The She-Weasel and the Ferret
It had been a week since Ginny had broken up with Blaise. Ginny could now look upon him and Pansy with only the smallest pang of pain, which she thought was quite good of her, considering the situation. It wasn't that she still liked Blaise; in fact, she realised she had never really liked the amber-eyed boy romantically. He had always been a good friend to her, and while their relationship was a little strained now, she didn't doubt that, given time, they would be back to joking with each other just like they used to. The main problem was that he had lied in order to get her to date him. It was that more than anything that made her angry, for Ginny had just as much pride as the next person. She still hadn't figured out who had actually written the poem either – Draco always got rather distant and vague whenever it was mentioned, and Hermione only smiled in an annoying way, which told Ginny that both of them knew very well who had written it.
Ginny was having a hard time forgiving Pansy, but then she had never really liked Pansy to begin with, so she didn't feel the need to try very hard. Draco seemed to find this amusing, but Ginny would not be moved from her standpoint. The girl had purposely sabotaged her relationship with Blaise, and it didn't matter if Ginny had never really liked Blaise, or that Blaise and Pansy were now very happily dating . . .
Okay, so maybe she was being a little unfair, but she never said she was a saint.
Ginny sat down on one of the benches with a sigh and stared out into the frosted grounds, watching the students running around and throwing snowballs at each other. Two, in particular, caught her eye. There was Hermione walking hand-in-hand with Harry, both looking very pink in the face from the cold, but happy nonetheless. Hermione dropped his hand and leant against his shoulder, and Ginny watched with a smile as Harry placed an arm around her waist and gave her a small kiss on her forehead.
"Ah, young love," Ginny murmured, watching the two pass from her vision.
She sounded (and looked) just like an old woman reflecting on fonder days, all huddled up in her warm clothes and sitting by herself on the bench while watching the couples walk around her in the snow. Someone else seemed to agree, for a familiar drawl was soon to be heard from behind her:
"You know, if I didn't know any better, Weasley, I'd say you were turning into an old spinster right before my eyes."
Ginny laughed and turned her head, greeting the familiar smirk with a smile. "With my luck in love, I wouldn't be surprised."
Draco chuckled and took a seat next to her on the bench. "Given up on romance then, have you? I'm surprised; I always pegged you for the hopeless romantic."
She shrugged and, because it seemed only natural to do, leaned against his shoulder for warmth. "I guess I am. I don't think anyone else would be silly enough to like a guy just because he wrote a poem for her, let alone be taken in like that." She grimaced slightly. "I still can't believe he lied to me, and you, you big meanie, still won't tell me who wrote the poem. I know you know who wrote it!"
Draco glanced down at her, meeting her eyes for just a moment before he looked away. "Does it really matter who wrote it? It was just a poem. Besides, wouldn't you rather like someone because of who they are instead of how romantically they can write?"
Ginny shrugged again and snuggled up closer to him, grabbing his arm and wrapping it around her for extra warmth. For anyone who was watching, they would have looked like the perfect couple, but for Ginny these things just seemed natural to do with him. He made her feel so comfortable, and even though she knew very well that she liked him, there was no awkwardness in being close to him. If anything, it made her only want to be even closer.
"I guess," she agreed. "I'm just curious, really. Trust me, I'm not about to make the same mistake twice."
He smiled and pushed the fiery strands of hair away from her pink-tinged cheeks with his gloved hand. "I'm glad. I'd hate to see you hurt again."
Warm fluttering started in her stomach and her heart felt suddenly so much bigger as she looked up into his face. His cheeks were pink like hers, and there was snow sprinkled in his hair, but it was the genuine affection in his grey eyes that caught her attention. There was something so soothing about that look, and she wished he could always look at her like that. She couldn't think of when it was she had first started liking him, or even why she did, but now all she could think of was how much she did – especially when faced with that gentle expression. If only she could know if he liked her back. She was so afraid of ruining their friendship that she didn't even want to mention it, but sometimes she thought he might return her feelings; sometimes, when he would look at her like this, she could almost believe he loved her.
"I never knew you cared so much," she said softly, her eyes still locked on his.
"Of course I care about you, Ginny."
