Title: Painting an Oyster
Author: Tiny Q
E-Mail: one legged lesbian seagull hotmail com (Please add 3 underscores, one "at" sign, and a period)
A/N: Well, this didn't take me forever to get this out, now did it? I tried, I really did, but trying to write a happy ending with a broken heart really isn't possible. You would have murdered me if I would have posted the original ending. I am happy as a clam now, however, with a new boy, who could very well be my Draco (let's just hope that this time I am his Ginny. q;). So yes, it saddens me to bring this story to an end, but it must be done. So please, enjoy the end of Painting an Oyster.
This chapter is dedicated to my dear friend Mara, who lost her furry friend with mismatched eyes (who I got the pleasure of seeing cute pictures of because Sneazel reminded her of him). He's in a better place and you will see him again.
Disclaimer: I don't claim anything but the plot, to be mine.
P.S. I got my soul back. Hurray! So I do own that again...
Painting an Oyster
Soundtrack: "Float On" by Modest Mouse
I woke up feeling sore all over. I wasn't sure if it was from the night's events, or from all the fighting and running that took place at the gallery. As I shifted positions I knew it was more from the former.
I opened my eyes and saw Malfoy's sleeping face resting on my shoulder. Both his arm and leg were thrown across my body, holding me down, but not in an uncomfortable way. Actually, the weight of him in this position is more reassuring and enjoyable than the time he had crawled into my bed and laid on top of me.
I paused. That was last night, wasn't it? It feels like months ago that that happened. So much shit went down last night that I am not sure it all actually could have realistically happened in the span of twenty-four hours.
Out of all of the people I know in the art world, I never thought Michael would be one to use me as he did – let alone try and take over the Wizarding world. Actions and plots like that were meant for people like Voldemort, or so I always thought – but I suppose the world isn't so black and white.
I brushed the hair out of Malfoy's eyes as I thought that. No, I suppose it couldn't be since Malfoy turned out the way that he has, and that he has weaseled – no pun intended – his way into my life, and heart I must admit, the way that he has.
I can't believe I thought that it could have been Zach though. After all my bestest friend has done for me, I loose faith in him when he needs me the most. I can't imagine what he must be going through right now. He had been so happy with Simon. I thought, and am pretty sure that he did as well, that Simon had been The One. I'm not even sure what I can do for him now. I'll have to go over there once it's a reasonable enough hour and bring him food. Food makes the pain less.
Reasonable. Looking back on all of this now, perhaps quitting my job and trying to paint on my own was one of the stupidest things that I have ever done. Look at the mess I have gotten into because of it, and the people who have gotten hurt along the way. If it wasn't for Michael, I never would have had a show and never would have painted as much as I have – but he only picked me because of who I am and what sort of card I would be in his hand.
Would anyone else have given me that opportunity if they didn't want to topple my father's government? I am some how getting the feeling that they wouldn't. I am also getting the feeling that for the rest of my life I am going to be haunted by who I am related to, and the famous men I have dated. I am never going to be known as Ginny Weasley, fabulous painter of the strange and bizarre. I am only ever going to be the daughter of the Minister, or the girl who once broke the Boy Who Lived Twice's heart, or even, the girl who once dated Draco Malfoy: England's most eligible bachelor.
It's kind of ironic since who I know is why I have received the opportunities that I have, while at the same time, knowing those very people is the reason why I will never be able to say that I am anything of my own making, or that people will ever know me as just Ginny Weasley; know me because of what I can do, and what I alone have done.
I suppose the joke's on me really. I always thought that I was such a fiercely independent woman, standing on my own two feet and facing off against the world. Thinking about it now though, I realise that I have been fooling myself the whole time. I can't survive on my own – if anything, these past few months have shown me that. I need my puppy to keep me company, I need to live by my bestest friend to feel like I am not alone in the world, I need Luna to keep me sane (which is a bit of a paradox, I know), I need my father and Harry to protect me when things get complicated and people get intrusive, I need my mother and brothers to help get around, and finally, I need Malfoy to fill out the parts of me that are obviously lacking.
