Thank you all for continuing to read and review….sorry it took me so long to get this up, I know I'm a bum…a very busy bum, but a bum none-the-less. I know that this is dragging the story on even more, and I apologize for that…I wrote this a looooooooooong time ago and never posted it, and I didn't want to just completely throw it away because I do like parts of it. My goal is to make the rest of the story go faster!

Oh and thank you to all of you who continue to read and review despite my mistakes- both grammatically and otherwise. I know that I'm not the most knowledgeable about Harry Potter, but I try, so thank you for overlooking or pardoning my faults!

Fye R. Fly

PS: As always, these characters belong to JK Rowling, I'm merely borrowing them for a while

Chapter 17

Ginny woke up the next morning, and groaned as the sun hit her face. She turned her head and buried it in her pillow, pulling the covers up, deciding that if she couldn't see the sun rise, morning hadn't come. However, the sun proved to be more persistent than Ginny had anticipated, and it only took a few more minutes for it to drive her out of bed.

Running her hand through her unruly hair, she sighed and walked into the bathroom, her eyes still adjusting to the light. When she came out, Jessica was sitting on her bed, two bagels on the bed in front of her. "I brought you breakfast…thought you might be hungry," she said sliding one across the bed closer to Ginny.

"Thanks," she said and tore off a piece and put it in her mouth before walking over to wardrobe to pull out some clothes.

"Sure," Jessica said and leaned back against the pillows. "There's someone waiting for you outside of the portrait hole."

Ginny pulled her shirt on and looked over at Jessica, obvious surprise registering on her face. "For me? Who is it?"

"A certain Slytherin," Jessica replied, and took a bite of her own bagel.


"Mmhmm… no Slytherin would be waiting outside the common room unless he has to. What do you think he wants?"

"I don't know…the meeting with Mr. Bloor from the ministry is this afternoon, maybe he just wants to talk."

"Little late for that isn't it? You've already made up your mind."

"Yeah well…I can always change it," Ginny pointed out as she pulled her hair back into a ponytail. "I guess I should go down and see what he wants."

Jessica shrugged. "Up to you…if I were you, I'd let him sit out there and be hassled by the lady in the portrait for a little longer, but that's just me."

Ginny rolled her eyes. "You're so nice Jess."

"I try."

She shook her head, laughing slightly, and picked up the remaining half of her bagel. "I'll see you later…thanks for breakfast."

"Wait… Gin, aren't you at least going to tell me what you're going to do? I'm dying to know," Jessica said jumping off the bed and grabbing Ginny's arm before she could leave.

In response, Ginny shook her head. "I think Draco should be the first to know…it's only fair. You'll find out this afternoon after the meeting I promise."

Jessica sighed. "Well I better be the first person not in that meeting that you tell… deal?"

Ginny laughed. "Well, I don't know about the first. Chances are rumors will be flying around the school before the meeting is even over… you can't keep anything secret in Hogwarts."

"I never listen to the rumors anyway," Jess replied with a wave of her hand.

The remark caused Ginny to raise an eyebrow as she looked over at her friend skeptically. "That's probably because you're the one that usually starts them."

"Not always, sometimes it's Lissa," Jessica responded with a grin. "And someone has to start them, so why not me?"

"You're going to get yourself in trouble some day Jess," Ginny responded, and took another bite of her bagel. After swallowing, she continued, "Just promise you won't start any today… there will already be enough rumors flying around, I don't need anyone else talking about the situation- no matter what happens."

"I promise," Jessica said, and held up her wand, and then said seriously, "Wizard's Honor."

Ginny groaned. "Real funny Jess." She sat down on the bed and pulled her shoes on. "I better get going, see what Draco wants. I'll talk to you later."

"Good luck."

"Thanks," Ginny said, and opened the door only to run into Hermione, who was the door her hand up as if to knock. "Sorry!" she apologized, and stepped back to let her enter the room.

"It's okay," Hermione said, waving off the apology. "Ron is downstairs, he asked me if I would come get you…I told him he could just wait until you came downstairs, but you know how he is… he bugged me so much I finally agreed to come up and see if you were awake."

"I'm popular this morning aren't I?" Ginny remarked, and at Hermione's confused look, explained that Draco was waiting downstairs for her.

Hermione nodded. "Well I don't think Ron is going to let you leave without talking to him first." She paused for a minute before continuing, "I know that you already know what you want to do Ginny…and I think he's going to try and convince you to take the money. Just don't let him- or anyone else- pressure you into anything. Draco can be a jerk, but it is your choice."

