A/N:I'm sorry. I know it took me nine days to get this chapter out. Abysmal, I know. I'm really sorry. Ever since my ankle healed well enough for me to hobble around, I've had to work like super overtime to make up for when I couldn't walk at all. Anyway, here it is, the last chapter. I hope you all like it. Please read, review, and let me know what you thought…Happy Reading!
Ginny walked down the empty stone corridors, wrapping her coat more securely around her. The box holding the rose was in her pocket, slapping lightly against her leg as she walked. She felt more nervous than she ever had before in her life. Who knew that she could get this wrapped up in one guy - especially a Malfoy.
"Get a grip, Weasley," she instructed herself. She was not going to let some boy shake her up like this.
Her footsteps echoed faintly against the walls, but Ginny was so caught up in her musings that she wasn't even aware of the noise she was making. If fact, she wasn't aware of much of anything until she rounded the last corner before she reached the classroom where she was supposed to meet Draco. It was only then that she snapped back to reality, due to the wall to her left suddenly sliding open. A hunched figure, engulfed in the shadows, lumbered towards her. She couldn't see his face, but there was no mistaking that walk: It was Filch.
Ginny's eyes widened in shock. She wanted to run, but knew that it was already too late as she heard Filch begin to cackle in a mad sort of matter.
For a moment, she just stared at the old, withered up man. His yellowish eyes were narrowed in an expression of utter contempt and his lip was curled up into a vindictive smirk. If she hadn't known that he was a squib, she would have insisted he had been a Slytherin. In Ginny's opinion, only Slytherins could smirk like that.
"Well, well, well…," Filch said, his lips stretching into a malicious grin. His yellowed, crooked teeth gleamed nastily in the fire-light. Ginny stared up at him fearfully. "To my office," he snarled.
Ginny wanted to argue, but from her experience with the old care-taker, knew that it was no use whatsoever. She reluctantly followed him down the hallway towards his office. He pushed the door open and sat down in the rickety old chair he gestured towards. She stared down at her shoes, wondering how badly he was going to punish her. He was rifling through the file cabinets on the other side of the room and she briefly considered making a break for it - but it would be no use. She'd most likely get in even more trouble.
"Please, Mr. Filch," she said in a pleading voice. "It won't ever happen again!"
He turned and looked at her down his long, crooked nose. "You think I don't know who you are?," he grumbled. "You and your older brothers have been the bane of my existence ever since I started working here." He turned back to the file cabinet and continued to search through it.
Ginny sighed and sank down on the chair. Draco was going to think she was standing him up. She knew that his pride was something he valued above most anything else. What was he going to think when she didn't show up?
She sat there for what seemed like an eternity, though she knew it was probably only a quarter of an hour, maximum. Filch had finally retrieved the sought after forms and was now loading up his quill with ink.
Ginny jumped as she heard the sound of a nearby door being thrown closed. Filch was startled as well and Ginny noticed with a dull sense of satisfaction that his quill had shaken so violently that flecks of midnight blue ink dotted his sallow face.
He didn't see her expression, however. His eyes were fixed on the door to the hallway.
"You stay here," he snapped, getting up and hurrying out of the room, no doubt to find another unfortunate student out of bed.
Ginny sighed and glanced around the small, dark room. Her gaze rested on a pair of manacles hanging on the wall and she shuddered, very thankful that Dumbledore didn't allow Filch to use them.
"That's two tonight, my love," Filch's oily voice exclaimed and Ginny heard a loud mewl. She wrinkled her nose in distaste. Mrs. Norris, that blasted cat - Ginny was definitely a cat person, but that particular feline gave her a particular case of the creeps.
"Just imagine," Filch was saying, " the amount of points you'll get taken off." He sounded ecstatic.
"You really are a miserable old loon, aren't you?," a familiar, drawling voice snapped. Ginny gasped and she immediately twisted around in her chair to stare into the hallway.
Filch walked back in, accompanied by a sauntering Mrs. Norris and a pissed off looking Draco Malfoy. He glanced over at her and his eyes widened in surprise.