Looking at it, I suppose that there is nothing wrong with all of that. I was raised in a big family, and all of us depended on each other and helped each other, making us a much stronger family than many others I knew. With the exception of Percy's abandonment in my 4th year, we were always coming to the aide of one another, and it certainly hasn't stopped since we have all moved out.
You know, I don't think I would like it if my family suddenly just dropped off the face of the earth and I really had to prove to myself and the world that I can do this on my own. No one should have to do it on their own.
Oddly enough thinking about all of this doesn't make me as upset as it should. It's almost like all of my life I have always known this. All of my life, really, I have been living like his. Maybe it's time for me to grow up and do what I should have done all along: settle down, have a family, and do whatever it was that my mother did when we were growing up. Perhaps it is time for me to create my own family who will depend on me, just as I have depended on my own for all of my life.
I looked down on Malfoy again. I could see myself being happy living in that proverbial house with its white picket fence, waiting for Malfoy to come home, having dinner ready for him as I chase our several children around the house-
I stopped and tried to envision myself in this role, but for some reason the image wouldn't stick and I finally gave up. Who the hell am I trying to kid? I could never live like that. Sure, I want to have kids, and a house, and a husband (though not in that particular order) some day, but to be like my mother, and devote all of my time to my family would drive me insane. Does that make me selfish? Ineed to do something creative, something that will leave my mark in the world. I know that my children will be my mark in the world, and that they will be the most important people in the world to me, but I need to be me too.
And besides, I don't think Malfoy is the white picket fence type anyways.
Wow, where is my mind getting off to? We're barley dating and I'm already thinking about our future children?! What is wrong with me? And yet these past few months have felt like a decade, and a part of me knows that I have never connected with anyone like this in my life. Isn't that what you are supposed to find? Someone you can connect with, someone you can call your best friend, someone you can see loving no matter what happens...
Malfoy grunted then and pulled my closer, nestling his head harder against my shoulder and frowning softly. I noticed that line again and wondered if I would still be around to see it when it became permanent.
I still don't get why he would choose to be here with me. Why after all that was said and done he is still here with me. That he saved me – in more ways than one. That he chose me.
No, I suppose I shouldn't say that he chose me. He is still a Malfoy after all. A Malfoy known for sleeping around (and boy did all of that sleeping around teach him a thing or two) and for his bachelor life. How do I know that all of this is no more than an extended one night stand? How do I know, or even why I would assume, that he won't just up and leave without more than a goodbye, or perhaps, a clichéd "this was fun but..."
There must be something seriously wrong with me to be thinking about this. Here he is, in my arms, after weeks and weeks of always showing up and, well, proving to me that he is with me – even if neither of us wanted that at first. You would think that at some point I would believe in it and try to make it real.
I have been deluding myself long enough. This is the point in my life story where I make my stand and finally do what I should have done a while ago: take some responsibility in this relationship. If I want him then I have to fight to keep him. And I am not going to even ask myself if I want him, because I know I do; I think I have known all along. I love him.
With that warm and fuzzy thought in mind, I reached out and wrapped my arm around him and hugged him closer to me, relishing the heat his body gave me; the feel of his soft skin and hard edges pressing against my bare skin.
No, I would hazard to say that I am quite addicted to him now, and no other man would ever suffice.
Scary thought, especially considering that this is Malfoy I am talking about. Wasn't little Ginny Weasley supposed to end up as Mrs. Harry Potter in the end, as I always dreamed, like my mother did? Funny how life can lead you to somewhere you never expected to be, even in a million years...
A knock at the door brought me out of my revere.
I heard Sneazel get up in the other room, and click his way over to the door and sit down in front of it. I glanced at Malfoy, who was still sleeping soundly, before carefully pulling my body out of his embrace. He rolled over as I scooted out off the bed.
My naked body felt cold without him, so I hastily pulled on a nighty, and put my new housecoat on over top. I tied the sash on my way out of my room, carefully closing the bedroom door behind me. I took a final glance at Malfoy's exposed back and finely sculpted behind as I did so.
The person on the other side of the door knocked again.
