Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or the fairy tale of Cinderella.
Chapter One: Of Ferrets and Weasels
"Mummy, where do people go when they die?"
"To heaven, love, with the angels."
"Because God wants them there."
"But what if other people don't want them there?"
"God always has the last word, so it really doesn't matter."
"Because God made us."
"Oh. Like making paper dolls?"
"Yes, love. Now go to bed-"
"But Mummy! Paper dolls can't come alive! They're just paper!"
"If someone made that paper doll with love and someone loved that paper doll with all his heart, then the paper doll isn't just paper, dear. It means something to someone else, and that's what matters."
"I'm not a paper doll, Mummy! I have you and Daddy and Charlie and Bill and Percy an' Fred an' George an' Ron..."
"Yes, love. You'll never be just paper. Goodnight."
"Night, Mummy. I love you!"
"I love you too, Ginny dear."
It really wasn't the typical dark, dreary day when the funeral was held. It was actually rather beautiful, with light blue cloudless skies and a gentle breeze. The old willow tree swayed gently, bursting with its new spring green leaves. The marble steps reflected the light of the sun, leading people to the entrance of the crematorium, where a funeral casket lay open. It revealed a rather plump woman with flaming red hair dressed in a simple black dress. Her eyes were closed and a small smile graced her face. She clutched a light blue rosary in her hands and seemed to be sleeping.
"Today we are here to commemorate the death of Molly Weasley..."
Seven people gathered around the casket, once a happy family of eight. Each one had the familiar crop of red hair and was dressed in black. Six men had on similar black blazers with their black suits. One young woman had on a black dress and a black ribbon in her hair.
The reverend who was performing the funeral rites droned on without any feeling, remorse, or sorrow. He was getting paid for this and that was all that counted to him. He didn't care about the dead body of the mother whose children greatly mourned for her. He didn't care about the fact that her husband, the Minister of Magic, broke down into tears showing his vulnerability to all. He didn't care that all seven of the Weasley children stood off to the side, glaring at him through their tears at his coldness. All he thought about during the grave ceremony (no pun intended) was the money.
"May she rest in peace."
With that, the eldest of the six men reached over and closed the casket, hiding away the
beautiful face of his wife forever. A tear rolled down his cheek as he pressed the fateful button that send the casket into what seemed to be an oven.
"I love you, Molly..."
It was, perhaps, on that day that Arthur Weasley no longer believed in love.
Two years had passed since the solemn funeral. Arthur had taken up a new wife a year after Molly's death, and his new wife was none other than the wretched widow, Monica Valentine, mother to the one and only pug-faced Pansy Parkinson. It was a marriage of convention and requirement. Before Arthur was born, Arthur's parents had struck a deal with the Valentines' in order to get Arthur's father a promotion in the ministry. Back then, the Weasleys were filthy rich-even richer than the Valentines'. As a result, both parties consented to the wizard's oath, stating that their children will be married unless they find love elsewhere before the age of twenty-one. Arthur, of course, found Molly while he was still in Hogwarts and proposed to her at their graduation. Monica found love in Adonis Parkinson, a rich man in a powerful position in the ministry.
After the death of her husband, Monica raised Pansy to the best of her ability, spoiling her and giving in to all her wants and needs. She led a harsh life as the wife of a death eater, but she still knew some kindness and taught Pansy all she could about the love she knew. When Molly died, the oath contractor paid a visit to both of them and forced them to marry each other. Since it was a marriage of convention, there was no need for intimacy. Arthur carried on with his life as the Minister of Magic while Monica stayed at home and took care of the domestic issues.
By this time, almost all of the Weasley children had moved out of the homely Burrow to lead their own lives. Everyone else were already hitched and some even had kids of their own. Charlie and Sarah, who his partner when he was in Romania looking for Hungarian Horntails, Bill and Fluer, Percy and Penelope, Fred and Angelina, George and Alicia, and of course, Ron and Hermione. People always wondered how in the world Bill got a veela to marry him; they often suspected it had something to do with a bit of blackmail. Ginevra was the only one of the seven Weasley children left who had not moved out. Her father needed her. It was, she supposed, a comfort to have at least one of his children around.
A month after the arranged marriage, Ginny and her father had moved out of the Burrow into the Parkinson's mansion. It was a colossal, eerie place, with nothing but a cold, sinister aura surrounding it. It was nothing like the warm, cozy, home-like Burrow filled with happy memories, lots of children, and bright red hair. Now, almost six months later, Ginny shivered. She would do anything to go back to her real home. Anything.
"Gin-e-ver-a! I want breakfast, NOW!"
/Dammit. A good moment of peace and quiet lost./
She set about the kitchen, flipping pancakes and eggs, pouring milk, and gathering eating utensils from the drawers. Her father was always busy at the ministry and usually didn't come home until late at night and left early in the morning. He never really noticed anything anymore except for his job. Even after the final death of Voldemort, Death Eaters and those who were followers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named still needed to be put away. The wizarding world was in mild chaos after the fall of the Dark Lord, mainly because of who killed the darkest ruler of all time. It wasn't the great Harry Potter who had beaten him countless times before.