She smiled and lowered her face to hide her blush, even though it was so cold he probably would not have noticed anyway. It wasn't just his words that made her feel suddenly bashful; it was his use of her first name. She had noticed that he only used her first name when he was being serious. This had been easy to tell, as he had only called her 'Ginny' about three times now, and all of those had been serious moments. Now, to hear him use her name after saying he cared about her – well, it made a pleasant warmth settle in her stomach, and the small smile on her lips grew just that little more brighter.
"Come on," he said, pulling her up off the bench. "We'd better go back inside before we freeze to death. I'm not having your brothers murder me because I let you turn into a Weasley popsicle."
She laughed and followed him across the grounds. "No better than your mum killing me for letting you turn into a Malfoy popsicle. I always thought my mum was formidable, but your mum sure knows how to take 'over-attached' to the extreme."
Draco laughed. "Yeah, she does. But I'm her only child, so I guess she kind of has an excuse."
"I suppose. Oh! I completely forgot!"
He frowned and looked at her curiously, hands stuffed in his coat pockets. "What?"
"Your mum wanted me to come and have tea with her."
She nodded, brushing against him slightly as they walked because of their close proximity. "Yeah. I'm kind of nervous. Your mum only knew me when I was pretending to be you. I don't know what I'm going to talk to her about at all."
He shrugged and gave her an amused smile. "You probably won't be doing much talking. My mother likes to talk."
"Is that where you get it from, then?" Ginny asked cheekily, and just managed to dodge Draco's playful push.
She giggled and scooped up a handful of snow, throwing it rather haphazardly towards him, and watched as it hit him right in the chest. He seemed a bit surprised and then just started laughing before picking up his own snowball and throwing it at her. They continued on in this fashion, throwing snowballs at each other, and laughing and cursing when they got hit, oblivious to the fact that the grounds were beginning to empty until they were the only ones left.
"Okay, okay! Stop!" Ginny exclaimed, feeling the snow sinking into her clothes and making her feel uncomfortably cold. "You don't want me to be a popsicle, remember?"
He laughed and pulled her towards him, wrapping his arms around her waist as if it was the most normal thing in the world. "Then I'll just have to keep you warm."
Ginny could feel her face heating even through the cold and suddenly felt very nervous. Their faces were close, the chilly air making their breath visible as they stared at each other while the silent seconds ticked on, and the snow fluttered around them in white flakes. Her heart quickened in fearful excitement, and she couldn't help but wonder if that small gap would close between them, wishing rather than hoping that it would. But then he seemed to come to his senses and abruptly let her go.
"We should go back inside," he mumbled, and quickly kept walking towards the castle.
Ginny remained where she was, still feeling her heart pounding hard in her chest, not really sure what to think or do. Her mind seemed to snap back into rational thought, and she ran to catch up with him.
"Wait!" she called.
He stopped and waited for her, and she once more fell into step with him. She looked up at him as they walked side-by-side and gave him a somewhat subdued and shy smile, which he returned with his own tight smile. Nothing was said, but something had changed between them, though neither Draco nor Ginny were quite ready to admit it, still feeling the natural embarrassment of two teenagers who had almost kissed.
Once Draco and Ginny had split their separate ways, Draco headed back to the Slytherin common room, his mind filled with thoughts of the red-haired girl he had held in his arms only moments before. He hadn't known what had come over him back there. Somehow, just being with her like that had made him forget all about how she had only just broken up with his best friend and that things were still rough for her. All he'd been able to think about was how adorable she had looked with her cheeks all pink and that smile on her face. He'd wanted nothing more than to kiss her, and for one dangerous moment he almost had.
"Stupid," he muttered, feeling like such an idiot for wearing his heart on his sleeve.
A small voice in his head pointed out that she hadn't seemed to mind, but Draco was almost afraid to believe it. Ginny was everything he wanted in a girl, and even though she annoyed him more than he would like, he couldn't seem to hold it against her. In a way, it only added to her charm.
A smile came to his face as he thought of the spunky redhead. There was no way he could not like her. She was graceless, almost always said the wrong thing, had no idea when to just shut up, fell into trouble after trouble . . . and yet he was crazy about her. The way she laughed, the way she would smile at him – even the very fact that she was not perfect and did not pretend to be. That was what made Ginny Weasley the most adorable and silliest girl he had ever met. Yes, he was indeed crazy about her. Crazy and hopelessly in love.
