Disclaimer: Everything belongs to JKR and her various publishing companies. I lay absolutely no claim to any of it.
Tangled Web Prologue - Temptations
The Great Hall of Hogwart's School of Wizardry and Witchcraft was decked out in its finest holiday decorations. Huge glittering decorated trees, holiday colored streamers, greenery, and candles decorated the room. The enormous room was alive with holiday cheer for all the students and foreign guests at the annual holiday dance for fourth year and up students. This year was special because of the on-going Tri-Wizard Tournament being held at Hogwarts.
Draco Malfoy was safely ensconced at the Slytherin table at the far end of the room near the dance floor. He'd retreated there as soon as Pansy Parkinson had flounced off with some other Slytherin girls to check their makeup, leaving Draco in blissful, even if only momentary, peace. She'd been driving him mad all night with the requests for a dance or to get her a cup of punch. He'd had about as much as he could take of her incessant whining. He turned to his favorite pastime, lazily scanning the room until his eyes lit upon the object of his hatred.
Harry Potter and Ron Weasley stood near the Gryffindor tables beadily staring at Hermione Granger dancing with Viktor Krum, the Tri-Wizard champion from Durmstrang and Seeker for the Bulgarian Quidditch Team. Their dates, Padma and Parvati Patil staring at them just as beadily, probably thinking of ways to kill them. Merlin, this shouldn't be so easy Draco thought to himself. Do they have any idea the scene that they are making? He mentally filed this bit of information away for later use as ammunition when the inevitable war of words between himself and Potter erupted.
Throaty laughter intruded upon Draco's thoughts of Potter torture. The earthy sound drew his attention to the dance floor where he spied another one of those red-haired Weasleys. This one was dressed in a violet gown that set off her blazing red hair and creamy skin to perfection. She was clumsily dancing with that stupid prat Neville Longbottom. He winced as Longbottom stomped on her toes yet again, and found himself watching her reassure Longbottom each time he stomped her bruised toes. Draco felt himself growing cold inside and he didn't know why. Ginny escaped Neville's company for the moment. She looked around the Great Hall, spying Ron and Harry moping over at the Gryffindor table and Hermione dancing the night away with Viktor Krum. She didn't feel like cutting in on the posturing battle that had broken out the second Krum stepped foot on Hogwarts Grounds. She got enough of that back in the common room. Besides, her toes were burning and that git Malfoy had been staring at her all night. She slipped out of the castle into the cold night air of the gardens before Neville could show up and finish off her toes.
"You know, committing suicide by freezing is completely inefficient," came the slow drawl behind her.
Oh dear Merlin, Malfoy! What did I do to deserve this! Ginny thought as she turned to face her tormenter, eyes darkened with defiance. "What do you want, Malfoy?" she spit out.
Draco eyed her, a flicker of a smile tugged at the corner of his lips. "Just wanted to make sure you were alright," he said with as much sincerity as he could muster.
Ginny's mouth fell open as her brown eyes locked onto his silver ones. iThis is it, I've gone completely nutters./i
"You'll be waiting a while if you're wanting to catch flies."
Ginny snapped her mouth shut, but she continued to stare at him wide-eyed. She looked him over quickly. He'd grown quite tall and lean, but hard. Quidditch player's body if she'd assumed correctly. His black robes were exquisitely cut from the most expensive velvet money could buy and fit him like a glove. The pale moonlight glinted off his platinum hair giving off the allusion of a halo above him.
"You look like an angel," she barely whispered as she released the breath she didn't know she had been holding.
"Hardly," Draco snorted, "but my Mum would be pleased to hear it. You clean up well for a Weasley." He looked her over appraisingly. She'd become tall and willowy over the past year. She wore a simple, but elegant floor length dark violet colored gown with a wide rounded neck that framed the top of her bare shoulders. The bodice was fitted and showed off the hint of burgeoning feminine curves. Her blazing red hair was pulled back away from her face, but left to trail down her back in a riot of curls.
Ginny's head was reeling. Malfoy was complimenting her. This simply was not right. It had to be a really cruel joke. She had endured the stares and whispering that followed her first year incident with the Chamber of Secrets. Most of her fellow students didn't know if they could quite trust her after that little incident. Then there was her not-so-secret crush on Harry and that highly embarrassing incident with the singing Valentine. She was very good at hiding her feelings. She had no idea how or why she'd attracted his attention, he just usually ignored her in favor of baiting Ron. This was simply not fair on top of everything else.
She could feel the heat rising in her cheeks despite the cold night air. Ginny muttered something that sounded vaguely like "thank you" as she dropped her head to hide her blush.
Draco felt a momentary flicker of heat pass through him, the coldness he felt earlier was completely gone. He felt drawn to her in a way he couldn't explain. Here she was, daughter of his Father's most despised enemy and in a second-hand dress that looked surprising beautiful on her. He was thinking about how she looked like a cornered rabbit when he noticed the light dusting of freckles across her nose. He decided he liked those freckles.
A shiver shook Ginny's shoulders. "I need to get back in...Neville." She started back towards the door she'd slipped through a few minutes before.
