eyebrow. "You haven't been hit with a parrot curse, have you? You seem to be repeating yourself."
She shook her head. "Sorry, but I just don't understand why you'd want to flat with me and why you think I'd want to flat with you. We're enemies."
"We didn't get along in school, no, but very few of us outside of our own houses did. You have the Hogwarts houses' system to blame for that."
"And the fact that you were a git."
He shrugged. "That too."
She palmed her face with a sigh and then quickly shook her head. "Sorry, my answer's no. Oddly enough, I appreciate the offer, but I can't live with someone I had a one-night stand with."
She met his gaze and saw that he was almost grinning at her.
"If that's your only reason—"
"Well, not my only reason—"
"Then come with me to my flat," he said. "I want to show you something."
"I've already seen it."
"No, not that—" He stopped short and did a double-take. "Wait, you saw it?"
She shrugged uncomfortably and looked away. "I felt it."
She heard a barely perceptible laugh, or else she imagined it, because when she looked up his expression was serious, minus the twitching muscles at the corner of his lips. She could tell that he wanted to say something, a jab or a tease, but the increasingly annoyed and agitated look on her face must have tipped him off to the potential fallout of such teasing, because he ignored the obvious bait and deflected.
"Just come with me," he said. "I promise it's nothing perverted. I just want to clear up the confusion about that night."
She inclined her head, her interest piqued. "All right."
Leaving money for the drinks, he took her hand and Side-Along Apparated her back to his flat. It was nicer than she remembered it. Spacious and poshly furnished. Plus it was located in a very trendy neighbourhood. However, anywhere looked ideal to her. Living in a large bin in an alleyway in Soho was a step-up from the Burrow. Not that her family lived in squalor. She'd just prefer the squalor of the red-light district to her mum's constant nagging and needling.
"So what is it you wanted to show me?" She was feeling more than a touch apprehensive when he disappeared into what she recalled to be his bedroom.
He came out a few seconds later carrying a large stone basin.
"It's a Pensieve." He hefted it onto the kitchen island. "I bought it in Peru."
She had only a vague recollection of what a Pensieve was thanks to Harry. All she knew was that it was an object in which one could review memories.
He motioned for her to take a seat on one of the stools, which she did, and then took out a clear crystal phial from his pocket.
"Is that a memory?"
"Yes, of our memorable union."
He winked at her and she made a face.
"Ugh, I don't want to watch that."
"Yes, you do."
He sounded and looked so serious that she couldn't help but believe him. When he poured the gas-like substance into the basin, she gave it and him a distrustful look—the kind that said she would harvest his balls if she saw penis—before reluctantly dipping her head into the stone bowl.
Instantly, she dropped. It was an odd sensation—the free-falling and tumbling into someone else's memories. This must have been what tripping on some hallucinatory drug felt like. It was quite surreal to see herself, and saw herself she did. She was three sheets to the wind.
She was clearly drunk and flirting—with Malfoy. Her teammates (the traitors!) had abandoned her for the dance floor while she did shots with the surprisingly charming blond.
Was she smiling? Was she actually having fun? It looked like it, and it seemed like he was, too. When was the earth going to open up and swallow them whole?
This memory carried on for a bit, slightly skewed as drunken memories could be, but she noticed that while she kept drinking alcohol, Malfoy had stopped and began drinking water. After she stumbled into him a few times, trying to show him her moves (after all, dancing was the perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire), he began feeding her water as well.
She could only watch and listen in abject embarrassment as she flirted with the regrettably handsome git and told him things she didn't even share with Hermione, like the fact that she was virtually homeless since breaking up with Harry. Surprisingly enough, he didn't mock her; only nodding in sympathy at the appropriate times.
When her teammates had abandoned her for good, for their own boyfriends or casual hook-ups, Malfoy had been decent enough to offer to Side-Along Apparate her to the Burrow—or as close to the Burrow as he could remember since he had no clue where she lived.
To her horror, she begged him to take her to his flat, and he complied.
Once at his place, she braced herself for the snog session, the strip-tease and the inevitable shag. Instead, he led her to the spare room and gave her a glass of water. He went to his own room and got undressed, and she tried her best not to stare at his handsome endowment.
Once he crawled into bed and promptly fell asleep, the scene went black for a moment and then switched to her standing at the foot of his bed with a sheet wrapped around her, screeching at him and virtually crying rape.
She immediately pulled out of the memory with a gasp.
"I—I seduced you?"
He had the audacity to laugh. It was a pleasant sort of chuckle—or she would have found it pleasant if she didn't want to punch him in the throat.
"Not exactly," he said. "I think you slept-walked into my room and your clothes got lost along the way."
"Then we didn't—?"
"No, not unless you raped me while I slept."
"I would never!"
"Calm down, Weasley. It was just a joke."
"Oh." She exhaled a quick breath before offering him a sheepish look. "Sorry."
He waved his hand. "So now that you know we didn't have a one-night stand, do you want to stay?"
"Live here, with you?"
"No, I thought you should live with my father, seeing how famously you two get along." He sighed in exasperation. "Yes, live here with me."
"Well, I dunno." She frowned thoughtfully. "I probably shouldn't."
"Why not? Because of Potter?"
"My family mostly. They wouldn't understand. I don't even understand." She eyed him carefully. "You don't even need a flatmate."