Draco entered his common room and was greeted with the usual friendly faces, but he was in no mood to chat to his friends. He walked past the Slytherins and went upstairs to get changed, all the while wondering what he could do about Ginny. He cared about her so much, but, like her (though he didn't know it), he was afraid of ruining things between them. They had so much going for them, and somehow it seemed so frightening to tell her how he felt, even though he'd never had much trouble talking to girls before. It was ridiculous, but he just couldn't seem to bring himself to the point of actually speaking his feelings.
With Pansy, it had been so easy. But with Ginny – with Ginny, it was always difficult. He knew that Hermione had said she liked him, but he was still afraid to believe it. It was just so strange. So strange and so frustrating.
He sighed and collapsed on his bed, staring at the stone roof with a frown on his face. There had to be something he could do. He wasn't sure how long he could handle just watching her from afar and not being able to kiss and hold her like he wanted. She certainly didn't help matters either by being so close with him. He was sure she didn't like to snuggle up to her other guy friends, and as confidence boosting as that was, he was still worried about actually telling her how he felt in case he was wrong. That was the thing with love: it made people nervous and lose all sense. Doubt and fear seemed to be a constant companion, and even though Draco could be very egotistical when he wanted, even he had his doubts when it came to romance.
The door opened and Pansy walked in. She walked over and sat next to him on the bed, a small frown on her lips. "You know Draco," she began quietly. "I've never seen you like this before. What happened?"
Draco let out a heavy sigh. "I almost kissed Ginny."
Pansy blinked, clearly not expecting the answer. "And what did she do?"
"She didn't do anything. I, um, kind of ran away," Draco admitted with a blush, feeling suddenly really stupid.
What if he had just kissed her? At least he would have known where he'd stood, but instead he had got scared and ran away like a little girl. Still, she had asked him to wait, so she couldn't have been angry, but then what if that was because she didn't care and didn't want to embarrass him?
Pansy seemed to notice that Draco was having a mental argument with himself, for she snapped her fingers in front of his eyes, forcing his gaze to focus back on her.
"Stop talking yourself into circles and tell me everything," she commanded.
So Draco did. It was rather embarrassing for him, but he figured that he had nothing to lose. Besides, Pansy would never leave him alone if he didn't tell her.
Once he had finished telling what had happened out in the snowy grounds, he was surprised to see Pansy glare at him. He didn't know what she could possibly be angry about, but that was soon made apparent.
"I can't believe you haven't seen it!" she exclaimed in exasperation.
Pansy rolled her eyes at his less than eloquent answer. "Draco, the girl is crazy about you! I'm telling you that no girl treats her guy friends that way. You two are as bad as each other!"
"What? Are you sure?"
If Pansy was telling the truth, he had no choice but to accept that Hermione had been right and that he had been stupidly blind not to have seen it himself. It also meant that pulling away from Ginny had to have been the dumbest thing he had ever done in all his sixteen years.
"I'm damn sure," Pansy responded, "and you, you idiot, could have just ruined the only chance you had with Weasley. You do know that she's probably in her room right now arguing with herself about whether you actually like her or not."
"Well, of course I like her! I wouldn't want to kiss her if I didn't."
"Yes, but she doesn't know that," Pansy said reasonably. "You know what you need to do, don't you?"
"Go and tell her, of course!"
Draco frowned. It was the logical thing to do, and though he still felt nervous, deep down he knew he had to do it. He had put Ginny through a lot, and now it was up to him to get the mess sorted.
"You're right." He stood up off the bed and grabbed his jacket and scarf, throwing them on haphazardly, and looking surprisingly messy for one so vain. Right now his appearance seemed of little consequence, however.
"Of course I'm right," Pansy replied with a smug smile on her face. "Now go."
He nodded and all but ran out of the room. There was only one person on his mind right now, and she was currently sitting seven floors above him, having much the same conversation with Hermione Granger that he had just been having with Pansy.
"Come on, Ginny," Hermione exclaimed with an impatient sigh. "You just have to tell him. He's probably worried about approaching you because you just broke up with Blaise."
