May 13, 2015
Author's Notes: Written for SunnyStorms in the DG Forum's 2015 Winter Fic Exchange. The prompt will follow at the end of each chapter. Thanks to rowan-greenleaf and my friend, D, for beta-ing the first few chapters of this story for me! As a warning, this story is about sexual harassment, but I don't think the instances shown are too triggering or anything. (And Draco is not the sexual harasser.) Reviews appreciated!
Chapter One: A Tiny Problem
By the time Ginny spotted her supervisor, Jason Junker, approaching the elevator, it was too late. The doors inched closed, mocking her as she desperately mashed the button for Level Four. Just before the two sheets of metal met, a hand wedged between them, preventing them from sealing shut.
The doors opened, and Jason smiled at Ginny, which made her shudder in revulsion.
"Going down?" he asked.
"Actually, I was just getting off," she replied, but as she made a move to exit the elevator, Jason reached in front of her, blocking her path to press the button for Level Six.
"You wouldn't get off without me, would you?" he asked. His teasing smile might have been wide and charming to another woman, but Ginny only saw his leer as he eyed her up and down.
The words themselves had been innocent enough, but coming from Jason Junker's mouth, they made her flush red in embarrassment and anger.
"I love it when your cheeks turn that color," he said with admiration. Then his eyes drifted lower again. "I wonder how far down the blush goes?"
Now Ginny was wishing she hadn't gone up to Level Two to eat lunch with her dad. If she'd gone out or stayed in her cubicle, she never would have run into Junker. The only way she would make it through this encounter was by ignoring him and focusing on something else. She tuned in to the sound of the elevator gliding down through the earth and the ding when they reached Level Three. She hoped it would stop so someone else could get in, or so she could get out and catch the next lift, but for once in her miserable career, they had the elevator car all to themselves.
Her foot tapped against the ground impatiently. It should not have taken this long to move down two floors. She only tuned back into Junker when he placed his hand on her bum, which prompted Ginny to jump back.
"Get your hands off me!" she cried, her wand drawn and pointed at his face.
He raised his hands in front of him in a defensive gesture, but he wasn't intimidated at all. He didn't seem to even notice the threat of her wand as he eyed her breasts in a way that was too obvious to be anything but deliberate. "Come on, babe. I was just testing the merchandise."
Ginny's heart raced in her chest. Jason Junker had been harassing her for weeks, ever since he'd been promoted from Spirit Division Mediator to Division Head. At first she had humored his invasive questions about her former relationship with Harry since such questions were hardly a new experience for her. Ginny had thought he, like everyone else in the wizarding world, had been curious about their breakup and wanted information straight from the source, but then his comments and questions had grown more risqué and inappropriate.
Ginny had taken his comments with as much grace as possible considering his new status as her direct supervisor—until, that is, he'd insinuated in not so many words that Ginny had had a polyamorous and incestuous relationship with all six of her brothers. Then he had crossed a line, and now Ginny knew that there was something terribly disgusting and wrong with this man, and she had very little power to do anything about it.
"I'm not merchandise," Ginny seethed, "and I am never going to sleep with you, so stop trying to get in my knickers!"
"It's not like you have a boyfriend," he replied with a smirk.
A vein in Ginny's temple throbbed and her wand trembled thanks to her shaking hand. She was angry but also frustrated and afraid. Every person she'd ever hexed, whether back at Hogwarts or after, had been deterred from bothering her ever again. Not Jason Junker. Apparently Bat Bogey Hexes gave him boners.
"Is that what it will take to get you to stop?" she asked, at her wit's end.
Junker's brows scrunched down over his eyes, his expression solemn for the first time since he'd stepped inside the elevator. "Of course," he answered. "I would never encroach on someone else's territory."
Relief surged through Ginny's body, and the shaking in her limbs imperceptibly ceased.
"Well, I do! I do have a boyfriend!"
A knowing smile returned to his face. "You're just saying that to play coy. I know no one else has a claim on you. So why not me?"
He was right in a sense. No one had a claim on her because she wasn't an object to be possessed. Her body was not a commercial good to be traded or bought, auctioned off to the highest bidder, or given to the first person who laid eyes on her.
The chime dinged as the elevator reached Level Four and the doors opened to reveal Draco Malfoy, waiting for a ride down.
Ginny stepped out of the lift and locked her arm around Malfoy's arm. "This is my boyfriend!" she said to Junker.
"Excuse me?" Malfoy asked, his face a picture of outraged confusion.