He gave a casual shrug. "I don't, but we all need companionship from time to time."
"You can get that from any girl."
"I'm not looking for a girlfriend."
"What about your friends?"
"They have their own places. Plus, I'm not looking for male companionship, and the girls I know would take such an offer the wrong way."
"And I wouldn't?"
"You don't want to marry me, do you?"
"Do you want my money?"
"How dare you!"
"See. You don't have aims on my money and you'll never try to ingratiate yourself towards me. You're the type who's not afraid to say things how they are."
"And these are good things?"
"I'd like to think so. You're refreshing, Weasley." He grinned conspiratorially. "Plus, we had a lot of fun at the pub."
She squirmed uncomfortably at the recollection. "Yeah, I guess... I need to think about it."
After that he gave her a brief tour of the flat and she promptly returned to the Burrow. Her mum had been exceptionally bossy, demanding to know where she had been, why she had been out so late and with whom, and she had been tempted to rush back to Malfoy's to accept his offer.
What she needed was serenity, and she'd be eating crow if Malfoy turned out to be her elusive peace of mind.
A week went by and she couldn't stop thinking about Malfoy's offer. She was tempted—surely she could admit that much—but she was still hesitant about flatting with him. She could list many reasons not to, most involving what her friends and family would think, but the main issue was trust.
She couldn't trust him.
It wasn't even that he was distrustful. He had been fairly trust-worthy; showing her the memory of their drunken almost-tryst and the fact that he hadn't taken advantage of her when she was drunk. Sure, it wasn't like he should be rewarded for not raping her, but he had gone out of his way to take care of her and make sure no one else took advantage of her. That was good people.
Not trusting a Malfoy, though, was instinct. It was a matter of self-preservation. It was inherent, something that had been engrained in her head before Hogwarts. And now she was supposed to defy family tradition?
The truth was that her family was the real issue, or rather that she'd have to lie to them if she moved in with Malfoy. There was no way they'd accept it, especially Ron. Harry, though a rather laid back guy, probably wouldn't be too keen on the idea, either.
If she moved in with Malfoy, they'd have to keep their living arrangements a secret. This both worried and thrilled her. It would be exciting. Needless to say, she was tempted, sorely tempted. It didn't help that Malfoy seemed to pop up everywhere she went—the café, the grocer's, her Quidditch matches, even the cinema. All of these accidental dates eventually led to discussions about flatting until she straight-out asked him if he was offering her board just to piss off Ron or Harry. He admitted that as much as he disliked them, his offer had nothing to do with them. He also promised that he wouldn't speak of their arrangement to anyone, including his friends.
Eventually, she caved in. It really didn't take much persistence on his part, even though she had no idea why he persisted. She needed a place to stay and her mum was driving her batty. Ironically enough, Malfoy was the lesser of two evils here. He was her potential serenity, her oasis.
When she told her mum she was flatting with an old friend from school, she seemed a little disappointed but reluctantly let her youngest fly from the nest. It was time to move on and grow up, which included burying grudges and making up with old enemies. Like Malfoy.
Ginny quickly learned that there were a great many interesting ways to acquire a new flatmate. She could have moved in with a significant other, if she had one, a friend, if one lived nearby, a teammate, if she was fine with burning bridges, or even someone she found in the small ads. Granted the latter option was risky, as there stood a good chance that she'd be boarding with a bona fide mental case who thought he was the second coming of Merlin.
But of the many possibilities, flatting with her old school nemesis was probably the most memorable, if not the most stupid. But at least she'd have stories to tell—in Azkaban, because that was where she'd be sent after murdering Malfoy. Or at least that was what she thought. It turned out that Malfoy was a fairly decent flatmate. Courteous, clean and quiet. He even cracked the occasional joke without the drawl or extremely dry wit.
Only after the first week of living together, she realised two things about him: he was a neat-freak and he had three iron-clad rules that she had to obey or else he'd make her life a living hell. The first of these rules was that she was never to criticise his wardrobe or the fact that it occupied almost every single cupboard of the flat. The second rule was to never complain about his cooking, which mainly consisted of cold takeaway heated up and served on fancy plates. The third and final rule was that she was to never ask too many questions in a row.
"Did you check the wards again?" she asked him for the third time, tossing a piece of popcorn up in the air before catching it in her mouth.
This time the popcorn missed her mouth and she glowered at him.
"What? C'mon, Malfoy. If I were a pervert on the prowl for a new telly and a few pairs of lacy knickers, I could break in here seven different ways from Sunday."
He studied her seriously. "You have lacy knickers?"
"Back on point, pervert."
"Look, you saw me set the wards earlier and you helped me lock all the doors and windows. No Muggle is going to break in here, and any wizard breaking in wouldn't care for the telly. Besides, if someone was looking to steal your knickers, they'd have to go through me first."
"Comforting thought, that."
He sighed. "I'll check them again after I shower, okay?"
She was allowed to be paranoid. Only someone who valued their life would insist on being safe, and she loved being who she was. She was a girl, after all, and the psychos of the world, both Muggle and wizard, always went for the girl. However, she couldn't deny that she enjoyed hounding him just so that she could watch him huff and puff. After all, he was rather cute when he pouted.
She had discovered many new things about him—some of those things were annoying, like his OCD habits, but mostly they were oddly endearing qualities, like his love for certain Muggle technologies. In fact, the sitting room was the only area in the flat that was magic-free, as magic tended to interfere with the television and numerous gaming systems he owned.
