A Mile in Your Shoes
Author's Note: This will eventually be Draco/Ginny, Harry/Pansy
"I'm going to fail."
Privately, Ginny Weasley agreed, but Pansy Parkinson didn't need her confidence trampled three weeks before NEWTS. Frankly, the Slytherin girl needed all the help that she could get- which was why her parents had been paying Ginny thirty sickles a week since Winter Hols to try to and prepare their daughter for her final exams. "No, you aren't," she said patiently, and tried to dredge up some ray of hope, "Just think about those buttons you made last week!" True, turning beetles into buttons was a second year spell, but Parkinson had finally managed it at last.
"I'm going to fail!" Pansy said again. She slammed her book shut with a dramatic sigh and then leaned back in her chair, "There isn't any hope. You might as well tell me the truth."
"Let's get back to switching spells…." Ginny said, hoping to distract her pupil. She didn't want to contemplate her own future if she failed to deliver a passing grade. She'd grown rather fond of having money for new clothes, and sweets and a reasonable Quidditch broom. She didn't want to spend seventh year back in poverty again.
"As if I could do a switching spell," Pansy moaned, idly flicking her wand. Ginny was frustrated by her attitude- it wasn't as if Pansy was dumb. She was at the head of the class in Herbology, better than average in Potions, and not failing Care of Magical Creatures- not bad for a Slytherin at all.
Ginny finally lost her temper.
"As if it even matters if you do!" Happily she managed to bite back the rest- that certain Slytherin alumni were likely to intervene, and that- even if they didn't- she'd still be daddy's princess after all. She'd still never have to work, never have to want for anything she desired….everything that Ginny had never had.
In spite of Weasley's restraint, Pansy seemed to read her mind.
"I have to pass my classes!" Pansy insisted, "I have to find a job…Daddy will make me marry Malfoy if I don't!"
That, at last, tugged at Ginny's heart. She was scarcely able to imagine a worse fate. There was no denying that on this subject Pansy's parents and the senior Malfoys were all frighteningly intent. The little ferret seemed resigned, and Pansy seemed more or less trapped. Ginny supposed she could offer some sympathy- and hopefully, a little help. "Right then- switching spells!" she said with renewed determination. Pansy sighed, but dutifully opened her book.
Ginny skimmed down the page, lazily practicing the wandwork as she read. It was an advanced level spell. Frankly, Pansy didn't have a prayer, but it would all-but-certainly appear on the test.
"Right then: snake into Butterfly," she said, and then arranged the two glass jars. She flicked her wand, muttered the incantation, and then smiled, pleased as punch to find the serpent twitching as if trying to take off, while the butterfly menaced her with its wings.
"Now you try, Pansy. Switch them back. There's nothing to it at all." Pansy looked uncertain. Two minutes and a puff of acrid smoke later, Ginny was glad that they had an extra snake. "Overdid it on the wrist flick," she said despairingly, "Let's try that one more time.
An hour later, Ginny was approaching despair. Pansy had beat her to it, and was miserably practicing "M"'s
"If only you could take the exam for me," she said, so miserably that Ginny almost wished she could.
"They check for Polyjuice," Ginny assured her, "And they double check the wands," Fred and George had informed her of this, having apparently investigated the matter before deciding to skip their own final exams. Their plan to split the work of studying- each taking half the tests twice- had been certainly doomed to fail.
"I know," Pansy moaned, "I just wish there was something I could do."
"Study," Ginny advised her, pressing the Transfigurations book into her hands. "Same time tomorrow?" she asked as she collected her things.
"Same time tomorrow- not that it will help."
"I'm dyyyyy-ing!" Draco moaned, rolling back and forth a little on his bed and then mustering a weakened cough that Pansy knew was faked. "I t-thought…" he coughed again, "that you were bringing the medicine straight away."
"I did tell you Draco that I had to stop in the library on the way."
"To 'study' with that pathetic little Weasley!" he snapped, suspiciously stronger than he'd been a minute before, "That's probably why I'm sick!"
"Why is that Draco?" Pansy asked, grimacing as she played along. She accepted the damp cloth that her boyfriend offered and dutifully dabbed it along his brow.
"Weasley germs," he whimpered, and then pretended he was about to be sick.
"Charming, Draco," she answered, rolling her eyes, "Well, if you aren't feeling any better, then you probably ought to rest, I'll…"
"Wait!" Pansy's stomach dropped as he reached out for her arm. He held her still for a moment, and then dragged her onto the bed. She closed her eyes when his lips touched her neck, and his hands burrowed under her shirt.