"Draco Malfoy? You would never. Your standards are much higher than the likes of him," Junker said with confidence. As if he knew her better than she knew herself!
His smirk was so infuriating, it drove Ginny to do something she never would have done if she hadn't been pushed to desperation. "Wanna bet?" she said before she grabbed the lapels of Malfoy's robes and pulled him down to her in a hard, open-mouthed kiss.
Malfoy, shocked by her actions, stood frozen for a moment, but it didn't take him long at all to thaw. His arms reached around her back, tugging her against him as if to combine them into one being. His tongue dragged over hers, sending shivers down to her toes, and without thinking, her hands roamed up into his hair, her fingers entwining in the locks at the nape of his neck, preventing him from escaping. Not that he seemed to want to.
When her brain finally caught up with her impulsive actions, she jumped away, her hands springing off his head as if he had just turned into a Dungbomb. Malfoy, however, looked drugged, with glazed eyes and red, swollen lips. The sight of him so well-kissed sent a wave of horror and arousal through Ginny's body, and while she suddenly never wanted to leave Malfoy's arms, she also wished he would let go of her.
While they had been snogging in front of the lift, Junker had been carried away to another floor, and a group of people had gathered around to watch them.
Now Ginny's face flushed red—redder than it already was—and Malfoy had collected his wits enough to finally let her go.
"What was that all about, Weasley?" he asked, his outraged tone tempered by the seemingly involuntary way his fingers poked his lips.
"Yeah, what was that all about, Ginny?" Ron said, as he pushed through the crowd.
Perhaps Ginny only imagined him snorting steam out of his nose, but steam or no steam, the sight of her brother did nothing to mitigate her sudden anxiety at how this situation had erupted beyond her control.
It might have been easier to tell her brother the truth, explain the circumstances behind his finding her completely intertwined with Draco Malfoy at work. But part of her felt like a failure for not being able to handle Junker. She'd always taken care of herself. Ever since Harry had saved her from the Chamber of Secrets, she had vowed not to need anyone's assistance again and to never be as stupid as she'd been at eleven years of age.
Jason Junker made her feel incredibly incapable and stupid, and she was ashamed that nothing she had tried on him had deterred him in the slightest. She'd been polite and harsh in her rejection of him. She'd physically withdrawn and pushed him away. When she'd finally resorted to using magic against him, his tiny dick had stood straight at attention, and he'd leered at her through flying bogies and a face full of shiny, red boils. Then he'd threatened to fire her if she tried to hex him again. The Ministry didn't have a policy about this sort of behavior, so she'd taken it upon herself to stop the harassment, but nothing she did mattered to Junker.
Unless she had a boyfriend.
In those few moments after Ron questioned her, Ginny made a decision. She couldn't admit to anyone, especially her overprotective brothers, that she couldn't save herself.
"What was what all about? You saw, didn't you? I was kissing my boyfriend."
She stared straight at Ron, pointedly ignoring Malfoy, but she saw his head turn toward her, and she prayed to wizard God that he wouldn't rat her out.
Ron was clearly apoplectic with outrage at the word 'boyfriend,' as evidenced by his face turning the exact same shade of red as half of Gryffindor's House colors and his mouth opening and closing like a suffocating fish.
"Since when!" The words came out strangled as he attempted to control his volume. There was no need to draw back the crowd that had only just dispersed.
Ginny couldn't help it. She glanced over at Malfoy, whose expression was infuriatingly blank. She took that as a sign that he would play along.
"At—at least a week. Let me see." She looked down at her shaking hands, wriggling each finger as she pretended to count. "Yes, a week. We've been dating a week. We're dating," she said, and the nervousness wasn't even feigned.
She was shocked, but quickly hid it, when Malfoy took a step closer to her and placed his hand on the small of her back. Not only was the gesture unexpected, but the fact that his hand didn't sink any lower to grope her also came as a surprise. She realized then how paranoid and mistrusting she'd become since the start of Junker's harassment.
Malfoy's next words sent another spike of shock through her, making her whole body jump.
"Do you have a problem with that, Weasley?" he said to Ron. He drew Ginny a little closer to his side. Combined with his challenge, he almost seemed… protective of Ginny.
"Yeah, actually, I do! What do you think you're doing? She's my sister! Harry Potter's ex-girlfriend! She's a Weasley!"
"Do not define me by my relationships, Ron!" Ginny said, her temper rising quickly. "I don't belong to anyone. Least of all to you or Harry, so don't treat me like the only thing that I am is who I am to someone else. I'm my own person, and Malfoy sees that. Don't you?"
