This story was written for Jessica (idreamofdraco) in The DG Forum Fic Exchange - Summer 2017 by a member of our forum. For more details, please visit our page.


The Golden Afternoon

You can learn a lot of things from the flowers
For especially in the month of June
There's a wealth of happiness and romance
The golden afternoon..!
Alice in Wonderland

Draco Malfoy really hated his birthday.

As far as he was concerned the fifth day of June could evaporate from the calendar entirely and he'd live a much happier life.

It hadn't always been this way, of course. When he'd been young there had been presents, balloons, parties, elaborate cakes and big fat toffees for breakfast. His mum had always organised the best days with friends and family and Quidditch matches. His father had taken him to Diagon Alley to pick out racing brooms and transfer a big sums of gleaming gold galleons into Draco's savings account.

He'd always felt special, entitled, and thought that the birthday treats were exactly what was required to celebrate his coming into the world.

And then it all changed the year he turned seventeen, the year he was supposed to be considered a man. Almost cracking beneath an almighty pressure to kill one of the greatest wizards alive, just two weeks before almost fatally injured in a duel with Harry Potter and frustratingly close yet cataclysmically far from fixing the vanishing cabinet, he'd spent the fifth of June sobbing in the Room of Requirement and genuinely considering running away.

If it weren't for the fact he knew his mother would face the consequences if he had absconded from his task, he probably would have made moves to get as far away as was humanly possible.

That year, in fit of self-pity and loathing, he wished he had never been born. Wished that there was no day to celebrate Draco Malfoy.

The following year the Battle of Hogwarts occurred the month before he was due to turn eighteen and he was thankful for his parents being too preoccupied to even really notice. He was ashamed of how he'd acted that day. Ashamed that he'd tried to stop Harry Potter succeeding, had almost hindered him taking down Voldemort — a man Draco feared and hated and no longer wanted to follow — because of old childish feuds. Because of a brattish kind of hate. One that spoke of jealousy and bitterness; one that started because Harry had snubbed him, because he preferred the blood traitor Weasleys, because he was famous, because he was a better Seeker.

Once again he found himself, not grateful to have survived, but thinking that if he'd not been there at all everything would have been better.

Now, three years on from the Battle of Hogwarts, he was no longer filled such intense hatred for himself but still couldn't really bear the thought of having a party, or birthday drinks with friends. He would nip in to see his mother, have a cup of tea or pass a quiet evening in Malfoy Manor, to appease her but that was it. The next day he'd wake up and sweep the little pile of cards he'd received into the bin. Appreciating that people were still trying to reach out to him, despite his hermit-like attitude these days, but not wanting the cards cluttering up his mantelpiece for the next seven days, reminding him.

This year Narcissa was spending a few weeks in Italy with Lucius, who now lived there almost permanently in their summer home, but Draco had refused to join her. They would have a belated celebration, he had promised, go out somewhere lovely and really treat themselves. He wasn't sure she'd hold him to the promise.

His relationship with his father was more complicated than ever. He was angry at him, and full of shame for him. He loved him but he hated the weakness he'd seen in his father and wanted so badly to not follow in the footsteps he'd once desperately coveted.

There was no power in the Malfoy name anymore: No fear, no respect, not even any real interest from anyone.

He had rejected the strict, prejudiced pureblood ideals privately and was trying to grow. Trying to be braver and bolder and better. Most days though, he just went in search of peace and perhaps a glass of wine. He was currently living off the vast Malfoy fortune, wondering what on earth he would end up doing, hoping to find a vocation that stuck.

The UK seemed to be in the middle of a slightly oppressive heatwave - something the British, magic or otherwise, never seemed to cope well with - which drove Draco out of his London flat in search of fresh air and open spaces. Sometimes he marvelled that he was able to live in London at all; the noise, the people, the hustle and bustle. He had thought he may find it stressful but somehow seemed to enjoy the anonymity of a city that didn't really care too much.

Selecting a pair of light linen trousers and an oversized shirt, Draco dressed for the day. He brushed his teeth, taking in his reflection and the close buzz cut he'd recently acquired. Despite looking more like his mother's side of the family, Draco had wanted to remove all resemblance to his father that he could and that meant saying goodbye to his long blond hair. It suited him, he thought. Pansy had laughed and Blaise had been surprised but both understood his decision.