He caught her by the arm as she tried to pass. His hold was firm, but gentle as he pulled her back in front of him. He leaned down over her, breathing in the soft scent of lilies and looking deeply into her soft brown eyes. She looked back at him, holding her breath, bracing for whatever insult he might hurl at her. He leaned down a little more to capture her lips in a tentative kiss. She went rigid, but made no move to escape. He took that as an invitation for another kiss. This time he closed his eyes as he pressed his lips against her warm mouth. She sighed softly as the kiss deepened and her knees became weak.
When he released her mouth, he stood there looking at her closed eyes and softly parted lips. She was no longer rigid and he was amused to discover that she was a delightful shade of pink. Her eyes flicked open as she raised a hand to lightly run her fingers over her freshly kissed lips.
"Tell anyone of this, Weasley, and your little Gryffindor friends will be finding parts of you for years to come," he hissed.
He released her arm, turned abruptly on his heel and disappeared through the doorway leaving Ginny staring after him in his wake. Blaise Zabini lounged gracefully at the Slytherin table surveying the room while contemplating the absence of Draco and the return of Pansy. Just when she thought she might check and see if he was back in the common room, she spied him slipping in the almost hidden side door that leads out into the gardens. She sat up from her almost reclining position to get a better look at the impending Draco and Pansy fiasco. She knew all too well what happens when someone stupidly crosses him when he's in a snit.
Draco stalked toward the vicinity of the Slytherin table, everything about his demeanor screamed for him to be left alone. He stopped in front of a large column, arms firmly crossed, his jaw clinched and eyes as black as his obvious mood. He could still taste the peppermint that had been on her lips. He was sure that that Weasley chit had bewitched him or hexed him or something to make him kiss her. It was the only explanation. He'd entertained the notion that he might actually be interested in her for about two seconds before deciding that it was absolutely absurd. She's a Weasley for Merlin's sake and he, after all, was a Malfoy. Malfoys did not stoop that low. He watched the door for her return.
Pansy was utterly delighted that her date reappeared. She was completely oblivious to Draco's mood which for her was nothing new. She went right up to him and started yapping as she always did.
"Just look at Granger making a fool of herself with Krum," she sneered. "I wonder how many spells she had to use to make that mop of her's not frizz?"
Draco glared at her. Blaise sat up straighter getting ready for the show.
"I mean honestly, I thought she'd never get a date; she's not pretty at all," she continued.
Draco's eyes grew darker as his anger soared to new heights at Pansy's grating voice. "Just shut up," he said dangerously.
"Oh and look there is Ginny Weasley sneaking in the side door. I would just die if I had hair that color. What an embarrassment. Oh and that dress...I wonder how old it is. Not fashionable at all. You know her family is dirt poor. I suppose it was the best she could do, but honestly I would just rather die. I bet she went out there to snog..."
Draco snatched her arm and jerked her forcefully in front of him before she could finish. "I said shut up," he said through gritted teeth, emphasizing each word. Pansy's mouth flapped open and shut like a fish out of water and her eyes were as big as saucers. "No one cares to hear what you think."
He shoved Pansy away from him in disgust as he couldn't think of anything mean or cunning to say much to his dismay. He started to stalk off when he caught a flash of violet out of the corner of his eye. He stopped dead and watched Ginny run out of the Great Hall in tears.
Blaise stood up, ran her hands over her black dress, smoothing it down, then tossed back her long black hair. "Well, well, well," she said softly. A very knowing smile spread across her lips. Ginny tried to slip back in the room unnoticed, but immediately saw Malfoy and Blaise watching her intently as Pansy sniggered while saying something she obviously thought was amusing. Malfoy's kiss had nearly undid her, but this little scene really pushed her to the brink. She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. She would not let them see her like this, she did have some shreds of dignity left. She did the only thing she knew to do...run from the room.
She ran all the way up to the Gryffindor tower, choked out the password to the Fat Lady and then up to her dorm. She flung herself on her bed in a heap of violet satin and tangled curls before the first true sob escaped her lips. She allowed herself the luxury of a good, loud sobbing since she knew everyone else had gone home for Christmas or was at the Yule Ball.
Ginny's sobs had finally dwindled down to sniffles. She sat up to finish unpinning her hair. "Merlin's ghost, girl, get a hold of yourself," she muttered to herself. She flung the hairclips in frustration.
She glimpsed her reflection in the full length mirror as she got up to get her pajamas. She stared with puffy red eyes at her reflection for what seemed an eternity trying to figure out why Malfoy had kissed her. She tried to smooth the dress with her hands to no avail. She gave up on the dress in favor of fiddling with her hair. After a few minutes her hair was as bushy as Hermione's at its worst. She gave up before she was driven to tears again.
She stripped, leaving the dress in a heap of violet material where it fell on the floor. She put on her favorite flannel pajamas, the ones with little lambs all over the pale blue background, and slipped into bed. She pulled the curtains of her bed shut hoping that Hermione would think she was asleep when she eventually checked in on her. She laid there staring into the darkness.
Sure enough a little while later Hermione came in to check on her. "Gin?"
Ginny shut her eyes and pulled the covers up before Hermione could peek in on her. The soft click of the door latch told her she'd been successful.
She fell into an exhausted sleep without realizing it. This time there were no dreams of Tom Riddle, but of a certain angel with hair like the moonlight.