A/N: OK then, this is just a little plot-bunny that I finally got sick of hopping around my head. It won't be long. One chapter or so.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of it.
PLEASE NOTE: This is told from Ginny's POV and I guess it attempts to explain why Draco hesitated when he had to kill Dumbledore.
Special Mention: A HUGE thank you has to go to Jeweled Rose for reading and betaing this for me.
Curiosity Leads to Broom Closets
I watched smiling, as Hermione dragged Harry out of the library and away from me. I could hear her lecturing him about the importance of my OWLS from my table at the back.
I giggled at the look on Harry's face. It was a mix of indignity and laughter. We didn't see Harry laugh any more and it made me sad. No boy of sixteen should have to go through what he already has.
I sighed and returned my attention to my Charms book and the essay I was supposed to be writing. I scowled at the parchment in front of me and rested my chin in the palm of my hand. Maybe if I wished hard enough, the essay would magically write itself.
After ten minutes of staring at the parchment, I decided to give up. There was really no point in sitting there if I wasn't going to work.
'I'll just go back to the Common Room and surprise Harry. I'm sure he'll be able to amuse me.'
I gathered up my things and put them neatly in my bag before exiting the library under Madam Pince's watchful gaze. 'That woman really is scary looking', I thought, looking back at her over my shoulder.
I walked slowly away from the library, not seeing any point in rushing. My mind drifted as I walked, and my thoughts turned to chocolate, of all things. I stopped in the corridor, my mouth watering just at the thought of a piece of Honeydukes chocolate.
I looked up the stairs that would eventually lead me to the portrait of the Fat Lady, then looked down the corridor I was walking along. If I kept walking, I could go down to the kitchens and pick up some chocolate for myself and Harry. Dobby would be sure to provide me with some, or at least something chocolate based. A muffin maybe, or a cookie would do too.
With a tug of my jumper, I set off down the corridor, resolved not to return to the Common Room without having eased my craving.
I took the short cuts that I knew of and came out in the Entrance Hall only five minutes later. I was hurrying towards the kitchen portrait when footsteps made me stop short. I drew back into the shadows and watched as a figure came up from the dungeons and stopped to look around as though they knew that someone else was there.
With a shake of his head, the person hurried up the stairs. In the dim candlelight, Draco Malfoy looked harried.
I looked towards the kitchens and then up the stairs, after Malfoy. Biting my lower lip, I cursed my curiosity and quietly followed him up the stairs.
There was really no reason to be following him. He had as much right to wander the corridors as I did, if not more, as he was a Prefect. Still, something about him made me want to see exactly what he was up to.
I'd always been intrigued by Draco Malfoy, ever since Ron had returned home after his first year and begun complaining about the blonde-haired boy that made the lives of the Trio something of a living hell. I saw what he meant when I arrived at Hogwarts for my first year, and even before that, at Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley.
He'd been quiet this year though. I knew that Harry was convinced he was up to something. I hadn't noticed how uncomfortable Malfoy's silence was until that moment, as I followed him down the corridor.
I turned a corner and stopped short. My eyes scanned the corridor before me. It was dark but I could still see that there was no one in front of me. I also knew that there were no secret corridors coming off this passage. So, where had Malfoy gotten to? If he'd started running, I would have heard him, and besides, I still would have seen him leave the corridor as I came around the corner.
I took a slow, wary step forwards. The only sounds I could hear were the taps of my shoes on the stone floor and my own suddenly heavy breathing. I was annoyed to find that I was actually a little frightened as I made my way to the middle of the corridor.
'Go back. Turn around and go back to the Common Room. There's no reason to stay here.'
Ron had always taught me never to turn my back on a Malfoy. The advice came to mind as, instead of turning around, I began walking backwards slowly. A few steps later, I felt my back bump into something, or rather, someone.
My eyes widened. 'I told you to turn around,' my mind said. I felt his hands grip my upper arms and pull me against him.
"Having fun Weasley?" he whispered into my ear.
"Where did you come from?"
Malfoy gave a short, hollow laugh. "You forgot about the broom closet."
I scowled and silently cursed myself. Of course, how could I have been so stupid? Filch had broom closets in nearly every corridor to save himself trips back and forth across the castle.
Malfoy dragged me backwards unexpectedly and I stumbled, falling into his chest. His arms came around me, and held me in place. I was pleased to note his arms and chest were quite muscular, underneath his uniform. I stopped breathing for a moment, as I realised that I'd just complimented him, though he didn't know it. I even liked the feel of his arms held securely around me.
This thought shocked me and I began to feel guilty, when I pictured Harry's face, eyes full of loyalty and trust. I began to struggle, intent now on returning to the Common Room and Harry's arms.
Draco grunted in surprise at my sudden movements and picked me up. Due to the drastic difference in our heights, there was a quite a bit of distance between my feet and the floor.
Still struggling, Draco carried me into the broom closet he had hidden in, set me gently on my feet, and closed the door behind him, leaning back on it so I couldn't escape.
I turned around to face him quickly, reaching into my pocket for my wand. My fingers met only old sweet wrappers and a few notes from Harry.
"Looking for this are you?" he asked, not menacingly, and produced my wand from his own pocket. "I took it when I came up behind you. You really ought to take more care of your possessions. You don't want them to fall into the wrong hands."
Before I could say anything in response to this, he held it out to me and I just stared at it dumbly. He raised his pale eyebrows and said, "Well? Do you want it or not? I'm giving it back to you."
Warily, I took back my wand, but kept it in my hand. "I don't understand. Why are you being so…"
"Yes, that's exactly the right word. Why are you being nice? You know that I was following you. By rights, you should be cursing me by now."