Wanting to find a new book, and perhaps take in a leisurely late breakfast, Draco thought initially he may go to Diagon Alley but rejected the idea almost immediately. It would be busy, full of people wanting ice creams and iced pumpkin juices in the sun. Instead he thought of Hogsmede when he closed his eyes and disapparated. The crooked streets and crumbly buildings gave him an enormous sense of comfort. He loved the age of the magic here, was certain he could even smell it in certain spots.

When he opened his eyes, he found himself stood in front of a riot of colourful blooms. There was a flower cart at the top of the high street that was so overflowing with flowers he was certain it was requiring numerous charms to ensure it didn't collapse entirely.

It was a recent addition to the village, as far as he knew, as he didn't recall ever seeing this there before.

"That'll be two galleons, please."

Money must have been exchanged as moments later Draco saw a squat witch tottering back down the road clutching an enormous bouquet of pink lilies.

He leaned his face into some yellow roses and took in a giant breath, catchy their light scent. It reminded him of home, when the rose gardens had been so beautifully in bloom by the time his birthday came.

"Yellow roses for joy and delight," a lovely, throaty voice announced.

Draco straightened and found himself staring at the youngest Weasley sibling.

She was tall - almost the same height as him - and willowy with long lithe legs. She wore a white t-shirt and denim shorts. Her hair was bright red, long and wavy and barely contained by a quill she'd knotted into it in desperation to keep it off her neck in the heat.

"Malfoy?"

He sighed, already mentally arming himself for anger or disappointment, but there was no sneer on her face. No mistrust in her eyes, just genuine surprise.

"Yep, that would be me. I think you may have been the last person I expected to bump into today."

She smiled and shrugged.

"Didn't really expect to see you either. What brings you to Hogsmede?"

He hadn't seen her for at least two years when he'd watched her with her brothers clearing out Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. He'd heard that George Weasley, the surviving twin, hadn't really been able to continue without his brother. They'd all seemed so hollow that day, dismantling signs and packing up boxes of skiving snack boxes. He'd remembered the haunted look in their eyes. The shadows of deep, deep loss across every face.

He didn't know what made him tell her but before he could stop himself he said, "it's my birthday."

"Roses are the birthday flowers for June."

"Is that so?" he took a step away from the yellow flowers.

"Are you meeting friends?"

"No."

It felt a little awkward. They'd never really exchanged words — childish, angry, pleasant or anything at all. He hadn't really thought about her before. Of course, he'd noticed her following Harry Potter about, noticed when she'd grown into a woman and most boys couldn't help but talk about her and noticed when she'd started playing Quidditch for Gryffindor with enviable skill.

But he didn't know her, nor she him. He assumed she probably disliked him based on her brother's disdain for him.

Ginny wasn't really sure what to say next. He was very closed, very guarded. She almost hadn't recognised him with his hair so short. He looked a lot different from when she'd last seen him in that final year of Hogwarts. How she'd hated him, running around with the Carrows and bullying everyone she was wanting to protect.

She hadn't returned to school after the war. She studied at home and took NEWTs in a test centre run by the ministry for students who hadn't been able to fully complete their studies.

He had filled out, his shoulders were broader, his face had lost its pinched expression.

She had heard he was living an almost reclusive life now. Didn't seem to be working, or at least not at the ministry, and didn't seem to be involved with many of the wizarding families anymore.

She plucked a yellow rose from the bucket and offered it to him.

"Happy Birthday, Malfoy. Hope you have a good day."

Ginny had watched as anger and resentment had chipped away at so many of her peers. She had decided to not allow that to happen to her. Her losses, her former battles and the past would serve as a warning but wouldn't dictate how she'd treat people. Draco had a been a child, it had been a roll of the dice that made him a Malfoy and her a Weasley. She hoped he had changed, had learnt from his behaviour, but if he hadn't she wasn't prepared to carry any hate around in her heart anymore. If Harry could recover as well as he had. If he could still laugh and joke and forgive, so could she.

They weren't together anymore but he was her friend and he did inspire her to live better.

Another customer had appeared and she bustled off to see to them, almost relieved to walk away from the slightly awkward encounter.

Clutching the rose, Draco automatically turned away and took off down the road towards the shops.

He'd been surprised to see her.

He hadn't expected to bump into anyone he knew. Furthermore, he hadn't expected to have been quite so tongue-tied by long red hair and kind eyes.

He felt a little prickle of an old jealousy. Envy of Harry Potter. He got to be brave, to be the hero, and to have Ginny Weasley. A flurry of long legs, freckles and flowers.

Perhaps it was just the day, or the long felt loneliness finally taking effect, but she had really bowled him over.

He'd been surprised to see her but, what's more, he was surprised that he'd really seen her.

