Oubliette (2/2)


"Gin...Ginny..." A familiar voice crowded her skull, fighting through the aching cold and the bliss of slumber. She attempted to open her eyes, but couldn't quite make them work. Something hard poked her in the ribs. "Hey! Weasley!"

That woke her. She jerked upright in confusion and blinked in the unfamiliar surroundings. Draco Malfoy sat before her, his hair in a state of dishevelment she knew he would never allow in public. He looked annoyed, his brows drawn together, his mercury eyes glaring at her from his recumbent position against the dusty cushion propped on the wall.

"Malfoy...?" she started in confusion and then groaned, burying her head in her hands. The events of the night flooded back into her brain and she squinted up at Draco in misery. "Why did you let me sleep?"

"I was tired of listening to you talk," he said tersely, sliding off the cushions and standing, stretching his muscles one at a time and rolling his shoulders. He didn't look at her as he yawned and lifted his hands to the low ceiling.

"How long was I asleep?" she hazarded, pulling her fingers through her tangled red hair. There were great knots in it in the back, knots she was sure weren't there before she'd went to sleep. She glanced at Malfoy uneasily once more.

"About an hour and a half," he said. "You snore."

Her mouth fell open. "I do not!"

"If that's a story that comforts you, then go with it," he said sarcastically, allowing a smile to cross his pointed face before he wiped it off and cleared his throat. "Well, we've been in here for nearly four hours and we're still not any closer to getting out. And by now someone misses us...or at least you."

"Yeah, but we shouldn't wait for them to find us...I think this is our problem," she said, leaning against the cold stones and rubbing the sleep from her eyes. The light was bright and inviting, even in the dim, dismal surroundings.

"I was thinking while you were sleeping...and maybe there's a trick stone in the ceiling," he said casually, looking up and pointing to the stones overhead with one finger. "I mean, there's nothing in the floor or the walls, so there must be one up there."

"It's worth a try, but how are we going to get up there? You're taller than I am, but even standing on the cushions you couldn't reach it."

"I know. That's the drawback." He bit down on his lip and looked her over shrewdly. "How much do you weigh?"

She lifted an eyebrow. "I beg your pardon?"

"I was thinking that if you sit on my shoulders, you'd be able to reach it easily."

She followed his eyes again and mentally measured the distance. He was right; she could reach it if she sat on his shoulders. "Well...I suppose that would work..."

Draco bent down on his knees suddenly and looked up at her through the white-blonde curtain of his hair. "Sit on my shoulders and brace your hands on the wall. I'll stand and take you with me." She was surprised and couldn't hide the expression that crossed her face. "What?"

"Well...I'm just not used to seeing Draco Malfoy rolling in the dirt."

"Obviously never been in a Care of Magical Creatures class with me. That smelly oaf Hagrid--"

"And you were doing so well pretending to be a human being," Ginny sighed, shaking her head. "Can't you be nice for one moment?"

Draco smiled. "Never. Nice doesn't suit me."

"You'd be surprised. You were being nice to me a few moments ago," she pointed out, tossing her hair out of her face.

"No I wasn't. I was wheedling my way into your good graces so that you would help me get out of here," he said matter-of-factly. "I'm only being nice to gain advantage."

Ginny glared at him. "Figures. Foolish of me to think otherwise."

"Yes it was." Draco glared just as coldly. "Now get on my shoulders so we won't ever have to spend quality time alone again."

"My pleasure," she spat, hitching up her robes and straddling his shoulders, his head between her thighs. Anger kept her from being embarrassed. Slowly they lurched upward, her hand steadying them on the wall. Finally they were upright, their cast shadows on the dingy walls like a freakishly tall four-armed beast.

"Now press the stones as hard as you can and hurry it up...you're not as light as you look," Malfoy grunted, trying to keep his balance as Ginny lifted her arms and pushed with her palms as hard as she could on the ceiling. Nothing budged.

