Yes, this is, in fact, the LAST chapter of Cold As A Stone. That's not to say that Cat and I aren't writing another Ginny/Draco fic, because quite frankly, we are. We've started the planning process already and we're hoping that our loyal, uberwonderful readers will be there for that one too. ^_^ It's a romance, yes, but it's going to have action wormed in there somewhere. Yay!

To all our beautimous reviewers/readers, we 3 you beyond belief! ^_^

~Much Love from Texas... and Oklahoma~

Ash and Cat

* * *

So... this was it. Draco Malfoy was going to the ball, and for the first time in history, he was going alone... by his own free will at that. He wasn't sure whether to congratulate himself on royaly screwing up any chance he had with Ginny, even if he hadn't done it, to go and sit for the entirety of the blasted thing, to (laughably) attempt to enjoy himself, or to just head back up to the Slytherin common rooms.

And he most certainly would have chosen the latter if he hadn't seen her then, walking in with Harry. She was gorgeous... simply beautiful. Draco's jaw dropped as she entered, fiery red hair cascading down her shoulders before curling perfectly at the bottom. And her dress, Merlin her dark green dress, was wonderful, exposing those creamy white shoulders and arms. He almost wanted to cover them up, to keep all the hungry pairs of eyes off of her... but knew such was pointless... for he, himself, was now but a hungry pair of eyes, was he not?

Her mask was a perfect shade of green to match her dress as well, covering up her beautiful face... save her eyes, those beautiful, brown eyes that searched the room. Draco sighed softly and tried to bring himself to look away. Ginny wasn't his to admire... not any longer... She was... his, and he wasn't quite sure he could handle such a thing... The boy in black gently pushed through the crowds until he was in the very middle. Perhaps there he wouldn't be able to see her.

* * *

She stepped into the Great Hall, its beauty almost breath-taking. The ceilings were of course covered in the usual array of the night sky, yet frequent shooting stars were seen flying through the air. The candles were still classically lit, with two chandeliers on opposite sides of the room bringing even more light into the bustling area. They had charmed the floor to appear like gold, shining brightly with many girls enviously gossiping about if it was real. In the corner there was a magically enhanced orchestra with instruments playing themselves, producing a melodic classical sound. She smiled in approval, taking in the vast setting with a soft nod of her head before turning at the first squeal sent her way.

"Hi, Susan." Ginny politely replied to the girl's obsession over her dress and hair. Polite. That seemed to be Ginny's take on such things recently. Her long gown swished with a soft whisper over the floor as she moved, the bodice conforming strictly to her upper curves, with her tresses dangling over her shoulders, and cascading down her bare back. She particularly chose to ignore the drooling glances she attracted from various beings of the male gender, Potter included. Ever since she had stepped down the girl's dormitories for him to escort her, he had stumbled upon every other word he spoke, earning a few giggles from the blushing redhead.

Her smile slowly waned as she spotted a certain boy, in the middle nonetheless, sparking his own attention from the masses, the female masses that is. She could see Pansy tripping over herself to get to him, even Hermione seemed to be taken by him in his evening attire, something Ginny made a silent memo to scold her for later. She couldn't even trust her best friend nowadays...

"Ginny, would you like to dance?" The redhead was soon shaken from her surreal thoughts as a strong hand was presented to her, a sheepish grin on the other side. She stared into his attractive emeralds for a moment, giving him a shy smile.

"Of course, Harry."

Yet as he whisked her away onto the dancing floor, charming many eyes to watch them in awe, she found herself wanting to be pulled away by Draco, not Potter... not Harry. She wanted Draco. She smiled remembering all the times she would have killed to be in the exact position she was in now, dreamed about it, thought of what she would say when it finally happened. And now, as it were, she was speechless and wanted nothing more then to be in the arms of Draco Malfoy.

* * *

Going into the crowd... how bloody stupid was he? It wasn't long before Draco could hardly breathe under all the girls surrounding him. 'Dance with me Draco!' 'Draco! You look so good!' And one in particular that earned a raise of his brow 'Marry me, Draco!' Not to mention a shudder... Girls were scary at times.