Mostly he felt like he floated a bit through life now. He saw few people, integrated himself less and less, and generally lived a fairly solitary existence.

He ran his hand over his shorn locks and picked up his pace, heading towards the bookshop. He needed to stop brooding so much, it didn't help anything. He knew he wasn't helping himself, Blaise said it frequently enough, but it seemed difficult to simultaneously want to punish, better and reward yourself without spending too much time in your own mind. Play back the past, imagining the future and totally missing out on the present.


By the time lunchtime approached, Draco seemed to have somewhat shook off his introspective mood. His shopping expedition almost made him forget about his birthday (he'd acquired three new books) and he'd bumped into Daphne Greengrass who was so unexpectedly amusing that he couldn't help but feel slightly cheered after walking away from her. Perhaps today wouldn't be too awful after all.

He sat at a table outside a little deli that had popped up in the last year or so. It was run by Justin Finch-Fletchley and his wife, and they did the best sandwiches Draco had ever had. Justin had moved to Greece during the war, in order to escape persecution as he was Muggle-born, but had returned with a beautiful wife and made his home here in Hogsmede, once again feeling safe to be a part of the Wizarding community.

Draco was tucking into his chicken, pesto and rocket ciabatta when he spotted her. Her arms were laden with eucalyptus branches, beautiful long stems covered in pale green leaves and she was making her way towards him. Or rather, to the deli.

He watched her slightly ungainly footsteps as she struggled to see properly over the foliage. She really was quite beautiful in an otherworldly kind of way. Perhaps it was because he'd only seen her recently when surrounded by flowers, or perhaps it was the way she seemed both delicate and dangerous all at once, but there was something of the fae folk about Ginevra Weasley.

"Lydia!' Ginny called. "Greenery has arrived!"

Every week Ginny delivered an abundance of eucalyptus to Lydia and Justin who decorated their little place with it; stems on every table and then a particularly large bunch in the window sill.

The olive-skinned, dark haired woman came dashing out whilst drying her hands on her apron to help Ginny carry everything inside.

"You should tell me what time you're coming over and one of us will meet you and help you carry it all! It's silly to carry it all yourself!"

Draco could hear Ginny being scolded.

"Ginny, let me get your money and some lunch —"

"You really don't — "

"I know we don't have to, I want to. We have some beautiful olives, just brought in this morning, you'll love them."

Ginny sighed. It was never any good trying to dissuade Lydia once she was in her stride. She loved to feed her up, insisting it was no good to see a young girl so slim (little did she know Ginny ate enough to fill even Ron up). The redhead strolled out to the front off the shop whilst she waited for her meal to be prepared. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, enjoying the heat on her face.

Feeling a gaze upon her, Ginny opened her eyes once more and, for the second time that day, found herself looking at Draco Malfoy. He was wearing her rose in the pocket of his shirt.

"Take a picture, Malfoy," she jibed, but with no real annoyance.

He smirked at her. He'd quite like to snap a picture of her, actually, basking in the heat of the sun with film of perspiration across her skin.

Lydia appeared with a brown bag, a large iced coffee and a pouch of money. She pressed them into Ginny's hands before thanking her again and rushing off to see to a customer who was desperately trying to get her attention.

Draco kicked the chair on the opposite side of the table out.

"Why don't you join me? Is someone looking after your flowers for you?"

She arched her eyebrow at him but eventually took the seat. After a gulp of the coffee she replied, "nah, I just pop a charm over the stall whilst I'm away. Not that I'm too worried about anyone trying anything here."

There was a couple of minutes of silence whilst Ginny unpacked her lunch and started to nibble on one of the aforementioned olives. Salty and lemony flavours washed over her tongue. Delicious.

"How did you end up working with flowers, Weasley? Bit random, no?"

"I sort of fell into it really. After - after the war I didn't really want to leave the safety of the Burrow for a while so I started growing flowers in the field close to our house."

She paused, expecting him to roll his eyes or say something distasteful about her family home but just took a sip of his lemonade and fixed his eyes on her expectantly.

"I like flowers. They're something that can be enhanced by magic but don't need to be. They just have to be nurtured and shown some attention and then they thrive all by themselves. And, of course, they carry their own kinds of magic and special meanings."

Draco absentmindedly touched the rose. Joy and delight.

He did feel somewhat lighter since wearing the bloom.

She smiled, almost sensing his thought pattern. She hadn't known that's what he'd needed, in fact, he'd been drawn to those all by himself and she'd just helped the process along a little.

