-1A/N: This book was written pre-OOTP, so it's definitely not completely canon anymore. Yes, I'm aware that Blaise Zabini is not a girl. Please stop telling me. As this was written over four years ago, there are a lot of inaccuracies. Please try to enjoy it for what it is and happy reading…
"And Ron Weasley blocks another shot for the Gryffindor team! Wow, he's really on a roll today!"
"Go Ron!", Ginny Weasley jumped up and screamed, cheering for her big brother. Hermione Granger, who was next to her cheered as well, but went quickly back to a thick book in front of her - she had an Arithmancy test in two days. "Hermione, how can you read a book at a time like this?"
Hermione glanced up at the redhead and shrugged. "I guess I just know how it's going to end," she replied with a wicked smile on her face. "After all, we haven't lost to Slytherin in the seven years I've been here."
Ginny had to admit that she had a point. The Gryffindor team was awesome - surprisingly they had recovered from the graduation of almost all of their players two years before. The Slytherin team on the other hand…well, it was really no contest, even with the every Slytherin riding speedy Accelerina Maximas, the fastest brooms in the world. But still - Ginny loved watching them soar through the air on their broomsticks. It was like they were doing some wild, intensively choreographed dance, one she realized wistfully that she would never be able to do.
It wasn't for lack of trying…it was just that she was scared. She had never really got the hang of turning and swerving - or landing for that matter - all of which made for a less than desirable set of skills for a wannabe Quidditch star.
Suddenly excited squeals pierced the air even more loudly than before and Ginny looked up to see a crimson blur, followed closely by an emerald wisp go flying by. Harry had obviously seen the Snitch and was after it, Draco Malfoy hot on his trail. A moment later it was all over as Harry sailed up, the golden snitch grasped in his hand.
His teammates and many Gryffindors stormed the field, including Hermione, but Ginny stayed put, watching in fascination as Madam Hooch collected the Bludgers (which put up quite a good fight) and the Quaffle, doing all this as she rode easily on a broomstick.
Ginny closed her eyes and imagined being able to fly so fast she'd be jus a blur, to be able to throw a ball past a Keeper and to hear the crowd roar, to feel the cool Golden Snitch in her palm…She was so wrapped up in her little fantasies that she didn't even realize that the stands had completely cleared out.
Startled, she jumped to her feet and started down towards the exit. Suddenly she stopped, sniffing the air. Something smelled…odd.
Out of curiosity, she kept walking until the smell was so powerful that she coughed, trying to clear her windpipe. A sudden scrambling was heard to her right and she turned just in time to see a tall, blonde figure, half hidden in the shadows under the stands, clad in green remove something from his mouth and crush it under the heel of his dragon-hide Quidditch boot. Her eyes traveled up and suddenly she felt as if someone had plunged an icicle into her heart as her eyes met an icy, gray gaze.
"Malfoy," she stammered, trying to sound vindictive, but only succeeding in sounding shaky and intimidated. It wasn't that she was scared of Malfoy - not Draco Malfoy - but his eyes were so cold that she felt as if she had no right to be there whatsoever.
"Weasley," he replied, crossing his sinewy, muscled arms over his chest. "What did you see?"
Ginny stared at him, wondering what on Earth he was talking about and then remembered his sudden surge of activity. "What did you have in your mouth, Malfoy? And what was that smell?"
Malfoy sneered. "I wouldn't expect you to know, Weasley," he said in a cold, drawling voice.
Ginny stared back at him, hoping she didn't look too scared. "I know exactly what that was, Malfoy," she finally replied. "Cigarettes are illegal at Hogwarts, Malfoy."
Malfoy looked startled, then quickly recovered, a small smirk playing at the edge of his lips. "Cigarettes? Right. Well, what do I have to do to keep you from telling anyone about this, Weasley?" She didn't reply and Malfoy sighed impatiently. "Look, I know you're just going to run back to the castle and tell Dumbledore, but I really can't afford to get kicked out of Hogwarts six months before graduation, so what do you want? You want money?"