He gave her a violent glare, as if to accuse her of not listening. "I asked you to put your glass on a coaster!"
"Yeah, yeah." She waved her hand, a pleasingly careless gesture, and told him to stop mumbling like an idiot before setting her drink down on the coaster.
Grumbling to himself, he left the room to go shower and she picked up the remote, pressing PLAY. She had foolishly expected to be watching a rom-com, but since all the DVDs belonged to Malfoy, there were only action, war and horror films. She had lucked out with horror.
Instead of turning it off, however, she grabbed a throw cushion and curled into the sofa. She was prepared to be scared.
In actuality, she was afraid of very few things in life. Aside from failing. She wasn't afraid of spiders or snakes or rats or bugs or wriggly creatures of any kind. She wasn't even afraid of clowns, mainly because she couldn't understand why anyone would be afraid of clowns, apart from the fact that they were middle-aged men who wore far too much make-up. Which was kind of unsettling, if she thought about it, but it was a lifestyle choice and she wasn't about to rag on it. Which begged the question—if she wasn't afraid, then why was she cowering in her seat as she watched this horror flick?
She obviously wasn't watching it for the plot—friends camp in the woods, boy asks girl for a handjob, boy gets head chopped off by a mutated freak, girl runs off screaming only to be killed and cannibalised, and only the virginal girl survives for the sequel. She was still new to films and television in general, but even she knew that this was the stock formula.
Despite the fact that she wasn't afraid (she wasn't!) and that none of this was real, her knees instinctively tucked under her chin and her hand kept creeping towards her mouth. Even her forearms had broken out in treacherous goose pimples and her spine had begun to tingle dangerously, as if telling her to get the hell out of there.
Then, as if on cue, something cool brushed her shoulder and her hand flicked out, punching the monster in the gut. It doubled over in pain and her leg shot straight up in the air before crashing down on its neck. The monster fell to the floor with a thud, coughing and sputtering in what she could only assume was rage.
Before it could recover, she was already on its back and pinning it down. It tried to buck her off but she just mashed its face back down into the carpeted floor. It grunted in pain and disgust. She had never tried it, but she could only assume that wool carpet tasted terrible.
Her eyes went to its backside where she caught a glimpse of what looked to be boxer briefs with a Montrose Magpies logo on it. Ignoring that, she grabbed a fistful of its wet blond hair and was ready to—
Wait, wet blond hair?
She let go of the very human-like hair and looked down—really looked down—only to discover that she was sitting on Malfoy's half-naked arse. His body was cool to the touch and his hair was damp, having just stepped out of the shower.
"Merlin, Malfoy!" She placed a hand over her wildly beating heart. "Don't surprise me like that!"
For a moment she actually felt sorry for him. He had been at the wrong place at the wrong time, which meant he was at the receiving end of a Weasley beating. Still, he took it rather well. Or so she assumed.
"Weasley, you plan on letting me up?" he asked tersely, belying the rage simmering beneath the carefully crafted veneer of politeness.
The moment of guilt passed, replaced with caution. She flew off his back and retreated to the sofa, drawing her knees up to her chest. He carefully got up on his hands and knees with a wince before standing up to glare accusingly at her.
Oh, if looks could kill...
"Are you mad?" he barked.
He was coiled, barely restrained rage. He was the thunder before the lightning. The spark before the fire.
"Sorry," she mumbled meekly, or at least she sounded meek to her ears.
Perhaps he heard sincerity there, for his rage dissipated slowly then all at once, seeping from his shoulders first and then his neck and head. He turned away in a huff and began dusting himself off.
"Yeah, yeah," he muttered loud enough for her to hear. "Bloody violent Weasleys."
She bristled indignantly at the insult but decided to let this one go. After all, this wasn't the first time she had ambushed him by accident in the flat late at night. And she had kicked him in the neck. It had to have hurt.
"Why do you even watch this if you're so scared?" he asked, idly plucking loose bits of carpet off his chest and stomach.
"I'm not scared!"
"Yeah, sure. You just tackled me cause you were so happy to see me."
She rolled her eyes and stood up. "You're a pain in the arse, Malfoy. You do know that, right?"
"Is that so?"
"Yep." She folded her arms beneath her breasts. "Whenever I look at you, I automatically think pain in the arse." Her gaze drifted to his nether regions and she smirked. "Well, that and Montrose Magpies briefs."
He was about to protest but then quickly shut his mouth and glanced down at his boxers. His eyes snapped back up to meet hers and he glared hotly.
"If you tell anyone, Weasley, I'll—"
"Yeah, yeah." She waved him off, before biting back a grin. "Your shameful secret's safe with me."
Before he could reply, she dropped her arms and flounced past him into her bedroom, reminding him to turn off the television and check the wards before he went to bed.
Weasley 1; Malfoy 0.
The next month went by smoothly. Though both weren't home very often, when they were, the time they spent together was entertaining. They'd order takeaway, watch films (he had got her into war movies) and have random conversations about nothing.
One thing they never talked about was the past—Hogwarts or the war. Those two subjects were off-limits. They also rarely ever talked about their exes. She was sure he didn't feel like hearing her vent about Harry just like she didn't want him to discuss whatever tart he had hooked up with.