His eyes turned, surprisingly, sad. "Do you really believe that I'd start throwing spells at you while you were unable to defend yourself?"
I frowned in confusion. "Ah… yes?"
Draco shook his head mournfully. "That's my father, not me."
"Are you not your father's son?"
When he met my eyes this time, I saw strength and a defiance I'd never seen there before. Of course, I'd never been this close to him before. I had to admit, his proximity was making me very uncomfortable. The closet we were cloistered in wasn't all that big. What with all the cleaning appliances, I was practically pressed up against his chest, yet again.
"No I am not," he said in answer to my question. I could hear the pride in his voice, but also something else. Something I couldn't name.
"Well then, why do you treat people the way you do? You've tormented Harry, Ron and Hermione from day one. If you are so convinced that you are different to your father, why do you act the way you do?"
He shrugged. "Why shouldn't I? I'm a Slytherin, aren't I?"
"Does that justify the things you do?"
"Not all of it. The little things, yes, but the others…"
He looked away from my accusing eyes and I suddenly felt an unexplainable pity for him. All manner of responses ran through my mind, and not one of them seemed appropriate.
Before I had the chance to open my mouth, Draco turned back to me. "Do you hate me Ginny?"
The question caught me off guard on two counts. The first was the question itself. Why would he ask me, of all people, if I hated him? The second was the use of my name. Ginny; I'd never heard him say it before. I was startled again, by the realisation that sometime over the course of the evening, I had begun to think of him, not as 'Malfoy', but instead as 'Draco', making him a real person in my mind.
"Well?" he demanded, giving me a tiny shake. "Do you hate me, or not?"
I looked him in the eyes. Although it was rather dark in the tiny closet, I could see that they were really a beautiful shade of grey. They didn't seem as cold as they usually did. But did I hate him? Well honestly, I couldn't think of a reason why I should. Sure, he picked on my friends and family, but that didn't mean I hated him. He was a Slytherin and I was a Gryffindor, and we were supposed to be enemies, but how could I hate someone based on an argument between two of the Hogwarts Founders that had occurred centuries ago?
'Dislike him, maybe, but 'hate' is a very strong word. Hate is what Harry feels for You-Know-Who because he was robbed of his family. I couldn't feel that strongly about anyone.'
I shook my head slowly. "No Draco, I don't hate you."
He seemed shocked and I personally didn't blame him. Who wouldn't be shocked after a statement like that?
"You know Ginny, I'm not half the man I wanted to be." He was disappointed in himself, I could see it in his eyes, and hear it in his voice.
"What do you mean?"
He sighed and I could have sworn I saw moisture in his eyes. "I've done a very bad thing Ginny, or at least, I will."
"Whatever it is, it can't be that bad."
"Yes it is! You don't understand!"
This time, I was certain he was crying and it scared me. Draco Malfoy wasn't supposed to cry.
I reached out to him, but pulled my hand back, not sure if I should touch him, or even if he would welcome it.
'Just do it Ginny! Honestly, you can't just let him stand there and cry!'
Steeling myself, I tried again and laid one hand on his shoulder; the other reached up and brushed his hair out of his eyes. He looked at me with his heart in his eyes and I wiped the tears from his cheeks.
"Make me understand."
He shook his head. "I can't. You would be in danger if someone found out that I'd told you and that isn't fair. But I don't want to do it Ginny, I don't even think I can, it's too hard."
"Do you have to do this thing?"
"Yes, I do. It has been assigned to me. I have no choice."
I shook my head. "That's not true. Everyone has a choice, no matter what it is; you don't have to do it."
He smiled gently and ran a finger down my cheek. "Yes I do."
I licked my lower lip and took the minute step that brought me flush against him. He looked down at me in surprise and I stood on my toes to slide my arms around his neck. Once he realised what I was trying to do, he bent and put his arms around my waist, returning the hug. I had set out to comfort him, but found myself being comforted instead.
I pulled back slightly to look into his eyes. We were so close in that moment that our noses were touching. We were breathing the same air and I couldn't ignore the sudden, unexpected burst of attraction that exploded in the pit of my stomach.
Seemingly of one mind, we both moved at the same time and the moment our lips met, I was lost. I had never felt this way when my boyfriends kissed me. Not even Harry made me feel this way.
He drew back and stared at me in wonder. "What am I doing?"
Curling my fingers through his hair, I pulled him back to me and whispered against his lips, "I do believe you are kissing me."
I stumbled through the portrait of the Fat Lady an hour later and saw that most people had retired to their beds. The Trio was of course, still awake.
They looked up and Harry came towards me, smiling. The guilt I felt was unbearable. No matter how much I had enjoyed being with Draco, I was still dating Harry. It wasn't right.
My own words ran through my head. 'Everyone has a choice, no matter what it is; you don't have to do it.'
I closed my eyes and pressed my forehead against his shoulder when Harry took me in his arms. When he kissed the top of my head, I felt the tears well up.
"Finish your essay?" he asked.
'He has no idea. He trusts me completely. If he ever found out, what would he do? Does he love me enough to forgive me? Merlin, what have I gotten myself into?'
Making sure the tears were suppressed, I looked up at him. "No. I couldn't think of anything else to write. I'll do it tomorrow."
Harry knew me too well because he frowned and asked, concerned, "Are you alright? Did something happen?"
'Oh, if only you knew.' I brushed the hair away from his famous scar and traced it with a gentle finger. "No Harry. Everything is all right. I promise."
A/N: Personally, I think that this is on of my best pieces. I'm even considering doing another chapter or two. So, tell me honestly, what do you think?