Ginny stared back at him, her mind racing. This was all happening too fast. She had information to blackmail Malfoy? This was good stuff! What could she get from him? She didn't want his dirty money - Merlin knew where that came from. She looked around and her eyes landed on Malfoy's broomstick. He followed her gaze and his eyebrows shot up in surprise.
"No way, Weasley, you can't have my broom," he said, shaking his head adamantly. "I can't afford to go buy another one and people would suspect something."
"I don't want your stupid broom, Malfoy," Ginny snapped, an idea forming in her head. "I want you to…teach me to fly."
Malfoy's eyebrows shot up again. "Teach you to fly? Haven't your three million older brothers done that?"
shook her head and Malfoy sighed deeply, contemplating the situation.
"I guess I have no choice," he murmured. He truly looked pained.
"How many lessons?"
"Enough that I can make the house team in March," Ginny replied, thinking of the upcoming tryouts.
"Do you have any experience?," Malfoy asked, looking wary.
"Some," Ginny replied indignantly. "I took basic classes first year, just like everyone else."
Draco groaned and looked impatiently at her. "Okay, fine," he finally snapped. "Meet me here - tomorrow, after dinner. You have to swear you won't tell anyone though. Not even about these lessons."
"I won't tell anyone," Ginny said quietly. Her exterior was meek and calm, but inside she was doing jumping jacks. Sure, Malfoy was no prince, but he was a good flyer. And with this secret to hold over him, he wouldn't do anything to hurt her intentionally. She would make the Gryffindor Quidditch team in March - and Harry Potter would finally notice her.
The next day seemed to drag on forever for Ginny Weasley. She jumped out of bed as soon as her alarm sounded and hurried down to breakfast. Her classes that day - Transfiguration, Potions, and Care Of Magical Creatures seemed to be twice as long as usual - and she found herself staring longingly at the Quidditch Pitch while Hagrid was giving his lecture on Fire-Crabs.
The only negative thing about this was that she was going to have to get the lessons from Malfoy, who would undoubtedly spend the majority of the lesson making fun of her flying skills and cracks about her being a Weasley. She decided early on that she would just ignore him. As much as she could while he was teacher her, anyway.
Dinner came after what seemed to be the longest day of Ginny's life. She gulped down a glass of pumpkin juice and pocketed a couple of rolls, then excused herself from the table.
"Ginny, where are you going?," Ron mumbled, his mouth full of kidney pie.
"Need to finish an assignment," she replied, hoping that he wouldn't catch her in her lie. "See you later."
She hurried up to the dormitory and changed into some of her older robes and grabbed her broom - Ron's old Shooting Star, which he had given her after Harry had given him a Nimbus 2002 for Christmas the year before.
Walking onto the Quidditch Pitch, she looked around, suddenly worried that Malfoy wouldn't show. It was still early though, she realized, and sat down on the cold ground and waited.
Fifteen minutes later she heard the crunch of grass under foot and saw a dark shape coming towards her, walking with a slow, sauntering gait. Definitely Malfoy. The moonlight hit his aristocratic face and he looked down at her, his expression showing that he'd rather be anywhere but where he was at present.
"Well, let's get this over with," he grumbled, not even stopping to greet her. "You have a broom?"
Ginny nodded enthusiastically and stood up, holding out her Shooting Star. Draco sneered at it and let out a snobby laugh. "It's the best I have, Malfoy," she said through gritted teeth, suddenly annoyed. Yeah, she was poor. But who was this git to insult her, especially when she could get him thrown out of school.
"Yeah, but you're never going to learn to play Quidditch on that thing," he retorted with a sigh. "I figured as much. Here." He dropped something at her feet and Ginny looked down to see a slightly battered, but still very new Nimbus 2001. "You can use it while we're here."
"Thank you, Malfoy," Ginny said, staring down at it.