"How's the birthday coming along? Do you have any plans this evening?"

His face darkened a little, "no. I, er, I don't really like my birthday. Not anymore. My mother is in Italy so I'll probably just have a quiet night in."

"No party? No pub even?"

Her incredulous expression almost made him laugh. It was the sign a woman who'd known an awful lot of love and friendship in her life, when she couldn't comprehend that he wouldn't want to be with his nearest and dearest on a day like today.

"Nope, nothing. Maybe a nice gin and tonic on my balcony."

More like maybe five or six neat gins and passing out on my sofa.

She continued to eat, watching him.

"How have you been the past few years? Your father lives in Italy permanently now doesn't he?"

"It's been fucking awful. And, yes, he does. Your boyfriend keeping an eye on him?" he felt himself turn icy. He hated that everyone knew bloody everything in the Wizarding world. Particularly if you had the privilege of being Potter's girlfriend and Arthur Weasley's daughter.

She blinked, bemused by his sudden change of tone. If anything, Ginny was the one who should have had an issue with the mention of Lucius Malfoy, not his own son. She wanted to rebuke him but instead all that came out was "I don't have a boyfriend."

He was surprised but said nothing.

"I just remember talking to Blaise Zabini a year or so ago and he mentioned wanting to take a trip over to Italy and would probably check in on the Malfoy's whilst he was there. He just made it sound like they were making their home there, that's all."

He softened.

"Sorry; an old habit I'm trying to break."

An apology? Had hell frozen over?

More silence.

"So what happened to you and Potter? Everyone thought you guys would be the Wizarding world's sweethearts by now."

"You want to gossip about my love life?"

"Just…asking."

"It wasn't quite right after everything. No one was quite right for a while. Once we all put the pieces of ourselves back together we were all a little different."

Draco nodded his understanding.

"I think you just articulated something I've been feeling for a little while. I've thrown all the pieces out the box, I'm just trying to figure out how they go back in."

She was slightly impressed by his candidness. His ability and want to talk to her so openly.

Draco, however, was wondering what, in the name of Merlin, had made him say so much to her. To this girl he had never really known and to whom he'd only spent minutes with today.

"You'll get there. If you want to." she took the last sip of her coffee. "I should get back to the stall. Have a good afternoon. You should do something tonight, you should celebrate your birthday. It's important we celebrate everything good we have come our way now."

And before he could respond she'd popped her head through the door to the deli to shout goodbye and whizzed off up the road.


It was nearing seven pm and Draco had been back in his flat for the past hour or so. He'd placed the rose Ginny had given him in a tumbler of water and it currently resided on his window sill; the bright yellow was slightly startling in a room that was mostly made up of bright whites and dark mahogany.

He was nursing a large measure of Old Ogden's, the weight of the day seemingly on top of him again.

Draco had always taken pride in knowing exactly who he was, in knowing how a Malfoy was supposed to live his life. He had never anticipated reinvention. Didn't even consider the option that he would be forced to unlearn so much about how he thought about the world, his family and himself.

An owl was tapping away at the window.

"No more bloody birthday cards."

Draco flipped it the bird and took a large sip of the whisky.

Tap.

Tap.

Tap.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

"Stubborn little bastard, aren't you?" he grunted. Grudgingly he walked across to the window and let the little snowy owl into the room.

It seemed to snap at him with a touch more force than was necessary as he relieved it of it's message.

Malfoy.

I don't know why I'm writing to you either, but, I suspect you're going to go home and brood this evening.

No one should be alone on their birthday. Let's go for a drink at The Three Broomsticks.

Ginny.

He read the message through a few more times.

Ginny. Ginny Weasley.

Was he really exchanging pleasantries with a Weasley?

Part of him wanted to say yes immediately, another part screamed at him to rebuke her and something else just wanted him to return to the glass of alcohol, slide down into his chair and fall asleep in one of his new books.

The something else won out. He pushed the bird out of the window, shutting it out without it's desired response and crumpled the note. He refilled his glass with an indecently large measure and sat himself back in his favourite chair.

The were something niggling at him — guilt or anticipation, he wasn't quite sure. He drank deeply from his glass to silence it.

He wasn't prepared to spend this evening with his own friends, let alone Ginny Weasley. No matter how wonderful she'd looked this morning, or how empathetic and wise she seemed whilst nibbling her olives.

He couldn't understand why she was bothering to communicate with him. Why she was thinking about him and inviting him out for drinks. He didn't need her pity; he wasn't asking to be helped.