An added benefit to their arrangement was that neither had brought home a date. It wasn't a rule, but both had been courteous enough not to impose on the other. Besides, she hadn't been on a date since she broke up with Harry and Malfoy didn't seem to care bringing his conquests home. Fortunate for her.
"Do you date?" she asked out of the blue one night while they were having dinner.
"Hn?" he intoned. This usually translated to 'I might have valuable information, aka plot spoilers, but you'll have to repeat the question with some manners included'.
In response, she threatened to hide a dirty sock somewhere in the flat, most likely his room, which inspired a sort of wariness from the blond.
"Repeat the question, Weasley."
"I'm just curious if you date," she said. "You never bring anyone home."
"Do you want me to bring someone home?"
"No." She shocked herself by how much she meant that. "I mean, I don't care. And stop answering a question with another question!"
He sighed dramatically and set down his fork. "Yes, I date, but it's casual. I'm not looking for anything serious right now."
"How about you?"
She shrugged. "I dunno. I want to date again, eventually. I just feel like I should take a mourning period, you know?"
"No, I don't know. Potter didn't die, Weasley. He broke up with you."
"I broke up with him."
"May I ask why?"
She shrugged uncomfortably. She could outright refuse to answer the question on the grounds of their earlier agreement not to talk about their past or their relationships, but by this point he had earned a measure of her trust and, therefore, her confidence.
"He wanted to get married," she admitted.
She rolled her eyes. "I'm not averse to getting married, eventually, but he wanted it then and now. But marriage for me means quitting Quidditch and starting a family. I'm not ready for that yet."
"Well, good for you," he said. "It's always wise to choose yourself and your own well-being over someone else's wants."
"My mum didn't feel the same way," she muttered, pushing her food around on her plate. "She wants me to get married and give her grandbabies."
"And you will someday, if you choose so," he said. "But it's not up to her. Besides, she should be happy with having such a healthy and successful daughter."
"Don't mention it."
She bit into her fish, her appetite renewed. She couldn't help but smile. Somehow he had made her feel better about herself, and less guilty about wishing her mum go temporarily mute.
They continued their impromptu dinner date in relative silence, except for the desultory comments on the weather and Quidditch, before a ward sounded in mild alarm followed by knocking on the door.
She set down her fork with a frown. Needless to say, she was surprised. Malfoy hadn't had a guest over since she arrived here and she certainly didn't invite anyone. None of her friends even knew where she lived.
"Who is it?" she asked, peering curiously at him. "Did you invite a friend over?"
He had spoken the word dryly, but he had a caged look to him that she didn't quite trust. When he didn't move to answer the door after the second set of knocks, she studied him carefully.
"Do you want me to answer it?"
"If you'd like." He shrugged, unaffected. "Unless it's my parents, tell whomever it is that I don't live here."
She excused herself from the dinner table and went to the door, wand in hand—just in case. When she opened it wide, she was surprised to see a pretty little blonde blinking up at her.
"Hello?" the woman said, as if unsure.
"I—Is Draco in?"
She tried to peer past Ginny to look inside, but the redhead effectively blocked her path. For once she was the tallest.
"I'm afraid no one by that name lives here."
"Are you sure?"
Ginny nodded. "Positive. It's just me."
The woman eyed her somewhat distrustfully for a moment before seeing the wand. Then she abruptly took a step back. "S-sorry, my mistake. Good evening."
The woman Disapparated in a heartbeat. Ginny shut the door and headed back into the dining room with a confused look on her face.
"What was that about? Who was that?"
Malfoy dabbed at his lips with a napkin. "A woman who paid very good money to find where I lived, I'm sure."
"Is she an ex?"
He snorted. "That would be a generous title."
"A one-night stand, then," she said, somewhat annoyed.
"And now a stalker."
"So that's why you wanted me to live with you." She sat back down to her meal. "I'm your relationship repellent!"
He just grinned at her before topping off her wine. "Best damn one out there, too!"
She took a healthy sip and muttered, "Bloody promiscuous Malfoys."
She would have to send away another girl by the end of the week.
Several weeks later, on a particularly dismal Thursday, Ginny stumbled home late. She wasn't necessarily drunk but she was exceedingly buzzed. A nagging headache was forming behind her eyes and she rubbed at them tiredly. Exhausted, angry and annoyed, she unlocked the door to find what used to be one of her worst nightmares seated on the sofa.
"Ah, Weasley, you're late a little late for movie night." Malfoy had a bowl of popcorn nestled in his lap. "Close the door before a lost Muggle wanders inside."
"I'm not in the mood," she said a little too snippily, before flopping down on the sofa.
He scowled at her. "What crawled up your skirt?"
"My brother, Ron."
He looked at her strangely. "You know, I've always wondered about you two."
She blinked at him tiredly before registering what he had just said. "What? Eww, no! That's disgusting!" She hit him with a cushion for good measure. "No, I meant he pissed me off tonight."
"Well, I can't say I'm shocked. I get angry reading his name in the paper." He picked up a fallen piece of popcorn and set it on the table. "But you actually spend time with the git, so you deserve a medal for withstanding torture. Although you do spend that time with him voluntarily, so it's more likely that you deserve a stay in a bedlam."
"For now." He gave her a carefully crafted smirk before scooting back on the sofa. He then took the cushion she threw at him and placed it on his lap with a pat. "Now, come tell your good friend Draco what your idiot of a brother did this time."