Some of the anger that was obvious on his face seemed to fade away at the sight of her, Ginny was relieved to see. He collapsed onto the only other chair in the room - which just happened to be Filch's.
Filch looked quite surprised. "What do you think you're doing, you stupid little boy? Get out of my chair!"
Draco simply smirked. "Where are your manners? I believe I'm a guest. You did invite me to your office, after all."
Filch's nostrils flared. "Move!"
"Make me," Draco said icily, his gaze fixed on Filch.
Filch seemed to sputter for words for a moment before finally turning and stomping over to his file cabinets. Draco glanced towards Ginny, who was gawking at his behavior. He smiled slightly and winked at her than resumed his glare at Filch's back.
Filch had retrieved his forms and had set them down on the table. He looked a bit uncomfortable, but leaned over with his quill and began to fill out the remainder of the form, nonetheless.
There was along silence as he did this. Draco continued to glare at Filch so that every time he looked up he was met by cold gray eyes. Filch finally signed his name to the paper with a flourish, putting one copy in his outbox and handing the other to Ginny, who glanced at it in curiosity.
Her eyes grew to the size of dinner plates. "You're recommending expulsion and disembowelment?," she stuttered. "Disembowelment?"
"It means you're bowels are taken out," Draco offered helpfully, a hint of amusement in his voice.
"I know that," she exclaimed. She scowled at Filch. "You're mad, you know that?"
"Get out of my sight," Filch growled, already hard at work on Draco's forms. Ginny rolled her eyes and started towards the doors. She heard a slight cough and looked back to see Draco staring at her.
"Wait for me," he mouthed.
She glanced towards Filch to make sure he hadn't seen Draco's message and nodded curtly. She walked out of the room and ducked behind a thick pillar, hoping Filch wouldn't find her again.
Draco waited in annoyed apprehension as Filch slowly filled out his report in his untidy scrawl. "Are you almost done?," he asked irritably. "I have things to attend to." Filch only glared at him, his face twisted into an agitated scowl. He didn't reply, however.
Draco sighed impatiently and leaned back in the chair. This whole being-captured-by-a-maniacal-caretaker thing was really throwing off his plans. He had taken Blaise's advice to heart. While he wasn't going to lie, cheat, or steal anything from Ginny, he was certainly going to have the upper hand. He simply had to get her to admit she loved him before he would tell her how he felt. How hard could that be?
Filch finally signed Draco's paper and handed the form to him. "You can get out of my chair now," he said grouchily. Draco snatched the paper from his hand and glanced down at it. Filch had gone a step further with his recommendation than with Ginny's - he thought that Draco deserved a nice, painful beheading.
He walked into the hallway and looked around, searching for any sign of the red-head, but couldn't see her anywhere. He jumped, startled, as he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Ginny behind him, a wicked smile on her face.
"You were scared," she stated.
"No, I wasn't," he lied, resisting the urge to stick his tongue out at her in an infantile manner. "I was just…surprised." She only smirked. He grabbed her hand and started to drag her down the hall. "It doesn't matter. Let's get out of here before that crazy bastard comes looking for us again."
Ginny nodded and ran to keep up with him. He jerked her around corners and up staircases until she was so disoriented that she had no idea where they were in the castle. He finally stopped in front of a painting of a two-headed goblin, who was leering at them unpleasantly.
"Pollywog," he muttered and the painting swung open, revealing a passageway. Ginny glanced at Draco, wondering where on Earth they could be, but he simply pulled her through the passageway and the portrait swung closed behind them.
"Where are we?," she asked, staring around the room. The room was circular, signifying that they were in one of the towers, though they were near the bottom of it. There was a long, rectangular table at one end with about two dozen chairs around it. The other half of the room was filled with gray and white sofas and armchairs and several smaller tables. The walls were adorned with shelves to the ceiling filled with books. There was a huge fireplace at one end, in which an huge fire was blazing.
