This story was written for Boogum in The DG Forum Fic Exchange - Summer 2017 by a member of our forum. For more details please visit our page.
The Secret Life of Draco Malfoy
One of her mother's rules had always been that the woods were off limits. It wasn't that they were dangerous-though there were all manner of mundane vicious beasties that might reside within-but that those woods bordered the edge of their property, separating their homestead from the sprawling grounds of Malfoy Manor.
And so her mother had one rule about the woods. "Do not enter."
From a young age though, Ginny had been two parts adventurous and one part contrary and growing up with a smattering of brothers had taught her to be sneaky and fierce as well.
So her mother forbidding her to play in the woods just made her want to explore them more.
So she did.
It was during one of those excursions, when Ginny was perhaps eight years old, that she stumbled upon someone else in the woods. A boy, perhaps a head taller than her, with such pretty elvish hair.
He was shushing quietly to something in his lap, a bundle of dark green fabric and black fur that she couldn't identify.
"You alright?" She asks him as softly as she can manage, and when his eyes flicker up to hers they are the color of wicked rainstorms and her mother's silverware and she feels like if she blinks she will miss something important.
"What are you doing on my property?" The boy asks in a voice that is too old for his body, but even as he stands she catches the way his limbs move to protect the bundle before himself.
"Jus' explorin'. Is your mate alright?" She asks, pointing to his arms and the soft, mewling head that peeks up over it with wide green eyes and triangular ears.
"She's fine," he says, "No thanks to you. I just got her calmed down."
"Why do you have a kitten in the woods anyway? She asks, moving further into his space to look at the fuzzy baby until he steps backward from her touch.
"It's none of your business, trespassing here," he says. The kitten cries again.
"I suppose I'll letcha be then," she says with a shrug, "but I think she's hungry."
She doesn't see what he does after that, but she does hear him whisper, "are you hungry then, kit?"
Ginny Weasley is eleven years old and lonely when she finds a magical diary and finds her life twisted around. This is not new-everyone knows the story of how little Ginny Weasley managed to find some possessed artifact and find herself endangered in the Chamber of Secrets.
But now she's nearly twelve years old and leaving Hogwarts in the morning to return home with her parents and...
She's still lonely.
It's her innate sense of longing, of wanting to be less alone, that brings her out into the corridors after curfew, stepping lightly down the long halls in the dark.
She finds the kitchens right where her brothers said they'd be, slips inside to the warmth and comfort that reminds her of home.
She ends up sitting at a table in the corner, half shrouded in shadow, a cup of tea in front of her and the steady bustle of house elves working nearby.
It isn't quite as lonely being near them.
She hears him before she sees him, recognizes his voice before she really understands his words.
Draco Malfoy trails after a short little house elf in mismatched uniform, and-to Ginny's disbelief-he's telling the elf to eat.
"You'll be ill if you don't eat," Malfoy says, and there's such a pleading tone in his voice that Ginny feels her chest tighten.
"Youse not Dobby's master no more," the house elf replies.
"But you still have to eat!" Malfoy cries, and it makes something in her heart ache at the sound.
She doesn't think she's brave-not the way Harry was in person, that night in the Chamber-but she's brave enough for this. Malfoy is just a kid, like her.
"He's right, you know," she interrupts them, and Malfoy's cheeks go a little pink in embarrassed surprise.
"Even girl knows youse not my master!" the house elf says, but that's not what she was saying at all.
"No, I didn't know that," she protests, trying to ignore the way Malfoy's face goes cold and impassive again, "I meant that Mal-Draco, is right. You should eat something. Refusing to eat is childish and unhealthy."
"How is you knowing this?" the house elf asks, all wide curious eyes.
"Well," she begins, startling a little when she notices that not only is Malfoy and his-former-house elf watching his reply, but so are the rest of the house elves present in her corner of the kitchens.
"Well," she starts again, briefly clearing her throat, "My mum told me. Haven't you got a mum?"
"What's a... mum? Is that what little master is?" the house elf asks her.
She chokes on a little laugh, "Merlin, no. Though, I suppose he might as well be if he's taking care of you. Haven't you got parents though? Like a mother and father somewhere?"
"He was taken from his parents as a baby, Weasley. Most house elves are. My father was gifted with Dobby when I was born." There isn't the usual haughtiness in his tone at the obvious showing of the Malfoy family wealth.