She turned on him, and his eyebrows arched high on his forehead, the expression on his face either surprised or impressed; she couldn't really tell and didn't care.
"Yes, I know that," Malfoy said, turning his attention back to Ron. "I know exactly who and what she is. I'll thank you to mind your own business and remove your elongated nose from our relationship. Come along, dearest."
Then he swept Ginny away from the lobby and the lift, away from Ron and the few people from the previous crowd who had decided to linger. He escorted her straight to her cubicle, and it wasn't until she was sitting in her chair that he finally removed his hands from her body, but Ginny was still reeling and hardly noticed.
He trapped her in the chair by placing his hands on the arms and leaning down over her. She was only mildly conscious of how the two of them would have looked if any of her coworkers had passed by in that moment. His mouth descended to her ear, and Ginny's eyes fluttered closed, waiting for the feel of his lips on her skin. Hopefully on her neck. That was a particularly sensitive area.
Instead he whispered, "I expect you to explain what just happened, because I am still, as I'm sure you can imagine, very confused. And intrigued, but mostly confused."
Gooseflesh popped up all over Ginny's arms, and her nerves caused her to giggle, which of course made their situation look worse. She knew as soon as Malfoy left that her three most gossipy coworkers—whose cubicles conveniently surrounded Ginny's—would pounce on her for information.
He rose to his full height, and at a normal volume announced, "Dinner tonight? I'll pick you up at seven."
"Yes, okay," was all she could say.
Malfoy left and the gossip vultures swooped in. Ginny answered their questions to the best of her ability, but she was in a daze.
Ginny was so distracted for the rest of the afternoon, she didn't realize Colin was in her cubicle until she stood up for a bathroom break. The sight of him startled her back into her chair, and a little scream came out of her mouth. Her coworkers didn't inquire as to her well-being as these kinds of reactions were fairly common in the Spirit Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
"Colin! Don't do that!" Ginny cried. At the fright she'd received, she thought her heart was going to beat straight out of her chest. She put her hand on top of it to quell the pounding.
"Sorry," he replied, smiling and shrugging sheepishly. "It's a little difficult to make noise when your body doesn't belong in the physical plane."
A pang always echoed painfully inside her rib cage when Colin came to visit her. He looked exactly as he had the last time she'd seen him, at the Battle of Hogwarts three and a half years ago, except for the small detail that he was transparent as smoke. And dead.
He hovered over the extra chair in her cubicle, pretending to sit in it with his chin resting on his palm. "I've been hearing rumors," he said.
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Here we go," she muttered.
"It's just that last I heard, you were depressingly single."
"I am perfectly happy single!" she corrected him.
"Oh, so you are single? Because that's not what I'm hearing."
This wasn't the place to have this conversation, not when she was almost positive her coworkers kept extra pairs of Extendable Ears around their desks to pick up all the office gossip. She stood up from her chair, and with a glare at Colin said, "Interview room. Now."
"I'll meet you there!" he replied with a smile, and then he zoomed through her cubicle wall—and through one of her coworkers by the sound of the shocked gasp that floated out of the neighboring cube.
Since ghosts weren't capable of filling out applications or writing down complaints, the interview room was where spirits met with a Spirit Division Mediator to fill out their paperwork. When Ginny entered the room, Colin was already sitting in the chair usually reserved for the Mediator, so she took a seat on the stool on the other side of the table. Ghosts had no need to sit, but sometimes having something to float over and pretend to perch on made them feel more alive and normal. Years, decades, and even centuries after death, sometimes living habits were hard to break.
"Tell me everything," Colin said, and Ginny did, from Jason Junker's first interactions with her soon after his promotion all the way down to Malfoy pretending to take her on a date. Colin leaned over the interview table, his chin perched in both of his hands as he listened intently.
It was a little disconcerting the way he did that. In life, Colin had been enthusiastic and intense in his passions, and that hadn't changed in death. Ginny couldn't help but feel that his enthusiasm now stemmed from his desire to live vicariously through living people, Ginny especially. None of his other friends or family members knew that Colin still roamed the earth as a spirit. He'd been too embarrassed to show his face to them, and he'd only revealed himself to Ginny accidentally, when he'd contacted the Spirit Division for counseling a couple years after his death and she'd been on duty to greet him.