She eyed him and the cushion warily before relenting with a shrug. She turned around and laid down on her back, resting her head on the cushion. If this was what therapy was like, psychologists were touchy-feely bastards.
"Well, I went to Harry's place to pick up the rest of my stuff. He wasn't there, but Ron was. He just wouldn't shut up about how hard it's been for Harry lately, what with work and the break-up. And I'm like, what about me? Do my feelings matter? I thought he was my brother, which means he's supposed to be on my side and feel sorry for me."
"Your brother's an idiot," Malfoy drawled. "He'll get over it. All men do, not like wom—" He stopped himself short when he caught her giving him a dirty look. "But, yeah, just give him some time. He'll come around. Of course keep in mind who he is and factor in a greater amount of time for him to buy a clue into what he did wrong."
"Yeah, I guess." She sat up, smoothing back her hair with a sigh. "I might have gone on the defensive straight-away and yelled at him before he could explain himself." When she saw him smirking at her, she frowned. "What?"
"I didn't say anything," he said quickly, picking up the bowl and offering it to her. "Want some popcorn?"
"Sure." She scooped up a handful and almost laughed when he shoved a napkin into her other hand. "So what are we watching?"
"Haven't the foggiest."
He turned his attention back to the television, eating one piece of popcorn at a time. Delicately. He savoured his food; whereas she couldn't shovel it into her open maw fast enough.
She was kind of jealous.
"So why are you back so late?" he asked.
"After the yelling match with Ron, I decided to go for a walk."
He gave her a knowing look. "Did this walk end at a pub?"
"How did you know?"
"Sadly, I know all too well what you do after you've had a row with one of the trio."
Damn, he really did know her well.
"Good to see that this time you didn't get blotto and shack up with an insanely handsome wizard."
He had the audacity to smile smugly at her and she hit him with the sofa cushion again.
"Shut it, ya git!"
He easily swatted away her feeble attacks. "Shut it? Is that your go-to insult?"
His grin was lascivious. "Is that an invitation?"
"No!" She hit him again and tried not to laugh. "What, are you keeping track of my comings and goings now?"
"There have been comings?"
This time she picked up the cushion with both hands and brutally assaulted him. By the time she was done there were feathers in his hair. They were all over the place. He wasn't too pleased about it—he was right pissed, actually—which made her fall onto the floor and cackle like a mad woman.
"Are you done, you lunatic?"
Tears were in her eyes as she shook her head. After a while her laughing fit subsided and he helped her back up onto the sofa.
"You're mental, you know that?"
"Yeah," she said between giggles, "but at least I don't wear Montrose Magpies briefs."
"You're never going to let me live that down, are you?"
This only incited another round of raucous laughter and he glowered at her, plucking a few downy white feathers out of his hair.
"I think I'm the mental one for wanting you as my flatmate."
He just shook his head at her and began to clean up the mess.
A minute later she was once again composed and helped him clean up. If she didn't, he'd get tetchy and she'd never hear the end of it.
"No, really," she said in earnest when they sat back down. "Do you honestly keep track of when I leave and when I'm home?"
She knew it was an odd question, an out-of-bounds question, really. She could tell by his stiff body language and the way he shifted away from her that he was uncomfortable. But dammit all, she was curious and still slightly buzzed, from both the alcohol and the laughing fit.
"Not really," he admitted after a while. "It's just that we both seem to suffer from insomnia, so when you're not around to pester, it's kind of weird." He shot her a smirk. "Let's just say that I've grown accustomed to your face."
"How sweet," she said, although she was sure she was giving him a dirty look that would frighten a wildebeest. "However, unlike you I actually have practice in the morning, which means I need to get some sleep."
"Are you implying that I sleep in and do nothing all day but play with Daddy's money?"
"You call him Daddy? How cute." When he threw her a sour look, she smiled prettily at him and leaned in close. "And how do you play with it, exactly? Do you swan dive in your vault of gold?"
"You do realise I'd break every bone in my body if I did that."
"Would you, then?" she begged. "For me?"
"Cheeky bint." This time he hit her with the cushion and she squeaked in surprise. "And that's my cue to go wake up the witch in my room for a little fun."
She paused mid-giggle and sat up in shock as he headed for his room. "Wait, you've got a girl in there?"
He turned and winked at her. "Wouldn't you like to know?"
"It's called being an adult with a healthy sex drive, Weasley. Look into it."
She threw a cushion at his back but it fell short and he disappeared into his room.
Did he really have a girl in there?
She shouldn't have cared—and she didn't—but it was awfully rude of him to schedule TV night with her while having some strange woman wait in his bedroom. Or was she asleep, exhausted from all the love-making?
She had no right to complain—what Malfoy did in the privacy of his own room was his business. They had never made a hard rule about not bringing a date home. Yet for some inexplicable reason, the idea of Malfoy sexing up some vapid tramp (she was undoubtedly a slag) repulsed and angered her. But he was a man and men had certain needs. Where was he supposed to take a date for sex, a hotel?
If she were to be completely honest, she didn't quite understand the appeal of sex. Sure, it was enjoyable and a fun way to pass the time, but it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. From the whispers in the school yard and the hushed reverence it had on the lips of adults, from the vast armies of perverts she'd met at matches and in pubs, all the signs pointed to sex being the most important, earth-shattering experience in human existence.
