Author's Notes: I owe lots of thanks to all of my readers/reviewers, especially those who have been following this story since its days on my LJ. I'm glad to say it's finally finished. I might revisit this Draco and Ginny again some day, but for right now I'm glad to have a little bit of closure for my very favorite characters.
Over the next few months, Ginny Malfoy was put in a situation she never anticipated. The day after her reunion with Draco, the news broke that Voldemort and the Death Eaters suffered their final defeat. Harry Potter and the other Aurors were received as heroes in wizarding Britain.
Then something none of them would have ever expected happened. Before leaving Germany, Draco had arranged for Lucius and Bellatrix to be brought back to London. The decision surprised Ginny, but she stood by her husband. She had an advantage to almost everyone else – she knew Lucius had saved his son's life and all of his feelings concerning the deceased man would always be linked to that action. His first decision as head of the Malfoy family was to bury his aunt and father in their proper places.
Public outcry was overwhelming, and even the Minister tried to sway Draco. But he wouldn't change his mind – his father was born a Malfoy and his death made him no less a Malfoy. Bellatrix did not receive the formal funeral (mostly because he, his mother, and Tonks were the only family she had left), but she was laid to rest with her Black ancestors.
Less than a week after Lucius' internment, Ginny was shocked to learn of a vicious rumor being circulated among certain groups of women. She didn't associate with these women, but Pansy Parkinson, one of Draco's oldest friends and Ron's girlfriend, heard the rumor and brought it to Ginny. These women were saying that the reason Draco brought his father back from Germany was because of guilt from killing his father.
Knowing the information to be false, but not being in the place to refute it (Draco had been clear that he didn't want the true cause of his father's death to be known), she went to her husband. He'd reacted more calmly than she expected, even though he was displeased. Ginny could only hope the speculation wouldn't reach the mainstream press. The last thing she wanted was for Draco to have to face those accusations.
One week passed, and Ginny was hopeful when the news didn't break. She and Draco were finally starting to return to a normal routine. Draco was given an extra leave from the Ministry and she submitted her resignation. With Lucius' death, her status was elevated – she was no longer the wife of the Malfoy heir, but the wife of the head of the family. There were things she needed to learn and positions she must fill. Ginny was content to allow Narcissa to continue on in that role, but she wouldn't allow other upper echelon wizarding families to speak ill of Draco. If he needed her to do those things, then she would do them.
When she wasn't 'in training' she was spending time with her husband. Their marriage was young and despite the mutual love and respect they shared, they were practically strangers. Ginny did what she could to please Draco, wanting him to see that he hadn't made a mistake in marrying her. Sometimes, when she was left alone with her thoughts too long, the redhead would admit to herself that Draco deserved better than her as a wife. While she loved her mother, nothing Molly Weasley taught her prepared her for the current situation. Draco deserved someone like Pansy, Daphne, or Tracey – Slytherin girls who were raised to be society wives. If he were married to one of them, she likely wouldn't be struggling like Ginny was. Draco took every chance to reassure her that he wouldn't want another wife. She knew he loved her and was happy, but she still had her doubts.
It was three weeks after his return that the storm began. It first ran as an item in Rita Skeeter's gossip column. However, it wasn't long before all of Britain picked up on it. Draco was being accused of patricide by every major newspaper and magazine in the country, and he was left defenseless. His mother urged him to come out with the truth about Lucius' suicide, but he refused. The man had sacrificed himself to save Draco, and the least Draco could do was let him rest in peace.
The press couldn't prove the allegations, which made it only slightly better. He threatened to sue them for slander and libel, but it was an empty threat. They backed off when he sent his solicitors after them, but soon they realized there was little he could do.
Eventually the two sides reached an impasse – Draco couldn't stop them from reporting the rumors and he did nothing to disprove them. The press requested he allow the Ministry to use Priori Incantato to prove his innocence. Draco declined the request. As he explained to Ginny, they could speculate and accuse all they wanted but as long as there was no definitive proof either way, the secret was safe.
A day after he told her this, she went to him with a suggestion. "Have you ever thought of leaving Britain?"
Draco looked at her curiously. "Why would I leave Britain?"
She shrugged uncomfortably. "We could go somewhere else, have a fresh start. It'd be nice if you go take your lunch without being accosted. Or if we could go to the market for groceries without having to answer a thousand questions about your father."