They moved on, walking carefully around the room, Ginny pushing as hard as she could to no avail and Draco staggering beneath her, trying to keep her steady. Finally they ran out of stones to press and Ginny sighed.

"Its no use, Malfoy. Let me down," she demanded, looking down at the top of his head, his hands clutching her knees.

"Fine," he said and then he pitched her backward. She screamed as she flew through the air, and then landed on the cushions with a groan.

"Arse," she grumbled, picking herself up and tugging her skirt down over her thighs to hide them from his view. He looked away and smacked the wall with the palm of his fist.

"This makes no damned sense! Why would it say there was a secret in the stones if there isn't one?" He shook his head as if in defeat.

"Well getting mad about it won't help anything!"

"Don't make me hit you," he snapped offhandedly, hitting the wall again.

"As if you would."

"Would so."


"Shut up Weasley."

"Shut up Malfoy."

"Don't make me stuff you in the privy," he threatened, wheeling on her with a smile on his face.

"Ha! I wouldn't fit!" she declared triumphantly, jumping to her feet to face him.

"I'd make you fit, believe that!" He glared down at her, his nostrils flaring, lips twitching..

"Then who would help you get out?" she hissed through her teeth, smiling too.

"I don't know...Saint Potter would probably come swooping in here on his Firebolt and save you like he always does..." he mused aloud.

"He does not! He only saved me once!"

"Right...I remember now...he let Longbottom try and save you from the Inquisitorial Squad last year," he sneered down at her, pushing her in the shoulder with one finger. "I was amused by that for quite a while."

"Until I hexed you with flying bogies. If I remember correctly, you screamed like a girl and ran!" she exclaimed, smiling fondly at the memory, which was one of her best ever.

Draco glared at her and she smiled cheekily, glad to see she'd gotten to him, even just a little bit. "Think you're clever do you?"

"I know I am," she said, sticking her tongue out at him. "So, are we going to keep up the witty banter or attempt to free ourselves? Right now I'd be up for either one."

"As charming as exchanging wits with you is, I'd like nothing more than to get out of here. And find a bathroom." He mumbled the last part under his breath and flushed high in his cheeks. She smiled even wider.

"Well there is the privy over there..." She gestured to said hole with a wave of her hand and he grimaced.

"Not with you in the room!"

"Then I'm afraid you'll have to hold it until we get out of here." She shrugged and sat down on the cushions, thinking longingly of a nice clean toilet herself. If they didn't get out of there soon, she might just have to stoop so low. She prayed it wouldn't come to that though. "So, we've tried the stones...what about magic?"

"The light spell didn't work though," he pointed out, pacing again, his hands clasped behind his back. She watched him thoughtfully.

"But it couldn't hurt to try again, surely?" she said, pulling out her wand and tapping it against her palm. He chewed on his lower lip and then pulled his out too.

"I suppose not. Unlocking spells would work in theory..." his voice trailed off as he scrunched up his brow and then lifted his wand. "Alohamora!"

Nothing. Ginny tried a door-opening spell next, and then when that didn't work, Draco attempted a complicated portal spell. Nothing worked. They went through each and every spell they could remember and nothing changed. No stone moved and the mysterious torch continued to burn unchanged.

"Well that was a waste of time," Ginny said gloomily, tucking her wand back into the inner pocket of her robes. "If only my stupid brothers had told me about this place..."

Draco read the engraving aloud for the millionth time, chewing his lip in thought. "Maybe its magic, what's in the stones? Maybe we've been going about this all wrong and it's not physical..."

"But magic didn't work..." she complained in a sullen voice.

"No, not wand magic, but what about magic words? We use them all the time, like the passwords for the dormitories and other places! What if that's the answer?"

"Good idea!"

So they both started saying as many magic words as they could remember until they were both certain they were making words up in their desperation. Another hour passed. They paced and fretted, growing more and more irritable, if that were possible.