Once he'd evaded his true death, he'd become stuck on Earth, bound forever to the mortal plane. Sometimes they joked about how hokey that sounded: "the mortal plane." But mostly it was too depressing to talk about Colin's death, so they tried to ignore the fact that his body was transparent and immaterial—sometimes they succeeded in forgetting.
Colin floated through the air, tapping his chin as he considered the situation. "So how long are you going to keep up this act? What are you going to tell your family? What about his family? What if Malfoy doesn't go along with it?" He zoomed up to Ginny, his torso bisected by the table, his eyes wide in shock. "What if Malfoy blackmails you? What if—"
"Colin," Ginny said, stopping him mid-sentence. Her hand rose to cover his mouth, but halfway up, she remembered what a silly gesture that would have been and lowered her arm again. "I don't know, okay? I wasn't thinking. I… I kind of expected the whole thing to end right there at the lift. But then a crowd of people showed up, and then Ron showed up…. I wouldn't be surprised if my mum already knows."
"Well, you've got to convince Junker at least, right? Otherwise, what was the point in the lie in the first place? I could keep an eye on him for you. You know, follow him around until I'm sure he's moved on from you to someone else."
Ginny shuddered at the thought of Jason Junker turning his attention onto another unsuspecting woman. Then she frowned, wishing she'd been able to shame—or hex—some sense into him so that his disgusting behavior would stop. She couldn't just release him into the world to terrorize women around the Ministry. If she didn't do something to stop him, she'd be just as complicit in his harassment.
"That's a good idea," she said to Colin. His eyebrows rose skeptically as she continued. "I mean, don't haunt him or anything, but keep an eye out and your ears open. Tell me if he gives up on me and who he sets his sights on next. Can you do that?"
He grinned so wide, he might have just received an autographed photo of Harry. "I'll get started right away!" he said, and before Ginny could stop him, he disappeared through the wall.
When she returned to her cubicle, an inter-departmental memo was hovering over her desk. As soon as she sat down, it began to poke her head with an incessant persistence. Part of her expected it to be from her mum, which was silly of course. Then her mind drifted to Malfoy as she pulled the paper airplane out of her hair and opened it.
But it wasn't from Malfoy, either.
What a naughty girl you are lying to me like that. Good thing you're too beautiful to stay angry at for long. Drop the act with Malfoy; I know you're not really dating him, nor would you ever consider it.
But just in case you needed a little persuasion in my direction, here's one asset I have that I'm sure Malfoy doesn't.
Ginny unfolded the last flap of the memo and then cried, "Holy fuck!"
A chair scraped against the floor in the cubicle behind her as Rose Bloomgarden, the nosiest of her coworkers, said, "Ginny?"
Ginny dove down to the ground to pick up the memo and the photograph Junker had sent along with it, stuffing them into her purse just as Rose reached the entrance of Ginny's cube.
"All right in there?" she asked.
Ginny tried to smile, but her lips were trembling in anger. "I'm fine!" she said, her voice pitched half an octave higher in her distress. "I just"—she cleared her throat—"I just stubbed my toe, that's all."
"Oh, okay," Rose said, but her eyes widened as she quickly scanned the cubicle for something to gossip to her friends about later. "Can I get you anything?"
"No! Er, I mean, really, I'm fine. I'll just take a look at it, and, uh, use a healing spell if necessary. Everything's A-okay in here!"
Her coworker sniffed as she left, clearly disappointed, and Ginny threw herself down into her chair and lightly banged her head against her desk.
"Why is it so small?" she asked herself. She hoped, for Malfoy's sake, that Malfoy was better endowed than Jason.
Her face burned as she remembered the way he'd kissed her earlier—or the way she'd kissed him. She didn't need to think about any of Malfoy's endowments or skills. But with them on her mind anyway, she tried to salvage the rest of her work day… and failed.
Sunny's Prompt #3:
Basic premise: Draco and Ginny start publicly dating for reasons other than actually liking each other.
Must haves: The pair put on a very convincing act even though they really don't like what they have to do...at least at first. The ruse goes on for a while and in the meantime they're learning more and more surprising things about the other. Humor.
No-no's: A dark or very angsty story.
Rating range: The higher the better, but ultimately up to you. I really don't mind.
Bonus points: Hogwarts Era. Draco and Ginny get competitive about one-upping each other to show how they're the best girlfriend/boyfriend ever, and when no one is looking they snipe at each other about how lame/stupid their 'romantic' act was or snark together about how ridiculous everyone else is to think that said gesture was so romantic. E.g. "If I actually came home to that and you were my real boyfriend, I'd bloody kill you."