"Why's he not with your family anymore then? If you're all he's ever known?"
"Master be giving Dobby a sock. So little master can't be giving me orders no more."
"Well," Ginny says, crouching down in front of him, "then it's good that Draco wasn't giving you an order. He's being motherly, just tryin' to take care of you. Like my mum does for me. You want him to be happy right?"
Dobby just nods.
"Dobby wanting little master not be sad."
"Then take care of yourself for him, okay? Get some food in your stomach and get some rest. That would make him very happy I think."
"It would," Malfoy interrupts, and Ginny takes that as her cue to leave.
Before she opens the door though, she stops and turns back.
"This doesn't mean we're friends, right?" she asks, wrinkling her nose in his direction.
Malfoy sputters at the idea, and she leaves with a smirk on her lips before she even hears his response.
Ginny is well aware that she's pretty. She isn't the conventional pretty like spreads in Witch Weekly or the less clothed spreads in her brother's Playwitch. But she's still attractive, whereas quite a few of the girls in her year haven't quite peaked yet.
The boys have certainly noticed, even if Harry still hasn't. But frankly, she thinks Hermione knows what she's talking about when she says dating other boys will probably be the best way to get him to notice. And she can't say she hasn't been enjoying herself. Some of them have been fantastic at snogging so far.
But some of the boys who have been asking her out make her uncomfortable. Like Lucian Bole! He was four years older than her for Merlin's sake, and a Slytherin. If she was going to date a Slytherin, it certainly wouldn't be one who was older than Fred and George.
But he was persistent. She had told him no before, but he didn't seem to want to accept that.
I need somewhere to hide, I need somewhere to hide, oh Merlin I need somewhere to hide!
It isn't that she thinks he's going to do anything, but if he asks her out one more time, she's going to go spare!
She's not expecting a door to suddenly appear in the wall, but she bolts to it without hesitation, hearing his footsteps down the corridor.
Ginny is just barely inside with the door at her back when she sees she isn't alone.
There are three Slytherins just a few steps away, heads turned in her direction.
"Oh Merlin, I don't know if this is worse," she blurts out, one hand on the knob and the other on her wand. She'd wanted to avoid jinxing Bole but...
"Why are you here, Weasley?" Pansy Parkinson asks, standing up with her arms crossed across her chest and her hair half set in braids, one side hanging free.
"I had no idea you were in here or I obviously wouldn't have barged in, I'll just be going-"
"Not so fast, Red," Daphne Greengrass says, though unlike Pansy, she stays sitting, "what are you hiding from?"
Ginny hesitates before slowly letting her grip on the door go slack.
"Bole refuses to take no for an answer," she admits, flushing a little. Parkinson immediately drops her arms, though the angry constipated looks remains on her face.
"You can stay in here with us," Draco Malfoy says then, clearing a seat for her on the heavily cushioned floor.
Pansy sits back down in front of him, and Ginny watches, fascinated, as Malfoy continues braiding her dark, silky hair.
Later, when she leaves with her own hair carefully braided, it's with three words on her lips. "What never happened?"
It isn't as if she hadn't seen it coming, the breakup. Harry had always thought of others before himself. It hurt, of course it hurt, but she understood.
Still, returning to Hogwarts on her own, without even her brother as company, was more difficult for the fact that she didn't have a relationship with Harry to focus on. She didn't have someone to tether her.
Being back at Hogwarts now was difficult. She had never been one who found it easy to hold her tongue, and being faced with the reality that she could be hurt just for speaking up made it so much worse.
It wasn't that she didn't have friends outside of Hermione. She did, though there wasn't anyone she was quite as close to. There was Neville and Luna, and they were here with her too.
Being the only Weasley girl, and the only Weasley left at Hogwarts, had painted a target on her back. But even more than that, the fact was that somehow being the girlfriend-even formerly-of Harry Potter turned her into a symbol.
Ginny had never felt particularly brave, but now she had to be. Younger students were looking up to her and she had to be something. So she did, she did what she had to do, whatever the consequences.
Sometimes, though, she wonders why no one ever noticed that Draco Malfoy was suddenly hiding instead of participating. Why the boy who had toppled Dumbledore-and even if he hadn't been the one who cast the final curse, he was the one who got that far-wasn't riding high on the results of his actions but was instead hiding away from everyone on either side of the forsaken war.