"Do you think that was it?" Ginny asked hopefully, having just spent the past half-hour arguing with herself into believing that Draco didn't like her.
"Yes. I know very well that he likes you, Ginny," Hermione said quite firmly, having heard from Draco's own lips that he did like the redhead. She also knew that Draco had been the one to write the poem, and was contemplating telling Ginny so when a great commotion sounded from downstairs.
"That sounds like Ron," Ginny said with a frown.
Hermione shared a puzzled glance with the redhead and walked to the door to see what was going on. "It seems like Ron is throwing a fit about something."
"I don't care if you want to boil my head in Snape's cauldron, Weasley. I have to speak to Ginny!"
"Oho, Ginny, is it? Since when did you two become so close to be on first name basis?"
"Oh, shut the hell up and get out of my way before I remove you myself. Blaise may let you walk all over him, but I bloody well won't, now move!"
Ginny stared at Hermione in surprise. "That has to be Draco."
"You'd better go to him before a war starts out down there," Hermione advised with a smile.
Ginny nodded and quickly scrambled up off the bed and dashed down the stairs, bursting into the common and pushing past everyone who was crowding around the portrait hole. She could see Ron outside, blocking Draco from getting in, and felt her hackles rise. This was one time too many.
"Ron! Get out of the way!" Ginny yelled, scrambling through the portrait hole.
Ron turned and met her fierce gaze, and his own rage died as he realised his sister was about to get extremely angry if he did not comply.
"You're lucky she was here," Ron muttered darkly to Draco, and walked back into the common room.
Ginny glared at his retreating figure and closed the portrait behind her so that the other Gryffindors were shut out from the conversation.
"Sorry," she said more softly, facing Draco now, who was standing somewhat agitatedly before her. "You wanted to see me?"
He cleared his throat, wondering why it was that her presence should make all his carefully planned speeches evaporate into nothing. He'd had it all thought out, but now he couldn't seem to remember anything that he had wanted to say. Somehow, 'I like you' didn't quite cut it.
"Yes?" Ginny prompted with a hopeful look in her eyes.
"Well . . . I just wanted to tell you that I—"
Ginny frowned. Why was he hesitating again? All she wanted was to hear those words, to hear his feelings so she could tell him that she felt the same. She was just waiting for that moment, watching his face and silently pleading for him to just spit it out already. It was too horrible waiting in suspense like this.
"I, um . . ." He frowned, running an exasperated hand through his hair. "Oh, screw it," he muttered and closed the distance between them.
A deep sigh seemed to pass through Ginny's body when their lips touched, and her arms instantly curled around his neck as she responded to his kiss with all the passion she could muster. His hand rested against the back of her head, tilting her face towards him so he could kiss her better. His other hand came to rest on her lower back, pulling her closer to him so that the warmth of their bodies pressed against the other.
Ginny's mind was in a whirl. This was everything she had wanted and more. Her fantasies had never quite seemed to capture the fiery intensity that his kiss could make her feel, nor the desperate need for him to do more – so much more. She'd never experienced anything like it before, and she thought she could have happily continued kissing him for the rest of her life were it not for the fact that it suddenly became imperative to breathe.
Draco pulled his lips away, resting his head against her forehead and closing his eyes. "I should have done that a long time ago," he mumbled, causing Ginny to let out a small laugh.
"Yes, you should have," she agreed, pulling her face away.
His eyes softened with that rare gentleness she loved so much, and he caressingly moved the strands of red away from her face. "I like you, Ginny. I like you a lot."
She smiled and leaned up to give him a small kiss on the lips before wrapping her arms around him and leaning her face against his chest. "I like you too, Draco."
"I suppose you wouldn't mind being my girlfriend, then?"
"I suppose I could do that," she grinned.
They both laughed before he once more closed the gap between them to kiss her again, though this time much more tenderly. Ginny had never felt happier, and as she leaned against him, she suddenly realised something she should have figured out a long time ago.
"It was you that wrote that poem, wasn't it?"
Draco was silent for a moment. "Yeah, it was."
He looked down at her, still holding her in his arms. "Oh? I thought you said you weren't going to let poems make you like people."
She laughed lightly. "Well, it was a really nice poem, and it just makes it all the better knowing it came from you."
