Chapter 20: I wouldn't have it any other way…

                "You know," Ginny drawled lightly as she stared with bleary eyes at the chiseled face before her. "You're real' good at this conversation thin'." Ginny grinned and promptly patted the back of the statue she was leaning on in a very friendly manner. The statue didn't respond, though Ginny started laughing as if it had. Fortunately this spectacle was hardly visible as it was just Ginny standing out by the doors with a single inanimate statue of Newt Scamander as her sole companion.

                "So, anyway, as I was sayin'," Ginny slurred as she finished laughing and paused in her speech as a confused pair of Hufflepuffs walked out of the hall and eyed her. They passed and she continued. "Af'er that he had the gall to start callin' me by my first name! It was eerie…" Ginny shuddered but, as she leaned back against her stone conversation mate she paused. "But endearin'…an' kinda' cute, come to think of it…."

                "That's good to know, Virginia Weasley." Draco calmly spoke as he stood facing away from her, back leaning against her conversation partner—he, being inanimate, didn't seem to mind much. Strangely though, in her drunken stupor, Ginny seemed convinced—and none too surprised by the concept—that the statue was speaking to her.

                "Don' call me 'at…" Ginny started but Draco interrupted her, bemusedly.

                "Only your grandparents and father, I know." Draco pondered this predicament and though he didn't often like tricking drunken girls into admitting things to him he wasn't often in a position to hear admissions from a girl so particularly odd and endearing. "What would you like him to call you?"

                "Y'mean if' he didn't call me Weasley?" Ginny asked with a scoff and a note of slightly hurt indignity. "Prolly' let him call me Gin', if he really wanted."

                "A type of alcohol?" Draco asked flatly, but the smile that twisted the corners of his lips did nothing to hide his amusement.

                "S'not like 'e's not had it 'fore." Ginny snorted and Draco had to stifle a laugh—how bad of an outlook on him did she have? Probably a dark one, considering.

                "Sounds like you aren't certain whether you like him or hate him." Draco leaned back, this was the question he was most inclined to ask and have answered.

                "Exactly!" Ginny slung her arm around the shoulders of the statue and stared it straight in the eyes, as if trying to communicate a certain secrecy. "I love him', I hate him', tis quite a predicament!" Draco was stunned—he'd expected some form of drunken ramblings that ended in a diplomatic answer, he'd not prepared himself for something so blunt. "I s'pose I love to hate him…and hate to love him…or somethin' like that. Or was that hate to hate and love to love?" Ginny trailed off inaudibly with her grammatical dilemma and Draco just stared, blankly, at the back of her slumped head.

                "He's like Orion," Ginny stated flatly with no form of explanation, whatsoever. After a few moments Draco prompted her for one.

                "How so?"

                "Well see, he'd Orion and I'm Cassiopeia." Ginny motioned up at the night sky, vaguely, despite the fact that it was covered over with clouds. "Always fighting to push the other out of the sky and pas' the horizon…but it'd jus' be strange withou' one or the other…you know?" Ginny asked and Draco contemplated this. This was, basically, the basis of their relationship—both caught in constant struggle but without the other or the struggle itself something would seem quite off. Virginia Weasley had a gift with metaphors when drunk.

                "I wonder jus' how he'd react if he heard thi's?" Ginny laughed and grinned at the statue. "Prolly' laugh an' make some comment bout' me bein' a stick, or somethin'…." Ginny, being in the flurry of emotion most often equated with drunkenness, suddenly went from jovial to a state very near tears. Draco wasn't certain whether to read into it or not—or simply to be hurt of flattered. All of this was quite confusing for a sober mind, but somewhere in the recesses of his psyche he could relate to her strangely expressed thoughts.

                "I don't know, he might do something wholly amazing," Draco commented once he found his voice. The sniffling Ginny promptly removed her hand from the statue and stared down at the ground in a mild depression. Draco took the opportunity to step back around to the other side of the statue and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. He led her away a bit and sat her down on a stone bench just below one of the great stained glass windows that lined the Great Hall—it seemed that even in this she'd not realized that he wasn't the statue.

                However prone to flowery language, she was quite oblivious in this state.

                "Like what?" Ginny asked dejectedly in a way that made her sound remarkably like Moaning Myrtle.

                "How should I know?" Draco asked with a small smile as he looked down at the shorter redhead. "You'll have to tell him to his face to find out."

                "Why should I do tha'?" Ginny asked indignantly and frowned. "He's a jerk and, arrogant, and a prat, and a total waste of space!" Ginny paused and leaned against Draco slightly. "An' I'm a bi'ch, a sneak, a devious little redheaded stick, and a total waste of makeup."