"Draco," she interrupted, "These people are holding us as prisoners in our own lives. It isn't right." The redhead sat down to next to him and took his hand. "We could leave this behind, love, and go somewhere else. Somewhere that they won't care about your father's death or our marriage. Or any of the things they keep bothering us with."
"You want to run."
"I didn't say that. We need a break, Draco. This is killing us."
"Killing us?" the blond echoed. "Ginny, are you unhappy?"
"What? Draco, no—"
He stood and moved away from her. The only reason he was holding everything together so well was her, and now she came to him with this? "I know it's been a lot and that this wasn't part of our arrangement, but it's just a little bit longer. It'll be okay again, Gin. I'll make it okay again."
She could hear the desperation in his voice and she wanted to reassure him, but Ginny didn't know what to say. She was unhappy, but it wasn't his fault. She wanted them to be normal again and as long as that horrible rumor was floating around out there, they wouldn't be normal. "Draco, do you think I want to leave Britain or that I want to leave you?"
His silence spoke volumes. Ginny was out of her seat instantly and crossing the room to him. The redhead wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him. He made no move to hug her back. "I love you. There's no place I'd rather be than by your side, but I know how hard this is for you. I just thought some time away would help."
Draco sighed heavily. "Gin, I'm sorry." His voice was soft and full of emotion. "I know you're only trying to make things better. But I can't run from this. It will follow us, wherever we go. We have to stick it out, love."
His wife nodded against his chest. "Wherever you go, I go. If you want to stay here, then we stay here."
He brought his hands up to her face, running his fingers through her hair. "Ginny, I would follow you wherever you go. If you ran, I wouldn't let you get very far. Do you know why?"
She shook her head.
"Because you're my life. When it comes to you, I have no pride. At the end of my seventh year, I was foolish. I won't make that mistake again. So if you think we should leave Britain, then we will."
"You're right. We shouldn't have to leave. You haven't done anything wrong. The story will go away eventually, we just have to wait it out."
The rumors seemed to follow them for a long time, but eventually they did die. When it was obvious Draco would not cooperate with an investigation, the press and Ministry were forced to drop the issue. It would occasionally come up, but for the most part, life went on as normal.
Once they were left alone, the Malfoys began to consider a second wedding ceremony. Neither could deny that the first ceremony was lacking and both of their mothers continued to object. Molly Weasley could hardly get over the fact that she hadn't been able to plan the wedding of her only daughter. Narcissa Malfoy, knowing the real reason behind their hurried wedding, objected for different reasons. She wanted the endless questions about their relationship to end.
In the end, the decision was left to Draco and Ginny. Both of them liked the idea of a ceremony with their family, but neither wanted to discount the original ceremony. Even though it was unconventional, everything about the day was special to them. Ginny was especially against telling their family they hadn't been in love when they married. The confession to Narcissa aside, she felt like their marriage was just picking up where they left off years before. She knew her mother and father were both traditionalists and would have strong objections to a marriage not rooted in love.
Draco didn't like keeping the information from Ginny's parents, but he understood her reasoning. While their union wasn't ideal, for him it was always about love. But he never wanted her parents to think their decision to marry was about anything but mutual respect and a genuine affection for each other. Besides, for Draco, the only thing that mattered was that at the end of the day he went home to Ginny. After much debate and discussion, the couple decided to leave things alone for the moment. If they decided to renew their vows at a later date, then they could do that.
Ron Weasley glared at the newspaper. There was no way she'd done it to them again! They'd sent out a birth announcement before telling anyone else. He blamed Malfoy for this – Ginny was certainly more considerate than that. Malfoy was all about images though, and he probably couldn't wait for the world to know that his line would continue.
The redhead was going to discuss it with the git. He couldn't keep alienating his sister from her family. He stood from behind his desk and went to the fireplace. Ron was reaching for his Floo powder when Pansy appeared in the grate. "Love?"
He crouched down in front of her. "Yes, Pansy?"
"Are you ready?" The dark-haired girl looked at her fiancée. "They're waiting for us."
"Who?" he questioned. Ron couldn't remember an appointment.
She rolled her eyes. "Your sister and Draco. Didn't you receive an owl?"
"I did not. However, I read something interesting in the Prophet this morning. It seems I'm an uncle."
"Yes, Draco sent out the announcements this morning. You didn't get one at your flat?"
He shook his head. "The git didn't send me one."
Pansy struggled to hide her amusement. Leave it to Draco to exclude Ginny's brother from the celebration. It was good to know some things never changed. "The baby was born late last night. Draco didn't include the sex or name, instead inviting everyone over to meet the newest member of their family."