So when he skips out on another dinner spent rigid and she does what she has to and goes after him.
It's in the room of hidden things that she finds him, curled up in a little alcove with a handful of first year Slytherins who look positively terrified at the sight of her.
"Weasley," Malfoy says, a hint of fear in his eyes.
"Draco," she replies, as softly as she can manage, "you missed dinner." Ginny sets the basket she'd collected from the kitchens down in front of Malfoy and the four eleven years olds, gentle as can be.
"What's that?" one of the girls asks, curiously stepping toward her.
"It's not much. Just some sandwiches and a bit of apple pie."
"...thank you," Malfoy says, and then the other two girls and the scrawny boy are at her side as well.
She sits with them for a while as they eat. Draco gives most of his sandwich away but does eat much of his pie. The children tell her about their house mum-about Draco Malfoy, who wore the term proudly-and Ginny learns a little more about who Draco Malfoy really is.
"It's nearly curfew," Draco tells her, though he doesn't make any attempt at moving and neither do the children.
"Will you be safe?" She asks, and only leaves when he says they will.
It is raining, heavy and full and wet. There is a part of her, a full deep part of her, that wants nothing more than to be home.
Instead, she's racing through the dark, damp Forbidden Forest with a pair of eleven and fourteen year old Slytherins trying to make it to the Whomping Willow ahead of their pursuer.
Since that night with her picnic basket, things had changed. It wasn't that her opinion of Draco Malfoy had radically flipped-she could still remember that night in the kitchens, back when she was eleven and lonely-but more that she had something to fight for again.
It wasn't just about Draco, and it had indeed become Draco, but it was about all the other children who had to grow up in the nightmare that their world had become.
Running from Alecto Carrow was nothing new. Ginny was aware it was only a matter of time before she was caught. But if she could get Astoria and Melody to the Whomping Willow, they'd be able to escape into Hogsmeade.
She feels the hand on her arm before she sees it, instinctively reacting with a hard throw over her back.
Draco lands softly, having anticipated her reaction and accommodated for it.
"I'll take care of the girls," he says when she recognizes him, "you should have time to get away if you go now."
Ginny nods, hugs the girls and turns to leave. Draco stops her, pulls her into a hug of his own, and kisses her forehead.
"Stay safe," he tells her, before kneeling to let Melody climb on his back.
"Always," she says, and then she's gone.
Ginny Weasley is twenty-three and happy, thank you very much. She's only been reunited with her boyfriend for a year, but it's been a year full of ups and downs and inevitable happy endings.
Maybe nothing had gone to plan as she had intended as a child, but she was perfectly okay with that.
Breaking up with him over the Easter holidays hadn't been what they wanted, either of them, but her sudden rush into hiding and his conscription back into staying at Malfoy Manor had made their budding relationship impossible and dangerous to maintain. She hadn't expected to see him romantically again, but she certainly didn't mind.
Walking the grounds between her childhood property and his, she followed the point me spell to his location, a thrill under her skin when she realized that she recognized the copse of trees he was standing in from her childhood.
In fact... she even recognized the cat!
"You were the elf in the woods!" She blurts out, her face growing hot immediately afterward.
"Elf?" Draco says with a smirk, the slinky black cat on his shoulder. She meows loudly as if agreeing.
"Well, you were pretty and sitting in the woods."
"Ruby and I had a question for you," Draco says then, seemingly apropos of nothing.
"Oh, you do, do you?" Ginny asks as he gently places the cat on the ground in front of him. Ruby saunters over to her, rubbing against her legs.
"Pick her up," Draco says, and when Ginny does, she sees the ring.
Boogum's Prompt (1)
Basic premise: Ginny discovers that Draco Malfoy has a surprising "motherly" side.
Must haves: Have at it. I don't mind which era or how you interpret this one, but I always welcome a healthy dose of humour.
No-no's: Character bashing. A previous DG relationship. Smut. A sappy Draco (just because he has a motherly side doesn't mean I want a gooey marshmallow Draco).
Rating range: K-T
Bonus points: If Crabbe and/or Goyle feature somehow. If Draco brushes Ginny's hair for her when it looks a mess (without asking and not because he's embarrassed by her appearance; he just does it without thinking). If Ginny and Draco become friends first.