A/N: OK folks, this is the sequel to my much-loved fic 'Curiosity Leads to Broom Closets'. You don't NEED to read that first, although there may be references in this that relate to the occurrences from 'Curiosity'.
Disclaimer: The characters are the property of J. K. Rowling. Needless to say, they do not belong to me.
View from the Coffee Shop Window
Outside the coffee shop window was an endless wall of people. They just went on and on, and the same person never went by twice in one day. Each one of them had a routine and they never let Ginny down.
Ginny sat in the same booth of the same coffee shop every day between the hours of eleven and one. Every day she watched the same faces walk past her window and every day she wondered what it was that they thought as they hurried away from their desks to an hour of relaxation.
Ginny had little lives set out for the ones that appealed to her most. There was the older woman, whose hair was dyed blonde, and the young man in the business suit who was always on the phone. The same group of students went by laughing and talking at half past twelve on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Always the same faces that never meant anything to her. No matter how much she might wish otherwise, these people were all strangers, and would remain so until she one day accidentally stumbled into one while leaving the cafe.
She swirled her coffee cup and watched the remaining creamy liquid circle around. She pushed the cup away and returned her gaze to the window just in time to see someone she thought she recognized.
Before Ginny could get another look, the crowd had swallowed him up and he was gone. Ginny frowned in confusion. Was it really him?
For the first time since she'd begun her coffee shop vigil, Ginny rose from her seat long before she was supposed to. Leaving more than enough money to pay for her unfinished coffee, she hurried out the door and straight into the midst of the group of students that were walking past, as they did every regular Tuesday.
They carried her along with them but they weren't walking fast enough for Ginny's liking. She elbowed her way out of the group, earning a few protests from them, and half walked, half ran down the sidewalk, dodging as many people as possible.
Ginny passed the man with the phone; he was saying something about meeting at a restaurant on the other side of the city. His voice made Ginny come to a halt. Phone-man had been in front of the object of her chase. That meant that she must have gone by him already.
Ginny turned around and scanned the crowd that she had run through. He was quite tall, and he stood out wherever he was, so why couldn't she find him? Could he have entered one of the shops along the street? Alternatively, maybe he had sped up and overtaken the other man.
She faced the way she had originally been running and, walking forward a few paces, looked through the crowd. She couldn't see him anywhere. He was gone.
Ginny sighed loudly and her shoulders slumped. She'd thought for one bright, shining moment that she would be able to see him again.
Deciding she might as well head for home, Ginny looked across the street just as a shop door opened and out walked the one man she had just thought she'd lost.
He pulled some sort of bun from a blue paper bag and set off up the street.
Ginny stood still for a moment, just watching him move, until she came to her senses. Giving her head a little shake, she followed him from the opposite sidewalk, making sure that she didn't lose him this time.
His pace was slow and casual, and Ginny could see that he was in no hurry. He had always reminded her of a large cat, steady and graceful. He licked his fingers and scrunched up the paper bag, tossing it into a rubbish bin that he passed.
He had great aim and coordination, and Ginny was sure that he could have been a Chaser if he hadn't been a Seeker.
Ginny followed him for what seemed like hours, but was, in reality, no more than fifteen minutes. She didn't dare approach him, at least, not yet. She didn't know what he'd do if he saw her again; didn't even know if he remembered her. But how could he have forgotten? After everything they'd experienced, how could she have slipped from his mind?
When he turned off the main street and into a local park, she hastened to cross the road and catch up.
The park was full of people: mothers pushing strollers, children arguing over who would use the swing first, a group of teens laughing loudly. They were just normal people who had no idea that there was a witch in their midst.
It always made Ginny smile to walk down the street during peak hour, when everyone was rushing too or from work. They, with their normal lives, could never have imagined the danger that their world had been in, before Harry defeated the most feared wizard of all time.
At the time of Voldemort's downfall, these people would have just been rising from their beds, readying themselves for yet another day, completely ignorant of the second chance that had been granted them.
Ginny scanned the people in front of her, trying to pinpoint her quarry. She thought she saw him almost half way to the other side and hurried after him.
It was only as she walked around the children's playground that she thought about what she would do when she caught up to him. In fact, if she was entirely honest with herself, she wouldn't have been sure that she would allow herself to catch up at all.
He was from a time in her life when nothing was simple and everyone a potential enemy. They had bonded through fear. Six months after their separation, she was unsure of what she had ever felt for him. Had it been love, as she wanted to believe, or pity?
To make matters worse, she was never aware of what it was that he felt for her. She was a Gryffindor, his enemy's girlfriend, the girl he had pulled into the closet when she idiotically thought his business was also hers.
He had claimed to have her constantly on his mind, had sounded so sincere. She had sounded sincere too though, when she told Harry that she was not avoiding him, just trying to find a quiet place to study for her exams.
The guilt still plagued her sometimes, when she was at home alone with her thoughts, or looking over old photos of them all. She told herself it was all a part of growing up, and had never spoken of the affair to anyone, except Hermione, when she had caught Ginny out. These days it was a forbidden subject between the two women as well, so Ginny never did find out if Hermione had told Harry of her betrayal, or if he had figured it out for himself. They had moved past it, and Ginny had been proud to stand up as bridesmaid at the Potter-Granger wedding.
Lost in her thoughts as she was, Ginny didn't notice that he had stopped moving until she was almost upon him.
She stopped quickly and stood still, unsure of whether or not he knew she was there.
It occurred to Ginny that, if he was aware of her presence, he wasn't going to come to her. She didn't blame him. He had left school so suddenly, and not in what were considered the best circumstances.