"We shouldn't be doing this," she said, trying to squirm away, and then wondered if it was worth the bother. She didn't believe for an instant that Draco was really sick. He was pouting for being ignored. Besides, even if she wasn't very happy about being his intended betrothed, no one could deny that the boy had very talented hands. She was nearly ready to succumb- and then remembered that she had something to do. There would be more to being Mrs. Malfoy than merely enjoying Draco's bedroom talents. As little as Pansy minded the prospect of going to bed with him, waking up the next morning- and sharing every day for the next eighty years was a far less promising prospect.
"I have to study," she said and wriggled out of his embrace. She kissed his cheek, "I'll see you later tonight."
Draco's pale features flashed red, but he managed not to protest, apparently deciding to milk the "sick" act a little longer, "Later, I might be dead!"
"I'm sure you won't be, Draco," Pansy soothed in a long-suffering tone. She pulled a face almost the second she turned away, and then muttered under her breath, "I could only hope! "
Ginny wondered why it was that her heart managed never to skip a beat. After four long years of pining after the famous Harry Potter, she'd finally given up hope. Then, a miracle had happened. Harry had noticed her. He'd worked up the courage to ask her out at the end of summer break, and they'd been all but inseparable since then. Ginny was happy…but she wasn't as ecstatic as she'd always thought she'd be.
Ginny gave her boyfriend a tiny smile as she walked into the Gryffindor common room and tossed down her pile of books. She tilted her chin to the side, permitting a tender kiss.
"I missed you this afternoon," he whispered, "Were you off consorting with the enemy again?"
"Spying," Ginny corrected, and then favored him with a smile. She wasn't sure why, but she didn't want her family or friends to know what she had done. They'd be terribly embarrassed if they knew that Ginny had taken a job, and probably appalled that there was a Slytherin she considered a friend. Harry had caught them in the library, however, and so she'd been forced to invent a lie- telling them that Parkinson was spilling Slytherin secret strategies.
"They're going to play Bulstrode this weekend in the Hufflepuff match," she invented, well-aware that she could claim a misunderstanding, or a last-minute change in strategy if she was wrong.
Ginny groaned as her brother, Ron, poked his head up out of a book, "Pugface tell you that? Riding Malfoy's broomstick is the only thing about quidditch that Parkinson knows."
"Charming, Ronald," Hermione Granger, the final member of their cluster shot her boyfriend a scathing look.
"You know it's true," he said, shrugging. Ginny and Hermione shared a look and then rolled her eyes.
"Do you want to go for a walk," Harry asked quietly. Ginny read the question as code: Do you want to walk the seventh floor corridor until we find the room of requirement, go in, and have a five-minute shag? It didn't require clairvoyance to read the thought. Her boyfriend was eighteen years old. Everything was a code for that.
"Not tonight, Harry," she said and tried to look sorry as she did, "I've got studying to do."
"But you just came from the library!"
She couldn't fault his frustration. It was true- to him it must seem like "studying" was all she had time to do. The fact was, while helping Parkinson, she hadn't had any time to work on assignments of her own.
"We'll do something tomorrow?" Ginny said, and then stood tiptoe to give him another kiss. "I promise Harry."
"Tomorrow's quidditch practice!"
"Well, I'll hit the showers first!" she was relieved when the joking tactic worked. The look in his green eyes softened as he smiled, "Tomorrow, then."
He dipped his lips and covered her mouth in a tender kiss, and then released her so that she could climb the stairs. Ginny hurried up them, never pausing to look back. She liked being with Harry, but she didn't mind going away.
Was that the right way to feel? She did care about Harry. She liked being with him. She had fun messing around- but she'd somehow expected love to be different- like a thunderclap instead of misty rain. There wasn't any passion. Harry was steady and safe.
Of course, that was why Harry loved her. He'd never had a family- never known anything but coldness and upheaval, so she supposed she shouldn't wonder that he clung to her so close. It wasn't really her, anyways- at least sometimes she suspected that was the case. She was only a means to an end- the Weasley that he could marry and finally be a real part of the family he so desperately craved.
Ginny finally reached the sixth year dorm. Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she flopped down onto the bed. She had Transfiguration homework herself and listlessly flipped open the book.
They were studying phase matter transformation- turning syrup into salt- but the book fell open to switching spells again. She lazily skimmed the text, about to turn it when her eyes caught on the illustration at the bottom of the page.
Two bland-looking witches were facing one another pointing their wands with little arrows crossing in between. Curious, Ginny read the caption:
"Although more complicated than potions, switching spells, including demutare corpus have been used for centuries to produce long-lasting physical changes, including a full body switch."
Ginny clapped her hand over her mouth.
Maybe there was a way for Pansy to pass after all.
TO BE CONTINUED
Thank you for reading. I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions for improvement. If you are impatient for updates, check my livejournal kirixchi livejournal com (or check my bio for the link). Also, take a look at the story that I am co-writing with Aulizia: "Under Obligation" www fanfiction net / auliziaandkirixchi