Sneazel glanced at me as I approached, his mismatched eyes shinning in the early sunlight. He didn't whine at the door as he usually does, only raised a paw and scratched at it – it was almost as if he didn't want to wake Malfoy up. If I didn't know any better I would almost suspect that my puppy liked him more than me. He has no qualms in waking me up with all his noise making abilities when it's just me in that bedroom.
I sighed and straightened my hair before glancing out the peek hole. I'm not sure who I expected to see on the other side, but it certainly wasn't the red head that was there.
He knocked yet again; a little louder this time.
Glancing down on Sneazel in confusion, I shuffled him aside with my foot. My puppy leapt up and got out of the way, still not making any noise. Usually he would be leaping about, barking for the entire world to hear. I frowned down on him slightly, then pulled open the door.
"Hi," I said, staring out at my third oldest brother.
"Hi, Gin," Percy replied, glancing around, then letting his eyes dart over my attire. "I'm sorry to drag you out of bed, but I just wanted to talk to you before I went to work." He paused and looked down on Sneazel, who was staring up at him, quietly, might I add. Percy dropped his hand onto his head and gave him a rub.
"Oh," I replied, shrugging a bit.
I didn't really want to hear a lecture from him at the moment, but now that I had opened my door it was a bit too late. Maybe that was why Sneazel wasn't barking: to save me from actually having to answer the door for my brother. I should have just pretended to be asleep. Damn. Perhaps my puppy is still on my side after all...
"Would you like to come in?" I asked, stepping aside and holding the door open. He stepped inside, but did not move towards the couch. I closed the door behind him, staring at his finely fitting pin-stripped suit.
I wonder what he will have to say this time. Probably I told you so, for quitting my job and having the show. Of course, he was there, he saw it happen and what all went down. There was no way he could have known it all would happen to me, but if I had listened to him in the first place I never would have found myself in that position, nor endangered my family as I did.
Yet as Percy turned around, he didn't have his usual arrogant, pompous, I-Told-You-So look on his face. Actually, he looked a little worried.
"Ginny, I'm sorry," he said before I could even fathom the expression on his face.
"What?" I asked before I could stop myself.
"I'm sorry for giving you such a hard time a few weeks ago," he said. I felt my eyes widen at his apology and his ears turned slightly pink as he stared back at me. "It wasn't my place to do so," he continued before I could say anything. "I knew it the moment I saw your work hanging in that gallery. You're far more talented than anyone in this family gives you credit for, more so than you yourself do too, I suspect." He paused. "It's just rotten luck what happened. Rotten, foul, luck, which I hope you won't let discourage you."
I was getting the feeling that he had rehearsed what he wanted to say to me several times already. I decided to stay silent and let him get whatever it was out. Not that I would have known what to say if I hadn't; my brother never apologises like this. Not to me at least.
"It's just that, well," he glanced down at Sneazel again, then looked back at me with such honest eyes. "Penelope's pregnant." I opened my mouth to say something, but he held up his hand. "Just let me get this out, Gin." I nodded, completely confused and excited at the same time. Pregnant? I'm going to be an aunt. Again.
"We've been trying for such a long time. We didn't want to tell anyone we were, because I didn't want mum getting all up in arms about it and calling doctors and the like." Typical man. Though, she did do it to Fred when she heard that they we're having trouble. "And I'm not going to lie, it was hard. And it made me wonder what it would be like to be a father." He paused again. "Or what it would be like to never be one."
He stared at Sneazel again, and then shook his head as if to rid himself of the memory. "And while all this was happening, all I could see at the time was the poor job mum and dad were doing to raise you."
"Excuse me?" I asked, frowning at him now, the excited feeling all but gone. My hands found their way to my hips before I could stop them. They always seem to go there when my brothers start to piss me off. Like now. "I am no longer being 'raised', thank you very much."
