Chapter sixteen

The Perfect Plan

The Letters to School

What are you doing?" Draco asked as he came into the library. He had two steaming mugs of coffee in his hands and he walked slowly toward Ginny as she sat down in front of the fireplace. School had started its last term weeks ago and Ginny had frequented his home to see how he and Chayse were doing, that and – erm – other things. He had never seen her as stressed out as this though. The only strange thing about it was that he had left her there to go to the kitchen to make them. That was over an hour ago.

"I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to tell my parents about this."

"Well, have you tried picking up some floo powder and throwing it in. It usually works for me but if you have different methods feel free."

"Don't joke about this, Draco, I'm serious. This is frightening for me. How do I tell my parents that their granddaughter is living with me in a muggle town, she goes to Hogwarts but I made Fred and George promise not to say anything again and that her father is you? And Ron, how on earth do I tell Ron, especially considering who her father is."

"You know, every time you say that it sounds like a bad thing. I don't know why you keep thinking that way."

"Draco."

"Okay, okay, here I brought you this." He handed her the cup.

"Oh," she said in a grateful voice. "Thank you so much."

"Well," he said sitting down next to her. "What do you want to tell them?" He watched her turn away toward the door and used the opportunity to pick up some powder from the urn that stood, infinitely, in front of her. "There must be something you want to say to them when you mumble those words."

"What words?"

"Where you want to go."

"What? You mean 'The burrow?" He threw the powder in and the fire crackled a little turning the flame green and then slowly turned red in time for her to turn back.

"Yeah, the Burrow, I could never remember the name." He looked into the fire to see a brown haired woman peering through the flames to them. She remained silent though and ran out of the room. When she came back there were others with her, he didn't recognize them but the red hair told him that they were her family. From the looks of the scar on a black haired man, more than family was with them.

"Well, I guess I would start at how sorry I was for keeping Cordelia away from them. Then I'd probably try pleading for them to understand why I did it in the first place." He turned back to her.

"Because of me?"

"Well there was that I guess. Mainly it was because I couldn't take being told how to raise my own child. You don't know how it is, Draco. I let them in for a few weeks and then everywhere I turned someone was telling me, 'You can't do this, you can't do that.' I mean, even Hermione and I thought she would at least try to understand more than anyone."

He heard a distant hiccupping cry come from his left. He half felt like telling them to be quiet.

"Why can't you tell them then, I mean, you're telling me aren't you?"

"That's different Draco. With you, there was always a mutual understanding between us. With my family they just think they understand but they can't. They have no idea how it feels to be alone, none of them because they never have been. I'm – I suppose I'm just different."

"Different how?"

"They still see me as the little girl in the family, mum's companion everywhere she goes and as the little sister. You never saw that and that's what I loved about you. That made you different to them because you made me feel like a different person, like a better person and I'll thank you for that forever."

"When are you going to tell them?"

"When I get enough courage to throw than damned powder into the fire, but I guess when I do that I'll lose my nerve and everything I want to say and I'll probably end up just letting them back in to rule my life again. I hate the fact I can't tell them how I feel, but you wouldn't know anything about that."

"Why would you say that?"

"Because I've had conversations with your son."

"Well I've had conversations with my daughter too and she has a lot to say about you."

"What has she said?"

"It's not for me to say."

"If Cordelia has been telling you things I want to know." There were loud gasps from nowhere. "What was that?"

"Um, I – have no idea." Ginny shrugged it off.

"I want to know what she said."

"And I want to tell you but I can't, if you want to know ask her yourself."

"She doesn't tell me anything."

"That's because you do the same to her. She's on the whole 'mum doesn't think that I can be trusted so why should I trust her?' thing, it's ridiculous. Honestly I have no idea how you both manage to communicate."

"How did you get her to talk to you?"

"I listened to her, something that you have wanted your family to do for a long time but they wouldn't because they couldn't hear you. They, like you, wanted to help you, protect you if I can say so. They, like you, knew that you never had a child before and that the father was nowhere to be seen. Not my fault by the way," he added to his side. "So they tried to help you. You saw this as them taking over your life, but you never said anything. And they, from the sounds of it, wouldn't have listened even if you tried." He moved his head so that she could see him. "But you should have tried anyway, Ginny." Then there was a distant sniff.

"Now I know I heard that, what is that?" She looked around the room for the signs of any people around her. There wasn't any.

"So are you prepared to tell them now?"

She shook her head. "I don't know. How do I face them? What do I do? What do I even say?" She sighed heavily and leaned against him with her forehead against his chest.

"You face them head on, you pick up the powder, throw it in," - He picked up her head and turned it towards the fire. – "and say hello."