"Great, the last thing I want to do is discuss this with Ron," Ginny said with a frown, as she tucked her hair behind her ear. "Between you guys and him, I really don't feel like talking about it anymore…"

"At least it'll be over this afternoon," Hermione pointed out.

"Yeah," Ginny said, looking down the staircase that led to the common room. "I'll talk to you guys later okay?"

Hermione and Jessica echoed a goodbye of their own, but the greeting fell on deaf ears as Ginny was already halfway down the stairs, and no longer visible to the two girls who were still standing in the doorway, watching after her a slightly perplexed look on their faces. "What do you think she's going to do?" Jessica asked.

"I don't know," Hermione responded with a slight shrug. "I'd like to think that she'd take the money and forget about it… I think if she had to make this choice weeks ago that's what she would do, but now I'm not so sure."

"You don't actually think she'd agree do you?" Jessica asked looking over at Hermione, who shrugged.

"No use in speculating, we'll know soon enough."

Jessica nodded, and sat down on her bed again. "Did you finish your charms essay yet…? I'm having some trouble with mine, I have about three more inches to write, and I have no idea what to say…maybe you could help me out a little?" She held up a tattered piece of parchment, ink stains clearly visible from where Hermione was standing. She looked at the piece of parchment skeptically and then back up at Jessica, who was giving her a broad smile. "Please?"

Ron glanced down at the chess board, and tapped his foot on the floor, in an impatient fashion. He glanced up at the staircase that led up to the girls dormitories, and then back down at the chess board in front of him. He rested his hand on his knee to stop his impatient foot, and after a long moment of deliberation moved one of the chess pieces.

Harry grinned as he saw that Ron's move left him open to win the game. Granted, he knew that Ron's playing was suffering because of his anxiety over the meeting that afternoon, not because his skill was progressing. However, this didn't stop Harry from taking his chance to win; it wasn't often that he beat Ron- fairly or otherwise. "Checkmate," Harry said, somewhat smugly and leaned back in his chair, as he looked across the board at Ron. "Hello….? Did you hear me? Checkmate…I win." He said, and frowned slightly when Ron didn't acknowledge his victory.

"Yeah yeah, I heard you," Ron responded finally, swatting Harry's hand out of his face. "You won, big deal."

"It's a big deal when you win, which is all the time," Harry retorted. "Why isn't it a big deal when I win?"

Ron shrugged, and started to put the pieces back where they belonged, checking his watch when he had finished. Only a few minutes had passed since he last checked it, but it felt like much longer.

"She'll be down in a few minutes," Harry said, noticing Ron look up towards the stairs again. "What are you so nervous about anyway? You knew this was going to happen."

"I know, but knowing that your sister is forced to marry Malfoy, and knowing that she chose to marry him are two very different things," Ron grumbled. "Want to play again?"

"Only if you'll actually play this time," he responded, and then shrugged before continuing, "She hasn't exactly said that she's going to marry him yet. It might not happen."

"If she does, I'll never be able to show my face to the other Gryffindors again," Ron lamented, more worried about what would happen to him than what would happen for his sister.

Hearing his comment, Harry rolled his eyes. "Well…" He started. "There are worse things that could happen."

"Like what?" Ron challenged. "I can't think of anything worse than being related to the Malfoys…"

Harry shrugged and made the first move on the chess board. "You-know-who could want you dead."

"Do you always have to bring that up?" Ron asked with a frown. "I can never win when you bring that up."

"That's the point," he responded, waiting for Ron to make his next move.

"The guys are already giving me a hard time…whoever heard of a Gryffindor marrying a Slytherin? It wasn't so bad when they thought that she was forced, but now…" He let his voice trail off, and frowned as he moved one of the chess pieces in front of him.

"You weren't this upset before, what happened?" Harry asked him. "You know better than to listen to rumors and gossip… most of it is just made up anyway."

"Yeah I know, it still bothers me though- not that I would tell Gin that."

Harry laughed. "I'm sure you don't have to tell her, it's written all over your face; you're upset."

Ron frowned and sat up a little straighter. "I am not," he said stubbornly. "I wish I could just tell her to not go through with it, but she'd never listen to me."

"Probably not," He agreed, "but as much as you don't like it- and I don't like it- it is her decision. Not that I like the idea any more than you do. Besides, she's probably already decided not to marry him anyway."