"I realise that," Percy assured me hastily, his ears turning red now. There were also spots on his cheeks, showing his embarrassment. "But at the time all I could see was you in the papers, you quitting your job, you hanging out with that Malfoy." He shook his head again. "I was stressed about what was happening at home, and I took it out on you. I shouldn't have. You're a grown woman, you know what is best for you, and what needs to be done in your life. Yet all I could see was what I would be doing if I was dad and you were my daughter." He shook his head again, then looked at me. "But you're not my daughter, you're my little sister. My little sister's who somehow managed to grow up before I ever got the chance to get used to the idea of it. I'm sorry."
I stared at him for a moment then felt tears prick my eyes. I suppose that explains a lot of it then. Why he was so on edge with everybody, why he was so moody, and why he freaked out on me that night. Oh, if I only would have known then. But then, I don't think Malfoy and I would be where we are if I hadn't drunk myself blind that night. Guess everything happened for a reason after all.
"Oh, Perc, it's ok," I said, taking a step towards him and wrapping my arms around him. After a moment he hugged me back.
Percy and I don't usually hug – actually, I don't think he hugs many people – but this hug was full of emotion. I didn't pull back until he did, sniffling slightly as he pushed his glasses back up his nose.
"So a baby, huh?" I asked, looking up at my big brother with a grin.
He nodded. "It should be here in the next six months, if everything goes alright," he said, a worried smile lighting up his face. "You'll teach him or her how to paint, right?" he asked me.
I nodded, feeling dumbfounded. I didn't know how to process that request, and I still don't, even after Percy had left for work. I closed the door behind him and stared down at Sneazel.
Percy was one of the ones least interested in my art career. That's not to say that most of my family was, because they weren't, but Percy was the one who I could tell didn't think very highly of anything I did. I got over it, of course, but it always hurt a bit to think that my family didn't care. But now to have him say something like that, and to tell me, right after, that he had also purchased one of my paintings? Well, it's more than I can handle at the moment.
Another knock on the door forced me to stop thinking about what Percy has said and the implications that went with it. Wondering if it was Percy again, having remembered something else to tell me and destabilise my foundation further, I opened the door.
For the second time that morning I was surprised by who stood before me.
"Mister Walters?" I asked, suddenly feeling very undressed. My face heated up, much to my horror.
"Hello Ginny," he said pleasantly, discreetly eyeing my housecoat and my rat-nest hair. Why didn't I check to see who it was so I could have made myself at least semi presentable before I opened the door? Or at least made it look like I hadn't been making love all night. "No no," he said as I moved to let him inside. "I'll only be a minute."
I nodded dumbly back at him.
"I read what happened to you last night in the paper this morning," he said, holding up a folded copy of TheProphet. "I would be horrified if it happened to anyone, but I couldn't believe that it happened to you." He shook his head, in what seemed to be disbelief. "I'm not going to lie, I was quite disappointed to hear that you were going to quit; you were one of my better curators in a long while, but after seeing some examples of your work in the paper I understand why you left and am glad for the art world that you did."
I nodded, once again in a dumb fashion, to his compliment. If my head had been reeling before, it was going double time now.
"So I just wanted to come here and offer you my condolences for what happened to you – no one should have that happen at an opening." I nodded once more. "And to give you my offer."
"Offer?" I asked, feeling suddenly more confused and overwhelmed than I had before – and that's saying something.
"I want to host you as one of our feature artists in our grand opening in three months," he said.
I felt my mouth fall open and I stared at him, wondering if I was dreaming. His gallery was the gallery to have a show in. I know, I worked there. I know how hard it is to get work in a gallery like that, even when you are established. I also know the type of sales an artist makes when they do get in. For me, just starting out, well, it's a dream come true. More than that, really, because I never even dreamed of such a thing happening to me.
I opened my mouth to reply, though I don't know how I ever would have managed, the way my head was spinning, but a voice from behind me beat me to it.
"She would be delighted," Malfoy replied.
I turned to see him standing there, looking fabulous in his pants and shirt from the night before. He made me feel even more underdressed.
"Perfect," Mister Walters said, flashing a grin. "I'll be in touch with you in the next week or so, and we'll get everything worked out." I nodded back at him, wondering when reality would start again.
"Mister Malfoy," he said, nodding his head, before smiling at me and walking away.