Ginny's eyes widened and she almost screamed as she came face to face with her family staring at her through teary eyes. "Draco," she said quietly.

"Yes?"

"What have you done?" She stood up and waved to them meekly. They all waved back slowly and her mother opened her arms, probably waiting for Ginny to step through.

"I've made you face your demons." He gave her a push forward and she walked through the floo connection to her parents as they welcomed her with a hug. Draco watched from the other side and was about to close the connection when a voice called to him.

"Oi! Malfoy, where do you think you're going?" It was Potter, the others had taken Ginny away and left behind was just Potter Inc.

"To bed, if that's okay. I'll leave the family reunion alone." He reached up for his wand on the fire place just as Hermione stepped through and took his hand.

"But now, you're family too." She dragged him over and closed it from there. They passed him and made their way to the kitchen where the others were. Ginny was seated between all of them and excused herself to go to the bathroom.

"I know I'll probably thank you for this later but as soon as we are alone I will kill you," she said as she pulled him into the living room.

"And after that you'll thank me?"

"Probably," she said fidgeting with her fingers.

"When we're alone?"

"Exactly," she answered not catching his hidden meaning.

"Then I'm looking forward to it." He pushed her back into the kitchen and followed her in.

---

Morning came with a vengeance and burned through Cordelia's eyes. "I hate mornings." Cordelia got up sleepily to her friend playing her awful music again and went to get dressed and out of there before she lost her mind. After that she had trudged down to the side of the lake where she met Chayse, sitting down, and as awake as ever. "I hate you too," she stated blankly when he greeted her with a smile. He sat with his back to a tree and had his legs stretched out in front of him. She felt so tired, even though it was the last day of school.

"Wrong side of bed?" he asked pulling her down.

She shook her head and lay back on his legs closing her eyes. "No, too many sides to choose from and each side meant I had to get up. I got distressed."

"Ah," he said sympathetically and left her to her silence.

"How do you think you did in the exams?" she said as she looked up at the sky through the leaves. She closed her eyes in contentment.

"As well as you I suppose, we'll get them at breakfast anyway."

"And how well did I do in the exams?" she asked turning her head with a smile.

"Exceptional, as always."

"Hmm," she said opening her eyes. "That's what I wanted to hear, thank you."

"Thought you would. Have you heard anything from father," he said smiling. It was still weird to say it. The school year was now over and they'd have to get the train back into London again in a few hours. They had both packed with anxiety of having to spend a lot more time together because they were related.

"No, nothing from mum either." She smiled too.

They sat in a comfortable silence for a while. He turned to his side to look out at the lake. The creature had just pulled something under creating a small whirlpool that disappeared with the wind that blew over it. The ripples continued to the edge making small silent waves on the dirt and gravel at its edges. He sighed. "It's weird isn't it?"

"What is?" she said her eyes still closed, she had almost drifted back to sleep. She could stay there forever.

"That right here in March we planned to get our parents together because we were so close we wanted to be Brother and sister. Then along the road we found out that they were already together-."

"And we were already brother and sister," she finished for him. They both laughed.

"Yeah, funny how things turned out isn't it? We didn't even need the plan. It was a waste of genius."

"And we got all those detentions for nothing."

He laughed again. "You would remember those, wouldn't you?"

"It was thirty one days of four hour detentions Chayse, that's one hundred and twenty four hours of my childhood that I wasted." But she couldn't stop laughing either.

"Are you hungry?"

"Famished."

"Well let's get some breakfast." They both stood and walked up to the castle talking about nothing in particular until they walked into the great hall and separated to go to their tables.

---

"Have you finished yours?" Draco asked finding Ginny awake. After a thorough night of thanking him, he felt she needed some sort of nourishment to give her some energy.

"Not yet, it's hard. I don't even think that he likes me," she said taking the plate of breakfast from him.

"Well, after your little heart-to-heart at the cabin, I'm surprised he's not calling you mother."

"He told you about that?" she said shoveling eggs onto her toast.

"He tells me about everything." He sat down opposite her.

"Remind me never to plan any surprise parties around any of you." She smiled and brought her head back down onto the table where he had found her when he walked in. "I can't do this. Why can't I do one for Cordelia instead?" she begged.

"Because mine is for her and we can't look as if we've picked favorites now can we?" He was thoroughly enjoying her torture and she knew it.

"Fine," she said raising her head. She took a bite out of her toast and chewed on it. "How does this sound?" she said swallowing and she began reading.