The boy began to back up, smacking into people along the way until he finally grasped the familiar arm of a brunette. "Granger?!" he asked exasperatedly, taking her hand and placing his free hand on her hip. "What the hell?" He looked her over. Same Hermione, perhaps a bit prettier than usual. Her hair was a bit more calm, sleek and straight. He rather liked it that way... so much better than the usual bush atop her head.

"I daresay that's an improvement from mudblood." Draco rolled his eyes, but Hermione continued before he had a chance, leaning closer and whispering in his ear. "I know what happened..." He pulled back from her and looked at her with confused eyes. How? How had she known. She moved in closer again. "Harry and Pansy... You have to talk to Ginny..."

Draco sighed pathetically. "Granger, what makes you think there's a chance in hell Ginny will listen to me?" he asked bitterly. "I'd be amazed if she took me back with an apology, let alone if I placed the blame on Potter."

"You've got a witness..."

"Who?" It was Hermione's turn to roll her eyes as Draco twirled her and brought her close once more.

"Who else, Malfoy? Me!"

"What? You?"

"I saw them there... at the library. It was mostly Pansy's doing... convinced Harry." Draco growled softly, yet continued to move to the music.

"Why didn't you say something sooner?!" Hermione looked at him blankly for a moment before hanging her head.

"I-I don't know." The song ended and Draco released Hermione with a raise of his brow.

"We'll talk about this later."

* * *

Hermione. Draco. Dancing. Together.

What was the world coming to? Honestly...

Ginny's cheeks began to blush as Harry pulled her closer to him, and softly pushed her hair from her shoulders, whispering into her ear. "You look beautiful, Ginny." She squirmed a bit uncomfortably, "Erm.. Thanks, Harry." He simply gave her a smile, loosening a grip a bit as he noticed how close they were, and continued swaying easily with the music.

She couldn't help but tear her eyes from the way Hermione and Draco swayed perfectly together, as if they were one, and she did look beautiful that night. She could feel the jealousy erupting within her, satisfied the mask hid her crimson cheeks for the most part.

She continued dancing with Harry as it bled into the next song, his arms wrapped securely about her waist as if she would disappear if he let go. Then she proceeded to slowly turn her head as she felt a familiar hand graze her bare shoulder.

"May I cut in?"

* * *

A very uncomfortable looking Harry Potter sighed and nodded, giving Ginny a quick kiss on the cheek. He met Hermione after about three steps, and the two danced nearby, Hermione's thoughtful scheming was to thank for such.

Draco calmly stepped in Harry's position, grey eyes gazing down at the redhead behind his black, mask. He was surprised, to be perfectly honest, that Harry had let him step in, for the-boy-who-lived knew quite well of what a threat Draco was to he and Ginny's 'relationship', if one could even stand to call it such.

"Ginny..." He said softly, stepping to the music without breaking the gaze he held with her eyes. "I know that this isn't what you want to hear, and I know that you're happy with Harry and that everything you ever wanted is right under your nose, but..." His voice caught in his throat. "I didn't tell anyone about what we did. I swear to you on... on everything I own... On my bloodline, on my family, on... on my life, Ginny... I didn't do that. I would never do that."

The boy sucked in a deep breath. "In that hospital wing you promised me... You promised me that you'd never believe what anyone said no matter what... I said that for a reason, Ginny, not just because I thought it was romantic at the time. Parkinson... She saw us that night. I don't know how we didn't see her, but she was." He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it gently.

"Please believe me, Ginny... please..."

* * *

Happy? With Harry? Maybe a few months ago.. But not now.. Not with Draco so firmly in her grasp.

What was he going on about? Believing him? Believe he didn't do it, and why shouldn't she? Her bare back grew rigid and cold underneath his hands, as her insides whirled in a vortex of heat. She swore under her breath as he mentioned Pansy. Her mind began a series of acrobatic back flips, unbelieving, yet wanting it to be true so badly.

She nearly melted as he brought her fingertips to his lips, kissing them softly one by one, each touch sending a warm sensation over her body. She was so deprived of his touch, as half wished to succumb to such feelings, there other was still stubborn, unbelieving.