Draco kept stealing glances at her, chewing on his lip until it was raw and red looking. Ginny's nose was cold and it ran slightly. She wiped it discreetly on one of the cushions while he was looking the other way. Ginny sat down again, her ankle killing her and her bladder full to bursting, making her uncomfortable. The cold didn't help and the pressure grew increasingly worse as she shivered and shook.

Finally she couldn't take it anymore. "I have to use the loo or I'm going to burst," she said, resolutely telling herself not to be embarrassed. Draco wheeled on her.

"You're not going in...in HERE! No way!"

"Yes way, Malfoy! I had a goblet of pumpkin juice at dinner and I can't hold it any longer!" Ginny said as she stood and hopped over to the privy pit corner. Draco caught her wrist in his hand, spinning her around.

"Not with me in here! I forbid it!" he hissed down at her, his cheeks bright red. "I can hold it and so can you!"

"You can hold whatever you want, but I'm going right now!" she shouted in a tone of voice that brooked no arguments. He paled and let go.

"And what am I going to do while you go?"

"You're going to sit in the corner, cover your ears and look away! And feel free to hum really, really loudly!" she spat, pointing toward the corner. He hesitated, as if not believing what was transpiring, then marched to the cushions and sat down with his back to her. "Ears!"

He covered his ears immediately and she took a deep breath, and then turned to the hole in the corner. It still smelled horrible, though there was nothing actually inside it that she could see. She had the awful image of a spider crawling out of it and...

Well, it was best not to think of that. She steeled herself and pulled her knickers down, and then crouched over the pit, bracing her feet on either side, her shoulders butted against the join of the walls. She glanced at Malfoy and saw he still had his back turned to her and his hands over his ears.

"Are you finished yet?" he called suddenly.

"NO!" she shrieked, afraid he'd turn around.

"What's taking so long?"

"I can't go with you...listening! I told you to hum or sing or something..." she said in a high-pitched voice, her cheeks flushing bright red. Draco sighed and then started singing a song she knew was meant to annoy her. His voice was clear and soothing as the strains of "Weasley is Our King" filled the tiny room. She rolled her eyes, relaxed and let go.

When she was finished, she got everything back into place, grimaced at the lack of toilet tissue or water to wash her hands with and tapped Draco on the shoulder. He stopped in mid-chorus and looked at her warily.

"There, it wasn't so bad."

"For you, maybe," he grumbled and turned around to face her, his legs crossed beneath him. He leaned back against the wall and watched her from beneath his pale blonde eyelashes, his lips pursed. She blushed.

"What?" He didn't reply. "What?" He lifted one eyebrow. "Stop it!"

"Stop what?"

"Looking at me like that," she responded, lying down on her side on the cushions, her head on upraised palm. "You have thoughtful face. What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing in particular, really. What are you thinking about?"

"Getting out of here, of course. We've been in here a while..."

"Not so long as your brothers yet...we'll be fine," he told her in a soothing tone that surprised her.

"Are you trying to make me feel better, Malfoy?" she asked, her eyebrows rising. He smiled lazily and tilted his head to the ceiling.

"I confirm no such thing, Weasley," he said, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked up at the engraving again. "Well, we've tried everything. Spells, words and trying to push our way out...we're out of options."

"I'm too tired to care," she said in a monotone voice, shifting position so that she was lying on her back, looking at the impenetrable stone ceiling.

"At least you got to sleep for a while," Draco retorted, poking her in the hip with the toe of one shoe. She glanced at him and then back up at the ceiling.

"And whose fault is that?" she said with a slight smile and he chuckled dryly.

"Point taken, Red."

They both went quiet again and Ginny mulled over the engraving in her head, turning over the sentences in her mind and mouthing them, as if that would unlock the secret for her. Her eyelids drooped again and she fought sleep. Suddenly Draco broke the silence with a strained voice.

"Close your ears and sing something."


"I can't hold it any longer," he sniffed, scooting off the cushions. She laughed, but stopped when he shot her a dirty look. "Do it."