I blinked after him, then slowly closed the door. I turned and stared at Malfoy, who was smirking at me. It was that smirk that snapped my back into reality.
"What, are you my agent now?" I snapped at him, hoping to make the smirk go away. It only got bigger.
"The way you were going you would have scared the poor bugger off with that vacant goldfish stare of yours," he replied, crossing his arms. "I could go out there and tell him that you changed your mind, if you like."
"No," I said, a bit louder than I had intended. "I never said I didn't want to," I said in a more normal voice, my face burning. I cast my eyes down and they fell upon my puppy, who had his hungry face on.
"Let's get you something to eat, shall-" I started to say, but was interrupted as Malfoy pulled me roughly to him and pressed his lips against mine.
I heard Sneazel bark once in protest, then was silent once more as I held onto Malfoy's shoulders for dear life.
His kiss was very hard and demanding, yet at the same time soft and caring. Like he knew just how hard to press and just when to hold back so as not to hurt or scare me off.
After a moment I moved my hands off of his shoulders and moved them around his neck instead, stepping closer to him. Just feeling that heat of his body pressed against mine reminded me of the night before. Yes, I do think I could find many reasons to keep him around, even if he is an arrogant asshole, and a Malfoy to boot.
A few minutes later – or was it an hour? – Malfoy pulled away from me, and grinned down on me with a devastating grin. "Good morning."
"If that is how you say good morning, Malfoy," I said, breathlessly, "I just might have to keep you."
He stared down on me for a moment, the grin dropping off his face.
"I'd hate to say this Weasley," he said and I felt my heart drop. He couldn't be breaking this off now, could he? Not after all that has happened. "But I hope you do. For a very long time."
I stopped, wondering if I had heard him correctly. The Malfoy I remember wasn't supposed to say something like that. He's supposed to say something mean and callous – but then, the Malfoy I know isn't the Malfoy I remember, as I have gone over with myself a hundred times.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" I asked, narrowing my eyes as I stared up at him. I want it as clear as day. He can squirm all he wants.
He stared down on me, as though to challenge me. I could feel the stubbornness rise up within me. And just as I thought he was about to fight back, he sighed.
"It means I love you, Weasley."
"I'm not sure why," he continued, ruining the moment. "You're annoying and irritating and have been in my head for far too long. You've taken over my life, my sex life, all with your damned red hair, and your delicious ass, and your cute little nose. Even your damned dog has wormed his way into my heart." He glanced over at Sneazel. "And I could fight it, and believe me, I've tried, though I think it would take a lobotomy to rid you from my life, and even then, it's not a guarantee."
He stopped and looked down on me, his face vulnerable as I had never seen it before. Usually I just see glimpses of it behind his blank face, but never like this. Never out in the open. Perhaps there is more to Malfoy than I have even yet to fathom. Perhaps –
"Well," he interrupted my thoughts. "Are you just going to stare at me all day? The least you could do is say something so I know whether I need to throw myself over your balcony before I can admit it to anyone else that I love a Weasley."
"Thanks," I sneered up at him, crossing my arms. "It's not like loving a Malfoy is any easier for me."
He stared at me for a moment, then let out his barking laugh. He then gathered me into his arms and held me tight.
"Bloody Weasley," he said gruffly in my ear. "How did we ever get ourselves into this mess?"
"I don't know," I admitted, nuzzling my nose into the crook of his neck. It felt good. Safe. "But I think it all started with you staring at my ass."
Three Months Later
"Are you happy now?" the one blond asked the other, as they both leaned against the railing. They were looking down on the main floor of the gallery. The floor was full of people moving about, looking at works from a collection called Painting an Oyster.
"What do you mean?" the older of the two replied, in a voice that dripped with forced innocence.
The other rolled his eyes.
"Oh don't give me that. You Malfoys are all the same. Manipulate, manipulate, manipulate." He shook his head and looked down on the show again.
"Like you didn't have any part in this either, Mr. Smith," Narcissa replied, brushing her long hair out of her face. "If I remember correctly, you were more than happy to help me when I approached you."