"Prefect lounge," he said with a shrug. He collapsed onto one of the sofas and gestured for her to join them. Time to put Plan Get-Ginny-To-Admit-How-She-Felt into action. "So, what did you want to tell me?"
She was staring down at her hands, which she was wringing together in a somewhat nervous manner. A second later she looked up at him, biting her lip a bit apprehensively. "Actually, I wanted to ask you something."
"Bugger," Draco muttered under his voice. He was hoping she would have forgotten about that. "Are you sure?"
"Sure of what?," she asked, looking a little confused.
"Sure that you had to ask me something. I thought you said you had to tell me something," he said insistently.
She shook her head fervently. "No, I'm sure I have to ask you something."
"Oh," he mumbled. "Well, what was it?," he finally complied. He could always turn the question around on her, after all.
"Well, you erm…know that rose that I got for Valentine's Day?," she asked.
"Yes, I know all about it," Draco replied, nodding. "Is that all you needed to ask me? Good then!" He stood up and stretched languidly, hoping he could slip out of the room and avoid this topic for another day.
Ginny reached up and frustration and yanked at the hem of his shirt, pulling him back down onto the sofa. "That wasn't the question, Draco."
"It wasn't?," he asked, dumbly.
"No!," she exclaimed. "I wanted to know if that rose was from you!"
There was a long pause as he weighed his options. He could lie and say that it wasn't from him and that she was completely mad for even considering that it could be from him. Or he could tell the truth. "Do you think I sent you that rose?," he asked carefully.
She rolled her eyes. "Obviously, I wouldn't be asking you if you did if I didn't think you may have." There was another long pause. "Would you just answer my question?"
"Which question was that?," he asked, making one last-ditch-effort to get out of this potentially embarrassing situation.
Unfortunately, he had forgotten about the infamous Weasley temper. In less than a second, Ginny was on her feet and stomping towards the door, her cheeks blazing red. "Fine!," she exclaimed. "Just…bloody…play games with me, Draco! I'm trying to be serious for once and you won't even answer me. So fine!" Draco stared at her in surprise and immediately felt a twinge of guilt. He hadn't meant to make her angry - it was just that she was usually so passive, so calm. He wasn't counting on her flying off the handle like this.
"Ginny, wait!," he said, getting up and rushing towards her. She had stopped in front of the small passage, her arms crossed over her chest, tapping her foot in an agitated manner. "I'm sorry. I'm being an ass. Will you please come sit down?"
"Why should I?," she said and turned around, fixing Draco with her angry, liquid brown eyes. "So you can avoid my questions some more?" She shook her head and started to turn around.
"Ginny, I sent you the bloody rose, okay?," he finally blurted out, grabbing hold of her arm. She stared back at him, her eyes widening.
He took hold of her other arm in his hand and pulled her level to him so that she was forced to look at him. "Yes, I did."
She blinked hard, as if trying to clear her mind. "Why?," she finally asked.
Draco shrugged. "I was in Hogsmeade one day and I saw them in the flower store and I don't know…I just felt like it."
She hesitated for a second. "It's red, you know."
He nodded. "Yeah, I know." There was a long silence. He could tell that she wanted desperately to ask him if he was really in love with her, but as bold as she could be, he knew that she never would. "I guess," he started slowly, "that it's good to know that I didn't waste my money one something that wouldn't work."
"Wouldn't work?," she asked vaguely and Draco could almost see the wheels turning in her head. "You mean…"
He took one of her hands in hers and lifted it up to his lips, his gaze never leaving hers as he gently brushed her fingers with gentle kiss. "I mean, I love you, Ginny."
If Draco had thought that Ginny looked shocked by him admitting that he had sent the rose, it was nothing to the expression on her face now. Her face had gone extremely pale, except for two circles of red at the tips of her cheekbones. Her mouth was slightly parted as if her jaw had literally fallen. "Are you sure?," she finally asked.
He started laughing at that and slid his arms around her comfortingly. "Yes, I'm sure," he said.
"But…but you're Malfoy! You're not supposed to love me! You're not supposed to love anyone!"
"But I do," he said.