"I hope you don't expect any more," Draco responded. "I'm afraid I've retired from the love poem business."
"That's okay. I have something better than words now."
She had him, and as she leaned up to kiss him again, she knew she always would.
Ginny dashed down the hallway, still trying to get her jumper on her head, and all the while muttering furiously about early Quidditch practises and how much she detested Harry. She suddenly collided into someone and stumbled backwards while the person she had banged into groaned in pain.
"The hell? Watch where you're bloody going!"
"Oh, Merlin, not again," Ginny muttered, and pulled the jumper down just in time to see Draco burst out laughing. She blushed and gave him a half-hearted slap on his arm. "Shut up."
"I should have known it would be you," Draco said, amused. "Only you are mental enough to run around with a jumper on your head."
"Yeah, well you're the only one too arrogant to move when people come running at you."
They both grinned at each other, each knowing that not so many months ago Ginny's jumper escapades had produced a very different reaction. Times change, however, as do people, and this was certainly true for Draco and Ginny.
"Hey, Draco," Blaise called, walking towards the two with a sheepish Crabbe following behind.
"What?" Draco asked, glancing at his friend.
"You know that book you and Ginny found in the library – the one that talked about how you switched bodies."
"Well, I found the missing page."
"Really?" Ginny exclaimed. "Where did you find it?"
Crabbe shuffled forward, holding a dog-eared Super Slytherin comic book in his held it out to Draco, who opened it and saw a single piece of parchment, which looked very familiar, pressed up against the binding.
"You've been using it as a bookmark?" Draco demanded, glowering at his friend.
"You mean that whole time we were trying to figure out what had happened to us, you had the answer sitting in your Super Slytherin comic book all along?"
"I didn't know!" Crabbe cried, shame-faced. "I never even read the page. I just wanted a bookmark, and that book happened to be sitting on my table."
Ginny placed her head in her hands, though she looked as if she was desperately trying not to laugh. Draco, on the other hand, looked more than a little annoyed. He read the mangled parchment and then gave an inelegant snort.
"What?" Ginny asked curiously.
"Apparently we're 'meant to be', Ginny."
She snatched the paper from his hands and read it herself. There was a lot of waffling about planet alignments and magical intervention spells, which was frankly confusing, but the basic gist of it was that Fate had sensed that she and Draco were unable to overcome their differences and had decided to take matters into its own hands, for it was pre-destined that they would play an important part in each other's lives.
"There never had been a way to break the spell," she said after a moment, glancing back at Draco. "It was up to us to fix it all along."
"Well, at least we succeeded with that," Draco grumbled. "Though Blaise nearly ruined it by putting his nose in where it didn't belong."
"Excuse me," Blaise said loftily, "I was the one who made you both realise how much you like each other. Really, you should be thanking me."
"Sure, sure," Ginny replied, rolling her eyes at him. "Next you'll be asking me to thank you for lying to me about that poem as well."
"Come on, Ginny? Haven't we moved on from that yet?"
"Ask me again in fifty years," Ginny said dryly.
Draco grinned and placed his arm around her waist. "That's my girl."
Crabbe, who had been trying to get Draco's attention for the past five minutes so he could get his comic book back, sighed and placed his chin in his hands.
"Everyone always ignores me," he said glumly.
"Watch it, fatty!" Millicent Bullstrode snapped, barrelling past him.
"Who are you calling fatty, Bullstrode?" Crabbe retorted, flushing. "You're the fatty!"
"What did you say?" Millicent snarled, turning on him with her teeth bared.
Crabbe clenched his hands into fists. "You heard me! I'm sick of you calling me fat. I have feelings too, you know."
"Oh, did I hurt the ickle fatty's feelings?" Millicent cooed. "Too bad!"
Crabbe gritted his teeth as he watched her stalk away, hating every inch of her large, womanly body.
In the faraway regions of the magical world, Fate's eyes lit up with a wicked grin.
A/N: That's the end, and I really do hope you enjoyed it. It's been a long ride, but I hope you found it just as fun as I did. Thank you for the reviews, the support, and, more importantly, for reading! You've all been wonderful, and I'm quite serious when I say I couldn't have finished it without you.