She immediately closed her eyes and clapped her hands over her ears and, taking a cue from Malfoy, she started singing her own song. Only it wasn't "Weasley is Our King".

"Malfoy, Malfoy, what a boy! He can have any witch; just watch him miss the Golden Snitch! He's always number two, Potter makes him look like a fool!" She kept on singing it when she felt the cushions depress with Draco's weight. She finished her impromptu song, her eyes shut, her voice ringing off the stone and muffled by her hands. "Draco is a stupid git, he can't play Quidditch for shi--"

A cushion hitting her atop the head promptly cut off her song. Her eyes snapped open and Draco laughed at her deep in his throat. She just stared at him for a moment as he grinned.


She immediately snatched up one of the smaller cushions and bashed him over the head with it. He reeled and whacked at her again as she laughed. They slapped at each other with the musty cushions, rising up a cloud of dust with each hit. She coughed and ducked a blow, then hit him in the stomach with hers. He caught her wrist in his hand and pushed her down, pinning her beneath him.

She laughed and tried to get free, his face hovering above hers, his grin wide and white. She let go of her cushion and tried to move her arms.

"No fair...you're bigger than me!"

But Draco didn't respond. His gray eyes were on her lips and before she had time to register it, his mouth descended on hers. He kissed her hard, his lips clamped not so gently over hers, tugging, his teeth scraping and nibbling. Confusion burst through her head.

She wrenched her hands free and pushed on his shoulders, but he wouldn't give. She pushed harder, fighting the urge to kiss him back until finally she broke free, sucking in a lungful of air. Her eyes widened as he dipped his head to kiss her again and she pushed him away as hard as she could.

"What?" he asked, bewildered. She flushed a deep red.

"Uh...Draco...I don't...we hate each other, remember?"

He shrugged and slid his hand into her hair like he had before, making her shiver beneath him. "So?"

"SO? What in the world are you even thinking? We're stuck in here and you want to SNOG? ME? I'm a Weasley! You hate me just on principal! I was in the Ministry when your father was taken into custody! Gryffindor. Slytherin. Mortal enem--"

He kissed her again; his hand twisted in her hair, desperate like he'd wanted to do it all night. His kiss was just as rough and selfish as before, but this time she returned it despite herself. His lips were cool, but his tongue was warm as it darted against her mouth. He stole her breath, her heart thumping in her chest. She broke off again, desperate for air, but he claimed her mouth again, pushing her back on the cushions, his body covering her like a warm blanket.

She couldn't think. Couldn't get one single thought through her confusion. Draco kissed her again and again and she returned each one, growing more terrified as the minutes wore on. The hand not wrapped possessively in her hair was roaming over her body, touching and sliding beneath clothing, his long fingers plucking at her shirt buttons, attempting to get them open.

"Draco...Draco stop!" she gasped when she felt the first two buttons give, the cold air hitting her exposed skin with an arctic blast. He muttered something against her lips and slid two fingers inside her shirt and over the swell of one breast. She tensed beneath him and shook her head to get rid of the confusion. "Draco!"

He looked up with a lop-sided smile on his face, his eyes half-mast and heavy lidded. "What?"

"I'm not sure what you think is going to happen here...but I don't...I'm a...I never..." she fumbled, trying to get her mouth to form the right words. It came out a garbled mess and she drew in a sharp breath, her lungs expanding against the pressure of his chest atop hers.

"That's okay...I don't mind..." He dipped his head to kiss her again and she jerked her head to the side so that his mouth landed on her cheek. He didn't seem to mind though and she felt chills rise from the slow and steady trail of his mouth on her skin.

"Well I do!" she protested breathlessly, pushing on his shoulders again. He moaned a little and she began to panic. This was definitely not something she'd seen coming. His assault on her was rough and bewildering. She sat up quickly, scooting away as far as she could go, her cheeks burning with color. "We can't..."