"Yes, but that was before I realised exactly what you had in mind, or that there was a lunatic trying to kill Ginny."
"Ah, that was just poor timing on the lunatic's part. It all worked out in our favour in the end though, didn't it?"
"Except for my broken heart," Zach replied bitterly. Narcissa turned and looked at him, making a tutting noise.
"You don't think I'm done yet, do you?" she asked, a small smirk flitting across her pale face. Zach's eyes narrowed.
"Don't even think it," he warned her, turning his back to the scene bellow. "I can work out my own love life all on my own, thank you."
"Of course you can, dear," the older woman replied. Zach knew she didn't mean it. With a sigh he decided not to argue. It hadn't done any good for Ginny or Malfoy.
"What I still don't get is why Ginny," Zach said, trying to change the subject. He had to admit that the two of them did have a certain chemistry, but Narcissa should have hated her too.
"I liked her," she said with an elegant shrug. "Pretty, intelligent, and stubborn enough to keep my son in his place." She glanced over at him with a smirk that looked so much like her son's. "It was just a matter of proving it to the both of them that it was quite obvious."
"Ah, yes," Zach replied. "That's the part where you came in, making sure that the two of them had to encounter each other." He shook his head, wondering why at the time he had agreed to her plan. "Making sure that those blueprints were in her office, and that Mal-Draco would go check on the plans; forcing the both of them to 'casually' encounter each other, with your outings and your errands; giving little hints as to what you wanted them to think; when it was all a part of your master plan." He paused. "Not to mention forcing me, Luna and Blaise to listen to the lot of them bitch and complain the whole time the process was going on."
"Well, Luna and Blaise got rewarded in the end," Narcissa replied with a grin.
"Yes, and now I get to listen to the two of them be sickeningly sweet to each other. At least Gin and Draco have the decency to do that crap in private."
"Is that jealously I hear?" Narcissa asked, turning away from the gallery bellow and looking at Zach. "Because I do know a-"
"Stop right there," Zach said, putting up a hand and glaring at her. "I am not your guinea pig. I thought I was your partner."
"You were," she replied. "But that task is over. My Draco has stopped sleeping around, now that he and Ginny are well on their way to being engaged – and their bickering entertains me to no end. Ginny has her show now, which should get her career as a professional artist going quite nicely. Draco's business is up and running again, and better than ever. That fire – and stop looking at me like that, I had nothing to do with it. It was just something I took advantage of – seems to have gotten his name out as well." Narcissa sighed happily. "I can just hear the sound of my grandchildren running about the Manor now. They'll look so cute."
"You only picked Ginny because she'll give you cute grandchildren, didn't you?" Zach accused bitterly.
"I'll admit it was one of the factors I took into consideration," she agreed, without a hint of humility. "I'm wondering if it will actually be possible for them to have strawberry blonde hair..."
"Women," Zach muttered, turning around to look at Ginny's art bellow them.
"I still don't get the title," he said after a moment, staring at the giant mural Ginny had painted a few weeks ago. The happiness that seemed to come out of it unnerved him. Stupid Malfoy really did make her happy, whether Zach agreed with him or not. "Painting an Oyster doesn't make any sense."
"Of course it does," Narcissa replied, also turning to look down on the show once more. "You know the phrase 'the world can be our oyster'?" Zach nodded. "Well, she's painting her perfect world."
"Ah," Zach replied dully, though inside he felt a light go on.
A/N: Well, that is the end. And it is also the last fanfic I will ever write. It is time for me to step away from this wonderful world, and create my own. Hopefully in the next few years you can find my books on shelves – here's hoping. ;p
Thank you so much to everybody who stuck with me till the end. And an extra special thank you to everyone who took the time to review (sometimes several times, you know who you are) along the way. You guys are the reason this story didn't die, and the reason why I always felt guilty when it took me like a year to put out a new chapter. You guys are great and deserve so much more than I am able to give you with this story. But here's to all of us, the D/Gers who stuck to our ship, even in the face of canon. I love you all.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and All the Best in the New Year!!