Ginny breathed deeply once, gathering her thoughts. She could turn around and go home, pretend she had never seen him. She knew that if she did though, she could never live with herself. She had to talk to him at least, just hear his voice one more time, then, if it came to it, she would finally put him, and that closet, to rest.
She strode over to the bench on which he sat and lowered herself to it calmly, leaving a respectful distance between them.
They said nothing for a few moments, just sat and watched the children play. Then:
He sounded different. Ginny wondered if it was because she was finally hearing him in fresh air, or because she now heard him with adult ears.
He turned his head and, out of the corner of her eye, she watched him watch her.
"How have you been?" he asked.
She shrugged. "Not so bad. I'm happy with my little apartment, and my job. I'm happy."
"You write, don't you? For the Daily Prophet?"
She finally looked at him. "Yes. How did you know? It's not exactly the biggest section of the paper."
He mimicked the shrug she had given earlier. "I make it a habit to read from cover to cover."
Ginny smirked. "Even the section devoted to relationship advice?"
"That's only included on Friday's, and anyway, it's interesting to read about the love problems of the wizarding world."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "I expect they're the same as for the muggle world."
He shook his head. "Not when they involve irate wives and exploding cauldrons."
Laughter burst from her and when she quietened asked, "So you do read it then?"
"As you say."
They sat silently for a few more moments, and a smiling Ginny was just thinking that she had been right not to run away when he spoke again.
"You know, while reading that part of the paper, I often wondered what they would have suggested if I had written in that I was having an illicit affair with the girlfriend of my enemy in a tiny broom closet."
Her smile dropped from her face, hating him for bringing it up, but knowing one of them had to. She had hoped that they could just start over, but it was a crucial part of their history, the turning point in their relationship. Before the day she had comforted him there, she had walked by that closet innumerable times, never knowing how much it would eventually come to mean to her.
Knowing he was waiting for a response, Ginny said quietly, "I expect it's not all that uncommon."
"You find that it happens all the time, then?"
She faced him angrily, her face turning almost as fiery as her hair. "Don't mock me, or the situation!"
"What 'situation' Ginny? There is no 'situation'."
Ginny rose to her feet. "So you're going to pretend that it never happened are you? You're going to put out of your mind that what we did was wrong so that you don't have to deal with it? Well, let me tell you something Mr. Malfoy. I've dealt with this and the memory of you everyday since you left. Do not presume to tell me that there is no situation, because I know very well that there is, and you know it too."
Ginny breathed deeply, her shoulders rising and falling in anger. He stared at her as if she had grown to heads, and Ginny knew then that she was wrong to approach him, that she should never have left the comfort of her little coffee shop booth.
Turning on her heel, Ginny walked away, certain she had seen the last of him. If only she had let him go past the window without having to chase after him. He never would have known, and everything could have continued on as before.
As she walked though, Ginny knew she could never have done that. Ginny had watched the people pass the coffee shop window for so long because she was waiting for her own life to take off. She had told him she was happy, but she was merely content. The people who passed the window were different, although they never changed. They were living their lives, while she watched from the sidelines. Today, in chasing Draco, she had dared to chase her life.
She saw suddenly the similarity between that chase and her affair with Draco. In school, she had claimed to be happy, but was only pretending. She craved adventure, but didn't speak of it to Harry, knowing the adventures he experienced had only brought pain. Her affair with Draco was her adventure, her attempt to break free of the chains tying her down.
Harry was right. Adventure wasn't everything. Pain was the result.
But she had heard Harry once describe marriage as an adventure, never knowing what was around the corner, or when he would return home to a fire-breathing dragon. All this before Hermione had cuffed him over the head and gently kissed his lips.
Ginny had stopped walking, all the anger gone out of her, and found herself staring at the other road that bordered the park.
She sighed and was turning to go home when she sensed rather than heard his approach. He moved silently. He always had.
She felt his fingers close around her wrist.
"I didn't mean to offend you, or mock what happened between us. It means too much to be mocked, but you can't deny that they were interesting circumstances. Normal relationships don't start that way."
Ginny turned to him and saw, once again, his heart in his eyes. She could see it clearly now, didn't have to wonder what it was.
"What do you want Draco?"
"I want … I want 'us'. I want there to be an 'us' that I'm not ashamed of, or which leaves you with pangs of guilt when you walk away from me."
Ginny ducked her head, smiling shyly. "I want that to."
"We have to start over Ginny, do things properly, but never forget where we came from, you know?"
She raised her head and met his eyes, his beautiful eyes, with hers. "Yes. I do know."
He smiled. "Good. I'm glad. We should start by going out somewhere. A proper date, in a proper room."
Ginny laughed. "I would agree to that, but Draco, we must never go out for coffee. I don't need coffee anymore."
Draco's smile widened and he nodded. "Whatever you want Ginny. I don't care. Whatever you want."
He inclined his head towards hers, and kissed her …
… And for once, Ginny was happy.
A/N: Alright! 6 months of nothing then 2 chapters in as many weeks. They're chapters I'm happy with too, which makes a nice change as opposed to the usual umming and ahhing about whether or not I like what I've written.
Yes, I know, Draco is VERY OOC, but that's just the way he is here. I like him this way.
Also, it's important to note that this is a one-shot and shall remain a one-shot. Ginny and Draco's story is over, they have their happy ending, and until I decide to torture them again, they'll remain that way.
OK guys, thanks so much for reading, but please DO review. I reply to all signed reviews so don't be scared. I'm a nice person really. A little crazy at times, but still nice!