"Ho-how do you know.. This?" She quietly whispered, her eyes searching his desperately. She wanted it to be true, wanted to be safely back into his arms, her lips upon his, to feel his blond strands creeping through her slender fingers. God, how she missed him. Her eyes filled with hope as she stared at him longingly, the world gone, to where only they two existed, and she clung to the feeling of being whole once again in his arms. A genuine smile tugging upon her eager lips.

* * *

He was getting to her... maybe not as much as he wished, but he was... She was willing to believe him if he could prove it. He glanced nervously at Hermione, who gave him a reassuring nod, which Harry looked confusedly at. The poor boy... he had no idea all his plans were going to come crushing down around him... no idea.

"Hermione... she saw... heard... I can't remember which." He said softly. And he couldn't. He was too blood eager to get to Ginny, couldn't get to her fast enough, couldn't let the words spill from his lips more rapidly. "But whichever it was... Pansy was there with..." He paused and sighed. Damn these morals Ginny was instilling in him. "Pansy was with another Slytherin."

Hermione nodded next to them, before allowing Harry to lead her off farther away. "I swear to you, Ginny. I would never, never do anything to hurt you... ever."

* * *

She stared into his eyes wanting to believe him, she removed her hand from his neck to take her mask off, twiddling it randomly within her fingers for a moment, any movement to break the stillness besides the swaying of their bodies to the music.

Why didn't she believe him? Why couldn't she have listened? She broke her promise to him, and yet he stood here, still wanting her with open arms. She had never felt more undeserving in her life.

"Draco... I- I- I'm so... Sorry..." She finally managed to crackle out, her voice breaking as she spoke, restraining tears. "I'm so sorry... I-I... Didn't want it to be true.. It's just.. Everyone knew... And... Oh God, I'm so sorry..." She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, her forehead resting against his chest as her nude shoulders shook softly from her tears.

She regretted every moment she had spent without him, every moment she had spited him, or even hated him, if there was ever one. She had needed him, and still did, she held an intangible thirst that only he was able to quench, and as she stood there in the refuge of his arms, she wished to never be severed from such a grasp, this grasp that kept her alive. "Don't ever let go of me again..." She quietly whispered, retreating from his shoulder briefly to stare into his eyes, her own glistening with potential tears as she raised a denied hand to run through his blond strands.

* * *

He stared down at her. Why was she just staring at him... staring as though she... didn't believe him. His eyes moved down to the mask she fiddled with. Was it just him, or perhaps was such a thing connected to him as well... It felt like she had such control... such a power over him that he was nearly terrified. She held his heart in his hand, and it was up to her... whether she would keep and treasure it forever... or simply toss it away to be trampled upon.

But as she spoke again, it became quite evident that Ginny Weasley believed him. She believed him and regretted what she'd done... and Ginny Weasley... Ginny Weasley loved him. He mimicked the redhead's gestures, arms wrapped protectively about her as they swayed to the music. Draco gently placed his head atop hers and sighed softly, contentedly. This was the way it should be. He was whole again... comfortable again... warm again...

'Don't ever let go of me again.'

"Never again." He whispered gently, brushing a curled strand of hair from her face before he leaned into kiss her, stopping dancing in the middle of the dance floor. He didn't care. Man-eating slugs could've been devouring his very being and he wouldn't care. He was holding Ginny Weasley in his arms again, and he was never, never letting go.

* * *

~Can't you see?~

~There's a feeling that's come over me~

~Close my eyes~

~You're the only one that leaves me completely breathless~

~No need to wonder why~

~Sometimes a gift like this you can't deny~

~'Cause I wanted to fly~

~So you gave me your wings~

~And time held its breath so I could see, yeah~

~And you set me free~

~There's a will~

~There's a way~

~Sometimes words just can't explain~

~This is real~

~I'm afraid~

~I guess this time there's just no hiding, fighting~

~You make me restless~

~You're in my heart~

~The only light that shines~

~there in the dark~

~'Cause I wanted to fly~

~So you gave me your wings~

~And time held its breath so I could see, yeah~

~And you set me free~

~When I was alone~

~You came around~

~When I was down~

~You pulled me through~

~And there's nothing that~

~I wouldn't do for you~

~'Cause I wanted to fly~

~So you gave me your wings~

~And time held its breath so I could see, yeah~

~And you set me free~