---

"Good morning students, I trust the last few weeks of school have been as exciting for you as they have been for me." There were a few mumbles here and there. "As we near the end of another school year, we look back on the experiences we've had and all we have achieved." When saying that, his eyes flew from one particular table to another. "And what those experiences and achievements can help us to do in the future. We say good bye and good luck to our seventh years that will leave us to find careers and such, as we will say hello to our new first years in September. We wish luck to our sixth years who must prepare for their N. E. W. Ts and our fourth years who will soon take their O. W. Ls." All the students had a mixed look of anxiety and excitement.

Cordelia snuck a look at Chayse, in one word he looked… bored. She smiled and shook her head turning back to the headmaster.

"Speaking of examinations, we have the results of your end of year exams…" a low grumble filled the room. "They will be distributed throughout your houses as soon as you return from breakfast." The grumble turned into multiple sighs of relief. "However, my congratulations must extend to two of our students here who have proven themselves worthy of a special award for the highest marks in the fourth year exams this school has known in years."

As soon as 'fourth year,' was called all Gryffindors looked towards Cordelia who immediately said, "What?" And all Slytherins looked in Chayse's direction who immediately said the same.

"Professor Snape if you will." McGonagall stood up with him.

"Can Chayse Malfoy and Cordelia Weasley please come up here now." Applause erupted throughout the room as they both stood up and walked towards the teachers' table. They met Dumbledore at his podium and accepted the awards from Snape and McGonagall and turned to the student body who roared with cheers even louder than before. It didn't begin to stop until they went to sit down again.

"See, what did I tell you? Exceptional," Chayse said as they parted ways again. Cordelia laughed and hit him on the arm as she went to her seat.

"With that done," Dumbledore said returning to his previous speech. "Let breakfast begin." The tables spread with toast and eggs and bacon and such, Cordelia dug in immediately as the mail came through. Letters from parents were ripped open left right and centre. Chayse looked around, there was nothing for him. He looked over at Cordelia who had done the same. Nothing for her either. They both shrugged, they'd get to see them soon anyway.

About a half hour through when no more food could fit, two birds flew into the hall carrying one letter each. One of them landed by Chayse the other by Cordelia. He didn't recognize the bird at all which made it strange because he knew most of the owls that he received mail from. He once again glanced by Cordelia, in front of her was his father's eagle owl. She had looked over at him and the look in her face made him realise that she knew the owl in front of him too. Both birds looked at them waiting for them to take their mail before flying off and not waiting for a treat.

He opened his letter.

---

Dear Cordelia,

Last night I asked your mother to marry me and she said yes, I know that this is alright for you to handle as I know you have the strength and the power 'to grasp the concept.' I love her very much as I love you and my son and I hope we can live as a united family instead of two separated homes that share a relation. We have spent too much time apart and I have missed out on so much with you that I want to catch up on. I hope you feel the same way.

Yours

Draco Malfoy.

Cordelia lowered her letter.

---

Dear Chayse,

You have no idea how hard it is for me to write to you because I don't know you so well to be able to talk to you. But I hope that this decision that your father and I have made will change this. I want to get to know you better and not just know you as my daughter's best friend or her brother. I hope someday that we too will be able to have a bond as strong as you do with her and your father.

Your Father has asked me to marry him and I've accepted his proposal. I know that you can find it in you to understand that I love your father and that I can make him happy. I don't want to replace your mother, as I am sure you know because nothing in this world can do that. I see you as my family now, not just because you are Draco's son and not just because Cordelia is your sister. It's because you talked to me and listened to me and opened my eyes to what I had been avoiding, the fact that my daughter doesn't need to be protected anymore. For that you will always be my family and I will always think of you as my son.

I dream for the day you can think of me as your mother.

Always

Ginny.

---

Somehow during reading this Cordelia had stood up and was now just watching the paper as if it had sprouted a head. The Gryffindor table turned to watch her as she dropped her fork on her plate creating a clattering which almost shattered the plate itself. Another loud noise made them turn again. Chayse too had managed to stand up and break his crockery and was staring at his letter so hard a hole could have appeared through it.

They both looked up at each other's noises and stood staring at each other for a while.

The whole hall by then was watching this odd display of catatonic shock. Even Dumbledore was considering sending over Madame Pomfrey.

She had begun to get up but as soon as she did he told her to sit down as he surveyed the faces of his two students. They were twisting into a wide grin. The whole of the Teachers' Table jumped when they began to scream.

Cordelia couldn't help the pure happiness that came with that letter, from the look on Chayse's face he couldn't either. Finally, they broke the silence, the grin still on their faces.

"Oh – My – God!" they exclaimed as they jumped up and down with excitement. Their voices carried throughout the hall and no doubt to the rest of the castle.

THE END