"I don't know about that," Ron said, taking his turn after Harry. "I've been hearing lots of rumors lately, and they have been spending a lot of time together. He's probably conned her into thinking he's a good guy or something. He probably has planned this all along or something."

Harry laughed. "I think you're giving Draco too much credit, Ron. Besides, I'm sure he doesn't like this anymore than you do—it would mean tarnishing his family's name."

"Good point," Ron said brightening. "Maybe the Malfoy pride will solve everything." He paused, and then for the first time that morning, he gave Harry a smile. "I never thought I'd say that."

"Hopefully you won't say it again," Harry commented, and moved another chess piece.

Ron was about to respond when he heard footsteps on the stairs, and looked up to see Ginny enter the common room. "Hermione said you wanted to talk to me," Ginny said as she paused next to the chess table.

Ron nodded, and cleared his throat slightly. "Yeah…I uh, just wanted to talk to you about what you're going to say at the meeting this afternoon."

Ginny sighed. "Ron, I really don't want to talk about this right now, I-"

"Just listen for a minute okay?" Ron said looking up at her. "I just don't want you to do anything that you're going to regret."

At his comment, Ginny frowned. "You don't even know what I've decided Ron. And if I have decided to marry Malfoy, which I'm not saying I have, but if I have, it's my decision."

"I know," Ron said looking over at Harry for help, who conveniently was staring down at the chess board intently, trying to avoid being pulled into the conversation. "I'm just not sure you thought it through. It was different when you were forced- you have a choice now. Think about Mom and Dad and what this will do to them…"

Ginny bristled slightly. "I know Ron," she snapped. "Don't you think I know that? I've thought it all through. I know the repercussions if I say yes, I don't need you reminding me every five minutes."

Ron sighed, "Fine. Just remember that he is a Malfoy and his father is a Death Eater. Everyone who has ever been in the Slytherin house has been evil. People don't change Gin- even if you want them to."

"I know…trust me, I haven't forgotten-and even if I had, I'm sure you'd remind me," she added dryly.

He nodded. "Alright well…whatever you decide I'll uh…"

"Support me?" Ginny offered.

"Yeah," He said nodding again, "Even if your decision is to marry that jerk."

"Thanks, I think," She said laughing and hugged her brother quickly, causing him to color slightly.

"You better not keep Malfoy waiting too long," Ron said pushing her away, embarrassed.

Ginny nodded. "Yeah, thanks Ron." She waved to Harry, and then walked out of the common room, letting the portrait close with a thud behind her.

"Well that wasn't exactly how I had pictured it," Ron said as he looked back down at the board.

"How exactly did you picture it?"

"Well…her announcing that she hates Draco's guts and telling me I was right all along," Ron admitted sheepishly.

"When has Ginny ever told you, you were right?" Harry asked.

"Good point," Ron responded.

"Your move," Harry said, turning back to the unfinished chess game.

"This time I'm going to win," Ron responded, moving one of his pieces.

"It's about time," Draco commented when he saw her. "Do you know how long I've been out here?"

"Good morning to you too," she responded.

Draco rolled his eyes slightly. "If you consider standing here with her" he paused to glare up at the lady in the portrait that was guarding the door to the Gryffindor common room, "a good morning, then I guess it is." He paused, and then said, "I think we should talk."

"Sure, if you're actually going to talk," Ginny replied.

"Can we do it somewhere other than here?" Draco asked, glancing up and down the hallway before looking over at her. "I don't want her," he glanced pointedly at the Fat Lady in the portrait again, "listening to everything we say."

"He complained the entire time," the Fat Lady interjected. "I would have gone and gotten you up if I could just so that he would go away."

"I'm sorry," Ginny said apologetically to the lady in the portrait. "We'll go somewhere else, don't worry." She shot Draco a look and started down the hallway. "Where do you want to go?"

"Let's just walk around the quidditch pitch or something," Draco suggested.


Ginny followed him out of the castle and onto the quidditch pitch, walking the entire way in silence. She tucked a strand of red hair out of her face and looked over at him after they had walked for a few minutes. "So did you want to talk to me about something?"

"I think you know what I want to talk about," Draco said, looking over at her for a minute. "Have you made a decision?"

"I have, but why do you care? You said it was my choice- you refused to talk about it."

"I just want to have some idea of what is going to happen this afternoon. It does affect me too Ginny, it's only fair."

"What do you want to happen?" She asked curiously as they continued to walk.

