A/N - A long time ago, I promised random00b a ficlet set before Duty Bound. This is more of a drabble, but still, I hope you like it.

Disclaimer - I don't own HP, any of the canon settings, characters or situations. Don't sue.


The Defector


It was a small room, intimate; everything – the lights, the décor, the furnishings – all designed to make him comfortable, to make him feel more disposed to talk. They'd probably gone through his entire life with a fine-toothed comb, pouring over the minutiae of his hates, his loves, his preferences with obsessive attention to detail, searching for levers, weaknesses, and clues to his psyche.

Though he could not see them, he knew there were always, always watchers, analysing everything he did and did not do, looking for significance in every look, word and gesture.

And every day, she came.

**

He was brooding today, she saw as she came in the door and hung up her scarf and coat. His face was solemn and unreadable, his eyes dark and sullen. His fingers drummed restlessly on the wooden side-table as he contemplated a game of solitary wizard's chess – white was winning, she noted, committing it to her trained, photographic memory.

She wondered what the analysts would make of it.

"Good morning, Malfoy," she said, dropping into the chair across from him.

He paused, deliberately, and then lifted his eyes to hers. "Weasley," he said curtly, before turning his attention back to the game.

She drew in a deep breath, let it out slowly. There were times when she thought the Unspeakables had made a mistake in sending her in to gain Malfoy's trust. There was too much history between them; it was almost impossible to handle him with calm, cool composure.

Draco Malfoy had been one of the Dark Lord's most trusted lieutenants before, for reasons he had, as yet, refused to divulge, he made the decision to defect. In his initial approach to the Order he had struck a devil's bargain with Moody: full pardon and political sanctuary in return for every drop of information he possessed.

And so this comfortably furnished prison, where every word and movement was analysed, and Ginny herself, wizarding psychologist, who was supposed to unlock the secrets behind his veiled, unreadable eyes.

So far she had made little progress. But she did know one thing, after weeks of close observation: Malfoy would talk when he was ready, and not a moment before. And there was nothing she or anyone else could do that would make him change his mind.

**

"So?" he asked, not looking up from the chess-board before him. "What shall we discuss today?" He could feel her eyes on him, measuring and calculating. The woman was almost Slytherin, sometimes, in the way she watched him, filing away every single detail of their encounters.

"What are you willing to tell me?" she parried. "And you will have to tell me something, Malfoy. Moody is growing impatient."

He sat back in his chair, finally abandoning his game. "You'll have to do better than that, Ginevra. You've no other convenient sources of information."

"You've been out of the game for nearly two months. Stale information –"

"– is better than none, at such a high level."

Her eyes sparked, but she restrained her notorious Weasley temper with admirable control. "It is in your best interests to co-operate, Draco."

He merely stared at her.

"What do you want?" she asked finally.

At last.

Draco smiled.

**************