                "See," Draco said in an amused tone and shook her slightly as he drew her in to a sort of half hug, "you're both so damned annoying and intolerable, you're practically made for each other!" Draco was a bit more than satisfied with himself when she laughed and looked up from the ground.

                "Now come on," Draco leaned forward and saw her eyes widen slightly as her brow furrowed with confusion, "this lovely little foray into the perversely formal is nearly over and I want another dance."

                Draco stood up, taking Ginny up with him as her motor functions had been seriously impaired due to the amount of vodka imbibed. She stared up at him confused for a while but the head-rush she was struck with due to the standing caused her to lean on him in order to keep from fainting back. Draco didn't seem to mind at all that she was leaning on him completely, and looked up at the window above them as the next song started.

                True, they were out in the cold, Ginny wasn't going to remember any of this with any amount of clarity, Draco probably looked like a fool, and it was snowing on them as they moved in a slow circle to the 'Blue Danube Waltz,' a song far too fast for that particular style of dance, but none of that mattered. Draco had something of an epiphany while dancing there with a half-conscious Virginia Weasley, and hopefully she would have the same when she regained full brain function in the morning. He had found something that most people quested for and never quite arrived at—a sort of soul mate, he supposed. Ginny Weasley led a backwards version of his life and somehow the two of them understood the other so perfectly that it was both disturbing and charming at the same time. She was the sort of person he could just be silent around and remain comfortable.

                He could still beat her at Quidditch though….

                Draco smiled as the song ended and found that Ginny had fallen asleep against him. Quite a talent sleeping while on both feet, it was probably a purely Weasley skill. With no small amount of maneuvering and bribery Draco managed to get her back into her own bed before the mobs left the Great Hall and, thusly, was able to return to his own before he was questioned by the Slytherin Inquisition.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

                "Ginny!" Linda, or so Ginny assumed by the tone of voice, hurled a rather stiff pillow through the air and nailed her in the head. Ginny sat up slightly, swayed back, and, as she came to her senses, realized just why the other girls were struggling desperately to sleep. It was probably only six in the morning, on a weekend, and there was an eagle owl tapping on the glass by her bed.

                "Is that an owl or a bloody woodpecker?" Cassandra whined and tried to block out the incessant tapping with her down pillow.

                "Uh…I got it," Ginny groaned as she swung her legs out of bed, yawned, and shuffled over to the window.

                The moment Ginny opened the window the owl flew in, bringing a great gush of cold air and some snowflakes with it, and sat down haughtily on her bed. Ginny eyed the bird and even in her sleepy stupor realized that the poor thing must have been freezing outside. (The fact that it was half trying to pull her blankets up onto itself didn't hurt her conclusion much.) Being newly awoken from a most deep and restful sleep only to find a headache and ornery bird, however, Ginny wasn't in a very sympathetic mood.

                "Gimme' that!" Ginny picked up the owl (it nipped at her in protest), removed the letter from its leg, and waved it off with no treat whatsoever. Needles to say the owl was particularly vexed about this and clicked its beak in distaste. Ginny opened the letter and stared down at the words for, probably, a good five minutes before she realized just what they said.

                                Is it okay if I speak to you today? You've been pissed off for a week now.

                                Nothing I could say could make you look up, or crack up.

                                Is there anything I could do to show you—

                                You're a bitch, but I love you anyway.

                "What?" Ginny stared at the words, blankly, and tried to recall what had happened last night. She remembered walking into the dance, dancing with Draco, she had a few drinks…but everything after that was a bit fuzzy. She recalled casting the curse she'd learned from Anthony, she tried to remember who but just remembered that there were three of them. She fought hard with her fatigued mind and, after a long time, recalled a single scene with almost dreamy clarity.

                She was standing outside, on a blanket of white, beneath colored shafts of light, which tinted the falling snow strange colors as it passed them by. She was leaned against—in the arms of someone, a boy, and they were dancing. She could barely make out the music, but it didn't seem that it mattered much. The scenery, surroundings, in fact everything beyond five feet from herself in that particular memory was just a dark blur. She pondered on this and her eyes widened as she recalled a pair of grey eyes and the statue she'd spoken to.

                "It can't be," Ginny said with bemused doubt as she stared down at the letter. "It must have been from one of the people I cursed, that's right—it's from one of them." Ginny's attempt to turn her mind from shocking news wasn't met well as she remembered the faces of the three she'd cursed. "Oh dang."