"I told you it was your decision," Draco responded.

Ginny stopped walking and frowned. "Would you cut it out? You voice your opinions on everything else even when people don't want to hear them. What makes this any different? I would think that you would be jumping up and down with joy and throwing a party because you can weasel yourself out of this."

Draco stopped when he realized that she was no longer following her and looked back at her. "Malfoys do not jump and down."

Ginny rolled her eyes. "You are impossible. Do realize that every time you don't want to talk about something, you start talking about what Malfoys do and don't do?"

Draco scowled. "I don't think you realize how important this decision is for me."

"Of course I do. You'll be aligning yourself with the Weasleys, and a Gryffindor, which will shatter your reputation."

"And by aligning myself with the Weasleys I break years of family tradition, not to mention the fact that my Father will probably kill me," Draco said, continuing her train of thought. "This isn't just about getting married Ginny, and if you don't see that, you're blind."

"I'm not blind," she snapped, irritated. "I'd have just as many problems as you if I agreed to this. You're a Malfoy, which probably means that you have connections to You-Know-Who, and my family is one of the biggest supporters that Dumbledore has…how would it look if I married a Malfoy? Not to mention the fact that everyone in the Gryffindor house would hate me, and I'm sure my parents would be extremely disappointed even though they would never say it out loud. This isn't all about you Draco. That's part of your problem- you always think about yourself, what is best for you, you don't stop and think about what would be best for other people."

"At least I don't always conform to what people want me to be," Draco shot back, Ginny's comment obviously having an effect on him. "You're so busy doing what other people want and worrying about what others want you to do that you don't even know what you want!"

"You're one to talk!" Ginny retorted. "You are the master of conformity. All you ever say is 'a Malfoy doesn't do this' or 'a Malfoy always does this' you are more defined by your last name than you'd like to admit!" Ginny could tell by the look on Draco's face that he was getting angrier the more she talked, but she kept going. "You're going to be just like your Father, because no matter how much you want to be different, you won't be able to go against the 'Malfoy way'."

"I might be a Malfoy but I am not like my Father. We both are very different, and if you knew me at all you would know that," Draco responded, trying to keep his voice even. A few students walking by had already stopped to look at the pair, wondering why they were standing on the quidditch pitch yelling at each other, but all too afraid to venture close enough to hear exactly what the argument was about.

Ginny sighed and fell silent for a minute. "Draco, I really don't want to fight," she pressed her fingers against her temple, and moved them in a slow motion, trying to stop the headache that she could feel starting. "If I don't know you as well as I think I do, then that should be more of a reason for you to tell me what you want to do," she reasoned.

Draco sighed, and looked around the quidditch pitch, and started walking as they talked, hoping to get rid of the prying eyes of the students who had stopped to listen to their argument. Ginny stopped a tree far enough from the quidditch pitch so that they wouldn't be bothered or bother the other students, but close enough that she could still see the castle. Sitting down, she leaned back against the trunk of the tree and looked over at him, waiting for an answer to her question.

When he didn't respond, Ginny looked down at the ground, and idly played with a blade of glass. After a long pause, she said softly, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that…" When he looked at her questioningly, she expanded, "the thing about your Father…I didn't mean that you were exactly like him."

Draco shrugged. "It's okay. It didn't bother me."

"Yeah, it did," she insisted. "I could tell."

Draco cleared his throat, and sat down on the ground next to her. "While this bonding with nature is nice and all, I think we need to make a decision. We don't have much longer."

"Right," Ginny said with a nod. "You still never told me what you thought."

"Neither did you," Draco pointed out. "And I believe I asked you first."

Ginny rolled her eyes. "Fine then." She sat up a little straighter, and looked over at him, "I decided that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to get married…" She looked down at her hands, not wanting to look him in the eye. "I mean it's not ideal, but it seems to get us both of out of a situation we'd rather not be in… you'd get a chance to get away from your Father, and I'd get a chance to be away from my family…or at least out of their shadow. And besides, this must have happened for a reason, right?" She now looked up at Draco, hoping that he would reaffirm her decision.

Draco looked at her for a minute, and then nodded slightly. "So you've made your decision?"

"Well, yes," she responded, somewhat hesitantly. "But I'm still waiting to hear what you think."

"I think you made your decision," Draco said, looking into her eyes for a minute before looking away. "If we don't head back, we won't be back in time for the meeting."

Ginny watched him for a minute, and then nodded. "Right, we wouldn't want to be late."