Ginny frowned as she saw Margot, her owl, return empty-handed. She has specifically asked her to wait until he replied, instructed her to peck at him should he refuse, and here she was with nothing to show for herself.

"You're no good, are you? And I suppose you'll still be expecting treats. Little madame."

She filled the owl's bowl with a few of her favourite bits and left her to get stuck in.

Ginny lived in a little cottage in the Cotswolds, close to Oxford. It was beautiful and peaceful and surrounded by fields and woodland. It felt old and full of magic; she loved it here.

She went to the kitchen, possibly her favourite room in the whole building due to the lovely terracotta flooring and old fashioned, range oven. She poured herself a large glass of white wine and sat down on the steps which led from her back door to the garden. Her backdoor was almost always open if she was at home, she liked the feel the fresh air even in the dead of winter.

She could feel her muscles aching. Ginny tried to do as much as possible without magic when it came to her business. She liked the feeling she got after a day of standing on her feet, of tending to her flower fields, of waking early and attending the London flower markets to ensure she managed to get the best of everything.

She liked how tired and satisfied she could feel at the end of a long day. She remembered the first day she'd seen to the field close to the Burrow — how she'd turned the earth, planted her seeds, watered the soil. She slept all through the night for the first time since before the war.

It felt good to have a purpose, to have a passion.

Stupid Malfoy. Who was he to snub her invitation? He was the social pariah here. He was the one people didn't know how to approach these days. She hadn't mentioned to him earlier but Harry was keeping an eye on him. Of course he was.

They knew Malfoy was essentially harmless now but…she'd seen something a little more today. Something that spoke of a man in crisis and a man who was trying to be something more than just the mistakes of his father.

She swigged down her wine and felt her head grow a little fuzzy. She refilled the glass on her way back through the house.

"He may be able to ignore you, Margot" she told her twittering owl, "but I'm Molly Weasley's daughter and no one ignores me!"

She dashed upstairs to shower and change.


Thirty minutes later, Draco was feeling pleasantly on his way to inebriated when a sharp knock on his door caused him to have minor heart failure.

Who the devil would be hammering his door down at this ungodly hour of…7.42PM…

Pulling himself up, Draco resigned himself to having to answer the door. It really was too early to pretend he was sleeping. Not even Blaise would believe that Draco Malfoy, total shut-in and all around recluse, would snoozing before 8PM.

He yanked open the door.

"Yes? Oh!"

The redhead who had been confusedly running through his mind only minutes before was stood before him. Her long hair was free of it's quill now and spilled around her shoulders like glorious flames. She was wearing a simple, strappy black dress that stopped just above the ankle. Her feet were in sandals and he saw her toes were adorned in gold rings.

"You could have at least replied with a no, Malfoy."

"Er—"

He supposed he could have said something at the very least.

"How do you know where I lived?"

"I'm a Weasley; I have my ways."

She had, in fact, only had to ask Luna Lovegood who had an unhealthy amount of knowledge about everyone since becoming editor of The Quibbler.

She glared at him slightly. Here was the fire he remembered hearing about. The infamous Weasley temper apparently ran through every single one of them.

"So? Are you going to invite me in?"

He stepped aside and, as she brushed past him, he smelt her woody exotic perfume.

Ginny stood in Draco's living room, taking stock of his home. She spotted her rose and smiled a satisfied smile; he really can't be all that bad.

"I should have written back to you. I just really, really don't feel like drinking on my birthday."

She raised her eyebrow and pointed at his crystal glass and the bottle of whisky.

"…I didn't feel like going out and drinking on my birthday."

"Merlin, Malfoy, you can't live your life like Dracula cooped up in your castle on a hill."

He narrowed his eyes, "did you just come here to scrutinise my interior decoration and compare me to the undead?"

"Maybe. Well, the former for sure but the latter just occurred to me. You are pale enough to be a vampire though. If I hadn't seen you out in the sun myself I would never have believed you were still one hundred percent mortal."

He shook his head incredulously.

"You're mad."

A mischievous light seemed to shine through her eyes, "it's definitely been said before."

"And not for the last time, I'd imagine."

Her smile died a little. A seriousness falling into her expression.

"Do you want me to leave you alone? We really don't know each other at all and you seem to be going through some stuff…I should have just let you be."

"No…no. Don't leave. You're here now. Would you like a drink?"

She nodded and followed him to the kitchen. It was all chrome and white tiles. Clinical and modern; the complete opposite of her higgledy piggledy little home.

"Wine? Whisky? G and T?"

