Through What Looking Glass?

I'm standing with my back to her as I fumble through the piled clothes in my wardrobe. She is still sleeping, curled up in a tight ball with all the blankets wrapped tightly around her small frame. She always steals the blankets. She never got used to the chill of the Manor, I suppose. I've had more than my fair share of cold and used to welcome it. She keeps me warm now and I've decided I like that.

It wasn't meant to happen this way. For the longest time, she was nothing more to me than Weasel's little sister and Potter's biggest fan. Potter seemed to fidget every time Ginny was in his presence, like he was searching for the best way to put her off without hurting her feelings. Stupid git. It wasn't until he lost her that he wanted her.

Damn, I can't remember where I put what I'm looking for now. I shut the doors and turn around to see that she has shifted her position and her arms are now tossed above her head and tangled in fiery curls. Her milky white skin is too strong a contrast to the deep green of the sheets, but I like it. I sit down on the edge of the bed, trying not to disturb her as she sleeps. It amazes me that it took me so long to see her beauty. It's been there all along – blatantly in my face, and yet I took no time to notice it. I have to now. I've finally learned not to waste our time.

I never would have seen it coming. It was far too sunny a day and we were forced to be outside for Care of Magical Creatures. I was laughing at that half-giant oaf and plotting some little scheme to humiliate Potter and the other two with Parkinson and Zabini when I noticed the sixth year Herbology class roaming around in the forest. I couldn't have ignored her if I wanted to. Her tattered robes, messy hair, and dirt-smudged face stood out like a sore thumb among the delicate green of the forest.

She was wandering around, bent half over, looking from the ground to her notes and back again. It took me only a moment to realize what she was looking for, having done that project myself only last year. Suddenly, whatever terrifyingly dangerous creature the Oaf was showing off got loose and sent us all racing for the security of the forest. I found myself mere feet from the girl. Her wide eyes looked startled as she noted my presence but quickly went back to her search. Her immediate disregard for me must have been what threw me off rather than the way her hair seemed reflect the gold of the sun even in the shadows of the woods or the way she chewed on her plump lower-lip in concentration. Whatever it was, I cleared my throat and pointed to the bush next to me. She glanced at me and then at the plant.

"Finally!" She sighed as she added one of the berries to the bag she was carrying. "I thought I'd have to look for hours. Thank you."

With that, she turned and left. For the first time in my life someone treated me like nothing more than another student.

Of course, I had run-ins with the girl before, but they had been amidst a crowd and always during a fight of some kind. It was purely the lack of anyone else around that allowed me the freedom to do something, well, something not unpleasant. After that incident I found myself bumping into her more and more. I still maintained my distance, of course, but found my resolve for hating all things Weasley weakening. I didn't place myself in her path or anything that brazen, but I seemed to have become hyperaware of her presence.

Once, at dinner, she smiled at me. I found out moments later it was due to a bit of sauce dribbling down my chin in a very undignified manner, but she had smiled. She had smiled at me.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one to have noticed and the wheels in Potters head began to turn. He seemed to realize that Ginny was no longer fawning after him and he didn't seem to like that much.

The next morning at breakfast, Potter very clumsily told her she looked pretty. Ginny gaped at him and looked down at her wrinkled robes, bed-ruffled hair, and chipped fingernail polish. She mumbled a thank you and then glanced toward my table. This time it was my turn to smile.

It wasn't much longer before the competition began. In hindsight, I can see it wasn't necessary. Ginny never needed fancy gifts or sonnets. I think she knew from the very beginning which of the two of us she would end up with.

Potter gave her daisies; I gave her a garden. Potter sent her chocolates; I had one named for her. Potter wrote her poetry; I had an artist sculpt her. Potter said he'd be with her forever and I promised her nothing. At least she saw the honesty in my silence. I couldn't very well promise her something that I can't make damn sure I keep.

The first time she came to me I thought I'd jump out of my skin. She stood before me in nothing more than her light cotton nightdress, shivering from the cold. It surprised me how well she fit in with the surroundings of my room. The exquisite rug imported from India, the crystal fire-globes that lit the room, the Egyptian cotton sheets that graced the four poster bed and little Ginny Weasley. It was the picture of perfection. It is even now.

She stretched and opened her lovely brown eyes. "Morning already?" she yawned.

"Yes." I can't take my eyes off her. She looks at me and scrunches up her nose.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Like what?" I stiffen and stand up, returning to my search in the wardrobe. She is quiet for a moment and I hear the springs in the bed as she stands. Her bare feet make the smallest of taps against the stone floor where the rug doesn't cover and I feel her behind me.

"I almost forgot what day it was. You all right?"

"Fine." I reply stiffly as my fingers brush against the brown paper wrappings. I have found the object of my search.

"Draco." Her tone has lowered in warning. She knows I'm lying but I really don't want to discuss it with her now. She wraps her arms around my waist and leans her cheek against my back. Warmth floods me. I wonder if I will ever be able to sleep in the cold again.

"Here. I got this for you." I hand her the package and watch her eyes fill up with tears.

"You didn't have to do this, Draco."

"I know."

She pulls back the thick brown paper and lifts the lid of the box. I see her cheeks flush as she examines the mirror.

"Oh my…" She breathes. It's elfin-forged silver and enchanted with a charm to reflect my memories of her. Naturally, she will be the only one able to see its true reflections.

Sometimes I wonder how much I'll miss her. She always knew that Potter was her future. Anyone with a brain knew that. I knew it too. Still, having her here, mere hours before her wedding means so much to me. I can almost pretend it could be me she was about to wed. Almost.

She watched the mirror reflect back to the day in the forest, the first night we made love, the last night we made love and the way I watched her sleep this morning.

"It will continue to add memories and images." I said as she wiped the tears from her eyes.

"Thank you, Draco. Really."

"Well, you had better hurry. Granger will have a fit if you aren't there on time." My voice has gone gravely but I do my best to keep my expression as cool as possible. "I may not have been able to promise myself to you forever, but –"

"Shhh, I know. I'll always feel the same." She gave me a watery smile as she pressed her fingers to my lips.

I don't know why I had hoped to hear the words she'll never say. All too quickly she was dressed and walking out of my door for what I knew would be the last time. I close the front door behind her and walk back to my room. I push the door open and look at the bed that we had made love on just the night before.

The mirror was lying heavily in the rumpled sheets.