"Who's here to see? To hear? Not even Filch can get into this place! Its perfect!" he said, crawling his way toward her on all fours. She backed up against the wall, barely registering the icy stone as it connected with her back. He blocked her way off the cushions and into the rest of the tiny room. There was no use in even trying to run. Where would she go?

She steadied herself and glared at him. "Perfect for what?"

"Don't be so naive, Weasley!" he said in a mocking tone, grabbing her ankles firmly in his hands. Pain exploded through her system. "You know what I want..."

"You're not...not serious are you?" She could hardly believe what he was implying. If he thought she was going to...with him in a dirty hole in the ground! The idea was laughable.

"Deadly serious, Ginny," he said in a whisper, his eyes cold and hungry as they roved over her face. She shrank away from him, wincing as she jerked her sore, swollen ankle out of his grip.

"And so am I. No. Whatever you're thinking, no."

"You don't mean that..."

"I really do, Malfoy. I don't like you...in any way. At all. You're a horrid person!" she said with a grimace as his expression grew colder at her words. He looked over and sneered.

"You're right. What was I thinking? I thought you were mature and you're just a little girl." He laughed as he said it and then he climbed off the cushions, leaving her shaking and confused once more, though anger followed shortly.

"Insult me, I don't care. Just don't touch me again...you hurt me a little..."

"Good. You deserve it. I should hurt you more..."

"Then why don't you?"

"Because I can't," he said. "I can't do it. I want to and I can't."

She looked him over worriedly. "Why not?" she demanded.

"I've told you. Dumbledore and the other teachers would know. I can't risk my future for you."

"Lucky for me then."

"You have no idea."

"What's wrong with you Draco?" Ginny asked him softly, climbing off the cushions. She stood and buttoned her blouse again. "You're nice to me one moment and then you threaten me...I can't figure you out."

"I've not been nice to you. I've manipulated you, remember? Never forget that," he said darkly, glancing at her from the corner of his eye. She frowned.

"Manipulating me for what?"

"Nevermind, Weasley. It's not important. You don't matter to me. And that's final."

She studied him for a long moment and then sighed, deciding to let it go. "Fine. Let's just concentrate on getting out of this place, okay?"

"Yeah, good idea," Draco said sullenly, running a hand through his tousled hair and avoiding her eyes. Her lips felt swollen from his selfish kisses and she touched them gently with the tip of one finger. Catching herself, she stopped and then looked up at the engraving once more.

"What I don't understand is why Hogwarts has an oubliette in the first place."

"There are all sorts of strange places in this school. Obviously one of the founders thought this place was a clever idea and built it," Draco shrugged, pacing the floor once more. He stole glances at her every few seconds, his shoulders rigid.

"Like the Chamber of Secrets! How Salazar Slytherin kept that huge room a secret I'll never know," Ginny said, looking away from the pacing Draco, glad they were once again working on a way to get out of the room.

"Slytherin was a clever man. I shouldn't wonder he kept it secret from the others that helped him found the school; they had no vision," Draco snorted derisively, leaning against the wall. He looked thoughtful. "Bit like that Room of Requirement you and Potter used for your DA club last year, you could say."

"The problem there is, neither of us required being stuck in a great smelly hole in the school!"

Draco looked her over, a look in his eye as if he were debating whether or not to tell her something. "Well, one of us did..." he finally said in a heavy, defeated voice.

"What?" Ginny asked in confusion.

"Well, I've been, er, thinking and the engraving says an oubliette is where things are put and forgotten. You said you wanted everyone to leave you alone when I followed you, right?"

Ginny looked at him suspiciously, the fog over her mind drifting apart. She glanced at the engraving. The meaning seemed to become clearer to her. "Yes...I did say that. It was odd though, I was at dinner and I'd had a horrid day...but I didn't want to be alone..."

She trailed off in thought, realizing just how strange her turning up in the odd, circular room had been.

"Oh, well maybe you did and you just didn't realize it?" Draco said in a nervous voice. She eyed him once more and then shrugged.