"Leave it to bleeding Malfoy—"
The dark-haired girl cut him off. "Ron, we don't have time for that. We were expected at their flat ten minutes ago. Are you ready?"
Ron continued to grumble about his brother-in-law, before finally noticing his fiancé's annoyed expression. Even if he didn't like Ginny's husband, Pansy wouldn't tolerate his grumblings towards her oldest friend. "I'll meet you there."
She smiled up at him. "Good. I'll see you in a minute."
Her head disappeared from the fireplace and the flames returned to their normal color. Ron doused the flame and gathered his wand from his desk. With one last glance at his desk, the youngest Weasley brother Apparated to the flat his sister shared with the git.
His entire family was already inside the flat. Pansy met him at the door and immediately straightened his robes and tie. "Hello, love."
Ron looked past his fiancé, distracted. He could see his mother passing a baby to his father. He could also see his sister sitting in a large chair, Malfoy standing guard over her. Malfoy's eyes never left the child. Ron leaned down and absently kissed Pansy's cheek. "Hello. Is it a girl or a boy?"
Pansy looked up at him. She hoped Ron would manage to be civil during the visit. "A boy. Evander Black Malfoy."
He couldn't help it, Ron felt himself begin to smile. "I'm going to speak to Gin." Ron kissed Pansy on the cheek again before leaving her. His fiancée watched him go.
When Ron reached Ginny, he leaned down and kissed her. "Hello, love."
"Ron," she smiled up at him. "I'm glad you made it."
"Would I miss it?" he questioned. Ron crouched in front of her and took his hand. "A boy. Congratulations."
"There was never any doubt. You know how rare girls are in the Weasley family, and they're just as rare in the Malfoy line. I was hoping for a girl, but I guess there's always next time."
Her brother made a face at the idea of her having more children with Malfoy. Ginny laughed at him. "You know I love him, Ron."
"I know, Gin. As long as he makes you happy."
She nodded. "He does. I think he knows if he doesn't, then he'll have to answer to you."
"I never knew Malfoy was so smart." He smiled. "Would you mind if I left you, so I could hold my new nephew?"
"Go. See how beautiful he is." Ginny watched as her brother left her, and felt Draco step up directly behind her. "I'm not sure I've ever been so happy."
Her husband put his hand on her shoulder and leaned down to her ear. "Would you be surprised if I said I want you to say that every day for the rest of our lives?"
Ginny turned her head so that her lips met his cheek. "I'm counting on it." She stifled a yawn.
"A little bit."
He was instantly helping her out of her chair and towards the bedroom. The other guests allowed their attention to be pulled from the newborn, each of them in awe of the affection between the new parents.
Draco was oblivious to the stares, intent on helping his wife to their bed. He gently lifted her so that she rested against the pillows. "You should sleep."
Ginny thought about arguing for a moment. There were reasons she shouldn't, of course. "What about—"
"I'll take care of it," Draco told her. He pressed the back of his hand to her cheek. "You're exhausted, as you should be. I'll take care of everything."
"You'll be nice?" she questioned.
He nodded once. "My mother wouldn't have it any other way."
The redhead smiled. "At least I can depend on someone to keep you in line." Her eyes began to drift closed. "Love you."
"I love you, too." Draco kissed her briefly on the mouth. "Sleep."
He stayed with her until her breathing evened out and she was asleep. He kissed her forehead once more before getting up. He wanted nothing more than to wrap his body around hers and sleep, but there were guests to take care of. As well as Evander, the new Malfoy heir.
Draco stopped at the door and let his gaze drift over his sleeping wife one more time. He felt his heart swell with love and adoration for her. He pulled the door closed behind him and approached his mother who was holding his son. He could see the tears pooling in her eyes. "How are you, Mum?"
"I'm excellent. You did well. I think I'll call him Evan, if that's okay with you."
He nodded. "Evan Malfoy." Draco studied his mother, and her thoughtful expression. "What else?"
Narcissa smiled wistfully, remembering a time similar to this a long time ago. "I was just thinking we have Lucius to thank for all of this."
The blond rarely allowed himself to think of his father, but at the moment he knew his mother was right. As he looked over at his son, Draco silently promised to be the best father he could be. He wanted to be the father his father started to be, but couldn't quite manage. Draco also promised he'd never allow anyone or anything to come between him, Ginny, and their life together.