It was Draco Malfoy.
The one whom everyone believed to have been one of his closest followers.
It turned out that Lucius Malfoy was like Snape-a secret spy for the good side. Unlike Snape; however, he was able to fool Voldemort and even the entire wizarding world about where his loyalties truly lied. Only Dumbledore knew of this secret, and kept it with a blood vow, meaning that if he ever broke it or left any clues, his blood will vaporize and he will slowly crumble into little bits of dust. Lucius's cool, aristocratic demeanor frightened all that tried to pry this secret out of him, and he raised Draco to be just like that.
Draco Alexander Malfoy was groomed to be sinister and deceiving on the outside so that no one would ever suspect him of being anything but a follower of the dark side. The only reason why Draco was in Slytherin was because Dumbledore himself charmed the sorting hat in order to keep along with this gilded appearance. This was the reason why the hat screamed out his house so quickly.
Ginny sighed. Who would have known that Mr. I-am-such-an-ass would turn out to be the one who helped Harry defeat the Dark Lord?
Grimacing, the redhead placed the food she had prepared onto a tray and proceeded to take the tray up to the yeller's bedroom. While Ginny's father was at work, Monica and Pansy treated her like a slave. This was mainly because the two women were accustomed to having everything done for them via house elves; however, when Arthur found out, he put his foot down.
"No house elves will ever serve in my household. Ever." he said sternly.
When she was alive, Molly loved doing the little things-folding clothes, dusting, and washing the dishes. When she was Hogwarts, she never visited the kitchen because she hated seeing the house elves do chores that humans should be doing. "It keeps us humble," she would often tell Arthur. When he married her, his parents disowned him because Molly's family was poor. Who could believe it? A rich man marrying a poor woman who was not of his social standing. How blasphemous! At any rate, Monica and Pansy were not about to lower themselves to petty household chores and made Ginny do all the work.
The redhead knocked gently on the door to Pansy's room and entered quietly, balancing the breakfast tray on one hand while turning the doorknob with the other.
"You're late." said Pansy, sitting on her bed, teeth brushed and face freshly washed. Pansy had changed some from when she was in Hogwarts. She grew out of her pug-shaped face into a more elegant and aristocratic one. Her brown hair grew out some and flowed down her back in charmed ringlets. Watery blue eyes darkened into a deeper blue, giving her a more earthly, stronger look. She also thinned out a bit due to her mother's incessant nagging at her weight.
"Sorry, Pans," said Ginny, placing the tray on the table next to the bed. "I got held up."
"Doing what?" inquired Pansy, curiously.
"Thinking. Something you obviously don't do much."
Ginny left before Pansy could figure out what she said. It was, perhaps, to her advantage that Pansy was a bit slow on the uptake at times.
Draco leaned his six-foot-two frame against the door panel.
"You called, father?" he asked, nonchalantly.
"As a matter of fact, I did. Sit down."
Draco sat. He might have defeated Voldemort, but he still respected his father greatly. Without his guidance, Draco would probably have never been able to do such a thing.
"Draco, you are twenty-nine year old. Don't you think it's time for you to marry?"
The said boy groaned. Not this again.
"Father, I haven't met anyone who's caught my eye yet. Can't you accept that? You married Mother when you were thirty-two! Why are you pushing me into this now?"
"Mainly because that's when my father started pushing me into it, and it took me three years to actually listen to him."
Draco rolled his eyes sarcastically. "Really, Father, do you think it would take me that long?"
"Yes. Probably longer."
Lucius laughed at his son's bewildered expression. "Now, here's what I propose. You either find that 'special someone' before you turn thirty, which is two months from now, or I'll have you engaged to Pansy Parkinson."
"No arguments, Draco. It's for your own good. She's not really that bad, just a bit slow on the uptake. I hope you are aware that you need an heir. The Malfoys are one of the families who can trace their entire linage back to the very beginning, and everyone has been a pureblood. There were no wizards or witches who were born to muggles. The Parkinsons are another family who can do this. You must keep the Malfoy blood pure. This isn't some crazy prejudice against those who were born of muggle parentage or of half muggle parentage-it is for the protection of the entire wizarding world. Harry Potter couldn't defeat Voldemort entirely because his mother was born to muggles. Though his blood may have been considered pure to the wizarding world, there is still a small bit of muggle blood in him. Voldemort's blood is half-and-half, and that was his weakness. Harry Potter had less muggle blood than Voldemort had, but only one without muggle blood could have truly destroyed Voldemort himself. Harry Potter may have weakened him greatly, but you were the one who destroyed him completely.
"Now, I do have another proposition that may 'brighten up you day' so to speak. We haven't had a ball in years, and your mother is itching to throw one. To help you in your search for you 'true love,' why don't we appease your mother and throw a couple balls where you can meet more women? I will only do this if you agree to meet Pansy tomorrow night. Her mother is hosting a formal party tomorrow, and I happen to know that she is quite interested in having you for a son-in-law..."