                "Shut up or leave!" Cassandra's pillow muttered and Ginny took the hint. She, being far too shocked to actually get dressed, threw on her puffy pink house-robe and cautiously walked down to the common room. She found it, remarkably, empty and quickly sat down next to the freshly lit fireplace. Unfortunately no more than a few minutes had passed before Ginny heard a sort of shocked and irritated gasp from up the steps.

                "Have fun last night, Ginny?" Hermione asked in a slightly scathing tone as she gave Ginny her most reproachful glare.

                "I don't recall, I think the punch was spiked…." Ginny shook her head and Hermione looked distinctly relieved—as if this new knowledge alleviated her, fully, of the charges previously put to her.

                "Oh, poor girl," Hermione said as she set her books down on the table and sat on the couch across from Ginny. "You must have been under the influence when you attacked us."

                "Now wait a minute," Ginny interrupted Hermione's nearly singsong comfort as she recalled a few more fuzzy details from her only basely inebriated state. "You lot jumped me—I think I had a right."

                "Jumped you?" Hermione asked and looked almost scandalized.

                "Yes, jumped me, as in grabbed me by the arms and dragged me off." Ginny shot her a flat look—she recalled the events but not the particular words that had been exchanged. Hermione blustered about this for a moment and then, after further thought, fell silent. "Do you know if Ron sent me this?" Ginny, still mildly confused about the letter in her hands, handed the paper over to Hermione and rubbed her eyes in an attempt to push back her raging hangover.

                "Ron, write this?" Hermione read the page over and then looked up at Ginny. "As pained as I am to say this, Ron would have sworn a bit more." Hermione handed the paper back to Ginny and she stared at it in confusion.

                "Who—." Ginny paused and her mind recalled bits and pieces of the conversation she'd had last night. "He might do something wholly amazing…." Ginny stared down at the paper and, as the realization sank in, she stood up abruptly. She rushed over to the posting board that reside against the wall, tore off some of the more inane papers, and searched, frantically, for the Quidditch schedule. She spotted what she was after and, without even bothering to change from her pink robe and silky white pajamas, swung open the portrait and dashed out into the nearly abandoned hall.

                Ginny looked to her left and then to her right as she reached the stairs before the Great Hall. She heard voices coming from outside, thought they were probably a good distance off. She dashed down the stairs, stumbled on the last one, and nearly lost her footing as she ran, barefoot, over the cold and mildly damp castle floor. She had to know if it was him. She shoved open one of the heavy wooden doors, squeezed through the opening, and dashed down the front steps.

                It was snowing, the word was blanketed in white, the sky was dark, and the pure snow beneath her feet crunched as she stepped forward. She was right; they did have practice this morning. She stopped and stared ahead at the one person who'd halted upon seeing her. She suspected he was the only person, in fact, who'd seen her as the rest of the team had already passed around the side of the castle towards the pitch.

                "You're up early." Draco's grey eyes locked with hers and, even though they were both void of expression as per standard, he seemed somewhat alight because of something.

                "I had to redesign my tally system," Ginny said, calmly, but Draco knew she was joking about it.

                "What's the score?" He asked and turned to face her fully.

                "I forget," Ginny said rather breathlessly before she stepped forward a few paces, set her hands on either side of his face, and pulled him down for a kiss he obviously wasn't prepared for. The two stood, locked in a kiss, with the world wrapped about them as it had been while they were dancing. There was something ethereal about the chilled air, the swirling snow, and the blanket of renewing white that covered everything until the horizon. When Ginny finally pulled away from him she smirked. "But whatever it is, I think we're even."

                "Even?" Draco asked and his smarmy smirk reappeared on his face. "Funny, I thought I was winning." Before Ginny could respond he pulled her in for a quick kiss and grinned.

                "I still hate you," Ginny said, unconvincingly, with a smile.

                "I wouldn't have it any other way," Draco replied haughtily.

Author's Notes: Wow, that was a hard chapter to write. But, alack alack, the tale is now completed! Thank you to all of my reviewers, I wouldn't have ever finished this without your enthusiastic support!

Perhaps, one day, there shall be a sequel—after all, there is The Devil Came Back to Georgia….

Until then I will be writing a myriad of D/G fiction. I hope you all enjoy it!

Oh…and new, disconcerting news….Apparently Tracey Davis is canonical, at least in name….I don't think J.K.R. would have made her quite as, um, neurotic.

Feel free to use her in any of your fiction—I would think of it as an honor to contribute to the Fanon!

Everyone look for my next story (D/G): The Registry

A tale of lovers, magic, treachery, and admission. Ginny Weasley is drawn into this by the death of a relative she was unaware she had. Will history replay the events that set her family to feud or will she stray from the path so set in magic and the halls of stone?