It was supposed to be the perfect union, an honoured ideal and the die-hard mission of most men under the age of thirty (and quite a few over it). You could use it to find solace, to find love, to find your soul mate.
She found it sweaty.
Admittedly, she didn't have much experience or point of reference. She had only slept with two men: Harry and Malfoy. Technically she had only slept with Malfoy, no sex involved (thus it didn't count), which just left Harry.
They had both been young and the experience had been awkward and uncomfortable. It got better as time went by, and she always enjoyed the foreplay and the snogging, but usually after Harry achieved his release and she faked her own, things just sort of melted into a sense of perfunctory completion. It was like a task she had to tick-off on her to-do list.
To Harry's credit, he did try. She hadn't helped matters by faking orgasms. She had never told him what she liked, had never instructed, suggested or encouraged him. It was partly her fault for not getting any enjoyment out of it.
The other issue was that she always let him take the lead because he was the man and that's what men were expected to do. But Harry's experience with sex was as limited as her own. Someone like Malfoy, though, with his numerous partners—she found herself wondering how he'd be in the sack. Would she need to instruct him or would he instinctively know, or would it be a combination of the two?
She wasn't really sure what she liked. Maybe he could help her.
"Wait, what am I thinking?"
"Yes, what are you thinking?" Malfoy asked.
He had re-entered the room, this time clad in a t-shirt and his Montrose Magpies briefs.
"Nothing," she said quickly, before biting back a grin. "Nice pants."
"Why thank you. I thought you'd like them."
"I'm going to have to get you a pair of Holyhead Harpies these days."
"Ta, but I prefer the Magpies."
"But the Harpies are my team and you're my—"
"I'm your what?"
"Flatmate," she recovered. "You're my flatmate and you should be supporting your fellow flatmate."
"But no one knows we're flatting together."
"Quite right," she said uncomfortably. It was time for a change of subject. "So how's your witch doing?"
"Imaginary and fantastic."
"The best kind."
He smiled and took a seat next to her. "Want to watch a horror flick or something with car chases?"
While he searched through his collection, she tried not to stare at his semi-nude form.
So there was no witch, huh? He had just gone into his room to change—into the briefs she liked to tease him about.
Why did she suddenly feel so relieved?
She had finally secured herself a date. It took six months after breaking it off with Harry, several months living with Malfoy, and a lot of cajoling and wheedling by her teammate, but she was finally going on a date with a Chaser from the Puddlemere United Reserve team.
It was a disaster.
She had never been so bored, frustrated and angry in her life. The frustrated and angry parts she could have dealt with—those were the foundations on which her relationship with Malfoy was initially built on. But at least Malfoy was never boring. Though they both supported opposing teams, Malfoy had never been a prat about it. Unlike Mr Puddlemere Reserve, Malfoy never insulted her team and he most certainly never insulted her abilities as a Chaser. He had even attended a few of her games and complimented her on her performance afterwards. This douche, however, only talked about how his team was better than hers and how he was a more talented player. You'd think he had single-handedly won every game he ever played.
So when she got home late, frustrated, smelling of sweat and dressed in a frock that was far too tight and revealing for her own liking, she was understandably confused when Malfoy began interrogating her the moment she walked in the door.
"Where were you?"
"I saw you at Chez Lucien with that idiot Chaser, Jeffries!"
"If you saw me there, then why are you asking?" she snapped.
"Are you dating him?"
"Is that any of your business?"
"Do you plan on fucking him?"
"Whoa! What the hell? Are you—" She leaned in, catching a whiff of whisky. "Are you drunk?"
Before she realised what was happening, he had her backed up against the wall. One hand was splayed across her hip while the other was cupping her jaw. His lips angrily sought hers and she gasped into his mouth. His tongue, soft and warm, parted her lips and stole along her teeth, initiating a duel that she was shocked to find herself participating in. Without realising it, she had closed her eyes and leaned into the kiss.
She should have put a stop to it, and she would have, if she was in the right mind, but she wasn't. His hold became tight and possessive, almost painful. Blood pounded in her ears and she swore she saw exploding colours. When she finally snapped out of the lust-fuelled trance, her hands found his chest and pushed, hard.
It didn't take as much force to jar him back to reality. He instantly pulled away and took a step back. His expression was mixed, shocked and appalled but, above all else, sobering.
"I—I'm sorry." He licked his lips, trying to blink the lust out of his head, before promptly turning away. "That will never happen again."
And just as abruptly as the assault had begun, it ended. He left her dazed in the foyer, banishing himself to his room. When the door clicked shut behind him, she sucked in a breath. The air seemed different somehow—changed, thickened and coiling in her gut. She brought her fingers to her swollen lips and wondered what would happen next.
How did one deal with a jealous and potentially possessive flatmate?
A few days went by—days filled with avoiding one another—and Ginny had never felt more off-kilter. She had enjoyed the kiss, maybe a little too much, but she was puzzled by what it meant. Did Malfoy like her? Had he been jealous, or just drunk and irritated? She knew from first-hand experience that she did terribly stupid things when she was drunk. She hit on Malfoy of all people. Was this just a drunken mishap? Whatever it was, it had made things awkward between the two. With all the stress and loneliness in her life, she needed consistency. She needed her old cantankerous, OCD-freak of a flatmate back.