"Its possible, I suppose. But what has that got to do with the oubliette?"

"I think this place is a lot like the Room of Requirement. Maybe you can only get into it when you don't want to be found? Or at a certain time of night?"

"All possible, but what has that got to do with getting out?" Ginny said exasperatedly, wringing her hands.

"Well, if you can get in by not being found, then perhaps you can get out by wanting the opposite?" Draco said in an obvious voice, gesturing to her.

"If that's true, then most people would be out as soon as they'd gotten in!" she said, gesturing to the scratched names, dates and hours on the walls.

"In theory, but have you been thinking of getting out or getting found?"

"Of course!"

Draco lifted an eyebrow at her and she bit her lip. She thought for a moment, and then realized she hadn't thought of it. She'd thought of getting out, yes, but she'd been trying to figure out the riddle. They'd tried the stones, but nothing had happened. She hadn't been thinking about wanting to be found at all, as she thought no one would find them because they didn't know where they were and the painting upstairs couldn't race off to tell anyone.

It all made perfect sense! Or at least she thought it did...

"The riddle on the wall...it's meant to confuse you!"

"That's what I'm beginning to think. But here, see it says, 'escape is but a thought away'. Its not lying, it just doesn't give you a clue what the thought is," Draco said wearily, pointing to the wall again. "Pretty clever. I wouldn't doubt it if this were Rowena Ravenclaw's addition to the school. It's certainly tricky enough."

"How do you know so much all of a sudden?" Ginny asked him, hands on her hips. He shrugged once more.

"I don't. But seven hours in here will give you enlightenment and time to think." His was sullen and Ginny wondered why. They were finally going to get out of here!

"So...if we think we've figured it out, why are we still stuck?"

"I've figured it out, but you have to want to be found, since you're the one who triggered the thing in the first place."

Ginny frowned. "Oh, well in that case..." she trailed off as she squeezed her eyes shut, intending to think long and hard about getting out.

Hands were suddenly on her shoulders. She opened her eyes to look at Draco. He looked very unhappy.

"Are you sure you want out?"

She was confused. "Don't you?"

"Yes, but don't you want to stay for a while? Its safe..." He had that wheedling tone in his voice again that made her suspicious.

"No its not. I don't know what you're thinking, Malfoy, but I want out of here. And I don't want to be around you any longer," she said in a stern voice, sure that she was warning him of something. What that something was, she couldn't say. He made her uncomfortable though, like he had expected something and was now very disappointed and was giving up.

"As if I want to be around you, either?" He turned cold in an instant, his eyes narrowing into slits. He let go of her shoulders and walked across the tiny room to kick the wall in anger. He did again and again, making her jump and stare at him.

"Draco! Stop it!" she shouted, grabbing his arm and pulling him around to face her. He glared down at her, his shoulder heaving up and down in his fury. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing. Just get us out of here. I can't stand you a moment longer." He wrenched his arm out of her hands and leaned sullenly against the wall.

"Fine." And with that she closed her eyes and thought hard about being found. I want to be found. I don't want to be in here any longer. I don't want to be forgotten. Let me out. There is no secret in the stones.

She thought of everything she could think of. Even asking for Harry and Ron to come and find her. She opened her eyes after a long moment and then looked at the ceiling. She half expected it to open up, but was surprised when it remained unchanged.

"Finished?" Draco asked in a resentful voice.

"I don't think it--" She stopped in mid-sentence as the stones above her gave grated together and a hole opened up directly in the middle of the room. There was a squeak of rusty metal and then a ladder descended with a clang in front of her. It led upward and out. "It worked! I can't believe it! It was so simple."

"Lovely. Now start climbing. I have class in a few hours and I'd like to at least get a shower to wash the stink of this place away," Draco said, pushing her out of the way as she reached for the ladder. He climbed up swiftly, disappearing into the escape hole without so much as a goodbye. Ginny frowned and started to climb up, but stopped and hopped down.