"Oh gods, Father, that's sick-making."
Lucius's eyes twinkled. "I know."
"Ginevra! Get up here, now!" commanded her stepmother.
"Don't use that tone of voice with me, girl. Stand up straight. Now, I will be hosting a party tomorrow night, and I want this place sparkling like diamonds. Is that clear?"
"Actually diamonds are translucent. Perhaps it would be more accurate to compare clarity to glass," replied Ginny, scathingly.
"Watch your lip. On the table in the dining room, there's a list of things to be done. Buy all the food on credit and spend nothing on yourself, understand? You will be attending this party only because your father will be here for it. Tomorrow morning you will be accompanying Pansy and me to get dress robes. I expect everything to be perfect. Go hire a few house elves to help if it's all too much for you to handle. I'm sure Arthur won't notice. I will have nothing go wrong at this party. Draco Malfoy will be there."
Ginny walked into the dining room and picked up what seemed to be a five-foot-long list of things to do. /Might as well get started/ she thought warily.
She changed out of her dirty t-shirt and jeans and pulled on a decent baby blue-checked sun dress. Braiding her waist-length mane of fire into a single braid, she grabbed her fisherman's hat, slipped on a pair of sandals, and went to the nearest fireplace with a pinch of floo powder.
Draco Malfoy was dragged by his father to Diagon Alley. They had to find "gifts" for the Parkinsons since they were invited as guests. After all, it was only proper.
"Ow! Dammit! Get you fat arse off me!" said a voice behind him. He whirled around. A rather large woman had landed on top of a small, dainty woman in the fireplace. The two started to bicker as Draco watched with amusement.
"Come, Draco, we need to get over to Trinket's before they close."
"What in Merlin's name are you doing, Pansy? Get the hell off me!"
"Look! It's Draco Malfoy!"
"I don't give a damn about Draco-bloody-Malfoy. Get off of me!"
"He's looking at me! Do I look presentable, Ginevra?"
"Get off me, Pansy!"
"He is so adorable. Oh, those eyes-"
"OW! DAMMIT! GET YOUR FAT ARSE OFF ME!"
The bell on the door tinkled as Lucius and Draco entered Trinket's.
"Good morning, sirs, how may I be of assistance to you?"
"We'll be fine, Mr. Parker. Just looking around a bit."
"Very good, sir."
They wandered around the shop, looking for something nice to bring over. /Not that they deserve it/ thought Draco as he browsed through teddy bears and figurines. Suddenly, something caught his eye.
It was a rather small, wooden box with a great phoenix carved on the top. Along the sides, there was a dragon. Curiously, he opened the box. Almost immediately, music started playing. The tune was absolutely enchanting and mysterious all at the same time. Suddenly, something began to rise out of the box.
"Draco Alexander Malfoy," it whispered, "you wish to find your true love, do you not?"
The hairs on his neck stood up as the ghost rose to its ful height. Red hair.
Oh Lady, lady, lady.
It was Molly Weasley.
"Thanks, Mr. Borgerding! Just send it to the Parkinson's mansion, will you?"
"Of course, Ginny. How are they, by the way?'
"Oh, the usual."
"I see. Well, good day to you."
Ginny smiled and left the shop. She had finished ordering all the food and catering, and was about to set off to get decorations when-
"Ow! Grr...this is not my day. Will you watch where you're going?" she said, glaring at the person who knocked her down.
"Sorry," the person said, holding out a hand to help her up. He had a deep, rich voice that made her feel weak to the knees. She took his hand and hauled herself up, only to see the silver eyes of Draco Malfoy.
/Can by day get any better?/ she thought sarcastically.
Ginny collapsed into a kitchen chair when she got home. After an entire day of walking around, she was tired. Meeting up with Malfoy was even more tiring. Pansy had caught up with Ginny by the time Draco helped her up. Pansy immediately latched onto his arm, and Ginny smirked at him. Oh yes, that look on his face was priceless. He was bloody scared of Pansy Parkinson. Then again, any normal person would be scared of her.
She still had the house to clean, but it really wasn't hard. A few swishes of the wand should do it. The food was already delivered into the kitchen and the decorations were still to come. The red head changed back into her old clothes and began to prepare the food. Turkey, ham, chicken, fruit salads, Hawaiian salads, vegetable salads, appetizers, cookies, cakes, and a lot of other things had to be taken care of before tomorrow night. Monica and Pansy had gone out to eat, so Ginny didn't have to worry about cooking dinner for them. The focused on getting everything done before tomorrow night. The meats would be prepared tonight and thoroughly cooked tomorrow by the cook who was only there on weekdays because Ginny had to work (she was a librarian at the Ministry library). She herself would make the deserts tonight and the appetizers when she got home from work.
By the time everything was cooked and cleaned, it was about one in the morning. Her father had not arrived home yet, so she changed into her pyjamas, trudged up the stairs to her room, and promptly fell asleep.
A/N: So, what do you think? Leave a review, please:)