It was with these thoughts troubling her mind that she hadn't noticed the storm brewing. She was only a hundred yards from the flat when the force of the wind nearly bowled her over. Thunder rumbled in the sky and long forks of lightning flashed shortly after, signalling for rain to come. Within seconds, fat droplets fell on her head and plopped on the warm pavement. The next moment she was caught in a downpour.
"Weasley, you okay? You're soaked."
Malfoy had come from behind, her saviour holding up an umbrella to shield them both from the rain, but the damage was already done.
She shook her head, but her hair had matted to her face. The pavement was already slick with rain, so slippery, so fast. How long had she been standing there anyway? She couldn't remember. She didn't even hear Malfoy at first until he held up his umbrella.
The rain was so loud now, each drop echoing like thunder, but she turned and offered him a crooked smile. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just got caught in the downpour."
They shared an uncomfortable silence under the umbrella and, for a moment, she thought they were going to stand there together until it stopped raining. But then he gently took her by the elbow and guided her inside the building.
He didn't say a word at first, just shook the water from his umbrella before closing it. Then he turned towards her, eyes trained on the floor. "Look, about the other night—"
"You were drunk," she interrupted with a shrug, her own gaze fixed elsewhere. "It happens."
"Still, what I did was inappropriate and I'd like to apologise."
Their eyes met and she was briefly struck by how silver they were and how sad he looked. Sad or haunted?
"I'd understand if you don't want to live with me anymore," he said, frowning fiercely. "I could help you find another place, if you'd like."
"Oh." Her face fell. Why did she feel rejected?
"Not that I want you to leave," he quickly amended. "I just don't want things to be weird between us."
"Neither do I!" she said, inhaling a sigh of relief. "Maybe we should just keep our distance for a while?"
His frowned deepened but he nodded. "Fair enough."
When he turned to open the door for them, she stared at his back and swallowed the lurching feeling building in the pit of her stomach. Why did it feel like she had said the wrong thing? Why did she feel so sad?
Weeks went by and Malfoy had kept to his word a little too well. She almost never saw him. She would even put on his favourite films at night in the hopes that he'd come out of his room and join her, but he never did.
It made her heart hurt a little.
She could admit it now, but she had grown accustomed to his presence. She had grown accustomed to his quirky habits and his dry, if not biting, wit, his sleazy but endearing charm. She had grown accustomed to his face, and now he hid even that from her.
Merlin help her, she missed him.
Despite the hell that she had endured the last few weeks—from brutal practices to being blatantly ignored by her flatmate—Ginny was in high spirits today. Now that the days were hot again, the streets were always crowded. The May wind had quieted. Trees in the parks were thick with foliage of ocherous green. Flowers bloomed. The sky was a cloudless blue and rays of sunlight felt hot on her face. The air was sultry, but the breeze was refreshing.
It was the perfect kind of weather. Strolling weather, as her father would have put it. It was the kind of day that made you re-examine your life and maybe try to mend a few broken bridges. Thus today was the day she was going to tell Malfoy that this whole avoiding each other idea was pure stupidity. The reason they flatted together in the first place was for companionship, and she missed her companion. It was time for them to start talking again.
When she arrived home, she was ready to pounce. She knew that he was home thanks to her particularly keen ears picking up on him arriving earlier this morning and collapsing into his bed. Plus it was Friday and he always came home before going out.
She took in a deep breath and steadied her nerves. They were just going to have a talk. No, she was going to get him to talk. She'd storm into his room if need be, but there was no need. A few seconds later, he walked out of his room all coiffed and dapper.
"What's with the suit?" she asked, unable to prevent the words from tumbling past her lips.
"I'm told gentlemen wear them," he replied flippantly, before adjusting the cuff-links. "I'm going on a date tonight."
"You're going on a date?"
She must have repeated the question too loudly or too shrilly because he stopped his fussing and stared at her curiously for a moment.
"Should I have informed you in advance?"
"No, I—" She shook her head. "No, of course not."
Dumbstruck, she just stood there while he gathered his things.
"See you tomorrow, then."
She waved dumbly as he exited the flat, staring at the door in a daze. Had he just dismissed her? And did he just say that he was going on a date? A date?
She had no right to get jealous, but she was. She really was. She now understood Malfoy's anger and his ridiculous need to possess her. He believed he owned a piece of her, just like she believed she owned a piece of him.
Were they really just flatmates?
Were they even friends?
Three hours later she was sitting on the sofa, gorging herself with triple chocolate fudge ice cream. If he saw her eating chocolate ice cream on his cream-coloured sofa, he'd have an aneurysm.
"Why are you eating that in the sitting room?"
She jumped in her seat and almost dropped her spoon on the carpeted floor. That would have been fun.
"Merlin, Malfoy! You have to stop scaring me like that!"
He grimaced at the pint of ice cream and began loosening his tie. "Well, at least you didn't kick me in the neck this time."
"Wait, what are you doing home so early?" she asked, clearly confused since he said he would see her tomorrow. She remembered that punctuated noun vividly.
He took off his jacket and draped it over the back of the sofa before joining her. "You opened the good stuff, eh?"
He surreptitiously nicked the spoon from her fingers and scooped some ice cream into his mouth. She watched in mild fascination as he used her spoon. Wasn't he a germaphobe as well as an OCD-freak? She couldn't rightly remember at the moment.