"Well, let's start," Malfoy growled under his breath. "Up!," he shouted. His Accelerina Maxima flew into his hand and he looked over at Ginny.
"Up!," she mimicked. The Nimbus flipped over and bounced a few feet away.
"Do you want the broom to come up or not, Weasley? Say it with some power."
Ginny took a deep breath. "UP!," she repeated. The broom shot into her hand like a rocket and she looked down at it, a surprised expression on her face.
"Okay, now get on," Malfoy instructed, mounting his own broom and kicking off, gliding a few feet above her. Ginny stood over her broom and shakily rose a few feet into the air.
"Oh!," she exclaimed as the nose dove sharply and she nearly fell off.
"You have to let the broom know who's in charge!," Draco called, gliding easily around her. "It can tell that you're scared." He flew up again. Now he was nearly thirty feet in the air. "Bring it up here, Weasley!"
Ginny, trying very hard not to shake, guided the nose of the broom up and felt a sudden sense of elation as it began to steadily rise. Not very quickly or very smoothly, but she was rising just the same. After a moment, she came face to face with Malfoy, who was sitting upon his broom, not even holding on, examining his cuticles. "Oh, up here finally, are you?"
up, Malfoy," she murmured. "Now what?"
"How fast can you fly?," he asked.
"Um…well, I've never really rode anything quicker than the Shooting Star," she admitted. "So, I don't know. I went to the maximum speed on that one."
is about the maximum speed of a tortoise," Malfoy muttered, rolling
his gray eyes. "Fly to the end zone and back, as quickly as you
Ginny nodded and leaned forward. She squealed as the broom took off. She had never flown so quickly in her life. She saw the Quidditch hoops coming up and tried to turn, but jerked too hard and suddenly saw the large Slytherin banners lining that corner of the pitch growing larger and larger. With a sharp pain she hit them and lost grip of the broom, falling down towards the ground, which by now was only about ten feet down. She hit the cold pitch on her back, feeling a sharp engage her hold body. The broom landed on top of her with a thump. A moment later, Malfoy landed beside her and looked down at her leisurely.
"You don't know how to turn, I take it?"
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," she said sarcastically, struggling to sit up. "I didn't expect it to go so fast."
Malfoy laughed. "You think that was fast?" He seemed to be contemplating something. "Get on," he finally said.
"What?," Ginny questioned. There was still a dull pain thudding through her whole body and now Draco Malfoy wanted her to get on his broom? Maybe she had hit her head…
"I want you to see how quickly you can go," he replied. "If you want to play Quidditch and impress Potter, I suggest you do this."
Ginny's face turned scarlet red. "I'm not doing this to impress Harry," she lied.
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Sure. And I'm doing this out of the kindness of my own heart," he said. "Get on."
Reluctantly, Ginny climbed to her feet and got behind Draco on his broom. "What do I do?"
"Just hold on," Draco replied and then without warning, he shot straight into the air. Letting out a petrified scream, Ginny grabbed him around his waist and held on as tightly as she could.
If she had thought that she had been going fast before on the Nimbus, it was nothing to the speed she was traveling at now. Everything around her was a blur and she wondered vaguely how people could possibly play Quidditch going this speed. Malfoy shot off the Quidditch pitch, over the canopy of the Forbidden Forest and then back around the perimeter of the stands. It must have been ten minutes, but it felt like only a few seconds before he gently guided his broom back to the ground.
"I think that's enough for today, Weasley," he said as their feet hit the ground. "I'm busy tomorrow. After dinner the day after that."
Ginny realized that she was still gripping her arms around him and dropped them in mortification. "Okay," she squeaked, jumping off the broom. Malfoy quickly glided off to collect his Nimbus and then got off of his Accelerina and strode towards the castle without another word.
Ginny picked up the Shooting Star, lying abandoned in the middle of the pitch. She shook her head and started up towards Hogwarts, following Malfoy's receding form.