Disclaimer: All characters belong to the wonderful J.K. Rowling, not me.
This entire story is OotP and HBP non-compliant as I began it before both novels were published. Also I know that Blaise is a boy, but I began this story way before his gender had been determined.
Draco walked through the school halls, running his speech over in his head. He absently turned corners when he came to dead ends, turning his emotions over and examining them. Here was a hate, rather strong and aimed entirely at Voldemort for stealing his family. A disappointment in his father for being so weak. He had never felt anything but dislike for his conniving, fatuous mother. A… strong fondness for a redhead who desperately wanted him to love her. He just didn't know what love meant. He'd looked it up in the dictionary, but that was entirely unhelpful.
1. to have a great attachment to and affection for
2. to have a passionate desire, longing and feelings for
3. to like or desire very much
4. to make love to
Draco felt all these things for Ginny, but he still didn't know exactly what love was.
A sudden noise pulled Draco out of his thoughts. Glancing around him he found himself standing in front of a large portrait of an incredibly fat lady wearing a foul pink dress. He blinked at her, and she glanced at him over the tattered book she was reading.
"Password," she muttered absently, turning her attention back to her book.
"Uh…" Draco mumbled, taken aback. He turned away, intending to leave the secret entrance before anyone noticed. The sound of the painting swinging open behind him stopped him cold. Surely 'uh' couldn't be the password…
"Malfoy?" came a voice behind him. "What are you doing here?"
Draco glanced over his shoulder.
"Wrong Weasley, sorry," he said quickly. "I was just leaving."
Ron narrowed his eyes at him. Hermione peered over his shoulder, her red rimmed eyed looking at Draco with confusion.
"Ron? Why is Malfoy looking for Ginny?" she asked.
"He thinks he's in love with her," Ron replied. "Let's go to the library."
Hermione's jaw dropped and she stood rooted to the spot. She spluttered for a little while but Ron tugged on her hand, pulling her down the hall. She resisted for a moment but then something passed over her face.
"He's not Harry," she breathed. "Of course. He's anything but Harry. The library, Ron? Well, let's get going."
Ron and Hermione trotted down the hall hand in hand. Draco stared after them.
"Insane. The lot of them," he muttered under his breath.
Sighing heavily, Draco turned to leave, stopping short when he saw what was standing before him.
"We… need… to talk," gasped an out of breath Ginny.
Draco was struck dumb. He nervously ran his hand through his hair. Ginny gulped several breaths of air before steeling herself.
"Listen," she began. "Hermione made me realise something. You aren't Harry, and…"
"Don't," interrupted Draco.
"But…" Ginny whispered, crushed.
Steeping forward, Draco placed a finger tenderly on her lips.
"Let me explain. I can't love you."
Ginny tried to suppress the lump rising in her throat, but a strangled sob erupted from her lips. Draco closed his eyes.
"I," he continued. "Don't know what love is. You have lived with it all your life and you expect it from those you… care about. But, Ginny, I don't know what it is…"
"Draco," Ginny interrupted coolly. "You are right. I do expect everyone I love to love me back. My entire relationship with Harry was based on me trying to force him to love me. But you are not Harry and I can't force you to love me. I am sorry for trying to force you to do something so hard. But I love you. And I am content to be with you, even if you can't offer me your love, because that is enough."
"I… can't, Ginny. I can't expect you to be with someone who doesn't love you. You deserve so much better."
The lump in Ginny's throat sank and took hold of her heart. She lowered her eyes around her.
"Okay," she whispered. "I'll miss you, Draco."
She turned to leave, but Draco grabbed her hand.
"Dammit, woman, you don't understand."
Ginny's eyes flashed dangerously.
"Don't call me woman," she spat. "And speak clearly if you want me to understand."
"I… hurt… when you aren't around. Ginny, I don't think I can survive without you. I need you… I need you to ttmpheeowtalevoo."
"What?" Ginny said, confused.
"You know," Draco replied awkwardly. "Ttmpheeowtalevoo."
Ginny smiled slightly.
"You want me to… what?" she goaded.
"Bloody hell, Gin! I need you to teach me how to love. I want you teach me how to love you."
"You are cute when you blush," she teased.
"Ginny…" he said warningly.
She stepped forward and kissed him gently on the lips, then linked her fingers with his.
"I love you," she whispered.
Draco smiled self consciously and kissed her deeply. Pulling away, Ginny led him by the hand towards the portrait of the fat lady.
The portrait swung open, and Draco looked inquisitively at the red and gold common room.
"Usually, I would be entirely distrustful of the crimson shade of this room, but the colour red has been growing on me."
Ginny laughed and led him to her dorm room.
Harry sat in a darkened corner of the common room after watching Ginny and Draco go upstairs. They had been so… happy. It had been a long time since he had felt that emotion. Slowly his feelings of resentment faded and a more unsettling feeling rose from his gut, constricting his chest.
He was alone. And it was his fault.
The happily entwined couple sprang apart guiltily.
"Such indiscretions are not suitable for the library," said Madam Pince shrilly. "Miss Granger, I thought you would know better. Now get out."
Madam Pince whirled away, leaving Ron and Hermione to gather themselves. Hermione giggled and Ron grinned stupidly at her. Slowly his grin faded.
"It shouldn't be this easy," he murmured. "You know, to forgive you."
"I know," said Hermione sadly. "If you chose to… be apart, I would understand. I deserve it."
"I want to try, 'Mione."
She smiled shyly.
"I love you, Ron. And I want to try, too."
Ron smiled and took her hand in his.
"Can we find somewhere else to engage in such indiscretions?" he whispered.
Hermione nodded. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Ron smiled and nodded.
"Room of Requirement."
Ginny lay enveloped in Draco's arms, feeling euphoric.
"So let me get this straight," she said smugly. "You need me?"
"And you want me?"
"Since the day you cried, Gin. Since the day you cried."
A/N: So that's it. I know I haven't updated in over a year and a half, but I had a serious case of writer's block. I finally discovered the path I wanted to take with the final chapter (and this was always intended to be the final chapter, I wasn't just finishing it in a rush).
I hope you all like it. Please read and review.