"Wine, please. White if you have it."

He produced a bottle of particularly expensive looking wine from his fridge, found two exquisite balloon-like wine glasses and filled with the almost clear liquid.

She touched his finger tips as she took the glass from his hand.

"Cheers, Malfoy" she tilted her wine towards him and he brought his glass up to meet hers.

Clink.

Without being invited, Ginny made her way out onto the balcony that led from Draco's kitchen. He had an excellent view of the river Thames. It was nearing sunset and Ginny could see that London was still alive with tourists and commuters. The pubs close to Borough Market were so full of people that they were spilling out into the streets and mingling together, laughing and chatting and enjoying the summery evening.

"You have a great spot."

"Thanks."

There was a lull in conversation as they sipped their wine and watched the city unwind after a day of work. It wasn't awkward like this morning, however, there was some sort of comfort in it.

"I haven't spent my birthday with anyone except my mother for four years. Thanks for being stubborn, Weasley, it's actually been oddly nice having you around today."

She smiled into her glass. Her skin seemed to flush with the heat of anticipation, of excitement.


By the time sunset arrived, an hour so later, they'd almost finished the bottle and both were feeling pleasantly tipsy. In fact, Ginny was well on her way to being drunk.

"This is funny, isn't it?"

She looked really beautiful sat there on the floor of his balcony; slightly undone and rumpled. Her eyes glassy with eh effect of the wine.

"It is definitely…unexpected."

But not unwelcome, he mused.

The sky was a bright, burnished gold. It made her hair look as though it were aflame.

He joined her on the floor and they sat so close together that her bare arm was just millimetres away from his. He could feel a charged current racing up and down his skin.

Ginny didn't believe in love at first sight, or even that you could fall for someone over the course of a few scattered conversations in a day. She did, however, believe in attraction. In suddenly seeing someone properly for the first time and them having such a magnetic effect of you that it was almost impossible not to want to be drawn into their world.

He was a handsome, flawed, deeply confused and somewhat unhappy human being but there were little moments of greatness there somewhere. She could see them. It was like peering through the cracks of a broken window to see the sunlight.

"What're you thinking about, Weasley?"

"Just…you actually" she thought about lying but why bother? It wasn't so strange that she would be thinking about him as they sat together soaking up the golden evening. Two relative strangers, side by side.

"Why is it that I've felt like a monster for so long but being around you just makes me feel like a man again?"

She turned and sat on her knees, facing him, watching him.

"You are a man, Draco. You aren't one of the nasties that go bump in the night. Not if you don't want to be."

He reached out and brushed her hair back from her face. She couldn't seem to help but close her eyes and lean in to the touch.

His hand dropped away as if he suddenly came to his senses.

He felt slow and vulnerable, his guard lowered by inebriation. It wasn't normal to have a day like today; not for him or anyone, really. You aren't supposed to bump into the sister of one of your childhood rivals and end up in a wine stupor with her. You aren't supposed to be so candid and blunt with a woman who had always walked such a different path to yourself.

She took her hand in his and kissed his knuckles. Her lips felt plump and soft and forbidden.

It felt like a pleasure he hadn't hoped to want or seek ever again.

Her heart was pounding so loud she was certain Draco would hear it hammering against her ribcage. She felt like she was sixteen again. No, in fact, she felt more alive and in control than she had then.

They felt themselves standing on the precipice of something vast, felt like they were afraid to blink in case the other disappeared.

He closed the space between them and kissed the corner of her mouth. She smiled against his lips.

"I can't stay," she murmured.

He froze a little, afraid he'd pushed too far. Misread her.

"I want to but…I need to be up early. Come see me tomorrow though. If you want to."

She stood, her head feeling light and her feet feeling slightly numb.

"Happy Birthday, Draco."

Pop.

She was gone.

He would see her tomorrow. He would take her some lunch and they would talk. She could tell him more about her flowers and, perhaps, she could teach him how to hope again.

Draco Malfoy wasn't sure he totally hated his birthday anymore.


A/N; I'm not sure this was quite the tone I expected for this little piece to take but it seemed to merrily write itself. I may expand and add more in due course!


Jessica's Prompt 1

Basic premise: "I know that I'm a monster, but you treat me like a man." -Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Must haves: Broody!Draco, Stubborn!Ginny.

No-no's: Non-con. NO NICKNAMES: no Ferret, Weaselette, or Mione.

Rating range: Any

Bonus points: A vampire reference. NO BtVS crossover or Remix/Alternate Universe.