"I ask again," she repeated when she regained her cognitive faculties, "what are you doing home so early?"
"The date ended after dinner." He stole the carton from her and really dug in. "I spent the next few hours wandering around the city."
He harpooned the ice cream with the spoon and set it down on the coffee table. Bending forward, he rested his head in his hands. He kept this up for a full thirty seconds before sitting up and rubbing his palms along his trousers.
"I think I might be in love with you."
She sat back in shock.
"I can't even kiss a girl without thinking about you." He palmed his face with a sniff and turned towards her, letting out a hollow laugh. "This must be terribly amusing for you."
"Do I look amused?"
He studied her carefully for a moment before turning away. "No, I suppose not. I gather you're repulsed by the idea."
"You gathered wrong."
He paused and then pivoted in his seat. "What do you mean, Weasley?"
"What do you think I mean?" She motioned to the half-eaten ice cream melting on the table. "Do you think I'm eating this because I need to gain weight on my thighs? I needed something to distract me from thoughts of you and some other woman going at it!"
She inhaled sharply and looked away.
"You were jealous?"
"Of course I was jealous!" she snapped. She took in another deep breath and stood up to pace. "I know I shouldn't be this possessive of you, but I—"
"Can't help it," he finished, standing up.
He was giving her that stare, the one that only men could give—laser-hot and focussed on the most obvious spot: her breasts. Then his gaze returned to her eyes, softening.
"I want something more with you," he said. "Do you want something more with me?"
She didn't know what she wanted, except that she never wanted to see him with another woman as long as she lived. And she wanted to touch him. Yes, she needed to touch him.
"I want more," she whispered.
He smiled at her then, a radiant and boyish smile that lit up his face and made her melt inside. His fingers then grazed along her collarbone and she realised how close he really was.
"Feel free to take more."
There was something teasing in his voice, some dark temptation. Her skin still tingled where his fingers had been.
"No? Then allow me."
He stole a kiss, just like she would have if she'd thought of it. It was slow and lingering before it became liquid and alive, slithering through her senses and making everything but his taste and his touch hazy and unsubstantial.
His hold on her tightened and the kiss deepened. Thorough. The taste of his mouth began to seep down through her nerves and into her skin, into her muscles, her soul, her—
He broke it off and she was gasping, her head swimming and numb. He allowed her a few breaths and then, with a smile, resumed the kiss more passionately and wholly consuming than before.
He was in control and he liked it. She liked it, too.
She twined her arms around his neck and time slowed in the hazy fog of her mind. Each sensation seemed to stretch in her body and mind until it occupied all of her memories, all of her feelings, all of her being. The seconds blurred together and she found herself not wanting the moment to end.
This might be the beginnings of love.
The next morning she stirred awake with a moan, her naked limbs exquisitely wrapped up in his.
"Where do you think you're going?" he whispered, before pulling her even tighter into his embrace.
She stifled a giggle and turned her head to issue him a closed-mouth kiss (morning breath and all). "Mmm, déjà vu."
"Yeah, except this time we actually slept together."
"You mean we shagged." She wiggled her behind into his crotch, which elicited an open-palm smack to her behind.
They laid like this for a while, cuddling and trading kisses, before she rolled over to face him.
"So should I be finding myself a new place to live?"
He shook his head and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her in close. He couldn't get enough of her. The feeling was mutual.
"No, just a new room to sleep in," he said, squeezing her tight. "Mine."
The proclamation was said so possessively that it made her heart swell and the spot between her thighs moisten. But she resisted the urge to tumble back into the rhythm they had created last night and maintained well into the wee hours of morning. Instead she pressed her palms flat against his chest and looked up at him.
"I'm not going to be one of your fuck-mates or whatever you call them."
He chuckled. "I don't have such a mate," he said, before kissing the tip of her nose. "Besides, I think you know that I don't want you to for just that."
"Just that, huh?"
"Well, I am a man and you are a beautiful woman." He took in a deep breath and regarded her seriously. "Look, I don't know what this is or what it could be, but I do know that I like you, Weasley—Ginny. I like your company and I want you here with me."
She bit her lip and tried desperately not to blush. Instead she buried her head in his chest.
"You want me to stay?"
He kissed the top of her head. "I do." He then took her head in his hands and forced her to look him in the eyes. "Do you want to stay?"
After a moment, she nodded shyly. "I do."
He smiled so brilliantly at her then that she couldn't resist his open-mouthed kiss. Morning breath be damned! This was bliss. This was right.
It wasn't just lust. It was connecting on levels she had never explored before, getting to really know someone before falling in love. Being with him, unabashed and uninhibited, she faintly understood why sex was such a big deal. Not just because he rocked her world physically but emotionally.
They just fit together so well.
There was something so right about them, slotted together like two perfectly aligned blocks. She was all bent out of shape and he had pieces missing, or maybe it was the other way around, but in the end they were made for each other.
It might take seconds; it might take months; it might even take years for them to fit so well together, but while other couples would collide or break apart, they would stay perfectly aligned. Because they were mates—friend, flat, soul or otherwise.
Because they were made for each other.
Challenge: Write a one-shot (under 12K) using one or both of the following prompts: #1: A series of accidental dates or #2 "My reputation grows with every failure." — George Bernard Shaw. I chose prompt #1, a series of accidental dates.