"It doesn't make sense."
Draco simply shrugged. "It doesn't have to make sense. I love you."
She smiled slightly and tilted her head to the side to survey him. "Its not right, you know. Half the time I want to kill you."
"Right. What about the other half?," he asked in a joking tone, though he sounded a bit concerned.
Ginny smirked. "I want to kill myself for feeling what I feel."
"Really," Draco asked, raising his eyebrows. "What is it that you feel?"
Ginny bit her lip, looking thoughtful. "I really can't say."
Draco raised his hand up to the side of her face and gently smoothed away a few strands of hair falling into her face. "Well then don't say. Show me."
Ginny's lips blossomed into a grin as she reached up and pulled Draco's face down towards hers in a kiss. This time, Draco could tell she wasn't holding back. He pulled her closer to him until there was absolutely no space in between them.
Draco had never felt like he was feeling at that moment. He could think of nothing but the feel of Ginny's lips against his, her small hands running along his back, his own hands running through her silky red hair. He finally pulled away from her, breathless, and rested his forehead against hers.
"It's going to be hard, you know," he whispered.
"So hard," she agreed, nodding slightly.
"Is it worth it for you?," he asked sincerely.
Even if she hadn't answered him he would have known from the look in her eyes. "Absolutely," she replied, before pressing her lips against his again.
~*~ FIN ~*~
A/N:Yes, that's it. It's come to an end. I am so grateful to all of you who reviewed for me - you have no clue how much I appreciated all of your kind words and advice.
Sabra, pinkangel335, Kerry, Ezmerelda, slytherin-cool, Jessica, beth, VuruNeno, Random Artemis(Eeek…scary thoughts…fun ideas for my sequel though…lol), Ravyn Nyte, PunkPrincess05, evilryokojesseandfiend, Mocha Dream (LoL…Your reviews always crack me up…), Lady Megan, Ugo Plutanium Platipi, fallen~angel, kat, Excillian (My grandparents are Irish…they talk a lot…they have a LOT of sayings…some of them are scary…these aren't…lol), Imp, Anya, izzy, hpangel, Miss.Charlet, Emo_Chick (Yes, I'm a girl..hehe), txt-eva, stokely, Drue, sCHEm, sunshine angels, Draco-lover, ThereIsNoSpoon, Baby, ferggirl99, Isadora, gohansfan (wow…thanks for all the…wrappers…), Jen, sadie, Kylie, Reven Eid, karen, Kerry, Erin Faith, Karly, Ace Of Spades, Adria, JT Jones, Butterflysky (Ouch…you hit me *pouts*. I haven't had a chance to read your story yet, but I will try…I promise), Eraserhead, Korinna Myorin, Canis Lupin, Chocolat Elf (Yay for toffee!), Brianna Dark night (Awww…well, at least you don't have any more cliffies to worry about), Meeegz, depth, wolviesrogue, fyrechild (Yes, I would certainly LOVE a pet Irishman), KeeperOfTheMoon, Crystal, kellyanne, Jenn, Strawberry Dream, charismatic, Silver Essence (I did respond, silly), Red Magic Marker, Sakura1287, Wind and Ashes, Cassandra Sisenta, Missfizz (well, my Seamus is blonde, but still…lol), Luinthoron, Lysaka, and Xela.
I'm 99% sure that I'm going to write a sequel. It will be basically Blaise and Seamus, though I'm not 100% sure it will be them involved romantically. I think they make an interesting pairing though. We'll see. I've got to write it first. There will be, of course, some D/G in the background, but they won't be the predominant couple or whatever, because frankly, I'm bored with them. I wrote two stories with them and I'm ready for something different. Anyway, look out for that. I'll try to let y'all know.
Also, the last quote at the end Chapter Sixteen : "You never miss the water till the well has run dry." It basically means that you don't know what you have till it's gone.
Oh well - I think I'm going to go rest my fingers. Thank you all for reading. Thank you for the reviews that made me laugh and think and all that other good stuff. You are all awesome. Let me know what you think.
Adios for now,