She looked around and found a jagged piece of stone on the floor. She found Fred and George's inscription on the wall and beside it, she wrote:

Ginny Weasley and Draco Malfoy, 1996, 7 hours

She smiled and looked around the tiny room, the oubliette, and then up at the ladder. Something very odd had happened tonight and she wasn't sure what that was. Draco Malfoy had been almost bearable. He'd kissed her and even thinking about it made her stomach flip-flop. She wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not though. He couldn't like her...she'd just been convenient...

With a shrug, she dropped the sharp stone and climbed the ladder a quickly as her ankle would allow her. The hole opened up into the round room again and she breathed deeply, feeling the warmer air of the heated castle envelope her. She pulled herself up the whole way and stood, looking down at the dark, deep hole as it closed up once more. Carefully she stepped away from it and looked around the room.

Draco was nowhere to be found. She hadn't really expected him to wait for her, but she felt slightly disappointed. The painting of the maiden on the rocks waved at her and smiled.

"Figured it out, did you?"

"Yes...where did Draco go?" Ginny asked her as she stepped up to the painting. She shrugged as best she could through the chains criss-crossing her body, strapping her to the rocks.

"He went in that direction." She gestured with her chin at the doorway opposite the painting and frowned. "He's always rude to me though."

Ginny furrowed her brow. "Does he come through here often?"

"Past month he's gone down into the oubliette several times. Odd fellow." Ginny's mouth fell open. Draco had been there before? But...

Nothing made sense. She looked back to the center of the odd room, where the opening was. What did this mean?


The Slytherin common room was warm and empty but for two people. Crabbe and Goyle looked up from the game of Gobstones they were both mucking through as the entry portal opened and a lithe figure sauntered inside.

Goyle smiled. "How did it go?"

"Yeah, did it work?" Crabbe asked, knocking over the Gobstones as Draco sat down wearily in a plush, red velvet chair near the fire. Draco's face was dark and motionless. "Draco?"

"The Befuddlement Charm worked exactly like I thought it would. She had no idea where she was or why until I got her into the oubliette..."

"And?" Goyle pressed, leaning closer to hear every juicy word. Draco shot him a deadly glare, making him shrink backward. Draco seemed to contemplate his two companions for a moment and then he smiled and leaned back, regaining his prideful swagger.

"And she's got a lot to learn, but I taught her a few things," he said with a lop-sided snigger, then leaned forward, inventing salacious details that his dim-witted friends drank up like warm butterbeer.

"Why her though?" Crabbe asked, his low brown furrowing, his tiny brown eyes screwing up.

"Because I could, Crabbe," Draco spat at his hulking friend, leaning back in his comfortable chair. "She flaunts herself all over the school like she owns it. She's Muggle-loving filth and I won't stand for it." His expression grew dark. "Most of all, she doesn't even know it. She has no idea what she does to me! She's SO sweet and innocent that it makes me sick."

Crabbe and Goyle exchanged looks. "But did you teach her a lesson?"

Draco's attention snapped to Goyle. Something flickered in his eyes. "No. But I will. She can't refuse me and get away with it. "

"But I thought you said you'd..." Goyle said in confusion, but Draco sneered at him.

"Don't think. You'll only hurt yourself. Just believe me when I say this isn't over. No, Ginny Weasley still has it coming to her. I'm not finished. She can't treat me like that..." he trailed off, staring into the fire, obsession burning in his eyes. An obsession that had been there since last spring and had only gotten worse with time.

Crabbe and Goyle sat back in silence as Draco brooded.

No, Ginny Weasley had no idea what was in store for her. Things had not gone the way Draco had wanted in the oubliette. He'd intended to hurt her, oh yes hurt her and make her pay for what she'd done. But he hadn't. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a handful of burning red hairs he'd pulled from her head while she'd slept. They reflected the firelight, shimmering in his fist like blood.

Draco Malfoy smiled. This wasn't over.